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    #1

    no weeds to mock

    Hello everyone,
    Could anybody please help me interpreting the following saying:
    "Cannot you see there is no grass upon the earth . . . no weeds to mock at man's endeavour?"
    I can't make head or tail of it.
    Thank you in advance.
    Coenraedt

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    #2

    Re: no weeds to mock

    Could you supply more context?


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    #3

    Re: no weeds to mock

    Seconded...

    (I suppose "weeds" would "mock at man's endeavour" in the context of attempting to cultivate a weed-infested piece of land. If a patch of land is so barren that weeds and grass are absent, it must be very barren indeed. But that's only a wild guess.)

    MrP

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    #4

    Re: no weeds to mock

    This looks to me like an interesting, but complex metaphor. It would be nice to have the entire passage, but this is my interpretation.

    When someone plants a garden but raises only weeds, those weeds can be said to be mocking (ridiculing) the gardner's efforts [endeavor]. (This type of metaphor is called anthropomorphism.) The landscape in this passage is so barren it doesn't even have the "mocking" weeds.

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    #5

    Re: no weeds to mock

    BTW, the expression is "I can't make heads or tails of it".



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    #6

    Re: no weeds to mock

    Thank you all for responding.
    About the context: it is a one-act play, rather enigmatic, in which a dying soldier, accompanied by a chanting chorus of unseen wounded, addresses a dead person whom he called for. He talks about the horrors of war (In this case W.O. I), about homes burning: "My home burns like the grass dries in a summer's heat, and I have thrown a stone for . . . for understanding...
    THE DYING (to THE DEAD). Look! . . . Cannot you see there is no grass upon the earth . . .no weeds to mock at man's endeavour? This, brother, is the end, for this . . .belongs to you! . . . March, comrades, march . . (His delirium alternates with his sanity. He laughs into the night)
    Last edited by Coenraedt; 22-Aug-2006 at 19:24.

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    #7

    Re: no weeds to mock

    In that case, it may relate to the churned vegetation-less mud of the First World War. (Though poppies sprang up on the battlefields.)

    MrP


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    #8

    Re: no weeds to mock

    Thank you Mr.Pedantic,
    I understand now. I conclude that it is not an expression or saying, so I can translate it literally. Your remark about the mud of W.O.I makes very good sense here.
    Thank you!
    Coenraedt

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