Momus – Heliogabalus

From the album ‘Folktronic‘ (2001).



The deaths he caused were accidents
He committed no murder
Oh yes, some died of fright when they woke up in the night
To find a leopard in the room
Where they’d been lain after the feast
They should have known, those silly fools, the beast was tame
Heliogabalus wasn’t to blame

For the deaths I’m illustrating in this quilt
Heliogabalus cannot share any guilt
Cannot share any guilt

Some lived to suffocate under the suffocating weight
Of a thousand fresh-cut blooms
He sent cascading from the ceiling of his room
Upon a crowd of his admirers
How was he to know some sybarites
Would drown beneath the flowers?
If a parasite can’t swim should we blame him?

He was blond, he had blue eyes, he was completely without guilt
As I intend to demonstrate in my Heliogabalus quilt


They condemn his four year reign
His naked chariot team
The deadly snakes released in the forum at the climax of the games
His nights of gay debauchery
Rushing through the slums
Disguised as tavern potboys, perfume sellers, barbers
Such exaggeration, such slanders!

If you’d been emperor of Rome
At the age of just 15
Wouldn’t you have done the same? So why then does his name
Retain the mantle of the evil
Always claimed by joyless vultures
To explain the strange allure other cultures?
Heliogabalus wasn’t to blame

He was beautiful and sexy and completely without guilt
As I intend to demonstrate right here in this quilt

Condemn me freely if you wish but when my quilt is finished
I intend to sleep as soundly and as well as Heliogabalus
In hell

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