Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [meaning]

For questions regarding the meaning of certain terms of phrases used in a work of literature. If your question concerns the symbolic significance of something whose surface meaning is clear, use the [symbolism] tag instead.

2
votes
1answer
2k views

Interpretation of Martin Luther King's essay

Martin Luther King, Jr. said: The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education. Can anyone ...
2
votes
1answer
69 views

Meaning of “was given to her favorite, and now bore his” in Byron's Don Juan

From Byron's Don Juan: While this high post of honour's in abeyance, For one or two days, reader, we request You'll mount with our young hero the conveyance Which wafted him from ...
6
votes
1answer
97 views

Meaning of “and those things which for an instant clip enjoyment's wings” in Byron's Don Juan

Canto 10, stanza 5, from Byron's Don Juan: We left our hero, Juan, in the bloom     Of favouritism, but not yet in the blush; And far be it from my Muses to presume     (For I have more ...
4
votes
1answer
67 views

Meaning of “all game and bottom” in Byron's “Don Juan”

From Byron's Don Juan: That drinks and still is dry. At last they perish'd -- His second son was levell'd by a shot; His third was sabred; and the fourth, most cherish'd Of all the ...
3
votes
1answer
71 views

Meaning of “With Ismail's storm to soften it the more” in Byron's “Don Juan”

Canto 8, stanza 68, from Byron's Don Juan: So much for Nature: -- by way of variety, Now back to thy great joys, Civilisation! And the sweet consequence of large society, War, pestilence, ...
4
votes
2answers
458 views

What is the meaning of this sentence from A Retrieved Reformation?

This is a line from O. Henry's A Retrieved Reformation. The detective Ben Price is confident that Jimmy, now out on parole, has been to crack safes and: He'll do his bit next time without any ...
2
votes
1answer
29 views

Where is the object in this clause in Byron's Don Juan?

From Byron's Don Juan: But those who scaled, found out that their advance Was favour'd by an accident or blunder: The Greek or Turkish Cohorn's ignorance Had palisado'd in a way you'd ...
2
votes
1answer
67 views

Meaning of “which some months the same still is” in Byron's 'Don Juan'

From Byron's Don Juan: By Jove! he was a noble fellow, Johnson, And though his name, than Ajax or Achilles, Sounds less harmonious, underneath the sun soon We shall not see his ...
4
votes
2answers
67 views

Meaning of “Hounds, when the huntsman tumbles, are at fault” in Byron's Don Juan

From Byron's Don Juan: The troops, already disembark'd, push'd on To take a battery on the right; the others, Who landed lower down, their landing done, Had set to work as briskly as ...
6
votes
1answer
83 views

Meaning of “pig who sees the wind” in Byron's Don Juan

From Byron's Don Juan: Medals, rank, ribands, lace, embroidery, scarlet, Are things immortal to immortal man, As purple to the Babylonian harlot: An uniform to boys is like a fan To women; ...
7
votes
1answer
119 views

Meaning of a stanza in Byron's Don Juan

Canto 6, stanza 52, from Byron's Don Juan: Dudù, as has been said, was a sweet creature, Not very dashing, but extremely winning, With the most regulated charms of feature, Which ...
6
votes
1answer
418 views

What is a “fetish man” in African tribal culture?

I'm translating Robert E. Howard's short story "The Hyena". It was published in 1927. There is a character called Senecoza and Howard (and the protagonist) always refer to him as "the fetish man". And ...
3
votes
1answer
72 views

Meaning of “'T was the boy's ”mite,“ and, like the ”widow's,“ may Perhaps be weigh'd hereafter, if not now”

From Byron's Don Juan: 'T was the boy's "mite," and, like the "widow's," may Perhaps be weigh'd hereafter, if not now; But whether such things do or do not weigh, All who have loved,...
4
votes
1answer
139 views

Why is a cuckolded husband “fit for heaven” in Byron's Don Juan?

Canto 5, stanza 154, from Byron's Don Juan: His majesty saluted his fourth spouse      With all the ceremonies of his rank, Who clear'd her sparkling eyes and smooth'd her brows,      As ...
3
votes
1answer
117 views

Meaning of “but no one dreams of ever being short” in Byron's Don Juan

Canto 5, stanza 48, from Byron's Don Juan: Some talk of an appeal unto some passion,      Some to men's feelings, others to their reason; The last of these was never much the fashion,      ...
2
votes
2answers
67 views

Meaning of “from crowns to kicks” in Byron's Don Juan

From Byron's Don Juan: Just now a black old neutral personage Of the third sex stept up, and peering over The captives, seem'd to mark their looks and age, And capabilities, as to discover ...
2
votes
1answer
30 views

Meaning of “such as had not staid long with her destiny” in Byron's “Don Juan”

From Byron's Don Juan: Thus lived -- thus died she; never more on her Shall sorrow light, or shame. She was not made Through years or moons the inner weight to bear, Which colder ...
5
votes
1answer
100 views

Meaning of “The ear becomes more Irish, and less nice” in Byron's Don Juan

From Byron's Don Juan: It has a strange quick jar upon the ear, That cocking of a pistol, when you know A moment more will bring the sight to bear Upon your person, twelve yards off,...
1
vote
1answer
65 views

Meaning of “Whose husband only knows her not a whore”

From Byron's Don Juan: Oh beautiful! and rare as beautiful But theirs was love in which the mind delights To lose itself when the old world grows dull, And we are sick of its hack ...
3
votes
1answer
75 views

Meaning of “Of which the first ne'er knows the second cause” in Byron's Don Juan

From Byron's Don Juan: Their poet, a sad trimmer, but no less In company a very pleasant fellow, Had been the favourite of full many a mess Of men, and made them speeches when half ...
11
votes
1answer
208 views

What does “kettle at the heel” mean in this Yeats poem, “The Tower”?

What shall I do with this absurdity — O heart, O troubled heart — this caricature, Decrepit age that has been tied to me As to a dog's tail? Never had I more Excited, passionate, ...
2
votes
1answer
337 views

What do these lines mean in the opening paragraph of Peel My Love Like an Onion?

What does Ana Castillo mean by these lines in Peel My Love Like an Onion? Yes, he was dark. He still is except that it is not easy to think of him as still existing, and everywhere my gaze turns he ...
3
votes
0answers
38 views

What is the meaning of Izquierdo's ending statement?

In the very end (Act III, Scene 11) of Emmanuel Roblès's play Montserrat, Izquierdo replies to Father Coronil's, after asking if he had regretted his decision: ENGLISH: No. He only talked to ...
4
votes
1answer
93 views

Meaning of “So shakes the needle, and so stands the pole, as vibrates my fond heart to my fixed soul”

From Byron's Don Juan: "My breast has been all weakness, is so yet; But still I think I can collect my mind; My blood still rushes where my spirit's set, As roll the waves before ...
2
votes
1answer
41 views

Meaning of “As roll the waves before the settled wind” in Byron's “Don Juan”

From Byron's Don Juan: "My breast has been all weakness, is so yet; But still I think I can collect my mind; My blood still rushes where my spirit's set, As roll the waves before ...
3
votes
1answer
85 views

Meaning of “a lady with apologies abounds” in Byron's Don Juan

From Byron's Don Juan: Julia, in fact, had tolerable grounds,— Alfonso's loves with Inez were well known, But whether 't was that one's own guilt confounds— But that can't be, as has been ...
1
vote
1answer
43 views

Meaning of “faithful to the tomb, so there were quarrels” in Byron's “Don Juan”

From Byron's Don Juan: The Senhor Don Alfonso stood confused; Antonia bustled round the ransack'd room, And, turning up her nose, with looks abused Her master and his myrmidons, of ...
6
votes
1answer
201 views

What are “smoking-room stories”?

I recently started reading C.S. Lewis's book That Hideous Strength, the third in his Space Trilogy (and I'm devouring it - what a story!) The following passage, from when Mark first meets Miss "Fairy" ...
2
votes
1answer
50 views

Meaning of “Israelites” in Byron's Don Juan: “That all the Israelites are fit to mob its next owner for their double-damn'd post-obits”

From Byron's Don Juan: Sweet is a legacy, and passing sweet The unexpected death of some old lady Or gentleman of seventy years complete, Who've made "us youth" wait too—too long already ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

What's the meaning of the text in the scroll that the Prince of Arragon finds in the silver casket in Act 2, Scene 9 of The Merchant of Venice?

This is the exact text (The Merchant of Venice, Act 2 Scene 9): Arragon: The fire seven times tried this, Seven times tried that judgment is, That did never choose amiss. Some ...
2
votes
1answer
74 views

Meaning of “but beg security will bolt the door”

From Don Juan by Byron: LXXXVIII "Oh Love! in such a wilderness as this, Where transport and security entwine, Here is the empire of thy perfect bliss, And here thou art a god ...
3
votes
1answer
57 views

Meaning of “Where juries cast up what a wife is worth”?

From Byron's Don Juan: Happy the nations of the moral North! Where all is virtue, and the winter season Sends sin, without a rag on, shivering forth ('T was snow that brought St. ...
2
votes
1answer
64 views

Meaning of “Produced her Don more heirs at love than law”

From Don Juan: This heathenish cross restored the breed again, Ruin'd its blood, but much improved its flesh; For from a root the ugliest in Old Spain Sprung up a branch as ...
10
votes
1answer
869 views

Meaning of “d-n” in “'T is strange—the Hebrew noun which means 'I am,' the English always used to govern d—n”

From Byron's Don Juan: She liked the English and the Hebrew tongue, And said there was analogy between 'em; She proved it somehow out of sacred song, But I must leave the proofs ...
1
vote
1answer
54 views

In “Sinbad the Seaman and Sinbad the Landsman”, from Arabian Nights, what does gars me pine mean?

From The Arabian Nights: Each morn that dawns I wake in travail and in woe, And strange is my condition and my burden gars me pine. Many others are in luck and from miseries are free, ...
7
votes
1answer
130 views

Meaning of “I shut my tongue against my fly”

From Aurora Leigh: Poor child! I would have mended it with gold, Until it gleamed like St. Sophia's dome When all the faithful troop to morning prayer: But he, he nipped the bud of such a ...
1
vote
1answer
39 views

Meaning of “not conclude at yours”

From Aurora Leigh: Have you learnt No more of women, 'spite of privilege, Than still to take account too seriously Of such weak flutterings? Why, we like it, sir,– We get our powers and ...
2
votes
1answer
42 views

Meaning of “who bespoke our place so far in the east”

From Aurora Leigh: So it is: We covet for the soul, the body's part, To die and rot. Even so, Aurora, ends Our aspiration, who bespoke our place So far in the east. What is the meaning ...
2
votes
1answer
51 views

Meaning of “that all the towns make offal of their daughters for its use on summer-nights”

From Aurora Leigh: Thus is Art Self-magnified in magnifying a truth Which, fully recognized, would change the world And shift its morals. If a man could feel, Not one day, in the artist's ...
4
votes
1answer
54 views

Meaning of “He says it still of truth, which is his own” (in “Aurora Leigh”)

From Aurora Leigh: The book has some truth in it, I believe: And truth outlives pain, as the soul does life. I know we talk our Phædons to the end Through all the dismal faces that we make, ...
2
votes
1answer
59 views

Meaning of “and beauty keeps itself still uppermost” (Aurora Leigh by Liz Browning)

From Aurora Leigh: Until at last, as one, whose heart being sad On hearing lovely music, suddenly Dissolves in weeping, I brake out in tears Before her . . asked her counsel . . 'had I erred ...
4
votes
1answer
71 views

Meaning of “to risk, in turn, a woman's paradox”

From Aurora Leigh: To have our books Appraised by love, associated with love, While we sit loveless! is it hard, you think? At least 'tis mournful. Fame, indeed, 'twas said, Means simply ...
5
votes
2answers
100 views

Meaning of “I own myself incredulous of confidence like this availing him or you”

From Aurora Leigh: '- That is said Austerely, like a youthful prophetess, Who knits her brows across her pretty eyes To keep them back from following the grey flight Of doves between the ...
7
votes
2answers
143 views

Meaning of “you wear your blue so chiefly in your eyes … it comforts me entirely for your fame” in Aurora Leigh

From Aurora Leigh: She said her name quite simply, as if it meant Not much indeed, but something,–took my hands, And smiled, as if her smile could help my case, And dropped her eyes on me, ...
11
votes
1answer
98 views

What is “vulgar white of personal aims”? Why is it “white”?

From Aurora Leigh by Elizabeth Barrett Browning: 'I have not stood long on the strand of life, And these salt waters have had scarcely time To creep so high up as to wet my feet. I cannot ...
6
votes
1answer
56 views

What does the line “The echoes of your rocks my carols wild” mean?

From the poem "An Evening Walk" by William Wordsworth (emphasis added): FAR from my dearest Friend, 'tis mine to rove Through bare grey dell, high wood, and pastoral cove; Where Derwent rests, ...
5
votes
2answers
134 views

Pulchritudinous callipygosity

In the short story "Inertia" by Rudy Rucker (which I found via this ID question on another site, and which is published to be read in full at the author's website here), the near-Googlewhack phrase "...
3
votes
0answers
35 views

What's the meaning of “you should worry” in the following lines from Pinter's Birthday Party?

What's the meaning of "you should worry" in the following lines from Pinter's Birthday Party (emphasis mine)? LULU. You’re tickling me! GOLDBERG. You should worry. LULU. I’ve always liked ...
4
votes
2answers
122 views

What does “The beginning came long after the end” mean in George R.R. Martin's Dying of the Light?

Near the beginning of Martin's "Dying of the Light" novel, there is the following passage: Behind it was a stillness and a smoky darkness, an unmoving curtain that hid the farther stars. A cloud of ...
11
votes
4answers
4k views

What does “Until a man is nothing, God can make nothing out of him” mean?

I came across the following passage in Dan Brown’s fiction, “Inferno”: [...] their physical being and cosmic importance shrinking to the size of a mere speck in the face of God … an atom in the ...