The Anglo-Saxon navies, he might argue, have a certain code of rules for use at sea; they let women get first into the boats, for instance, when ships are sinking, and they rescue drowning mariners when they can: no actual harm in all this, he would feel, though it would weaken you, as Hindenburg said of poetry; but if all these little rules are tyrannously enforced on those who may think them silly, what is to become of the pirate?

This is from "Tales of War" by Lord Dunsany.

I can not understand what does the sentence below means.
....though it would weaken you, as Hindenburg said of poetry;

Does it mean "as Hindenburg(poet?) said about poetry"? Poetry would weaken you?
as Hindenburg(Disaster) was sung in some poem?

I am glad if some one kindly give me some advice.

  • My guess it refers to Paul von Hindenburg though I don't know the connection to poetry might be.
    – user3169
    May 23, 2016 at 2:09
  • What a confusing paragraph!
    – Ringo
    May 23, 2016 at 7:06

2 Answers 2


though it would weaken you, as Hindenburg said of poetry;

It means that it would weaken you just like Hindenburg said that poetry would weaken you.


It probably means that Hindenburg, being a military man, felt poetry, with it's romantic wording and soft allusions, would make a warrior's heart sentimental and soft.

The more complete text in your reference is about Grand-Admiral von Tirpitz who wanted to remembered along side Captain Kidd as a fierce pirate, thus the question

what is to become of the pirate?

von Tirpitz felt that these little codes of practice, if followed all the time, would make a pirate's heart soft and sentimental, like Hindenburg's thoughts on poetry.

Hindenburg and von Tirpitz were contemporaries.

  • Thank so much for your kind and detailed answer. It made me so clear!! May 24, 2016 at 2:02

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .