World Lit Only By Fire

During the European middle ages, science, religion and alchemy all seemed to exist on about the same plane. A pervasive intellectual funk settled upon the land. A Dark Ages world filled with crazy notions, superstitious beliefs and cruelty.

(In our present age, there are still demonstrations of medieval behavior and thought—even in the U.S. Congress—but that is a different subject.)

When I read a review of William Manchester’s “World Lit Only By Fire” I knew that it was a must-read for me: Civilization snatched from the brink of collapse by poets, thinkers, explorers and enlightened souls. And great description of what took place during the darkest centuries.


Two songs of mine are especially pertinent for this era.

The first, “World Lit Only By Fire” was inspired by Manchester’s book of the same title.

The second song, “Waiting for the Renaissance,” was written prior to the book’s publication and may have evolved from my own frustration with a society that is yet too filled with narrow minds.

She Stoops To Conquer

Much of what I create has a Limey sensibility—at least it amuses my English cousins. She Stoops To Conquer is a farcical British play of manners written in the 18th century by Oliver Goldsmith. After attending a performance of the play at London’s National Theater, I was inspired to write a song using the same catchy title. Literature and history are great sources for songwriting.

Disclaimer: I did not attempt to mimic the plot of the play but instead made an attempt at  capturing a feminine archetype. This song has not been previewed by any members of the National Theater Company but they are welcome to do so.

No doubt the song could have used a lute but because there was not a lute in his house, Geoff DeMuth provided mandolin accompaniment. He also engineered.