And to Misquote

I know, I don`t know how I got the part either.

Mel Gibson as Hamlet: “I know, I don`t know how I got the part either.“

I recently saw a favourite quote by Oscar Wilde on a card: “If you’re not too long, I will wait for you all my life.”  Only it read “I will wait here for you all my life.”  This, of course, lead me to look it up and low-and-behold, there is indeed a “here” in the quote.  It seems superfluous.  Worse than that.  Where is “here” exactly?  It puts me in mind of Wilde standing at a bus stop, hands in pockets, shoulders hunched against the wind.  Of course, in Wilde’s case “here” is more likely to be in bed with a glass of champagne.  But, still, surely the quote is better without the “here”?  And that line from Hamlet that I occasionally toss about, “Who is he to Hecuba or Hecuba to him that he should weep for her?”, is really “What is Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba that he should weep for her?”  Oops.  One of the best known misquotes is also from Hamlet.  “Alas, poor Yorick!  I knew him well” is actually, “Alas, poor Yorick!  I knew him, Horatio.”  I’m with Shakespeare on that one but at least (arguably) the meaning hasn’t been changed.  This can’t be said for one of the most common biblical misquotes.  Capitalist will be happy (or not) to know that “Money is the root of all evil” is really “For the love of money is the root of all evil.”

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