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Unrepentant Geraldines

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Maids of Elfen-mere

Lyrics by Tori Amos

the Maids of Elfen-mere
watch over the boy with chestnut hair
and as he dreams about his love for them
they make a vow to protect him
spinning their song
sung by a happy corpse
foreseeing a pretty girl drawing
her arrow
but what they want to know
will she bring him
true love
or sorrow
the Maids of Elfen-mere
don't know that the boy with chestnut hair
winds back the clock at the 11th bell
hoping to follow them
through the veil
spinning their song
sung by a happy corpse
foreseeing a pretty girl drawing
her arrow
but what they want to know
will the Queen of Eastland or the Wastelands be waking
the Maids of Elfen-mere


Dante Rossetti, The Maids of Elfen-mere (1855)


Tori Quotes

So, the pre-Raphaelites... something I've been studying for many years, just looking at their work. It's not just something I stumbled upon, but I did stumble upon, in one of the books, um, when I was in Ireland, uh, this, I guess, wood carving, but I don't say it right, forgive me, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, for a songbook during the nineteenth century; I'd say, maybe during 1839 -- something like that. And I wasn't, um, investigating the song; I was completely transfixed by what I was seeing so that when I was looking at this wood carving, the print of it, I started hearing the maids singing to me, and I started wondering what their message would be then, and in the twenty-first century, and that's how I was kind of taken by them, seduced by them, in a way. [Spotify commentary - 2014]

I think the mythical world has always had some sort of magic for me. The song "Maids of Elfen-mere" was an etching by Dante Gabriel Rossetti and when I saw that etching, I started hearing the music telling a story about where they are now. I started researching what he had drawn the picture for, which was a book of songs. I was aware of what the song was about, but I wanted to catch up with the maids now and include the story from the 18 whatever it was and tell the story in a 21st century way as well. [Time - May 13, 2014]


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