Does plagiarism have a long history? Have you read “Casey at the Bat”?

In 1888, Ernest Lawrence Thayer scribed this line: “That hope which springs eternal in the human breast.” Have you read Alexander Pope’s “An Essay on Man”? In 1734, he wrote: “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.”

The ancient Roman Seneca wrote in his Epistles, “Not lost, but gone before”; Samuel Rogers in 1819 recorded “Not dead, but gone before” in “Human Life.”

Have you heard the proverb “Opportunity knocks only once”? In the first century after the birth of Christ, Phaedrus wrote, “Once lost, Jupiter himself cannot bring back opportunity.”

Plutarch, about 100 A.D., said, in his “Lysander”: “Where the lion’s skin will not reach, you must patch it with the fox’s.” Machiavelli, in “The Prince,” penned “The prince must be a lion, but he must also know how to play the fox.”

Yes. Plagiarism has a long history. On the other hand, such a chronicle does not justify its practice. Those who copy an author’s original piece are guilty; those who read a plagiarist’s counterfeit are not guilty.

Let us fire the speechwriters for Melania Trump. Let us declare the Republican presidential nominee’s wife not guilty. Then, let us focus on issues that really matter.

Finally, remember Pope’s words: “What mighty contests rise from trivial things.”

Morton Soule

Portland