The Brahmin teaches that “whoever hangs himself will wander eternally with a rope round his neck.” (Asiatic Researches.)
To fight with a rope round one's neck. To fight with a certainty of being hanged unless you conquer.
“You must send in a large force; ... for as he fights with a rope
round his neck, he will struggle to the last.” —
You carry a rope in your pocket (French). Said of a person very lucky at cards, from the superstition that a bit of rope with which a man has been hanged, carried in the pocket, secures luck at cards.
“You have no occupation?' said the Bench, inquiringly, to a vagabond at the bar. `Beg your worship's was the rejoinder: `I deal in bits of halter for the use of gentlemen as plays.” —The Times (French correspondent).
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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