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In today’s Say What, we’re looking at two sayings very different in association and history: as you sow, so you shall reap and marry in haste, repent at leisure. Separated by time and their sources they might be but they share a unitary thread – that of consequences. The Guardians of the Galaxy will supply our fannish examples.


As you sow, so you shall reap comes directly from the Bible, the New Testament book of Galatians, chapter six, verse seven. The full quote, as expressed in the American King James Version, goes, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap.” In Biblical terms it’s telling you that God knows what you do, and will reward or punish you appropriately. In a general proverbial sense, it’s one of many sayings that we have that suggest that consequences result from what you say and do.

Quill found himself confronted by a very angry Rocket.

“I don’t know if you were talking about sex or violence in front of Little Groot, but you watch your mouth. He’s just a baby, you upset him!”

Disapproving stares from the rest of the crew bored through Quill. “Sex!” he protested. “Violence? I never talked about that in front of Groot.”

“As you sow, so shall you reap? You wanna tell me what you think some little plant-based life form would take out of that?” Rocket snarled. “I reviewed the log tapes, Quill, you said it right where he could hear you.”

“Look,” Quill said, lifting his hands in surrender. “Obviously there was a translation glitch. It’s just an Earth saying, about actions having consequences.”

“Yeah, well your consequences are that you’re going to come and explain and apologise right now.” Rocket hustled Quill away.


Marry in haste, repent at leisure has a very different pedigree. Our first quote comes out of stern religion, this quote comes from a play by William Congreve called The Old Bachelor, which was first performed in 1693. This comedy of manners was written in the Restoration period, a time notable for the cynicism and sexual explicitness of its plays, which followed on the preferences and support of the court of English king Charles II. In the play, a character, Heartwell, has revealed that he has had made what his friend regards as a foolish marriage, which the friend comments upon in a soliloquy, with the couplet, “Thus grief still treads upon the heels of pleasure: married in haste, we may repent at leisure.”

In this period there was no legal form of divorce in England. Even today, marriage is (usually) regarded as a serious undertaking, and Congreve expresses pithily what most people acknowledge – making a big decision like marriage in a hurry may leave plenty of time for regret.

Drax was very pleased with the prospective arrangement he had made with a former associate. It should prove very remunerative, which seemed to be something that Rocket and Quill in particular normally approved of. This made Quill’s doubt all the more irritating.

“I don’t know... I’m getting a bad feeling about this guy. Marry in haste, repent at leisure, y’know?”

Fortunately, Drax was feeling most pleased at this moment, so he did not make the mocking answer that Quill deserved for such an arrant misunderstanding. Instead, with gentle pity, he patted Quill on the shoulder. “I assure you, there is absolutely no requirement of marriage for any party in this contract. Have no fear.”

“No, I meant…. Oh, never mind. Just promise me that you’ll let the rest of us go over the written contract with a fine tooth – uh, let us read it very thoroughly, okay?”


For as long as humans have had words, we’ve probably had sayings that talk about the consequences of our actions.

14/6/17 13:24 (UTC)
wendelah1: (The Grammar Police are watching you)
[personal profile] wendelah1
This was very entertaining. I love learning about the history of language.

OT: I love what you've done with the new place. I looked at the base style. You changed everything about it: the colors, the banner, the size of the banner. Is the font the same? I can't tell. Anyway, it's gorgeous. I can read the print without fiddling with my computer, too!

Whoever made the changes should do a tutorial.

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