Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What does "Led by your scent to fairer climes at last" mean?

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

Fairer climes is somewhere the weather or at least climate (i.e. climes) is better. Following someone's scent there has a number of meanings, in this case I'm guessing prose of 50+ years ago then it's probably an affectionate reference to a perfume. However, In modern day parlance it might indicate a 'soap dodger' — how times have changed. The final 'at last' implies a long term relationship, therefore I see a couple re-uniting after a significant time apart.

In England a common cause of such a separation would be working in the 'colonies' (please don't flame). I'd say this was written by a man who was returning to fairer climes, i.e. away from Africa/India where fever, heat etc. was quite likely to kill, following his loved one.

share|improve this answer
2  
Source appears to be Baudelaire fleursdumal.org/poem/120 –  David Gelhar Jan 9 '11 at 20:18
    
Out of curiosity, what flame are you anticipating? –  Chris B. Behrens Jan 11 '11 at 18:54
    
@Chris Be refering to half the world as the colonies, even if only tongue in cheek, it can annoy the locals who are delighted that we (the English) left and still annoyed that we were there at all. –  MrTelly Jan 12 '11 at 4:41
    
Heh...I don't mind the U.S. being referred to as "the colonies", for example, and I'm a TEXAN. I guess it's a more sensitive matter elsewhere. –  Chris B. Behrens Jan 12 '11 at 14:46
    
I would have completely agreed with @MrTelly's excellent answer until seeing from David Gelhar that it's a translation from French - and a rather free one - so all the colonial resonances of 'fairer climes' don't really apply. –  user24964 Jan 6 at 13:47

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.