Baleful sounds and wild voices ignored Ill luck, disaster, the one reward Violated sanctity of supermen's hills So sad, love lies there still So sad.... so sad... Hollow hills... hollow hills... Witches too And goblin too And speckled sills Lament Repent Oh, mortal you
The final set of lines still grab me and I’ve never been able to quite put my finger on the “why” of the matter. I’ve hunted high and low to try and determine exactly what Peter’s intent with “speckled sills” and the best I can come up with is that there is some folklore that implies finding speckles on your sills is a sign of fey/sidhe visitation, but that was from an unreliable source, so I still think the verdict is out on what his intent was.
Hollow hills, or sidhe mounds, have been a source of fascination for me as long as I can recall. The idea that some fey race of beings are living underground that can only be visited with permission or under certain conditions fits in with this obsession I have about a world existing “‘twixt and ‘tween” parts of our world.
The song lyrics from Bauhaus is almost directly cribbed from Arthur Machen’s The Hill of Dreams, according to some reliable sources and, while I have read the book at one point for entirely different reasons, I have no recollection of the tale — probably because it didn’t meet my expectations at the time. At the time, I think I’d been looking backwards from Lovecraft, reading the stories that held him in some thrall and, lacking in the cosmic horror, I probably dismissed it once read — although I do recall the outré making an appearance. I certainly don’t recall speckled sills mentioned (nor does a search of the Gutenberg text offer up easy answers with respect to that question).
In any case, this is one of about 7 or 8 songs that are on my top-of-Bauhaus listening list. Spooky. Eerie. Me.