"English House" as written by and Robin Pecknold....
Go with your two feet bare
Down through the cold lane there, to Brighton.
A country house, a liar and a louse live there.

Go with your arms held wide.
Happiness in your eyes, come and sit.
And stay the night. Turn out of the light you see.
And lay them down buried in the ground for me.

Whoa my love, Whoa my love,
Whoa my love, Whoa my love,

Tongues in a creatures way.
Drawn to the fragile legs, you walk on.
A cold wind blows right into the coast for me.
The cold wind blows right into the coast for me.

Whoa my love, Oh my love,
Whoa my love, Oh my love,
Whoa my love, Oh my love,
Whoa my love, Oh my love,

Lyrics submitted by DSR, edited by broadpath, SleepyIndie

"English House" as written by Robin Pecknold

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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English House song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI think I can explain where the louse came from.

    The Fleet Foxes apparently are familiar with Lushootseed, the native language of the Seattle area, because they use a Lushootseed place name, Xachua'bsh, on a website of theirs (on BandMine). Probably the most widely known of the stories of Lushootseed is the story of Lady Louse. It's a very short one:

    Lady Louse lived there in that great big house!
    All alone.
    She had no friends or relatives.
    Then she took it.
    And she swept it.
    That great big house.
    There was lots of dirt!
    When she got to the very middle of the house,
    she got lost!
    That was the end of Lady Louse!
    That is the end.

    (I got the text from an article in the Seattle Times–I don't think links are allowed, but it's a quick Google, and there's a recording of it in Lushootseed and English there too.)

    The words "louse lived there" are really recognizable from the story, and I don't think they're a coincidence.
    Number3Pencilson April 10, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI am pretty sure that the first verse is:

    You go with your two feet bare
    Down through the cold lane there to Brighton
    A country house, a liar and a louse live there

    This would make sense, as it's an "English house" as the title implies. The second verse I am not as sure about, but I think it goes:

    Go with your arms held wide
    Happiness in your eyes convincing you
    To stay the night, turn out every light you see
    And lay them down buried in the ground for me

    The third verse is more problematic. My interpretation is:

    The tongues of the creatures wait
    Drawn by the fragile legs you walk on
    A cold wind blows Brighton to the coast for me
    A cold wind blows Brighton to the coast for me

    I think since he's already talking about Brighton, it makes more sense that it would be "Brighton to" instead of "bright into". I am fairly sure that it isn't "right into".
    mithgilon July 07, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with you, mithgil - those verses make much more sense, and I definitely heard "Brighton". The one thing is that it's "Drawn *to* the fragile legs you walk on".
    labelle713on July 09, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe first verse is Brighton, yes, but not later.

    "A cold wind blows,
    back into the coast for me."

    meaning: the cold winds are changing direction and coming back for him.

    and i would argue it could be "fragile lakes" rather than "fragile legs" but either seems plausible. you could make a case for "legs" because it's definitely "tongues of the creatures", and i can see tongues being drawn toward "legs".

    but those same creatures could be drawn to the lake. i think it's "lakes" because he mentions the coast right after that. and a cold wind, implying winter, and a frozen lake, and hence someone walking upon thin ice.
    invertebraeon February 01, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti'm hearing fragile eggs
    thebodiesobtainedon February 03, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhat'd I go with?
    My feet are so weak!
    I can't walk anymore
    been down since so long, hurt!
    The cold air feels hot now!
    Can see myself walking
    Yet this body remains on ground
    Eyes' brightness no more
    Lips waiting for that last kiss
    Letting soul fly out of body
    aatayyabon August 08, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAnyone else think it's about someone he loves who is with someone else?--maybe as an affair or maybe she has been with someone that he despises--"liar,louse,creature". And a cold wind representing his spite??
    LoveORinfatuationon October 05, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment Perhaps I'm just more mentally twisted than most but I interpreted the lyrics as someone who persuaded someone else who was infatuated with him to commit a murder for him.
    He tells her to go down this "cold lane", which could signify the path in life she is about to go down if she decides to carry out this act for him. The cold symbolizing death, like in the winter all vegetation dies and animals hibernate. The death or permanent hibernation of both the liar and the louse(parasite), hardly complements and probably people who have wronged the instructor in some way, and the woman's soul.
    She is in her bare feet so it is easier to sneak up on her unaware victims. She makes her way into the home pretending to be innocent and loving. The fact that she really isn't is why she must be convincing.
    Turning out the lights, other than cloaking the inside of the house so an outside passerby can't witness the events, could symbolize her shutting God out of her life. If not forever at least for that moment, similar to the way one might turn away a photograph of their dead grandmother as they are about to masturbate. My apologies for the vulgarity but this was the best metaphor I could think of, I told you I was mentally twisted.
    Now obviously "And lay them down buried in the ground for me" would be the act of disposing of the bodies.
    "Tongues of the creatures wait" could refer to the demons of hell that are drawn to her in her spiritually weakened state "fragile legs". After all tongues are commonly associated with flames, like in the story of Pentecost, because they both are red, and consuming.
    Finally the line "A cold wind blows, Brighton to the coast from me"(I do believe it is "from me" not "for me") could mean that the murderous chain of events that washed over the area of Brighton on that fateful night were directly cause by he who told her to do it.
    Of course this was just my interpretation, I still don't know the significance of Brighton and it seems to have a central meaning that could possibly contradict everything I've claimed. Fun idea though I perceived a Fleet Foxes Song as an Edgar Allen Poe poem.
    lensesideways8on January 04, 2011   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationTo me it sounds as if this song is written by someone who has been cheated on and is currently planning his revenge.

    'A liar and a louse' refers to his ex-girlfriend (liar) and her new boyfriend (louse). They are living a 'country house,' which represents the lost hope the writer/singer has to deal with now she left him: he won't live in the country house with her, ever, like he always hoped he would.

    The rest of the song sort of speaks for itself, it's all about (imaginary) revenge (imo), although I refuse to believe the singer is an actual murderer.
    wenttomarson January 11, 2013   Link

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