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Many thanks

Posted by Word Camel on November 21, 2002

In Reply to: A mistake in Brewer? posted by TheFallen on November 21, 2002

: : : : odious?

: : : : Comparisons are odious.
: : : : Proverbs 141

: : : : Comparisons are odorous.
: : : : Much Ado About Nothing (1598-9) act 3, sc. 5, l. [18]

: : : I came up with this line from the play:

: : : Dogb. Goodman Verges, sir, speaks a little off the matter: an old man, sir, and his wits are not so blunt, as, God help, I would desire they were; but, in faith, honest as the skin between his brows.
: : : Verg. Yes, I thank God, I am as honest as any man living, that is an old man and no honester than I.
: : : Dogb. Comparisons are odorous: palabras, neighbour Verges.
: : : Leon. Neighbours, you are tedious.

: : : But the plot thickens: Brewer's Phrase and fable lists the quote "Comparisons are Odorous" this way:

: : : Comparisons are Odorous.
: : :
: : : So says Dogberry. (Much Ado About Nothing, iii. 5.) 1
: : : "We own your verses are melodious,
: : : But then comparisons are odious."
: : :
: : : Swift Answer to Sheridan's "Simile."
: : :
: : :
: : : Our own list of phrase origins here on Phrase Finder says it's "comparisons are odorous: but that it is often misquoted as "comparisons are odious"

: : : I don't have the whole of the play handy but will try to look it up unless someone else gets there first.

: : I've done a google search and the Brewer is the only source for that quote I could find. I also found an online version of the play and couldn't find the line - at least not where Brewer says it is.

: : My faith is shaken - not stirred.

: To put Ms. Camel's mind at rest, this from Act 3 Scene 5 of Much Ado About Nothing:

: Yes, I thank God I am as honest as any man living
: that is an old man and no honester than I.

: Comparisons are odorous: palabras, neighbour Verges.

: Neighbours, you are tedious.

: This is a tad hazy, but the quotation in Brewers that Ms Camel refers to is by Jonathan Swift, who himself is knowingly misquoting (or rather correcting - see my other post) Shakespeare's Dogberry in a reply to Sheridan's "Simile". This Sheridan isn't Richard Brinsley Sheridan, as might as first be supposed, but rather Thomas Sheridan (1687-1738) who wrote something called "The Simile: or, Woman: a Cloud. A Poem"

And there I was thinking "swift" was an adverb. You are a gentleman indeed. Thank you. You've saved me from lying awake all night wondering.