"The Well and the Lighthouse" as written by Win Butler, Regine Chassagne, Tim Kingsbury, Richard R Parry, William Butler and Jeremy Gara....
I'm serving time
All for a crime I did commit
You want the truth?
You know I'd do it all again
Left for dead
Heaven is only in my head!

I heard a voice
Calling from down inside the well
"See that silver shine?"
She said to come claim what was mine
So down I fell
Down into the water black
My prison cell
Only the moon was shining back!

If I seem lost, well, I weighted the cost
And chose my crime
Now it's mine all mine!

I heard the voice
Calling from just outside the well
She said, "You fool, now that you know your end is near
You always fall for what you desire or what you fear!"

Resurrected
Living in a lighthouse
If you leave the ships are gonna wreck

Resurrected
Living in a lighthouse
The lions and the lambs ain't sleeping yet

Resurrected
Living in a lighthouse
Can you see the far side, the ships are going to wreck

Resurrected
Living in a lighthouse
The lions and the lambs ain't sleeping yet

The lions and the lambs ain't sleeping yet
The lions and the lambs ain't sleeping yet


Lyrics submitted by afimrtl, edited by Mellow_Harsher

"The Well and the Lighthouse" as written by Regine Chassagne Jeremy Gara

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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The Well and the Lighthouse song meanings
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  • +6
    General CommentThis is based on La Fontaine's fable, The Fox, The Wolf and The Well. The most important part i think is

    “You fool, now that you know your end is near;
    you always fall for what you desire or what you fear!”

    One evening a fox, who was as hungry as a dog,
    happened to see the round reflection of the moon in
    a well, and he believed it to be a fine cheese. There
    were two pails which alternately drew up the water.
    Into the uppermost of these the fox leapt, and his
    weight caused him to descend the well, where he at
    once discovered his mistake about the cheese. He
    became extremely worried and fancied his end
    approaching, for he could see no way to get up
    again but by some other hungry one, enticed by the
    same reflection, coming down in the same way that
    he had.

    Two days passed without any one coming to the
    well. Time, which is always marching onward, had,
    during two nights, hollowed the outline of the silvery
    planet, and Reynard was in despair.

    At last a wolf, parched with thirst, drew near, to
    whom the fox called from below, "Comrade, here is
    a treat for you! Do you see this? It is an exquisite
    cheese, made by Faunus from milk of the heifer Io.
    If Jupiter were ill and lost his appetite he would find
    it again by one taste of this. I have only eaten this
    piece out of it; the rest will be plenty for you. Come
    down in the pail up there. I put it there on purpose
    for you."

    A rigmarole so cleverly told was easily believed by
    the fool of a wolf, who descended by his greater
    weight, which not only took him down, but brought
    the fox up.

    We ought not to laugh at the wolf, for we often
    enough let ourselves be deluded with just as little
    cause. Everybody is ready to believe the thing he
    fears and the thing he desires.

    -A La Fontaine
    cloud7on February 12, 2007   Link
  • +5
    General CommentMy personal interpretation on the lyrics, as always, step by step.

    I am serving time
    All for a crime I did commit
    You want the truth?
    You know I'd do it all again
    Left for dead, heaven is only in my head

    Introduction to the first part of the story -- he knows that if it happened all over again, he would do the same thing, and as a result of his actions he is trapped and left for dead (note left for dead, I'll get to that later)

    I heard a voice
    Calling from down inside the well
    "See that silver shine?"
    She said to come claim what was mine
    So down I fell, down into the water black
    My prison cell, only the moon was shining back

    He was greedy and saw silver down inside the well so went to pursue his riches, but it turns out the silver was only the moonlight shining back at him, now he is trapped inside the well with nothing gained.

    If I seem lost
    Well, I weighed the cost
    And chose my crime
    Now it's mine, all mine!

    He made his decision, the 'crime' he chose is all his decision...he weighed the cost of pursing riches and did it anyways.

    I heard the voice
    Calling from just outside the well
    She said
    "You fool, now that you know your end is near
    You always fall for what you desire or what you fear"

    The voice calls from outside the well telling him he is a fool for pursuing the riches, as it led to his entrapment...now that he knows his end is near (repitition of left for dead, his greed led to his demise...he always falls for his desires (riches) or his fears (entrapment)

    Resurrected, living in a lighthouse
    If you leave them ships are going wreck

    Now he is resurrected...due to the wording (left for dead, your end is near, and then 'resurrected') I believe it is the same character as before. In this life he is living in a lighthouse, attempting to light the way so that the ships don't wreck, like he had in his past life...if he leaves his post the ships will wreck.

    Resurrected, living in a lighthouse
    The lions and the lambs ain't sleeping yet

    The lion and the lamb lying together is a common phrase in Christianity speaking of the time of peace when Jesus will reign...alas the lion and the lamb aren't sleeping yet -- there is more work to be done.

    Resurrected, living in a lighthouse
    Can you see the funny side?
    The ships are gonna wreck

    This is the part I find interesting...can you see the funny side? Desipte all of the protagonist's efforts to guide others to safety rather than wrecking like he did, the lyrics don't state only "If you leave, them ships are gonna wreck" but also states that "The ships are gonna wreck" with no particular cause...regardless of all of his efforts, the ships are gonna wreck anyways...nothing lasts forever, and it is inevitable that the ships will eventually wreck...the lighthouse provides them comfort until they wreck, however, they will eventually meet their demise in the end...I think this relates to how religion might act as a lighthouse providing comfort to lost souls at sea, regardless of what you believe, you will come to your end anyways. That's the funny side. His initial existence was pursuing greed for no gain, ending only in his own entrapment, and this existence now is him selflessly attempting to guide others, but again for no gain...the ships are gonna wreck anyways, and it coincidentally results in his own entrapment.

    Rather than the contrast between greed and selflessness, I think it is illustrating more the pointlessness of both, showing that really..they are both the same. They are both fruitless, and result in your own isolation and imprisonment. (At least in this scenario)

    Just my thoughts, tell me what you think.
    triemsmaon October 09, 2012   Link
  • +4
    General CommentAnd this may sound silly and sappy, but I love that Win will echo Regine and vice versa. I think it's so romantic when they harmonize on songs together.
    uncletrosson February 10, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAll of the above is prorably true... HOWEVER! There is a Grim Fairy Tail that i wast told as a child about a Boy who heard a girl calling out for help form the bottom of a well, he could see her and see that she had a silver locket... And he figgured he would rescure her and take/be given the locket as a reward.

    He climbs down the well, and shes gone... he hears her outside the well and she says hes a greedy fool.

    The moral was a) not to be greedy b) if your going to do something, do it for the right reasons... In the story he was going to help her BUT only to be rewarded.
    SyroVisionon February 18, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentsome verses are wrong..
    "so let silver shine" -> "see that silver shine?"
    "my prayers are said" -> "my prison cell"
    "when I weighed the cost" -> "well i weighted the cost"
    "you fool, now that you know your island is near
    you always fought for what you desire over what you fear" -> "you fool, now that you know your end is near; you always fall for what you desire or what you fear"

    [on neonbible.com you can find the complete, correct lyrics for all the songs]
    black*kittenon February 05, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think he says "for a crime I DID commit"

    It makes more sense when he says he'd "do it again."
    uncletrosson February 12, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMore than half of La Fontaine's Fables are derived from Indian sources. This one being The Fox in the Well By Ramaswami Raju I think. So here's the original original:

    A FOX fell into a well, and was holding hard to some roots at the side of it, just above the water. A wolf who was passing by saw him, and said, "Hollo, Reynard, after all you have fallen into a well!"

    "But not without a purpose, and not without the means of getting out of it," said the fox.

    "What do you mean?" said the wolf.

    "Why," said the fox, "there is a drought all over the country now, and the water in this well is the only means of appeasing the thirst of the thousands that live in this neighbourhood. They held a meeting, and requested me to keep the water from going down lower; so I am holding it up for the public good."

    "What will be your reward?" said the wolf.

    "They will give me a pension, and save me the trouble of going about every day in quest of food, not to speak of innumerable other privileges that will be granted me. Further, I am not to stay here all day. I have asked a kinsman of mine, to whom I have communicated the secret of holding up the water, to relieve me from time to time. Of course he will also get a pension, and have other privileges. I expect him here shortly."

    "Ah, Reynard, may I relieve you, then? May I hope to get a pension, and other [17] privileges? You know what a sad lot is mine, especially in winter."

    "Certainly," said the fox; "but you must get a long rope, that I may come up and let you in."

    So the wolf got a rope. Up came the fox, and down went the wolf, when the former observed, with a laugh, "My dear sir, you may remain there till doomsday, or till the owner of the well throws up your carcass," and left the place.

    "Alas!" said the wolf, when it was too late, "greed hath its meed!"
    cloud7on February 20, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm not quite sure how it fits in, but I was struck by this tension within the lyrics which I think is quite wonderful:

    The narrator falls into the well searching for "that silver shine," searching for light, and becomes trapped thereby, unable to leave. The "funny side," is that "resurrected," given a chance to seek the light at its apparent source in the lighthouse, he would find himself equally trapped-- "If you leave them ships are going to wreck." Those that tend the lighthouse, the very essence of light, and those that have fallen into the shadows seeking its reflection find themselves ultimately equally bound...
    evangelonon April 20, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI never have anything interesting to add to the songs. This is my favorite on the Neon Bible.
    uncletrosson February 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI see "cloud7" posted what appears to be an original, the one i heard was as is posted above. Sounds like the person who told me changed much, but left the underlying verse the same.
    SyroVisionon February 18, 2007   Link

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