Old Mary, full of grease,
Your heart stops within you,
Scary are the fruits of your tomb,
And harsh are the terms of your sins,

Old Mary, sister of mine, mother to the world,
Carry this burden now until the moment of your last breath
Now 'till the moment of your last breath.

I lost my place

Lyrics submitted by DanneeLazer

Old Mary Lyrics as written by Jack White

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Old Mary song meanings
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  • +2
    General Comment
    It is *heavily* reminiscent of the Hail Mary prayer of the Catholic faith. Hail Mary, full of grace. Our Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. So I would be pretty surprised if it was about the environment... They've definitely taken the Hail Mary prayer and twisted it to be really dark and foreboding. I'll leave you to figure it from there.
    toughfeeton February 12, 2014   Link
  • +1
    Song Meaning
    To me the meaning of this song is pretty obvious. I think gha188 is right, I think it's about mankind and the Gulf Oil Spill or rather the destruction and pollution of nature done by mankind. Also this song has some religious undertone to it maybe making this topic sound more serious and intense. "Old Mary, full of grease," 'Old Mary' refers to Mother Nature. He's saying 'old' because the earth is very old. If it would've been about religion, he could've said e.g. 'holy'. 'Full of grease' refers clearly to the Gulf Oil Spill or more generally speaking of environmental pollution and global warming. "Your heart stops within you," So Mother Nature is getting really sick and it won't take much longer until she is completely destroyed, she dies and 'her heart stops within her'. "Scary are the fruits of your tomb," 'The fruits of your tomb' clearly refer to her children, so speaking mankind, humanity. Humanity is scary because it destroyes the place it's living in, meaning 'mad' or 'dangerous'. "and harsh are the terms of your sins," So Mother Nature has done something wrong, probably the genesis of mankind. If there weren't any humans, the world wouldn't be destructed. Therefore the penalty for this 'sin' is very 'harsh'. "Old Mary, sister of mine, mother to the world," This is the one line I don't quite understand. He's probably saying that everyone belongs to the world, 'was born' by her, is related and dependent to her. "carry this burden now until the moment of your last breath" 'Burden' refers either to the 'sin' she did with creating mankind (if she willingly and conciously did that haha) or the pollution ('grease'). The oil is still there on the bottom of the sea. The pollution is there and won't reduce and she will have to carry this problem until she collapses. I really love this song. At first I thought this was just a prayer Jack was reciting 'cause I'm not a native-speaker. It definitely has a religious touch and I very like this.
    distiller666on May 07, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    Sounds like "and harsh are the terms of your sentence" to me.
    MartiniUpBCOliveson May 12, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    Sounds like that to me too. This song is such a great way to close this album. Jack brings out his religious roots beautifully in a way that doesn't incite a disrespect to anyone who isn't Catholic. Quite epic.
    ArtIsResistanceon May 13, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My Opinion
    i think this is my favorite track from the new cd. it's amazing. i can't wait to see these guys again this summer!
    labeano2002on May 17, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    Also, Im fairly sure it's "old mary, full of grace" not grease
    tonaton May 20, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    In terms of lyrics, i think it to be "full of grease" and "terms of your sentence." The song is so interesting. At seconds 1:28 and 1:33 there are breaf baby crys. The track is so human and meloncholy. I think its an interesting way to approach Mary the mother of Christ.
    Jonathan5123on June 05, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    It is 'harsh are the terms of your sentence', not sins. Anyway, the song is brilliant, and I love the creepy tone in it .D
    tehLunaon August 28, 2010   Link
  • 0
    Song Meaning
    I think this song is about Old Mary being mother earth and she's covered in grease because we're destroying her for oil. Since the album came out during the Gulf Oil Spill and the album has a New Orleans and southern blues vibe I think they're related. I think like most of their songs they twist it around and make it ironic so it can have multiple interpretations.
    gha188on September 28, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment
    eeeeerie song, a strange nativity, harsh are the terms of your sentence, they made the earth a christ figure
    hencemotelon December 21, 2010   Link

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