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No rest for the wicked

Posted by Lemmy a Fiver on November 14, 2003

In Reply to: No rest for the wicked posted by pdianek on November 14, 2003

: : : I have many times heard this phrase as "no rest for the weary", which, to me, seems completely out of the spirit of the original.

: : : has anyone else noticed this? if so, how did a biblical reference become so turned around?

: : : just curious - thought this would be the best place to find the answer.

: : : dave

: : I must admit I've never come accross the expression "no rest for the weary," but obviously it's just an amusing and ironical play on the original "no rest for the wicked." Motörhead's "No Sleep Till Hammersmith" is yet another derivative, which, however, remains faithful to the meaning of the original - the implication being that Motörhead are wicked rather than weary. Speaking of "wicked," cf. the sense in which it means good/great etc., just as "bad" may be high praise indeed.
: : Anders

: "Wicked", two-syllables, in the sense of "enormously, intensely" ("That storm was wicked scary"; "That new chick is wicked cool") is commonly used in the Boston/New England region of the US, and the rest of the nation is just beginning to understand the usage through televised shows set in and around Boston.

: It seems to me that "No rest for the weary" derives from speakers' misunderstanding of the original (perhaps because they never heard it explained). No rest for the...something that begins with W...I need some rest because I'm tired out with work -- so it must be "weary", that's it, no rest for the weary!

: (For those who puzzle over "No rest for the wicked": Evil cannot pause, it forever contends against good in its own attempts to entrap and spiritually kill what is healthy and whole. See C. S. Lewis's Screwtape Letters, in which a well-placed demon exhorts and chastises his lazy nephew in letter form.)

That "No sleep 'til Hammersmith" album by Motorhead - wasn't it a live album from an UK tour that finished at the Hammersmith Odeon? I have a feeling that it may have been released part-way through the 1980/81 tour, but I may be wrong (it was some time ago!). Sabbath and other HM bands also used to finish up at their tours at the Hammy Odeon in those days, so it had a wider resonance for more than just Motorhead fans when it came out.

The 'no peace for the wicked' theme would also be an allusion in "Sleep when I'm dead" by Bon Jovi and "Rust Never Sleeps" by Neil Young.

To sleep, perchance to dream...

(I'd like to die in old age, quietly in my sleep
- not screaming like my passengers!)

See: the meaning and origin of the phrase 'No rest for the wicked'.