be it never so old

cheshire

Senior Member
Japanese
"A Friday night's dream on Saturday told, Is due to come true be it never so old"

What does "be it never so old" mean?

(1) If it never gets so old.
(2) No matter how old it gets.
(3) As long as it never gets so old.
 
  • nichec

    Senior Member
    Chinese(Taiwan)/English(AE)
    "A Friday night's dream on Saturday told, Is due to come true be it never so old"

    What does "be it never so old" mean?

    (1) If it never gets so old.
    (2) No matter how old it gets.
    (3) As long as it never gets so old.

    I am not so sure, but I am guessing something like:

    --If a dream you had on Friday night was told (to others) by you on Saturday. It would never come true because it's already too old. (meaning: dreams have nothing to do with the reality)
     

    Trisia

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    I think "Is due to come true" means it's clearly coming true.

    My guess is that the dream you had on Friday night and shared on Saturday will surely come true, even though it's old (although that should be "be it ever so old". It's weird, too, since Saturday comes right after Friday night. Why should it be old? Hmmmm)
     

    nichec

    Senior Member
    Chinese(Taiwan)/English(AE)
    Right, I googled it, and it seems that there's another version:

    --A Friday night's dream on Saturday told is sure to come true be it never so old.
     

    Trisia

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    You're absolutely right. I found it like this: "A Friday night's dream on a Saturday told is sure to come true no matter how old."

    I think Cheshire might have the original version. These were all modified because people tend to remember things the way they understand them, not the way they are. So, here you go, the people have spoken and that's its meaning :D
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I suspect the original version was "be it ever so old," and the never version was an accidental corruption that in any case sounds suitably mystical.
    The "ever so old" version makes sense.
    If you have a dream on Friday night and tell it to someone on Saturday, it will come true.
    It may be a long time before this happens, but one day the dream will come true, however old it may be by then.

    Looking for references, there are very few of each, not enough to suggest that either is a mistaken version. Pity, it was a good theory.
     

    Trisia

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    I'm glad you agree to the "be it ever so old" theory, because "never" gave me a bit of a headache.

    I see what you mean, it might come true after years and years, but still it will. (it rhymes! :D).

    For the version I found and tons of other superstitions, see here.

    Trisia
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The Oxford English Dictionary gives lots of examples of never so x, meaning as x as could be, from 1086 to 1983 (under never, adv. and int.). The latest examples suggest that the author is aiming for an archaic effect.
    - 1922 E. R. EDDISON Worm Ouroboros xxvii. 352 Fate will not be cheated, cog we never so wisely.
    - 1983 T. PRATCHETT Colour of Magic (BNC) 30 There are certain spells that can prevent the life departing from a body, be it never so abused.
     

    cheshire

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thank you very much for all the help!

    ...seTeddy, you are one of my favorites!
    I like your aroma of literature and history of language!:)
    You give me the courage to want to conquer the mystery of English.

    English, be it ever tough to conquer, I shall conquer it. I will conquer it!:thumbsup:
     

    JeffJo

    Senior Member
    USA
    USA, English
    "A Friday night's dream on Saturday told, Is due to come true be it never so old"

    What does "be it never so old" mean?

    'A Friday night's dream, told on Saturday, is due to come true -- it (will) never be so old (that it can't come true.)'

    The last part can also be read as a blessing.

    'A Friday night's dream, told on Saturday, is due to come true -- (may) it never be so old (that it can't come true.)' Compare "so be it."
     

    liliput

    Senior Member
    U.K. English
    In plain English:
    If you have a dream and tell someone about it the next day, it will come true sooner or later.
     

    JeffJo

    Senior Member
    USA
    USA, English
    So, "I wish" > "Though"?

    That's too concise for me to understand. Serves me right, since I tossed in "so be it" at the end of my post, with no explanation.

    What I was trying to say, was that the "be it" in the last part of the saying is an inverted word order, like in the phrase "so be it," which is a standard blessing, (equivalent to "amen.") That's why I mentioned that the saying could be read as concluding with a blessing.
     
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