(The key to joy is disobedience
There is no guilt and there is no shame)

A moon-piece to fetch up the golden cup
A snow-piece to avoid the great heat of the sun
Is kept in the night and by the light of the moon

An ice-piece so as they seem forever fallen
A night-piece of the dismal supper and strange entertainment
A rare chance-piece, a handsome piece of deformity
The skin of a snake bred out of the spinal marrow of a man

With stones and illegible inscriptions found about great ruins
Pictures of three remarkable steeples, or towers
Built purposely awry, so as they seem eternally tipping and falling

A transcendent perfume made of the richest odorates
Kept in a box of translucent scale

A glass of spirits made of ethereal salt, hermetically sealed up
Kept continually in quicksilver, of so volatile a nature
That it will scarcely endure the light
And therefore only shown in winter
Or by the light of a carbuncle, or a firefly

And batwings
And batwings
And batwings sing this limnal hymn
A wideness opening and closing to keep the darkness sealed within
To keep the darkness sealed within
To keep the darkness sealed within

To keep the darkness sealed within
A moon-piece to fetch up the golden cup

[The singing that follows is not in English. When this song was played at John Balance's funeral service, Peter Christopherson described it as "a language that only he knows".]


Lyrics submitted by Cynothoglys

Batwings (A Limnal Hymn) song meanings
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5 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentSo beautifull, it was played during Balance's funeral service. I would cut 2 fingers to know what he is singing in the last sentences.
    Athoiaon July 08, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI just started crying listening to this track. What the..? that never happens.

    So beautiful and sad..
    :(
    DJgifon September 14, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis possibly the most beautiful song I've ever heard. Some songs need to be heard and felt; and this is one of them.
    AbsurdistMeon March 10, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSo beautifull, it was played during Balance's funeral service. I would cut 2 fingers to know what he is singing in the last sentences.
    Athoiaon July 08, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLimnal means, 'Of or pertaining to lakes and ponds.'

    Much of the imagery comes from: penelope.uchicago.edu/misctracts/…

    eg. "A Moon Piece, describing that notable Battel between Axalla, General of Tamerlane, and Camares the Persian, fought by the light of the Moon." and "An handsome Piece of Deformity expressed in a notable hard Face, with this Inscription,37

    ——Ora Julius in Satyris qualia Rufus habet."
    maxraelon February 20, 2014   Link

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