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The Blue Castle – Literary Allusions

What follows is a list of literary allusions appearing in L.M. Montgomery’s novel The Blue Castle, first published in 1926.

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1

Its ghost appeared Banquo-like   William Shakespeare, Macbeth (1623 play), act 3, scene 4, line 42: “Enter the Ghost of Banquo, and sits in Macbeth’s place.”

Thank whatever gods there were for that   Algernon Charles Swinburne, “The Garden of Proserpine” (1866 poem), lines 83–84: “We thank with brief thanksgiving / Whatever gods there be.”

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6

and so, as Mr. Pepys would say, to bed   Signature phrase in the diary of Samuel Pepys (1633–1703), which he kept from 1660 to 1669.

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8

“To him that hath shall be given and from him that hath not shall be taken even that which he hath.”   Bible, Matthew 25:29 (KJV): “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.”

‘Despair is a free man – hope is a slave’   Proverb attributed to ʿAlī, Muslim caliph and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad: “Despair is a freeman, Hope is a slave.”

9

it is sharper than a serpent’s tooth to have a thankless child   William Shakespeare, King Lear (1608 play), act 1, scene 4, line 302: “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is / To have a thankless child.”

10

even if they were, in Milton’s expressive phrase, “stupidly good”   John Milton, Paradise Lost (1667 epic poem), book 9, line 465: “That space the Evil one abstracted stood / From his own evil, and for the time remain’d / Stupidly good.”

11

the dinner in its earlier stages was dragging its slow length along   Alexander Pope, “An Essay on Criticism” (1711 poem), lines 356–57: “A needless Alexandrine ends the song / That, like a wounded snake, drags its slow length along.”

He rashly rushed in where Mrs. Frederick feared to tread   Alexander Pope, “An Essay on Criticism” (1711 poem), line 625: “For Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread.”

‘A fellow by the hand of nature marked, / Quoted and sighed to do a deed of shame’   William Shakespeare, King John (1623 play), act 4, scene 2, lines 232–33: “A fellow by the hand of nature marked, / Quoted, and signed to do a deed of shame.”

the Ten Commandments … the fifth   Bible, Exodus 20:12 (KJV): “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” See also Bible, Deuteronomy 5:16 (KJV): “Honour thy father and thy mother as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”

the ninth   Bible, Exodus 20:16 (KJV): “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” See also Bible, Deuteronomy 5:20 (KJV): “Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour.”

what dear old Shakespeare says – that charity thinketh no evil   Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:4–5 (KJV): “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.”

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