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An interesting case of metaphor as mistake for the holidaze

This morning, I was listening to Bono belt out a cover of Greg Lake’s “I Believe in Father Christmas” when a line from the song grabbed aholt of me. It was this: “… a vale of tears for the virgin birth…” Vale is how I wanted to spell it, anyhow, in my mind’s notepad, but the sense of the line simultaneously inclined me towards the suspicion that Mr. Lake spelled it veil. I Googled around a bit and didn’t locate any official lyrics for the song, but all the unofficial ones I could find indeed scribed it out as veil, which is just fine, I think, but also wrong, wonderfully, marvelously wrong. Of course, it could be Mr. Lake is an even cagier fellow than all that and actually intends both veil and vale, capitalizing on the common mistake to make a double metaphor mean more. I wouldn’t put it past him. In any case, it’s a fine song. Enjoy.


  1. Matthew Lickona says

    Meanwhile, here is a Bono belt.

  2. Accept no substitutes:

    • Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

      There once was a fellow called Mock
      Who, in all of his writing and talk,
      Showed no marked inclination
      Toward crude imitation –
      Which came, I’ll admit, as a shock.

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