The Tragic Treasury

All songs written by Stephin Merritt.

Scream and Run Away

The count has an eye on his ankle and lives in a horrible place.  He wants all your money.  He's never at all funny.  He wants to remove your face.  And you might be thinking, "What a romp this is!"  But wait till you meet his accomplices.  When you see Count Olaf, you're suddenly full of disgust and despair and dismay.  In the whole of the soul of Count Olaf, there's no love.  When you see Count Olaf, count to zero, then scream and run away.  Run... or die...  Two women with powdered white faces and one long-nosed bald man with warts.  Things worsen and worsen.  There's a hook-handed person and others with nastier parts.  This evil and unpleasant group completes Count Olaf's acting troupe.  The goal of Count Olaf is getting control of the fortunes of urchins and orphans, hooray!  I mean, horrors!  Count Olaf is no laughing matter...

In the Reptile Room

In the reptile room, where the baby screams, weirder creatures loom than in all of your dreams.  In the reptile room, hither and thither, creatures from Khartoum slither anywhither.  In the reptile room, anacondas dance.  Will they be our doom?  Will we be their bon-bons?  And you wanna know why I frown?  Well, I'm smiling: I'm just smiling upside-down.  In the reptile room, there's an evil man in a strange costume.  Do not ride in his van.  In the reptile room are pythons at play in the murky gloom.  What a horrible day!

The World Is a Very Scary Place

The world is a very scary place, my dear.  It's hurled and it's twirled through outer space, I fear.  So many ways to lose your skin in it.  The number of ways to die is infinite.  The world is a very scary thing, I find.  It's curled all my toes, and it's curling my mind.  When I was young my study was candies, but they attract tarantulas and bees.  Some people act as if there were nothing wrong, due to the fact they haven't heard this song.  The world is a very scary place to go.  It's whorled and it's swirled with death-like lace, you know.  You may have found my views unorthodox, but now the wolf is at the door.  It knocks.

Dreary, Dreary

Dreary... Gone, gone, the girl in brocade.  Gone the words we might have said.  Howl, winds, because she is dead, and gone, gone, gone.  Were teary, teary eyes once bright?  Weary sighs the tune.  Dreary, dreary fall the night and eerie light of the moon.  Gone, gone, my Beatrice.  Gone, the lips I longed to kiss, into a black and bleak abyss.  Gone, gone, gone.  (Gone are the summers of croquet and cribbage.  Gone, gone are the winters of snow, sighs, and secrets.  Gone, too, silver springs, golden falls.)

When You Play the Violin

I have known little civility, sir -- few have been kind, fewer truthful -- and, though within my ability, sir, I remain dutifully youthful, I go gray, then bald, with chagrin when you play the violin.  How I pray for death to begin when you play the violin.  True, there's been trouble and trickery, sir; trembling and tribulations; twitches from switches of hickory, sir; you, sir, and your usurpations; but my patience wears very thin when you play the violin.  How I stay, I can't imagine when you play the violin.  I've endured struggling and thuggery, sir; physical ed and psychosis; sculleries, skulls, and skullduggery, sir; haplessness, hype, and hypnosis; but -- oy vey! -- the horrible din when you play the violin.  You betray an ear made of tin when you play -- when you slay -- the violin!

This Abyss

This abyss, this lightless void.  This abyss of world destroyed.  This abyss, all deep, all wide.  This abyss of Being denied.  Even in the darkest forest, fireflies are flickering... but not in this abyss of black increase, this abyss without surcease.  Even in the deepest ocean is a little moonlight... but not in this abyss of night unbound, this abyss without a sound.  Even in your bedroom shadows, there is something moving... but not in this abyss, this all-below.  This abyss, this death, this "no."


It gets dark around here early because of all the crows.  What they want and where they came from, no one really knows.  Crows are sour and surly, with reason, I suppose.  There are crows in the trees, saying crow things, doing as they please.  There are crows everywhere, but when I think of you, dear, I don't care.  It gets light around here slowly because of how it goes.  Every day we hear the same dumb list of those crows' woes.  Thinking they're so holy while leaving mementoes... I don't care because I know you love me, unlike all the crows lurking above me...

Smile! No One Cares How You Feel

Smile!  No one cares how you feel.  Be vicious, vain, and vile.  Everything's yours to steal if you'll just smile.  Have you no dignity?  Have you no sense of style?  You'll never be pretty until you smile.  Smile!  No one cares how you feel.  There's a world to beguile.  You can make this world kneel if you'll just smile.  Always the best disguise.  A license to defile.  Everyone you despise will die, so smile.


People gawk at the way you walk.  You're a freakshow.  People squawk 'bout the way you talk.  You're a freakshow.  People stare at your scary hair.  You're a freak show.  People glare at that hat you wear.  You're a freakshow.  Real people want to know what it is about your face that irritates them so.  Real people stop and ask why you wear that costume and why don't you wear a mask.  Normal folk think you're just a joke and a freakshow.  Normal types cross the street for swipes at the freakshow.  Even birds stop to drop their turds on the freakshow.  Even geeks, even other freaks, hate the freakshow.  Real people fume and seethe.  How you dare to share the air the public has to breathe.  Real people ask you why, with a face like you've got, won't you just lie down and... Real people look on you like something unpleasant for the garbage crew to do.  Real people question how someone took a lobster's face and put it on a cow.  Real people say, "Har, har, as a monster movie actor, you could be a star," and soon... you are!

How Do You Slow This Thing Down?

How do you slow this thing down?  How do you make this thing slow down?  We tried to brake by saying, "Must be some mistake."  Problem unsolved, we said, "Don't make me get involved..."  We tried to slow it down by shrieking, "No, no, no."  We tried to halt by whimpering, "It's not my fault..."  It's not fair.  We've tried all kinds of prayer.  We tried science.  It sped up in defiance...

A Million Mushrooms

A million mushrooms fill the field where marchers' bodies lately fell.  More marchers, marching heavy-heeled, release more spores -- that march as well -- across the twilit charnel ground and over long-bewildered farms, through palaces where not a sound is heard, though there should be alarms.  But winter comes, and only ice is crushed beneath the marching feet.  In all the land, where once was rice, there now is nothing fit to eat--except mushrooms, which nourish not the body, nourish not the mind, and often poison.  Eating rot, the marchers march, insane and blind.

Things Are Not What They Appear

Things are not what they appear, starting with a mother's love.  When a helping hand comes near, it becomes an empty glove.  Things are not what they appear, starting with your hopes and dreams.  Just one thing in life is clear: nothing's ever what it seems.  Even babies lie, and the stars don't cry.  Nothing's ever what it seems.  People lie from ear to ear just to help their little teams, which are not what they appear.  We are wrong to begin with, even if we were sincere.  Truth is just a useful myth.  Things are not what they appear.  Even babies steal, and the stars don't squeal... Even babies kill, and the stars are still.


I can't think of a single thing I'd rather do than be cast away on an island with you.  No, I can't think of anything more heavenly than to have you shipwrecked on a tropical island with me.  Shipwrecked with you... I can't think of a single thing I'd rather do than be cast away on an island with you.  Far from distractions and matters of state, we can quit smoking and quickly lose weight, sleeping till noon and then staying up late, at latitude zero and longitude eight.  I am a gentleman: should you get hurt, I'll make a tourniquet out of my shirt.  You needn't do much, just sit there and flirt, and if it looks drizzly, I'll build us a yurt.  I can't think of a single thing I'd rather do, and that's why I had to get rid of the crew.  So I lopped off their heads and dropped them in the sea, just to have you shipwrecked on a tropical island with me.  Shipwrecked with you... I can't think of a single thing I'd rather do, and that's why I decapitated the crew.  How could I know there's no island nearby?  If I don't eat something soon, I'll just die.  I wouldn't eat you.  Oh, never, not I.  So let's catch a shark and I'll make us a pie.  What shall we use for bait?  Lend me a hand.  I'll sew it back on when we get to land.  But if the shark takes it, that would be grand (because we won't starve to death, you understand).  I can't think of a single thing I wouldn't do to end up shipwrecked on an island with you.  No, there's nobody I wouldn't kill -- nobody -- just to have you shipwrecked on a tropical island with me.  Shipwrecked with you... I can't think of a single thing I wouldn't do to end up shipwrecked on an island with you again.

Walking My Gargoyle

Regal and royal, we walk down the street, a spring in our feet, whistling a tune.  Hey there, little moon, how's Mr. Sun?  I meet everyone walking my gargoyle.  Loving and loyal, he's my best friend.  Folks can't comprehend the fact that he talks.  Vultures and hawks turn white as doves, cause everyone loves my little gargoyle.  I found him on a church.  He helps with my research.  People recoil when they see me.  Obviously, I'm pretty extreme.  Most people scream most of the time, but always when I'm walking my gargoyle.  Puddles may boil when we go by, my gargoyle and I, happy again.  Beautiful men?  Yes, without fail.  I'm wagging my tails walking my gargoyle...

We Are the Gothic Archies

We are the Gothic Archies: Death, Tentacles, and Pip.  Be sure to buy our record, and don't forget to tip.  The Gothic Archies are we, with whom you should not mess: the apogee and zenith of gothicarchieness.  We are the Gothic Archies: Death, Tentacles, and Pip.  Be sure to buy a T-shirt, and then you will be hip.  Are the Gothic Archies we?  Oh, are we ever they!  In fact, it is a myst'ry how anyone could say we're not the Gothic Archies (Pip, Tentacles, and Death).  We love to kill such people by squeezing out their breath.  Are we the Gothic Archies?  Be careful what you say.  (You are the Gothic Archies.  Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ray.)  Oh, archiesway othicgay ethay, areway eway; illiantbray yricistslay, an'tcay ouyay eesay?  Tho gothic, we are archie.  Tho archie, we are goth.  No Satan-worshippers we.  We worship Yog-Sothoth.  (Htohtos-Goy pihsrow ew.  Ew sreppihsrow-Natas on.  Htog era ew, eihcra oht.  Eihcra.  Eihcra era ew, cihtog oht.)

Copyright (c) Jan 2008 by The Distant Plastic Treehouse