"The Rake's Song" as written by and Colin Meloy....
I had entered into a marriage
In the summer of my twenty-first year
And the bells rang for our wedding
Only now do I remember it clear
Alright, alright, alright

No more a rake and no more a bachelor
I was wedded and it whetted my thirst
Until her womb start spilling out babies
Only then did I reckon my curse
Alright, alright, alright
Alright, alright, alright

First came Isaiah with his crinkled little fingers
Then came Charlotte and that wretched girl Dawn
Ugly Myfanwy died on delivery
Mercifully taking her mother along
Alright, alright, alright

What can one do when one is widower
Shamefully saddled with three little pests
All that I wanted was the freedom of a new life
So my burden I began to divest
Alright, alright, alright
Alright, alright, alright

Charlotte I buried after feeding her foxglove
Dawn was easy, she was drowned in the bath
Isaiah fought but was easily bested
Burned his body for incurring my wrath
Alright, alright, alright

And that's how I came your humble narrator
To be living so easy and free
Expect you think that I should be haunted
But it never really bothers me
Alright, alright, alright
Alright, alright, alright


Lyrics submitted by ashleybah

"The Rake's Song" as written by Colin Meloy

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

The Rake's Song song meanings
Add your thoughts

39 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +2
    General CommentPretty straightforward song: bachelor gets married and loves it because he gets to have sex but, damn it, his wife keeps getting pregnant! Thankfully their last child and his wife die during childbirth, but it leaves him stuck with the remaining three, whom he kills with no regrets in an effort to be free.

    It almost makes me feel guilty for dancing around to it, lol.
    strykerchickon January 25, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentFrom Wikipedia

    "The Rake's Song - Introduces the villain of the story, the Rake, who provides some background details of his life. The Rake was married at the age of 21, and was happy with it for a while, until his wife began having children, whom he despised. He had three children, Isaiah, Charlotte and Dawn. His fourth child, Myfanwy, died in childbirth along with her mother. With his wife gone, he began to desire a new life of freedom, but saw the children as a major obstacle. He killed Charlotte first, feeding her poisonous foxglove, then drowned Dawn in the bath, and finally went on to kill Isaiah. Isaiah tried to fight back, but was easily defeated by his father, who then burned his body as punishment. The Rake then tells us that his actions have never really bothered him and that he is not haunted by his actions. (This is a bit of dramatic irony because in The Hazards of Love 3 (Revenge!) his children will literally come back to haunt him.)"

    Cyberghoston April 12, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe "humble narrator" bit reminds me of A Clockwork Orange, since that's how Alex refers to himself throughout most of that book. If that's intentional, it's fitting, since both are about relishing in violence.
    mainmansamon May 02, 2009   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationFor me, the mere "plot" of the song doesn't encompass the whole meaning of the song. When I listen to this song I think about selfishness, responsibility, and most importantly, guilt. All of us do things that are selfish, it's a fact of life. Not that we kill all of our children obviously, but everyday things and even a lot of the big decisions we make are purely selfish. The lines "Expect you think that I should be haunted, to be living so easy and free, but it never really bothers me," apply to everyone as far as I am concerned. To be living a relatively carefree life while there are so many horrible things going on in the world can be related to the rake, and how he feels no guilt. This song means a lot to me, and reminds me to think about others and not to get too caught up with myself and my life. It also leaves me feelings disappointed by my society (including myself) and peers that live day to day life in a bubble.
    emda10on July 07, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General Commentvery fucked up song but its great. its almost funny cuz a condom would have prevented his dying wife and baby killing spree
    kenbennedyon February 04, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Comment[Light's flicker, intermission over]

    On with the literal/shameful interpretations. I love this song. For shits and giggles I will take my most generous liberties in this interpretation.

    [New character is introduced, a guy known only as the Rake]

    I got hitched
    At 21
    There were some wedding bells
    I can actually remember it now (lot of booze that day, sorta hazy)
    Alright, alright, alright

    No longer a completely unhinged crazy bachelor dude
    I was married and really wanted to have sex... like, a lot
    Until she starts pumping out kids (wizard's sleeve)
    Then I finally realized what an idiot I was for getting married at 21
    Alright, alright, alright
    Alright, alright, alright

    First came Eziah with his crinkled little fingers
    Then came Charlotte and that wretched girl Dawn
    Ugly Myfanwy died while being popped out
    And, thankfully, did me the service of also killing his mother at the same time. (two birds, one stone)
    Alright! alright! alright!

    What can you do when you don't have a wife anymore
    and are stuck with three friggin' kids
    All that I wanted was the freedom of a new life
    So I began to offing the brats
    Alright, now we are talking

    Charlotte I buried after feeding her a poisonous flower
    Dawn was easy, she was drowned in the bathtub
    Eziah fought but still had weakly small child-muscles
    Burned his body for pissing me off
    Alright, alright, alright

    And that's how I came your humble narrator
    To be living so easy and free
    You might think this would scar me
    But that doesn't really happen when you are a sociopath like me
    Alright!

    [now with that pleasant back-story out of the way, let's get back to this main shindig with Margaret. I hear she hasn't been raped by any insane men/creatures in awhile...]


    [Also, from previous personal song comment - I deduced based on cultural and natural clues that the country of setting was most likely Scandinavian. Now, with this song and the Welsh name Myfanwy, the exact country becomes a bit more puzzling. The idea of castles, the Welsh name and the feel of the album for me personally, point pretty specifically to England or Wales (United Kingdom area), but according to maps of tagia climate zones, they are not really present lower than Scandinavia. At the very least, I can, with conviction, cross off any tagia location in North America or Asia.]
    wanderingaloudon March 12, 2009   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningThis song is about a man who gets married early in age. He thought it was a good idea, until his wife started having children. There were three, Isaiah, Charlotte, and Dawn, but the fourth died during child birth, also killing the mother. This widower would rather live a life of freedom and devises to kill his children. Dawn was fed foxglove (a poisonous flower) and then buried her; Dawn was drowned in the bath. Isaiah tried to fight back, but was punished for doing so by being burnt. The narrator then goes on to tell how he is now "a free man". His actions never struck him as odd or something to feel guilty for.
    allen87on April 20, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentDoes anyone think there may be a connection between Isaiah and William? Isaiah was "buried in an urn" and William was rescued from a "cradle of clay." I'm still trying to figure out what the "cradle of clay" would be referring to, if anyone has ideas....
    SkylinePigeonon May 06, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentPretty straight forward song. Reminds me of a Placebo song I think. Anyone agree?
    ktownon July 25, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA rake gets married and has children, but longs for the freedom to gather leaves all day long. After his wife dies, he kills his remaining children and regains his freedom
    vondrukeon December 03, 2010   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