Ours is not to reason why; ours is but to do and die

Ours is not to reason why; ours is but to do and die is a proverb. We will examine the meaning of the proverb ours is not to reason why; ours is but to do and die, where the expression came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

Ours is not to reason why; ours is but to do and die is a proverb that means it is not the speaker’s place to question an order, process, more, or situation; it is the speaker’s place to simply cooperate. Often, only the first part of the expression is rendered, ours is not to reason why, with the listener expected to be so familiar with the sentiment that he can mentally supply the rest. The phrase ours is not to reason why; ours is but to do and die is a slightly altered version of lines written by Lord Alfred Tennyson in his 1854 poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade, about a failed British military action: “Theirs not to make reply / Theirs not to reason why / Theirs but to do and die.”

Examples

But the generation before us had been brought up to toe the line: “Ours is not to reason why; ours is but to do and die.” (Prospect Magazine)

And he added cheekily: “I do wonder why Bill Gates wants to chip poor old Doris from Offerton, but ours is not to reason why I suppose.” (Birmingham Mail)

Ours is not to reason why, but it does seem like a low turnout for the biggest album from one of pop’s biggest artists. (Variety)