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Old 05-09-2004, 04:58 PM
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I do not love thee, Dr. Fell. The reason why I cannot tell.

But this I know and know full well,
I do not love thee, Dr. Fell?

Can anyone tell me where this came from? B. Kliban did a cartoon on it many years ago, but I think I've heard of it elsewhere.
Refusing to choose the lesser of two evils may be tantamount to choosing the greater.
Old 05-09-2004, 05:22 PM
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Ahem. DangerLibrarian to the rescue.

From Brewer's dictionary of phrase and fable:*
[i]I do not like thee, Dr. Fell.
These well-known lines are by the "facetious" Tom Brown (1663-1704), and the person referred to was Dr. Fell, Dean of Christchurch (1625-86), who expelled him, but said he would remit the sentence if he translated the thrity-third Epigram of Martial:
Non ame te, Zabidi, nec possum dicere quare;
Hoc tantum possum dicere non amo te.

The above [verse in question] is the translation, which is said to have been given impromptu.

*One of the older editions, don't get a new one, which has had a lot of the weird stuff taken out. Dr. Brewer's book is an amazingly cool volume, with interesting and enlightening information on every subject you could wish. It includes, for example, a list of the dying words of eminent personages, and the histories of proverbs and idioms. A most instructive volume, essential to every home library.
Old 05-09-2004, 05:23 PM
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Drat. I hate it when I screw up my coding.
Old 05-09-2004, 05:39 PM
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I have heard this delivered with the lines "But this I know, and know full well/I do not like thee, Dr Fell" following. The version above is in my daughter's Nursery Rhymes book.

NB: in either Red Dragon or Hannibal, the escaped Hannibal Lecter is living in Italy and holds an eminent position in an Italian University (or something like that). Anyway, he uses the alias "Dr Fell" during his time there, hobnobbing with lots of people who have no idea who or what he is. I thought this was a masterstroke, deliciously understated, uncommonly chilling and marvellously frightening. Very funny, too!
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Old 05-09-2004, 05:56 PM
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Ross: That was Hannibal. Dr. Lecter was in prison from the beginning of Red Dragon.
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The poodle chews it! --more--
You die... --more--
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Old 05-09-2004, 07:36 PM
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Coastal USA
Posts: 8,553
In college, a fellow Latinist and I "back-translated" it from Kliban to something somewhat like

Magister Fell, non amo te
something possum nec quare
Sed eto scio et scio bene
Magister Fell, non amo te

which turned out to be pretty close to Martial, and rhymed in Latin as well.

Having had little need for conversational Latin in the intervening decades, I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the linguistics of the above recollection, or translation.
Old 05-10-2004, 03:31 AM
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It's also used in Golden Age writer, John Dickson Carr's: "The Black Spectacles" [English title: "The problem of the green capsule"] Dr. Gideon Fell is one of Carr's curmudgean detectives.

Highly recommended, btw.


I support Denmark. I support free speech.

::Lookin' back on the track for a little green bag....::b
Old 05-10-2004, 03:46 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 5,954
Saw the Thread title and just wanted to make sure we weren't talking about Norman Fell! 'Cause I do love him. (Especially in The Graduate! "You're not one of those outside agitators, are you? I won't stand for that!")
I'm going to start my own messageboard! With Blackjack! And Hookers! In fact, FORGET the messageboard!
Old 05-10-2004, 08:06 AM
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In a game called "Couplets," where you change the second line of a well known rhyme, someone came up with:

I do not love thee, Dr. Fell
The reason is you charge like hell.
Old 05-10-2004, 09:05 AM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Outer Control
Posts: 10,394
When I took my doctoral exams, one of my examiners was an unpleasant guy named Feldman. He and I just rubbed each other against the grain, and I couldn't really put my finger on it. (I wrote two of my best papers in grad school for his classes, and they're the only two grad courses in six years I got less than an A in.) In the 18th century oral exam, in which he was the examiner, I knew if the opportunity arose, I would recite

I do not love thee, Dr. Feldman
The reason why I cannot teldman
But this I know, and know full weldman
I do not love thee, Dr. Feldman.

Never came up. Probably just as well (dman.)

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