We Both Go Down Together Lyrics - The Decemberists

Review The Song (24)

Here on these cliffs of Dover
so high you can't see over
and while your head is spinning
hold tight it's just beginning

you come from parents' wanton
a childhood rough and rotten
I come from wealth and beauty
untouched by work or duty

and oh, my love, my love.
and oh, my love, my love.
We both go down together.

I found you, a tattooed tramp
A dirty daughter from the labor camps
I laid you down in the grass of a clearing
You wept, but your soul was willing

and oh, my love. my love.
and oh, my love. my love.
We both go down together.

And my parents will never consent to this love
But I hold your hand

Meet me on my vast veranda
My sweet untouched Miranda
and while the seagulls are crying
we fall but our souls are flying

and oh, my love. my love.
and oh, my love. my love.
and oh, my love. my love.
and oh, my love. my love.
We both go down together.

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Eh | Reviewer: Eve | 1/7/14

Okay, my input probably matters to ABSOLUTELY NO ONE so I'm just going to say that, this is the Decemberists for pete's sake. I mean, they've done creepier songs, so while both opinions have their grounds, it's certainly possible to be about rape and murder/suicide. It's a beautiful song, and the lyrics and eh, interesting, but we won't know for certain unless anyone has information from the writer of the lyrics. Sooooo... tell me when that happens.

Triumph! | Reviewer: Anonymous | 1/2/12

Interesting what every one has said here.
What seems clear to me is that regardless of whether this song is implying suicide or love making ( it's probably up to you to chose as it seems like one of those clever songs that has a double meaning ) it seems clear that she is not being forced or brutalized by the narrator. The implication is that she is willing to either die or have sex with this guy. He is not a forcing himself on her. And in the case of suicide I'd say one would likely to find themselves weeping even though the act was intentional. As for the romantic interpretation I can definitely see her crying do to emotional turmoil rather than the case of a forced sexual act.
And it's TRIUMPH not tramp.

And by the way | Reviewer: Eve | 1/2/12

Adding to my previous comment. What the song says is ' and my parents will never consent to this love but I hold your hand' which implys that due to their improper social situation his parents will not consent to marriage. Under the circumstances that trap them ( social hierarchy ) they decide
On a joint suicide. This kind of thing is pretty common even in today's society, perhaps not so much in the west, but in India this is certainly still a factor.
Any way sorry for wanking on but I really think the rapist theory is totally wrong.

Maybe not the smartest tactic, but not "unreliable." | Reviewer: Amy | 7/18/11

Come on, guys, you don't need to find rapists and stalkers EVERYWHERE. That's Weird Al's job.

I notice nobody's calling Romeo or Juliet "unreliable," and this is--essentially--the same thing. The only real difference is that the girl is a peasant, and the boy nobility, so the boy's parents aren't going to let him marry her.

Question: If he really was just taking advantage of her, why did he kill himself instead of ditching her and finding another peasant?

beautiful. | Reviewer: liv | 6/18/11

well, this being my favorite song, i am going to pretend that they really are in love. WHO ARE YOU TO SAY HE'S A PSYCHO? he may well be but i don't care. i love this song. i teared up when i saw it in concert and i heard "we fall, but our souls were flying". its beautiful, who even cares if he is nuts...

Dear Harold Camping, take the hipsters with you! | Reviewer: David | 6/1/11

Good God, Doktor Faustus, could you possibly be a more pretentious ass?

To say that the song creates a "chiasmus" between the singer and his lover is overreaching at best, especially since there is no example of a classical chiasmus anywhere in this song. The lyrics simply state that the two characters in the song come from opposite ends of the social spectrum. It's clear enough on its own; there's no need to dig for literary depth where none is present.

And PLEASE stop misusing the terms "demimonde" and "demimondaine". The demimonde refers to a social group who lead extravagant, hedonistic lives. Members of the demimonde could typically be classified as extremely fashionable, flirtatious, and rather ostentatious in demeanor (though not nearly as much so as yourself). There is no evidence in the lyrics to suggest that ANY of these characteristics might apply to the woman in question. In fact, they quite plainly state the opposite. She is from a lowly background, referred to as a "tattooed tramp", and appears to be a virgin. How then might we describe her as a demimondaine? To say she fits the definition simply because she has taken up a wealthy lover is just shallow and only proves your lack of understanding of the word's true connotation.

Having a firm understanding of esoteric concepts such as "chiasmus" and the "demimonde" BEFORE trying to use them in complete sentences would go a long way in improving your perceived IQ.

Silly little dilettante.

Clarify? | Reviewer: DG10 | 11/4/10

When I heard this song performed live Colin Meloy said it was about a double suicide, so, I would tend to take that into consideration when analyzing the lyrics.
Regardless, such a beautifully written and composed song.

We both go down together | Reviewer: Megan | 9/9/10

I know the last comments were from months ago but he actually says "a tattooed triumph" and then "a dirty daughter from the labour camps" - not tramp. So it's not being insulting at all or insinuating that he thinks very poorly of her. It's just clearly stating that she is a woman that has been severely persecuted while that was never the case for him.

It just makes me think of the Nazi's and their concentration camps where they would literally tattoo numbers on the prisoners' wrists.

We Both Go Down... TOGETHER? | Reviewer: VanDee | 7/27/10

This is not a song about joint suicide.

This is a song about an insane rich boy who's fastened upon a poor girl too hungry or too scared to say no to him. Having taken sexual advantage of her, he decides that they're "in love" and that the logical next step is a joint-suicide. Regardless of what she wants, that's what he plans to do.

Proof? He makes his upper-class contempt for her quite plain in his descriptions of her ("a childhood rough and rotten"... "a tattooed tramp"); he "lays her down" (notice how she doesn't even lie down herself, he throws/pushes her down); she "wept" (who is HE to say that her "soul was willing"? How can he possibly know that?); in the bridge we hear "But I hold your hand" (indicating that he's grabbed her so tightly she can't possibly get away).

We have no proof she agreed to this joint-suicide. Just because she's with him doesn't mean she loves him: the song states very clearly that they are not social equals and, as a poor girl, she hasn't much freedom to refuse the attention of someone rich.

So the moral of this song is... Always try to hear BOTH sides of the story!

Re: doktor faustus | Reviewer: CoryJ | 2/8/10

It isn't that he raped her. It isn't implying that at all. It is saying that it was her first time having sex. A girl will often cry when it is their first time because it is painful and also an emotional rush. She wept because of the pain and the emotions, but she was willing deep down. So her outward emotion really wasn't symbolic of how she really felt.

Another line that suggests that she is a virgin is "My sweet untouched Miranda."

Gement: A tramp just means that she was homeless. Not that she slept around a lot. So calling her a tattooed tramp is just another away of saying that she was very poor, and it is a testament to the character of the character that he looks past her poor background and sees the girl for what she really is. Of course it is a murder suicide. It is a murder-suicide because the girl and guy cannot be together because his parents wouldn't allow him to have a poor girl for a wife. So they plan to kill themselves. There is nothing unreliable about the narrator at all. He says, 'She is poor, I am rich. We can't be together so let's kill ourselves.' Pretty straightforward really.

My take | Reviewer: doktor faustus | 1/13/10

Interesting comments here, for the most part.

"I found you, a tattooed tramp
A dirty daughter from the labor camps
I laid you down in the grass of a clearing
You wept, but your soul was willing"

Not only is there a chiasmus created between the narrator of the song and the female of whom he sings, but there is also a fairly plain suggestion that he raped her.

The question, then, becomes to look at other tracks to search for a continuation of this narrative, specifically searching for some element of motive (that likely will never be found). As I have said, one interpretation of this song is that the prodigal speaker rapes a member of the demi-monde, and then (for some reason/motive), jumps off a cliff with her. The line "my parents will never consent to this love" really confuses the path of the narrative, to me. I would say that line is the biggest detractor from the rape exegesis, because parental approval seems the last thing a rapist is likely to be concerned with. And, of course, the line makes it sound like he is indeed in love with the demi mondaine...which raises another huge question as to what this all means. In sum, what seems most likely is that the line about his parents is not literal but is rather an oblique reference to the joint suicide.

Further, I disagree with the notion that "I come from wealth and duty, untouched by work or duty" is an insulting remark for its speaker. Could it be insulting? Sure. Does it, in this context, act as insulting? Hardly.

Yes, how unreliable. | Reviewer: thaumaturge | 8/18/09

I'm with Gement. The narrator is completely unreliable. I love that he also inadvertently makes fun of himself. "I come from wealth and beauty
untouched by work or duty". Not exactly a compliment. It's a pretty humorous song.

But whose idea was it? | Reviewer: Gement | 6/17/09

I love this song, but not for the same reasons many people seem to. A lot of people tend to gloss over the fact that the narrator is unreliable. "You wept, but your soul was willing" doesn't sound like whole-hearted consent to me.

He starts the song calling her a tramp and ends calling her "my sweet untouched Miranda," which is a Shakespearean reference to a sheltered and innocent girl. That's not a good sign for his grip on reality.

If you think about her position for a minute, how likely is "a dirty daughter from the labor camps" to bed a rich young man? Very. To go for a romantic walk by the cliffs of Dover with him? Sure! To die for love with him? ... Much more dubious.

So I read a possible murder-suicide, and I like it ambiguous.

deeply satisfying... | Reviewer: Raindrop | 6/30/08

Forbidden love, whether in songs, movies, or books, has always fascinated and entranced me. It's so exciting to read, listen or watch and often ends tragically. I'm deeply affected by music and my best friend and I often listen to it together. Another band we like is Death Cab for Cutie, you should check it out if you like this one.

The Decemberists | Reviewer: Anonymous | 2/2/08

this song is amazing. i am really in to the decemberists and this is one of their best. all of meloys writings are beautiful, though the themes are all quite similar (O, Valencia! is another one of the best)

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------ 11/23/2014

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