Sherlock’s method is a distraction, but as always, there’s hidden truth to be found. I believe the three instances of numbers in words in the song—sixteen by six, five by seven, nine by nineteen—hold metafictional meanings derived from external sources; while the rest of the text refers to Sherlock, the show itself. The following is my attempt at deciphering the song.
Before I begin, a disclaimer – the result inevitably lead to some tin-foil hattery, please proceed at your own discretion. Also, my interpretation is based on the premise that the song is meant to be read as a whole. It’s from Mycroft to Sherlock about John, Mycroft himself and his role in the entire saga.
Ready? Let’s go.
I that am lost, oh who will find me? Deep down below the old beech tree Help succour me now the east winds blow Sixteen by six, brother, and under we go!
You can take the meaning of this verse pretty much at face value – it’s about Redbeard. But it was Mycroft who’s lost, he’s been buried under the memory of the original Redbeard; his best friend from childhood, Carl Powers. The East Wind has come for Mycroft, he’s asking for Sherlock’s help.
What’s sixteen by six then? There are two obvious ACD canon references in this verse: the old beech tree to The Adventure of the Copper Beeches and the east wind appeared in His Last Bow. My translation:the 16th story of the canon is The Valley of Fear, the next level of information in the hierarchy is a chapter title; chapter 6 A Dawning Light, which is a clear reference to John Watson the conductor of light. There are likely some connections to be found in the three canon stories listed, especially to do with the truth about Mary, but I’m happy with this for now:
I that am lost, oh who will find me? Deep down below the old beech tree Help succour me now the east winds blow The valley of fear by a dawning light, brother, and under we go!
Without your love, he’ll be gone before Save pity for strangers, show love the door. My soul seek the shade of my willow’s bloom Inside, brother mine - Let Death make a room.
No number to be found in this verse, we must seek meanings from the words then. My take on the first two line: Without Sherlock’s love, John will be gone as he did before – girlfriends, wives; for the sake of these strangers, it’s time for Sherlock to give the key to love to unlock the door to his heart. The next three lines are fascinating as they are about Mycroft and what he did. Willow’s bloom – willows are dioecious, with male and female flowers. If Mycroft’s soul seeks the shade of his willow’s bloom – he wants to be out of the closet then; because the only textual evidence we were presented about his sexuality was his office rendezvous with Lady Smallwood; the other half remained hidden (as subtext, mostly in THoB). The last two lines were about this scene from TLD:
Which implies that Mycroft had a hand in Sherlock’s creation of a mind palace, and the special room where Sherlock’s memory of love and being loved dies. This is also alluding to the dominate “burying the gay” narrative in the mainstream Sherlock Holmes universe, as Mycroft represents the British Government, the establishment.
Be not afraid to walk in the shade Save one, save all, come try! My steps - five by seven Life is closer to Heaven Look down, with dark gaze, from on high.
So Mycroft is encouraging Sherlock to come out. Save your love and John Watson means saving all that still remains in the shadow (I think we can take this as every version of Sherlock and John ever past/present/future, or just people in general).
The next three lines take us back to S2. I believe “my steps five by seven” is referring to Sonnet 57, as a sonnet is with a fixed structure of lines and rhyme schemes – steps, line dancing; this is Mycroft talking, remember. The last two lines, in my opinion, are referencing what happened on the rooftop of Barts, there’s more to the story than we’ve been presented to date, after all.
Last but not least:
Before he was gone - right back over my hill Who now will find him? Why, nobody will Doom shall I bring to him, I that am queen Lost forever, nine by nineteen.
Before John was gone he was right back over my hill – could be interpreted as John and Mycroft were in the same position; whether in the realm of heteronormativity, or they were actually working together, or both. Also, Mycroft’s hill – Parliament Hill? Formerly known as Traitor’s Hill, it’s also one of Sherlock’s bolthole according to Lestrade. (side note: there’s also Parliament Hill in Canada, 5 hours away from Niagara Falls 👀 👀 👀 )
But Mycroft implies that as queen, his position as the British Government, will bring doom to John – it’s to do with Lady Elizabeth Smallwood’s slaughterhouse/Thatcher, and likely Mary, then.
So what of “Lost forever, nine by nineteen”? This goes right into the tin-foil hattery of The Lost Special, more under the cut in you’re interested!
Do y’all have a tiny bit of idea on how hard it was to choose a favorite?? I literally spent days thinking about this day and the few next (hence why I’ve done this all before starting to post). I just wanna say that I love every song, okay? Till’s voice is flawless and I don’t think I will ever get tired of it. And Rosenrot, being one of my favorites, is one of the songs that I listen to and go ‘fuck, this man’s voice’. And also, let’s take a moment to appreciate the lyrics, because it’s pure poetry.
+ y’all, whoever made this challenge, forgot to put a day with ‘favorite bass work/solo’, and I’m so angry that they forgot my precious son that I decided I’d find a song that I loved the bass. It happened to be Rosenrot as well, so, I’m putting this little note here to remind you guys that Rosenrot also has a great bass work, like all the other songs <3
Till and Ollie are great musicians. Till is a great singer, his voice is unique, and he’s a great writer too. His lyrics are pure gold and poetry, and one of the many reasons I got into Rammstein. I admire lyrics with meanings behind them, and this is what they bring into their songs. Ollie is just an awesome bassist, whenever I stop to listen to the bass only I’m just in awe… He’s just great and very talented, too precious for this world.