When you come down,
when you come down,
when you come down...

Jefferson, I heard your tears fall down
over the fall of the rain.
Why is it you and I were never that much the same?
Rain on the road across the Delaware nearly washed us away.
How come philosophy folds in the light of the day?
A piece of the West broke away.

A piece of the west broke away, away.
We are worn like the river stones.
Away, away. Washed up like the river stones.

In Betlehem a baby boy was born,
born to build the bomb.
What was the fighting for,
and who remembers his song?
The boy was king; he was a prodigy,
in love with everything.
But why did the kingdom come
and splll on everyone,
and why the confusion son,
the closer we cling to the gun?
A piece of the West broke away.

A piece of the West broke away, away.
We are worn like the river stones.
Away, away. Washed up like the river stones.

In Pennsylvania there's a bridge that broke.
The water washed it on by.
Why is it you and I, buckled under the tide?
Jefferson, we should have listened.
We should have answered the call.
But what did you want from me?
Now the West will fall.
And who did you hope to be?
Now the West will fall.
Yeah, now the West will fall.

Now the West will fall away.
We are worn like the river stones.
Away, away. Come on rattle the river stones,
washed up like the river stones.
We are worn like the river stones


Lyrics submitted by hyz

Jefferson song meanings
Add your thoughts

3 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +1
    General CommentI believe that this song has a lot of religious undertones, stated specifically in the verse listed below:

    In Betlehem a baby boy was born,
    born to build the bomb.
    What was the fighting for,
    and who remembers his song?
    The boy was king; he was a prodigy,
    in love with everything.
    But why did the kingdom come
    and splll on everyone,
    and why the confusion son,
    the closer we cling to the gun?
    A piece of the West broke away.

    Obviously, it is about Jesus (baby boy born in Bethlehem), and how his teachings have been misconstrued by the West (i.e. America). Originally the purpose of Christianity was about love "he...was in love iwth everything". But then the kingdom come, and caused confusion on modern culture, and causes unnecessary battles, where people "cling to guns" and "build bombs" to fight others.
    TRexAllyon March 21, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is my favourite song by David. I haven't tried to figure out what it means, but I love the music, and I love singing along with this in my car. It's one of those songs that's just fun to belt out.

    I also like the imagery of each one of us being like a little pebble in a river, and over time the water makes each one smoother and more refined.
    NorthWriteron August 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI believe this song is about the American Civil War. This interpretation of the song makes sense given the presence of "Shiloh" on the same album.

    The "Jefferson" referenced in the song is Jefferson Davis, who led the Confederacy during the war. His "tears fall down" because of the Confederates' impending defeat after their failure at the Battle of Gettysburg.

    "Rain on the road across the Delaware" may refer to Fort Delaware on Pea Patch Island in the Delaware River, where the Union held Confederate prisoners of war. It could also refer to the advancing Union armies that would soon storm across the river and into the South, overwhelming the Confederates.

    "A piece of the West broke away" is a direct reference to the Southern States' secession from the Union, which prompted the war.

    "Bethlehem" is likely to be both a Biblical and geographic reference. First, the Biblical reference: Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, and both parties to the conflict believed that God was on their respective sides. Yet the belligerents seem to forget Jesus' statement in Matthew 10:34 that he brings not peace, but a sword. This is the "confusion" that arises the closer that the combatants "cling to the gun." The reference to Bethlehem is also significant because of the role of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in the war. The town was home to the Bethlehem Iron Works, which produced armaments for the Union ("born to build the bomb").

    "In Pennsylvania there's a bridge that broke. The water washed it on by..." refers to the defeat of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia at the Battle of Gettysburg, which turned the "tide"of the war decisively in the Union's favor. The Confederates' "bridge" to the North--and to victory--would be forever washed away, and no bulwarks would remain to stem this Union tide.

    The singer believes that he should have answered Jefferson Davis' "call" to arms. Because he did not do so, his society - what he believes to be the "West" - will "fall" to the Union.
    ObservantNomadon May 29, 2017   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
explain