"I Gave You All" as written by Marcus Oliver Johnstone Mumford, Edward James Milton Dwane, Benjamin Walter David Lovett and Winston Aubrey Aladar Marshall....
Rip the earth in two with your mind
Seal the urge which ensues with brass wires
I never meant you any harm
But your tears feel warm as they fall on my forearms

But close my eyes for a while
Force from the world a patient smile

How can you say that your truth is better than ours?
Shoulder to shoulder, now brother, we carry no arms
The blind man sleeps in the doorway, his home
If only I had an enemy bigger than my apathy I could have won

But I gave you all
I gave you all
I gave you all

Close my eyes for a while
Force from the world a patient smile

But I gave you all
I gave you all
I gave you all

And you rip it from my hands
And you swear it's all gone
And you rip out all I had
Just to say that you've won

And you rip it from my hands
And you swear it's all gone
And you rip out all I had
Just to say that you've won

Well now you've won
But I gave you all
I gave you all
I gave you all


Lyrics submitted by Nobody-special

"I Gave You All" as written by Edward James Milton Dwane Benjamin Walter David Lovett

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

I Gave You All song meanings
Add your thoughts

38 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +8
    General Comment"if only i had an enemy bigger than my apathy i could have won"

    this is great.
    TheWrongGirlon December 22, 2009   Link
  • +7
    General CommentBut you rip it from my hands
    And you swear it's all gone
    And you rip out all I have
    Just to say that you've won' ---this part gives me goosebumps, i love this song!
    canwegotothezooon December 07, 2009   Link
  • +7
    General Comment"if only i had an enemy bigger than my apathy i could have won"

    For me this hits hard, I have fucked up so much in my life purely due to being idol, apathetic, lazy. I don't live in a warzone, I have a nice life, nothing to fight against other than this creeping slide towards death and failed potential.
    radiosilenceon March 22, 2010   Link
  • +5
    General CommentThis song is based on Shakespeare's story of King Lear, and I absolutely love how it's brilliance allows everyone to find an interpretation relevant to them!


    "Rip the Earth in two with your mind" - The opening scene of King Lear shows the frail, elderly King dividing up his kingdom between his three daughters. He asks the daughters to proclaim their love for him in order to prove they deserve his inheritance. Lear's youngest daughter, Cordelia, is the only one to realise that love cannot simply be spoken up on demand, and refuses to compete with her sisters (who are simply desperate for land and power). As a result, Lear divides the map on the table between his two eldest daughters, and so the country ('Earth') has been split in two by simply a conscious decision ('mind') and a map.

    In a fit of rage, Lear now banishes Cordelia (the only daughter to truly love him) from the country. At the end of the play, with Lear's descent into madness complete, Cordelia returns. Lear begs her forgiveness, and she obliges. But Cordelia is later killed; in the final scene, Lear enters howling and sobbing, carrying her body. He holds her and cries, and imagines he can see a tear drop from her eye

    'I never meant you any harm / But your tears feel warm as they fall on my forearm'.


    As Lear rages at Cordelia in the opening scene, his old friend Kent begs him to stop, sensing that he is angry and mad, and understanding that Cordelia has done nothing wrong. But for stepping up too the King, Kent too is banished. He accepts his punishment with humility, wanting only to continue to help his old King. Lear has forced from the world Kent's patient smile.

    'How can you say that your truth is better than ours' - Truth is a running theme throughout the play. Edmund questions mankind's preoccupation with superstition, saying it is foolish to ascribe personality traits based on star signs, or to expect eclipses to affect the world. But Edmund's belittling of such things runs perilously close to atheism, and his truth is not accepted by the religious majority.

    'The blind man sleeps in the doorway his home' - Eyes and blindness are another theme running throughout the play. Gloucester has his eyes cruelly stamped out by Lear's daughter Reagan and her husband; there are many more references, all linking back to Lear's blindness in not realising that Cordelia was the only daughter who truly loved him. This is referred to in the chorus, 'I closed my eyes for a while'

    'But I gave you all'

    'I gave you all' is one of the most powerful quotes in the play: Lear, betrayed by his two evil daughters, pleads with them, for he gave them all of the land and power that they use against him. "And in good time you gave it", replies Reagan.


    I absolutely love the build-up to a crescendo before the final verse. It reminds me of the storm in the middle of the play, when Lear is at his lowest and maddest, screaming curses at the rain and thunder whilst ripping the clothes from his back.


    I'm sure there are plenty more references I haven't noticed. It's a great song. And a fantastic play.
    WestCoKenton May 24, 2013   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI love this song!
    Especially when he sings "well now you've won"
    binnieon December 04, 2009   Link
  • +4
    General CommentSuch a beautiful song filled with love, anger and frustration. You can hear the pain in his voice.

    'I close my eyes for a while And force from the world a patient smile'

    I have felt like this so many times when your head becomes full of so many emotions and your depressed...all you can do is close your eyes and force a smile. Beautiful lyrics.
    BlueBloodon April 09, 2010   Link
  • +4
    My InterpretationThis song sounds almost like a comment on the Irish War of Independence.

    "Rip the earth in two with your mind"
    This sounds like remembering the war, the explosions, the carnage.
    "Seal the urge which ensues with brass wires"
    The urge being to kill, and making a bomb or destructive weapon out of it.
    "I never meant you any harm
    But your tears feel warm as they fall on my forearm"
    Having a family member or good friend killed in the explosion.

    "But close my eyes for a while
    Force from the world a patient smile"
    Remembering the incident every time one sits down to think.

    "How can you say that your truth is better than ours?"
    Catholicism vs. Protestantism in a nutshell.
    "Shoulder to shoulder, now brother, we carry no arms"
    This makes me think of a funeral precession and how both sides are feeling the pain of the war.
    "The blind man sleeps in the doorway, his home"
    He sleeps in the doorway because his house was destroyed, and he can't go anywhere else because he's a casualty of the war.
    "If only I had an enemy bigger than my apathy I could have won"
    That feeling after a big event when you know you could have done something better like catch that ball or work harder in school. It's the same thing here, where he wishes he could have done something to save lives.

    "But I gave you all"
    Tried his best to save someone. Fought for his side.

    "But you rip it from my hands
    And you swear it's all gone
    And you rip out all I have
    Just to say that you've won"
    What war is: taking something from someone else to satisfy your own goals. His life was ripped from him just because the other side wanted to win, and can say that they won.

    "Well now you've won"
    He just gives up.

    Feel free to add your own ideas as a reply.
    Dudeman12343on January 11, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General CommentTo me what he's saying is that he fell in love with this girl and gave her everything he had. But then she took advantage of him and greedily took everything he gave her
    "But you rip it from my hands
    And you swear it's all gone
    And you rip out all I have
    Just to say that you've won"
    Because of his apathy he didn't do anything about it and he gave up, and therefore she won.
    bryndisioon November 14, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI have a feeling, and maybe it's just me looking too far into the lyrics, but that the song may be about Shakespeare's 'King Lear'.
    I do have my reasons though!

    For one, a great quote given by Lear to his daughters Goneril and Regan during their rejection of him is "I Gave You All...". Then looking at the lyrics, there are several images that could also represent parts of the play. The play's underlying themes include vision, "Close my eyes for a while/The Blind Man sleeps in the doorway, his home," (which could also be a reference to Lear or Gloucester having been kicked to the doorstep of his own home. Lear in being blind-sighted throughout the play that he can not see Cordelia's love for him or the false affection given by the two other daughters, or the fact that Gloucester has his eyes ripped out later in the play), self-examination, "If only I had an enemy bigger than my apathy, I could've won", patience and acceptance, "Draw from the world a patient smile".

    The lines "But you rip it from my hands and you swear it's all gone/But you rip out all I have just to say that you've won" could refer to Goneril and Regan's treatment of Lear, or Edmund's treatment of Gloucester.

    The first verse may all refer to Lear's late insanity and could be meant to convey a message from him to Cordelia as they meet near the close of the play. And the first two lines may refer to Lear's outrage at being rejected or having his own men taken from him, and possibly his interaction with Kent in the line "Shoulder to shoulder, we carry no arms."

    And of course, "And now you've won" could be a sarcastic comment over the ending of the play, where basically no one benefits from all the fighting and the majority of those involved die.

    Well, that's my guess anyway. I may be well off, but I know at least Marcus knows his literature, so I wouldn't be too surprised if I got it right.
    MatchstickLeeon November 09, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOh goodness, this makes me so excited. I'm pretty sure I figured out the meaning, not only to this song, but to the whole album.
    This song is a breakup song, if you will. He had an affair with a girl (Winter Winds), and this is the breakup between him and his girlfriend.

    "Rip the earth in two with your mind
    Seal the urge which ensues with brass wires
    I never meant you any harm."
    The girlfriend is upset, her world is falling apart. And brass wires = a connection; Marcus is saying that he and the girl he had an affair with was just a connection, nothing more. And he didn't do this on purpose, he just wasn't thinking.

    "If only I had an enemy bigger than my apathy I could have won."
    He's pretty much saying, "If only I had a part of my conscience telling me 'no' more than me not caring, I wouldn't have had the affair."

    "But I gave you all"
    I gave everything to this relationship.

    "But you rip it from my hands
    And you swear it's all gone
    And you rip out all I have
    Just to say that you've won."
    She just broke up with him, and ended the whole relationship which broke his heart.

    So! Since I don't want to copy and paste a whole long thing, here's a link to my blog post about the album, if you're interested. I just really want to get this theory out to the world! Haha
    goatinakitchen.blogspot.com/2011/06/…
    rachelmarie181on June 27, 2011   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