Lay Of The Ring

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Robert Hunter

The fourth part of Robert Hunter's Eagle Mall Suite. In a 1980 solo performance, Robert Hunter introduced this as "a tale of the wandering Jew."

Josephus lately of the mountain wide,
seated before a desert fire
Led the men to silence
while the fire told its tales
sketched in time the deeds of heroes
sketched in blood the trials of men

Where she lies in sandy wastes
the Sphinx observes the traces traced
Seven times 'round and seven times seven
around the driving wheel spins
Old beyond believing, beyond measure
Man and Lion, Bull and Eagle
observe the revolutions of the wheel

Barren O barren, O stretches of sand
reflected in water, no lay to the land
Ominous round of the Uala Uala
Silver reflected: a wheel a wheel

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

From the gates of Numinor
to the walls of Valentine
It's seven cold dimensions
past the Mountains of the Moon

From the call of Chanticleer
to the ears of quick Reynard
lies a year of meadow
but the sound can travel clean

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

Let us play at madness, comrade
said the devil to the Man:
I'll drift a marker into time
And you go get it back again


A million years in time to wander
brought a smile to the lips of Man
Send some token I know not of
clothed in legends whispered low of
Split me into many men
and we'll retrieve it how we can


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 we've had 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
In a solo concert performance in 1980, Robert Hunter sang a slightly shortened and re-ordered version:
Josephus lately of the mountain wild,
seated before a desert fire
Led the men to silence
while the fire told its tales
sketched in time the deeds of heroes
sketched in blood the trials of men

Where she lies in sandy wastes
the Sphinx observes the traces traced
Seven times 'round and seven times seven
around the driving wheel spins
Old beyond believing, beyond measure
Man and Lion, Bull and Eagle
observe the revolutions of the wheel

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

Let us play at madness, comrade
said the devil to the Man:
I'll drift a marker into time
And you go get it back again

A million years in time to wander
brought a smile to the lips of Man
Send some token I know not of
clothed in legends whispered low of
Split me into many men
and we'll retrieve it how we can


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 we've had we'll have again

The land will grow, the crops will flourish
Men will die and babes be born
and all the times we've had we'll have again

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


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

From the gates of Numinor
to the walls of Valentine
It's seven cold dimensions
past the Mountains of the Moon

From the call of Chanticleer
to the ears of quick Reynard
lies a year of meadow
but the sound can travel clean

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