"The Count of Tuscany" as written by John Petrucci, Michael Portnoy, John Myung and Jordan Rudess....
Several years ago
In a foreign town
Far away from home
I met the Count of Tuscany

A young eccentric man
Bred from royal blood
Took me for a ride
Across the open countryside

Get into my car
Let's go for drive
I love the way I feel uptight
Just step inside

Maybe you'll recall
I kind of felt curious
A character inspired by my brother's life

Winding through the hills
Seeing far behind
On and on we drove
Down narrow streets and dusty roads

And last we came upon
A picturesque estate
On sprawling emerald hills
An ancient world of times gone by

Now let me introduce
My brother
A bitter gentleman - historian
Sucking on his pipe
Distinguished accent
Making me uptight - no accident

I
Want to stay alive
Everything about this place just doesn't feel right

I
I don't wanna die
Suddenly I'm frightened for my life

I
Want to say goodbye
This could be the last time you see me alive

I
I may not survive
Knew it from the moment we arrived

Would you like to see
Our secret holy place?
I come here late at night
To pray to him by candle light

Then viewing through the past
I saw which is believed
Still dressed in royal clothes
A saint behind the altar

History recalls
During times of war
Legend has been traced
Stuck inside these castle walls

Soldiers came to hide
With barrels filled with wine
Never to escape
These tombs of old that's where they died

Down the cellar stairs
I disappear
Like the angel's share
The end is near

Come and have a taste
A rare vintage
All the finest wines
Improve with age

I
Want to stay alive
Everything about this place just doesn't feel right

I
I don't wanna die
Suddenly I'm frightened for my life

I
Want to say goodbye
This could be the last time you see me alive

I
I may not survive
Knew it from the moment we arrived

Could this be the end?
Is this the way I die?
Sitting here alone
No one by my side

I don't understand
I don't feel that I deserve this
What did I do wrong?
I just don't understand

Give me one more chance
Let me please explain
It's all been circumstance
I'll tell you once again

It took me for a ride
Promising a vast adventure
Next thing that I know
I'm frightened for my life

Now wait a minute then
That's not how it is
You must be confused
That isn't who I am

Please don't be afraid
I would never try to hurt you
This is how we live
Strange although it seems
Please try to forgive

The chapel and the Sade
The soldiers in the wine
The fables and the tales
All handed down through time

Of course you're free to go
Go and tell the world my story
Tell about my brother
Tell them about me
The Count of Tuscany


Lyrics submitted by The Letter M

"The Count of Tuscany" as written by John Petrucci, Michael Portnoy, John Myung, Jordan Rudess

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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The Count of Tuscany song meanings
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33 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentIt's a true story that happened to John Petrucci when he was travelling.
    He met the "count", who took him for a car ride, introduced him to his brother and showed him a chapel.
    The count told him stories and legends. However, John was very frightened and thought he would die.
    But the count realises he is scared and tells him not to be, saying he got the wrong impression of him.

    "Now wait a minute man
    That's not how it is
    You must be confused
    That isn't who I am
    Please don't be afraid"

    Then he says he's free to leave and tell everyone about his experience.

    That's what i gathered anyway. =]

    mcMadCunton May 22, 2009   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationThis is a far stretch, and I'm almost certain they didn't intend it to be so, but I see the ending as a metaphor for someone going through the stages of dying, with a few imperfections.

    "


    "

    "Could this be the end?
    Is this the way I die?
    Sitting here alone
    No one by my side

    I don't understand
    I don't feel that I deserve this
    What did I do wrong?
    I just don't understand"

    At first they're afraid, in denial, and slightly angry. They're presented with the idea that they're dying in the first stanza, and then they show denial by saying that they don't understand, and anger with the fact that they feel like they don't deserve to die.

    "Give me one more chance
    Let me please explain
    It's all been circumstance
    I'll tell you once again

    You took me for a ride
    Promising a vast adventure
    Next thing that I know
    I'm frightened for my life"

    Then they're clearly bargaining. Being frightened for their life could be spun as to saying they're feeling depressed. But other than this far stretch, depression is missing from the stages, though it could be seen somewhat in the first two stanzas, or just in the somewhat depressing tone of the lyrics in the first 4 stanzas.

    "Now wait a minute man
    That's not how it is
    You must be confused
    That isn't who I am

    Please don't be afraid
    I would never try to hurt you
    This is how we live
    Strange although it seems
    Please try to forgive

    The chapel and the saint
    The soldiers and the wine
    The fables and the tales
    All handed down through time

    Of course you're free to go
    Go and tell the world my story
    Tell about my brother
    Tell them about me

    The Count of Tuscany"

    Then the very end is clearly acceptance, but you have to read it as if it's all being said by the same person, rather than the second half of the ending be the Count talking to Petrucci. You can also see the fact that they're satisfied with their life when they say that's just how they live and reminiscing about aspects of the past and encouraging people to tell his story, signifying that he is happily and ungregrettably allowing it to end.
    Obviously, it's a really far stretch, but you could sorta get that out of the song. It sure matches the music a lot better when you imagine that it's about someone coming to terms with their impending death.

    nomad806on December 09, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAs the lyrics do state "Several years ago..."

    JP was an adult when this happened. But he was scared for good reason. Pay particular attention to the lines:

    Maybe you'll recall
    A cannibal curator
    A character inspired
    By my brother's life.

    The Count of Tuscany is taking him to the man that the character HANNIBAL LECTER was based off of. Yea, you know, the elegant psycopath from "The Silence of the Lambs"? (In the second film "Hannibal" he becomes the new curator of the Capponi Library under the name "Dr. Fell")

    The reason JP was frightened was because he thought he was going to be KILLED, SLAUGHTERED, AND EATEN. I'd say that's a good enough reason as any to be afraid as a grown man!
    iVoyageron May 28, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationHere's my interpretation of the song as an homage to Edgar Allan Poe (at least in inspiration). I'm not sure if this is what the above poster's talking about, but I think it makes sense.

    The intro to the song:


    Seven years ago
    In a foreign town
    Far away from home
    I met the Count of Tuscany

    A young eccentric man
    Bred from royal blood
    Took me for a ride
    Across the open countryside



    Reminds me quite a bit of the intro to "The Fall of the House of Usher". A little later the comparison continues but is inverted:


    At last we came upon
    A picturesque estate
    On sprawling emerald fields
    An ancient world
    Of times gone by



    Whereas the Usher estate was dead, with rotted trees and such, the Count's estate is "Picturesque" and specifically "sprawling emerald". This selection is curious, because emphasized at the end of the House of Usher is the description of the land surrounding the house as a "deep and dank tarn" (A tarn being a large, mostly stagnant-water lake), so here we have contrast between an open field and a closed body of water, the former free and alive and the latter restricted and dead. The "I" choruses later on echo the sentiment of the protagonist in Usher, emphasizing a sense of the place just not feeling right and being afraid for his life while his guide (Usher in the Poe story, the Count here) is unmoved.

    Then we seem to get a switch to another of Poe's stories, "The Cask of Amontillado". The skeleton of the saint seems to be another inversion of the story -- instead of the Poe story, where we have a drunkard (Fortunato) chained up behind a brick wall at the end as a punishment(The protagonist of this story, Montresor, was also a mason, which might be a cross-reference from here to A Rite of Passage), we have a saint behind a glass wall for the purposes of prayer. The same allusion runs with the wine stanzas below in a little mix with the plot of "The Masque of the Red Death" (Which could explain the booklet artwork, at least in the Special Edition, of the red picture of the man in the hood accompanying the lyrics to this song). These stanzas below:


    Could this be the end?
    Is this the way I die?
    Sitting here alone?
    No one by my side

    I don't understand
    I don't feel that I deserve this
    What did I do wrong?
    I just don't understand

    Give me one more chance
    Let me please explain
    It's all been circumstance
    I'll tell you once again

    You took me for a ride
    Promising a vast adventure
    Next thing that I know
    I'm frightened for my life



    Mirror Fortunato's situation after being chained up and imprisoned in Montresor's dungeon, but in another inversion, the Count lets him go instead of keeping our protagonist locked up.



    And from here we get to the ocean sounds at the end of the story. They seem to me to be a reflection of a poem of Poe's called "Annabel Lee", which is set in a seaside location and happened to be the last of Poe's poems before his death, as the sounds are the last on the album.

    Thematically, Petrucci could be using the inversions to reject Poe's dark and tragic view of life, illuminating a "people are better than they seem" theme in contrast to Poe's "people are worse than they seem" themes running through his work.

    I could be (and I probably am) overreading this, but if I'm right, the raven on the album cover would make a whole bunch more sense, wouldn't it? (And of course I'm not saying that it isn't, as Petrucci said, based on an encounter he personally had, but the details he chooses to write about suggests that he knows his Poe).

    In addition, the booklet has a total of 116 written lines for this song. Taking those and adding in the spoken line by Portnoy ("Let me please explain", echoing James) and adding in all the "Whoas" after the last line of the song counted from the "Whoa" and not the "-oa"s after each one (There are 8), the song comes out to 125 total lines, the exact length of Poe's "The Raven".
    Merquiseon July 02, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis epic is obviously about JP getting scared by a count. Also its DP's last song of their 'so-called' last album. The ending is so epic and I think I may be overreading this but in a way it sort of relates to the end of the band. "Of course you're free to go/Go and tell the world my story" this is of course the count saying JP can go but it could be about the band saying go tell your friends about us. Tell them how amazing we are. "The fables and the tales/All handed down through time" This is about all the stories the count told but it could also be about most of the band's songs, since most of them are tales about people.

    i dont know, i might be over analyzing but since this IS their last epic (or so they say..) that could be true.
    Cyberbullyon July 04, 2009   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningAside from nomad and the person who posted about the interview statement, I think everyone is taking the wrong track with this song. Even if it was loosely based upon an actual incident that occurred to him, as according to the interview, it's not impossible that he added in some further meaning when turning it into a song. If there is any, then, along the lines of nomad, what occurred to me almost immediately upon listening to it is that it (the count) is a parable for life. A person goes through life scared and afraid, thinking that life is out to get him, trying to 'take him for a ride', but in the end, life isn't trying to hurt you, its just happenstance. He may have drawn on personal experience and history for creating stories to illustrate this, but thats what seems to be the overall meaning to me.


    And yeah, that last six minutes is awesome, I keep coming back to it.
    JohnnyLemonon November 30, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAmazing, even if the lyrics are funny.
    Anilandon May 19, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think there might be some veiled reference to "the count of monte cristo" by A. Dumas... naturally, that's just my opinion...
    sirxanderon May 22, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAs the album's longest track, Wilson calls "The Count of Tuscany" "the monster", comparing it to "A Change of Seasons" and cited Pink Floyd as a possible influence.[9] Petrucci wrote the lyrics about a count that frightened him while he visited Tuscany.

    That's from wiki... i think its funny that a man as big as JP could be scared. And he was dumb enough to get in the car with a count?

    I think the count is probably someone he knows. But, either way, it is so badass that he had an experience that could lead to something this epic.
    guardiandevil305on May 23, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCorrections:

    Just step inside
    Maybe you'll recall
    A cannonball curator
    A character inspired by my brother's life"
    ....
    Barrels filled with wine
    Never to escape
    this tomb’s a marker where they died.
    ...
    "Come and have a taste
    Of rare vintage
    Of the finest wines
    Improved with age"
    guardiandevil305on May 24, 2009   Link

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