"History Book" as written by and Peter Duncan/taylor Liddle....
Share
Like faithful oxen through the chalk,
With dragging tails of history walk.
Soon confuse the compass and the cross.
Carefully and cursively we fill our traveling diaries with loss.

Beneath an angry Bible flood,
Did you and I first learn to love.
In my father's car we came to know.
And shivered in our painted clothes and paired like every animal below.

As heavy as a history book can be,
I will carry it with me, oh Lord.
And maybe when the bitterness has gone,
There'll be sweetness on our tongues once more.
Barefoot in a rowing boat,
You lose your shoes and freeze your toes.
And say I wear my sorrow like a crown.
And throw your arms around my head, and see it there in gold and red and brown.

As heavy as a history book can be,
I will carry it with me, oh Lord.
And maybe when the bitterness has gone,
There'll be sweetness on our tongues once more.

We'll soon forget our parents' names,
Like dogs will drive the wolves away.
And weep with fingertips opposed,
Like a church where nobody congregates.

But sweetness sings in the pasture,
We throw ourselves on the mercy of the earth.
If sand and salt have the answer,
Then the act itself will be louder than the word.

And I'll be on your side.


Lyrics submitted by heartsrhythm

"History Book" as written by Jonathan Warren Jon Warren

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

History Book song meanings
Add your thoughts

5 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +2
    My InterpretationTo me, the entire album 'Shallow Bed' is about childhood sweethearts growing up in the Bible Belt. Their relationship seems to have started off sweet, but gradually lost it's innocence and died off over the years due to his leaving (in spite of his willingness to return to her when things got bad) and her alcoholic parents. It's possible that the couple were married, and she became ill and passed away ('my flower, struck down in sickness' (Shaker Hymns) 'Lion's Den' being the aftermath of her death and 'Family''s 'follow your mother, your father and brother back home'. it's been established that her mother and father were alcoholics and possibly suicidal (lo and behold! your father had drunk all the fuel).


    Anyway, I feel like 'History Book' is about the relationship between the boy and the girl taking a newer level. Not only are they acknowledging that their love, their relationship, is 'as heavy as a history book can be', I believe that 'In my father's car we came to know. And shivered in our painted clothes and paired like every animal below.' is a reference to them losing their virginity to one another in his fathers car (Captain Obvious, tyvm), but the 'bitterness, could be from her losing it (being in a religious community, she could feel a degree of shame), or it could be the bitterness she has to deal with with alcoholic parents/tough childhood. He's trying to comfort her by saying there will be nothing but sweetness once that goes away and he will always love her.
    MurasakiFujiwaraon October 31, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI assume that this song is about carrying the past with you - despite how 'bitter' it may be, it shapes you as a person and you'll eventually be better for it. And if you forget the past you'll forget who you are (forgetting your parents' name) or be like a church where nobody congregates. I could be way off, and some of the lyrics I can't interpret very well.

    Interesting how they use religious imagery like crosses and bibles to convey their messages without overtly being religious. Loving this band a lot!
    Chillax7on July 04, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationTo me, the entire album 'Shallow Bed' is about childhood sweethearts growing up in the Bible Belt. Their relationship seems to have started off sweet, but gradually lost it's innocence and died off over the years due to his leaving (in spite of his willingness to return to her when things got bad) and her alcoholic parents. It's possible that the couple were married, and she became ill and passed away ('my flower, struck down in sickness' (Shaker Hymns) 'Lion's Den' being the aftermath of her death and 'Family''s 'follow your mother, your father and brother back home'. it's been established that her mother and father were alcoholics and possibly suicidal (lo and behold! your father had drunk all the fuel).


    Anyway, I feel like 'History Book' is about the relationship between the boy and the girl taking a newer level. Not only are they acknowledging that their love, their relationship, is 'as heavy as a history book can be', I believe that 'In my father's car we came to know. And shivered in our painted clothes and paired like every animal below.' is a reference to them losing their virginity to one another in his fathers car (Captain Obvious, tyvm), but the 'bitterness, could be from her losing it (being in a religious community, she could feel a degree of shame), or it could be the bitterness she has to deal with with alcoholic parents/tough childhood. He's trying to comfort her by saying there will be nothing but sweetness once that goes away and he will always love her.
    MurasakiFujiwaraon October 31, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My Interpretationokay, this is going to be long but this song means a lot to me and i've listened to it so much i have a pretty good interpretation of the entire thing. bare with me, it's going to be long. xo


    Like faithful oxen through the chalk,
    With dragging tails of history walk.
    Soon confuse the compass and the cross.
    Carefully and cursively we fill our traveling diaries with loss.

    He's talking about the woman he loves, how she's basically like oxygen to him. He can't live without her. They've made a lot of memories and in their travels they've gotten lost from religion. the actual 'history book' basically refers to their past so they've filled it with loss, but the loss of religion i think and people who are religious like family and friends and such.


    Beneath an angry Bible flood,
    Did you and I first learn to love.
    In my father's car we came to know.
    And shivered in our painted clothes and paired like every animal below.

    You're meant to not have sex before marriage when you're religious so they shagged i suppose and that's basically it. My friend went through this with me, it's basically just that and how it shows they're rebelling against their family and religion and joining with nature, hence the animal reference.


    As heavy as a history book can be,
    I will carry it with me, oh Lord.
    And maybe when the bitterness has gone,
    There'll be sweetness on our tongues once more.

    He's talking to God and being like "Well whatever it may be a lot to deal with but I'm not going to just drop it. And maybe when the people have gotten over the fact we're in love and that we're not going to abide by his rules then everything will be okay again."


    Barefoot in a rowing boat,
    You lose your shoes and freeze your toes.
    And say I wear my sorrow like a crown.
    And throw your arms around my head, and see it there in gold and red and brown.

    Pretty much another line about sex. Red and Gold are probably quite religious colours (i'm not religious, i don't know) and brown is a bit like mud so it links back to the whole idea of joining nature and leaving God. I think the crown bit shows that even though he's sad about loosing everyone, he's his own king now, he's in charge of his own life, not God and maybe his girl is congratulating him with boat sex or something.


    As heavy as a history book can be,
    I will carry it with me, oh Lord.
    And maybe when the bitterness has gone,
    There'll be sweetness on our tongues once more.

    (SAB)


    We'll soon forget our parents' names,
    Like dogs we'll drive the wolves away.
    And weep with fingertips opposed,
    Like a church where nobody congregates.

    Everything will be forgotten. They may be weak but they can stand strong against their opposition (dogs vs wolves). And they may be sad but they're not a church so they're happier. I really can't explain the last line but it makes so much sense in my head. It's like they're weeping in the same way they'd pray, much like the pastor at their church must be when people stop congregating there. Something like that, I dont know.


    But sweetness sings in the pasture,
    We throw ourselves on the mercy of the earth.
    If sand and salt have the answer,
    Then the act itself will be louder than the word.

    The good times are in like fields so nature so lets just go for it and live there instead of being all religous. If nature has the answer then having sex before marriage is more powerful than preaching about it.


    And I'll be on your side.

    He'll be on her side.


    That's my interpretation, thank you if you got this far, sorry if you don't like it and also sorry if it's wrong, i'm not a part of Dry The River so i can't really say i know what it's about. That's all really, thank you if you liked it :) xox
    beckyvion January 23, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHaha, I've been listening to Dry The River for a while now and I don't think I can name a single song that doesn't have a religious element in it. Though some references may be subtle, they're definitely there and it wouldn't surprise me if the lead singer (or whoever writes the songs) is Christian.
    Ramengurlon April 15, 2014   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!

Back to top
explain