From Gary in Burke, VA:
I have become a fan of The Scarlet Pimpernel since seeing it at The Kennedy Center a
few years ago. I think it was version 2. I was captivated by all of the music, but was struck
particularly by the melody and beautiful lyrics of "When I Look At You."
I have read through your Q&A archives on the website and understand your explanation of
Marguerite's ambiguity about her relationship with Percy and why she says some of the things she
says in this song. That explanation helped a great deal.
Here's the line that I need some help with: "and love isn't ev'rything. That moonlight on the
bed will melt away some day!" I notice the period after "ev'rything". Does that mean "and love
isn't ev'rything" is one statement and then "That moonlight..." is another thought? Would that
be interpreted as "and, our love isn't everything that matters... and, by the way, the physical
and emotional love that we shared (moonlight on the bed) will dissipate over time, anyway."?
The song is awesome! Your thoughts on this lyric passage will be extremely helpful.
Thursday, 23 February 2006
Your interpretation of the lines from "When I Look at You" is absolutely correct. In her
rationalizations, Marguerite tries to persuade herself that "love isn't everything."
Naturally, at this moment, love is the most important thing in the world to her, but she's
shooting for denial. "That moonlight on the bed will melt away" is one of my personal favorite
lines in the song because it's a little surreal. When she remembers the wonderful times with
the old Percy, she remembers perhaps one night in particular when they lay in bed with the
moonlight falling across their bodies. She wants that memory to fade away, but again she knows
it never will. So, as you suggest, they are two separate thoughts but one naturally follows the
other. It's all rationalization and wishful thinking on her part: love doesn't matter that much,
and, by the way, even if it does, I know I'll forget those unforgettable moments...
Gary, thank you so much for your letter. I hope what I've said is helpful but it seems like
you already understood anyway.
Best to you,