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Steal One's Thunder

I came across this amusing tidbit on how the phrase "steal one's thunder" originated:

The story involves John Dennis, a literary critic and largely unsuccessful playwright.

In 1704, Dennis' play Appius and Virginia was produced at Drury Lane Theater in London.  Dennis invented a brand new technique to make stage thunder for the production.

However, Appius and Virginia was a flop.  It closed after only a handful of shows.  To Dennis' horror, his method of making thunder was soon used in a production of Macbeth afterwards.

Understandably, Dennis was not happy that his idea got purloined, and gave a colorful response.  Some say, recorded by the literary scholar Joseph Spence (1699-1768) and later quoted in W. S. Walsh's Literary Curiosities, 1893, Dennis proclaimed:

"Damn them!  They will not let my play run, but they steal my thunder."

Still others said the actual words were:

"That is my thunder, by God; the villains will play my thunder but not my play!"
 

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