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"The April rain, the April rain,
Comes slanting down in fitful showers,
Then from the furrow shoots the grain,
And banks are fledged with nestling flowers;
And in grey shawl and woodland bowers
The cuckoo through the April rain
Calls once again."

Mathilde Blind, April Rain
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The pen is mightier than the sword

XanthippeXanthippe Posts: 1,877 ✭✭✭✭✭
"The English words "The pen is mightier than the sword" were first written by novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839, in his historical play Cardinal Richelieu.

Richelieu, chief minister to King Louis XIII, discovers a plot to kill him, but as a priest he is unable to take up arms against his enemies.

His page, Francois, points out: But now, at your command are other weapons, my good Lord.

Richelieu agrees: The pen is mightier than the sword... Take away the sword; States can be saved without it!

The saying quickly gained currency, says Susan Ratcliffe, associate editor of the Oxford Quotations Dictionaries. "By the 1840s it was a commonplace.""



  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,599 mod
    Written and also spoken words can command a lot of power @Xanthippe‌. They are certainly are much better than using physical force.
  • XanthippeXanthippe Posts: 1,877 ✭✭✭✭✭
    That's so, @mheredge. :)
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,599 mod
    I like very much how movies and the lyrics of songs reflect society and also have considerable power @Xanthippe‌. Sometimes things are expressed in these that wouldn't be able to escape censorship if they were written.
  • XanthippeXanthippe Posts: 1,877 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I couldn't agree with you more. I remember 'Meetings with the ballad' from the communist period. :) Satire was very powerful at the time.
  • DoraDora Posts: 3,322 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2015
    Pen is mightier than sword
    But I prefer my laptop. :D
  • XanthippeXanthippe Posts: 1,877 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Here you have an example:

    " A Pole who finds himself in Moscow wants to know the time. He sees a man approching him carrying two heavy suitcases and asks the fellow if he knows the correct time.

    ''Certainly,'' says the Russian, setting down the two bags and looking at his wrist. ''It is 11:43 and 17 seconds. The date is Feb. 13, the moon is nearing its full phase and the atmospheric pressure stands at 992 hectopascals and is rising.''

    The Polish visitor is dumbfounded but manages to ask if the watch that provides all this information is Japanese. No, he is told, it is ''our own, a product of Soviet technology.''

    ''Well,'' says the Pole, ''that is wonderful, you are to be congratulated.''

    ''Yes,'' the Russian answers, straining to pick up the suitcases, ''but these batteries are still a little heavy.''"

    I haven't found 'Meetings with the Ballad' in English. They were really funny. :)
  • DoraDora Posts: 3,322 ✭✭✭✭
    It's funny @Xanthippe. But I think there's a sense behind it, isn't it? :)
  • XanthippeXanthippe Posts: 1,877 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Well, of course it is. There is a joke about a parrot called Mr Secretary. Believe it or not, my grandfather was forced to write engineering theses for the members of the Party. They knew too little to produce them on their own.
    And in shops called 'Pewex' you could buy everything for dollars while in common shops there was nothing but empty shelves.

  • XanthippeXanthippe Posts: 1,877 ✭✭✭✭✭
    An old joke about potato beetles:

    A farmer goes out to work on his field and there he sees potato beetles. He asks angrily:
    - It is Americans that have sent you here?

    An astonished potato beetle:
    - Chto? [Что? - what?]

  • AlekseyAleksey Posts: 71 Inactive
    Ha HA :) well done! @Xanthippe
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,599 mod
    I really love this kind of humour @Xanthippe‌. Thanks for making me laugh!
  • FrankFrank Moderator Posts: 6,453 mod
    edited January 2015
    The pen is mightier than the sword and not only because you can write with it. Especially during meetings, we can detect a wide range of alternative applications of the pen. We scratch, pick, screw and hammer with it or chew on it. Sometimes the pen acts as a stirrer or as a convenient extension of our fingers. We point with it and define our territory with it. Anyway, the use of the pen reveals a lot about the personality of the owner. I ones wrote an article about this.

    In the article I distinguished the following useful functions of the pen: writing, drawing, providing something to hold, juggling, clicking, screwing, pointing and directing, chewing, drumming, picking, scratching, stirring, demarcating territory, leaving neglectfully behind as a reminder and providing a status symbol. It was meant to be a funny article. Unfortunately it's written in Dutch so at this moment only @april can read it. Ones I might translate it into English.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,599 mod
    I am very good at losing pens, though somehow I seem to have amassed an impressive collection of them in my bag recently. I'm good at walking off with other people's pens too, so I hope I'm not in possession of stolen property.
  • TeachTeach Your Teacher HomePosts: 9,878 mod
    edited January 2015
    @mheredge‌ - I quite agree.

    @lichaamstaal‌ - you forgot borrowing / stealing. :wink:

    Borrowing a pen can be a good ice breaker. Stealing one can be a good excuse for making contact later; "I'm sorry, I seem to have taken your pen," or "I think you left your pen on my desk."
    Post edited by Teach on
  • FrankFrank Moderator Posts: 6,453 mod
    Cleverly found @Lynne!
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,599 mod
    I try to warn people that I'm terrible at returning pens, which then actually seems to help me remember to give it back!
  • BubblyBubbly Nightingale Posts: 30,268 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    I am on the other side Marianne. I usually keep a pen with me and whenever any person needs it. I generously offer it and usually do not get it back.
  • XanthippeXanthippe Posts: 1,877 ✭✭✭✭✭
    @bubbli Poor you. :) :) :)
  • BubblyBubbly Nightingale Posts: 30,268 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    Yes it is. I like to be poor like this.:)
  • XanthippeXanthippe Posts: 1,877 ✭✭✭✭✭
  • BubblyBubbly Nightingale Posts: 30,268 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    :) It looks like a serious crime. Isn't it?
  • EnglishLearnerEnglishLearner Posts: 16 ✭✭
    A pen a dangerous weapon for people who corrupt the society to open their face to public. sorry for poor English.
  • XanthippeXanthippe Posts: 1,877 ✭✭✭✭✭
    @EnglishLearner I got what you would like to say. :) I agree with you of course.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,599 mod
    I feel really bad @bubbli. Yesterday someone very kindly lent me a pen at the Chinese embassy to make some amendments on my form (to turn myself from British to French @bubbli). By the time I'd finished and looked round to return it to him, he'd gone. :/
  • BubblyBubbly Nightingale Posts: 30,268 ✭✭✭✭✭✭
    But it happened unintentionally so don't be sad. There are people who intentionally ask for a pen and confidently keep it in their pocket or purse.:)
  • filauziofilauzio Posts: 1,730 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I like the pen because on duelling by means of the pen, nobody ever die... unless the incautious fellow has finished his ink.
    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,599 mod
    The pen can be a powerful weapon @filauzio. Whether it's used to tell the truth or misinformation, it can have a huge impact if welded in the right (or wrong) way.
  • filauziofilauzio Posts: 1,730 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Then, perhaps, you should be given the gun licence to handle your pen too, @mheredge ahah.
    But here, the only point is you should be able to connect first your brain to your hand, then to put down what your thinking is in a language whose words you can handle profitably and to the point.
    I wish I could do it in English language, but suppose in many cases, my mind going overboard with thinking, the result is just drowning words.
    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 31,599 mod
    edited March 2017
    You have a wonderful way with words @filauzio. I hope you don't feel that you're drowning in them. Think of words like an artist looks on colours, painting a picture.
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