Introduction: Steve Hogarth wrote on Marillion.com "The first lyric by John Helmer on this album. A girl he knew had gone on holiday to South America and 'gone native' for a while. When she got back home she had problems picking up the threads of her old life. We could all relate... "
'Forgetfulness is a river, and you know where the river leads'
Lethe, in Greek mythology, the river of forgetfulness is situated in the underworld. The spirits of the dead drank from its waters to forget the sorrows of their earthly life before entering Elysium. Conversely, when the Trojan Prince, Aeneas visited the world of the dead, he found a great number of souls wandering on the banks of the stream. His father, Anchises, with whom he was joyously reunited, told him that before these spirits could live again in the world above, they must drink of the river of oblivion to forget the happiness they had known in Elysium.
The fall refers to the expulsion from Eden. I'm sure you all know the story, but God creates man and woman and lets them live in Paradise (Eden). They can eat from any tree save the tree of knowledge. The serpent tempts Eve, who tempts Adam, and they eat the fruit. They realise that they are naked and cover themselves. God discovers that they have disobeyed him and expels them from paradise. This is the fall from grace, and is the 'original sin' that every human is said to be born with.
'See no, Hear no, Speak no evil'
This is a reference to the three wise monkeys, a pictoral maxim based on a 17th century carving at the Toshogi Shrine in Nikko, Japan. Part of a larger work based on Confucius’s code of conduct, the monkeys were carved by Hidari Jingoro.
The monkeys are Mizaru, covering his eyes, who sees no evil; Kikazaru, covering his ears, who hears no evil; and Iwazaru, covering his mouth, who speaks no evil.
'Darkness has no heart'
Conrad, Joseph, (1857-1924) Polish born, English novelist, who is amongst the great modern English prose stylists.
Comptons Interactive Encyclopedia: "At the age of 20, Polish-born Joseph Conrad could speak no English; yet in his lifetime he would write outstanding novels and stories in that language. His tales of seafaring life depicted the concerns of all people: hazards in nature, the need for loyalty, and the danger in greed.
He was born Josef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski to a Polish family on Dec. 3, 1857, in what is now Ukraine. He was orphaned in 1869 and was brought up by his uncle, who hoped that he would become a lawyer. But Conrad wanted to be a sailor. In October 1874 he moved to Marseilles, France, and went to sea at age 17. In July 1876 he sailed as steward on the St-Antoine. It is likely that he took part in the smuggling of weapons, as later described in his novel 'Nostromo'. It is known that in 1878 he was recovering from a mysterious chest wound that his uncle claimed was self-inflicted. Conrad, however, encouraged people to think he had suffered the injury in a duel.
In April 1878 he was sufficiently recovered to be a deckhand on the British freighter Mavis, and for the next 16 years he served in the British merchant navy. In 1886 he became eligible to be a ship's captain and also received British citizenship. His sea travels often took him to the Far East, and his experiences provided him with material for the novels and stories he would later write.
Back in London in 1889, he began his first novel, 'Almayer's Folly', but interrupted this work to visit Africa a dream he had had since childhood. He commanded a steamboat on the Congo River, and, though he became very ill for awhile, the adventure provided him with the seed of his most famous story, 'Heart of Darkness', published in 1899.
Under his anglicized name of Joseph Conrad, he published 'Almayer's Folly' in April 1895. It did not sell well but got critical praise. However, he was soon to write his finest novels 'Lord Jim' (1900), 'Nostromo' (1904), 'Secret Agent' (1907), and 'Under Western Eyes' (1911). In 1919 he settled in Bishopsbourne, England, where he died on Aug. 3, 1924. His influence was felt long after his death."
(Heart of Darkness tells the tale of the culture shock experienced by a man who spends time with the natives in the Congo. He reverts to nature, becoming almost savage as his need to survive comes to the fore. Upon his return to Victorian London, he is unable to relate to the people and customs that he was once a part of.
Apocalypse Now is also based upon Heart of Darkness - Ed)
Comptons Interactive Encyclopedia: "MILTON, John (1608-74). Next to William Shakespeare, John Milton is usually regarded as the greatest English poet. His magnificent 'Paradise Lost' is considered to be the finest epic poem in the English language. In other epics and in shorter verse forms Milton showed further proof of his genius. Although they are not as well known, Milton's essays in prose are powerful arguments on such subjects as divorce and freedom of the press. He was a supporter of Oliver Cromwell's republic and advocated divorce on the grounds of incompatibility. He became blind in later years and died in solitude.
For the student who is reading Milton's work for the first time, his poetry is admittedly difficult. There are many references to obscure Biblical and mythological people. Milton's language is often high-flown, deliberately literary, and far from common or natural.
Once these difficulties are overcome, however, the student can recognize why Milton is great. First, he sees that Milton's subjects are lofty and magnificent. The conflict between Satan and God in 'Paradise Lost', however far from the reader's own experience, is one that he knows is basic to all religious thought. The theme of 'Samson Agonistes' is closer to home, yet the agony and the final triumph of the blinded Samson are tragic and sublime.
Second, Milton tells an engrossing story. Action is swift and events are exciting. The characters are human and believable. Indeed, many critics have felt that Milton made Satan too human.
Finally, his endings are lifelike. Despite tragedy and death, life itself goes on. In his epic endings, a balance is restored and calm prevails. Life, not death, is triumphant.
Milton's service under Cromwell brought on blindness. This did not stop his writing poetry. He dictated his masterpiece, 'Paradise Lost' (1667), to his daughters. This is an epic poem telling of the fall of the angels and of the creation of Adam and Eve and their temptation by Satan in the Garden of Eden ("Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit/ Of that forbidden tree..."). It is written in blank verse of great solemnity. Paradise Regained (1671) is Milton's sequel to Paradise Lost. He considered the later work his masterpiece, but most readers have not agreed with him. "
At the end of the track, someone (Ian Mosley?) shouts 'Well, that was fun, wasn't it?' but you have to listening to the album at an ear splitting volume to hear this!
Lyrics: Steve Hogarth & John Helmer
Lyrics: Steve Hogarth & John Helmer