"Toadvine" as written by and Benjamin Nichols....
I rode myself into the ground
But hell, it's almost over now
I don't see nothing but the light
Darkness filled my days
The rising sun has shown the way
And I don't see nothing but the light
A preacher's lesson, simply armageddon
The devil, he knows how to write
Killer of men, no way to save them
Hey now we all have to die

You wouldn't think that out here
A man could simply run clear
Out of country, but oh my, oh my
Oh my, oh my, nothing but the light

They took my ears in Omaha
I thought me dead but I weren't at all
And I left them bleeding in the mud
They ran in me for horse thievery
Between my eyes for all to see
And I left them bleeding in the mud

When this wall was made
It was never meant to save everyone in kind
I don't believe God much had me, had me much in mind

You wouldn't think that out here
A man could simply run clear
Out of country, but oh my, oh my
Oh my, oh my, there's nothing but the light

So tell the barkeep, "What is there to drink?"
Just a minimal risk of blindness or death
It all taste of ashes, seems that's always what we get
It's all they have to give

You wouldn't think that out here
A man could simply run clear
Out of country, but oh my, oh my
Oh my, oh my,
Nothing but the light


Lyrics submitted by Medications, edited by JohnnyUtah915

"Toadvine" as written by Benjamin Nichols

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Toadvine song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • 0
    General Commentit's "they branded me" not "they ran in me"
    just something i thought i should point out.
    MattyPon August 01, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYou're right, MattyP.

    Also, the lyric is "They thought me dead" not "I thought me dead".
    And "When this world was made" not "When this wall was made".

    "So tell me, barkeep" not "Tell the barkeep".
    And I think it's "It's all we ever get" not "It's all they have to give" but I'm not positive.
    CarolynBLon October 10, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is one of ben nichols' best ever. beats every lucero song ever written. absolutely stunning. i can't stop listening to this record.
    dangribbinon October 29, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAs Nichols has discussed in interviews, this album is based on the novel Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, and several of the lines in the song here posted are taken from the novel. This might help out with some of the misheard lyrics originally posted. Note: The spelling and punctuation of the novel are idiosyncratic and McCarthy elects not to use quotation marks.


    MattyP's correction to the posted lyrics, "they branded me", is right. The character Toadvine has been branded, and his ears cut off, at some time before the kid meets him: "The kid looked at the man [Toadvine]. His head was strangely narrow and his hair was plastered up with mud in a bizarre and primitive coiffure. On his forehead were burned the letters H T and lower and almost between the eyes the letter F and these markings were splayed and garish as if the iron had been left too long. When he turned to look at the kid the kid could see that he had no ears." (ch. 1)


    CarolynBL's correction of "world" for "wall" is also right. The phrase doesn't come from Toadvine in the novel, but from a conversation between the kid and an old hermit:

    "The old man swung his head back and forth. The way of the transgressor is hard. God made this world, but he didnt make it to suit everbody, did he?

    "I dont believe he much had me in mind." (ch. 2)

    Another few gems from the novel that show up in the song:

    "Toadvine took off his hat and put it on the bar and swept a clawed hand through his hair.

    "What have you got that a man could drink with just a minimum risk of blindness and death.

    "Como?

    "He cocked his thumb at his throat. What have you got to drink, he said." (ch. 8; Toadvine talking to a Mexican bartender)


    The phrase 'killer of men' appears in a tale told by Judge Holden:

    "But the boy was not sorry for he was jealous of the dead man and before he went away he visited that place and cast away the rocks and dug up the bones and scattered them in the forest and then he went away. He went away to the west and he him­self became a killer of men." (ch. 11)


    And, of course, Toadvine 'running out of country':


    "Are you goin with us?

    "Toadvine looked at the judge. I dont know, he said. I'm sub­ject to arrest. They'll arrest me in California.

    "Arrest ye?

    "Toadvine didnt answer. He was sitting in the sand and he made a tripod of three fingers and stuck them in the sand before him and then he lifted and turned them and poked them in again so that there were six holes in the form of a star or a hexagon and then he rubbed them out again. He looked up.

    "You wouldnt think that a man would run plumb out of country out here, would ye?

    "The kid rose and slung the flask by its strap over his shoulder. His trouserleg was black with blood and the bloody stump of the shaft jutted from his thigh like a peg for hanging implements upon. He spat and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and he looked at Toadvine. It aint country you've run out of, he said." (ch. 20)

    helarctoson April 07, 2010   Link

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