"The Rise And Fall" as written by Francis Edward Turner, Benjamin Russell Erring Dawson, Cameron David Dean and Julia Ruzicka....
They came from the east,
They brought horses to our cultivated lands,
They gave power to our have-nots. They took our culture,
They brought new customs to our burial grounds,
Broadened the bases of our history. They came from the east,
Replaced our despots with their caliphates,
Conquered but tolerated our gods.
They brought us wisdom,
They brought a zero to our tired calculations,
They guarded knowledge we’d forgotten.
They came from the east.
Byzantium (a city of moths) crumbled into a dust that plunged Europe into the dark.
Constantinople (a metropolis of candles) brought light to our books as Europe forgot how to read.
Let’s make this stage our rubicon,
Let’s cast a die,
Let’s let history decide.
And as I cross it,
I chase aeneas back to his ships,
I bring the rhythm back to the hips.
And as Rome is consumed,
As I fiddle this whisper tune on these strings, friends,
I have no need of your ears.
So let’s make this stage our rubicon,
Our frozen rhine,
Our yippie picket line – and I Caesar Hoffman!
And as I cross it,
I bring the Central Asian steppe sweeping into the wilds of Europe.
I make my bedroom Rome,
I make this city my home,
I am remus come from the dead,
Come to tell you all to sack this city tonight,
Let’s sack this city tonight,
Because I always heard better in the dark.
Thus immersed in barbarous longing.

Lyrics submitted by Harry_Manback

The Rise And Fall song meanings
Add your thoughts


sort form View by:
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song is about how the natives and other people who have less social capital than most of America now, were actually the peoples, the cultures, the customs, that our society is roughly based on today. For example: “they brought a zero to our tired calculations” is talking about either the Babylonians or the Mayans, who are both said to have “created” the number zero simultaneously and supposedly independently of one another.
    voiceontapeon June 02, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNice idea. My interpretation is of how the Roman Empire grew and eventually collapsed, and is urging our society not to make the same mistakes. See "lets make this stage our rubicon", and the references to Byzantium and Constantinople.
    Redstarradioon February 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentInteresting first interpretation, though considering Frank Turner isn't an American himself, I don't think it's quite right.

    I think the song is indeed about how the Roman Empire grew and grew and then collapsed and was overthrown.

    In this time, the whole of Western Europe, Britain in particular, was plunged into the Dark Ages, losing all that the Romans had done for society. Meanwhile in the East, Asia and Arabia, technology and civilisation was thriving: light, public health, and medicine in particular was years ahead of the rest of the known world. The point with "0" is correct that India and Arabia dicovered the number that now upholds all technology (e.g. binary on computers)

    Indeed the song itself builds up and up, become more and more strained until the collapse between the sections, and then the complete breakdown for the last 11 minutes of the song.

    A key point with the last line of the song ("Thus immersed in barbarous longing") is that it is repeated over and over until the song breaks down into noise. I think this refers to how the West "immersed" itself in its barbarian ways, yet still wanted back the control that the Romans (or now the East) held.

    There is so much in this song that you don't pick up until you think about it. For instance, about half of this analysis was realised as I wrote it. Brilliant song. Turner is an incredible lyricist.
    julezfireexiton March 24, 2007   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top