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Such is life

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on January 06, 2011 at 09:02

In Reply to: Such is life posted by Victoria Mathis on January 05, 2011 at 14:25:

: The phrase, "Such is life" is intresting. I've read it orgionated in France, that it comes from Ned Kelly's last words in Australila and that it's part of a saying from London's war years. Recently, I've seen it on Victorian wax impression rings with a ship. It's also found on what resemble/are religous medals also with a ship in the center of the words. My question is, What is the connection between the ship and the words, "Such is Life"?

It certainly wasn't coined by Ned Kelly, (though for all I know he may have said it), let alone in WWII (though no doubt people said it then too). It was already a standard phrase in the 18th century, when Joseph Baretti in his 1762 Grammar of the Italian Language translated "Cosi va'l mondo!" (literally "That's the way the world goes") as "Such is life". The French "C'est la vie" (literally "That's life") is a parallel phrase, but there's no reason to suppose that either is derived from the other. It's just as likely that the French, Italians and British each came up with the reflection independently.

As for the phrase as a motto on a ring or charm showing a ship at sea, surely that means that everyone's life is like a frail ship on the sea, subject to storms, calms and all kinds of weather which we cannot evade but have somehow to endure. Something like that, anyway.