"Ophelia" as written by and Robbie Robertson....
Boards on the window
Mail by the door
What would anybody leave so quickly for?
Ophelia
Where have you gone?

The old neighborhood just ain't the same
Nobody knows just what became of
Ophelia
Tell me, what went wrong

Was it something that somebody said?
Mama, I know we broke the rules
Was somebody up against the law?
Honey, you know I'd die for you

Ashes of laughter
The ghost is clear
Why do the best things always disappear
Like Ophelia
Please darken my door

Was it something that somebody said?
Mama, I know we broke the rules
Was somebody up against the law?
Honey, you know I'd die for you

They got your number
Scared and running
But I'm still waiting for the second coming
Of Ophelia
Come back home


Lyrics submitted by Korno, edited by Poisonouss

"Ophelia" as written by Robbie Robertson

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Ophelia song meanings
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22 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentDon't be offended bradburyesqu; you have to admit that at 27 you're an exception to the rule. In any case, I'm glad you've discovered real rock 'n roll. By the way, I never mentioned Ophelia's skin colour; I didn't think it was relevant to the song. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; pick a colour. You're idea that she must be black, and that therefore a law was broken, doesn't quite ring any bells (belles?) with me! The name "Ophelia" is perhaps more common among whites than blacks (read Hamlet). And the common phrase "darken my door" has always applied to anyone, not just people with dark skin. Besides, if it's a song about the old south's racial repression, then what's a single black female doing owning her own property in the first place? No, I think Ophelia is simply a mysterious woman whose overt beauty gets her into all kinds of trouble and intrigue. A touch of Gypsy blood perhaps! The important thing is that we both love the tune.
    RayManon June 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgreat fucking song; i especially enjoy the version on the last waltz.
    TangeledUpInBlueon June 30, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAmazing tune! Ophelia is that beautiful, dark, mysterious Southern Belle every real man would give his right arm for! The Band do it right, especially LIVE on The Last Waltz. If you're under 45, you probably don't have a CLUE, do you? That's why there are only 2 postings to this beauty! If you're reading this, do yourself a HUGE favour and go out and buy a copy of the The Last Waltz on DVD, make sure the audio feeds though your stereo, crank it WAY UP LOUD, and get schooled on what ROCK AND ROLL really is!!!
    RayManon February 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment^^^ agreed ^^^
    BensonRosson March 26, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI’m 27 and quite offended Rayman. This is one of my all time favorite band songs. And I’ve always thought it wasn’t just about any southern belle, but a black woman. I’ve always thought that that is why she had to run away and how they where “up against the law” but then again what do I know ;)
    bradburyesquon June 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDon't worry too much Rayman the part about being offended was said with my tou firmly in cheek. And yes, I am by far the exception. I never even thought "darken my door" referred to skin color although it's an intriguing thought. BTW nowhere in the song does it talk about her owning land. An other interesting interpretation (speaking of hamlet) a friend of mine always thought "The Ghost is Clear" was a reference to hamlet and that this Ophelia also committed suicide. (I’m more partial to Beatrice as an interesting female character my self) Something else worth noting Ophelia is a Greek name meaning “help” it is quite fitting for the song, I’ve often wondered if that was intentional. I don't know. We do agree about one thing, I don't think who Ophelia is or isn’t is at all important to the song. In fact, she could be a pet and not even a human at all and it wouldn't change this great song. What really matters is how deeply the narrator misses her. The beauty of the song is how much longing and love is portrait in relatively few words. You intertwine that with the horns and you have a song that gets better with each listening.
    bradburyesquon June 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAgreed. The lyric contains enough embellishment to captivate the imagination, but is yet ambiguous enough to allow for a variety of interpretations. And you're right, the beauty of the lyric truly lies in the passion with which it's delivered. The Band has a lot of vocal talent, but Levon Helm has to be first in line. He belts out this beauty with passion and gusto, and that subtle southern drawl of his adds just the right touch... all the while playing that drum kit for all it's worth to punctuate that swinging rhythm perfectly. Poetry in motion. Play it again...
    RayManon June 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm 18 and I love The Band and Van Morrison and The Beatles, Rayman. Believe it or not, today's generation is starting to wake up to the fact that today's music sucks, and are looking for alternatives. In fact, almost none of my friends listen to mainstream rock, preferring the classics instead. Rock n Roll won't die as long as we all remember what it really is.
    born to runon July 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentbradburyesqu I don't think we can just say that Ophelia has not meaning in the song. Oh course she does! Actually, the beauty of this song isn't the longning it's the mystery behind Ophelia like RayMan had said. However, I wouldn't go diving too deep either. Some songs are, although great, superfical. The meaning here is quite straight forward. I'm not sure if anyone here has every read "The Day of the Locust" but the Ophelia character here reminds my of Faye Greener, and the narrator Tod. I'm not saying the song is based on "The Day of the Locust", I am certain it is not, but what I am drawing a connection between is this notion of the watched and the watchers. Ophelia seems like one of the watched, obviously she was a bit promicious, and the singer and the "they" he refers to, are the watchers. However, at the end of the day, the song is about this strange women just leaving without notice, and these love struck men want her to come back. The tone of the song almost sounds as if they are taunting her, this could also suggest the lack of respect the singer feels for the women.
    paigepeachon November 22, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn the above lyrics there are also alot of mistakes. I have listed them below:

    1. In the 2nd stanza (2nd section) where the above lyrics say "Tell me, what went wrong" it should be "where have you gone"

    2. In the 3rd stanza, instead of "Mama, I know wer broke the rules", its "Mama, you know we broke the rules"

    3. Instead of "Honey you know I'd die for you", its "honey you know that I'd die for you"

    4. The 4th stanza is entirely wrong and should be replaced with...
    "They got your number
    Scared and runnin'
    But I'm still waitin' for the second comin'
    Of Ophelia
    Come back home
    Please Darken my door"

    5. I don't know why the above lyrics say "Wu" in the 5th stanza, but it should be "was" instead.

    6. then the 6th stanza should read...
    "Ashes of laughter
    The ghost is clear
    Why do the best things always disappear
    Like Ophelia
    Please Come back home"

    The version of the song that I was using is from Last Waltz Disc 2, and basically I just played the song in comparison with the lyrics, and discovered the difference. Hope you enjoy!
    paigepeachon November 22, 2006   Link

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