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Who Breaks A Butterfly Upon A Wheel? Final Trailer
Who Breaks A Butterfly Upon A Wheel? Final Trailer
Published: 2014/12/01
Channel: Harish Guru
Shattered - Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?
Shattered - Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?
Published: 2015/08/06
Channel: Leo Bell
Teaser trailer of WHO BREAKS A BUTTERFLY UPON A WHEEL?
Teaser trailer of WHO BREAKS A BUTTERFLY UPON A WHEEL?
Published: 2014/11/15
Channel: Harish Guru
Reviews Of Who Breaks A Butterfly Upon A Wheel?
Reviews Of Who Breaks A Butterfly Upon A Wheel?
Published: 2015/01/14
Channel: Harish Guru
Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?
Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?
Published: 2016/09/16
Channel: WikiWikiup
Biffy Clyro Barrowlands 7/12/14- Break A Butterfly On The Wheel
Biffy Clyro Barrowlands 7/12/14- Break A Butterfly On The Wheel
Published: 2014/12/10
Channel: jBartLife
Butterfly on a Wheel 2007 Full MoviE HD
Butterfly on a Wheel 2007 Full MoviE HD
Published: 2016/10/28
Channel: steven alexaner
Butterfly on a Wheel / Shattered trailer
Butterfly on a Wheel / Shattered trailer
Published: 2010/08/11
Channel: Safriest
Break A Butterfly On A Wheel
Break A Butterfly On A Wheel
Published: 2014/11/09
Channel: Biffy Clyro - Topic
Biffy Clyro - Break A Butterfly On A Wheel
Biffy Clyro - Break A Butterfly On A Wheel
Published: 2014/07/19
Channel: TheBiffyBoffin
The Mission UK - Butterfly on a Wheel
The Mission UK - Butterfly on a Wheel
Published: 2016/04/21
Channel: N Thrap
Butterfly upon a wheel Meaning
Butterfly upon a wheel Meaning
Published: 2015/04/30
Channel: ADictionary
Biffy Clyro - Break A Butterfly On A Wheel (w/ Lyrics)
Biffy Clyro - Break A Butterfly On A Wheel (w/ Lyrics)
Published: 2013/09/17
Channel: cosmagalaxies
who breaks a butterfly.avi
who breaks a butterfly.avi
Published: 2009/12/05
Channel: hannahboblamboot
Biffy Clyro - Break a butterfly on a wheel
Biffy Clyro - Break a butterfly on a wheel
Published: 2015/06/28
Channel: Gold Music
Break The Butterfly - Weekend Warrior
Break The Butterfly - Weekend Warrior
Published: 2014/06/28
Channel: BreakTheButterfly
Próbatétel - Robert Duncan - Butterfly on a Wheel
Próbatétel - Robert Duncan - Butterfly on a Wheel
Published: 2014/09/14
Channel: Brigitta Szabó
The wheel breaks the butterfly
The wheel breaks the butterfly
Published: 2012/03/30
Channel: HerbitualHooper
THE MISSION   Butterfly On A Wheel.avi
THE MISSION Butterfly On A Wheel.avi
Published: 2012/05/07
Channel: Erick Yánac Ríos
Shattered Trailer
Shattered Trailer
Published: 2016/10/07
Channel: IMovie Makers
The Wheel and the Butterfly (Chapter 10)
The Wheel and the Butterfly (Chapter 10)
Published: 2017/08/16
Channel: Tortilla Laser
Butterfly Upon A Wheel(B.U.A.W) Part 2 - III GARNET BWS 2008-2009
Butterfly Upon A Wheel(B.U.A.W) Part 2 - III GARNET BWS 2008-2009
Published: 2009/03/27
Channel: beazfroi
Butterfly Upon A Wheel(B.U.A.W) Part 3 - III GARNET BWS 2008-2009
Butterfly Upon A Wheel(B.U.A.W) Part 3 - III GARNET BWS 2008-2009
Published: 2009/03/27
Channel: beazfroi
Break The Butterfly - Spiral - Fife Tunnel Sessions
Break The Butterfly - Spiral - Fife Tunnel Sessions
Published: 2015/02/20
Channel: BTB Tunnel Sessions
Butterfly Upon A Wheel(B.U.A.W) Part 1- III GARNET BWS 2008-2009
Butterfly Upon A Wheel(B.U.A.W) Part 1- III GARNET BWS 2008-2009
Published: 2009/03/27
Channel: beazfroi
First Teaser of "The Cure - Introducing Johnny Cage"
First Teaser of "The Cure - Introducing Johnny Cage"
Published: 2015/02/25
Channel: Harish Guru
Shattered Trailer
Shattered Trailer
Published: 2012/10/05
Channel: TRENDYPR
Butterfly on a Wheel (2007) Full Movie
Butterfly on a Wheel (2007) Full Movie
Published: 2017/07/11
Channel: Buyung Last
The Wheel and the Butterfly (Chapter 2)
The Wheel and the Butterfly (Chapter 2)
Published: 2017/06/26
Channel: Tortilla Laser
Butterfly Upon A Wheel(B.U.A.W) Part 4 - III GARNET BWS 2008-2009
Butterfly Upon A Wheel(B.U.A.W) Part 4 - III GARNET BWS 2008-2009
Published: 2009/03/27
Channel: beazfroi
The Wheel and the Butterfly (Prologue)
The Wheel and the Butterfly (Prologue)
Published: 2017/06/23
Channel: Tortilla Laser
The Wheel and the Butterfly (Chapter 8)
The Wheel and the Butterfly (Chapter 8)
Published: 2017/07/15
Channel: Tortilla Laser
The Wheel and the Butterfly (Chapter 3)
The Wheel and the Butterfly (Chapter 3)
Published: 2017/06/27
Channel: Tortilla Laser
Break The Butterfly - Lost Boy - Tpot Sessions
Break The Butterfly - Lost Boy - Tpot Sessions
Published: 2014/01/15
Channel: BreakTheButterfly
The Wheel and the Butterfly (Chapter 4)
The Wheel and the Butterfly (Chapter 4)
Published: 2017/06/27
Channel: Tortilla Laser
Break The Butterfly - 11:11 - Tpot Sessions
Break The Butterfly - 11:11 - Tpot Sessions
Published: 2014/03/13
Channel: BreakTheButterfly
The Wheel And The Butterfly (Chapter 7)
The Wheel And The Butterfly (Chapter 7)
Published: 2017/07/07
Channel: Tortilla Laser
Break the Butterfly Promo Reel
Break the Butterfly Promo Reel
Published: 2014/04/04
Channel: BreakTheButterfly
Break The Butterfly "Pringle"
Break The Butterfly "Pringle"
Published: 2015/07/01
Channel: Tpot Studio
Break The Butterfly @ PJ Molloys Dunfermline
Break The Butterfly @ PJ Molloys Dunfermline
Published: 2015/01/18
Channel: Big Craig
The Wheel and the Butterfly (Chapter 9)
The Wheel and the Butterfly (Chapter 9)
Published: 2017/07/26
Channel: Tortilla Laser
Like a butterfly wings official trailer
Like a butterfly wings official trailer
Published: 2014/11/15
Channel: Eugenio Morina
[Ella Rouhier}....the wheel breaks the butterfly
[Ella Rouhier}....the wheel breaks the butterfly
Published: 2011/10/27
Channel: Felicia
Being Fierce (But Not Vengeful) In Recovery
Being Fierce (But Not Vengeful) In Recovery
Published: 2017/03/18
Channel: Family Tree Brand Life Coaches
A Poem for Aaron Swartz
A Poem for Aaron Swartz
Published: 2013/01/28
Channel: Poemsapennyeach
The Wheel and the Butterfly (Chapter 6)
The Wheel and the Butterfly (Chapter 6)
Published: 2017/06/29
Channel: Tortilla Laser
Trolls Bridget the Bergen Custom Baby Alive Eats Crazy Play-Doh Treats Poops Surprise Toys
Trolls Bridget the Bergen Custom Baby Alive Eats Crazy Play-Doh Treats Poops Surprise Toys
Published: 2017/05/09
Channel: Tiffany Bliss
Lonely heart on wheels
Lonely heart on wheels
Published: 2008/03/17
Channel: abutterflymind
♪♫ Falling Down -- Oasis / Noel Gallagher (Cover)
♪♫ Falling Down -- Oasis / Noel Gallagher (Cover)
Published: 2010/10/05
Channel: Ash Almond
Oasis - Falling Down (legendado)
Oasis - Falling Down (legendado)
Published: 2014/02/19
Channel: Aline Vieira
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WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE

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"Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?" is a quotation from Alexander Pope's "Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot" of January 1735.

It alludes to "breaking on the wheel", a form of torture in which victims had their long bones broken by an iron bar while tied to a Catherine wheel.[1][better source needed] The quotation is used to suggest someone is "[employing] superabundant effort in the accomplishment of a small matter".[2]

The quotation is sometimes misquoted with "on" in place of "upon".

Pope's satire[edit]

The line "Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?" forms line 308 of the "Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot" in which Alexander Pope responded to his physician's word of caution about making satirical attacks on powerful people by sending him a selection of such attacks. It appears in a section on the courtier John Hervey, 2nd Baron Hervey, who was close to Queen Caroline and was one of Pope's bitterest enemies. The section opens as follows:[3]

Let Sporus tremble –"What? that thing of silk,
Sporus, that mere white curd of ass's milk?
Satire or sense, alas! can Sporus feel?
Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?
Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings,
This painted child of dirt that stinks and stings;
Whose buzz the witty and the fair annoys,
Yet wit ne'er tastes, and beauty ne'er enjoys,

"Sporus", a male slave favoured by Emperor Nero,[3] was, according to Suetonius, castrated by the emperor, and subsequently married.[4] Pope here refers to accusations made in Pulteney's Proper reply to a late scurrilous libel of 1731 which led to Hervey challenging Pulteney to a duel. Hervey's decade-long clandestine affair with Stephen Fox would eventually contribute to his downfall.[5][6] As first published the verse referred to Paris, but was changed to Sporus when republished a few months later.[7]

"What? that thing of silk" uses a metaphor of a silkworm spinning that Pope had already used in The Dunciad to refer to bad poets. "Ass's milk" was at that time a common tonic, and was part of a diet adopted by Hervey. "This painted child" comments on make-up such as rouge used by the handsome Hervey.[3]

Another graphic instance of the usage can be found in An Introduction to Harmony by William Shield (1800), wherein he writes: "Having brought this Introduction to Harmony before that awful Tribunal, the Public, without first submitting it to the inspection of a judicious friend, I shall doubtless merit severe correction from the Critic; but as my attempt has been rather to write a useful Book, than a learned Work, I trust that he will not break a Butterfly upon the wheel for not being able to soar with the wings of an Eagle."[8]

Modern use[edit]

William Rees-Mogg, as editor of The Times newspaper, used the "on a wheel" version of the quotation as the heading (set in capital letters) for an editorial on 1 July 1967 about the "Redlands" court case, which had resulted in prison sentences for Rolling Stones members Keith Richards and Mick Jagger.[9]

The philosopher Mary Midgley used a variation on the phrase in an article in the journal Philosophy written to counter a review praising The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins, where she cuttingly said that she had "not attended to Dawkins, thinking it unnecessary to break a butterfly upon a wheel."[10]

Variations of the phrase also appear in pop music. The Mission recorded a track entitled "Butterfly on a Wheel" for their album Carved in Sand changing the quote slightly to "Love breaks the wings of a butterfly on a wheel." The hard rock song "Soul Asylum" from The Cult's Sonic Temple album opens with the line "Who would break a butterfly on a wheel?". Coldplay rephrased the quote as "The wheel breaks the butterfly" in their 2011 single "Paradise". Oasis also made a reference to the line with the lyric "Catch the wheel that breaks the butterfly", in their song "Falling Down".[11] In 2013 the Scottish band Biffy Clyro released a B-side entitled "Break A Butterfly On A Wheel" on their single "Victory Over The Sun".

A film titled Butterfly on a Wheel was released in 2007. In the USA the title of the movie was changed to Shattered.[12]

References[edit]

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