Friday, December 14, 2007

Blood, Sweat, and Tear-wrung millions

Tom Reynold's, of the London Ambulance Service and the blog Random Reality, has just opened a competition to entitle his second book on which he is working, the first being the exquisite "Blood, Sweat and Tea".

Obviously, Blood, Sweat and Tea is a pun on "Blood, Sweat and Tears".

So I thought I would look this expression up in Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1981 edition), and found the following ...

"The words used by Sir Winston Churchill in his speech to the House of Commons, on becoming Prime Minister, 13 May 1940,

"I would say to the House, as I have said to those who have joined this Government, I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat." In his Anatomie of the World, John Donne, says "Mollifie it with thy tears, or sweat, or blood", and Byron has,

"Year after year they voted cent per cent,
Blood, sweat and tear-wrung millions - why? for me?"

The Age of Bronze, xiv, 621.

Gladstone's speech in Westminster Abbey (22 Feb. q866) commemorating Lord Palmerston includes reference to "the unhappy African race, whose history is written for the most part in blood and tears".

An element of truth in all perhaps ...

Tom's competition is only open until Sunday - so get an entry in quick. I, myself, can't think of anything ...

...except, given the state of the NHS, perhaps Byron's phrase ...

"Blood, sweat, and tear-wrung millions".

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