(Marius, recovering from his wounds, imagines he is back at the ABC cafe)

There's a grief that can't be spoken.
There's a pain goes on and on.
Empty chairs at empty tables
Now my friends are dead and gone.

Here they talked of revolution.
Here it was they lit the flame.
Here they sang about `tomorrow'
And tomorrow never came.

From the table in the corner
They could see a world reborn
And they rose with voices ringing
I can hear them now!
The very words that they had sung
Became their last communion
On the lonely barricade at dawn.

Oh my friends, my friends forgive me

(The ghosts of those who died on the barricade appear)

That I live and you are gone.
There's a grief that can't be spoken.
There's a pain goes on and on.

Phantom faces at the window.
Phantom shadows on the floor.
Empty chairs at empty tables
Where my friends will meet no more.

(The ghosts fade away)

Oh my friends, my friends, don't ask me
What your sacrifice was for
Empty chairs at empty tables
Where my friends will sing no more.

Lyrics submitted by fallacies

Empty Chairs at Empty Tables song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentSuch a powerful song. Just think about it
    chocolateboxon May 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is the single part of the play that is "better" than the novel. The novel never addresses Marius' feelings towards the death of his acquaintances (I don't think it's fair to call them "friends") on the barricade. He spends 6 months recovering from his wounds then he is just focused on how happy he is to have Cosette.

    Marius was a Republican so he supported the rebellion. But he wasn't very passionate about it. The only reason he goes to the barricade is 1) when he goes to Cosette's house and she is gone Marius doesn't see any point to his life anymore, and 2) Eponine tells him to go to the barricade.

    I think in real life Marius would have felt grief over the end of his acquaintances. They were the only people in his life he spent any time with for at least a year prior to the insurrection. At that point he would have felt something towards them and he would have at least felt grief over their death.

    The novel never touched on this subject but I'm glad it was added to the play.
    rodhandleron May 26, 2013   Link

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