"Dancing With The Moonlit Knight" as written by Anthony Banks, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel and Steven Hackett....
"Can you tell me where my country lies?"
Said the uni faun to his true love's eyes.
"It lies with me!" cried the Queen of Maybe
For her merchandise, he traded in his prize.

"Paper late!" cried a voice in the crowd.
"Old man dies!" The note he left was signed 'Old Father Thames'
It seems he's drowned
Selling england by the pound.

Citizens of Hope & Glory,
Time goes by, it's "the time of your life".
Easy now, sit you down
Chewing through your Wimpey dreams,
They eat without a sound
Digesting England by the pound.

Young man says "you are what you eat" eat well.
Old man says "you are what you wear" wear well.
You know what you are, you don't give a damn
Bursting your belt that is your homemade sham.

The Captain leads his dance right on through the night
Join the dance
Follow on! Till the Grail sun sets in the mould.
Follow on! Till the gold is cold.
Dancing out with the moonlit knight,
Knights of the Green Shield stamp and shout.

There's a fat old lady outside the saloon
laying out the credit cards she plays Fortune.
The deck is uneven right from the start
And all of their hands are playing apart.

The Captain leads his dance right on through the night
Join the dance
Follow on! A round table talking down we go.
You're the show
Off we go with, you play the hobbyhorse,
I'll play the fool
We'll tease the bull
Ringing round & loud, loud & round.

Follow on! With a twist of the world we go.
Follow on! Till the gold is cold.
Dancing out with the moonlit knight,
Knights of the Green Shield stamp and shout


Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae, edited by sunwardflyer

"Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" as written by Phil Collins Anthony George Banks

Lyrics © Peermusic Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, IMAGEM MUSIC INC

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Dancing With The Moonlit Knight song meanings
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  • +6
    General Commentits very very clever this song. its basically an epitaph to british culture as large companies destroy its heritage. i will go thru it bit by bit but i havent taken a majority of what i say from anything but its what i take from it. - the first stanza i take to be the gambling of culture on the 'maybe' of development. the queen of maybe as its written, the 'unifaun'... well a faun is a creature much like the horns and tails thing in a trick of the tail altho' quite a few years prior to. old father thames drowing is blatantly in reference to londons famous river, the symobolic drowning bein a death of london as it was. the next stanze is more specific. 'its the time of ur life' points out how easily led people are by what they're told and 'wimpey dreams' refers to wimpey restaurants which at the time were takin over the food market with chain outlets. worth noting that they were an american company i think and therefore the song is almost anti american... followin stanza is a bit of a rant about people making their own messes based on what they're told to think.. -'green shield stamps' were the 70s equivalent to reward points at petrol stations or whatever - this points to comercialism. the verse about the fat old lady is a dig at those who willingly throw away their money, i presume to company director with their lying money grabbing ways. 'credit cards' is another modern day introduction of the times. -this song is closely linked to cinema show and aisle of plenty which continue the same theme to close the album.
    parberooon April 15, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General Comment"I'd reccommend this song for a listen, but this is the CHEESIEST SONG I HAVE EVER HEARD IN MY LIFE. The lyrics borderline stupid. "

    people make fun of things they don`t understand.....
    chromatiqueon February 05, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:laughing: This song is one of the best ever recorded during Peter Gabrials tenure in genisis. I dont give a fig about what it means...I love it
    MoonlitKnighton January 26, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentDancing Out with the Moonlit Knight (including comments from here)

    is about the effects the British economy has on every day lives of Englishmen, the cultural crisis that they endure and the first oil crisis that happened right around that time. As transports and oil-derived vinyl were sending prices through the roof, many ways were considered to cut costs - SEBTP was the first Genesis non-gatefold and had cheaper, lighter records. Dancing Out With the Moonlight Knight is a wonderful socio-commentary partially dressed in legend. The lyrics offer the listener to "Dance with the Moonlit Knight," or defy the trends which are destroying us. It has been described as basically an epitaph to British culture as large companies destroy its heritage.

    "Can you tell me where my country lies?" (1)
    said the unifaun (2) to his true love's eyes.
    "It lies with me!" cried the Queen of Maybe (3)
    - for her merchandise, he traded in his prize. (4)

    "Paper late!" (5) cried a voice in the crowd.
    "Old man dies!" The note he left was signed 'Old Father Thames' (6)
    - it seems he's drowned;
    selling england by the pound.

    Citizens of Hope & Glory, (7)
    Time goes by - it's 'the time of your life'. (8)
    Easy now, sit you down.
    Chewing through your Wimpey dreams, (9)
    they eat without a sound;
    digesting england by the pound.

    Young man says 'you are what you eat' - eat well.
    Old man says 'you are what you wear' - wear well.
    You know what you are, you don't give a damn;
    bursting your belt that is your homemade sham.

    The Captain leads his dance right on through the night
    - join the dance...
    Follow on! Till the Grail sun sets in the mould. (10)
    Follow on! Till the gold is cold.
    Dancing out with the moonlit knight,
    Knights of the Green Shield stamp and shout. (11)

    There's a fat old lady (12) outside the saloon;
    laying out the credit cards she plays Fortune. (13)
    The deck is uneven right from the start;
    and all of their hands are playing apart.

    The Captain leads his dance right on through the night
    - join the dance...
    Follow on! A Round Table-talking down we go.
    You're the show!
    Off we go with - You play the hobbyhorse,
    I'll play the fool. (14)
    We'll tease the bull
    ringing round & loud, loud & round.

    Follow on! With a twist of the world we go.
    Follow on! Till the gold is cold.
    Dancing out with the moonlit knight,
    Knights of the Green Shield stamp and shout.

    (1) It begins without any music, with Gabriel's voice asking "Can you tell me where my country lies?" This album is the reply to that very question, and the reply (while musically mind-blowing) may not be very encouraging.

    (2) 1.Unifaun apparently does not have any connection with the mythological faun, but is a mercenary rank equivalent to "private".
    2. Unifaun: pun that stands for representing the ancient, historical England. From uniform, unicorn, faun (fawn or faun, in general)

    (3) Queen of Maybe: From Queen of May, who, in the ancient England, used to represent the starting of a good season and the hope for a good harvest. Who is the Queen of Maybe? Opportunity. Today, Queen of May is used in England only for commercial advertising of products and this "Queen of Opportunity" represents the modern England.

    The first stanza could be the gambling of culture on the 'maybe' of development.

    (4) This could tell of how the younger generation is throwing away a legacy ("for her merchandise, he traded in his prize").

    (5) One puzzling lyric in this song is "paper late cried a voice in the crowd", especially since it went on to become the title of another songs. Americans have assumed that it meant the same thing as "extra, extra!", the way paperboys hawked a late edition of the newspaper that had just come out. A British citizen comments: "I've never heard that phrase in colloquial English. However, I have heard "Late paper!" being shouted by paper sellers. A slightly convoluted theory is therefore this: Suppose a vendor is shouting 'Late paper! Late paper!' repeatedly. Given that he is in a crowd we can suppose there is a lot of other noise, perhaps enough to drown him out at times. In these circumstances, you might, in a lull in the background noise, hear '...paper! Late...'."

    (6) The "old man dies," leaving the younger generation in charge, who promptly "sell England by the pound".

    Old Father Thames is the spirit of the River Thames (the one which flows through London). He is depicted as an old man with a flowing white beard and symbolises Britain's ancient past. He's part of British folklore.
    The Old Father Thames spirit does not recognize his modern land - Old Father Thames symbolic drowning being a death of London as it was.

    (7) Citizens of Hope and Glory are the English people. From the hymn Land of Hope and Glory.

    (8) "its the time of your life" could point out how easily led people are by what they're told

    (9) "Wimpey is/was an indigenous chain of burger stores, so colloquially a Wimpey is/was a burger (like a Big Mac, only even nastier). "wimpey dreams" refers to Wimpey restaurants which at the time were taking over the food market with chain outlets. They took their name after Wimpy in the Popeye cartoons, because he always ate burgers! [His tag phrase was "I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today".]

    Also, Wimpey are a national firm of (UK) builders who specialise in building vast estates of Identikit houses. "Dream Homes", as the adverts read. These are not made of the highest grade materials but are often built in Mock-classic English styles (Tudor, Georgian) of architecture. They were a firm that specialised in providing cheap(ish) housing often on the outskirts of larger conurbations and were seen by many working class people as a Des-Res (Desirable Residence) location to move to once they had sufficient money. This sort of house is seen as being a bit of a "trash talisman" by some sections of society. Frequently this sort of housing was a step up as families sought to better themselves.

    (10) Grail: the cup of Jesus Christ from the last supper, which, according to the legend, is carried in England into King Arthur's court. Represents the splendour of the epoch.

    This is about the downfall and decline of Great Britain as it loses its empire on which the sun never sets - the sun never sets on the British Empire because it is so big that it's always daytime somewhere. However, it's declining, and soon the sun will set...

    (11) -"Green shield stamps" were the 70s equivalent to reward points at petrol stations or whatever - this points to commercialism. Green food stamps and price folder (Aisle of Plenty ) remind how low the Once Mighty Empire has fallen as the first oil crisis did even more damage to England Sold By The Pound to Arab Sheiks playing fortune with the Old Lady England that lays out the credit cards and plays fortune
    A double meaning is used again in this phrase too. Today, in England, the Green Shield Stamps are point, scratch-and-win, or unstick-and-win prizes. Knights of the green shield stamp and shout is one of the many puns on Selling England that are totally lost on Americans. "Green shield stamps used to be issued when you purchased everyday goods at stores. You collected them and when you had enough you could exchange the stamps for other goods, i.e. they were a promotional gimmick to encourage you to shop at certain stores."

    (12) The verse about the fat old lady could be a dig at those who willingly throw away their money, possibly to company directors with their lying money grabbing ways.

    (13) "Credit cards" is another modern day introduction of the times - Today's fortuneteller doesn't use playing cards anymore, only credit cards, to foretell the fortune.

    (14) The Fool and the Hobbyhorse are characters from the Morris Dance. From "hobby horse" came the expression "to ride one's hobby-horse", meaning "to follow a favourite pastime", and in turn, the modern sense of the term Hobby.

    There is a repeated riff that can be found in "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight" and the last tracks, and it sort of draws the album together
    Madpropheton December 12, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentActually, it's a very clever bit of social satire for the times, with some funny plays on words, if you want to look into it.
    RedKingon December 28, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Genesis are the best prog rock band. Not Pink Floyd. Not Yes. Genesis."

    Word.
    xbullettheblueskyxon December 09, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAlso note that Peter Gabriel was the one who collected Green Sheild Stamps on the road during the early days with the band, to the band's amusement, I think.

    A few words about the album as a whole:

    Selling England by the Pound

    The title was actually originally the slogan used in the Labour Party Manifesto for the General Election held before the album was released which itself was using wordplay on the idea of "pound".

    The pound sterling is the world's oldest currency still in use. The origins of sterling lie in the reign of King Offa of Mercia, who introduced the silver penny. It copied the denarius of the new currency system of Charlemagne's Frankish Empire. As in the Carolingian system, 240 pennies weighed 1 pound (corresponding to Charlemagne's libra)

    Labour Party's Harold Wilson was elected for a third time in February 1974, taking over from Conservative Edward Heath whose government was brought to its knees by oil shortages and a crippling coal miners' strike in 1973.

    Heath's most lasting achievement was to lead the UK into the EEC (later the EU) in 1973. His tenure, however, was blighted by industrial unrest, including a devastating miners' strike. This resulted in the famous 'three-day-week', in which commercial consumption of electricity was limited to three days per week, with the exception of essential services.

    However the 1970s proved to be a disastrous time for any party to be in government. Faced with a mishandled oil crisis, a consequent world-wide economic downturn, and a badly suffering British economy, Governments were forced to take an interventionist approach, and companies such as British Leyland were nationalised to prevent their collapse. Pressure on sterling compounded these problems, and by the middle of the decade 1½ million people were unemployed in the UK - a previously unthinkable figure.

    The Labour Party itself had adopted a left-wing agenda, 'Labour's Programme 1973', a document which pledged to bring about a 'fundamental and irreversible shift in the balance of power and wealth in favour of working people and their families.' This programme referred to a 'far reaching Social Contract between workers and the Government.' Wilson publicly accepted many of the left-wing implications of the Programme but the condition of the economy allowed little room for manouevre.

    Gabriel insisted that the album be titled Selling England by the Pound, the reference to the Labour Party slogan at the time, in an effort to counter the impression that Genesis were becoming too US-oriented.
    Madpropheton December 13, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentmoonlit knight : seems to me like its being done behind the ''people's back'' . The moonlit knight surely represents what's wrong about english society and how its able to grow behind the curtains, during the night.''Dancing'' with him represents the hypocrisy of it. Most people know what's wrong but yet ignore it and keep playing .. ''dancing'' the game.
    yorinoon April 29, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have seen Genesis live about 20 times, including Gabriels last tour, and this is still my favorite tune by them.
    scoonmanon April 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGenesis are the best prog rock band. Not Pink Floyd. Not Yes. Genesis.
    rubyoverdiamondson May 16, 2006   Link

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