"St. Swithin's Day" as written by and Billy Bragg....
Thinking back now,
I suppose you were just stating your views
What was it all for
For the weather or the Battle of Agincourt
And the times that we all hoped would last
Like a train they have gone by so fast
And though we stood together
At the edge of the platform
We were not moved by them

With my own hands
When I make love to your memory
It's not the same
I miss the thunder
I miss the rain
And the fact that you don't understand
Casts a shadow over this land
But the sun still shines from behind it.

Thanks all the same,
But I just can't bring myself to answer your letters
It's not your fault
But your honesty touches me like a fire
The Polaroids that hold us together
Will surely fade away
Like the love that we spoke of forever
On St Swithin's Day


Lyrics submitted by strangelittlesecret

"St. Swithin's Day" as written by Billy Bragg

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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St. Swithin's Day song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentThe politics of love. One of Billy's most beautiful songs.
    While he could be talking about old Maggie Thatcher (I certainly hope that he doesn't abuse himself to her memory) it seems he's talking about a relationship with a woman who doesn't understand him or see his point of view.

    "And the fact that you don't understand
    Casts a shadow over this land
    But the sun still shines from behind it"

    The singer/main character is sad about the cloud of their bad/failed relationship but knows the sun will come out again when he gets over it.
    fina79on August 29, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song deserves a comment. lovely song.
    axonon December 17, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSt Swithin's day is 15th July and is traditionally an indicator of weather:

    "St Swithin’s Day, if it does rain
    Full forty days, it will remain
    St Swithin’s Day, if it be fair
    For forty days, t'will rain no more."
    Hence the weather in the middle verse.

    The battle of Agincourt was famously fought on St Crispin's day.
    Breakfaston February 08, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song has the plainer themes of Englishness and bittersweet romance. Just wondering what the lyric "Casts a shadow over this land" is about though, it sounds a little bit political, and knowing Billy Bragg.. well it probably is. Perhaps I am wrong and the land he is refering to, is his memories. Could somebody explain, I work in IT and lack the finer sensibilities for understanding such things.
    aurkwiton May 02, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSome of the lines do have a political feel to them, especially given who wrote them, but for me I think it must be a bit more straightforward. It must be just a love song... Is there any political way to take:

    With my own hands
    When I make love to your memory
    It's not the same

    ? The "cast a shadow over the land..." well I think he's just using the weather as a metaphor for the transience of (some) love... It all passes, like the weather.

    Lovely song. Dubstar did a beautiful version of it too.
    DavidODavidsonon May 07, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationMost of Billy Bragg's songs are love songs. Politics is a small, but important, part of his repertoire.

    I believe it is related to the forty days rain or sun. He's comparing both his mood and sex to the weather. He's obviously, um, 'relieving himself' "with [his] own hands" but it doesn't come close to real passionate sex (the thunder and the rain). But they can't get along, so split up. He's feeling down (the shadow over the land - his melancholy mood) but feels there's still something beautiful about their relationship worth celebrating (the sun still shines from behind it).
    starchiefon October 19, 2011   Link

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