Lyrics : Elvis Costello Lyrics : Secret, Profane and Sugarcane Album : Red Cotton

Red Cotton Lyrics - Elvis Costello


I'm cutting up
a pure white dress
That I dyed red
That I dyed red
And putting scraps
in cheap tin lockets
What time erases
and memory mocks
I send them over the ocean foam
Right into those gems of European homes

The slave ship, blessed, slipped from Liverpool
Over the waves the Royal Navy rooks
To go and plunder the kingdom I've been in
where certain history ends and shame begins
Back home the traders paid in powder and shot
line up their prisoners
sell them in lots
they packed them tight inside those coffin ships
and they took them to the brand new world of auction blocks and .....

So I'm cutting up
a pure white dress
that I dyed red,
that I dyed red
and putting scraps
in cheap tin lockets
what time erases,
and memory mocks
I send them over the ocean foam
right into those gems of european homes

white is the sheet on your fine linen bed
the blood stained red on each cotton thread
the merchants gathered at St. George's hall
To unveil the heathen slave who is carved upon the wall
Picture the scene at the old Salt House Docks
They loaded the iron shackles and locks
between a sandstone crocodile, a barrel, and a bail.
you will see their neighbors faces they were offering for sale

So I sing the praises of God's glory
As a blue citation floats in the basement
an elephant on the second story
and they queue all day to see 'em
in my American museum

But the Lord will judge us with fire and thunder
as man continues with all his blunders
it's only money
it's only numbers
maybe it is time to put aside these fictitious wonders
But man is feeble, man is puny
and if it should divide the Union
there is no man
who should own another
when he can't even recognize his sister and his brother

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