"Shalott" as written by and Emilie Autumn....
She's locked up with a spinning wheel
She can't recall what it was like to feel
She says, "This room's gonna be my grave
And there's no one who can save me,"
She sits down to her colored thread
She knows lovers waking up in their beds
She says, "How long can I live this way
Is there someone I can pay to let me go
'Cause I'm half sick of shadows
I want to see the sky
Everyone else can watch as the sun goes down
So why can't I

And it's raining
And the stars are falling from the sky
And the wind
And the wind I know it's cold
I've been waiting
For the day I will surely die
And it's here
And it's here for I've been told
That I'll die before I'm old
And the wind I know it's cold..."

She looks up to the mirrored glass
She sees a horse and rider pass
She says, "This man's gonna be my death
'Cause he's all I ever wanted in my life
And I know he doesn't know my name
And that all the girls are all the same to him
But still I've got to get out of this place
'Cause I don't think I can face another night
Where I'm half sick of shadows
And I can't see the sky
Everyone else can watch as the tide comes in
So why can't I


But there's willow trees
And little breezes, waves, and walls, and flowers
And there's moonlight every single night
As I'm locked in these towers
So I'll meet my death
But with my last breath I'll sing to him I love
And he'll see my face in another place,"
And with that the glass above

Her cracked into a million bits
And she cried out, "So the story fits
But then I could have guessed it all along
'Cause now some drama queen is gonna write a song for me,"
She went down to her little boat
And she broke the chains and began to float away
And as the blood froze in her veins she said,
"Well then that explains a thing or two
'Cause I know I'm the cursed one
I know I'm meant to die
Everyone else can watch as their dreams untie
So why can't I



Lyrics submitted by demonwings

"Shalott" as written by Emilie Autumn

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Shalott song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentThe Lady of Shalott is my favorite poem. It's about a girl who is locked in a tower alone and only allowed to see the world through mirrors. She weaves beautiful art everyday with colored thread. One day, she sees Lancelot and falls in love with him. She breaks the mirrors and a horrible storm starts up and she is forced to get on a boat that she carves her name on and dies in the water.
    dchion February 16, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe Lady Of Shalott
    by Lord Tennyson

    On either side the river lie
    Long fields of barley and of rye,
    That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
    And through the field the road run by
    To many-tower'd Camelot;
    And up and down the people go,
    Gazing where the lilies blow
    Round an island there below,
    The island of Shalott.

    Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
    Little breezes dusk and shiver
    Through the wave that runs for ever
    By the island in the river
    Flowing down to Camelot.
    Four grey walls, and four grey towers,
    Overlook a space of flowers,
    And the silent isle imbowers
    The Lady of Shalott.

    By the margin, willow veil'd,
    Slide the heavy barges trail'd
    By slow horses; and unhail'd
    The shallop flitteth silken-sail'd
    Skimming down to Camelot:
    But who hath seen her wave her hand?
    Or at the casement seen her stand?
    Or is she known in all the land,
    The Lady of Shalott?

    Only reapers, reaping early,
    In among the bearded barley
    Hear a song that echoes cheerly
    From the river winding clearly;
    Down to tower'd Camelot;
    And by the moon the reaper weary,
    Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
    Listening, whispers, " 'Tis the fairy
    The Lady of Shalott."

    There she weaves by night and day
    A magic web with colours gay.
    She has heard a whisper say,
    A curse is on her if she stay
    To look down to Camelot.
    She knows not what the curse may be,
    And so she weaveth steadily,
    And little other care hath she,
    The Lady of Shalott.

    And moving through a mirror clear
    That hangs before her all the year,
    Shadows of the world appear.
    There she sees the highway near
    Winding down to Camelot;
    There the river eddy whirls,
    And there the surly village churls,
    And the red cloaks of market girls
    Pass onward from Shalott.

    Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
    An abbot on an ambling pad,
    Sometimes a curly shepherd lad,
    Or long-hair'd page in crimson clad
    Goes by to tower'd Camelot;
    And sometimes through the mirror blue
    The knights come riding two and two.
    She hath no loyal Knight and true,
    The Lady of Shalott.

    But in her web she still delights
    To weave the mirror's magic sights,
    For often through the silent nights
    A funeral, with plumes and lights
    And music, went to Camelot;
    Or when the Moon was overhead,
    Came two young lovers lately wed.
    "I am half sick of shadows," said
    The Lady of Shalott.

    A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
    He rode between the barley sheaves,
    The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves,
    And flamed upon the brazen greaves
    Of bold Sir Lancelot.
    A red-cross knight for ever kneel'd
    To a lady in his shield,
    That sparkled on the yellow field,
    Beside remote Shalott.

    The gemmy bridle glitter'd free,
    Like to some branch of stars we see
    Hung in the golden Galaxy.
    The bridle bells rang merrily
    As he rode down to Camelot:
    And from his blazon'd baldric slung
    A mighty silver bugle hung,
    And as he rode his armor rung
    Beside remote Shalott.

    All in the blue unclouded weather
    Thick-jewell'd shone the saddle-leather,
    The helmet and the helmet-feather
    Burn'd like one burning flame together,
    As he rode down to Camelot.
    As often thro' the purple night,
    Below the starry clusters bright,
    Some bearded meteor, burning bright,
    Moves over still Shalott.

    His broad clear brow in sunlight glow'd;
    On burnish'd hooves his war-horse trode;
    From underneath his helmet flow'd
    His coal-black curls as on he rode,
    As he rode down to Camelot.
    From the bank and from the river
    He flashed into the crystal mirror,
    "Tirra lirra," by the river
    Sang Sir Lancelot.

    She left the web, she left the loom,
    She made three paces through the room,
    She saw the water-lily bloom,
    She saw the helmet and the plume,
    She look'd down to Camelot.
    Out flew the web and floated wide;
    The mirror crack'd from side to side;
    "The curse is come upon me," cried
    The Lady of Shalott.

    In the stormy east-wind straining,
    The pale yellow woods were waning,
    The broad stream in his banks complaining.
    Heavily the low sky raining
    Over tower'd Camelot;
    Down she came and found a boat
    Beneath a willow left afloat,
    And around about the prow she wrote
    The Lady of Shalott.

    And down the river's dim expanse
    Like some bold seer in a trance,
    Seeing all his own mischance --
    With a glassy countenance
    Did she look to Camelot.
    And at the closing of the day
    She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
    The broad stream bore her far away,
    The Lady of Shalott.

    Lying, robed in snowy white
    That loosely flew to left and right --
    The leaves upon her falling light --
    Thro' the noises of the night,
    She floated down to Camelot:
    And as the boat-head wound along
    The willowy hills and fields among,
    They heard her singing her last song,
    The Lady of Shalott.

    Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
    Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
    Till her blood was frozen slowly,
    And her eyes were darkened wholly,
    Turn'd to tower'd Camelot.
    For ere she reach'd upon the tide
    The first house by the water-side,
    Singing in her song she died,
    The Lady of Shalott.

    Under tower and balcony,
    By garden-wall and gallery,
    A gleaming shape she floated by,
    Dead-pale between the houses high,
    Silent into Camelot.
    Out upon the wharfs they came,
    Knight and Burgher, Lord and Dame,
    And around the prow they read her name,
    The Lady of Shalott.

    Who is this? And what is here?
    And in the lighted palace near
    Died the sound of royal cheer;
    And they crossed themselves for fear,
    All the Knights at Camelot;
    But Lancelot mused a little space
    He said, "She has a lovely face;
    God in his mercy lend her grace,
    The Lady of Shalott."

    Thought that might clear up a few things for those that haven't read the poem.
    Thewildwolf3000on May 06, 2007   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationLike a lot of Emilie Autumn lyrics, this reads to me as a feminist critique of old stories.

    Tennyson wrote a big old romantic ballad beloved by 13 year old goth girls everywhere (yes, I'm guilty). She was so alone, she gave up everything for her love of this amazing man even though the best she'd ever get from him was "She had a lovely face." While she was given a little agency, in that she looked rather than sitting and pining forever, she was put in a situation where even looking out her window would destroy her life and kill her.

    This song, while being a fair literal retelling, is flat-out railing against the idea that these are the only options. The Autumn singing of the character isn't sad or resigned when the curse destroys her life. She's furious. Punishing women's desires like this is a common theme in fairy tales and literature, and "some drama queen's gonna write a song for me" is poor consolation (to the point of insulting) for the person in the situation.

    There are a number more interpretations of both the original and the retelling: It's about disassociation (people who suffer from it often describe the sense of viewing the world only through screens), or the transition from being a 13 year old sappy goth girl to someone who's had real romantic and sexual experiences (you can't go back, and your former perspective 'dies'), or it's even an abusive relationship (seriously, Tennyson, you locked her in a room and told her you'd kill her if she went out and met anyone?)

    But in any of those cases, Autumn's adding more personal agency and legitimate protest to the situation.
    gementon July 15, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song reminds me of a character I played once...Annabel Lee in Still Life With Iris.
    ivyautumnon October 18, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt reminds me of the fairytale of Sleeping Beauty, since there's a spinning wheel in her story and she's not allowed to go out in case the curse becomes true. Because she's not allowed to go outside she misses out on so much of her life, including watching the sun go down and the prince of her dreams.
    Halissaon October 22, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentActually, this song is about the poem "The Lady of Shallott". If you read it, you can see all the references to the poem.
    Sparkle_motionon November 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me this is a song that can really transport you to another place and makes it easy to empathise with the girl Emilie has written about (The Lady of Shalott) I haven't read the poem yet, but i will do as soon as i find it. Although...I can't help but think some of the lyrics written here are wrong?
    Beau_Lolitaon April 15, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI was about to fix the lyrics but then I realized I didn't post this song! Anyways, I think Emilie has written the song in such a way that we can still relate to it. I think we all have those moments where we feel locked up and half sick of shadows. We can't always do what we want.
    Sparkle_motionon April 24, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think all Emilie´s songs are writen in a depressed atmospeher, but I try to understand. The poem is really beatufil, I like it so much, like the song:)
    Raven-chanon May 17, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe Lady of Shallot is my favorite poem by far. Emilie's interpretation is very literal but I still love it. She makes the main character come alive with realistic emotions.
    TheCircusFolkon August 22, 2007   Link

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