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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    end of Major General

    Hello, I am new to this, so if this is not the right thread to post this, please tell me.
    I do not understand well the end of the song "I am the very model of a modern Major General". I think that 'to bring down' means 'to destroy' or 'to kill', but maybe one hundred years ago it had another meaning:

    "For my military knowledge, though I'm plucky and adventury,
    Has only been brought down to the beginning of the century;
    But still, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
    I am the very model of a modern Major-General."

    What I understand is:
    "Maybe my military knowledge has already been surpassed many years ago,
    but anyway I am still the very model of a modern Major General". Is it really what he means? Thank you!

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    #2

    Re: end of Major General

    It means that he is a very good Major-General, one who could be used as an example.

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    #3

    Re: end of Major General

    'My military knowledge has only been brought down to the beginning of the century' means that he knows nothing of military history beyond the start of the nineteenth century.

    Rover

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    #4

    Re: end of Major General

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    'My military knowledge has only been brought down to the beginning of the century' means that he knows nothing of military history beyond the start of the nineteenth century.

    Rover
    Thank you, I supposed it was something not very positive about himself but I had no idea of the actual meaning.
    Now I understand the whole song: in the second refrain ("I know our mythic history...") he enumerates all the useless things he already knows, and in the third one ("In fact when I know what is meant...") he talks about things he is about to learn to become the best Major General ever seen, because his military knowlegde has not advanced since several decades ago.

    But there is still a sentence in the second refrain I do not understand completely:
    ...When such affairs as sorties and surprises I'm more wary at...

    I suppose he means that he is going to be more distrustful of unexpected attacks from the enemy than he is now, but I am not sure. Does 'to be wary at' mean 'to be distrustful of' in this case? Thank you.

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: end of Major General

    Quote Originally Posted by anto74 View Post
    But there is still a sentence in the second refrain I do not understand completely:
    ...When such affairs as sorties and surprises I'm more wary at...

    I suppose he means that he is going to be more distrustful of unexpected attacks from the enemy than he is now, but I am not sure. Does 'to be wary at' mean 'to be distrustful of' in this case? Thank you.
    It may mean that he is not an expert in organising such things.

    Don't forget that this is a humorous song. One the reasons for choosing 'I'm more wary at' was to provide a rhyme for 'commissariat' in the next line.

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