Pillary stocks at the gallows tree dock
the crowd grew impatient as the clouds threatened rain
Elephant arrived at the Constable's side,
with her trunk locked in shackles, and her ankles in chains

Bailiff: "All rise, all rise, his Honor presides,"
the Judge took the bench to the village brass cavalcade,
Elephant refused to swear the oath,
Elephant: "I don't know anything about truth,
but I know falsehood when I see it,
and it looks like this whole world you've made"

Good of our chaplain to sail Kalispell Bay
And now down on his marrow for this old fool to pray,
"Lord, for sixty-so years I've surrendered my love,
to emblems of kindness, and not the kindness they were emblems of,
Trammels and rings, with the strength of old strings,
and some hobble skirt spring, by the old problem caught,
Children, sometimes I think all our thoughts are just things,
and then sometimes think things are just thoughts,"
and the rabble rang

Crowd: Hang! the Elephant must hang! the Elephant must hang!
Hang! the Elephant must hang! the Elephant must hang!

Elephant: A thirteen coil knot for the samovar pot!
Scottish Oatcakes in haversacks each to its grave
This mock trial can no more determine my lot,
than can driftwood determine the ocean's waves,
Brandish your ropes and your boards, and your basket-hilt swords,
but what is there can punish like a conscience ignored?
Yes, my body did just as you implied,
while some ghost we'll call 'I' idly watched through its eyes,"
and the jury sang,

Hang! the Elephant must hang! the Elephant must hang!
Hang! the Elephant must hang! the Elephant must hang!
Hang! the Elephant must hang! the Elephant must hang!
Hang! the Elephant must hang! the Elephant must hang!

Elephant: I feel it stealing now
All adrift fathoms down



Lyrics submitted by chrisiacovetti, edited by NankerPhelge, japanjeff

Elephant in the Dock song meanings
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16 Comments

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  • +3
    Lyric CorrectionCorrected lyrics using the lyric booklet:

    Pillary stocks at the gallows tree dock
    the crowd grew impatient the clouds threatened rain
    Elephant arrived at the Constable's side,
    with her trunk locked in shackles, and her ankles in chains

    Bailiff: "All rise, all rise, his Honor presides,"
    the Judge took the bench to the village brass cavalcade,
    Elephant refused to swear the oath,
    Elephant: "I don't know anything about truth,
    but I know falsehood when I see it,
    and it looks like this whole world you've made"

    Good of our chaplain to sail Kalispell Bay
    And now down on his marrow for this old fool to pray,
    "Lord, for sixty-so years I've surrendered my love,
    to emblems of kindness, and not the kindness they were emblems of,
    Trammels and rings, with the strength of old strings,
    and some hobble skirt spring, by the old problem caught,
    Children, sometimes I think all our thoughts are just things,
    and then sometimes think things are just thoughts,"
    and the rabble rang

    Crowd: Hang! the Elephant must hang! the Elephant must hang!
    Hang! the Elephant must hang! the Elephant must hang!

    Elephant: A thirteen coil knot for the samovar pot! Scottish Oatcakes in haversacks each to its grave
    This mock trial can no more determine my lot,
    than can driftwood determine the ocean's waves,
    Brandish your ropes and your boards, and your basket-hilt swords,
    but what is there can punish like a conscience ignored?
    Yes, my body did just as you implied,
    while some ghost we'll call 'I' idly watched through its eyes,"
    and the jury sang,

    Hang! the Elephant must hang! the Elephant must hang!
    Hang! the Elephant must hang! the Elephant must hang!
    Hang! the Elephant must hang! the Elephant must hang!
    Hang! the Elephant must hang! the Elephant must hang!

    Elephant: I feel it stealing now
    All adrift fathoms down
    iamjackslameusernameon May 11, 2012   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationI think this is a reference to a collection of essays and speeches by C. S. Lewis called "God In the Dock". The wikipedia article says:

    "Its title implies "God on Trial"[1] and is based on an analogy made by Lewis suggesting that modern human beings, rather than seeing themselves as standing before God in judgment, prefer to place God on trial while acting as his judge."

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…

    I have read many of Lewis's works but only even heard of this one a few days ago. I wouldn't have made the connection except for a comment on February 1878 where someone thought the Elephant might represent God.
    joshuahedlundon May 17, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationSo in February 1878 the elephant causes the train car with the animals to break off and crash, but in Grist for the Malady Mill it's mentioned that it doesn't run away with the rabbit or bear or tiger. So in this song they(people?) are bringing the elephant to trial for its actions it seems.
    MusicSoul0889on May 14, 2012   Link
  • +1
    My Opinionadditional influence to the song (and likely the album): en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    meggiebeanon May 21, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwhat is you opinion on the line

    "Lord, for sixty-so years I've surrendered my love,
    to emblems of kindness, and not the kindness they were emblems of..."

    I love this line and it is really perplexing to me.
    theartprojecton June 30, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Yes, my body did just as you implied,
    while some ghost we'll call "I" idly watched through its eyes,"

    If the elephant is God, her body could refer to the church upon which actions the non-believing world judges God, while the Elephants ghost (the holy spirit) idly watched though it's eyes.
    Saeraphon June 29, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentElephant
    xx20ended09xxon May 11, 2012   Link
  • 0
    My Opinionadditional influence to the song (and likely the album): en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    meggiebeanon May 21, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNice touch... elephant ;) Touche' again.
    justanothergurlon May 21, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhat is you opinion on the line

    "Lord, for sixty-so years I've surrendered my love,
    to emblems of kindness, and not the kindness they were emblems of..."

    I love this line and it is really perplexing to me.
    theartprojecton June 30, 2012   Link

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