Hi everyone!
In the lyrics to "Let's roll", Neil Young calls out to "Goin' after Satan / On the wings of a dove". I was wondering about how idiomatic this "wings of a dove" image sounds to native speakers, since I read / heard it in a number of different contexts. Is it a common phrase? And what are its usual connotations, particularly in the song cited above? Does Young suggest to "go SWIFTLY after Satan" or to confront Satan peacefully? And if the latter seems to be implied: Would native speakers understand this line as being ironic?
Regards,
Andreas.
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Andreas Schlenger (Email Removed) wrote on 02 Jan 2004:
Hi everyone! In the lyrics to "Let's roll", Neil Young calls out to "Goin' after Satan / On the wings ... confront Satan peacefully? And if the latter seems to be implied: Would native speakers understand this line as being ironic?

Sounds like wunna them good ol' boy cuntry songs ta me:
Wings Of A Dove
~*~
On the wings of a snow-white dove
He sends His pure sweet love
A sign from above (sign from above)
On the wings of a dove (wings of a dove)
~*~
When troubles surround us, when evils come
The body grows weak (body grows weak)
The spirit grows numb (spirit grows numb)
When these things beset us, He doesn't forget us
He sends down His love (sends down His love)
On the wings of a dove (wings of a dove)
~*~
On the wings of a snow-white dove
He sends His pure sweet love
A sign from above (sign from above)
On the wings of a dove (wings of a dove)
~*~
When Noah had drifted on the flood many days
He searched for land (he searched for land)
In various ways (various ways)
Troubles, he had some but wasn't forgotten
He sent him His love (sent him His love)
On the wings of a dove (wings of a dove)
~*~
On the wings of a snow-white dove
He sends His pure sweet love
A sign from above (sign from above)
On the wings of a dove (wings of a dove)
~*~
On the wings of a snow-white dove
He sends His pure sweet love
A sign from above (sign from above)
On the wings of a dove (wings of a dove)
Recorded by: Ferlin Husky
Words and Music by Robert B. Ferguson
Sequenced by Redsal

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
Hi everyone! In the lyrics to "Let's roll", Neil Young calls out to "Goin' after Satan / On the wings ... of different contexts. Is it a common phrase? And what are its usual connotations, particularly in the song cited above?

It's a phrase in traditional folk songs and gospel songs. On a hunch, I checked Biblegateway.com, King James version:
Psalm 55:6
And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for
then would I fly away, and be at rest.
That must be the source of the idea. There's also, less pertinently:

Psalm 68:13
Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.
Does Young suggest to "go SWIFTLY after Satan" or to confront Satan peacefully? And if the latter seems to be implied: Would native speakers understand this line as being ironic?

I suspect the allusion is merely the ability to fly (hence travel swiftly) and is not related the peace-aspect of the dove image. However, Young would have known about the peace connection, and his audience would have known he knew it, so in that sense, you can't rule it out.

Note also that "dove" is generally a more useful rhyme ("above, love") than, say, "swallow," "eagle," or "woodpecker."

Best Donna Richoux
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In the lyrics to "Let's roll", Neil Young calls out to "Goin' after Satan / On the wings of a ... confront Satan peacefully? And if the latter seems to be implied: Would native speakers understand this line as being ironic?

It's certainly familiar to me, but from a piece of church music written by Mendelssohn: "O for the wings of a dove."
Hi everyone! In the lyrics to "Let's roll", Neil Young calls out to "Goin' after Satan / On the wings ... peacefully? And if the latter seems to be implied: Would native speakers understand this line as being ironic? Regards, Andreas.

Certainly well known in the UK from 'O for the Wings of a Dove', a musical setting by Mendelssohn of Psalm 55 which I remember singing in Church as a child.
O for the wings of a dove!
Far away would I rove!
In the wilderness build me a nest,
And remain there for ever at rest.
I'm sure Neil enjoyed a little Mendelssohn and read his Bible too. And we all know irony when we see it.

John Dean
Oxford
De-frag to reply
MC schrieb:
It's certainly familiar to me, but from a piece of church music written by Mendelssohn: "O for the wings of a dove."

Thanks a lot for all the replies so far. It seems to me that the strongest connotation of the line is that of freedom, swiftness and mobility in context with religious (but not necessarily peaceful) implications.
Andreas.
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Hi everyone! In the lyrics to "Let's roll", Neil Young ... implied: Would native speakers understand this line as being ironic?

Sounds like wunna them good ol' boy cuntry songs ta me: Wings Of A Dove ~*~ On the wings of ... pure sweet love A sign from above (sign from above) On the wings of a dove (wings of a dove)

Recorded by: Ferlin Husky

Words and Music by Robert B. Ferguson Sequenced by Redsal

That was the first thing that came to my mind, too, Franke. The song enjoyed a bit of "cross-over" popularity when it came out (late 1950s? Early 1960s?) and was played on the regular (non-country) radio stations around Detroit.
Um... about your first line ("Sounds like..."): I think "country" would have been the better spelling, dialect or not.

Maria Conlon
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"Maria Conlon" (Email Removed) wrote on 03 Jan 2004:
Sounds like wunna them good ol' boy cuntry songs ta ... On the wings of a dove (wings of a dove)

Words and Music by Robert B. Ferguson Sequenced by Redsal

That was the first thing that came to my mind, too, Franke. The song enjoyed a bit of "cross-over" popularity ... Detroit. Um... about your first line ("Sounds like..."): I think "country" would have been the better spelling, dialect or not.

You might be right, but I was thinking of Shakespeare's "country matters" and the general nature of country music.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor.
Hi everyone! In the lyrics to "Let's roll", Neil Young calls out to "Goin' after Satan / On the wings ... confront Satan peacefully? And if the latter seems to be implied: Would native speakers understand this line as being ironic?

It would need more than just two lines to be able to see whether irony was intended.
In a Christian context "the wings of a dove" might allude to the power of the Holy Spirit, sometimes symbolised as a dove. But without seeing the rest of it, one cannot be sure.
Steve Hayes
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/stevesig.htm
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