"A Passion Play" as written by and Jeffery Hammond Ian Anderson....
"Do you still see me even here?"
(The silver cord lies on the ground.)
"And so I'm dead", the young man said
Over the hill (not a wish away).
My friends (as one) all stand aligned
Although their taxis came too late.
There was a rush along the Fulham Road.
There was a hush in the Passion Play.

Such a sense of glowing in the aftermath
Ripe with rich attainments all imagined
Sad misdeeds in disarray
The sore thumb screams aloud,
Echoing out of the Passion Play.
All the old familiar choruses come crowding in a different key:
Melodies decaying in sweet dissonance.
There was a rush along the Fulham Road
Into the Ever-passion Play.

And who comes here to wish me well?
A sweetly-scented angel fell.
She laid her head upon my disbelief
And bathed me with her ever-smile.
And with a howl across the sand
I go escorted by a band of gentlemen in leather bound
NO-ONE (but someone to be found).

All along the icy wastes there are faces smiling in the gloom.
Roll up roll down, Feeling unwound? Step into the viewing room.
The cameras were all around. We've got you taped; you're in the play.
Here's your I.D. (Ideal for identifying one and all.)
Invest your life in the memory bank; ours the interest and we thank you.
The ice-cream lady wets her drawers, to see you in the passion play.

Take the prize for instant pleasure, captain of the cricket team
Public speaking in all weathers, a knighthood from a queen.

All of your best friends' telephones never cooled from the heat of your hand.
From your hand
There's a line in a front-page story, 13 horses that also-ran.
Also ran
Climb in your old umbrella. Does it have a nasty tear in the dome?
In the dome
But the rain only gets in sometimes and the sun never leaves you alone,
You alone
You alone
You alone
You alone

Lover of the black and white it's your first night.
The Passion Play, goes all the way, spoils your insight.
Tell me how the baby's made, how the lady's laid,
Why the old dog howls in sadness.

And your little sister's immaculate virginity wings away
On the bony shoulders of a young horse named George
Who stole surreptitiously into her geography revision.
(The examining body examined her body.)

Actor of the low-high Q, let's hear your view.
Peek at the lines upon your sleeves since your memory won't do.
Tell me: how the baby's graded, how the lady's faded,
Why the old dogs howl with madness.

All of this and some of that's the only way to skin the cat.
And now you've lost a skin or two, you're for us and we for you.
The dressing room is right behind, We've got you taped, you're in the play.
How does it feel to be in the play?
How does it feel to play the play?
How does it feel to be the play?

Man of passion rise again, we won't cross you out:
For we do love you like a son, of that there's no doubt.
Tell us: is it you who are here for our good cheer?
Or are we here for the glory, for the story, for the gory satisfaction
Of telling you how absolutely awful you really are?

There was a rush along the Fulham Road.
There was a hush in the Passion Play.

The Story Of The Hare Who Lost His Spectacles
This is the story of the hare who lost his spectacles.

Owl loved to rest quietly whilst no one was watching.
Sitting on a fence one day, he was surprised when suddenly a kangaroo ran close by.
Now this may not seem strange, but when Owl overheard Kangaroo whisper to no one in particular,
"The hare has lost his spectacles," well, he began to wonder.

Presently, the moon appeared from behind a cloud and there, lying on the grass was hare.
In the stream that flowed by the grass a newt.
And sitting astride a twig of a bush a bee.

Ostensibly motionless, the hare was trembling with excitement,
For without his spectacles he appeared completely helpless.
Where were his spectacles? Could
Someone have stolen them? Had he mislaid them? What was he to do?

Bee wanted to help, and thinking he had the answer began:
"You probably ate them thinking they were a carrot."
"No!" interrupted Owl, who was wise.
"I have good eye-sight, insight, and foresight.
How could an intelligent hare make such a silly mistake?"
But all this time, Owl had been sitting on the fence, scowling!

A Kangaroo were hopping mad at this sort of talk.
She thought herself far superior in intelligence to the others.
She was their leader, their guru. She had the answer:
"Hare, you must go in search of the optician."
But then she realized that Hare was completely helpless without his spectacles.
And so, Kangaroo loudly proclaimed, "I can't send Hare in search of anything!"
"You can guru, you can!" shouted Newt.
"You can send him with Owl."
But Owl had gone to sleep.
Newt knew too much to be stopped by so small a problem
"You can take him in your pouch."
But alas, Hare was much too big to fit into Kangaroo's pouch.

All this time, it had been quite plain to hare that the others knew nothing about spectacles.
As for all their tempting ideas, well Hare didn't care.
The lost spectacles were his own affair.
And after all, Hare did have a spare a-pair.
A-pair.

The end
We sleep by the ever-bright hole in the door,
Eat in the corner, talk to the floor,
Cheating the spiders who come to say "Please",
(politely). They bend at the knees.
Well, I'll go to the foot of our stairs.
Old gentlemen talk of when they were young
Of ladies lost, of erring sons.
Lace-covered dandies revel (with friends)
Pure as the truth, tied at both ends.
Well I'll go to the foot of our stairs.
Scented cathedral spire pointed down.
We pray for souls in Kentish Town.
A delicate hush the gods, floating by
Wishing us well, pie in the sky.
God of ages, Lord of Time, mine is the right, right to be wrong.
Well I'll go to the foot of our stairs.
Jack rabbit mister spawn a new breed
Of love-hungry pilgrims (no bodies to feed).
Show me a good man and I'll show you the door.
The last hymn is sung and the devil cries "More."

Well, I'm all for leaving and that being done,
I've put in a request to take up my turn
In that forsaken paradise that calls itself "Hell"
Where no-one has nothing and nothing is- well -meaning fool,
Pick up thy bed and rise up from your gloom smiling.
Give me your hate and do as the loving heathen do.

Colours I've none dark or light, red, white or blue.
Cold is my touch (freezing).

Summoned by name - I am the overseer over you.
Given this command to watch o'er our miserable sphere.
Fallen from grace, called on to bring sun or rain.
Occasional corn from my oversight grew.
Fell with mine angels from a far better place,
Offering services for the saving of face.
Now you're here, you may as well admire
All whom living has retired from the benign reconciliation.
Legends were born surrounding mysterious lights
Seen in the sky (flashing).
I just lit a fag then took my leave in the blink of an eye.
Passionate play join round the maypole in dance
(primitive rite) (wrongly).
Summoned by name I am the overseer over you.

Flee the icy Lucifer. Oh he's an awful fellow!
What a mistake! I didn't take a feather from his pillow.
Here's the everlasting rub: neither am I good or bad.
I'd give up my halo for a horn and the horn for the hat I once had.
I'm only breathing. There's life on my ceiling.
The flies there are sleeping quietly.
Twist my right arm in the dark.
I would give two or three for
One of those days that never made
Impressions on the old score.
I would gladly be a dog barking up the wrong tree.
Everyone's saved we're in the grave.
See you there for afternoon tea.
Time for awaking the tea lady's making
A brew-up and baking new bread.
Pick me up at half past none
There's not a moment to lose.
There is the train on which I came.
On the platform are my old shoes.
Station master rings his bell.
Whistles blow and flags wave.
A little of what you fancy does you good (Or so it should).
I thank everybody
For making me welcome.
I'd stay but my wings have just dropped off.

Hail! Son of kings make the ever-dying sign
Cross your fingers in the sky for those about to BE.
There am I waiting along the sand.

Cast your sweet spell upon the land and sea.
Magus Perde, take your hand from off the chain.
Loose a wish to still, the rain, the storm about to BE.
Here am I (voyager into life).
Tough are the soles that tread the knife's edge.
Break the circle,stretch the line, call upon the devil.
Bring the gods, the gods' own fire.
In the conflict revel.
The passengers upon the ferry crossing, waiting to be born,
Renew the pledge of life's long song rise to the reveille horn.
Animals queueing at the gate that stands upon the shore
Breathe the ever-burning fire that guards the ever-door.

Man, son of man, buy the flame of ever-life
(yours to breathe and breath the pain of living): living BE!
Here am I! Roll the stone away
From the dark into ever-day.

There was a rush along the Fulham Road
Into the Ever-passion Play.


Lyrics submitted by Philadelphia Eagles

"A Passion Play [Extract]" as written by Jeffery Hammond Ian Anderson

Lyrics © Peermusic Publishing, BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

A Passion Play song meanings
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16 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentTraditionally, a passion play is a performance about the life of Jesus Christ. These plays could go for hours over a period of days. During intermissions, a fable would be acted out. "The Story of the Hare Who Lost His Spectacles" fills the role of the fable.

    ACT 1
    The first half of the song is about a young man named Ronnie Pilgrim who dies. His spirit is allowed to stay on earth for his funeral (most of the attendees show up late). After his funeral, an angel appears and takes Ronnie to the afterlife. Once there, he is taken to a viewing room to be judged. His life is played like a movie, with the projectionist/judge being God, Jesus, or another angel. (The title of the piece is "In the Offices of G. Oddie & Son") Ronnie's achievements are first shown, but he is warned that it's all downhill from there. Ronnie's many shortcomings are then shown. Ronnie attempts to cover for himself, but the judge isn't fooled. The other angels and spiritual being taunt Ronnie at first, but then ask him what it's like to be alive. Ronnie feels all is lost, but the projectionist tells Ronnie he's been accepted. End Act 1

    INTERMISSION
    It's a simple story of a hare who's lost his glasses. All of his animal friends attempt to come up with a solution, however no one ever asks Hare what he thinks the best solution is. The irony is that Hare already has a solution: a spare set of glasses. The moral: don't meddle in other peoples' business without their request. Fun fact: this segment is narrated/sung by bassist Jeffery Hammond-Hammond, not Ian Anderson.

    ACT 2
    Ronnie is sitting in heaven and is shocked to find it boring. "Well I'll go to the foot of the stairs" is an English expression equivalent to "well I'll be damned." Ronnie walks up to God and begins chewing Him out, stating that Heaven is no place for people. Ronnie decides to try out Hell, thinking that place might be more fun. God, in a loving manner, lets Ronnie go. Ronnie then meets Lucifer, who explains his existence. Ronnie finds Hell even worse (and Lucifer much worse to be around than God) so he looks for another option. He discovers he can be reincarnated. Ronnie takes the option, and the song winds down with his anxious anticipation of being reborn and the extreme pain of the experience. The song ends with the Passion Play starting again, though it never really stopped. End Act 2 and song.
    Krendall2006on January 11, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentGuys, come on, the hare is what makes the whole song, it's so unexpected and actually quite hilarious, in the midst of the overall darkness of the rest of the album. Also, there is no way Ian Anderson tried to recreate TaAB with APP. It is very different in tone and subject matter, and the fact of the matter is that TaAB was essentially a joke. It was a parody of concept albums and progressive rock in general. I mean, one 45 minute long song, with a long set of incoherent lyrics, it's very silly and super pretentious and is not really supposed to be taken seriously. It's like a Monty Python rock album, but it seems that a lot of people in all of their prog rock wankery kind of fell for the joke and praises it as the most meaningful album ever. And it IS a very good album, but it still really is comedy, executed in a very competent and entertaining way.

    (I don't think any other song has made me laugh purely because of its musical aspects, lyrics aside. I'm talking about the free jazz part at the beginning of side 2. The juxtaposition of the three hi-hat hits right before the acoustic guitar comes in always cracks me up.)

    Anyways, A Passion Play on the other hand was meant to be a more serious turn after the playfulness of TaaB, and while its lyrics are quite cryptic, they do deal with a serious matter, death as mentioned above. Musically it's also very eclectic and not nearly as accessible as TaAB. It's not a perfect album, but it works if you enjoy it for what it is, something different, and certainly not Thick as a Brick.
    LeakyFlaskon July 06, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis is deffenitly one of Tulls best albums/songs for me but i can see why people dont like it as much because it is prolly there most progressive sounding album, where thick as a brick was more catchy and easier to follow. But i love the story of the hare who lost his spectacles.
    JacksHeadphoneson August 23, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn a very abbreviated explanation, this song is about a man who dies and goes to heaven. He is shown his life in the "viewing room". He soon discovers that heaven is not what he thought and tells God that he wants to go to hell. He then finds that hell is no better than heaven and so he requests to be reborn. It's a really cool song with a lot of allusions that can be tricky to decipher. Also these lyrics are not complete. This is only half the song.
    Anomaly57on February 17, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMORE PPL SHOULD COMMENT ON J TULL SONGS. IAN ANDERSON IS A LYRICAL GENIUS, ANBODY WHO DISAGREES WITH ME CAN F*** ME SIDEWAYS :P
    WYWHon May 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHere's the FULL lyrics:

    "Do you still see me even here?"
    (The silver cord lies on the ground.)
    "And so I'm dead", the young man said
    over the hill (not a wish away).
    My friends (as one) all stand aligned
    although their taxis came too late.
    There was a rush along the Fulham Road.
    There was a hush in the Passion Play.

    Such a sense of glowing in the aftermath
    ripe with rich attainments all imagined
    sad misdeeds in disarray
    the sore thumb screams aloud,
    echoing out of the Passion Play.
    All the old familiar choruses come crowding in a different key:
    Melodies decaying in sweet dissonance.
    There was a rush along the Fulham Road
    into the Ever-passion Play.

    And who comes here to wish me well?
    A sweetly-scented angel fell.
    She laid her head upon my disbelief
    and bathed me with her ever-smile.
    And with a howl across the sand
    I go escorted by a band of gentlemen in leather bound
    NO-ONE (but someone to be found).

    All along the icy wastes there are faces smiling in the gloom.
    Roll up roll down, Feeling unwound? Step into the viewing room.
    The cameras were all around. We've got you taped; you're in the play.
    Here's your I.D. (Ideal for identifying one and all.)
    Invest your life in the memory bank; ours the interest and we thank you.
    The ice-cream lady wets her drawers, to see you in the passion play.

    Take the prize for instant pleasure, captain of the cricket team
    public speaking in all weathers, a knighthood from a queen.

    All of your best friends' telephones never cooled from the heat of your hand.
    from your hand.....
    There's a line in a front-page story, 13 horses that also-ran.
    also ran.....
    Climb in your old umbrella. Does it have a nasty tear in the dome?
    in the dome.....
    But the rain only gets in sometimes and the sun never leaves you alone,
    you alone.....
    you alone.....
    you alone.....
    you alone.....

    Lover of the black and white it's your first night.
    The Passion Play, goes all the way, spoils your insight.
    Tell me how the baby's made, how the lady's laid,
    why the old dog howls in sadness.

    And your little sister's immaculate virginity wings away
    on the bony shoulders of a young horse named George
    who stole surreptitiously into her geography revision.
    (The examining body examined her body.)

    Actor of the low-high Q, let's hear your view.
    Peek at the lines upon your sleeves since your memory won't do.
    Tell me: how the baby's graded, how the lady's faded,
    why the old dogs howl with madness.

    All of this and some of that's the only way to skin the cat.
    And now you've lost a skin or two, you're for us and we for you.
    The dressing room is right behind, We've got you taped, you're in the play.
    How does it feel to be in the play?
    How does it feel to play the play?
    How does it feel to be the play?

    Man of passion rise again, we won't cross you out:
    for we do love you like a son, of that there's no doubt.
    Tell us: is it you who are here for our good cheer?
    Or are we here for the glory, for the story, for the gory satisfaction
    of telling you how absolutely awful you really are?

    There was a rush along the Fulham Road.
    There was a hush in the Passion Play.

    THE STORY OF THE HARE WHO LOST HIS SPECTACLES
    This is the story of the hare who lost his spectacles.

    Owl loved to rest quietly whilst no one was watching.
    Sitting on a fence one day, he was surprised when suddenly a kangaroo ran close by.
    Now this may not seem strange, but when Owl overheard Kangaroo whisper to no one in particular,
    "The hare has lost his spectacles," well, he began to wonder.

    Presently, the moon appeared from behind a cloud and there, lying on the grass was hare.
    In the stream that flowed by the grass a newt.
    And sitting astride a twig of a bush a bee.

    Ostensibly motionless, the hare was trembling with excitement,
    for without his spectacles he appeared completely helpless.
    Where were his spectacles? Could
    someone have stolen them? Had he mislaid them? What was he to do?

    Bee wanted to help, and thinking he had the answer began:
    "You probably ate them thinking they were a carrot."
    "No!" interrupted Owl, who was wise.
    "I have good eye-sight, insight, and foresight.
    How could an intelligent hare make such a silly mistake?"
    But all this time, Owl had been sitting on the fence, scowling!

    A Kangaroo were hopping mad at this sort of talk.
    She thought herself far superior in intelligence to the others.
    She was their leader, their guru. She had the answer:
    "Hare, you must go in search of the optician."
    But then she realized that Hare was completely helpless without his spectacles.
    And so, Kangaroo loudly proclaimed, "I can't send Hare in search of anything!"
    "You can guru, you can!" shouted Newt.
    "You can send him with Owl."
    But Owl had gone to sleep.
    Newt knew too much to be stopped by so small a problem
    "You can take him in your pouch."
    But alas, Hare was much too big to fit into Kangaroo's pouch.

    All this time, it had been quite plain to hare that the others knew nothing about spectacles.

    As for all their tempting ideas, well Hare didn't care.
    The lost spectacles were his own affair.
    And after all, Hare did have a spare a-pair.
    A-pair.

    THE END
    We sleep by the ever-bright hole in the door,
    eat in the corner, talk to the floor,
    cheating the spiders who come to say "Please",
    (politely). They bend at the knees.
    Well, I'll go to the foot of our stairs.
    Old gentlemen talk of when they were young
    of ladies lost, of erring sons.
    Lace-covered dandies revel (with friends)
    pure as the truth, tied at both ends.
    Well I'll go to the foot of our stairs.
    Scented cathedral spire pointed down.
    We pray for souls in Kentish Town.
    A delicate hush the gods, floating by
    wishing us well, pie in the sky.
    God of ages, Lord of Time, mine is the right, right to be wrong.
    Well I'll go to the foot of our stairs.
    Jack rabbit mister spawn a new breed
    of love-hungry pilgrims (no bodies to feed).
    Show me a good man and I'll show you the door.
    The last hymn is sung and the devil cries "More."

    Well, I'm all for leaving and that being done,
    I've put in a request to take up my turn
    in that forsaken paradise that calls itself "Hell"
    where no-one has nothing and nothing is- well -meaning fool,
    pick up thy bed and rise up from your gloom smiling.
    Give me your hate and do as the loving heathen do.

    Colours I've none dark or light, red, white or blue.
    Cold is my touch (freezing).

    Summoned by name - I am the overseer over you.
    Given this command to watch o'er our miserable sphere.
    Fallen from grace, called on to bring sun or rain.
    Occasional corn from my oversight grew.
    Fell with mine angels from a far better place,
    offering services for the saving of face.
    Now you're here, you may as well admire
    all whom living has retired from the benign reconciliation.
    Legends were born surrounding mysterious lights
    seen in the sky (flashing).
    I just lit a fag then took my leave in the blink of an eye.
    Passionate play join round the maypole in dance
    (primitive rite) (wrongly).
    Summoned by name I am the overseer over you.

    Flee the icy Lucifer. Oh he's an awful fellow!
    What a mistake! I didn't take a feather from his pillow.
    Here's the everlasting rub: neither am I good or bad.
    I'd give up my halo for a horn and the horn for the hat I once had.
    I'm only breathing. There's life on my ceiling.
    The flies there are sleeping quietly.
    Twist my right arm in the dark.
    I would give two or three for
    one of those days that never made
    impressions on the old score.
    I would gladly be a dog barking up the wrong tree.
    Everyone's saved we're in the grave.
    See you there for afternoon tea.
    Time for awaking the tea lady's making
    a brew-up and baking new bread.
    Pick me up at half past none
    there's not a moment to lose.
    There is the train on which I came.
    On the platform are my old shoes.
    Station master rings his bell.
    Whistles blow and flags wave.
    A little of what you fancy does you good (Or so it should).
    I thank everybody
    for making me welcome.
    I'd stay but my wings have just dropped off.

    Hail! Son of kings make the ever-dying sign
    cross your fingers in the sky for those about to BE.
    There am I waiting along the sand.

    Cast your sweet spell upon the land and sea.

    Magus Perde, take your hand from off the chain.
    Loose a wish to still, the rain, the storm about to BE.
    Here am I (voyager into life).
    Tough are the soles that tread the knife's edge.
    Break the circle,stretch the line, call upon the devil.
    Bring the gods, the gods' own fire.
    In the conflict revel.
    The passengers upon the ferry crossing, waiting to be born,
    renew the pledge of life's long song rise to the reveille horn.
    Animals queueing at the gate that stands upon the shore
    breathe the ever-burning fire that guards the ever-door.

    Man - son of man - buy the flame of ever-life
    (yours to breathe and breath the pain of living): living BE!
    Here am I! Roll the stone away
    from the dark into ever-day.

    There was a rush along the Fulham Road
    into the Ever-passion Play.
    ColonelClaypool_00on August 11, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's good, but it's no Thick as a Brick. Then again, very little is that good (think two songs, that's how many I can find to compare with TaaB)
    inpraiseoffollyon September 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentbordering on overly theatrical here. no matter - I'm still a huge fan and have a lot to learn no doubt.
    orphan_yachtson September 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI take back what I said. It has potential, but Anderson completely lost it when he included that hare/spectacles part. Completely pointless, and I just can't listen to it. He tried (and failed) to recreate Thick as a Brick (my personal favorite song), and it just did not, in any way, come close to working.
    inpraiseoffollyon September 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI edited out the hare story (blasphemous, I know), and, all of a sudden, this song jumped from three stars to 4.5 or potentially more (once I stop associating the hare story with the song). It really is close to Thick as a Brick. Probably not quite as good, but that's something I'll have to work out once I've really listened to it seriously.
    inpraiseoffollyon October 05, 2006   Link

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