GENERAL KNOWLEDGE: Information to furnish the mind

The Tide is TURNING

Rep. Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville, Arkansas)
Rep. Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville, Arkansas)

Arkansas state representative Charlie Collins wants to make it legal for college staff to carry concealed weapons. He thinks that public opinion is in the process of changing and will soon be with him. At least that’s what I think he meant when he said,

“The tide is churning. It will soon be one of the changes we make to our concealed carry laws.”

I think he meant to say that the tide is turning.

The expression “the tide is turning” to mean “some change from a previous course of events,” has been around at least from the 16th century.

In the days of sail, ships had to wait until the tide turned in order to depart.

Shakespeare seems to have thought of the turning of the tide in metaphorical terms to describe any significant moment.

In Julius Caesar (1599), Brutus urges Cassius to meet the forces of Octavius at Philippi with these words:

There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat;
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

In Henry V (1598), the hostess describes the death of Falstaff in these words:

Shakespeares Falstaff departed this world, at the turning of the tide.
Shakespeare’s Falstaff departed this world, “at the turning of the tide.”

[he] parted even just between twelve and one, even at the turning o’ the tide …

Water may be observed to “churn” as the tide turns, but it is the turning of the tide that signifies change.

7 Responses

  1. If in fact I said “churning” I certainly meant to say “turning.” I’m a Navy man (US Naval Academy graduate, class of 1985), so expressions of that sort are part of my lexicon.

    Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville)

  2. Maeve,

    I have a couple of contrary comments.

    Seafaring people have often spoken of the changing of the tide or of the changing of the tides, and continue to today. I am not saying it is correct; merely that it is so.

    Crazies are going to kill people. Whether we want them to or not is of no importance to them; they will as they will. With guns, knives, kitchen forks, rocks, clubs, wire, cord, string, rat poison, their hands, the list goes on, it makes no difference to them.

    College professors are not less likely to misuse a gun than is the general public. As long as an adult is of sound mind, with good references, I find it very good for them to have a gun for self protection. Many is the time when innocent people have been killed for want of a weapon for protection.

    I think the following appropriate:

    For Want of a Nail

    For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
    For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
    For want of a horse the rider was lost.
    For want of a rider the battle was lost.
    For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
    And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

    I think I should want to have a horseshoe in reserve somewhere available at a moments notice.

  3. That’s really interesting, Maeve. I suspected that the man didn’t know how to spell because his work is difficult to read and understand. Probably a victim of the “no playwright left behind” program in England’s schools of the time. 🙂

  4. Lawrence,
    Six examples of Shakespeare’s signature survive. Each one is spelled differently, and three of them occur in the same document: his will, written in 1615. Here are the six spellings of the signatures: Shackper, Shakspear, Shakspea, Shackspere, Shakspere, Shakspear.

    The spelling Shakespeare seems to have been used in connection with his work in London. On the printed dedications of two of his poems, his name is spelled Shakespeare and a payroll receipt shows this spelling as well. On the other hand, his name on the First Quarto edition of his plays is spelled Shakespere.

    The most common version in his hometown of Stratford seems to have been Shakspere, but other variations include: Shaxpere, Shagspere, and Shackespere.

  5. Vic,
    He seems to be unaware that “these crazies willing to kill people” include college professors:

    “An angry Alabama professor … shot six of her colleagues Friday at a faculty meeting, killing three of them. Amy Bishop, 42, had been furious about not receiving tenure at the University of Alabama Huntsville, and was upset that she would be losing her teaching position.”

  6. I would have stuck with Shakespeare on that one, too. However, I suppose one could say the tide churns as it commences the battle to turn back to whence it came. His thought may have been the tide is just beginning its battle to turn back, as a way of showing how courageous he is in taking his stance now.

    As I wrote the name Shakespeare just now, a question raced through the limited usable area of my small mind. I wondered, of the many spelling I understand the great man used of his family name, which spelling he ended up preferring.

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