Burn Death’s biscuit.

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lapdwicks

Senior Member
Sinhala
Dear all,

I am reading a summary of "Death, be not proud (Holy Sonnet 10) by John Donne".

There, I came across with "then, he really tries to burn Death’s biscuit by comparing him to "rest and sleep" and I can't get the idiomatic meaning of "to burn Death’s biscuit".

Right off the bat, the speaker starts talking smack to Death, whom he treats as a person. He tells Death not to be so proud, because he’s really not as scary or powerful as most people think. The speaker starts talking in contradictions, saying that people don’t really die when they meet Death – and neither will the speaker. Then, he really tries to burn Death’s biscuit by comparing him to "rest and sleep," two things that aren’t scary at all. Next, to paraphrase Billy Joel, the speaker claims that "only the good die young," because the best people know that death brings pleasure, not pain.
(http://www.shmoop.com/death-be-not-proud-holy-sonnet-10/summary.html).​

What does it really mean?

Thanks in advance.
 
  • Rhye

    Senior Member
    English - American
    I'm guessing the author uses it as one of the infinite possible variations of the idiom "to rain on one's parade".
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Wow, you have found a very informal summary there. I suspect many readers would find that style as hard to follow as the poem!
     

    joanvillafane

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    I agree with suzi br about the source (shmoop). I've used it myself on occasion and have found it helpful and quite funny. It deliberately tries to use youthful language and lots of slang, presumably to "translate" the classics for students and those who have to suffer through boring literature classes. Sometimes these idiomatic expressions help and sometimes they just get in the way.
     

    lapdwicks

    Senior Member
    Sinhala
    Wow, you have found a very informal summary there. I suspect many readers would find that style as hard to follow as the poem!
    I found the same expression used in a blog:
    Ignorant people really burn my biscuits!
    http://homesteadcs.blogspot.gr/2012/04/just-burns-my-biscuits.html

    I don't think it's used in BE (not since the time of King Alfred anyway;))
    I agree with suzi br about the source (shmoop). I've used it myself on occasion and have found it helpful and quite funny. It deliberately tries to use youthful language and lots of slang, presumably to "translate" the classics for students and those who have to suffer through boring literature classes. Sometimes these idiomatic expressions help and sometimes they just get in the way.
    Thanks for your concern.
     
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