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Take on Nature: Only by grasping the nettle can we save and restore the environment

Stephen Colton
In Sean O’Casey’s famous play Juno and the Paycock, set in 1920s Dublin, Joxer Daly, giving some advice on a domestic matter to his drinking companion, ‘Captain’ Jack Boyle, says, "Be firm, be firm, Captain; the first few minutes’ll be the worst: if you gently touch a nettle it’ll sting you for your pains; grasp it like a lad of mettle, an’ as soft as silk remains!" Boyle’s amiable sidekick is imparting the figurative advice to be bold and ‘grasp the nettle’, a phrase thought to have its origins in a rhyme from Aesop’s fable The Boy and the Nettle, and also written in altered form much later, in the works of English author Aaron Hill,around 1750.

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