Mine eyes have seen the glory of the sacred wunderkind
You took me behind a dis-used railway line
And said "I know a place where we can go
Where we are not known"
And then you gave me something that I won't forget too soon
But I can't believe that you'd ever care
And this is why you will never care
But these things take time
I know that I'm
The most inept
That ever stepped

I'm spellbound, oh...but a woman divides
And the hills are alive with celibate cries
But you know where you came from, you know where
You're going and you know where you belong
You said I was ill, and you were not wrong
But I can't believe that you'd ever care
And so, you will never care
But these things take time
And I know that I'm
The most inept
That ever stepped

Oh, the alcoholic afternoons
When we sat in your rooms
They meant more to me
Than any, than any living thing on earth
They had more worth
Than any living thing on earth
On earth, on earth, oh ...

Vivid and in your prime
You will leave me behind
You will leave me behind


Lyrics submitted by Idan

These Things Take Time Lyrics as written by STEVEN MORRISSEY, JOHNNY MARR

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

These Things Take Time song meanings
Add Your Thoughts

20 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +4
    General Comment

    Scared virgin falls in love with more experienced man. However, the man is in the prime of his sex life, and the virgin feels he will seek better sex rather than "train" a virgin. The guy has direction, and its to fulfill his sexual needs to the best of his ability (You know where you came from/You know where you're going/You know where you belong). It's a depressing song fitting of the Smiths, as the virgin loves the man so much but feels that he puts sex over love.

    Goodjohnon December 09, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    The sexual themes are there (it's the Smiths, after all) but this song always takes me to the relationships I wouldn't let happen because of my insecurity. When he sings "I can't belive you'd ever care..." well, first of all, the Louder Than Bombs version has a slight variation in the second chorus..."and so, you never cared" as opposed to "this is why you will never." I think it emphasises the fact he's been pushing the other away because of his own self-loathing...y'know, the "Unloveable" mentality. He loves her(more likely him), but cannot see how he could possibly be loved in return. He sees how ridiculous that is(I'm the most inept that ever stepped), and is trying(these things take time), but can't stop his way of thinking.

    smithskid84on October 13, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord..." -Battle Hymn of the American Republic, Julia Howe

    "Our eyes have seen the glory ..." -Eamon de Valera, Irish Prime Minister

    The line "the hills are alive with celibate cries" could refer to the beginning of the film "The Sound of Music", where there are nuns singing on a hilltop.

    marquiceriseon December 28, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    The comments on here about insecurity with sexuality I think are a good starting point for what I want to reflect on...

    In some traditions, sexuality is seen as a debilitating force. For example, in the buddhist and christian traditions of practicing monkhood. Also, in Yoga texts such as "the fountain of youth", the sexual force is viewed as the most powerful force in the universe, which in our society and culture is accepted as being purposed to manifest through the second vortex or chakrah. The yoga texts instructs on methods of channeling this ultimate energy into the higher realms of the self where there power creates a great self-actualized spirtiual presence and existence.

    I look around, and wanting to actually try and work towards such a discipline makes some sense to me (although I don't think I'm ready to dissolve all my illusions and begin). For, I see many very unhappy people who seem to think that sex will be a vehicle to a higher happiness, usually wrapped in myth of an over zealous belief in "romantic love". If you accept that romantic love is for the most part, a myth with roots in biological pro-creation, but nevertheless, the most common manifestion of this universal power - I think the lyrics take on a new dimension of self turmoil and desire for self understanding.

    Have you ever loved so much that it emptied you completely? Even more dangerous, attempted to love someone or something that did not return that precious life force you so freely gave? It is a life altering and reality shattering experience. Growing up and trying to come to terms with my own sexuality, and not being able to understand why my wanting something to be so sacred and beautiful - seemed to be nothing more than blowing a few orgasms and cumming and low animalistic pleasure to everyone else, was extreme source of spiritual turmoil and anguish in my adolescence.

    I see the lyrics coming from more of a emotional place with a hint of looking back melancholy - that I've attempted to describe above. The things that were remembered most, and that left the biggest impression, were the simple times of wasted youth, sitting together and experiencing the exchange of vital life energy, but indirectly - never actually in a disciplined fashion. Now gone and replaced with an adulthood of confusion, more disconnected to what comes so freely to adolscent sexuality...

    when we sat in your room they meant more to me than any than any living thing on earth

    Consider that the morrissey was always an enlightened being, and these lyrics are a manifestation of never really finding a connection to the world, and having to make do with the almost romantic memories of lying drunken in her room, like a youthful memory.

    jmoponfireon January 29, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I enjoy reading people's different interpretations of music, but I have never posted before. However, for this particular circumstance, I had to make an account.

    There are some very analytic and deep interpretations here, but I believe the meaning of this song is very straight forward -- It is about having an affair with another man who is not out of the closet.

    Another poster astutely quoted Howe's Battle Hymn, "Thine eyes have seen the glory", which strongly references Revelations. I believe this was chosen for a few reasons. First off, it may reference the other party's strong religious beliefs in regards to their feeling towards homosexual relationships. In addition, it is classic Moz hyperbole/sarcasm towards the other individual's attitude towards the situation. He pairs this with the phrase "Sacred Wunderkind" which certainly resonates with mockery and sarcasm to me.

    "You took me behind a disused railway line"

    Do I really need to spell out the double entendre here? ;) I think his inflection on "be-hind" really makes this apparent. Vulgar and absolutely brilliant.

    "I know a place we can go, where we are not known"

    The other guy is full of shame and guilt, wants to go someplace where he is not recognized.

    "..and you gave me something that I won't forget too soon"

    He's not talking about flowers folks.

    "But I can't believe that you'd ever care And this is why you will never care"

    I don't know if there are official written lyrics from The Smith, but I've always struggled with whether the last word of the second line is 'care" or "dare". Either way, I believe this refers to the grief engendered by being interested in another person who doesn't appropriately return the affection he feels and that also treats you like a dirty secret.

    "These things take time I know that I'm The most inept that ever slept"

    I'm fairly certain the last work of this verse is "Slept" and not "Stepped". Anyhow, it speaks of how coming to terms with oneself is a long and painful process and he isn't one to judge because of his own struggles with it.

    "I'm spellbound, but a woman divides And the hills are alive with celibate cries"

    Amazing verse! This would either be a reference to the other man's wife or girlfriend, if not, then his interest in women in general The second line could either reference his lack of sexual contact because of other man spending time with wife/girlfriend or it could be referring to the other woman having a lack of sex due to her husband/boyfriend's secret interest in other men. Perhaps both.

    "But you know where you came from You know where you're going And you know where you belong

    Stating that the other man already has a life established as a heterosexual,either having, or wanting, a wife and a traditional family -- Something status quo and normal...an issue most gay men deal with.

    "You said I was ill, and you were not wrong""

    'ill' meaning that there is something wrong with you mentally. Americans wouldn't normally use this word in this context -- something more akin to "sick in the head" or 'mentally disturbed'. Referring to his (Morrissey's) behavior towards him and perhaps his inclinations as well.

    "Oh the alcoholic afternoons When we sat in your room They meant more to me than any Than any living thing on earth They had more worth Than any living thing on earth"

    As someone who has lived through many of these kind of situations and also knows many people who have experienced the same, it's very common to turn to alcohol to deal with these issues. You know you want something (or someone), but for whatever reason, you are brought up to believe that it is bad or unnatural. Those "drunken afternoons" are something that resonate with many young gay people (at least in my generation and before).

    "Vivid and in your prime You will leave me behind You will leave me behind"

    That really needs no interpretation. He knows this man will move on with the path he has chosen, leaving him alone. Probably my favorite verse from The Smiths right there.

    Jachdoon February 13, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Love the tune and has some of the best lines delivery I’ve heard in The Smiths. Not really a deep analysis; more so just selecting certain snippets of lyrics to come up with my own conclusion, but wanted to share my thoughts on this song nonetheless.

    The word “Wunderkind” meaning someone who achieved success young, and the line “Vivid and in your prime” hint at whoever he’s yearning for is out of his league. That likely being the reason why he sees himself as “The most inept that ever slept”; comparing himself to someone who has achieved more in life while still young. That insecurity linking into the belief that the person “Will never care” and “Will leave me behind”.

    The sexual innuendos already told in other comments of “You took me behind a dis-used railway line” and “you gave me something I won’t forget too soon”. Pretty obvious once mentioned at what it’s insinuating, great subtle lyric writing on Morrissey’s behalf.

    “I’m spellbound, oh… but a woman divides”: I’ve always interpreted this song being about him falling for a man, so a woman works as a ‘distraction’ from the one he truly loves (hence the use of spellbound). “Celibate cries” has always led me to themes of religion. Getting wed is in God’s plan, that pairing with the sin of homosexuality. “But you know where you came from, you know where you're going and you know where you belong” could mean the standards that comes with being born into a religious household, having to conform to a heteronormative life. He also believes it when he’s called ill, that linking up with his insecurities and homosexuality.

    With the “Alcoholic Afternoons”, when he “Sat in your rooms” almost seems like secrecy, hiding away in his lover’s rooms. It’s bittersweet with how he labels those nights as having “More worth than any living thing on earth”, showing that’s the person he really wants, really loves, but can’t be with.

    The Smiths are one of the best examples of conveying feelings with music; adore how their songs can be deciphered in anyway you choose, as long as it’s not too clear-cut. This band has shaped my music taste forever and there’s no turning back.

    [Edit: Fixed grammar and spelling errors.]
    penguinlitteron September 02, 2023   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    i cant believe no one has commented on this song. hmm. well i think its about being insecure about something that could almost be a relationship.

    needafixon April 11, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    or insecure about sexuality

    FoRwHoMtHeBeLlToLlSon June 25, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I'm thinking of using the last verse for my senior quote. I'm not sure yet, but its one of my final choices.

    periwinklebydayon October 06, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I don't think this is about a woman purely based onthe lyric, I am spellbound but the woman divides and the hills are alive with celibate cries this implies that the girlfriend of someone is interferiing and prevents a relationship of some sort from developing...?

    I can't believe you'd ever care because you won't stick with me long enough for such feelings to form because I'm the most inept that ever stepped seems to be the message of this song to me

    tallulaton January 15, 2005   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!

More Featured Meanings

Album art
Spirit Within
Bertoldi Brothers
Warren wanted a Beach Boys thing for this one, and Carl Wilson and Billy Hinsche came in, with Carl arranging the vocal parts. The other harmony vocalists (credited as the "Gentlemen Boys") were Jackson Browne, J.D. Souther, Zevon's longtime backers Waddy Wachtel and Jorge Calderon, and Linda Rondstadt/Stone Poneys guitarist Kenny Edwards.
Album art
Corpse I Fell In Love With
Gadjits, The
He reuses the verse melody from the previous album's "Dirty Little Religion", the topics of the verses are all over the place, and he packs too many words into one line (goes to show...) and too few in another (it's pretty hard to find), and rhymes "Henley Regatta" with "Persona non grata", but gets away with it all as only he could.
Album art
Grand Theft Auto
Insane Ian
The way this song speaks to me🥺🥺when I sing it I feel like I relate
Album art
Fortnight
Taylor Swift
The song 'Fortnight' by Taylor Swift and Post Malone tells a story about strong feelings, complicated relationships, and secret wishes. It talks about love, betrayal, and wanting someone who doesn't feel the same. The word 'fortnight' shows short-lived happiness and guilty pleasures, leading to sadness. It shows how messy relationships can be and the results of hiding emotions. “I was supposed to be sent away / But they forgot to come and get me,” she kickstarts the song in the first verse with lines suggesting an admission to a hospital for people with mental illnesses. She goes in the verse admitting her lover is the reason why she is like this. In the chorus, she sings about their time in love and reflects on how he has now settled with someone else. “I took the miracle move-on drug, the effects were temporary / And I love you, it’s ruining my life,” on the second verse she details her struggles to forget about him and the negative effects of her failure. “Thought of callin’ ya, but you won’t pick up / ‘Nother fortnight lost in America,” Post Malone sings in the outro.
Album art
Light Up The Sky
Van Halen
The song lyrics were written by the band Van Halen, as they were asked to write a song for the 1979 movie "Over the Edge" starring Matt Dillon. The movie (and the lyrics, although more obliquely) are about bored, rebellious youth with nothing better to do than get into trouble. If you see the movie, these lyrics will make more sense. It's a great movie if you grew up in the 70s/80s you'll definitely remember some of these characters from your own life. Fun fact, after writing the song, Van Halen decided not to let the movie use it.