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.

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4
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1answer
175 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
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1answer
130 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,      ...
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72 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
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1answer
33 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
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1answer
107 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,...
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1answer
68 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
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1answer
82 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
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1answer
278 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
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1answer
424 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 ...
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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
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1answer
121 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 ...
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45 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
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1answer
89 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 ...
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1answer
48 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
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1answer
244 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" ...
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1answer
57 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 ...
6
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4k 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 ...
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1answer
95 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 ...
4
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73 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. ...
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1answer
71 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 ...
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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 ...
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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, ...
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1answer
149 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 ...
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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 ...
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45 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 ...
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1answer
58 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 ...
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1answer
60 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, ...
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1answer
67 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 ...
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1answer
75 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 ...
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111 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 ...
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156 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, ...
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1answer
102 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 ...
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1answer
65 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, ...
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194 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 "...
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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 ...
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129 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 ...
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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 ...
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In Huxley's Island, what is a “bass thurible?”

And now incense was burned in a bass thurible. The old priest held up his two hands for silence, and through a long pregnant time of the most perfect stillness the thread of gray incense smoke ...
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120 views

What's the meaning of “well over the fast” in the following passage?

In Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party (1957), Goldberg (a Jewish character) wishes Stanley a happy birthday and says "well over the fast." What does he mean by it? I know that this expression is ...
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1answer
172 views

Distance unit of Leagues and Miles

I am reading the Jules Verne novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in the translation by Anthony Bonner published in 1962 by Bantam Books. In chapter 20 around the 16th paragraph on pg. 163 begins: ...
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1k views

What does “between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea” mean in Heart of Darkness?

On the book of Joseph Conrad called Heart of Darkness, page 1, it says "between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea" The problem is that, as far as I understand, he ...
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1answer
245 views

What does “Maybe it's a Big Horse I'm Morporkian” mean?

In Terry Pratchett's book Raising Steam, there is an explanation of the phrase "Have seen the big horse" where the author uses the sentence "Maybe it's a Big Horse I'm Morporkian". What exactly does ...
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1answer
960 views

Tom and Nick's meeting in the Great Gatsby

At the end of Gatsby when Tom and Nick meet, after their conversation Nick states that Tom: "went into the jewelry store to buy a pearl necklace — or perhaps only a pair of cuff buttons — rid of ...
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1answer
527 views

Meanings of the Kenyan dialect words used in “A Grain of Wheat”?

I've started reading A Grain of Wheat by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o (available here), and it contains quite a few of what I assume are Kenyan dialect words. Not enough to make it unreadable for me - most of ...
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2answers
150 views

What “unspeakable conclusion” was Amira's father about to reach?

The short story "Seasons of Glass and Iron", winner of the 2017 Hugo Award for Best Short Story, may be read in full here. I just read it last night, and a single passage confused me, in the story of ...
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1answer
38 views

How to envisage 'battlements of the escarpment'

Please help me to understand the following sentence from The Sign and the Seal by Graham Hancock. A soft afternoon breeze, laden with the fragrance of distant deserts, blew through the tawny ...
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145 views

What do these metaphors about hardship in “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay” mean?

I have been racking my brain with the meaning of three expressions: taut-jawed men - does it mean that they are stern looking, that their facial expression is tight and tense? brick-lipped, hard-...
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1answer
38 views

What is a Noble Hyrst?

In the book Emily Fox-Seton by Frances Hodgson Burnett, there is this line in chapter nine: There had been noble Hyrsts in the reign of Henry I. When I look up what hyrsts refers to, the ...
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What does “Rebirth of Slick” mean when it quotes “On the Subway”?

Digable Planets' Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like That) ("Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space)," 1993, track 06, released as a single in 1992) (genius.com link) quotes the "blink blink" passages ...
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What's all the blinking about?

On the Subway ("The Last Poets," 1970, track 02) (genius.com link) concludes with shouting the word "blink" a lot, and I'm not sure what it means. On the surface level, I figure it might be ...