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“Born Too Late” by The Clarks. Presented by Melissa Moore. Selection. I chose this song because it has been my favorite since I was a senior in high school. I originally loved this song because of the “embrace your time” lyrics and, of course, the allusions.

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born too late by the clarks

“Born Too Late” by The Clarks

Presented by Melissa Moore

selection
Selection
  • I chose this song because it has been my favorite since I was a senior in high school.
  • I originally loved this song because of the “embrace your time” lyrics and, of course, the allusions.
  • I still love this song because it makes me pause and reflect about how much has changed since I graduated.
song lyrics verses 1 2
Song Lyrics: Verses 1-2

Vincent, will you teach me how to paint?Teresa, will I ever be a saint?John, I really think your songs are greatI was born too late

William, will you teach me how to write?And Cassius, will you show me how to fight?And Thomas A. I think I see the lightI was born tonight

chorus
Chorus

I've had a hard time leaving this townI've been losing everything that I've foundI'm gonna search the sky, kiss the groundBuild it up and tear it back down

I've had a hard time leaving this placeI've been counting all the lines on my faceI'm gonna curse the sky, hit the groundAnd what goes up comes tumbling down

verses 3 4
Verses 3-4

Jimishow me how you play that thingElvis, will I ever be a king?And Jerry all the joy and love you bringI was born to sing

Martin Luther King show me the wayJesus, Buddha, teach me how to prayChristopher, I think I see the bayI was born today, I was born today

paraphrase
Paraphrase
  • I am not as artist as Vincent (Van Gough), religious as (Mother)Theresa, and musical as John (Lennon); I was born too late…and I missed everything.

2. I am not as talented as William (Shakespeare), strong as Cassius (Clay), or smart as Thomas (Edison); I was born tonight….and I will try to find myself.

paraphrase1
Paraphrase

3. I am not as musical as Jimi (Hendrix), famous as Elvis (Presley), or funny as Jerry (Lee Lewis or Seinfeld); but I was born to sing…I have found my passion.

4. I am not as passionate as MLK, devote as Jesus or Budda, or courageous as Christopher (Columbus); but I am born today…I am living my life.

paraphrase2
Paraphrase

Chorus 1: I can’t leave this town but find myself going in circles staying here.

Chorus 2: I have a hard timing leaving, but I am getting older and realize I get what I give.

genre
Genre

The Clarks are a rock band originating in Indiana, Pennsylvania.

structure
Structure
  • There are a total of four verses with two repetitions of the chorus. The final line of each stanza progressively defines life beginning with “I was born too late” and ending with “I was born today.”
speaker audience
Speaker/Audience
  • The song alternates tense but is always in the first person. The song shifts between past and present because of the change in action: reflecting vs. living.
auditory elements
Auditory Elements
  • The four lines of each verse rhyme, but the end rhyme itself changes between each stanza. Each stanza represents a different stage of embracing life and is defined by the changing end rhymes.
figurative language
Figurative Language
  • The song is filled with allusions to famous or significant people from all places, for all reasons, and from all times ranging from Vincent Van Gough to Mohamed Ali. For example, “Vincent, will you teach me how to paint?... And Cassius, will you show me how to fight?” (1, 6).
word choice
Word Choice

Born: the existence of an individual human being or animal.

In this song, the word born not only implies life but the embracing of life.

title
Title
  • The title “Born Too Late” echoes the singer’s original thoughts that he is not connected to his current life because of missed or passed opportunities.
theme
Theme
  • In many ways this is a carpe diem poem that encourages living in the present even though it may seem like the most important things are in the past.
motivation
Motivation
  • The motivation for this song could be a reflection after a major life change. Perhaps the singer is working through his decision to dedicate his life to music because of the line “I was born to sing” but still holds some regret for the life given up.
works cited
Works Cited

The Clarks, “Born Too Late” Let It Go. Razor &

Tie, 2000.