lamp-post

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sugarhillavenue

Member
US- English
Yeah, I know what a lamp-post is, but what does it mean in this sense:
"This sort of discourse does well enough with the lamp-post for its second: to men who may reason calmly, it is ridiculous."
 
  • sugarhillavenue

    Member
    US- English
    "It is said that twenty-four millions ought to prevail over two hundred thousand. True if the constitution of a kingdom be a problem of arithmetic. This sort of discourse does well enough with the lamp-post for its second;"
     

    quorumangelorum

    Member
    US, english
    Just a guess, but can the "lamp-post for a second" be referring to one's conversational partner in discourse? It would seem to make sense, given the rest of the sentence.

    If that's the case, the sentence means that the previously mentioned style of discourse works fine if you're talking to an inanimate object ("as dumb as a lamppost"), but it won't work if you're talking to someone with half a brain.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    This is a quotation from Burke; and it appears to be a reference to the disturbances in France in 1789, when a number of people were hanged from lamp-posts. See note 2 in the commentary here.
     
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