Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia/Phil Lesh
Saint Stephen with a rose
In and out of the garden he goes
Country garland in the wind and the rain (note 1)
Wherever he goes the people all complain
Stephen prosper in his time
Well he may, and he may decline
Did it matter, does it now?
Stephen would answer if he only knew how
Wishing well with a golden bell
Bucket hanging clear to hell
Hell half way twixt now and then
Stephen fill it up and lower down, and lower down again
Lady finger, dipped in moonlight
Writing "What for?" across the morning sky
Sunlight splatters dawn with answers
Darkness shrugs and bids the day goodbye
Speeding arrow, sharp and narrow
What a lot of fleeting matters you have spurned
Several seasons with their treasons
Wrap the babe in scarlet colors, call it your own
Did he doubt or did he try?
Answers a-plenty in the by and by
Talk about your plenty, talk about your ills
One man gathers what another man spills (note 2)
Saint Stephen will remain
All he's lost he shall regain
Seashore washed by the suds and the foam
Been here so long he's got to calling it home
Fortune comes a-crawling, Calliope woman
Spinning that curious sense of your own
Can you answer? Yes I can
But what would be the answer to the answer man?
-----(William Tell Bridge)-----
High green chilly winds and windy vines in loops (note 3)
Around the twined shafts of lavender
They're crawling to the sun
Underfoot the ground is patched
With climbing arms of ivy wrapped
Around the manzanita stark and shiny in the breeze
Wonder who will water all the children of the garden
When they sigh about the barren lack
Of rain and droop so hungry 'neath the sky
William Tell has stretched his bow
Till it won't stretch no furthermore
And/or it will require a change that hasn't come before (Note 4)
(1) the songbooks "Grateful Dead Anthology" and "Authentic Guitar Classics Volume 2" both have "Country garden ..." for this line. But that is a mistake: Robert Hunter's "Box Of Rain" has "Country garland ..." and that sounds to be what the Dead sing. (Thanks to Sam Hoffman for pointing this out).
(2) Bobby added "Except in California" when the Dead played this on 1 March 1969. (thanks to Brian Schnapp for this).
(3) this section was omitted from the version on "Aoxomoxoa" and dropped by the Dead in versions after 1969.
It was only played when "Saint Stephen" segued into The Eleven.
Because of this, some have questioned whether it should really be seen as part of "The Eleven" instead of part of "Saint Stephen".
But Robert Hunter includes these words under "Saint Stephen" in the lyrics in his book "Box Of Rain".
Both Ratdog and The Dead began playing this section in 2003 - with The Dead's versions not always segueing into "The Eleven".
(4) in early versions (such as on "Two From The Vault") this was sung as "And when he will release it, will it pare the apple core?"
Recordings from dead.net Tapers Section
"The Dead" Concert Recordings
Ratdoglive CDs and downloads
Phil Lesh and Friends Digital Download Series
Furthur Digital Downloads and CDs
Bob Weir Solo Acoustic Live!
| ||Date|| ||Album|| Recorded By|
| || 1989|| ||Juggling Suns|| Solar Circus|
| || 2001|| ||Great Sky River|| Jazz Is Dead|
| || 2001|| ||Gifts From The Dead|| Gifts From The Dead|
| || 2004|| ||Jeb Holmes Band|| Jeb Holmes Band (jam)|
| || 8 Feb 2006|| ||Live At The Fillmore|| ||Grateful Grass|
| || 2007|| ||Blue Light Cheap Hotel|| ||Wake The Dead|
| || 2007|| ||Dead Symphony|| ||Lee Johnson|
| || 9 May 2011|| ||Jerry Jams for Rex II|| ||Dark Star Orchestra|
| ||2012|| ||Live At The 2012 Peach Music Festival|| ||Dark Star Orchestra|
| ||2012|| ||The Georgia Bootleg Box|| ||Gov't Mule (jam)|
| ||2015|| ||Twangin' The Dead|| ||Matt Rae|
| ||2016|| ||Songs To Fill The Air (WFMU Pledge Drive)|| ||Jon Collin|
| ||2016|| ||Days Of The Dead|| ||Wilco and Bob Weir|
(a) includes the "William Tell Bridge" section
(b) also on the compilation Skeletons From The Closet
(c) also on the compilation What A Long Strange Trip It's Been
(d) included on a bonus disk with early copies of "There And Back Again"
(e) a bass solo by Rob Wasserman, based on "Saint Stephen", introduces the Ratdog version of "Cassidy" on Furthur More.
(f) also on Fillmore West 1969 -The Complete Recordings
For an online discussion of the lyrics to this song see the deadsongs.vue conference on The Well.
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography
For information on references in the lyrics see David Dodd's Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics
For David Dodd's discussion of this song on dead.net see Greatest Stories Ever Told
For online chords and TAB see www.rukind.com
For sheet music, see:
Grateful Dead Anthology Volume 1 (piano arrangement)
Grateful Dead Authentic Guitar Classics Volume 2 (guitar TAB)
Garcia/Hunter Songbook (vocal line and chords/TAB)
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