"Austere" as written by Rhiannon Bryan and Rhydian Davies....
See the medal ? reverse
This hope is not lost
It's mischief to turn
Your ship to send off

? and gowns
We'll ransack this town
I'd rescue here and now
in velvet you'll drown
?

Oh, austere
Lay by my side
You've been left here
So don't make a sound
Keep your word
Don't let me down
Just ?
Destroy me now

Destroy me now


Lyrics submitted by nylon1979, edited by Anovice, taodude, xdvr

"Austere" as written by Rhydian Davies Rhiannon Bryan

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Austere song meanings
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  • +6
    Lyric CorrectionSee the medal reverse,
    this hope is not lost,
    Theres mischief to turn,
    Your ship to send off.

    Barbed wits and gowns,
    They'll ransack this town,
    I'd rescue you now,
    but in velvet you'll drown and dance again.

    Oh Austere,
    Lay by my side
    You've been left here
    So you'll make no sound.

    Hey last words,
    Don't let me down,
    You're just another,
    Unfinished story now.
    xdvron February 05, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commentsaw these guys at Square '09. they were fantastic, hope they come back next year!
    Jento113on August 19, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWow. re:edible14. You were close.
    Just goes to show me, never discount someone else's song interpretation. Sex with a sailor? --"wtf " I thought, when I first read that comment. And also (noticed at the time) no one voted it up, either. But the more I thought about it . . . whang! it hit me.

    The comment was actually perceptive. But more important than that, I am AMAZED by the unsung literary prowess of Ritzy and Rhys.

    Okay, either I stumbled onto the meaning of this song or I found some amazing co-incidences on the level of "Dark Side of the Rainbow." You decide, while you keep in mind that Ritzy and Rhys are from Wales and as a result probably well influenced by seafaring, shipbuilding, and naval imagery. 4 points:

    1. Medal. Reverse. ? . . . "Reverse of the Medal" -> "an opposite and usually less favorable aspect of an affair." ALSO is the title of a novel about a Royal Navy ship's captain (I'll name him later) at the time of the Napoleonic Wars. From the highly regarded historical fiction series by Patrick O'Brien.

    In this novel, the Captain is set-up (framed) as a scapegoat for many gentlemen who lost money in the Great Stock Exchange Fraud of 1814. (wiki this yourself). As a result, he is pilloried and removed from the Royal Navy. However, his wealthy sidekick (Stephen Maturin) actually BUYS the Captain's former ship, obtains letters of marque, and later RE-INSTATES the Captain to command, though now as a privateer. THIS is the referred-to "reverse of the medal" in which now there is "mischief to turn" and again his "ship to send off."

    2. Barbed Wits and Gowns Ransacking the Town. The "gentlemen" in trial of the Captain as regards the historical fraud event above. Any student of post-Elizabethan history knows the meaning of barbed wits and legal gowns in the oratory alongside Parliament or any public trial of a gentleman.

    Later, the Captain is protected at the pillory by his loyal seamen, hence the song's voice assures him he will once again dance and "drown in velvet" with his ladies, a familiar habit for the Captain.

    3. Unfinished. Up to this point I was persuaded but not convinced. Until I realized that the LAST book in the series was only three chapters long, known as the "The Final Unfinished Voyage" of the Captain. It was published in 2004 (just in time for Ritzy or Rhys to read it), and UNFINISHED. Being the "last words," so to speak, of the author, who passed away before the story was done. Leaving the Captain, sadly to many fans, "just an unfinished story now."

    4. Still, I puzzled over the word "Austere." Sure, okay, yes this CAN be the stereotypical adjective applied to many fictional ship's captains, it sort of goes with the job: "given to exacting standards of discipline and self-restraint," "harsh and threatening in manner or appearance."

    But why is this used in the song also seemingly as a NAME, a moniker? The Captain's name in the series is Jack. Jack Aubrey. AUstere. AUbrey. Ritzy and Rhys had been coy with everything else so I figure this their clever device of alliteration. So as to not just spoon over the name, in a too-obvious way.

    Interesting. Let me know what you think, if you have read the series or at least taken the time to look these things up.
    philipkindredon May 12, 2014   Link
  • -1
    General CommentMeaning of Austere, according to Google:
    *Severe or strict in manner, attitude, or appearance: "an austere man with a puritanical outlook".
    *(of living conditions or a way of life) Having no comforts or luxuries; harsh or ascetic.

    Imagine a ship captain who fits the term - a very no-nonsense fellow. The medals being reversed could refer to him losing his clothing, which would certainly indicate some mischief to turn before his ship is sent off. The sailors are in a port city, and being "ransacked" by smart (barbed wits) women looking quite fetching (gowns). So they'll drown in velvet... which I think you can easily interpret as either clothing or... something more visceral. Use your imagination.

    So yeah, the song is about... wanting to have sex with a sailor?
    edible14on October 01, 2012   Link

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