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#1561 - 04/24/00 12:30 PM Contemn/condemn  
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paulb Offline
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Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
It's that time of the year again in Australia when Laurence Binyon's poem "For the fallen" is used in remembrance services for Anzac Day (April 25). It includes the famous line: "Age shall not weary them, nor the years [contemn/condemn]"

Search engines will find both versions and, according to one source, Binyon himself said the word was condemn, rather than contemn (forget), which seems right in the context, although perhaps archaic. 'Condemn' just doesn't seem right!

Before I contact my local newspaper editor about the misquotation, I thought I'd raise it in this forum first.

Cheers
Paul Bywater


#1562 - 04/24/00 06:39 PM Re: Contemn/condemn  
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Jackie Offline
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Hello, down-under!(Gee, does that mean I'm up-over?),

Perhaps the context of the poem negates this explanation,
but using 'condemn', not 'contemn', sounds to me as though
the author wanted to get across the idea that, no matter
how much time goes by, the deeds of the fallen will remain
at least blameless (if not glorified).

What is Anzac, please? Sounds like a medicine to me! Thanks, Jackie


#1563 - 04/24/00 07:28 PM Re: Contemn/condemn  
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tsuwm Offline
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this too shall pass
well, here's the whole verse:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

I think the comparison to the living makes condemn work -- the living are wearied by age and condemned by passing time!


#1564 - 04/24/00 11:45 PM Re: Contemn/condemn  
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lusy Offline
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Jackie, ANZAC is another of those acronyms we have been making much of here lately… Australian (and) New Zealand Army Corps, which participated in the disastrous and ill-judged, but supremely heroic, landing at Gallipoli in WWI.

Rgds, lusy


#1565 - 04/25/00 02:48 AM Re: Contemn/condemn  
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Philip Davis Offline
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A story from that campaign.

An Australian trooper is asked by a cynical and tired English officer " Have you come here to die?". The Australian looks at the officer and replies "Na mate I came here yesterday."


#1566 - 04/25/00 11:38 AM Re: Contemn/condemn  
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paulb Offline
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Thanks, friends, for your contributions. Food for thought, indeed! I'll think on it for another year.

Hello, 'up-over' Jackie! Lusy has explained the ANZAC acronym (thanks!). Did you also know that it is the name for a popular biscuit (akin to a Scottish oatmeal biscuit); it kept well (and still does -- I'm chewing one now) and so regular supplies were sent to the troops.

Nice joke, Phillip.

Cheers
Paul Bywater


#1567 - 04/25/00 07:10 PM Re: Contemn/condemn  
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Jackie Offline
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Tsuwm: I think we're both right.

Lusy: Thank you very much! We have very few major
remembrances here for WWI. Glad you-all haven't
condemned your heroes to oblivion, no matter
that their deeds were done nearly a century ago.

Philip: you're making me laugh to die!

Paulb: No, I didn't know that your forefathers
condemned their anzac cookies to languish
in storage until you could get to them. :-), J.


#1568 - 04/26/00 05:00 AM Re: Contemn/condemn  
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goodgold Offline
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Did no one go to the dictionary on this one? For shame! Despite the similarity of spelling and pronunciation, the words mean different things. Condemn=doom, etc. Contemn=despise. Thus we are left with the thought that contemning leads inevitably, or as jeff might prefer, ineluctably, to condemnation. I am wont to say, to hell with y'all for your lack of homework, but such calumny would belie my affection. I speak with the authority of age: I'm a sage. I'd never condemn you for inattention, but I might contemn. :)


#1569 - 04/26/00 01:57 PM Re: Contemn/condemn  
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tsuwm Offline
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this too shall pass
>Despite the similarity of spelling and pronunciation, the words mean different things.<

Well yeah, that was sort of the whole point of this thread... but you're right, in that "contemn" is a whole lot meaner than "forget". On the other hand, it's pretty easy to get from one to the other as in this list of synonyms:

Syn: To despise; scorn; disdain; spurn; slight; neglect; underrate; overlook.

It's mostly a matter of degree; and in any case, I still prefer condemn in this context.

http://members.aol.com/tsuwm/

#1570 - 04/26/00 03:11 PM Re: Contemn/condemn  
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Jackie Offline
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Goodgold--
O sage (orange?)(orange you glad I'm making this wordplay?) one, I confess: I am chronically lazy, and did not in fact
bother to look them up. I stand contemned.


#1571 - 04/28/00 12:20 PM Re: Contemn/condemn  
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paulb Offline
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Perhaps I can now tie up (sew up?) this thread with this excerpt from a [Sydney, Australia] Sun-Herald column by "WORDSMYTH Terry Smyth".

"Then again, maybe it happened like this:
In 1914, Laurence Binyon's reputation as a versifier was enough to get the odd poem published, but not enough to pay the rent. His day job was assistant keeper of prints and
drawings at the British Museum, where he was known as an expert in Asian art. In that capacity he had just returned from a lecture tour of America when war broke out and, while laid up with a heavy cold caught on the Atlantic crossing, was inspired to pen his immortal poem, which included the line: Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn. Too ill to take the bus into town to deliver his verse in person, he had no choice but to phone it in to The Times, carefully dictating to a copytaker who, knowing him as a stickler for exactitude, asked: "Would you like me to read it back to you, Mr Binyon?" "That won'd be necessary," sniffed the poet, desperate for a hot toddy and a lie down. "I'm sure id's absoludely word perfecd."

http://www.sunherald.com.au/content/19990509/news_extra/extra_story3.html



#1572 - 04/28/00 01:02 PM Re: Contemn/condemn  
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tsuwm Offline
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this too shall pass
It's good that you provided a link to the whole story -- I was all set to change my mind. 8-)


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