"Gray Stables" as written by and Samuel Ervin Beam....
Brave lady, I could see you through
The mosses
Laid, shameless in the sun
My lady with her porcelain and her
Face, pleasing everyone

Gray stables and the horses of the
Pray daily for the brave

Lady, you were gorgeous in your
Wet flowers on the ground
My lady never told me of her sadness
Bones floating in the sound

Brave lady could you see me in the
Wait, nameless like a stone
My lady with her watches by the
Bathes lately all alone

Gray stables and the horses of the
Pray daily for the brave

Lady, would you love me if I left her
Laid breathless in the sun
My lady, like a teacup on the counter
Frail, pleasing everyone

Lyrics submitted by OpinionHead

"Gray Stables" as written by Samuel Ervin Beam

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Gray Stables song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentRe. possible biblical references: listening to it today it made me think of David and Bathsheba.

    Go here for the biblical account: biblegateway.com/passage/

    The basic story is that King David is walking on the roof of his palace and sees Bathsheba bathing. Captivated by her beauty, he sends for her and sleeps with her, and she becomes pregnant. David sends for her husband Uriah, who is a soldier in David's army, hoping that he will sleep with his wife and it will be assumed that the child is his. But Uriah is too honourable a soldier to enjoy home comforts while his comrades are still fighting, and sleeps outside, refusing to go to his wife. David's only choice then is to marry Bathsheba, so he arranges to have Uriah 'accidentally' killed in battle, and marries Bathsheba (he already has several other wives too).

    The whole affair eventually becomes known, and is a huge scandal, for which David seeks forgiveness from God. Originally chosen as king for his great piety and devotion to God, the whole episode is seen as his one spectacular downfall. It is frequently alluded to in contemporary religion as an illustration that no one is perfect.

    The child dies a few days after its birth, which is seen as God's judgement on David's sin. However, Bathsheba has other children by David, including Solomon, whom, he promises Bathsheba, he will eventually select to succeed him as king. The fact that he chooses her son, though he has other, older sons vying for the throne, suggests that she holds a special place in his heart - and, perhaps, that he feels he needs to make amends to her.

    I imagine the song being David's reflection on all this some years later. He recalls how he was so moved by Bathsheba's beauty on the evening when he first noticed her. She had an innocence about her, an artless beauty, pleasing without effort. Washing in Judaism is, of course, associated with purification, and justification before God ('shameless'). As a pious man, perhaps he's even drawn to her piety.

    While bathing, she turns her mind to her absent husband Uriah, and prays for his safe return. The biblical account, including the parable told by the prophet Nathan in the next chapter, suggests that Uriah had probably been a loving husband. He is certainly depicted as a righteous man, undeserving of his fate.

    The line "my lady never told me of her sadness, bones floating in the sound" could be about her mourning first for her husband and then for her son. But she also no doubt mourns for herself, and the incredibly complex pain of someone who has been raped, made the unwilling cause of her husband's death, and snatched into a new life against her will. We're told that David comforted Bathsheba after the death of their son, but maybe the song is suggesting that there are parts of her heart that she keeps hidden from him.

    He recalls the moment when she realised she was being watched. There was an awakening in her, a terror, paralysis, and a period of waiting, as she wondered what would happen, and what she'd started. He remembers watching all this flash across her face, while he sent a messenger to fetch her.

    Now, years later, she once again bathes alone, elusive and withdrawn from him. As king, and as a man, he can 'have' her whenever he wants, but he can never gain admission to her inner world, which is hers to guard. What he desired eludes him, and is cheapened by the fact that he has stolen her.

    The refrain again, and this time it's David's thoughts. Years later, he can never forget what he did to Uriah, and the other innocent men who died because of what he did.

    I hear the final two lines comparing her to a teacup as a suggestion that in her later life as one of David's queens, she's playing a role and being an ornament to the court, but her heart is silent, hidden.

    She is described in the song as brave, which matches the biblical account. She later advocates for her son, reminding David of his promise to make him king, though this will put them both in danger from the other ambitious sons. She clearly hasn't just withered away in her sadness, but has applied herself to the cause of those she loves. David admires her strength, but, just as on that first evening, he can only ever admire from afar.
    meudwenon July 08, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCorrections:

    line 3: shameless in the sun
    line 13: my lady never told me of her sadness

    beautiful song
    pervnerveon September 23, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAll I can think of is that this guy is stalking this beautiful woman (brave lady/my lady). He follows her everywhere, finds out that no matter how gorgeous she is she has something that is killing her inside. She begins to catch on to him, but pretends as if she doesn't notice anything. Late at night he breaks into her house while she is bathing and kills her. He does it because he thinks that will make her love him, and she accepts it because she has something that she can't live down.
    mattymeeon January 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI first read the lyrics to this song, I thought it was about two different woman (brave lady and my lady) and the narrator's conflict of interest between the two. However when I heard it, the dramatic violin? melody makes me think its the same woman in two stages, one when he was in lover with her and one now, in that she has changed to be something she isn't.
    AugustOfOmahaon January 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMost of the songs on this CD have a biblical theme, so I'm wondering if this is drawn from the bible somewhere?
    Omnifariouson June 18, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song really reminds me of The Collector, and old-ish movie with Terrence Stamp and Samantha Eggar. A young misfit man kidnaps a woman he's been watching, just for the pleasure of having her there. He nearly worships her at first, until she ultimately disappoints him. Good movie. This reminds me of the melancholy "love" he feels for her as he watches her.
    MermaidGazeon October 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song very much. I tend to agree with the stalking theme. It seems to me that this stalker is torn between two women. I don't really know, I just let the song speak to me.
    OpinionHeadon October 28, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt may not be true, but I have always thought this song was about one woman. And this may be just me, but because nearly the entire song is sung by both a man and a woman at the same time, I envision both a man and woman both stalking the same 'lady'.
    manekinekoon November 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI disagree. I think it's about a whore, because of the lyric watches by the mattress. He wants to love her, to go into a more deeper relationship, but she's not interested, hence, would you love me if I left her, a reference to whomever he's married to/with right now.
    glorfindel34on June 21, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with glorfinde somewhat, I think its about a man that follows his wife one day and finds her sleeping with another man, and he talks about the sadness that that brings her until she ultimately kills herself in the bathtub and he wonders why she killed herself, and if it was because she saw him watching them have sex with each other
    sudduthon September 19, 2007   Link

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