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The chickens have come home to roost

Posted by ESC on April 30, 2008 at 08:12:

In Reply to: The chickens have come home to roost posted by Victoria S Dennis on April 29, 2008 at 22:32:

: : : : "The chickens have come home to roost." Jeremiah Wright has resurrected that maxim in regard to the destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Centre and the attack on the Pentagon and the probable attack on the White House by terrorists. "The chickens have come home to roost" was first used by Brother Malcolm (Malcolm X) after the assination of Pres. John F. Kennedy,
: : : : I post this comment because I read on a blog that Rev. Wright had heard the same remark made by the American Ambassador to Iraq and no one can find that quotation.
: : : : Was Rev. Wright being facetious when he ascribed his quotation to "an ambassador to Iraq". After all, Brother Malcolm converted to Islam shortly before his assasination and had just made his pilgrimage to Mecca?

: : : The adage dates back to at least 1810 when the English poet Robert South wrote, "Curses are like young chickens; they always come home to roost.". Here's a quote from Google News Archive dated Oct. 29, 1849: "It is an old adage and a true one that "false-hoods and young chickens come home to roost".

: : As a farm girl, I can tell you that domesticated animals "come home" in the evening. Chickens come home to roost. The cows come home to be milked.

: : Anderson Cooper 360:
: : One of the most controversial statements in this sermon was when he mentioned "chickens coming home to roost." He was actually quoting Edward Peck, former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq and deputy director of President Reagan's terrorism task force, who was speaking on FOX News. That's what he told the congregation.

: : He was quoting Peck as saying that America's foreign policy has put the nation in peril:
: : "I heard Ambassador Peck on an interview yesterday did anybody else see or hear him? He was on FOX News, this is a white man, and he was upsetting the FOX News commentators to no end, he pointed out, a white man, an ambassador, he pointed out that what Malcolm X said when he was silenced by Elijah Mohammad was in fact true, he said Americas chickens, are coming home to roost."

: :

: The idea "curses, like chickens, come home to roost" is a lot older than 1810. in 1390 Chaucer put it "And ofte tyme swich cursynge wrongfully retorneth agayn to hym that curseth, as a bryd that retorneth agayn to his owene nest".

THE CHICKENS HAVE COME HOME TO ROOST -- Chickens scratch around in the barnyard, in the fields and woods during the day. But at night they come home to the hen-house to roost. This saying is comparing a person's evil or foolish deeds to chickens. If a person does wrong, the "payback" might not be immediate. But at some point, at the end of the day, those "chickens" will come home to roost. "One has to face the consequences of one's past actions. In English, the proverb goes back to Chaucer's 'Parson's Tale' (c 1390). It was also know to Terence (about 190-159 B.C.) First attested in the United States in the 'Life of Jefferson S. Batkins' . The proverb is found in varying forms: Curses, like chickens, come home to roost; Sooner or later chickens, come home to roost..." From "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).

This source has a later date for the phrase origin. "Malcolm X stirred up a hornet's nest when he said this about John F. Kennedy after the (U.S.) president was assassinated, possibly alluding to the alleged C.I.A. attempts on Fidel Castro's life. But the saying is an old one, dating back to at least 1810 in the form of 'Curses are like young chickens; they always come home to roost,' which appears to have been the invention of English poet laureate Robert Southey as the motto of his poem 'The Curse of Kehama.' The idea, of course, is that every curse or evil act returns to its originator as chickens return to their roost at night." From "The Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).