Other objects of vengeance, few indeed, yet too many, were found among the republican chiefs.

The highlighted part, isn't it a nonsense? Few and many both seem to modify objects, I guess. The objects are few, but too many?

Please help me.

  • Not a nonsense, yet contrast. Feb 8, 2019 at 12:18
  • There were few, yet too many, turds at the picnic. Feb 8, 2019 at 12:36

1 Answer 1


It is a contrast for effect. It suggests that their are few other object of vengeance - that the number of such was small - but that even that small number is too many.

Saying that something is both few and many would be a contradiction (though not necessarily nonsense - not all contradictions are nonsensical), but this is not many. It is too many, which is to say the number is larger than someone judges good. Think of it in similar terms to "only one civilian was killed in the attack, but one is too many".

  • Thank you very much. I really appreciate your kind explanation.
    – NAM
    Feb 8, 2019 at 13:12

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