query for phrase finders

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Apr 17 00:30:45 UTC 2014

Shakespeare Sonnet 151 perhaps?

No want of conscience hold it that I call
Her 'love,' for whose dear love I rise and fall.

On Wed, Apr 16, 2014 at 8:20 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      query for phrase finders
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> "A stiff prick has no conscience."
> I haven't been able to trace this one by searching in YBOQ or online sites, in most of which it doesn't appear at all. It does show up in profusion on the web, attributed or "attributed" variously (and in some cases I assume jocularly) to Norman Mailer, Henry Miller, Don Iovino, Thomas Jefferson, Confucius, and F. E. L. Bell of Lunenburg, Massachusetts, among others, but often just shows up as "popular wisdom", "a World War II saying", "an ancient truism", an espied graffito, etc. No Twain or Lincoln this time.  No doubt the line appears in Miller's Tropic of Capricorn (and maybe of Cancer too), and quite possibly in Mailer, but I suspect the truism had already been around for awhile by then, and probably well before the World War II dates. I think I may have even once come across its German equivalent (in Freud?).  In any someone must have said it/written it first; perhaps it appears with slightly different wording or syntax.  Anyone know?
> LH
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