Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898 | SUBSCRIBE

Your independent source for Harvard news since 1898


Chapter & Verse

Correspondence on not-so-famous lost words

July-August 2007

Steve Plank hopes to learn who said (as he puts it), “We should each conduct our lives in such a way that if everyone were to do the same, the world would be a better place.”

Tilden Euster requests a definitive source for the following remark (which he has seen attributed to Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.): “The man who does not know his options doesn’t have any.”

Martin Levine seeks guidance: “James Thurber, in his delightful ‘Wild Bird Hickok and His Friends,’ writes of French dime novels set in le Far-Ouest: ‘I hope that I shall recall them, for anodyne, when with eyes too dim to read, I pluck finally at the counterpane.’ What’s he echoing?”

“Where turtles moan their loves” (January-February 2002). Karen Myers and Nikos Pappas identified this fragment of a poem from Isaac Watts’s collection Horae Lyricae (1706). The first verse runs: “Come, lead me to some lofty shade/ Where turtles moan their loves;/Tall shadows were for lovers made;/And grief becomes the groves.” The text, set to music and titled “Solitude,” appears in a shaped-note tunebook, The Virginia Sacred Musical Repository (1818), by James M. Boyd, which Myers and Pappas are republishing (

“error for chance” (March-April). Fred Shapiro, editor of the Yale Book of Quotations (see “Harvard in Epigram,” January-February, page 84) reports that the YBQ database includes “Regulation [rather than “planning”] is the substitution of error for chance,” attributed to Fred J. Emery, former director of the Federal Register, in Paul Dickson’s The Official Explanations (1980).

Send inquiries and answers to “Chapter and Verse,” Harvard Magazine, 7 Ware Street, Cambridge 02138, or via e-mail to [email protected].