dave mac :Reading again the lyrics of Viva La Vida just
after ending a book about Louis XVI (Louis
Vincent - and Stephan Zweig with Marie-
1. "I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning, I sleep alone"
Well after reading this part, we are sure about
the fact that we're talking about someone who
used to rule, a king. But that's too obvious and I
didn't mention this part to say this, because
what that catched my intention is the "now in
the morning, I sleep alone". That's Louis XVI in
his last moments, captured in "La conciergerie",
where he spends his last days before the trial.
He's seperated from his Family, (the Queen and
their 3 children). He is alone and he's thinking
about what he had become.
2. "Listen as the crowd would sing:
"Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!"
This part refers to when Louis XVI had become a
king when his grand father Louis XV, died with
the smallpox. He was waiting with Marie-
Antoinette in a parlor (the heir apparent wasn't
alowed to enter the room of the dying king in
order not to get affected. He was going to be
king) when the courtiers came running to them
and screaming all over the castle after hearing
that the king passed away in his chamber : "The
old king is dead! Long live the king". That's
when Louis XVI fell on his knees and said his
famous prayer: "Dear God, guide and protect us.
We are too young to reign."
3. "One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand"
For me it refers to when Louis XVI became a
king, and started to reign and discovered how
bad was the situation of the country, he was
trapped. He became the king [of a nation in
decadence]. That bringed absolute power
(restaured at the time of Louis XIV), but also a
lot of responsibilities, and a hope of change
from the people of France, who were living in
misery for so long and to who God bringed a
new young king full of good intent. (Louis XVI
ruled at 19 years old, and succeed at his grand
father who was well known for debauchery, and
also for his negligence of the affairs of the
country in his last years. His death was like a
relief for the people at that time.)
4. "My missionaries in a foreign field"
Louis XVI was recognized to be a learned king:
he was reading a lot, and passioned by the
geography and the maritime navigation. He was
sending missionaries to discover and to study
5. "For some reason I can't explain
Once you go there was never, never an honest
That was when I ruled the world"
"Shattered windows and the sound of drums
People couldn't believe what I'd become"
They say that the history is always written by
the winners, and that's true. After the revolution,
the king was falsely remembered to be "weak,
without personnality, dominated by his woman,
stupid, fat, a good for nothing" (and even to be a
tyrant and a despot which was hard to imagine,
all the people who knew truely the king knew
that he could has been anything but a tyrant),
this is how the revolutionnaries wanted the king
to be remembered, all in order to save and
defend the Revolution. But the truth is that
Louis XVI loved his people to the much that he
didn't want to spill blood even when the times
got hard, he believed in a revolution (but a
monarchic one, that's why somehow, he led the
revolution). That's maybe the fault I reproche
him: he could had spilled blood and mainted the
order of the country but he didn't, that was the
safetest option for him but he didn't want to do
it, but badly the times never forgive the
powerful nations that wants to get weakned.
Blood had to be spilled at that time anyway, so
he payed with his own, he was heard to say
when about to get guillotined, 'People of France,
I am innocent, I forgive those who are
responsible for my death. I pray to God that the
blood spilled here never falls on France or on
you, my unfortunate people ...' When he tried to
speak to the crowd and say these words, he was
cut short by a roll on the drums.)
I've said all of this just to talk about the part
when CD say "Once you go, there was never,
never an honest word " it's like the king is
disappointed to see how misunderstood he was :
There's no recognition of all the efforts he tried
to do (and yes, unlike all what was commonly
thought, he did! He was encouraging the science
at his time but most of all, it's thanks to him
that the united state got the independence I
don't wanna talk about this cause I'm not gonna
stop if I start haha), everybody is pointing him,
they are lying about him, he feels betrayed by
6. "Revolutionaries wait
For my head on a silver plate
Just a puppet on a lonely string
Oh who would ever want to be king?"
This part confirms more than ever what I have
said: this song is REALLY about Louis XVI. We're
talking about "revolutionaries" "head", but most
of all (which is for me a great way to end the
song!), the "who would ever want to be king?"
part which refers the "label" they gave to louis:
"Louis XVI, l'homme qui ne voulait pas Ãªtre roi"
(Louis XVI, the man who didn't want to be a
Good lyrics are good lyrics.