Almost immediately, she received an e-mail from reader Bruce Goldman that quite appropriately took Rosie firmly to task. He asked: "For more than one awful moment, Rosie should have been reminded of Shakespeare's [sic] famous line, 'Pride goeth before destruction and an haughty spirit before a fall' because it's really King Solomon's famous line (Proverbs 16.8) from just a few centuries earlier. How could she make such a mistake in such an important issue?"
The answer to Mr. Goldman's question is that Rosie could make that mistake because she disobeyed the cardinal rule followed by a good copy editor and certainly followed by anyone writing about the use of language:
She used what she thought was correct and trusting in fallible memory failed to look the quotation up.
Had she taken the proper precautions, she might have learned what the Interpreters Bible says about the proverb: "[Pride] is considered a religious offense against God." And had she read the next line, she might have had something to think about this holiday season: "It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud."
Rosie stands corrected and has also been reminded to be more careful about what she writes. Shakespeare, in fact, did not write all familiar lines.
Home for the Holidays
Our forefathers (and mothers?) weren't always decorous when they selected names for their settlements. Richmond sounds positively elegant when compared with some other names settlers chose. From Frank R. Abate's essay, "Unraveling the American Place Name Cover," in the paperback "Verbatim," here are some towns that some Americans call home:
Superior Bottom, W.Va.
Cut and Shoot, Texas
Horse Thief, Ariz.
Let Rosie hear from you by letter, 1707 Summit Ave., Suite 201, Richmond, Va. 23230; by e-mail, email@example.com; or by telephone, 804-358-0825
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