"Annan Water" as written by and Colin Meloy....
You loom so deep and wide
I would cross over
If you would stem the tide
Build a boat
That I might thwart the other side
To reach the farther shore
Where my true love lies in wait for me
In wait for me
In wait for me
In wait for me

Oh, gray river
Your waters ramble while
The horses shiver
And bide against the bridal
But I will cross
If mine own horse is pulled from me
Though my mother cries that if I try
I sure will drown it be
Will drown it be
Will drown it be
Will drown it be

But if you cull
And let me pass
You may render me a wreck
When I come back
So calm your waves
And slow the churn
And you may have my precious bones on my return

Annan water
Oh hear my true love's call
Hear her holler
Above your water's pall
God, that I could
That my two arms could give me way
And I would cross your breath
And rest my breast about her amber ring
Her amber ring
Her amber ring

But if you cull
And let me pass
You may render me a wreck
When I come back
So calm your waves
And slow the churn
And you may have my precious bones
On my
On my
Return


Lyrics submitted by MarcelLionheart, edited by Fionnula, BrutalBart, virtualRefrain, boogieordie

"Annan Water" as written by Colin Meloy

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Annan Water song meanings
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20 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentAmber ring could be a halo, or she could be a redhead.
    brave2285on March 18, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWill drowned be

    what's the likelihood of that being an intentional play on words?
    Idonotsleepon April 03, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI have seen many people talking about the "amber ring" on these lyrics sites, and I went to a Decemberists show last year and had a chance to speak with Colin, so I just asked him out of curiosity.
    He said that while writing the lyrics he had always pictured Margaret with a big (literal) amber ring, you know that they have insect fossils in, etc.?
    Thought I should share.
    hilaritoon June 27, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love this song, it's beautiful..


    but i really really hope he's saying "you may render me a-ret" or "you may render me a wreck" instead of a rat.
    annanwateron March 10, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah, I transcribed the lyrics here having only heard it twice, so there are some inaccuracies which I was hoping other people would correct. Figured it would be better just to get them up. I'm not sure about this, though, since he usually enunciates the k when he says 'wreck' and he is a shape-shifting animal, so rat might work as well. I don't have the official lyrics in front of me of course.
    MarcelLionhearton March 11, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentoh, and the horses shiver and bite against the bridle..i think ;)
    annanwateron March 11, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI got tired of fully interpreting every line of every song.

    But this song pretty much suggests only one real location for the setting of the album. It must be Scotland. The Welsh name, the notion of castles [not sure if there is ever direct mention] and now the Annan, a river found in Scotland. Although the taiga does not appear to extend all the way down to Scotland on any maps I saw, it does appear to be on the outer reaches of the climate zone. Upon additional research, I have found that it definitely contains taiga forest.

    Riddle solved. Knowing all of the thought I put into this, Colin probably already stated somewhere that this takes place in Scotland, but I had fun doing detective work anyway. I really like how the Celtic theme is carried through the entire albums settings.
    wanderingaloudon March 12, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is mostly for my own clarification of the story. let me know if i'm off.

    so after the rake kidnaps margaret, and the Queen basically says "as long as you keep this girl away from my innocent son (william), i'll help you cross the river," this is basically william following behind, asking the river to help him "To reach the farthest shore where my true love lies in wait for me" and basically says, as long as i can get to the other side in one piece to be with margaret just this once, you can kill me on the way back and i won't care (a la the hazards of love 4?)

    i also don't understand that bit about "her amber ring" ...insight anyone?
    a simple wishon March 14, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHe's singing "You may render me a-wrack when I come back"
    reagankon March 20, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationThe correct lyrics are "You may render me a wrack when I come back"

    :definition:
    Wrack: seaweed or other vegetation cast on the shore.

    Basically he is begging the river to calm itself and let him pass just this once and in turn the river can be as strong as it wants when he returns and do what it wants with him as he tries to cross back over.
    Corvidon March 22, 2009   Link

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