Song of the Day #2,859: ‘Burn’ – Phillipa Soo

hamiltonIn addition to his influence on America’s financial system and the whole killed-in-a-duel thing, Alexander Hamilton is noteworthy for being in the center of one of the nation’s first sex scandals.

Hamilton had an affair with a younger, married woman named Maria Reynolds, and paid off her husband in exchange for his silence about the matter. Eventually the details were leaked and to clear his name of charges of political corruption, Hamilton detailed the affair publicly.

That didn’t go over so well with his wife, Eliza.

The real Eliza’s letters are lost to history, and speculation is that she destroyed them. In ‘Burn,’ Miranda depicts Eliza’s grief and anger over her husband’s betrayal and has her burn her potentially redeeming letters as a way to pay him back.

This is the only song in Hamilton performed as a true solo, and it’s a stunner.

I saved every letter you wrote me
From the moment I read them
I knew you were mine
You said you were mine
I thought you were mine

Do you know what Angelica said
When we saw your first letter arrive?
She said

“Be careful with that one, love
He will do what it takes to survive.”

You and your words flooded my senses
Your sentences left me defenseless
You built me palaces out of paragraphs
You built cathedrals
I’m re-reading the letters you wrote me
I’m searching and scanning for answers
In every line
For some kind of sign
And when you were mine
The world seemed to


You published the letters she wrote you
You told the whole world how you brought
This girl into our bed
In clearing your name, you have ruined our lives
Do you know what Angelica said
When she read what you’d done?
She said
“You have married an Icarus
He has flown too close to the sun.”

You and your words, obsessed with your legacy…
Your sentences border on senseless
And you are paranoid in every paragraph
How they perceive you

You, you, you…

I’m erasing myself from the narrative
Let future historians wonder how Eliza
Reacted when you broke her heart
You have torn it all apart
I am watching it
Watching it burn
The world has no right to my heart
The world has no place in our bed
They don’t get to know what I said
I’m burning the memories
Burning the letters that might have redeemed you
You forfeit all rights to my heart
You forfeit the place in our bed
You sleep in your office instead
With only the memories
Of when you were mine
I hope that you burn

One thought on “Song of the Day #2,859: ‘Burn’ – Phillipa Soo

  1. Dana says:

    Powerful stuff. Only two days to go to the show!

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