The third single from the goth rock band's second studio album is about the fall of an empire and the aftermath of war. The title refers to Lucretia Borgia of the prominent Borgia family of the Italian Renaissance, who were notorious for their ruthless political tactics and alleged crimes.
Lucretia herself is often cited as a murderer with a penchant for poison. Lead singer Andrew Eldritch wrote the track for bandmate Patricia Morrison (bass), who "always strikes me as a Lucrezia [Borgia]-type person."
The lyrics "once a railroad, now it's done" are a reference to "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime," a 1932 song about the disastrous effect the Great Depression had on the American way of life.
The American punk rock band Alkaline Trio covered this on the 2005 album The Suicide Girls: Black Heart Retrospective.
This wasn't the first time the name "Lucretia" appeared in a song: Blood, Sweat & Tears used it in their 1970 track "Lucretia Mac Evil" - although without the historical reference. Megadeth also has a song called "Lucretia."