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Q: Source of a literary reference ( No Answer,   3 Comments )
Subject: Source of a literary reference
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: cncsdad-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 29 Oct 2002 13:15 PST
Expires: 28 Nov 2002 13:15 PST
Question ID: 92367
What was the first literary reference of "a night not fit for man or beast?"
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Source of a literary reference
From: pinkfreud-ga on 29 Oct 2002 14:13 PST
It is often difficult to determine exactly when and where a quote was
first used, but in "The Fatal Glass of Beer," a 1933 film short
starring W.C. Fields, there is a running gag involving variations of
the line "It ain't a fit night out for man nor beast."
Subject: Re: Source of a literary reference
From: leli-ga on 30 Oct 2002 00:57 PST
This reminds me of the old rhyme:

When the wind is blowing in the North
No fisherman should set forth,
When the wind is blowing in the East,
'Tis not fit for man nor beast,
When the wind is blowing in the South
It brings the food over the fish's mouth,
When the wind is blowing in the West,
That is when the fishing's best!

But that's not specifically about *night*.

The rhyme's on several websites, including:
Subject: Re: Source of a literary reference
From: stonehaven-ga on 01 Nov 2002 11:45 PST
Again, not specifically of "night" but ...

not surprisingly, the key phrase originally comes from the Bible
(Jeremiah 51:62):
"that none shall remain in it, neither man nor beast, but that it
shall be desolate for ever"

Another interesting appearance of the phrase is "Holy water indeed! a
vile mixture, neither fit for man nor beast"
from Holy Water by C. H. Spurgeon, from the March 1868 _Sword and

USA president Theodore Roosevelt seems to have used the a good deal,
during the latter part of the 19th century; and an  American poet
named Jones Very used "man nor beast" in his poem Old Road, (and a
number of other writers) about the same time period.  However, it
seems most likely to me that the 1933 Fields film reference -- as
identified by *pinkfreud* -- is the first with the particular wording
you seek but, sorry, I can't (yet) prove it.

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