minstrel: Earthworms Through the Ages

Ed Hopkins Ed.Hopkins at MCI.Com
Wed Apr 23 15:20:00 PDT 1997

Alfredo opined,

> >It's always seemed to me that "we" would be drinking from
> >their helms after "they" had gotten themselves killed
> >fighting against _other_ "lions of might" over who gets to
> >own the worms.  That is, that the purpose of the song was to
> >simply to make the listeners indifferent to the causes of
> >ruling class.

Muirgheal maintained,

> "Well, they've beat us before"
> "And they'll beat us again"
> "But we'll drink from their helmets tonight."
>  - sounds more like "We know this uprising can never have any lasting effect, 
> and we'll still be as bad off as we always have been, but it was so bad we 
> just had to do something since we had nothing to lose. Lets get one good blow 
> in before they win."  It does seem to be a call to arms, but to a cause that 
> even the participants know is doomed to failure.

The author could have chosen a metaphor of some lowly thing that
fights back -- a thistle, say, or a snake; instead he uses the
worm, a creature that usually just waits for worm-treading lions
to become worm-food by some other means.  Hence my interpretation.

-- Alfredo
...men have died from time to time and worms have eaten them...
                         -- As You Like It
                            Act 4, Scene 1

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