a short site about The Divine Comedy

French version

Through A Long And Sleepless Night

Lyrics & Music: Neil Hannon

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

Originally interpreted by: The Divine Comedy


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




This hasn't been played since 2001.

It's about sex of course (all Casanova is about that, isn't it?), but it's also about sleepless and lonely nights, hence fantasies, anxieties and so on and so forth. The third verse shifts to other desires, other depravations: alcohol, begging, etc. The whole point is to live your life as you wish.

'Through A Long And Sleepless Night' is also the title of song by Alfred Newman and Mack Gordon for the film Come To The Stable. It was covered by Scott Walker, of whom Neil is a big fan.

The paranoid side of the song partly comes from the fact that it was written out of scraps from Neil's notebook (he said: "So as to make this carry-on a little more worthwhile, I'll let you in on a little secret: The words (and there are a lot of them) for this song were taken entirely from the leftovers in my notebook - those lines and song ideas that I hadn't been able to make use of elsewhere. It makes for a rather bizarre, but strangely illuminating, six minutes of paranoia.").

The reference to Hell ("my private circle of Hell") is taken from Dante's Divine Comedy.

'Oh Danny Boy' is a Northern Irish song also called he Londonderry Air.

The chorus parodies the saying: "always the bridesmaid, never the bride". Neil is saying that he'll always be a man, with man fantasies, even if you made him wear a dress like a girl. In short, gender is a matter of sexual desire more than of physical appearance.

The line: "I'll scream and scream and scream until…" is taken from the children's series of books, William, where a character, Elspeth, says: "I'll scream and scream and scream until I'm sick!"

Within the album the song is a turning point. It introduces the conclusion. Everything that has been said before was only an instance of how to live a life you won't regret on your deathbed. The song is a summary of other ways of living such a life.