"Cemetry Gates" as written by Johnny Marr and Steven Patrick Morrissey....
A dreaded sunny day
So I meet you at the cemetry gates
Keats and Yeats are on your side
A dreaded sunny day
So I meet you at the cemetry gates
Keats and Yeats are on your side
While Wilde is on mine

So we go inside and we gravely read the stones
All those people, all those lives
Where are they now?
With loves, and hates
And passions just like mine
They were born
And then they lived
And then they died
It seems so unfair
I want to cry

You say : "'Ere thrice the sun done salutation to the dawn"
And you claim these words as your own
But I've read well, and I've heard them said
A hundred times (maybe less, maybe more)
If you must write prose/poems
The words you use should be your own
Don't plagiarise or take "on loan"
'Cause there's always someone, somewhere
With a big nose, who knows
And who trips you up and laughs
When you fall
Who'll trip you up and laugh
When you fall

You say : "'Ere long done do does did"
Words which could only be your own
And then produce the text
From whence was ripped
(Some dizzy whore, 1804)

A dreaded sunny day
So let's go where we're happy
And I meet you at the cemetry gates
Oh, Keats and Yeats are on your side
A dreaded sunny day
So let's go where we're wanted
And I meet you at the cemetry gates
Keats and Yeats are on your side
But you lose
'Cause weird lover Wilde is on mine

Sure!


Lyrics submitted by weezerific:cutlery

"Cemetry Gates" as written by Johnny Marr Steven Morrissey

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

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Cemetry Gates song meanings
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  • +15
    General CommentA twisting paradoxical story of literary plagiarism unfolds into one of Morrissey's largest ever borrowings : the "All those people .... I want to cry" section is ripped wholesale from the film "The Man Who Came To Dinner", which is also the source of Morrissey alias Sheridan Whitehead.
    The words Morrissey has heard said a hundred times (maybe less, maybe more) come from Shakespeare's Richard III. Morrissey paradoxically both caustically dismisses Wilde ("weird lover Wilde") and champions him above Keats and Yeats, generally conservatively considered to be the more "important" poets.
    This song echoes Morrissey's memories of visiting Southern Cemetery in Manchester with his greatest friend, Linder Sterling. This cemetry, by the way is absolutely huge. His mention of a "dreaded sunny day" is surely a tongue-in-cheek lyrical landmine for those who accuse him of being miserable all the time.
    The mis-spelling of "cemetery" is a MozMistake, as opposed to any dire pun on the word "try", thank god.
    Corrupted-tomatoon April 13, 2004   Link
  • +9
    General CommentA crucial distinction no one has made so far is that Yeats and Keats were unabashedly emotional in their poetry, never satirical, whereas Oscar Wilde is almost the definition of satire. This plays a very important role in the song.

    Wilde is a man whose whole life was satire, purposefully. This gave him a constant ironic advantage. From when he moved to England and intended on inhabiting fully the role of "English gentleman," though he was Irish, homosexual and not born into the gentleman life, his life was an entirely tongue-in-cheek decision to be someone with a "big nose who knows", the whole time writing stuff which showed you could never know everything nor be correct indisputably. This song seems at least partly, to me, to be about the very American, but more generally just plain modern, misconception that "cynicism and naivete are mutually exclusive," that simply because you are ironic and humorous and therefore will usually come out looking like the smarter one who wins, you do not necessarily win, and you certainly don't necessarily know more.
    Chicopacon May 09, 2009   Link
  • +8
    General CommentHow deliciously ironic that Corrupted-tomato has ripped his interpretation, word for word, from the excellent LASID fansite.

    Remember : there's always someone, somewhere, with a big nose, who knows and trips you up and laughs when you fall ;-)
    Viva_Hateon February 22, 2007   Link
  • +5
    General CommentThis song's just so clever. Even some of the smaller lines are outstanding in themselves, not just the plagerism theme. 'and we gravely read the stones' - just a fantastic play on words that stands out and always makes me smile
    jonnywardon September 16, 2007   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI think it's a contrast between the big romantic poets, Keats and Yates, and Wilde, the king of wit. The person he's going to the cemetery with is romantic and charming, but Morrissey is witty and his romance isn't always perfect - see Unhappy Birthday or Girlfriend in a Coma. Therefore, while Keats and Yates are on their side with their blind and poetic romance, Wilde is on his making witty observations.
    Reidsanon June 09, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General CommentAll those people, all those lives
    Where are they now?
    With loves, and hates
    And passions just like mine
    They were born
    And then they lived
    And then they died
    It seems so unfair
    I want to cry

    A reference to The Man Who Came To Dinner. A powerful and universal idea that can be found in important texts. For example, this theme resonates highly with the "Alas, poor Yorrick, I knew him" speech in Shakespeares Hamlet. Where Hamlet contemplates his own mortality.

    "Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know
    not how oft. Where be your gibes now? your
    gambols? your songs?"

    It's a wonderful thing when the pain of human experience is affirmed in songs and plays you love.
    hmillikeon June 25, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentOscar on plagiarism: "When I see a monstrous tulip with four petals in someone else's garden, I am impelled to grow a monstrous tulip with five wonderful petals, but that is no reason why someone should grow a tulip with only three petals."

    Oscar did like to "borrow," so maybe that's one of the ways he's on the narrator's/Morrissey's side.
    HeavenlyAngoraon March 11, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI don't know why people can call Moz unhappy and miserable when he has songs like this. He's clearly taking the mickey out of himself.

    And just in case no one knew the last line of the song is....

    "Because weird lover Wilde is on mine"

    I always used to think that he said either Shut up or Sugar and i'd sing accordingly. It is Sure though.
    ShakespearesSisteron March 22, 2006   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningMorrissey wands the cemetery in search for poetic inspiration, emulating his idols lifestyles and weird ways of thinking (Wilde). A companion of Morrissey these days, being a fake and a poseur of Morrissey's own style, likes more conservative and mainstream poets and cites someone's words as their own, revealing his mediocrity.
    GothMyAsson August 05, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think this is Morrissey's scathing critique of the whole movement of romantic poetry which is often so melodramatic and depressing to a fault. I think this song is a great example of Morrissey as a satirist. On the one hand he makes light of the weepy sentimentality of poets like Keats, Shelley, Byron, but on the other hand he admits to being steeped in their tradition.
    Yoink!on December 20, 2004   Link

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