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This semi-comically melodramatic take on Stephen King's novel The Stand depicts a nightmarish figure emerging on "the edge of town."
The song's title comes from a line in John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost
: "Should intermitted vengeance arm again/ His red right hand to plague us?/ What if all her stores were opened, and this firmament/ Of Hell should spout her cataracts of fire." Cave used the same line in his track "Song of Joy" from his 1996 album Murder Ballads
. In this instance he sings: "Quotes John Milton on the walls in the victim's blood/ Police are investigating at tremendous cost. / In my house he wrote 'His red right hand'/ That I am told, is from 'Paradise Lost.'"
The English Puritan writer John Milton wrote the Biblical poem Paradise Lost, in which he attempted "to justify the ways of God to man." Milton was totally blind when he created his "magnum opus." He composed it entirely in his mind and dictated it to his daughters. A classic of English literature, it was the first great poem written in blank verse. Though he was to achieve universal fame for this work, Milton was forced by his financial circumstances to sell his copyright for Paradise Lost to Samuel Simmons, a London Bookseller, for £5, plus another £5 after 3 additions of 1500 copies had been sold. This was actually quite a reasonable sum in 1667, the year he wrote it.
The album version runs at 6:10, whilst the single release was edited to 4:48.
This appeared on the Dumb and Dumber soundtrack.
Nick Cave told Q Magazine October 2007: "A good song has the ability to continue to reveal itself to you long after you've actually written it. This one's pretty good (for that)."
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