At The Pass

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Robert Hunter

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

Gantree met the forces at the pass, (note 1)
they ran away
He said: Raise your tents this evening,
let the piper earn his pay!
The whiskey rations doubled
though there's not a drop of beer,
for one man with a crossbow
can defend us from the rear


Copper walked the sentry
through the night until the day
but Gantree was too drunk (note 2)
to hear his warning bugle play
Get up, get up, you rowdy cur
and lead your men to fray -
There's six for every one of us
a-coming up the way


Gantree raised his stick (note 2)
and struck proud Copper 'cross the face
Mark your rank and mold your words
to that accordingly
A captain's faults are company
to no words but his own
So raise your voice and rouse your men,
there's battle to be done


"Arise, you men of women born
if to them you'd return
Clear your heads and grab your swords
your lives now you must earn
The battle is upon us
and no man is sober here
The drunkest front and center
the rest fall to the rear"

Old Able stepped out from the ranks
and staggered to the fore
If drunker man than I be here,
he has not drunk down more
My brain burns with the fires of Hell,
my guts are passing sore
If any man contest me,
then I'll down a couple more


The piper played and the piper wailed,
the swords shone in the sun
The captain stepped past Able and said
You're drunker than all but one
And he led his men to battle
while the pipes they filled the sky
playing Whiskey, whiskey, whiskey
and Die, die, die
Notes
(1) in a 1980 solo concert performance Robert Hunter sang "Our army met the forces at the pass."
(2) Robert Hunter sings "the captain" instead of "Gantree" in the 1980 performance.