"It's the one I still can’t believe I wrote. It's quite unsettling; it was quite unsettling to record, and quite unsettling to play to people, and it's quite unsettling to listen to, I think. Sound-wise it's just a punch in the face, and the imagery is way darker than I intended it to be."
--- to interview with Mark Butler of FMV Magazine.

THE BEAST

Laura Marling

Where did our love go?
You will never know
How did you get home?
You will never know
Did you catch yourself
In the mirror?
It's a sight I understand.
You considered it all for a second
And put it down to slight of hand

You know I've been running 'round for hours
Calling my 'gyptian blood
To bear me flowers
Calling sophia, goddess of power

Instead i got the beast
And tonight he lies with me
Tonight he lies with me
Tonight he lies with me
And here comes the beast

You're okay now, i suppose
You're not pulled by the rope
I'm pulled by the pull of my throat
I'm pulled by the rope
I swing from the trees into the slope
Hold my head high,
Just by the tip of my toes
and he lies, he lies so sweet
That I choke

Tonight I choose the beast
Tonight he lies with me
Tonight he lies with me
Tonight he lies with me
And here comes the beast

Put your eyes away
If you can't bear to see
Your old lady
Lying down next to the beast
Tonight he lies with me
Tonight he lies with me
And here comes the beast

Look at yourself in the mirror
It's a sight I understand
You consider it all for a second
And put it down to slight of hand
I give you the best,
The best that i can

I suggest that you be grateful
That it's your blood on my hands?
And assume yourself weaker, the fall of man
And look out for the beast
Tonight he lies with me
Tonight he lies with me
And here comes the beast

Put your eyes away
If you can't bear to see
Your old lady
Lying down next to the beast
Tonight he lies with me
Tonight he lies with me
And here comes the beast


After cautioning that what the beast might be is up to the listener, Marling said: "But to me, my beast is just giving in to all kinds of horribleness, that feeling of insanity or loss of control, of thinking 'Is this it - have I finally lost my mind?' And there's nothing anybody can do about it."

She calls Sophia the Goddess of Power. This expands on the theme introduced in the song SOPHIA where the feminine divinity, which is considered a heretical concept by many branches of christianity, is treated with less seriousness. To me the song seems to be about the conflict between masculine and feminine aspects of one's personality. The beast is always referred to as 'he'. The singer wants the goddess, but settles for the beast.

"I give you the best
the best that I can
"

Note that 'best' is one letter short of being 'beast'.


BEAST WEBSITE

THE BEAST has its own website. The site consists mainly of a profusely illustrated poem by Marling expanding on the song's theme.

Marling's inspiration for the poem comes from a quote from Thomas Jefferson about the abolition of slavery: "We have the wolf by the ears and we can neither hold him nor safely let him go." She told an interviewer for Q recently that the poem is read by Gil Landry of the Old Crow Medicine Show. Asked why she selected Landry, she said: "I liked the idea of having a deeply masculine voice reading what are essentially deeply feminine thoughts."

The illustrations for the aforementioned BEAST site were done by SHYNOLA, a group of three London visual artists, Chris Harding, Richard Kenworthy and Jason Groves. They also are responsible for the artwork associated with ACIDK.