She was sixteen and six feet tall
in a crowd of teenagers comin' out of the zoo
She stumbled started to slip and fall
teeter-tottered on the top of patent leather shoes
I happened to catch her and said,
"maybe these ruby shoes are a little cumbersome for you"

Maybe for you, now

But not as shaky as I must have seemed
talkin' junk through her giggle -- little teenage dream
And on the phone I could not compete
my dumb-love fake competence was getting weak
For a sec' I thought I sounded sweet
but sure 'nough in a gruff, faint voice
I heard myself speak

I could stay a while
but sooner or later I'll break your smile
And I can tell a joke
but one of these days I'm bound to choke
And we could share a kiss
but I feel like I can't go through with this
And I bet we could build a home
but I know the right thing for me to do
Is to leave you alone

Leave you alone, now

I'm beginning to like you
so you probably won't get what I'm going to do
I'm walkin' away from you
it probably don't make much sense to you
But I'm trying to save you
from all of the things that I'll probably say or do

Probably do

I could stay a while
but sooner or later I'll break your smile
And I can tell a joke
but one of these days I'm bound to choke
And we might share a kiss
but I feel like a can't go through with this
And I bet we could build a home
but I know the right thing for me to do
Is to leave you alone

Leave you alone, now

You probably call me a fool
and say I'm doin' exactly what a coward would do
And I'm beginning to like you
it's a shame; what a lame way to live
But what can I co
I hope you appreciate what I do

On my martyr for my love for you
A martyr for my love for you, now
A martyr for my love for you
A martyr for my love for you




Lyrics submitted by jackieboy37

A Martyr for My Love for You song meanings
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67 Comments

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  • +5
    General CommentI get the vibe that it's about someone being too young, from a number of lines:

    "She was sixteen..." - Well, there's her age right there.
    "In a crowd of teenagers..." - Identifying them as teenagers seems to suggest that the narrator is -not- a teenager and sees her and her friends specifically as "teenagers."
    "...little teenage dream" - Again, he seems to identify her as being a "teenager" and her dreams as those of a "teenager" and not necessarily on par with how he sees her dreams.
    Also, the idea of forbidden love permeates these lyrics, and the age difference could be the problem.

    However, the way she seems to talk to him, calling him a coward and a fool, suggests otherwise. They could be the same age, narrator and girl. I don't know; I just know that this is one of my favorite songs off the new album. Fantastic stuff!
    thejlaron June 21, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentTerrific Song! In my opinion this is about a guy who loves a girl so much he leaves her. The reason is because he knows that eventually he will destroy the relationship in some way. He would wrether leave her than have that happen. Jack is a great lyricist. Great album
    Incubus_Man23on June 10, 2007   Link
  • +3
    General CommentI think this song is about someone falling in love with someone who's way to young for his age
    MovieTraileron June 19, 2007   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationI think there's alot of value in everyone's opinions, and the great thing is that music and lyrics don't necessarily have a set meaning but can mean different things to people.... obviously.

    The thing I think most people are over-looking is that while the "Martyr" in the song doesn"t want to hurt the girl, he also doesn't want to be hurt- the self destructive behaviour he knows he'll repeat may come from the fear he has of making himself vulnerable. As soon as he starts to "like" her he begins to open himself up, and this is terrifying- therefore he needs to end it before he becomes to vulnerable. by doing this under the guise of protecting her, he tries to rationalise it and make it seem like the best thing to do, even though he knows that he may have an amazing future with her.

    "sooner or later I'll beginto choke."

    MusicalHeartBeaton December 02, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI also think that he's singing about a younger girl . . . He makes sure to mention her age in the very first line of the song: 16. There has to be a reason that the age of the girl is so important to this song.

    This girl seems innocent and young in some ways . . . the zoo, the ruby shoes and not being able to walk right, the giggle, the phone (a very teenage-ish mode of communication) . . . but at the same time he fears her calling him stupid and cowardly.

    He's very self-concious . . . possibly because he is now an adult and his "love" for this girl is throwing him back into the teenage world, where he no longer belongs. He doesn't know how to act as a teenager because he no longer is one, but talking to this girl is causing him to yearn for the teenage life once again. That is why he mentions these teenage-ish traits with a sense of admiration: "Little teenage dream"

    He knows he can't have this relationship because she is still too young, but he thinks about some day . . . they could "build a home" and maybe share a life together. He knows she is too young right now and he doesn't want to destroy her teenage world

    "Right now the best thing is for me to leave you alone"

    He actually does care about her, but he knows that it is wrong to introduce these adult issues into her life right now. That is why he is a martyr for his love for her. He is willing to suffer for awhile in order to hold up the ideal of the potential someday --- when their love will be more acceptable and appropriate.
    Kibouon June 22, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIt seems to me that the fact that Jack makes a point of telling us that this girl is sixteen in the beginning of the song means that her age is relevent to their love in the sense that she is much younger than he. But he also mentions that she is "six feet tall in a crowd of teenagers comin' out of the zoo". The vibe I get is that she's noticeably different from the others in her age group, and that's why she grabs his attention from the beginning. His first intentions upon meeting her were probably to sweep her off her feet, use her and leave her, because she's naive and completely head over heels. But as he gets to know her, he begins to realize that he likes her a lot as a person, and he grows sick with guilt at the thought of what he was originally planning on doing. And though, maybe now, he could love her for her, he knows what he's doing is all wrong, and he decides to back down for her own good. And even though she'll probably be angry with him - "you'll probably call me a fool and say I'm doing exactly what a coward would do" - he knows that in the long run, it would be better for her to be upset with him for not doing anything than to break the heart of a young, innocent girl after making her believe that he could love her.
    lespaul069on July 09, 2007   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationHas anyone thought about what life was like for Jack in high school? Does anyone remember what he had planned to do with his life before music? Priesthood. Understand that he had to live his teenage years as tho he were already a priest. Teenage love wasn't going to go very far. Sex sure wasn't going to happen. And he would be gone in a few years to the seminary. He wouldn't want to lead a girl on when he knew it wasn't going anywhere. I'm sure he must have felt awkward and insecure around people and especially girls. Becoming a priest is something hard for most people to understand. Being a priest is also very close to being a martyr.
    mrsrich303on February 14, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Commentquite simple really, about a guy who falls in love with a girl but doesnt have confidence in himself to do anything about it, and rather than make things awkward for the both of them he decides to back away and try his best to stop loving her
    kipperjoeon June 11, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAre you only basing that on the first line though? When he says she's 16?

    I think Kipperjoe's spot on. I reckon it's a guy who can appear confident at times, can crack a joke, can hold a conversation with people. But inwardly, he has no self confidence, is convinced the next joke he tries to tell wil not be funny, the next story he tells won't be interesting. Also, he is aware of his own insecurity. He admits himself that it is "a lame way to live". However, he has to live with it - it's who he is. He probably thinks no girl would understand. He doesn't want her to have to deal with a lame guy like him when she could be having fun with the confident guys he wishes he could be.
    mcpotson June 19, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentJesus, that came out all wrong. Now that I've got clarity of mind let me say what I meant:
    First, I really like this song. One of my favorites on the album, and I've had an experience much similar to the one described in it.
    When I said "downgrade", I just meant it was a little more simplistic in composition than other songs on the album (not meaning minimalistic).
    What I was ultimately getting at was that the song is in-character and kind of a representation of "angsty" modern rock, though that is by no means meant to be a negative thing.
    Spank Thruon July 29, 2007   Link

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