Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Episode 72: Never Ventured Transcript

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Dan:                                       00:00                     Welcome to bunny trails, a whimsical adventure of idioms and other turns of phrase. I'm Dan Pugh
Shauna:                                00:05                     and I'm Shauna Harrison. Each week we delve into the origin and history of an idiom or other turn of phrase and discuss how it's been used over time. So Dan, this is it. The end of season two.
Dan:                                       00:18                     Yeah. We'll be taking a month off for the holidays. This is a great time to introduce your friends and family to the show because they can binge our more than 70 episodes to catch up over the break.
Shauna:                                00:30                     Whew. Um, and of course, if you want even more content, you can join the community on Patreon and start getting loads of extra perks, bonus mini episodes and more.
Dan:                                       00:41                     Yeah, sorry, sorry that we just started with basically an ad. It's not, I didn't realize we were going to do that, but it just happened.
Shauna:                                00:48                     It happened. Sorry. All right, so let's just jump into this mess. I have to admit that I was a little bit worried about this episode because I was like, does it have to be really Epic since it's the last one of the year? You know?
Dan:                                       01:02                     Um, I think that we've always kind of set a low bar, so I'm not sure they, I'm not sure that it has to be too terribly Epic, but I do, I would love to have a really good one since some people might not get another dose of bunny trails for the next month.
Shauna:                                01:16                     Right. That's a long time.
Dan:                                       01:17                     Until 2020
Shauna:                                01:19                     2020! That seems like the future. I mean it is technically, but it feels like really far into the future anyway, so I was like, do we need something really deep to think on or something super funny, but I had settled on doing a normal episode cause you know, yeah. Um, I'm not very funny anyways, so I was like, I'll leave that to Dan. So still a touch nervous, but you know what they say? Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Dan:                                       01:48                     All right, fair enough. So what are we doing this week?
Shauna:                                01:50                     No, no, no. That was it. Nothing, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Dan:                                       01:53                     Oh, okay. All right.
Shauna:                                01:55                     I snuck it in there this time. See.
Dan:                                       01:57                     Nice. Yeah. You are going to be a little bit better at these, these little bits at the beginning. Good job.
Shauna:                                02:04                     All right. Nothing ventured. Nothing gained means that one must take a risk or take action in order to make progress or to find a reward of some kind. The origins of today's idiom are a mystery. So I won't string you along.
Dan:                                       02:19                     Oh, string you along. I liked that one too. Maybe that'll make it in the list for 2020.
Shauna:                                02:25                     That's a good one actually. All right, so there is one possibility that seems fairly likely. Um, there's an old French proverb. This is from about the 13 hundreds, but, uh, possibly earlier. I'm going to try and say it in French. Here we go. qui onques rien n'enprist riens n'achieva that's close. Uh, Google translate informs me that this means who know nothing. Nothing comes to nothing. Uh, but we know that words in language change over time. So the meaning in the 13 hundreds was more along the lines of he who never undertook anything, never achieved anything.
Dan:                                       03:06                     Oh, that's kind of like you miss 100% of the shots you don't take, which I mean, it's wrong. You didn't miss anything if you didn't take the shot. That's true. You didn't miss, right, you still lose the cane cause the other team probably did an easy lay up somewhere, but you still, you didn't get any points, that's for sure. But I'm not sure that miss is right.
Shauna:                                03:25                     All right, well we don't know exactly where the phrase came from, but that's a good, good possibility. We do, however know what happened to it once it caught on. And the man who popularized it in the 14 hundreds is pretty well known. Uh, but before we get to him, let's look at the definition in English. So this is from Oxford English dictionary found in Proverbs and proverbial expressions, especially in nothing ventured, nothing gained and variants, um, frequently formerly nothing venture, nothing have. And um, I've, I, that one's the one that'll pop up a lot. You cannot expect to achieve anything if you never take any risks.
Dan:                                       04:08                     So this is nothing ventured, nothing have was the way we would've used it in English when it originally entered our lexicon.
Shauna:                                04:17                     Yes and no sort of. There are a lot of contemporaries for the phrase, but that's the, that's the one we'll see the most. So. All right. So in about 14, 25, uh, Geoffery Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde.
Dan:                                       04:35                     Yeah. Or 1385, as depending on where you place things.
Shauna:                                04:39                     Yes. So this is the, um, this quote is taken from a specific translation. And so that's where, where that's coming from here. That 1425 date, he which that nothing undertaketh, nothing any achieveth, but him looth or dear. All right. So that sounds a little confusing, but basically if you don't do anything, you're not gonna achieve anything later on in 1523 and this is John Froissart and here begieith the first volume of Syrian Froissart of the Chronicles of England, France. Sir, he that nothing adventureth, nothing getith. And this is the same. Um, the same author is credited for the French version of the phrase. This is a translation of that French phrase, but we, they, it actually existed and in French, in other places. Um, earlier on in 1546, John Heywood wrote in a dialogue containing the number in effect of all the Proverbs in the English tongue, just a lot. Um, where as, and that's
Dan:                                       05:52                     it's a lot of, uh, it's a lot of a title and a lot of words, but also would be a lot of Proverbs.
Shauna:                                05:57                     It would,
Shauna:                                05:58                     whereas nothing is the King must lose his. Right. And this one sounds kind of weird, but it was essentially saying the same thing. Um, it was just kind of a more uh, you Royal version of the, if you don't do anything then uh, then then nothing is gonna happen.
Dan:                                       06:18                     I like that that you have listed, uh, John Heywood's, uh, following volumes where he defines it slightly differently. He does at least uses a different, um, a different explanatory sentence.
Shauna:                                06:33                     One is listed as being, uh, uh, nine years later. So in 1555, I'm also John Heywood, 200 epigrams upon 200 Proverbs with a third hundred newly added whole lot there. John, where nothing is a little thing doth ease where all thing is nothing can fully please.
Dan:                                       06:56                     Oh, that's rhimey. I like it. Yeah. So I'm a, I'm a dr Seuss kind of guy. So the story not next to the person, but I don't know. That's funny. I don't know. A lot about, don't, don't look it up. I, the one thing I've learned from listening to history podcasts is I don't want to know anything about the people who did stuff. I just want to know about the stuff that they did
Shauna:                                07:19                     about your heroes or you just not going to have any heroes. All right. And 1559, Thomas Cooper in Biblioteca, Aliyah Tay. This quote reads fortune for there, the bold adventures, nothing venture, nothing have. So this is the first time that we see that nothing venture, nothing have, um, which is kind of the, the one that stuck around the longest. Um, and people keep going back to, uh, but we do see fortune favors the bold paired with nothing ventured, nothing, have a, and it's almost as if the latter is a rejoinder to a fortune favors the bold, which is a fantastic phrase. I love that phrase. And uh, I think it will likely be its own episode next season cause I was going to do a little aside and it turned into lots and lots of stuff, which was very cool, including some of our favorites. Like pliney. And
Dan:                                       08:14                     yeah, I do. I do recall, I think last week or the week before in an episode you did. We talked about, uh, plenty of the elder and, and how he, Oh, I just try and whatever you say, I try and say the other ones. So it's like, it's like settlers of Catan or settlers of Catan. I always, whatever somebody else says, I say the other ones, if you say Katana, I say Catan. If you say pliney, I say plenty. If you say potato, I say potato. That's not true. I've never said Patato except just now ever. No one has ever said Patato who says Patato? I don't know. Somebody does. I need to know listeners, please. Someone let us know. No, no. Surely Frank Sinatra didn't say Patato right? I don't know. Did you just randomly named a name? Do you have a Frank Sinatra poster or something?
Shauna:                                08:59                     No, he's a, it says hang in there.
Dan:                                       09:04                     No, that's the cat that's hanging on, you know, the little kitten with his claws up. Anyway. All right. Moving on
Shauna:                                09:09                     in 1580 Thomas Tusser in 500 points of good husbandrie as well for the champion or open countries as also for the woodland, this proverb that nothing who practices nothing shall have. All right. So basically if you want to be good at husbandry or maybe if you want to be a good husband, I'm not sure which one he's saying here. Um, then it makes sure you do stuff so that you can have stuff.
Dan:                                       09:39                     Um, well it says it says uh, or open country also for the Woodland, right. So maybe husbandrie like animal breeding and not husbandry like the dude listen the 1580s just don't seem like the kind of time when anyone would have written about dudes needing to be better at anything. Like the onus would have been put on the females at that point. Females. Sounds like a Ferengi hate that word. What a what a silly word. Females females, Humans
Shauna:                                10:10                     it is like, it is a weird word and I'm gonna now have to look up the origin of it. Thank you.
Dan:                                       10:15                     Oh no, I I, yeah, I can, I can show you. I have a lot of stuff on that and he and she and female and male and how those all all arrived from different roots. It's actually really fascinating. Um, but anyway, I was thinking more along the Ferengi from star Trek and the way they say it and that's what makes it weird for me. Yes.
Shauna:                                10:35                     Okay. Moving ahead to 1602 Nicholas Breton in wonders worth the reading. Nope.
Dan:                                       10:42                     That's about what that where you mess that up really bad. That's, that's the wrong, that's not even the right sense to do that with. It was
Shauna:                                10:48                     Man it was going so good. Moving ahead to 1602 Nicolas Breton in wonders worth the hearing writes with that the young man replied "Oh sir. Nothing venture, nothing have" in 1614 in calendar of state colonial papers, East Indies. And this is by sir Richard Cox. As the saying is nothing, seek nothing. Find. Okay, so this one's a little bit different. It has that nothing seek nothing find. So we're having a little bit of a different phrasing there, but still the same meaning in 1668 Charles Sedley in the Mulberry garden road. Whoever caught anything with a naked hook, nothing venture. Nothing win, all right, so we're getting closer to our phrase there. Um, I liked that one. So a naked hook that's talking about fishing. Um, if you don't put a worm on the hook, so you got to spend a little to get a little in that one. Yeah. So that's where the win came in. this is around 1704 now. Thomas Brown wrote a letter titled to author in Duke of Buckingham. Uh, this is a section of his complete works and this guy was kind of like a poet, comedian guy. And he would write letters as himself, but he would also write letters as somebody else, like pretending to be them.
Dan:                                       12:13                     I see like a real Bob Newhart of his time.
Shauna:                                12:15                     Yeah. This was titled the complete works of Mr. Thomas Brown in prose and verse, serious moral comical and satirical containing, and there's a giant list of things.
Dan:                                       12:28                     Oh my goodness. This is the longest actual title I've ever seen.
Shauna:                                12:35                     Right. And I think it, I think he did that because, you know, there was so much to what he did. He didn't just do one thing. It's not like all poems, you know, there's, okay a dialogue between two Oxford scholars, but then if you look down somewhere else, their affirmation letters in two parts and yeah,
Dan:                                       12:52                     my ninth grade grandfather wrote a book, um, just right after he came to America, it's like 1670s or so now he came in 1684 so it would've been like 1690s probably. Anyway, so he wrote this book and it's like 27 words long. The title is,
Shauna:                                13:08                     Yeah. Yeah. So he was just falling right in line with
Dan:                                       13:11                     yeah. Oh yeah. He definitely was. Definitely was, was doing that all Ellis. Yeah. Very cool. Nice. There's a copy of it in the library at friends university, my Alma mater. That's really awesome. It is. I can't look at it though because it's so old that it would fall apart if anyone touched it.
Shauna:                                13:26                     So it is in the restricted section.
Dan:                                       13:29                     and uh, yeah, and it, and it's behind the glass case. I asked the, uh, librarian there if I could see it and explain the reasons and he said, absolutely. And so we went over there and they went to look at it and he was like, Oh yeah, no, no, nevermind. This was one of those, we cannot touch that. Not even white glove touch it. It's going to sit right there for posterity sake. That's it. And I was like, all right, well thanks for letting me see it. That's cool.
Shauna:                                13:54                     You can see it right there. It's cool. Um, I always thought that would be the coolest thing ever. Like you're not really cool until you are allowed in the restricted section of the library
Dan:                                       14:06                     And that's why librarians are the coolest of all because they get to go wherever they want in the library.
Shauna:                                14:13                     Okay. So in his mock letter, uh, Brown wrote thou knowest the proverb, nothing do for not. All right. So we took a little bit of an aside here. This is a moving away from the common usage, but I did want to include this one because again, a lot of what I found for this particular phrase is that it had several contemporaries that stuck along for the ride. So over the course of those couple of hundred years, we would see these kind of pop back in and out of the lexicon as far as which version or form of the phrase was being used. This one, nothing do for not however, did not survive the tides of the ever-changing English language in 1791 in James Boswell's, the life of Samuel Jackson, not Jackson. I'm really struggling with these names.
Dan:                                       15:06                     It's same as L Jackson is everywhere. Oh my goodness, that man. Even 1791 apparently that's an, that's an honest mistake
Shauna:                                15:17                     in 1791 in James Boswell's, the life of Samuel Johnson. I am, however, generally for trying nothing venture, nothing have. All right, so that's the one that we've seen in, you know, a couple of times here and it's the more frequently occurring version. We see it again in the Alexandria Gazette and daily advertiser. And this is out of Alexandria, Virginia. The November 15th, 1819 edition. Nothing ventured, nothing have Emir trifled to be lost and much maybe gained next Thursday will positively commenced drying the city of New York literature and lottery number two. And we'll be drawn daily until completed. Uh, yeah, so there's the lottery cause that's, that's what we do.
Dan:                                       16:07                     Right. But it said literature lottery. Yeah.
Shauna:                                16:10                     That's pretty cool actually. Yeah.
New Speaker:                    16:11                     That's, if I was going to play a lottery, which is just a tax on people who are bad at math, then I would totally do the literature lottery. I don't even know what a literature lottery is, but it's more likely I would do that one. Yeah. Cause literature's way cool. Although I will admit, at least in our state, Kansas, the lottery, much of that goes into schools. So yeah. And we still under federal schools. Oh my goodness, man. Now I'm getting sad. No bummers. Let's move on.
Shauna:                                16:40                     Okay, so here's a popular name, a familiar name, 1841 Ralph Waldo Emerson. And this is in essays. All things are double one against another. Tit for tat, an eye for an eye, a tooth for tooth, blood for blood measure for measure, love for love. Give. And it shall be given you. He, that watereth shall be watered himself. What will you have quoth God pay for it and to take it. Nothing venture. Nothing have, thou shall be paid exactly for what thou has done. No more. No less. All right, so this quote highlights the overlap of concepts for this idiom. Um, over time it was used to say that a person needs to take risks but also does it say that they need to do the work in order to reap the rewards. Um, so, that concept of you get out what you put in. Um, and that's how it was used there in Emerson's writing in 1869 Emma Marshall writes in two Margaret's nothing venture, nothing get was the end of her meditation.
Dan:                                       17:46                     Oh yeah. Okay. I like that cause we've done nothing have several times, nothing ventured, nothing have. It's interesting to see it kinda transition a little bit or at least be used occasionally is nothing ventured, nothing get,
Shauna:                                17:58                     yeah, it's kind of a little bit different iteration, but leaning more towards that, um, kind of winning concept or receiving in 1885 in century magazine, there was this fun little quote, nothing venture, nothing have Betty replied saucily
Dan:                                       18:15                     I thought that was Betty White.
Shauna:                                18:17                     I, Oh my gosh, I bet. 1885 totally could have been her.
Dan:                                       18:21                     Oh yeah, yeah. She's 300 years old and it looks not a day over 50.
Shauna:                                18:25                     Yeah, and I'm pretty sure that she invented saucy replies too. So definitely in the Brunswick news out of Brunswick, Georgia. This is the June 7th, 1912 edition. The average man does throw away $5 out of his month salary. Why not save it? Take the streetcar this morning out to the Yaryin plant and buy you one of those lots. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, but there really is no venture about this investment. Remember, there is no sure safer thing on earth then earth to put your savings into.
Dan:                                       19:04                     Oh, that didn't age well, I mean, in fairness, earth will be fine no matter what we humans do too. I mean, are we going to reap any financial benefits from no quote unquote. Anyhow, no. We'll all die off and then the earth will fix itself and will be fine.
Shauna:                                19:20                     Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote in the forerunner in 1915 nothing venture. Nothing have I suggested, but Terry preferred faintheart narrow one fair lady. Um, so with those last two quotes, uh, we've made our way into the early 19 hundreds and we're still seeing have in the phrase, but we've started, we started to see gain. Um, and I think this last quote, it really displays the implication that this was about gain by adding the winning a fair lady phrase into that mix there. All right. Our next quote is going to come from the letters of Hart crane. 1930 Hart crane was a poet and this book was a collection of his letters that he'd written since about 1916. Here's an excerpt, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. And I can't help thinking that my mistake may warn others. All right, finally. So we have it, the whole complete thing. We finally got to the form of the phrase that I'm most familiar with. Um, it took a little bit longer than I expected and as it turns out, the phrase actually continues to be seen with as nothing ventured, nothing have into the 19 hundreds here. So actually in 1957, Rupert Downing used it in his work, all change here, Jonah, aren't you taking a hell of a risk? Of course we all are, but then nothing venture, nothing have.
Dan:                                       20:50                     Well, bunny trails is and always will be free, but we're only able to make this content because of the awesome support of our patrons, including Pat Rowe and Mary Lopez, Pat Mary and many others help make sure bunny trails keeps coming out week after week, no matter a person's financial ability. If you're in a financially stable place and would like to support this educational art form, we encourage you to check out the options. At $1 a month, you'll get access to our show notes, which include sources and notes that didn't make it into the episode. Plus you'll be helping the show along at $3 you'll get a special RSS feed and early access to the episodes. You'll also get our behind the scenes content, which is something we'll have plenty of over the holiday break. At $7 a month you'll get our monthly mini episodes. Those sometimes have more information about something we've covered during the week. Sometimes it's completely different. We've even done a few not safer work episodes about more colorful turns of phrase at $15 and up. You'll get everything that we mentioned before plus personal on-air recognition for supporting and sponsoring bunny trails. There are limited supply of higher level tiers with some pretty cool perks and access to the guts of the show. Check them all out at or you can link to it from our website,
Shauna:                                22:11                     in 1986 Janet Jackson's album control I am was released and it included the song he doesn't know I'm alive and some of the lyrics go. Someday I'll find the nerve to talk to him and stop acting so reserved. I told myself, girl, you got to change because nothing ventured, nothing gained. I have, I actually really liked this one's like a sweet song and she's just nervous about talking to this guy that she likes. Yeah. Or I mean like it's also possible that I'm naive and like misinterpreted it, but I'm going to go with sweet song. Yeah.
Dan:                                       22:48                     Well, I certainly will not be the one to ruin you of that.
Shauna:                                22:51                     Thanks. Nothing ventured, nothing gained is the first book in the celluloi series released in April of 2019 and it was written by Brennen Tammons, five men, five unique personalities, five different reasons. A group of men who feel ostracized from society take on a world of organized crime each for their own personal agenda. These men who all came from several backgrounds form a special brotherhood to obtain the success they seek throughout the adventure. Many trials and tribulations will form, these events, will test these men to their ultimate potential and self-worth. How far will these men go to achieve what they truly want? What risks will they be willing to take? Will they learn any important lessons along the way? Keep in mind, nothing ventured, nothing gained. That was clever usage for a book there. Wise one on Twitter? Uh, they use the tagline, nothing ventured, nothing gained. And they, uh, posted a picture of Indiana Jones in the temple of doom when he's got that gold head statue thing that he tries to take off. They're replaced with the sand bag, you know, and then ends up having to escape the giant ball. Uh, but it says a fortune favors the bold folks. Sometimes you have to take a chance and just go for it. Uh, now they, use the hashtag gambling Twitter. So it's like a gambling group of people. But yeah,
Dan:                                       24:18                     I'm a, yeah, I'm not a big gambler.
Shauna:                                24:21                     Me, me either. I was like, I don't know. What are they talking about? I was like, uh, but I did like this one quite a bit. So this is, @Ivad645 on Twitter, there is nothing wrong with trying something and failing than to never try because of fear of failure. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. The benefits of failure outweigh the never failing.
Dan:                                       24:42                     Yeah, I will. I would definitely say as a, as a small business owner, there's a misnomer that success is a place you're trying to get to because in, at least in American society and probably most societies, success is more the path you're traveling. And I frequently find myself running a business and anything I do, when I, uh, go down a road, I go down a path and then I hit failure, then I just keep going.
Shauna:                                25:10                     Right?
Dan:                                       25:10                     So like, or I, you know, hang a right turn or something. You know, when I hit failure it's like, it's like every intersection is failure and I have to make a right turn or a left turn and sometimes it's not failure. And so I just keep going forward and I just pass through that intersection. But the fear of failing I think is maybe the most detrimental fear we can have to getting towards our own self interests. I'm a big believer that failure is always an option, so we should, we should definitely go for it.
Shauna:                                25:41                     Definitely. Yeah, I think that's, that absolutely, that really captures what the phrase is about, at least over the course of time, why it stuck around is that taking risks is essential to, um, advancement as individuals and as a society. And the rewards we get from are those risks that we take are really what it's about. So, um, yeah, those, those are there really more challenges in a way. I think the, the risks that that people see, um, in those moments. Um, and so that's how we make our, that's how we make ourselves and our lives better. Well that about wraps this up for today and for this year. Thank you for listening to our show. We love you, our listeners so much. Okay. I'm getting kind of nostalgic so Dan, if you can hurry up and say something weird to distract me.
Dan:                                       26:37                     Actually I'll just keep going on, push through cause nothing ventured, nothing gained, right. Word of mouth is the best advertising a show can get and we have relied on you to grow the show. And we've more than doubled our downloads in 2019. So thank you so much for listening to us. Thanks for being with us. Thanks for telling your friends about the show. Thanks for sharing things on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and liking and subscribing and rating and all of these different things. Thanks for growing with us and thanks for joining us. Week after week, we'll talk to you again, January 15th of 2020. And until then, remember,
Both:                                     27:18                     words belong to their users.

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