Clearing the air

Trevor Beukes

I read your article “No spanking ruling welcomed” (Plainsman, November 1) and just had to respond.

Charmaine Bastian, incorrectly believes that the “spare the rod and spoil the child” comes from the Bible.

In fact, it comes from a poem, Hudibras, by a 17th century poet Samuel Butler, in which he likens “a love affair to a child and spanking is mockingly commended as a way to make love stronger”.

The actual words from the poem are… “What med’cine else can cure the fits of lovers when they lose their wits? Love is a boy by poets stil’d. Then spare the rod and spoil the child”.

Thank you for your feedback on this article. The phrase is in fact a modern paraphrasing (perhaps influenced by the poem) of a well-known Biblical verse. Proverbs 13:24, “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.” – Editor