Script for a Jester's Tear

[Track Info] [The Lyrics] [Explanation]

Script for a Jester's Tear - Track Info

01. Album version (08:39)

02. Live (London, England - "Hammersmith Odeon", April 18th '83) (08:31)

03. Live (London, England - "Hammersmith Odeon", January 9/10th '86) (08:50)

04. Live (St. Goar, Germany - "Freilichtbuhne Loreley", July 18th '87) (08:56)

05. Live (Sheffield - "City Hall", March 6th '84) (08:46)

Notes: live versions are very similar, they all follow studio version with a longer ad-lib finale.

Lyrics by Derek William Dick (Fish)
Performed Live for the first Time: 28-Dec-82

Published by Marillion Music, Charisma Music Publishing Co. Ltd., Chappell Music Ltd.

Script for a Jester's Tear - The Lyrics

So here I am once more in the playground of the broken hearts,
One more experience, one more entry in a diary, self-penned
Yet another emotional suicide overdosed on sentiment and pride
Too late to say I love you - Too late to restage the play
Abandoning the relics in my playground of yesterday

I'm losing on the swings, I'm losing on the roundabouts
I'm losing on the swings, I'm losing on the roundabouts
Too much, too soon, too far to go, too late to play,
The game is over, the game is over

So here I am once more in the playground of the broken hearts
I'm losing on the swings, I'm losing on the roundabouts, the game is over, [over]

Yet another emotional suicide overdosed on sentiment and pride
I'm losing on the swings, I'm losing on the roundabouts, roundabouts, the game is over

Too late to say I love you,
Too late to restage the play, the game is over

I act the role in classic style of a martyr carved with twisted smile
To bleed the lyric for this song to write the rites to right my wrongs
An epitaph to a broken dream to exercise this silent scream
A scream that's borne from sorrow

I never did write that lovesong,
The words just never seemed to flow
Now sad in reflection did I gaze through perfection
And examine the shadows on the other side of morning
And examine the shadows on the other side of morning
Promised wedding now a wake, promised wedding now a wake, [awake]

The fool escaped from paradise
Will look over his shoulder and cry
Sit and chew on daffodils and struggle to answer "Why?"
As you grow up and leave the playground
Where you kissed your prince and found your frog,
Remember the jester that showed you tears, the script for tears

So I'll hold our peace forever when you wear your bridal gown
In the silence of my shame the mute that sang the sirens' song
Has gone solo in the game - I've gone solo in the game, but the game is over

Can you still say you love me, can you still say you love me
Can you still say that you love me,
Do you love me, do you love me, do you love me,
Do you love me, the jester's tear

Can you still say you love me, can you still say you love me,
Can you still say that you love me?

The jester's tear, the jester's tear
[Do you love me]

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


Fish’s relationship with Kayleigh soured before the release of the first album. It could be said that it was because of the Web! Fish made the decision that trying to make a go of Marillion was more important than anything else, and his personal life suffered. It is however true that Fish’s decision to quit a secure life in the forestry commission, and the lyrics to ‘The Web’ had been made some while earlier. I often wonder whether the ‘love song with no validity’ in ‘Lords of the Backstage’ is ‘Script’, or ‘Kayleigh’! Those two songs have an element of similarity in that Fish clearly blames himself for the breakdown of the relationship; "The fool escaped from paradise" and "Is it too late to say I’m sorry?"

Torch said: "Script For A Jester's Tear" is a spontaneous feeling lyric; it seems to be set quite soon after a break-up, whereas "The Web" gives the feel of months wallowing in depression. It is for me quite the most beautiful expression of the pain of reaction.

He pities himself by claiming he is again in the "playground of the broken hearts" that all pretend to sing and be merry. It is one more to put down to experience, another entry in his "diary self-penned". . . (aren't all diaries?)
Perhaps this is just to tell us that these lyrics are autobiographical, as Fish broke up with Kayleigh, his first serious heartbreaker, at around this time.

Yet another emotional suicide, as she hasn't murdered him with hurt, but he has done it himself by his self-pity, the fatal overdose being "sentiment" mixed with "pride"; caring about the happy times he has lost and having pride in himself that has now been shattered.

It is too late to try again. He is losing at everything; has nowhere to run. Such a poignant little tune played at this bit, like the sad echo of a love song they used to both listen to.

It was "too much too soon" and now it's "too far to go" to get back and "too late to play" as a child is told to his despair at bedtime. "This game is over. " It seems it was all a game to her.

The second half I think is the really amazing bit, so emotional, as if he is sitting at dawn watching the morning light gloomily wake up "other side of morning" as all is so hushed. He does as is traditionally expected, plays the martyr, painfully bearing his thoughts, bleeding the lyric. It is an exercise "to write the rites to right my wrongs". . . like a ritual rite to purge himself of is heartache.

"Abandoning the relics in my playground of yesterday. . . " Fish does or did keep notebooks where any experience of note he had would be recorded in detail.

"If I want to get into something or someone I push myself to the absolute extremes, never to short-change my emotions. Then I write it all down, warts and all, afterwards. "
"I collect bits of my life that still mean something to me, the bits of others I have found lying around. "

The two quotes from interviews in 1985 do suggest this song is extremely autobiographical.

This poem is an epitaph, the final tribute, to a dream that has been broken. . . maybe it was only ever a dream, a fantasy, not a real romance. The writing down is to exorcise like an evil spirit the silent scream of sorrow that has been borne in him that is like a silent undertow festering and hissing like a snake pit.

He remembers now how as he comes out with such beautiful lines that he never used his gifts on her as he always wanted to; he never did write that love song and it is too late now.

"Kayleigh, I'm still trying to write that love song, Kayleigh, it's more important to me now you're gone. " Now sad as he reflects on what he has lost, he recalls gazing through perfection(her and their dream romance) and examine the shadows on the other side of morning/mourning. . . rather than waking up in her arms each morning, he now wakes to just his shadow next to him. . . but it doesn't quite fit. . . the other side of morning is mourning. . . he examines its shadows, i.e. the shadows or memories that play before him as he is seeing the other side of everything now he is alone.

The promised wedding is now a "wake" or funeral party, "awake "on the other side of morning.

The Fool that he feels himself to be will look over HER shoulder and cry. . . at the sight of the past she has walked away from? Once he looked over her shoulder as he cuddled and comforted her. He has escaped from paradise as only a fool would volunteer to leave. . . maybe it was his decision he now suffers for. . . alternatively “escaped" could just mean once it was over he had to abandon paradise and its relics as they were too painful.

He will not be able to answer WHY this had to happen, it all seems so unfair. She will grow up and leave him, the reverse of the fairy tale, as she kissed the prince , a handsome hero, who was turned to a frog of ugliness and inertia after her kiss. Alternatively, if they never actually had a relationship and it was just a dream now unattainable, she kissed her husband to be and so reduce the singer to a frog by rejecting him. . .

He begs her to remember the Jester side of him that "showed you tears, the script for tears". Maybe he made her cry and so they separated, or maybe just his tears shown to her are a new thing to her she has no experience or understanding of.

So at the wedding he will hold his peace rather than speak of a reason why the couple may not "lawfully be joined together". . . maybe a pun on holding his "piece", i.e. alone sexually forever???

His shame will have to be silent, "the mute that sang the siren's song" this could be two things. She is the mute, i.e. she sings the fatal ensnaring song just by looking, not speaking, as she won't speak to him, or he is the mute as he holds his peace forever but will sing her song to himself forever as he cannot escape her and will go on reliving the memories he has of her.

The mute has gone "solo" as one would in a card game and he can no longer be a party to her thoughts. But "can you still say you love me?" he sobs at the end, so it seems they were once in love, and after such an incredible baring of his soul can she be unmoved by it?

‘I'm losing on the swings, I'm losing on the roundabouts’
A perversion of the original saying. Brewer’s: ‘What you lose on the swings, you gain on the roundabouts. ’ What you lose in one venture, you recoup on another; a way of stating the law of averages.

Brewer’s: In Ireland, the term denotes the watching of the body of the deceased, and the funeral which follows, a custom formerly also common in Wales and Scotland.

The term in Scotland, actually refers more to the party that takes place after the funeral than any pre-funeral activities.

‘The fool escaped from paradise’
Brewer’s: ‘A fool’s paradise’ A state of contentment or happiness based on unreal, fanciful or insecure foundations.

‘Chew on daffodils’
(This is a most peculiar image. It is so strange that I am sure there must be some specific genus for the phrase, but I am unable to find anything except the following in Brewer’s. -Ed)

‘Legend says that the daffodil was once white, but Persephone, who had wreathed her head with them and fallen asleep in the meadow, was captured by Pluto and carried off in his chariot. She let fall some of the lilies and they turned to a golden yellow. Theophilus and Pliny tell us that they grow on the banks of Acheron’ (a river similar to the Styx, across which the dead must pass to reach the underworld, Elysium) ‘and the spirits of the dead delight in the flower, called by them the Asphodel. ’

‘Where you kissed your prince and found your frog’
The Frog Prince is a Fairytale by the Grimm Brothers, to check the story out follow this link: The Frog Prince.

Brewer’s: One of the mythical monsters, half women, half bird, said by the Greek poet to entice seamen by the sweetness of their song, to such a degree that the listeners forgot everything else and died of hunger.


Last Modified: 27 Jul 2000