Quote: Supposed Lincoln quote traces to Alphonse Karr - help with French requested

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Nov 16 20:06:32 UTC 2013

>  I'm sure Reagan didn't invent his beloved story about the boy who was
delighted to be sent to a room piled to the ceiling with horse manure
"because there's gotta be a pony in here somewhere".

I read it in James Kirkwood's novel, "There Must be a Pony!" (1960).


On Sat, Nov 16, 2013 at 9:41 AM, W Brewer <brewerwa at gmail.com> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       W Brewer <brewerwa at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Quote: Supposed Lincoln quote traces to Alphonse Karr -
> help
>               with French requested
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> GO'T: Maybe a little more context via my pathetic French. NOT A
> WORD-FOR-WORD RENDITION; lots of paraphrases, elipses. Not sure if Alphonse
> Karr is actually in favor of garden-path education, or is just scoring
> points as a picky critic. Did he compose the poem? I can't tell, but he
> gives no reference to anyone else. (Perhaps a possible anonymous author was
> too well know to merit mention?) I sure am tentative.
> Un Mai^tre d'E'cole (A school master)
> A critique of a Parisian play, _Mai^tre d'E'cole_, starring the famous
> actor Fre'de'rick Lemai^tre. In the play, a peasant boy recites the fable
> of =93The Cicada and the Ant=94 and then laughs, because the moral of the
> s=
> tory
> is funny. The teacher berates the pupil: The cicada sings for us
> beautifully night & day, all summer long; it is not right that the cicada
> should freeze & starve in the winter. This idea is found also in the novel
> _Clovis Gosselin_ by He'rambert; and favored by some German and a French
> professor Issaurat from Nice: children must be reared in the great outdoors
> in gardens where they can see and breathe the roses while declining the
> Latin word _rosa_ (rosa, rosae, rosam), since these are mere words, while a
> living rose has to do with knowledge, feelings, morals, philosophy. Just by
> saying Latin _rosa_ -- rose -- his school master spoke of nature, of
> Providence, of God; of the discoveries about man: grafting, planting,
> artificial fertilization (la fe'condation artificielle!!!); of greenish
> rose parasites, plant lice, *ants* and the exotic story of these bugs,
> stories more interesting to kids than fairy tales, the most beautiful
> poetry about roses, hence all the stories involving roses, the folded rose
> leaf that troubles the sleep of the sybarite, while the genuine man sleeps
> a restorative sleep on the straw which has just fallen under his
> hard-working scythe.
> Let us try to see things from their better side:
> You complain about seeing thorny rose bushes;
> Me, I rejoice and give thanks to the gods
> That thorns have roses.
> And so on and so forth, morality tale, history, fable, natural history,
> philosophy, it doesn't hinder learning the first declension, which becomes
> what it should be, a detail of instruction, instead of being what it is for
> so many, education as a whole.
> Thus giveth Fre'de'rick Lemai^tre his lesson on _The Cicada & the Ant_. An
> old, sick friend wrote this author the other day: just as his wife
> complements him, so cicadas should marry ants.
> The author of _The School Master_ resembles La Fontaine, unfortunately not
> his pretty side. La Fontaine knows people, but he doesn't know every
> animal=
> .
> In _The Cicada & the Ant_ , La Fontaine mistakes the cicada of le Midi for
> the grass hopper, Chateau-Thierry & d'Auteuil's <criquet> (cricket or
> locust).
> The author of _The School Master_ does the same =85
> [The de'nouement:] The mistake of the author of the new piece, however, is
> a demonstration that the need of the school master (like my He'rambert and
> like his Fre'de'rick) is strongly felt & was not satisfied at the time of
> his studies.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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