Yes now the rains weep o'er his hall with not a soul to hear.

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GermanStudent

Member
German
"Yes now the rains weep o'er his hall with not a soul to hear"
[Topic sentence added to post. DonnyB - moderator]


Hey, I have a question to the above-mentioned sentence. It's a quote from a song called "The Rains of Castamere" (follow the link for the complete lyrics The National - The Rains of Castamere Songtext) and it descripes the fall of a lord, who started a rebellion and was defeated ...
Ok, let's talk about the quote: In my opinion means it, that all men (souls) of the rebellious lord were (edited: "was" -> "were") killed and therefore is no one left to hear the rains weep over the hall.
Can this structure "with not a soul to hear" also mean, that there are/can be souls but it's impossible to hear them? Like: I go down the street but I'm not to hear -> I go silently. Well, this sentence looks a little bit strange to me ... Is the sentence correct at all?

So, two questions: Is there a grammatical evidence, that the first meaning is only truth?
Is my example-sentence also correct?

Many thanks
GermanStudent
 
Last edited:
  • vieux_pneu

    New Member
    English - American
    To me it seems to me that your first meaning is the correct one. The "not a soul" construction is fairly common in English to mean "no one". For example, "there's not a soul here" (=there is no one here).

    Your example sentence of "I go down the street but I'm not to hear" isn't grammatically correct. If you were going down the street silently, you would say "I go down the street but I can't be heard".
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    "Yes now the rains weep o'er his hall with not a soul to hear"

    Can this structure "with not a soul to hear" also mean, that there are/can be souls but it's impossible to hear them?
    The construction allows that opposite meaning, but the context doesn’t.
     

    GermanStudent

    Member
    German
    The construction allows that opposite meaning, but the context doesn’t.
    Hello lingobingo,
    many thanks for your reply.

    Could you explain to me why it is possible to interpret the quote (or rather the construction) both ways, although I have to say "I go down the street but I can't be heard" to say that no one can hear me while I'm walking down the street?
    Where is the difference between me going down a street so that I can't be heard and souls that can't be heard although they're (maybe) there?
    Well, I hope the question is clear and not confusing.

    Best regards
    GermanStudent
     
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