The Cave

Album: Sigh No More (2009)
Charted: 31 27

Songfacts®:

  • This tale of hope and defiance was the third single released by London-based folk quartet Mumford & Sons from their debut album, Sigh No More. A number of reviewers have surmised that the title is a reference to Plato's Allegory of the Cave in which the Greek philosopher argued that the invisible world is the most intelligible and that the visible world is the least knowable, and therefore the most incomprehensible. Plato believed that the soul exists in a realm apart from the body and the thinker is separate from the world he thinks about.
  • The song's music video was directed by Fred & Nick of Pulse Films in Goa, India during Mumford & Sons tour of that country.
  • The song was written during a soundcheck at Bannermans, one of Edinburgh, Scotland's smaller pubs.
  • Winston Marshall, banjoist and electric guitarist for Mumford & Sons, learned his Hindi lines just 15 minutes before shooting the music video. He says, "Alright lads? We heard you were looking for these," as the guys deliver instruments to an Indian wedding band. The Indian band spent three hours learning the song, but only two out of the four were actually musicians. Because Mumford & Sons had the idea at the last minute, they enlisted a cameraman and the father of one of the Indian musicians to round out the band.

Comments: 10

  • Me from HellovilleCan you download The Cave by Mumford and Sons? I've been looking everywhere for a downloadable.
  • James from Florence, KyI think this song is based on a work by GK Chesterton about St. Francis of Assisi. To quote:
    "The man who went into the cave was not the man who came out again; in that sense he was almost as different as if he were dead, as if he were a ghost or a blessed spirit. And the effects of this on his attitude towards the actual world were really as extravagant as any parallel can make them. He looked at the world as differently from other men as if he had come out of that dark hole walking on his hands.
    "This state can only be represented in symbol; but the symbol of inversion is true in another way. If a man saw the world upside down, with all the trees and towers hanging head downwards as in a pool, one effect would be to emphasise the idea of dependence. There is a Latin and literal connection; for the very word dependence only means hanging. It would make vivid the Scriptural text which says that God has hanged the world upon nothing."
  • Danyale from TennesseeIf I may...

    "It's empty in the valley of your heart
    The sun, it rises slowly as you walk
    Away from all the fears
    And all the faults you've left behind"

    This man has decided to walk away (with fear and doubt...but determination) from all the superficial things that he has accumulated in this life to find something of substance...of real substance...

    "The harvest left no food for you to eat
    You cannibal, you meat-eater, you see
    But I have seen the same
    I know the shame in your defeat"

    the man having accumulated all these things in life, has still found himself empty...hungry...there is a void in his soul, and a hole where he thought if he had done all the things that society said would make him a success, he then wouldn't feel that way..alas he does...and the writer of the song sympathizes with his plight.

    "But I will hold on hope
    And I won't let you choke
    On the noose around your neck"

    The writer is saying that he is sure the man will find what he is looking for (Seek and Ye shall find), that the writer won't let the man choke on the rot of society and of material wealth, that is braided into a noose and tied to the soul of man.

    "And I'll find strength in pain
    And I will change my ways
    I'll know my name as it's called again"

    He will find productive use of all the pain he has suffered, by turning into a positive...by changing his ways, he will change from being a gatherer of things that doesn't matter, to a follower of something bigger... A disciple of Christ, if you will....which is why he will "know his name when its called again" I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father (John 10:14-15) it is also said that every man whose name is in the "Book of Life" shall be called out, and those whose names aren't they will be cast into a lake of fire.

    "'Cause I have other things to fill my time
    You take what is yours and I'll take mine
    Now let me at the truth
    Which will refresh my broken mind"

    He will seek other ways of filling his heart/soul/life, with things that matter, a nobler cause. He is saying society/you can do as you please, but as for he himself, he wants the truth..and the truth isn't about these superficial things. He wants the rest of his life to be one of substance. And that will reset his mind that has been thus far consumed with the emptiness of his former superficial life.

    "So tie me to a post and block my ears
    I can see widows and orphans through my tears
    I know my call despite my faults
    And despite my growing fears"

    He is saying that you can bind him, tie him, and force him to listen to your broken lies of a record that says life is about all these things that doesn't matter, that God is a lie, the world is better off without him, and society is a better place. He says that despite that, he still sees all the hurt, the rot, the suffering (the widows and orphans), and despite what he was and despite being afraid that of what he is determined to become and leave behind...he knows now what his calling is, and it isn't to be a sheep and a slave to society.

    "So come out of your cave walking on your hands
    And see the world hanging upside down
    You can understand dependence
    When you know the maker's hand"

    So come out of your cave...you life of darkness and shelter, come out of it with a different perspective by walking instead on your hands, as opposed to your feet (maybe allowing your soul think as opposed to your mind). Dependence on God, not being prideful of what YOU have, what YOU obtained...because it is all made possible by God, understanding that and submitting to His will, enables you...in an ironic way...to being free. To being born again.

    "So make your siren's call
    And sing all you want
    I will not hear what you have to say"

    You can tempt me with all the world's empty pleasures if you like, but my life is God's now...and nothing will change that

    "'Cause I need freedom now
    And I need to know how
    To live my life as it's meant to be"

    I've left all my possessions and worldly beliefs behind me (now I'm free to do what God wants) I want the Truth and my purpose from that.
  • Seth from Shreveport, LaFirst time I heard this song I loved it. it will stand the test of time
  • Jim from Knoxville, TnFavorite line is, "I know my call despite my faults and despite my growing fears". GREAT line. That line aside, I'm pretty sure this song is about drug abuse. Maybe the first person has struggled with addiction, and won't let his friend "choke on the noose around your neck". Plus the pretty obvious, "you can understand dependence when you know the maker's hand". A few other lines in that same vein. Just an opinion.
  • Adrianne from Lansing, MiI just don't understand this song. It's pleasant enough but I don't get the meaning of it so I don't like it on a deeper level.
  • Megan from Stevenson, AlI love love love the guitar in this song! There were no words to say after I heard this...Yes, I mean that, I was actually speechless...xD
  • Miranda from Columbus, OhI am always singing this song! Love it!
  • Graham from Windsor, AustraliaI like the way that the songs builds up to a crescendo after a quiet beginning.
  • Elizabeth from Anytown, Ilthis is such a good song! although i didn't like there performance at the Grammies. It was weak man it was weaaaaaak! :D
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