4 thoughts on “Beware”

  1. One of many variants attributed to a dozen people, from Napoleon to Twain:


    “The observation has been attributed to several other prominent humorists including: Josh Billings (pseudonym of Henry Wheeler Shaw), Artemus Ward (pseudonym of Charles Farrar Browne), Kin Hubbard (pen name of Frank McKinney Hubbard), and Will Rogers. Yet, it is unlikely then any of them said it. The creator remains anonymous based on current evidence.

    The saying is difficult to trace because it falls within an evolving family of remarks concerning faulty knowledge and memory. Three processes operate on members of the family to generate new members and ascriptions incrementally:

    Statements are rephrased over time.
    Statements are hybridized together to produce new statements.
    Attributions are shifted from one prominent humorist to another.”

    I’ve seen it used in a military context and ascribed to Napoleon.
    For all we know it goes back to Aesop (in greek, of course). 😉

    • F. While a lot of people said the quote, only one said it first. Not knowing who said something first doesn’t seem to concern online quote collection sites. I don’t know if even Bartlett’s still works to find the origin of a popular quote.

  2. A cleaned-up and preachy version of the old ‘affurism’ by Josh Billings:

    ‘I honestly beleave it iz better tew know nothing than two know what ain’t so.’

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