of ancients turned great

jasonlulu_2000

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I must ask this of you, England - what shall we say? The promise, and only that? Of ancients turned great, the lustre of a generation, gold yet dimmed.
Not your deeds, but still the shackles, your irons. Free yourself, England. Rise like Lions!

The above is from the ad for the 2016 Euro football tournament.

What do the the underlined parts mean?

Thanks!

Jason
 

GoesStation

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They mean that the copy writer had been drinking heavily the night before.
 

jasonlulu_2000

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Are you serious about your explanation? How is it anything to do with "drinking heavily"?
 

GoesStation

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I was being sarcastic. Sports and advertising writers often reach farther for metaphors than other writers would allow themselves to. This one went to such extremes that I wondered whether s/he was entirely sober while composing the excerpt.

The underlined parts have very little literal meaning. They are meant to make the reader really want to pay money to root for their team despite the high likelihood it will be trounced.
 

Tdol

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They are suggesting that England can rise as lions (an emblem on their shirts), though the problem is that they keep losing. The writer sounds as if they're trying to make the England football team feel better than they are.
 
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