Ophelia your secret is safe
Ophelia you must break the chain
some girls will get their way
some fathers will control from the grave
Ophelia you must remember

Veronica's America is not like--
is not like Charlotte's, one to savor
cosmic flavor
then Alison whispers, "remember
Change waltzes in with her sister Pain
waiting for you to send her away
wish her well break the chain
break the chain"
I feel you

Ophelia
"The Eve of St. Agnes",
a poem he can't reach you in
Ophelia you know how to lose
but when will you learn to choose
those men who choose to stay
those mothers who won't look the other way
Ophelia you must remember

Veronica's America is not like ---
is not like Charlotte's, one to savor
cosmic flavor
then Alison whispers, "remember
Change waltzes in with her sister Pain
waiting for you to send her away
wish her well break the chain
break the chain"
I feel you
Ophelia


Lyrics submitted by stentorian

Ophelia song meanings
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  • +5
    General CommentI think this is one of the most complex songs on the record. First we have Ophelia, the tragic heroine of Shakespeare's "Hamlet." A woman who is controlled by her father, her brother, her Queen, and her love for Hamlet who uses that love in his scheme to exact revenge on his Uncle. When her father is killed, she loses her mind and "incapable of her own distress" falls into a brook and drowns. She then unwittingly becomes an Archetype for women who are victimized by their choices to be in relationships with men who are either abusive or negligent or (as in Hamlet's case) both. This becomes a chain of relationships that stretch for hundreds of years to the present day. Ophelia is no longer just one poor woman. She is every woman who has found herself in a relationship with a man for whom she has given up her self. This is the chain that must be broken. I think the secret that is "safe" is the one regarding whether she actually committed suicide in the play or if she simply fell. There is no resolution in the play as to precisely what happened. It is left open to audience interpretation.

    Next we are introduced to Veronica, Charlotte and Alison. We are told that "Veronica's America is not like Charlotte's, one to savor cosmic flavor." Veronica is both a Novel by Mary Gaitskill and a character within that novel, as is Alison. Alison is the narrator in the story, a former model cum office cleaning lady suffering from Hepatitis C who is filled with self loathing. She sees the world "face deep." Veronica is a former friend of Alison's whom she meets while they are both working a temp job in the '80s. Veronica is described as unbeautiful, and the personification of a german cuckoo clock. She is desperately in love with Duncan, a flagrantly unfaithful bisexual who infects her with HIV. She eventually dies of AIDS. Alison once comments to her that she "doesn't love herself. [She has] to learn to love herself." Veronica replies, "i think love is overrated. My parents loved me and it didn't do any good." In this story, Veronica is like Ophelia. She chooses to be with Duncan, to love him even knowing his tendencies, even after he infects her. This is Veronica's America. Face deep, filled with grit and self indulgence and self loathing. Alison relates this to the reader while in her late 40's, climbing a hill, remembering her "bright past" amid her "grey present." The character of Charlotte is a little more ambiguous but I believe that she is in fact the character from "Sex and the City." As an antithesis to Veronica and Alison's jaded and cynical view of America, Charlotte's "Love conquers all" attitude and general naïvety works rather well. I believe that the line, "one to savor cosmic flavor" is a reference to "Flavor," from earlier on the record and that "cosmic flavor" is an idea of Divine Love rather than Divine Fear. And still, Charlotte seems to have trouble choosing the right man. Trey McDougal is apathetic and impotent and yet she marries him anyway, because "love conquers all." Granted she ends up with Harry Goldenblatt but even that does not start off well. She changes her religion so that she can marry him and even confesses that she is embarrassed to be seen with him in public because he is conventionally unattractive. So both of these women, Veronica and Charlotte, have different views of American Love and Alison is the commentator, the wise crone who offers the cynical viewpoint that "Change" and "Pain" are sisters who waltz into your life together. You have to CHOOSE to send Pain packing and accept Change on her own.

    The Eve of St. Agnes is a poem by John Keats about a woman, Madeleine, who is told that if she lies naked in bed with her arms beneath her pillow, gazing upward, on the Eve of the Feast of St. Agnes (the patron saint of Virgins) that her love will come to her in her dreams. Porphyro, her lover from an enemy family (sound familiar?) is offered admittance to her bedchamber by a friendly maidservant and she, thinking he is part of her dream, invites him into her bed. When she awakes she finds she can't hate him for his deception since her heart is so fully in his but that if he leaves her now, he shall leave her broken. He professes his love to her and offers her a home over the southern moors. They escape the castle in the night to live out their love together. This is offered to Ophelia as an alternative to her usual "chain" of hurtful relationships. Constancy. Love and devotion. "Choose/ Those men who choose to stay." If she is a character in this poem, her abusive lover won't be able to reach her.

    Sorry about the length. There's a LOT of stuff in this song lol.
    TomSkanderon June 06, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGoshhhhhh
    I so agree with you
    donimogron November 21, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJust wanted to add that St. Agnes of Rome is the patron saint of chastity, gardeners, girls, engaged couples, rape victims, and virgins.
    RScarlettJHon March 17, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's about having diarrhea in the back of a tour bus.
    OddLeggedOswldon May 06, 2016   Link

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