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  1. #1
    bieasy is offline Senior Member
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    Cool The eagle will rise again

    Hi,

    There is a sentence I don't understand in Alan Parson's lyric of the song "The eagle will rise again".

    ........
    And the days of his life are but grains of sand
    As they fall from your open hand
    And vanish among the land.
    .....

    What does exactly the first sentence mean? Why the use of "but"?



  2. #2
    Charlie Bernstein is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: The eagle will rise again

    Quote Originally Posted by bieasy View Post
    Hi,

    There is a sentence I don't understand in Alan Parson's lyric of the song "The eagle will rise again".

    ........
    And the days of his life are but grains of sand
    As they fall from your open hand
    And vanish among the land.
    .....

    What does exactly the first sentence mean? Why the use of "but"?


    but = nothing but = just = only = merely

  3. #3
    Monticello's Avatar
    Monticello is offline Member
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    Default Re: The eagle will rise again

    Quote Originally Posted by bieasy View Post
    Hi,

    There is a sentence I don't understand in Alan Parson's lyric of the song "The eagle will rise again".

    ........
    And the days of his life are but grains of sand
    As they fall from your open hand
    And vanish among the land.
    .....

    What does exactly the first sentence mean? Why the use of "but"?

    Hi bieasy,

    First, I should let you know that these lines that you have posted here are my introduction to the lyrics of Alan Parson.

    The line that you have a question about: "And the days of his life are but grains of sand." is a simile, which is a common figure of speech, and often found in poetry.

    Similes, as you will find from following the preceding link, compare two things that on the surface appear to be different, but to the poet's eye have something shared. In a simile, the two things compared are usually linked by either the word "like" or "as." In the line you question, however, the linking word is "but," which here means "merely" or "just" or "only."

    Thus, not only are "the days of his life" here being compared to "grains of sand," but also, the writer, by using "but" (meaning here merely or just or only) provides further emphasis on the (in)significance of the passing of "the days of his life" (which, like sand, "fall from your open hand ...").

    By the way, here I can't help but be reminded of the popular American TV soap opera, The Days of Our Lives, which always began with the voice-over: "Like grains of sand in an hour glass, these are the days of our lives." Could Alan Parson have been a fan of the show???

  4. #4
    bieasy is offline Senior Member
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    Cool Re: The eagle will rise again

    Quote Originally Posted by Monticello View Post
    Hi bieasy,

    First, I should let you know that these lines that you have posted here are my introduction to the lyrics of Alan Parson.

    The line that you have a question about: "And the days of his life are but grains of sand." is a simile, which is a common figure of speech, and often found in poetry.

    Similes, as you will find from following the preceding link, compare two things that on the surface appear to be different, but to the poet's eye have something shared. In a simile, the two things compared are usually linked by either the word "like" or "as." In the line you question, however, the linking word is "but," which here means "merely" or "just" or "only."

    Thus, not only are "the days of his life" here being compared to "grains of sand," but also, the writer, by using "but" (meaning here merely or just or only) provides further emphasis on the (in)significance of the passing of "the days of his life" (which, like sand, "fall from your open hand ...").

    By the way, here I can't help but be reminded of the popular American TV soap opera, The Days of Our Lives, which always began with the voice-over: "Like grains of sand in an hour glass, these are the days of our lives." Could Alan Parson have been a fan of the show???
    Let's ask him!
    I knew but as 'he studied but he didn't pass' or '...no one but Donald Duck' The but you've explained is new for me. Thank you for the information!

  5. #5
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: The eagle will rise again

    Yes, it's just an old fashioned poetic way of saying "only".

  6. #6
    Monticello's Avatar
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    Default Re: The eagle will rise again

    Quote Originally Posted by bieasy View Post
    Let's ask him!
    I knew but as 'he studied but he didn't pass' or '...no one but Donald Duck' The but you've explained is new for me. Thank you for the information!
    Hi bieasy,

    Do you suppose he might mind terribly if we were to ask?

  7. #7
    bieasy is offline Senior Member
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    Cool Re: The eagle will rise again

    Quote Originally Posted by Monticello View Post
    Hi bieasy,

    Do you suppose he might mind terribly if we were to ask?
    Is he reachable?

  8. #8
    Monticello's Avatar
    Monticello is offline Member
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    Default Re: The eagle will rise again

    Quote Originally Posted by bieasy View Post
    Is he reachable?
    Hi bieasy,

    I was hoping that you'd be able to help with that!

  9. #9
    bieasy is offline Senior Member
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    Cool Re: The eagle will rise again

    Quote Originally Posted by Monticello View Post
    Hi bieasy,

    I was hoping that you'd be able to help with that!
    I'm only one of fans, I don't even know where he lives.

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