Tag Archives: the oh hello’s

Monday Meditations: Sydney Carton

Have I ever told you how much I love A Tale of Two Cities? If there weren’t so many other books I must read, I’d be back inside that one. Dickens captivated me with his genuinely epic scope, and endearing characters. My personal favorite is Sydey Carton. You could see his sacrifice coming a mile away, but somehow that never ruined his dramatic and tear-inducing rise from miserable drunkard to sacrificial hero.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine showed me a song that reminds me of him. Hear the song, and then read the final passages of A Tale of Two Cities. Is it melodramatic? Yes, and beautifully so.


“Lay Me Down” by the Oh, Hello’s

This might be the most cheerful song I’ve ever heard that starts out with lines about fire and brimstone (lyrics right here). Every time I hear it my day lights up. I want to stomp along and clap and sing at the top of my lungs. I can see Sydney Carton, rumbling along in the tumbrils to his death, knowing it’s the finest death a man could ask for.


“‘I see Barsad, and Cly, Defarge, The Vengeance, the Juryman, the Judge, long ranks of the new oppressors who have risen on the destruction of the old, perishing by this retributive instrument, before it shall cease out of its present use. I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long years to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out.

‘I see the lives for which I lay down my life, peaceful, useful, prosperous and happy, in that England which I shall see no more. I see Her with a child upon her bosom, who bears my name. I see her father, aged and bent, but otherwise restored, and faithful to all men in his healing office, and at peace. I see the good old man, so long their friend, in ten years’ time enriching them with all he has, and passing tranquilly to his reward…

‘It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

Dickens, Charles (2010-12-01). A Tale of Two Cities (p. 335). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.