trail clouds of glory

Discussion in 'English Only' started by hly2004, Aug 11, 2007.

  1. hly2004 Banned

    Hi, everyone:

    Earnest environmental concerns are also starting to flip well-worn phrases on their heads. Putting new wine into old bottles is now to be applauded.

    Where it was once desirable to trail clouds of glory
    , they now require emissions credits. Regulators are another threat.

    Could you tell me the meaning of the underlined part?

    Best wishes
  2. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    "Trailing clouds of glory" was a good thing, but now, in a humorous manner, you could say that these "clouds" are to be avoided as a form of pollution.
  3. hly2004 Banned

    Thank you, Bibliolept
    I guess the clouds mean what are left by jet planes behind.
    Am I correct?
    If so, what does "glory" refer to?
  4. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    The source is not specified, the idiom is imply "clouds of glory." But that may seem like pollution to some; it's meant as a humorous piece, so it's not 100% logical.
  5. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    USA - English
    "Trailing clouds of glory" is a line fromWilliam Wordsworths famous poem "Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood":

    Not in entire forgetfulness
    And not in utter nakedness
    But trailing clouds of glory do we come
    From God, who is our home
  6. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    And in the Immortality Ode Wordsworth echoes Rousseau's stance that nature is holy, and that man's hand does little other than spoil things like clouds and babies - in the case of babies they were more concerned about interaction with other babies, and particularly their parents, not to mention such malign influences as schoolmasters and books.

    For Wordsworth man was born free. The quote is very famous and the writer is using the facts 1. that it's famous and 2. that it's about clouds, to make an ironic point.

    In other ways the quote isn't at all apposite, as far as I can see.
  7. hly2004 Banned

    Thank you all:)
  8. KHS

    KHS Senior Member

    Just a quick mention that 'clouds' are not only in the sky. You can also say, "Clouds of smoke billowed up from under the car's hood (=bonnet in BE)"

    or, to echo more of the vocabulary of the original quote, "As it sped down the street, the car trailed a cloud of black oily smoke behind it."

  9. hly2004 Banned

    Aha, I understand now. Thank you, KHS

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