"Saint Augustine In Hell" as written by and Gordon Sumner....
If somebody up there likes me somebody up there cares
Deliver me from evil save me from these wicked snares
Not into temptation not to cliffs of fall
On to revelation and lesson for us all

She walked into the room on the arm of my best friend
I knew whatever happened our friendship would end
Chemical reaction desire at first sight
Mystical attraction turned out all my lights

The minute I saw her face, the second I caught her eye
The minute I touched the flame I knew it would never die

I don't know if it's pain or pleasure that I seek
My flesh was all too willing, my spirit guide was weak
I was deadly certain his thoughts for me weren't kind
A switchblade in his pocket, murder on his mind

Blessed St. Theresa the whore of Babylon
Madonna and my mother all rolled into one
You've got to understand me, I'm not a piece of wood
Francis of Assisi could never be this good



The less I need the more I get
Make me chaste but not just yet
It's a promise or a lie I'll repent before I die

The minute I saw her face, the second I caught her eye
The minute I touched the flame I knew it would never die
The minute I saw her face, the second I caught her eye
The minute I touched the flame I knew it would never die

Relax, have a cigar, make yourself at home.
Hell is full of high court judges, failed saints.
We've got Cardinals, Archbishops, barristers, certified accountants, music critics,
They're all here.
You're not alone, you're never alone. Not here you're not.
Okay, break's over.

The less I need the more I get
Make me chaste but not just yet
It's a promise or a lie I'll repent before I die

The minute I saw her face, the second I caught her eye
The minute I touched the flame I knew it would never die
The minute I saw her face, the second I caught her eye
The minute I touched the flame I knew it would never die


Lyrics submitted by Novartza

"Saint Augustine in Hell" as written by Gordon Sumner

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Saint Augustine In Hell song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentExcellent song, rich with metaphor and artistry. Sting melds culture, history, religion, and his wry wit in this song about forbidden love and personal weakness.
    calystoon November 21, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTotally awesome song, although i dont know much about St Augustine as i'd like to. You can so ralate to this song, Catchy as hell too. Makes me think of how i wanted to go out with my best friend's GF. I ended up doing so, the song made me feel better.
    Lord_Zatanason March 25, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is irreverent and makes me smile whenever I hear it.

    The CD from which this song comes contains other songs in weird time signatures - 7/4 in particular. Have a listen to "Seven Days" or "Love is Stronger than Justice" - you'll hear what I mean.
    wild_thaingon March 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAnother funny song by the Stingster. I love how he describes hell:

    "Relax, have a cigar, make yourself at home.
    Hell is full of high court judges, failed saints.
    We've got Cardinals, Archbishops, barristers, certified
    accountants, music critics, they're all here.
    You're not alone, you're never alone. Not here you're not.
    Okay, break's over!"

    All in all a song of desire, and weekness in front of it. So what else in new?
    AprilMoon1991on July 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI’ll come up with the fanciful idea that this is a story about St. Augustine who meets two angels—his guardian angel and his angel’s guardian angel who arrive by surprise to shake Auggie’s world. Now her angel is the one with the switchblade and murder on his mind because he’s arrived with St. Theresa, the whore of Babylon, Madonna and A’s mother rolled into one, and best friends notwithstanding, angels don’t do this often and he’s enormously protective of her. And they stuck around to do a Not Ready For Prime Time Players’ version of Dickens “A Christmas Carol” letting Augustine play Scrooge while the two angels and their pals played all of the other parts at breakneck speed—okay, break’s over!—and then took off, like bats out of Hell. Fanciful yes, but I was reading between the lines and it came in quite clearly… lol
    sillybunnyon July 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment[Question]: You draw on a lot of religious imagery for Saint Augustine in Hell.

    [Sting]: I mean one of the benefits of a Roman Catholic education - there are a lot of downs to it - is, is a, um, is a rich reservoir of imagery and, um, symbolism. Y'know, something about guilt and hell, fire, and bright colors of blood and torture and all this. And saints and archetypal characters. So I, I don't regret it in that sense. I think its very good to be brought up a Catholic. Actually, it's very good to be brought up in, in any religion that's deeply steeped in history, you know? I think most religions are. So, I'd rather be brought up in a religious way, than not be brought up in a religious way. Um, so I'm, I'm grateful. It gives you something to kick against, or something to argue against, or whatever. But, you know, and the same's true of the Jewish faith and the Protestant faith. I'm not sure you should agree with everything they tell you. Saint Augustine, though, was an interesting character. He, uh, he's - my favorite comment of his was, "God made me pure, but not yet." And I think that's kind of the way I feel.

    [Question]: Tell us about the character in Saint Augustine in Hell.

    [Sting]: Well, he, you know the character in the song is sort of tempted by his best, best friend's girlfriend, who's something else. And, uh, he ends up in Hell somehow. His best friend kills him. That's it! His best friend kills him with a switchblade and he ends up in Hell. And, um, the Devil says to him, "Well, you're not alone. There all here. There's judges, there's, uh, lawyers, accountants, music critics." (laughs) Ah, there's a little bit of revenge there, y'know?
    sillybunnyon August 26, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNineteen ninety-three saw Ten Summoner’s Tales—a pun on Sting’s real surname, Sumner, and also a reference to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. That fifteenth-century tome includes stories told by, among other figures, a summoner, i.e., a court figure charged with calling others to appear before royalty or for some other important, formal function.
    The included musical tale “St. Augustine in Hell” found its protagonist caught in his own “eternal fire” of uncontrollable sexual attraction to a woman dating his best friend. In his pique, he proposes a corresponding rightfully earned torturous eternity for cardinals, archbishops, accountants who misuse the investment funds entrusted to them ... and music critics.
    Augustine’s own prayer to God in the face of temptation, as quoted in the song, was exactly “Lord, make me chaste, but not just yet.”


    [From Rock & Holy Rollers: The Spiritual Beliefs of Chart-Topping Rock Stars in Their Lives and Lyrics by Geoffrey D. Falk.]
    sillybunnyon September 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentUntil I checked this board, I never caught the line "Francis of Assisi could never be this good." It's very interesting to me since the recently elected pope of the Catholic Church took the name "Francis" in honor of Francis of Assisi.
    arthurjay1974on March 26, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA little trivia:
    The interlude at around 2:30 is actually taken from an earlier Sting song titled "I Miss You Kate". You should be able to find it on the CD single for All This Time.
    MusicFoxon June 06, 2016   Link

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