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|And another slighty different one with more info...
Written by Emmy
(9/28/2005 12:08 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, A slightly different one, penned by Barbara
He'll never set the Thames on fire. He'll never make any figure in the world; never plant his footsteps on the sands of time. The popular explanation is that the word Thames is a pun on the word temse, a coru-sieve; and that the parallel French locution He will never set the Seine on fire is a pun on seine, a drag-net; but these solutions are not tenable. There is a Latin saw, “Tiberim accendere nequaquam potest, ” which is probably the fons et origo of other parallel sayings. Then, long before our proverb, we had “To set the Rhine on fire” (Den Rhein anzünden), 1630, and Er hat den Rhein und das Meer angezündet, 1580.
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