Interpretations:O, Do Not Forsake Me

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Interpretation 1[edit]

This song seems to me to not necessarily be about someone who is 1000 years old, but someone who has just turned (in his mind) over the hill and is worried that his younger friends will think he's old. [Random] 23:19, March 25, 2004

I'm with you, Random. I think it's just a(nother) TMBG "shaking a fist at aging" song.--RonAmoriM 02:27, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

Interpretation 2[edit]

This song strikes me as a personification of all the wisdom of the ancients beseeching the modern age not to forsake it, and decrying the young's forgotten "flower of speech", but simultaneously admitting that its own sonorous tone is in fact covering up a bunch of "misbegotten notions," i.e., that the wisdom of the past isn't always what it's cracked up to be, and we, the moderns, should judge things based on their merits, and not simply on the basis that they're "one thousand years old." --Ironwolf 06:35, May 20, 2004

Interpretation 3[edit]

The style of singing here reminded me of the lines "all that year of chorus taught me / Is out of style and long forgot" in How Can I Sing Like A Girl, which led me to think of a Spin-the-dial peformance line "outmoded form of singing, archaic and strange." -- TheBlunderbuss 17:27, 3 Jan 2006 (EST)

Interpretation 4[edit]

never to return to earth, except in your bad dreams. cry.gif —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:03, July 28, 2006

Interpretation 5[edit]

IMO, it's about dead fads. This messed up song style is a dead fad in itself, and sometimes people use the expression "prehistoric" for dead fads which is similar to 1000 years old. Do not forsake me, duh duh duh, that's don't forget about all the dead fads. —Preceding unsigned comment added by AgentChronon (talkcontribs) 17:46, August 21, 2006

Interpretation 6[edit]

I always just thought this was just a mockery of church sermons, hence the title. It might have a deeper meaning, but to me, it is much funnier as a parody.--Fasterthanyou 04:01, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Interpretation 7[edit]

I think it is a very interesting text. Except for being an obvious parody, the text has some interesting angles. The beginning is about how he is getting old and everyone else remains toublefree. I don't think "do not forsake me" is a referrence to god, since he is reffering it to his indolent friends. In the second paragraph, he seems rather cocky about being old. "One thousand years old, but what do you know?" In the third paragraph he talks about how others are just enjoying life while he is fighting for his. In the end, however, he comes to the conclusion, that he is not better. "One thousand years old, but what do I know?" In the end, they are all alike, and his friends will be old too some day. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:32, June 4, 2008

Interpretation 8[edit]

I think he is making fun of church music and people who pray. --Apathedron 23:11, January 10, 2009

Elvis 10,000 Years Old?[edit]

Not so much an interpretation as a possible influence on this song: ELvis Presley's album "I'm 10,000 Years Old". It's an album of old country standards and features a sepia toned picture of Elvis as a child on the cover. It would seem to indicate that these are the songs that he grew up hearing or outdated music from a previous generation.

In 'O Do Not Forsake Me' the theme seems the same. Almost someone singing from beyond the grave in, again, an outmoded style. I can hear the 'gospel' tinge that everyone is referring to here but, the overall sound is much more that of a plaintive barbershop quartet a la "Moonlight Bay" or "Swanee River". Barbershop has such a distinct era sound it instantly places the voice in the song as being from the forgotten past.

There is no song on the Elvis album called "I'm 10,000 Years Old". It's just the title of the collection. The only reason I see a connection here is the thread of a neglected song style being resurrected as an ode or valediction and the similarity of the lyric "I am 1000 years old" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:14, September 13, 2009

Interpretation 10[edit]

Possible inspiration?: Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling (actually called The Ballad of High Noon), the title theme to 1952's High Noon. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Magbatz (talkcontribs) 08:32, January 22, 2010

Interpretation 11[edit]

I would imagine that Flansy may have been inspired by the Russian song, Do Not Reject Me In My Old Age whether by accident or intent. Listen to it and see if you agree. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Derekcap (talkcontribs) 17:09, December 26, 2010

You may be right! Though I suspect Flansy didn't know the actual words of the song, which derive from Psalm 71. -- Thread Bomb (talk) 02:12, 23 March 2020 (EDT)

Had a cold[edit]

When I have a cold, my voice drops from baritone to near sub-sonic bass. At these times, I always remember this song. I think that such a cold may have been the inspiring event for this song, having fun with a much-changed voice. Pure conjecture, however. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:54, January 20, 2011

This song is about wallowing in self-pity and hopelessness.[edit]

"A man is not old until regrets replace dreams"-- John Barrymore

"O, Do Not Forsake Me" -- A woeful way of saying, "Don't leave me"

"O, Do not Forsake me, my indolent friends" -- Don't give up on me, friends who will do nothing about [my] problems,

"Do not Forsake me, though you know I must spend" -- The singer says that he does NOTHING but the following:

"All my darkest hours, talking like this / for I am 1,000 years old" -- The singer, if he was 1,000, would be dead. Furthermore, if he is still alive yet old, why does he have darkest hours? Finally, why must he spend all his darkest hours speaking so low and depressingly?

In essence, it is likely that the singer considers himself too feeble to escape the darkest hours of his life, and begs that his friends do not leave him while he wallows in his delusions of weakness.

The "Misbegotten Notions" that the singer speaks about seem like a slight self-awareness about causing his own weakness due to his own self-imposed confabulations.

--SoreThumb 15:16, 4 April 2012 (EDT)

Treebeard's Lament[edit]

Okay so this is just one of those wacky "fan interps" and probably not intended by the artists, but this song makes me think that the narrator is an Ent right out of Tolkien.

O, do not forsake me, my indolent friends/O, do not forsake me though you know I must spend/All my darkest hours talking like this

  • His "Indolent Friends" are the "garden variety" trees that don't sing or think so much. He's apologetic about resorting to language, because trees are above that sort of barbaric behavior.

For I am one thousand years old

  • Clearly not a human lifespan

Oh, some have forgotten the flower of speech/And walks through the garden where I go to defend/Misbegotten notions while talking like this

  • "The flower of speech" and "the garden where I go" reinforce the plant theme
  • the "Misbegotten notions" are an invitation to speculate on what a tree-shepherd's agenda might be

ChaosS 17:47, 11 September 2013 (EDT)

That's how I think of it. Always had visions of a great old oak tree deep in the woods deciding to speak after countless years pondering on what he was going to sing. I just love this song to bits. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:52, October 6, 2013

Interpretation 15[edit]

I'm really surprised nobody said this: they are having fun with the similarities and differences between two types of music: Gregorian Chant and Barbershop Quartets, which have some unexpected similarities and hilarious differences when put side by side. The words, which I don't think have any really deep meaning at all, walk the edge of both types of music in a way which accents each. But it's the musical comparison which is the experiment. Brilliant! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:25, September 6, 2014

Talking like this[edit]

I just find funny the idea that at some point you grow so profoundly old that you always have to speak in a deep operatic singing voice, even when what you're just saying something mundane. Scarlet Swordfish 27 Jan 2016

Yes, I think that is the point of the song. The narrator has gained nothing from extreme old age except foolishness and an odd way of speaking. -- Thread Bomb (talk) 02:13, 23 March 2020 (EDT)