phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Postman's Oath

Posted by Smokey Stover on April 03, 2010 at 07:55

In Reply to: Postman's Oath posted by David B. Magee, Jr. on April 01, 2010 at 09:45:

: The full and complete "Postman's Oath," is, I believe:

: "Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Dark Of Night Shall Stay These Couriers From The Swift Completion Of Their Appointed Rounds."

: Is that not correct?

I haven't often heard this called the Postman's Oath, although postmen are not loath to repeat it. Nor is it an official motto or creed of the U.S. Postal Service or its predecessors, although they have repeated it with relish. In reality, the couriers of the U.S. P.S. ARE sometimes stayed from the completion of their appointed rounds. It happened at our house during a recent blizzard, in fact.

The sentence comes from the Greek of Herodotus (ca. 500 BC) who was describing the Persian courier service of his day. As the Wikipedia tells us, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds" is an inscription on the James Farley Post Office in New York City."

The interesting Wikipedia article also shows a photograph of the façade of the Farley Post Office, an imposing Greek-revival building with a colonnade of 20 columns with Corinthian capitals. The words of Herodotus are inscribed in large letters going the length of the frieze above the colonnade. See:

© 1997 – 2024 All rights reserved.