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Author Topic: Is the expression "feet of clay" considered as an idiom?  (Read 112 times)
Justine Aragones
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« on: November 24, 2017, 10:36:34 PM »

Sir what is the meaning and origin of the expression "feet of clay"? I heard that phrase one time from President Rodrigo Duterte's  speech. Do you consider that expression as an idiom?
« Last Edit: November 24, 2017, 10:38:47 PM by Justine Aragones » Logged
Joe Carillo
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« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2017, 10:50:26 PM »

The often-used idiom "feet of clay" means a weakness or hidden flaw in the character of a greatly admired or respected person. There are repeated but not exact wordings referring to the iron legs of a great image with "feet part of iron and part of clay" in the Book of Daniel, where the prophet Daniel makes an interpretation of a dream of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon.


A well-known exact reference to the phrase "feet of clay" is found in the last line of the third stanza of Lord Byron's "Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte." The first three stanzas of the 19-stanza poem are as follows:
 
Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte
By Lord Byron (1788–1824)
 
’TIS done—but yesterday a King!   
  And arm’d with Kings to strive—   
And now thou art a nameless thing:   
  So abject—yet alive!   
Is this the man of thousand thrones,           
Who strew’d our earth with hostile bones,   
  And can he thus survive?   
Since he, miscalled the Morning Star,   
Nor man nor fiend hath fallen so far.   
 
Ill-minded man! why scourge thy kind           
  Who bow’d so low the knee?   
By gazing on thyself grown blind,   
  Thou taught’st the rest to see.   
With might unquestion’d,—power to save,—   
Thine only gift hath been the grave,           
  To those that worshipp’d thee;   
Nor till thy fall could mortals guess   
Ambition’s less than littleness!   
 
Thanks for that lesson—it will teach   
  To after-warriors more           
Than high Philosophy can preach,   
  And vainly preach’d before.   
That spell upon the minds of men   
Breaks never to unite again,   
  That led them to adore           
Those Pagod things of sabre sway   
With fronts of brass, and feet of clay.


Click this link for the full text of Lord Byron's "Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte"
« Last Edit: November 26, 2017, 11:29:10 PM by Joe Carillo » Logged

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