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    #1

    what avail the vigilance

    Hi, people. Do I understand this sentence correctly?
    Poe's version: "But, alas! what avails the vigilance against the Destiny of man?"
    My version: "But, alas! what can help the vigilance to confront the Destiny of man?"

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    #2

    Re: what avail the vigilance

    Yes, but how about What help/use is vigilance against destiny?

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    #3

    Re: what avail the vigilance

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Yes, but how about What help/use is vigilance against destiny?
    "What use is vigilance against destiny"? I do not understand the meaning?

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    #4

    Re: what avail the vigilance

    Quote Originally Posted by Mher View Post
    "What use is vigilance against destiny"? I do not understand the meaning?
    The meaning is that it is futile to try to alter your destiny, as it is in the hands of a higher power, God or fate and you cannot alter it.

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    #5

    Re: what avail the vigilance

    You can watch all you want, but destiny will have its way, good or bad.

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    #6

    Re: what avail the vigilance

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    You can watch all you want, but destiny will have its way, good or bad.
    The meaning of the original sentence is clear. What is unclear is the construction "What use is vigilance..."

  1. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: what avail the vigilance

    Quote Originally Posted by Mher View Post
    The meaning of the original sentence is clear. What is unclear is the construction "What use is vigilance..."
    In this phrase, use is a noun and What use is an idiom.

    What good is alertness?
    What value does caution have?
    How can being prepared help?
    How can you be ready?
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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