Correction of "Lie Back and Think of England" in OED

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Mon Oct 22 17:07:34 UTC 2012

The OED has an entry for "lie back and think of England" and similar phrases, s.v. _lie_.  The first citation given, in square brackets, is the following:
[1912   Lady Hillingdon Jrnl. in J. Gathorne-Hardy Rise & Fall of Brit. Nanny (1972) iii. 71   When I hear his steps outside my door I lie down on my bed, open my legs and think of England.]

The authenticity of the 1912 citation is rejected by all reputable quotation dictionaries that refer to it.  The Yale Book of Quotations, under "Alice Hillingdon," has an annotation referring to a legitimate 1943 citation for "close your eyes and think of England."

Fred Shapiro

The American Dialect Society -

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