a passing blessing

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Senior Member
Hi folks, this is cited from Wellingborough Redburn by Hermann Melville (1849
What is a "passing blessing" ? A prayer performed in passing?

Thus, in Liverpool I used to pace along endless streets of dwelling-houses, looking at the names on the doors, admiring the pretty faces in the windows, and invoking a passing blessing upon the chubby children on the door-steps.
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    This should mean nothing more than "a blessing that I bestowed upon the children as I was passing by them on the street."


    Senior Member
    English English
    He just means a quick blessing (as he passes by). I think 'passing' includes the notion of 'fleeting/brief' as well as just passing by.


    Senior Member
    I wouldn't take "blessing" too literally. I take it to mean he felt benevolent towards the children he passed and felt full of goodwill towards them - he seems to be describing a happy period in his life.
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