"June Hymn" as written by Colin Meloy....
Here's a hymn to welcome in the day
Heralding a summer's early sway
And all the bulbs all comin' in
To begin
The thrushes' bleeding battle with the wrens
Disrupts my reverie again

Pegging clothing on the line
Training jasmine how to vine
Up the arbor to your door
And more
Standing on the landing with the war
You shouldered all the night before

But once upon it
The yellow bonnets
Garland all the lawn
You were waking
Day was breaking
A panoply of song
And summer comes to Springville Hill

A barony of ivy in the trees
Expanding out its empire by degrees
And all the branches burst abloom
In the boom
Heaven sent this cardinal maroon
To decorate our living room

But once upon it
The yellow bonnets
Garland all the lawn
You were waking
Day was breaking
A panoply of song
And summer comes to Springville Hill

And years from now when this old light
Isn't ambling anymore
Will I bring myself to write
"I give my best to Springville Hill"

But once upon it
The yellow bonnets
Garland all the lawn
You were waking
Day was breaking
A panoply of song
And summer comes to Springville Hill
And summer comes to Springville Hill


Lyrics submitted by WriterOfFictions, edited by slytwisty

"June Hymn" as written by Colin Meloy

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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June Hymn song meanings
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15 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentI hear this song and all is forgiven, dear Mr Meloy, for Hazards of Love.

    Eternal devotion is the heart of this song. Devotion in terms of the achievement of domestic bliss. Devotion to a family home built together. Devotion to a neighborhood that one could not bear to leave even in death. Devotion is objectified by the growth brought by early summer, and personified in the place of Springville Hill.

    It's such a beautiful work, so hopeful and certain. I place myself and my partner in the picture Meloy paints us and I am overcome with joy to the point of tears.

    Bravo!
    jgwalker73on April 03, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentOfficial lyrics from the Decemberists site:

    June Hymn
    Here’s a hymn to welcome in the day
    Heralding a summer’s early sway
    And all the bulbs all coming in
    To begin
    The thrushes bleating battle with the wrens
    Disrupts my reverie again

    Pegging clothing on the line
    Training jasmine how to vine
    Up the arbor to your door
    And more
    You’re standing on the landing with the war
    You shouldered all the night before

    And once upon it
    The yellow bonnets
    Garland all the lawn
    And you were waking
    And day was breaking
    A panoply of song
    And summer comes to Springville Hill

    A barony of ivy in the trees
    Expanding out its empire by degrees
    And all the branches burst to bloom
    In the boom
    Heaven sent this cardinal maroon
    To decorate our living room

    Chorus

    And years from now when this old light
    Isn’t ambling anymore
    Will I bring myself to write
    “I give my best to Springville Hill”

    Chorus

    maxf736on May 16, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentBetween this and January hymn I am expecting a new album before long titled "Colin Meloy Sings the Months"
    jdwayne00on January 30, 2011   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningJust a note that "Springville Hill" is a reference to a small area of Linnton in Portland, off Springville Road. There aren't many houses up there, and the area definitely brings to mind the various images in this song.
    SHOOZon February 20, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWas somewhat disappointed with the comments on this one. Meloy has generally a "tragic" style throughout most of his work. This one struck me as a bittersweet story about the hope and renewal of Spring but which is tainted by a tragedy which has occurred in the lives of this family. The song is written from the point of view of a woman who is in her garden. Someone, perhaps her son, was in a war - that's why there are yellow bonnets on the trees (remember Meloy is so good that there is not one word in his songs that is irrelevant) - yellow bonnets for the soldier to come home safely. A tragedy occurred "in the boom, Heaven sent this cardinal maroon (blood) to decorate our living room). The man on the landing is her husband (or perhaps her injured son) who "shouldered" the war the night before by dealing with what happened. There is so much in this song (ivy on the branches) - too much to go over here. Another Meloy masterpiece. Like most of his songs, it is done with a broad brush and the understanding of the song comes in bits and after repeatedly listening and thinking about it. These comments could very well be wrong. It's just hard for me to believe that this is a simple ode to Spring. Nothing about Meloy's writing is simple.
    rickf888on May 19, 2013   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis is one of my all-time favorite songs.

    There is this amazing phenomenon that the human mind accomplishes, it can assign meaning to the world around it.
    Once yellow bonnets are upon it (a purely natural and meaningless infestation, really), they beautifully "garland all the lawn", in the eyes of the writer.
    Once "you were waking", then miraculously "day was breaking", and song (meaning) becomes your coat of armor that allows you to assign meaning to the world around you.

    Natural and fairly ordinary things happen throughout the song, but they are interpreted by the artist as being profound. This idea is introduced in the opening verse.

    In verse two, when he manipulates the direction a plant is growing he feels like he is "training jasmine how to vine" (and more), and the vine ends up taking on this epic struggle to claim new territory and strive for its potential.

    The next verse is sheer beauty as the writer develops a rich storyline to accompany a flowering ivy plant. I feel challenged by Meloy to consider the possibility that these interpretations might actually be descriptions of something fundamental and real.

    We are responsible for giving meaning to the world around us. Nothing would be beautiful if there was no human there to witness it and deem it so. This is how summer continually comes to Springville Hill. The potential of "natural" Springville Hill is realized by the human interpretation and assignment of meaning here referred to as summer.

    I leave the break to you, it's a profound and highly interpretable passage in this context. I hear it several different ways, what do you guys think?

    Thank you Colin Meloy, this song really speaks to me.
    aaronboyon July 29, 2014   Link
  • 0
    Lyric CorrectionI have the following corrections to these lyrics:

    "Here's a hymn to welcome in the day"

    "The thrushes' bleeding battle with the wrens"

    "Training jasmine how to vine / up the arbor to your door"

    "And summer comes to Springville Hill" in the refrain

    "A barony of ivory in the trees
    Expanding out its empire by degrees
    And all the branches burst abloom
    In the boom
    Heaven sent this cardinal maroon
    To decorate our living room"

    "I give my best to Springville Hill"

    squallshaperon January 08, 2011   Link
  • 0
    Lyric CorrectionAccording to the Decemberists' website, the last verse is:

    And years from now when this old light
    Isn’t ambling anymore
    Will I bring myself to write
    “I give my best to Springville Hill”

    The meaning changes dramatically if you take these as the correct lyrics. At first, with the reference to a 'lie', I thought the song might be a continuation of the January hymn, with the protagonist having given himself over to the delusion of having his love with him (perhaps explaining why she never shows up directly in the song), with 'rye' meaning whiskey (his refuge when the delusion no longer holds).

    But with the new lyrics... well, the song becomes much less twisted. :)
    craevnon January 20, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI can't help but assume that the lyric "burst to bloom" is a nod to the Bright Eyes album, "Burst and Bloom"
    Grafton March 04, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentKeeping in mind that the word "hymn" is a song of praise or joy... seems clear that this song is a simple ode to spring (as January Hymn" is an ode to winter).

    These songs are obviously bookends in a sense and have different feelings to them, just as spring and winter do... although they both have the sense of looking back and remembering with fondness. In the second verse of January Hymn, the narrator strikes me as an old man looking back fnodly to his childhood memories of winter... while in this song he is a younger man singing of the joys of Spring and wondering if he will still feel that joy as an old man...
    stovernyon November 23, 2011   Link

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