[Track Info] [The Lyrics] [Explanation]

Easter - Track Info

Track 2, from the album "Seasons end" - Album Version 5:57
Lyrics by Steve Hogarth
Published by Charisma Music Publishing Co. Ltd., Rondor Music (LDN).

Easter - The Lyrics

A ghost of a mist was on the field
The grey and the green together
The noise of a distant farm machine
Out of a the first light came

A tattered necklace of hedge end trees, on the southern side of the hill
Betrays where the border runs between, where Mary Dunoon's boy fell

Easter here again, a time for the blind to see,
Easter, surely now can all of your hearts be free

Out of the port of Liverpool, bound for the north of Ireland
The wash of the spray and horsetail waves, the roll of the sea below

And Easter here again, a time for the blind to see,
Easter, surely now can all of your hearts be free

What will you do?
Make a stone of your heart?
Will you set things right?
When you tear them apart?
Will you sleep at night?
With the plough and the stars alight?

What will you do?
With the wire and the gun?
That'll set things right
When it's said and done?
Will you sleep at night?
Is there so much love to hide?

What will you do?
Make a stone of your heart?
Will you set things right?
When you tear them apart?
Will you sleep at night?
With the plough and the stars alight?

What will you do?
With the wire and the gun?
That'll set things right
When it's said and done?
Will you sleep at night?
Is there so much love to hide?

Forgive, Forget, Sing never again.

Copyright 1997 Fraser Marshall, Matthew Anderson & Bert ter Steege.


From the compilation CD: "A singles Collection":
It was Februari '89. I had been with the band for about three weeks. We were at the Music Farm, near Brighton, Sussex. I had this red plastic bucket full of cassetes and tambourines. In the evenings we would listen to any half-formed musical ideas we had written during the days. If we were stuck for inspiration Mark would ask me if there was anything in the bucket... I'd written this song about a year before, in early '88, but never got beyond chorus 2 until the band got hold of it... I was thinking of the 'The Skye Boat Song' and I wanted Easter to be like that, but like an anthem for Ireland. It's not a political song, it's a love song - a tribute to the warmth of the Irish spirit, a message of hope and support to the great majority of people who want nothing to do with the gunmen (all the gunmen) but must, nonetheless, raise their children amidst a climat of potential violence. I referred to Yeats' poem 'Easter 1916'... more out of reverence to his genius than out of plagarism... honest! (Steve Hogarth).

From: July 1992 (no. 155) issue of "Record Collector" by Linda La Ban: Steve Hogarth: "I was trying to rewrite the 'Skye Boat Song'," he smiles, humming that folk song. "I'm not Irish but I had been at college with a guy who had grown up on the Falls Road, and living with him hammered home the reality of the Irish situation. I wanted to write a song for the Irish people, 99% of whom hate the struggle and want nothing to do with it. They are quite happy to live in peace together, and yet there are these terrorists who perpetrate violence, and I sometimes wonder to what extent it's about money rather than freedom. I just wanted to write a song of hope, a little love song for the people who are stuck in the middle of it. It is, after all, real people getting murdered."

Paul Hughes sent the following through: The poem is 'Easter 1916' by William Butler Yeats, taken from his anthology 'Michael Robartes and the Dancer' (1921), a lot of which is about the euphemistically titled 'troubles'.


I have met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
Eighteenth-century houses.
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.
That woman's days were spent
In ignorant good-will,
Her nights in argument
Until her voice grew shrill.
What voice more sweet than hers
When, young and beautiful,
She rode to harriers?
This man had kept a school
And road our winged horse;
This other his helper and friend
Was coming into his force;
He might have won fame in the end,
So sensitive his nature seemed,
So daring and sweet his thought.

This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vainglorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,
Yet I number him in the song;
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
Transformed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

Hearts with one purpose alone
Through summer and winter seem
Enchanted to a stone
To trouble the living stream.
The horse that comes from the road,
The rider, the birds that range
From cloud to tumbling cloud,
Minute by minute they change;
A shadow of cloud on the stream
Changes minute by minute;
A horse-hoof slides on the brim,
And a horse plashes within it;
The long-legged moor-hens dive,
And hens to moor-cocks call;
Minute by minute they live:
The stone's in the midst of all.
Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is heaven's part, our part
To murmer name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild.
What is it but nightfall?
No, no, not night but death;
Was it needless death after all?

For England may keep faith
For all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse -
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

September 1916

The names mentioned towards the end are prominent figure in the Republican uprising, including James Connolly, who came from Edinburgh and in whose name there is still a march through the city every year.

Pears Cyclopedia: William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) Irish lyric poet and playwright, born near Dublin, a leader of the Irish literary revival.

‘The grey and the green’
This particular phrase appears to have troubled many people, myself included. It seems that many people on Freaks were convinced (particularly since as New Model Army have a song entitled "The Valleys of The Green and The Grey"), that the phrase means something other than the simple mist/ field symbolism. P. T. McNiff posted about the symbolism of the Tricolour colours, so many of us imagined that the ‘green’ is the same here (Catholic), but didn’t know what the grey referred to.

The general opinion about the NMA song, was that it was about old Yorkshire industrial towns, like Huddersfield or Halifax, and the effect of people leaving the rural villages to work in these depressing towns; certainly not an image that could be associated with Easter. It seems that maybe it was just a simple image of the fog on the field.

‘Mary Dunoon’
Dunoon is a typical Irish Name you will find in all kind of religion and political parties, and is probably a symbol for the line that was drawn is Ireland, which caused the death of so many Irish sons, so Mary Dunoon is a fictive name, a symbol for all the mothers in Ireland.

Steve Ross posted an article from The Web USA - Issue # 8 - November 1994, pg.44 (Reprint of an Interview with Steve Hogarth by Martin Jansen and Patrick van der Splinter, The Web Holland - July 13, 1994/Rotterdam):
Web: And does the line "...where the border runs between/where Mary Dunoon's boy fell" refer to the division of Ireland?
Hogarth: Yes, and it's fiction. I mean I deliberately didn't use an actual case of someone having lost a son, but I'm referring to the grief of a mother who loses a son as a result of the troubles over there.

‘Out of the port of Liverpool, Bound for the North of Ireland’
Liverpool being the usual port for the North, Holyhead in Wales being the one for Dublin.

‘What will you do. . . ’
This is a direct allusion to the poem. Martijn Buijs said: Easter Rising (Grolier CD Encyclopedia): The Easter Rising, an Irish insurrection against British rule, took place in Dublin in April 1916. (actually April 24 - Ed) It was led by members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (earlier known as Fenians). Most of the participants were members of the Irish Volunteers, a paramilitary force formed during the crisis over the home rule bill of 1912 and sustained by disappointment over the postponement of home rule for the duration of World War I. The rising was unpopular and was suppressed within a week, although subsequent executions of 15 of its leaders, including the writer Patrick Pearse, evoked widespread sympathy, which worked to the political benefit of the Irish nationalist movement Sinn Fein.

Among those who survived was Michael Collins, the man who went on to invent urban terrorism, and the first leader of the IRA., and features in the eponymous film with Liam Neeson. However - beware a few parts bear no more relation to actual history than does most of Braveheart!

‘Plough and the Stars alight?’
Gareth Foy said: The Plough and the Stars was also a political/ social play, possibly a satire, written around the time of the uprising in the 1920s by a wonderful Dublin Playwrite called, I think, Sean O'Casey.

Chris Ashby said: Also "The Plough" is another name for the star constellation commonly known as the "Big dipper" or whatever. (Or "The Great Bear" - Ed)

Chris Disspain: I believe that the name "The Plough" is a common name coined in the UK for the box with the tail part of the constellation of Ursa Major (or the Great Bear) and not the whole of it. It seems that the US refer to it as the "Big Dipper", which means nothing to anyone from the UK. The UK name derives from the fact that it resembles a horse drawn plough and the US name presumably comes from its resemblence to a rollercoaster track, so the US name is clearly a whole lot newer!


Last Modified: 13 Mar 2002