Category Archives: Mondegreens

Killer Quotes – William Congreve on scorned women and the charms of music.

“Heav’n has no rage like love to hatred turn’d,
Nor hell a fury like a woman scorn’d

William Congreve – The Mourning Bride

This is a famously misquoted line from William Congreve’s play ‘The Mourning Bride‘ published in 1697. These are the final lines of Act III from the play.

The Mourning Bride also gives us another famous mondegreen in the very first line spoken.

“Music has charms to soothe a savage breast.

William Congreve – The Mourning Bride

This line is of course the basis for the commonly misquoted ‘Music has charms to soothe the savage beast.

Congreve was a favourite restoration playwrite who flourished between 1695 and 1700 and is also responsible for giving us the injunction ‘…you must not kiss and tell.‘  This line comes from one of his earlier comedies Love for Love written in 1695 – The Mourning bride is a tragedy.

Nuns – who’d have thought?

It is a pivotal moment in the movie ‘The Sound of Music’.  Maria, the young novice, goes back to the convent to confide in the Mother Superior about how she feels she cannot continue as the governess of the von Trapp household and wants to take refuge behind convent walls.

Mother Superior counsels her about the realities of life and the need to find the courage to follow her heart following which she bursts into song with ‘Climb Every Mountain

During the exchange between Maria and the Mother Superior there is a line spoken by the Mother Superior which has been the subject of much laughing and giggling and sniggering behind hands.  For mine it is one of the classic misheard lines in movie history.  A true classic.

The line is delivered as ‘What is it you can’t face?‘ but sounds like something alarmingly, hilariously different if you aren’t paying close attention to the dialogue.

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