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Phrase meaning

Posted by Harry Wong on January 20, 2000

In Reply to: Phrase meaning posted by ESC on January 20, 2000

: : : : : what does "Don't fall on your sword" mean?

: : : : If you mean the line from the song by U2, in "Numb" from the "ZOOROPA" album, then I think he is suggesting to be spiritually aware and strong.
: : : : A sword is usually used in self-defense. He is saying not to trip and let the sword hurt you instead of defending or helping you.
: : : : Religion vs Spirituality
: : : : I hope this all makes sense!

: : : : Don't fill out any forms
: : : : Don't compensate
: : : : Don't cower
: : : : Don't crawl
: : : : Don't come around late
: : : : Don't hover at the gate

: : : : Don't take it on board
: : : : Don't fall on your sword
: : : : Just play another chord
: : : : If you feel you're getting bored

: : : Isn't "falling on your sword" also referring to a death-before-dishonor thing? A soldier falling on his or her own sword before allowing defeat. Or something like that.

: : Yeah. Romans. Macho excess. A noble, futile gesture that one is well advised to forego.

: I agree. I'm from the "feets don't fail me now" school of conflict resolution.

I don't believe it's necessarily anything to do with battles, swords or Romans and certainly songs by U2 contribute little to the understanding of anything. I believe it has to do with those who cannot, for whatever reason, face up to the consequences of their own perception of their failure and choose a dramatic exit either from the situation or indeed from life itself. It's origins (not the precise words of course) are lost in antiquity and probably had much to do with the price to be paid for failure to defend the family or group whose very survival depended on a successful outcome in regular life or death encounters.