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Letter to the editor

Editor, – John Watson's professor of old, ('Letters' Aust Prescr 1999;22:77) used an important dictum about using new and old drugs, but he could not claim originality. I thought it was a paraphrase of a couplet in Polonius's advice to Laertes (Hamlet, by William Shakespeare) and my doctor brother Michael thought it was from Sir William Osler. The latter probably would have invented it if it had not been originally phrased by Pope, in his Essay on Criticism (lines 335-6):

'Be not the first by whom the new are tried
Nor yet the last to lay the old aside'.

David Grounds
Richmond, Vic.