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I am not sure how to understand this expression which showed up in a Walt Whitman poem (Passage to India : 142) - English is not my first language

Brook normally means 'to not tolerate' but that doesn't make sense to me in the context.

The line is

Thyself O soul that will not brook a challenge.

I don't think that means that the soul 'avoids' challenges. Or does it ?

1 Answer 1

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It means “Stand/tolerate no challenge

Brook:

As a verb, brook is a rather stuffy word for "put up with." The lord of the manor might say, "I will brook no trespassing on my land."

……..

Brook is tailor-made for talking about what you won't stand for — it's always "brook no..." If you brook no criticism of your friend, it means you won't let people speak ill of her. If you brook no brooks, it means you've developed a bizarre hatred of streams and will spend the rest of your days trying to avoid them.

(Vocabulary.com)

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