Saint Stephen

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)
Notes
(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?"

Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     24 Aug 1968 Two From The Vault (note a)
     studio 1969 Aoxomoxoa (note b)
      Jan 1969 Playboy After Dark Vol 2 (DVD)
     11 Feb 1969 Fillmore East 2-11-69 (note a)
     27 Feb 1969 Live Dead (note a) (note c) (note f)
     28 Feb 1969 Fillmore West 1969 - The Complete Recordings (note a)
      1 Mar 1969 Fillmore West 1969 - The Complete Recordings (note a)
      2 Mar 1969 Fillmore West 1969 - The Complete Recordings (note a)
     17 Apr 1969 Download Series Vol 12
     27 Apr 1969 Dick's Picks Vol 26 (note a)
     23 May 1969 Road Trips Volume 4, Number 1
     24 May 1969 Road Trips Volume 4, Number 1
      8 Nov 1969 Dick's Picks Vol 16 (note a)
     11 Dec 1969 Dave's Picks Volume 10 (bonus disc)
     20 Dec 1969 Dave's Picks Volume 6
      2 Feb 1970 Dave's Picks Volume 6
      4 Feb 1970 Download Series: A Night At The Family Dog
      2 May 1970 Dick's Picks Vol 8
     14 May 1970 Road Trips Vol 3 No 3
     15 May 1970 Road Trips Vol 3 No 3 (early show)
     15 May 1970 Road Trips Vol 3 No 3 (late show)
     28 Apr 1971 Ladies And Gentlemen ... The Grateful Dead
     24 Aug 1971 Dick's Picks Vol 35
     21 Oct 1971 Dave's Picks Volume 3
     31 Oct 1971 Dick's Picks Vol 2
      9 Jun 1976 Road Trips Volume 4, Number 5
     18 Jun 1976 Download Series Vol 4
     25 Sep 1976 Dick's Picks Vol 20
      9 Oct 1976 Dick's Picks Vol 33
     30 Apr 1977 Download Series Vol 1
     15 May 1977 May 1977 Box Set
     21 May 1977 Dick's Picks Vol 29
      9 Jun 1977 Winterland June 1977 - The Complete Recordings
      2 Nov 1977 Dick's Picks Vol 34
     30 Dec 1977 Dick's Picks Vol 10
     31 Dec 1978 The Closing Of Winterland (DVD & CD)
     15 Oct 1983 30 Days Of The Dead (2010)
     17 Jul 1998 The Strange Remain (The Other Ones)

Recordings from dead.net Tapers Section

"The Dead" Concert Recordings

Ratdoglive CDs and downloads
 
Phil Lesh and Friends Recordings
      5 Jun 1999 Love Will See You Through
      4 Apr 2002 There And Back Again (note d)
     19 May 2006 Live At The Warfield

Phil Lesh and Friends Digital Download Series

Furthur Digital Downloads and CDs

Bob Weir Solo Acoustic Live!
 
Other Recordings
     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)
Notes
(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


Futher Information
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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