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That power which erring men call chance

English translation: being powerful/successful does not depend on chance

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14:36 Sep 5, 2008
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature / classics quotation
English term or phrase: That power which erring men call chance
a line from Milton:"That power which erring men call chance."

This line had been described John Mccain's grandfather as he graduated from Naval Academy.

I wonder how to understand the line? It seems not a good remark.

Thank you!
macky
Local time: 14:01
English translation:being powerful/successful does not depend on chance
Explanation:
And those who aren't powerful/successful will say that it is about chance, that they simply got unlucky. While the author implies that such "erring men" will merely use chance or luck as an excuse.

That's how I see it.
Selected response from:

Mark Berelekhis
United States
Local time: 02:01
Grading comment
Thank you for help!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
3 +2being powerful/successful does not depend on chance
Mark Berelekhis
Summary of reference entries provided
Ken Cox

Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


5 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +2
that power which erring men call chance
being powerful/successful does not depend on chance


Explanation:
And those who aren't powerful/successful will say that it is about chance, that they simply got unlucky. While the author implies that such "erring men" will merely use chance or luck as an excuse.

That's how I see it.

Mark Berelekhis
United States
Local time: 02:01
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 206
Grading comment
Thank you for help!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Nesrin: That must be it.
16 mins
  -> Thank you, Nesrin.

agree  Sharien: power and success does not just happen by chance you have to make it happen. You have to desire it therefore not everyone will have it.
3 days4 hrs
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Reference comments


21 mins
Reference

Reference information:
It appears that Milton (and presumably his contemporaries) regarded Chance as an evil force (similar to what would now be called bad luck), but this is apparenntly not how the quotation is now inderstood (as 'chance' is now understood to mean 'opportunity').

Original context (from Milton's Comus):

O night and shades,
How are ye joyn'd with hell in triple knot
Against th' unarmed weakness of one Virgin
Alone, and helpless! Is this the confidence
You gave me Brother?
Eld. Bro. Yes, and keep it still,
Lean on it safely, not a period
Shall be unsaid for me: against the threats
Of malice or of sorcery, or that power
Which erring men call Chance, this I hold firm,
Vertue may be assail'd, but never hurt,
Surpriz'd by unjust force, but not enthrall'd,
Yea even that which mischief meant most harm,
Shall in the happy trial prove most glory.


    Reference: http://infomotions.com/etexts/literature/english/1600-1699/m...
Ken Cox
Netherlands
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 88
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