Eagle Mall

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Robert Hunter

The final part of Robert Hunter's Eagle Mall Suite.

It wasn't that the matter was they hanged them
Copper and the captain side by side
The matter was the way they made us watch them
I guess a little piece of each man died

Captain killed the rear and forward watchman
Copper cut the throats of those between
There wasn't any real thought of winning
That at least was plainly to be seen

It was all the matter begged to get off lightly
It was all the sound of pleading in the hall
It was over before we drew the cover
It was over by the time we faced the wall

In the nearest place they gather for the shadow
The sand has rolled across the Eagle Mall
Our banners, torn and tattered, lace the desert
The winter closes in upon the fall

The wind it winds around the core of evening
The Eagle Mall is cold and oh, so quiet
Step into the center, you may touch it
where the crippled chalk has scribbled its good-night

The languages we spoke have been forgotten
The windows to the age are white as chalk
All the matters settled are as nothing
And all which was is like that which is not

Raise the drinking horn
Pass the meat around
Brick by brick the wall evolves
Year by year the sun revolves
Age by age the ancient wheel
creaks and turns around

Oil my joints and tape my bones
It's time to walk again around the ring

Ring - the Ring soit quoi
Ring-a-levio the Golden Ring

Often of a night I yearn to wander
as once I did when all my bones were whole
The desert's lovely, dark, and cool as orchids
The ghosts of old sing sweetly 'round my door:

Raise the drinking horn
Pass the meat around
Brick by brick the wall evolves
Year by year the sun revolves
Age by age the ancient wheel
creaks and turns around


I gave my love a mirror carved of starlight
I gave my love a ribbon edged in flame
My drinking horn lies shattered in the desert
My seeds are cast in places without name

The voices on the land obscure
the faces that dissolve
into the years


Raise the drinking horn
Pass the meat around
Brick by brick the wall evolves
Year by year the sun revolves
Age by age the ancient wheel
creaks and turns around

Oil my joints and tape my bones
It's time to walk again around the ring


Seven rings of silver
on his birthday in the sand
Ring around the charm-ed daisy
growing 'twixt the sea and land

Ring, Ring, the Ring soit quoi
Ring, Ring, the Ring soit quoi
Ring, Ring, the Ring soit quoi
Ring-a-levio the Golden Ring

Seven traces binding
all the sandy shore and land
to the charm-ed sleeping daisy
with the ring upon her hand

Ring, Ring, the Ring soit quoi
Ring, Ring, the Ring soit quoi

The Eagle leaves the Land of Law
A silver chalice in his claw
The land will grow, the crops will flourish
Men will die and babes be born
and all the times before we'll have again

Raise the drinking horn
Pass the meat around
Brick by brick the wall evolves
Year by year the sun revolves
Age by age the ancient wheel
creaks and turns around

For seven long years we marched
through the deserts of the long-lost
John Silver, old buck, to the wheel plied he
turn it down 'round under where the Moon Pit glimmers,
through the Valley of the Shadow ran he

Ring - the Ring soit quoi
Ring - the Ring soit quoi
Ring - the Ring soit quoi
Ring-a-levio the Golden Ring

Oil my joints and tape my bones
It's time to walk again around the ring

In a 1980 solo performance, Robert Hunter sang a re-ordered and slightly shortened version, with a different opening two verses:
It wasn't that the matter was they hanged our captain
Though some were given leave to go unharmed
All the matter was the Wednesday morning
But no one left to go between the dawn

Copper brought the silver-studded watchman
Gantree brough the box to lock him tight
Some were left to go before the morning
Not one was left to go between the night

It was all the matter begged to get off lightly
It was all the sound of pleading in the hall
It was over before we drew the cover
It was over by the time we faced the wall

In the nearest place they gather for the shadow
The sand has rolled across the Eagle Mall
Our banners, torn and tattered, lace the desert
The winter closes in upon the fall

Often of a night I yearn to wander
as once I did when all my bones were whole
The desert's lovely, dark, and sweet as orchids
The ghosts of old sing sweetly 'round my door:

Raise the drinking horn
Pass the meat around
Brick by brick the wall evolves
Year by year the sun revolves
Age by age the ancient wheel
creaks and turns around


The languages we spoke have been forgotten
The windows to the age are white as chalk
All the matters settled are as nothing
And all which was is like that which is not

Raise the drinking horn
Pass the meat around
Brick by brick the wall evolves
Year by year the sun revolves
Age by age the ancient wheel
creaks and turns around

The wind it winds around the core of evening
The Eagle Mall is cold and oh, so quiet
Step into the center, you may touch it
where the crippled chalk has scribbled its good-night

Oil my joints and tape my bones
It's time to walk again around the ring


The Eagle leaves the Land of Law
A silver chalice in his claw
The land will grow, the crops will flourish
Men will die and babes be born
and all the times before we'll have again

Ring, Ring, the Ring soit quoi
Ring, Ring, the Ring soit quoi

Seven rings of silver
on his birthday in the sand
Ring around the charm-ed daisy
growing 'twixt the sea and land

Ring, Ring, the Ring soit quoi
Ring, Ring, the Ring soit quoi

The Eagle leaves the Land of Law
A silver chalice in his claw
The land will grow, the crops will flourish
Men will die and babes be born
and all the times before we'll have again

Raise the drinking horn
Pass the meat around
Brick by brick the wall evolves
Year by year the sun revolves
Age by age the ancient wheel
creaks and turns around

Seven traces binding
all the sandy shore and land
to the charm-ed sleeping virgin
with the ring upon her hand

Ring, Ring, the Ring soit quoi
Ring, Ring, the Ring soit quoi
Ring, Ring, the Ring soit quoi
Ring-a-levio the Golden Ring

For seven long years we marched
through the deserts of the long-lost
John Silver, old buck, to the wheel plied he
turn it down 'round under where the Moon Pit glimmers,
through the Valley of the Shadow ran he


 


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