Part 1: Eruption

Part 2: Stones of Years

Has the dawn ever seen your eyes?
Have the days made you so unwise?
Realize, you are.

Had you talked to the winds of time,
Then you'd know how the waters rhyme,
Taste of wine,

How can you know where you've been?
In time, you'll see the sign
And realize your sin.

Will you know how the seed is sown?
All your time has been overgrown,
Never known.

Have you walked on the stones of years?
When you speak, is it you that hears?
Are your ears full?

You can't hear anything at all.

Part 3: Iconoclast

Part 4: Mass

The preacher said a prayer
save every single hair on his head
he's dead

The minister of hate
had just arrived too late to be spared
who cared

The weaver in the web that he made

The pilgrim wandered in
committing every sin that he could
so good

The cardinal of grief
was set in the belief he'd be saved
from the grave

The weaver in the web that he made

Part 5: Manticore

Part 6: Battlefield

Clear the battlefield and let me see
All the profit from our victory.
You talk of freedom, starving children fall.
Are you deaf when you hear the season's call?

Were you there to watch the earth be scorched?
Did you stand beside the spectral torch?
Know the leaves of sorrow turned their face,
Scattered on the ashes of disgrace.

Ev'ry blade is sharp; the arrows fly
Where the victims of your armies lie,
Where the blades of grass and arrows reign
Then there'd be no sorrow,
Be no pain.

Part 7: Aquatarkus


Lyrics submitted by thedanman344, edited by Undinal

Tarkus song meanings
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12 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commentyes, this song is amazing. captivates you for 20 minutes. Once you reach part 2, there's no turning back!
    manch0won January 27, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think its "the cardinal of grief" not the "coroner." It fits much better with the theme of "Mass," where all of the other characters are religious (preacher, minister, pilgrim, high priest, bishop, choir).

    boloskyon February 09, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is a very odd song, well written, it really pounces on you from the beginning, throwing one punch after another without ever letting up.

    I like it.
    inpraiseoffollyon September 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentPart 4 lyrics are wrong. Correction as follows:

    The preacher said a prayer
    save every single hair on his head
    he's dead

    The minister of hate
    had just arrived too late to be spared
    who cared

    The weaver in the web that he made

    The pilgrim wandered in
    committing every sin that he could
    so good

    The coroner of grief
    was set in the belief he'd be saved
    from the grave

    The weaver in the web that he made

    [Instrumental Interlude]

    The high priest took a blade
    To bless the ones who ?(played)
    ?(and all obeyed)

    The messenger appeared
    Is slowly drawing nearer to the time
    a sign

    The weaver in the web that he made

    A bishop rings a bell
    A cloak of darkness fell across the ground
    without a sound

    The silent choir sing
    and in their silence bring ?() sound
    ?(harmonic crown)

    The weaver in the web that he made

    Still a great song.
    inpraiseoffollyon September 13, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThanks, I didn't catch that. Corrected.
    thedanman344on September 25, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyour welcome.

    The mistakes in mine are as such:

    The high priest took a blade
    To bless the ones that prayed,
    And all obeyed

    The silent choir sing
    and in their silence bring jaded sound, harmonic ground.
    inpraiseoffollyon October 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIsn't 'You talk of freedom, starving children fall.'?
    Renkon March 17, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI see a meaning of rebirth and redemption in this song. Tarkus lives a vicious, violent life and does not realize that it is being lived wrong [Stones of Years]. When he is defeated by the Manticore, he realizes his violent ways were not the right path- violence does not help. it only ends up hurting- he hurt himself and those he fought. So, he redeems himself- he goes into the sea, a completely new machine. At the end of Aquatarkus, the same music from Eruption is played- Tarkus has been born anew. That's just my take on it, seems good IMO. I love this song, it's 20 minutes and never boring. Epic.
    Aquatarkuson April 16, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment20 minutes of pure analogic madness
    PaganoCristoon June 11, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is my favorite song by ELP and a real masterpiece of progressive rock. The song seems to be about the futility of war.

    The "Battlefield" section of the song shares a lot of similarities with "Epitaph" by King Crimson. I read that when ELP played "Tarkus" in concert, they'd play some excerpts from "Epitaph" when they got to that section.

    Did anyone else notice the band paying tribute to "Mars: Bringer of War" (from "The Planets" by Gustav Holst) at the end of "Tarkus?" The ending to "Tarkus" and ending to "Mars" are very similar.
    passionateartson September 15, 2009   Link

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