Tuesday, November 13, 2012

All that glitters is not gold

All that glitters is not gold . . . that's not even close to true.  

Just ask Shakespeare . . . if you could . . . it is his quote that is one of the most famous misquotes in the English language!  The citation is from The Merchant of Venice written in the late 1500's.  The passage reads as follows:

All that glisters is not gold;
Often have you heard that told:
Many a man his life hath sold
But my outside to behold:
Gilded tombs do worms enfold.
Had you been as wise as bold,
Young in limbs, in judgement old
Your answer had not been inscroll'd
Fare you well, your suit is cold.

Read glisters not glitters. Of course, both of these words mean exactly the same thing.  

Interestingly, almost exactly one hundred years after Shakespeare wrote the Merchant of Venice another author misquoted him.  John Dryden wrote in his poem The Hind and the Panther:

If not by Scriptures, how can we be sure,
Replied the Panther, what Tradition's pure?
For you may palm upon us new for old:
All, as they say, that glitters, is not gold.

The abuse of poor Sir William has been in use so long that is is considered perfectly acceptable.  

You may have never heard the word glister but you've certainly heard the term glisten used.  

Now, here's an interesting question.  If something that glisters glistens then does something that glitters glitten?  

No.  But glitten is a word . . . it is a glove/mitten hybrid . . . it is a fingerless glove usually with an attached flap covering for the fingers.

There you have it.

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