Home » Languages » English (Sr. Secondary) » Meaning of “Chickens Come Home To Roost” phrase of Idiom, definition and synonyms use in sentence.

Meaning of “Chickens Come Home To Roost” phrase of Idiom, definition and synonyms use in sentence.

Chickens Come Home To Roost

“Curses are like young chickens : they always come home to roost.”

—Arabian proverb.

This is another way of saying, with Shakespeare, “The evil that men do lives after them ; the good is oft interred with their bones” (Julius Cesar, III. ii). Both are wise sayings ; yet both are only half-truths, and, as such, are dangerous. The sense of our phrase is that, as young chickens have a habit of straying during the daytime, yet they always come home at night to rest, so the deeds of men and women, sooner or later, return to them. Shakespeare may have been responding to a sentiment that mankind is more prone to react to evil influences than to good ones. It is certainly not a flattering testimony to human nature; and it may be true. Fortunately for itself, mankind does not believe it to be wholly true; otherwise personal sacrifice would scarcely ever be known.

Shakespeare may, on the other hand, have been thinking of the effect of our actions on the lives of others, as George Eliot has it, “Our deeds arc like children born to us, living and acting apart from our own will; children may he strangled, but deeds never.” All the same, the good deeds, equally with the bad, leave their impress on the world about us ; and on none more especially than on ourselves —the doers of the deeds. All are boomerangs to us. While it is true, as Momerie says, that “Hell is the rebound of a violated law,” heaven also is an internal reaction and reconciliation to the nature of goodness.

I sent my soul through the invisible,

Some letter of that After-life to spell ;

And, by and by, my soul returned to me

And answered : I myself am Heaven and Hell ;

Heaven, but the vision of fulfilled desire,

And Hell, the shadow of a soul on fire.

—Thc Rubaiyat of OMAR KHAYYAM.

If, therefore, “curses” are like chickens, why not also “blessings” ? Many will console themselves with the belief that the one is as certain as the other.


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