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    • Join Date: May 2006
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    #1

    Shakespear

    Hi,
    Here’s from Shakespeare. There may be some mistakes, though.
    There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads to fortune.
    Could you explain the highlighted part, please?

    Thank you.
    P.S. Oh, I've just found a lot abt it on the Net.
    Last edited by Humble; 15-Feb-2007 at 07:03.

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Shakespear

    It's from Julius Caesar - but you probably know that by now.

    It's one of the conspirators trying to persuade a friend of Caesar to join (or maybe renew his allegiance to - it's a long time since I read it) the conspiracy; or maybe it's a soliloquy (Brutus?) in which the speaker is trying to persuade himself to do it. He says that in human dealings ('the affairs of man') there is a tide. The image is based on ships leaving the safety of a harbour: 'the flood' is when the tide is at its deepest. He goes on to say 'we must take the current when it serves' - in other words, we must take advantage of favourable conditions while we can. There a couple of sayings, with the same effect:
    • Strike while the iron is hot (think of a blacksmith)
    • Make hay while the sun shines


    b


    • Join Date: May 2006
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    #3

    Re: Shakespear

    What confused me was this combination – the flood, which I only referred to rivers (or rains) and the tide. So, the flood is, metaphorically, a moment of opportunity which you must seize before the tide takes it back to sea.

    There is a tide in the affairs of men,
    Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
    Omitted, all the voyage of their life
    Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

    William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

    Many thanks, Bob.

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Shakespear

    You're welcome. .

    You may have had trouble parsing 'Omitted' in that context. It's rather dense language. '[If the tide is] omitted [that is, if the people involved don't take advantage of it], all the voyage of their life [that is, the life of those people] is bound in [restricted to] shallows [areas of the sea where the water is too shallow for a ship to move freely]...'.

    b


    • Join Date: May 2006
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    #5

    Re: Shakespear

    Thanks, Bob.

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