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March 30, 1963

"Just Words"

Author Affiliations

New York City

JAMA. 1963;183(13):1116. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03700130084022

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To the Editor:  —I owe the readers of my "Just Words" an apology. I misquoted Paul Verlaine. In a discussion of the impersonal "it" I played with the line "Il pleut dans mon coeur" not remembering that Verlaine's words really were "Il pleure dans mon coeur." The irony of this inexcusable gaffe is that for many years whenever the line (in its mistaken form) ran through my mind I always thought that the poem from which it comes would be still more beautiful if "il pleut" were "il pleure." Since it is "il pleure," I now must conclude, and do so with joy, that the poem is more beautiful than anything I ever deemed possible.Several readers of "Just Words" have accused me of not knowing that "il pleut" is not a form of "pleurer." If that accusation were justified, I would resign from my teaching and editorial positions and

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