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Origin of "Egyptian night"? alternative

Posted by Keith Rennie on November 30, 2004

In Reply to: Origin of "Egyptian night"? posted by Tennis Smith on November 22, 2004

: Hi,

: I've often wondered what it meant in phrases like:
: "It seems to me, sunk in my Egyptian night, that the man who fails to do this in the United States to-day is a man who is somehow stupid-- maybe not on the surface, but certainly deep down." - HL Mencken

: Anyone know?

: Thanks,

: -Tennis

Dont like the other suggestions. Egyptian night, in the sense Mencken is using it, is a Biblical reference, it means the age of bondage, slavery, and implying also lack of awareness, not realizing how bad the condition is. It is the condition of pre-Mosaic Israelites. Kipling referred to it in the White Man's Burden (unfashionable poem these days, strange mixture of arrogance and mission, reminiscent of W somehow!)--we will civilze you whether you like it or not and we dont expect your gratitude:

Take up the White Man's burden,
And reap his old reward--
The blame of those ye better
The hate of those ye guard--
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:--
"Why brought ye us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?"

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