fortunes of war...golden chain

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Sat Jul 8 16:32:09 UTC 2006

I know that poem; I could have quoted it!  But I could not, for the life of me, figure out HOW I know it.  Since most of the stuff I read and teach comes from early periods of English literature, I thought maybe it would apprear in one of those 17th-century miscellanies of epigrams; it (apparently) does not.

But I DID find it, finally--in an unassuming location.  Years (and years) ago, I was teaching a freshman English course, using X. J. Kennedy's anthology Literature: An Introduction, 2d ed. (1979) as the basic textbook; the epigram in question appears on page 504, with the skimpy information "Anonymous (English) . . . (1854-56)."  Where Kennedy, a careful scholar (as well as a fine poet himself), got the poem, with such a precise dating, I do not know.


---- Original message ----
>Date: Fri, 7 Jul 2006 18:04:32 -0700
>From: Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM>
>Subject: Re: fortunes of war...golden chain

>The insigne of the Order of the Golden Fleece is a sheepskin on a heavy chain.
>  Like Madonna, Knights and Ladies of the Garter wear their Garter on the outside.  But they also wear a heavy knotted golden chain around their necks, and, as the OGF is Spanish and Austrian rather than English, that may indeed be the allusion in the old rhyme.
>  Which, BTW, I can't find in EEBO or ECCO, so it may not be as old as all that.
>  There's nothing helpful on the Web or in my 15th ed. bartlett's (1980). Fred, do you know the source of the verse?
>  JL

>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: Lynne Murphy
>> Date: Tuesday, July 4, 2006 6:17 pm
>> Subject: fortunes of war...golden chain
>> > Can anyone tell me what the 'golden chain' is in:
>> >
>> > "The fortunes of war
>> > I'll tell you plain
>> > are a wooden leg
>> > or a golden chain"
>> >
>> > ?
>> >
>> > Ta,
>> > Lynne

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