This road leads to rome, that road leads to ruin.
I’m all up in the madding crowd, the general’s been screwin’ us around.
The land’s no longer arable (The farmhands all feel terrible)
A river red with rebel blood to sweep us off our feet, do you remember?

Humility on parade humility on parade
The welcome was overstayed humility on parade (let it run, let it run, let the river run).

The remnants of the leisure class will crumble! Smug bastards will be humbled! Forcible miscegenation! No bow ties, Bo invitations!
Goodbye to all of that...

You gotta look the prisoners in the eyes; a boldness in their stare you might not recognize
As you struggle to recall your names: family and christian family and christian
Family and christian! Untenable position!
Here comes the inquisition!
("yeah, it’ll come it’ll come it’ll surely come!")

I am the mustard on the wedding dress, the weevil in the watercress.
I lost the language, I confess.
Beyond the false horizon lies the rising up, the rising up.


Lyrics submitted by NeoNess

Humility On Parade song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentThis seems to be a communist or socialist's ideal vision of The Revolution. "A river red with rebel blood to sweep us off our feet" - guerrilla armies revolt against the government and manage to restore equality. "The remnants of the leisure class will crumble! Smug bastards will be humbled!"

    It starts out with the problem that needs to be fixed through an uprising. "This road leads to Rome, that road leads to ruin," and "the general's been screwing us around" (does this song take place in a military dictatorship?) so I'm guessing they're headed for ruin, and on top of that, "the land's no longer arable."

    "The welcome was overstayed" - I'm thinking in terms of ecology because of the line about farming earlier in the song, but given the rest of the lyrical context, it could also be that the upper class overstayed their welcome in terms of the lower class putting up with them.

    "I am the mustard on the wedding dress, the weevil in the watercress." That line is bursting with class warfare; anyone who's gotten married knows that wedding dresses are insanely expensive, though the mention of the wedding dress could also just represent the WASPish pomp and circumstance that the revolutionary wants to dispose of. ("Forcible miscegenation! No bow ties, Bo invitations! ") And, of course, watercress. Who eats watercress but rich people?

    "Beyond the false horizon lies the rising up." It may look bad now ("Here comes the inquisition!") but just you wait: The Revolution is coming.

    Hard to say if Sean is making fun of hipster radicals or if he actually believes this stuff, but whether the song is sarcastic or genuine, it's definitely about class warfare - actual, literal class warfare, like with guns and everything.
    Archaia Sophiaon February 12, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit seems that this song is about being confused about what religion i meant to be about and the constant questions just further confusing the narrator.
    boyfaceon April 17, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think this may be about the holocoust, but maybe from the nazis point of view, it talks of "smug bastards will be humble" the nazis thought the jews were greedy etc.

    also it talks about looking the prisnors in the eye and stuff...just an idea
    thenextpopeon October 05, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationSeems like it's a song about the American civil war and specifically general Sherman's march to the sea (Savannah). Sean eludes to it in this live performance at the 3:05 mark: youtube.com/…

    This road leads to rome: The sea (Savannah) or victory
    That road leads to ruin: Death or loss
    I’m all up in the madding crowd Frenzied crowd
    The general’s been screwin’ us around. Robert E. Lee's resistance.
    The land’s no longer arable: Sherman's scorched earth tactic.
    (The farmhands all feel terrible): Confederate soldiers... most of them were farmers before the war bgan
    A river red with rebel blood: Winning bloody battles against rebel (confederate) forces
    To sweep us off our feet: To give hope of victory all the way to Savannah.

    Humility on parade humility on parade: Confederates loss and shame
    The welcome was overstayed: The South's unwillingness to abolish slavery amd to relinquish states rights.

    The remnants of the leisure class will crumble!: The end of plantation (slave) owners.
    Smug bastards will be humbled!: Forced to surrender and give up their wealth for reperations of the war.
    No bow ties: No more southern aristocrats running the south
    Bo invitations! : No more offers of peace ..just miltary takeover.
    Goodbye to all of that: The old south will be gone forever.

    You gotta look the prisoners in the eyes: Try to understand why the confederates feel the way they did.
    A boldness in their stare you might not recognize: Confederates desire to fight so hard even though they were overmatched
    As you struggle to recall your names: Americans (pre-civil war) and Americans again (post war).
    Family and christian family and christian: brother against brother, christian againt christian
    Untenable position!: End of the conferderacy
    Here comes the inquisition: Now the south must bear the consequences of their action.
    ("yeah, it’ll come it’ll come it’ll surely come!")

    I am the mustard on the wedding dress. The weevil in the watercress: The big stain or negative conflict in American history
    I lost the language, I confess: Time heals (after end of war)
    Beyond the false horizon lies the rising up, the rising up: What could have been a confederate win, system of government and idealogy is replaced with hope for a stronger unified nation.
    Megladongon August 26, 2016   Link

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