a short site about The Divine Comedy

French version


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).




Though it's a Promenade song, it seems it was not played live until 1996.

It's full of artistic references, yet it tells of something quite ordinary: a girl taking a bath. Neil's description is very reminiscent of Sandro Botticelli's Birth of Venus, also called Aphrodite's Bath. Venus was the roman goddess of beauty and Aphrodite the Greek goddess. Thus, the heroin is beautiful. She's later also compared to Ophelia, the heroin of Shakespeare's play, Hamlet.

The song starts with an excerpt from a psalm by Isaac Watts entitled 'O God, Our help in Ages Past'. There's also a reference to a nursery rhyme going: "Rub-a-dub-dub, three men in a boat". The Sound of Music is a British musical, and Brave New World is a novel by Aldous Huxley.

But there's more to this song. It's the opening song of Promenade, and as such, it settles the background for the album. In it there are elements of the album. For instance, the hypothesis that the heroin might be drowned and her comparison to Ophelia, who drowns herself, actually anticipate on 'Neptune's Daughter'.