on one's blessing

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Senior Member
Orlando was the youngest son of Sir Rowland de Boys, who, when he died, left him (Orlando being then very young) to the care of his eldest brother Oliver, charging Oliver on his blessing to give his brother a good education, and provide for him as became the dignity of their ancient house. Oliver proved an unworthy brother; and disregarding the commands of his dying father, he never put his brother to school, but kept him at home untaught and entirely neglected.

Tales From Shakespeare by Charles Lamb

What does 'on his blessing' mean?
Does it mean the father gives blessing to the eldest son?

Please help. Thank you.
  • perpend

    American English
    It might be that the blessing had to come from Oliver, i.e., it was on Oliver's blessing that the agreement was made.

    I'm not sure.


    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    It's not a phrase used in current English, to my knowledge. I would take it to mean something like: The dying father made the eldest son, Oliver, promise to care for his young brother Orlando properly (seeing to it that he went to school and so on), and the father then gave Oliver his blessing.


    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Yes, I think that is correct. A dying person would gather his family around them and gave the family a blessing. The pattern is like the 'blessings' of Jacob in the Old Testament (Genesis 49).
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