[lit-ideas] a tricky quote to pin down

  • From: Paul Stone <pas@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 04 Jun 2004 11:04:04 -0400

Okay, everyone knows "Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice 
to deceive"

But... I consistently get three different sources:

I) (the one I think is most correct) is Sir Walter Scott's "Marmion"

2) But a whole lot of people are also pretty sure that it's from Robbie 
Burns (I've yet to see the citation)

3) A lot of people attribute it to Shakespeare. This is probably a mistake. 
He did write the words "practice to deceive" in one play but not the rest.


So.... anyone know the whole story? My googling patience has expired.

paul

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