sackcloth and ashes
Mourning or penitence, as in What I did to Julie's child was terrible, and I've been in sackcloth and ashes ever since. This term refers to the ancient Hebrew custom of indicating humility before God by wearing a coarse cloth, normally used to make sacks, and dusting oneself with ashes. In English it appeared in William Tyndale's 1526 biblical translations (Matthew 11:21), “They [the cities Tyre and Sidon] had repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.”
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Example sentences from the Web for sackcloth and ashes
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Yes, Byrd—dead four-and-a-half years now—was a Kleagle in the Ku Klux Klan.Steve Scalise and the Right’s Ridiculous Racial Blame Game|Michael Tomasky|January 2, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Warm milk mixed with a spoonful of fireplace ashes seemed to also be popular among 19th century England.
Later that night, that same black-and-red banner would be seen again—in the column of marchers chanting for dead cops.
She also practises etching, pen-and-ink drawing, as well as crayon and water-color sketching.Women in the fine arts, from the Seventh Century B.C. to the Twentieth Century A.D.|Clara Erskine Clement
He thrust the Cardinal's mantle into it, and stood over the smouldering cloth, till the whole was consumed to ashes.The Pastor's Fire-side Vol. 3 of 4|Jane Porter
No law of that country must exceed in words the number of letters in their alphabet, which consists only in two-and-twenty.Gulliver's Travels|Jonathan Swift
The Seneschal stood with blanched face and gaping mouth, his fire all turned to ashes before the passion of this gaunt man.St. Martin's Summer|Rafael Sabatini
Mr. Spurrell came down to see a horse, and we shall be very glad to have the benefit of his opinion by-and-by.