Harp Tree Lament

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: David Freiberg

A Robert Hunter lyric for the pre-Jefferson Starship album "Baron Von Tollbooth". According to "Box Of Rain", the title is taken from a piobaireachd for Highland pipe.

What would it gain me
If I was to go
Like Jacob of old
To the well of the world
To wax halls where candles
Burn on through the day
To light you a path
So you'd never lose your way

I was down in the valley
Where the shadows are long
The birds in the harp tree
Were singing this song
There is time to deliver
Time to receive
All that you're lacking
Of whatever you need

Turn around
Bye the bye
You'll still
See the sea
As it was in the dawning
As it always will be

So raise up your bottle (note 1)
And drink down the blood
You planted the vine here
In spite of the flood
Turn an ear to the harp tree (note 2)
An eye to the wall
The songs in the singing
Or nowhere at all

No where to come from
No place to retire
No shelter nowhere
Except in the fire
The birds in the harp tree
Can finish their song
Then rest in its branches
Which is where they belong

But where can a man go
That's sweet to his soul
When his time is not ready
But he's still turning old

Here's a dram for the piper
And a tune for his lady
Outside the thin walls
The waves are still raging

Here's one for the harp tree
And one for his song
One for the morning
When the night was too long
Here's one for the candle
That lights you to bed
And one for the sword
That hangs over your head
(1) the lyrics in "Box Of Rain" are "So raise up your glasses"
(2) the lyrics in "Box Of Rain" skip all the lines in red

Other Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     1973 Baron Von Tollbooth And The Chrome Nun Paul Kantner, Grace Slick et al
     16 Jun 2004 Mick's Picks, Volume 3 Jefferson Starship
      9 Sep 2007 Mick's Picks, Volume 4 Jefferson Starship

Further Information
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography


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