"The Devil" as written by and Polly Jean Harvey....
As soon as I'm left alone
The Devil wanders into my soul
And I pretend to myself
And I pretend to myself

I go out to the old milestone
Insanely expecting you to come there knowing
That I wait for you there
That I wait for you there

Come, come
Come here at once
Come, come
On a night with no moon

Because all of my being
Is now in pining
All of my being
Is now in pining

What finally cheered me
Now seems
Insignificant
Insignificant


Lyrics submitted by stentorian

"The Devil" as written by Polly Jean Harvey

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The Devil song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +4
    Song MeaningThis song is based on a paragraph from Leo Tolstoy'd short story called "The Devil" which is about a married man who becomes infatuated with a peasant.

    The paragraph states: "what had formerly cheers him and seemed important now seemed insignificant. Unconsciously he had tried to free himself from business. it seemed to him that he had to do so in order to think and plan. And he freed himself and remained alone. But as soon as he was alone he began to wonder about the in the garden and in the forest. And all those spots were besmirched in his recollection by the memories that gripped him. he felt that he was walking in the garden and pretending to himself that he was thinking about something but really he was not thinking about anything, but insanely and unreasonably expecting her; expecting that by some miracle she would be aware that he was expecting her, and would come here at once... or would come at night when there would be no moon."
    I just stumbled upon this while reading and it reminded me of the song. I'm so excited about this. I love PJ and Tolstoy. I don't think this song is meant to reflect exactly what the book meant. But it is a wonderful tool she has used to evoke an emotion we all so universally experience.
    Bistromashon August 29, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti think the devil is a metaphor for depression, that however far away she gets from it it manages to find her ("wander into my soul") again. the "come here at once" part sounds like she is calling for the person she is "pining" for to come save her. the last stanza goes along with the depression, what once made her happy now has no effect.
    pandora_ash_avalieon December 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentInsecurities and need would seem to be the obvious message.
    xdvron October 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti've been waiting for the one I love to come and find me
    kickintheshinzon November 27, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think the devil is a metaphor for depression, that however far away she gets from it it manages to find her ("wander into my soul") again. the "come here at once" part sounds like she is calling for the person she is "pining" for to come save her. the last stanza goes along with the depression, what once made her happy now has no effect.
    pandora_ash_avalieon December 28, 2007   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI think 'The Devil' is a metaphor for a forbidden desire. When the narrator is alone, she cannot fight this desire and it comes for her, consuming her.

    In the second verse, I think the narrator has succumbed to this desire and has gone to the place where she thinks her lover will be. The fact that she 'insanely expects' for the lover to know where she is, suggests that the place isn't really of any special significance to the lover, although the narrator feels that the lover should come for them.

    The narrator then howls for her lover to come, is pining desperately for him, but they never come. I think the ending of the song suggests that the lover never comes, and the narrator know feels that life is insignificant without them. They have let 'the Devil' in and have been consumed by it.
    JJKelsallon January 24, 2014   Link

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