a short site about The Divine Comedy

French version


Lyrics: William Wordsworth

Music: Neil Hannon

Published by: Damaged Pop Music / BMG Music Publishing Ltd.

Originally interpreted by: The Divine Comedy

Covered by: Love Bandits / Pablo Jubany


To see the lyrics, click on the name of the version you are interested in (on the left).




A big classic at gigs, even though the number of released versions isn't as impressive as for 'Your Daddy's Car'. It's been played ever since the Europop tour in '92.

Even though in the Liberation credits we can read: "additional lyrics by William Wordsworth", they are entirely Wordsworth's. Neil only repeats a few lines.

The story of this song starts in '92. Neil found that these three 'Lucy' poems were very rhythmical. He put aside n°3 and 4 ('Strange fits of passion have I know" and "Three years she grew in sun and shower") because their rhythmical pattern was different. By the way, the usual order in which the 'Lucy' poems are put is arbitrary. These poems have actually no name and are regarded as a sequence only because they seem quite close, but Wordsworth didn't give them any title or order. Thus, when Neil kept the three other poems and put them in a more sensible order (that is 5, 2, 1), he didn't transgress any big rule or whatever.

In the poem which starts the song (n°5: 'I travelled among unknown men'), the poet tells us of his two-fold love for England and for an Englishwoman called Lucy. In that poem, Neil repeats two lines: "Love thee more and more" and "Lucy's eyes surveyed". The second poem (n°2: 'She dwelt among the untrodden ways') is exclusively about a woman the poet loved (Lucy) and who's now dead. There again, Neil repeats one line: "Shining in the sky". So, from the beginning of the song till the end of this poem, Neil repeats the last line of every two verse. The last poem (n°1: 'A slumber did my spirit seal') is a bit different for Neil doesn't repeat any line. It's about a dead woman (Lucy). In the whole song, this poem is separated from the rest by an instrumental part a bit longer than usual.

When Neil put these poems together and recorded a demo of the song (the Frog Princess demo?), he thought at first he wouldn't keep the lyrics, but would use their pattern. But he couldn't manage to write as good lyrics, so he eventually kept them all. That's why the credits on Liberation aren't exact. [1]

As for the sheep at the beginning of the 5th verse, Neil said once that he recorded a guitar demo of the song with his window opened and some sheep baaed when he was recording. He decided to keep the baas for the album version. [2]

[1] Reference needed
[2] Rock Sound interview, 1994