"Lake Song" as written by and Colin Meloy....
Down by the lake we were overturning pebbles
And depending all the animals alive
And I took a drag from your cigarette
And I pinched it 'tween my finger and my thumb, to let it dive
And the sun burned low, on the radio

Say that you will, say you will, or will you or won't
Or you whatever you prevaricate, you whole life don't you
And this much I can say, would have waited till the oceans
Fell away and all the sunken cities would reveal themselves to you
But you won't, will you, because you never do
And the sun burned through, sweet as honey dew

And I, seventeen and terminally vague
I wrote it down and threw it all away
Never gave a thought to what I made
And you sibylline, reclining in your cube
You tattered me, you tethered me to you
The things you would, the things you wouldn't do
To tell the truth, I never had a clue

Now we arise, the curse is young suburban villains
In their ill begotten children from the lawn
Come to me now, and on the station wagon window
Set the ghost of your two footprints
And they might haunt me when you're gone
And when the light grows dark, you were forever gone
But I remember you, you would fall
Well you were full and sweet as honey dew

And I, seventeen and terminally vague
Well I wrote it down and threw it all away
Never gave a thought to what I made
And you, oh sibylline, reclining in your cube
You tattered me, you tethered me to you
The things you would, the things you wouldn't do
You noticed how I never had a clue
Never had a clue
You're full and sweet as honey dew
You're full and sweet as honey dew


Lyrics submitted by EventH, edited by jfoxx, dirigibull, TheBus36, semibreve42, nwhall4, trustmeiknow, Vytasb, heavydrum, abesimpson, cheviotsheepy

"Lake Song" as written by Colin Meloy

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Lake Song song meanings
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4 Comments

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  • +1
    My InterpretationTo me the song is about looking back at a time/experience/friendship/love in your life and having a different appreciation for it.
    "I wrote it down and threw it all away/And never gave a thought to what I'd paid"

    My favorite part about the lyrics are that it's clear Colin had an experience of his own in mind, but left it open for the listener to relate it to their own.
    smc123on December 25, 2014   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWrong lyrics again.

    Here are the correct lyrics :

    Down by the lake
    We were over-turning pebbles
    And upending all the animals alight

    And I took a drag
    From your cigarette and pinched it 'tween my finger and my thumb
    Till it had died

    And the sun burned low
    On the radio

    Say that you will
    Say you will or will you won't or you whatever
    You prevaricate your whole life, don't you?

    And this much I can say
    I would have waited 'till the oceans fell away and all the sunken cities would
    Reveal themselves to you

    But you won't will you?
    Because you never do

    And the sun burned through
    Sweet as honeydew

    And I
    Seventeen and terminally fey
    Well I wrote it down and threw it all away
    Never gave a thought to what I'd paid

    And you
    All sibylline, reclining in your pew
    You tattered me you tethered me to you
    The things you would, and the things you wouldn't do
    To tell the truth I never had a clue

    Now we arise
    To curse these young suburban villains
    And their ill-begotten children from the lawn

    Come to me now
    And on this station wagon window set the ghosts of your two footprints that they might
    Haunt me when you're gone

    And when the light broke dawn
    You were forever gone

    But I remember you:
    You were full...
    You were full and sweet as honeydew

    And I
    Seventeen and terminally fey
    Well I wrote it down and threw it all away
    And never gave a through to what I'd paid

    And you
    All sibylline, reclining in your pew
    You tattered me you tethered me to you
    The things you would, and the things you wouldn't do
    You notice now I never had a clue

    Never had a clue

    You were full and sweet as honeydew

    You were full and sweet as honeydew
    Cyberghoston January 27, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMy favorite from the new album. It elicits such a sense of yearning in me. Love it.
    MusicToEaton September 26, 2015   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationSometimes Decemberists throw a song at you that you need to just fall into and let consume you. This song sat at the edges of my periphery since I first heard the album, and I needed one of those moments sitting out on a law by my own lake to really let it soak in. Then the interpretation that I embraced tethered to me, tattered me.

    In simple terms, this is unknown or unreturned love coming at that time when we still are learning what love really is. The singer (guessing this is a Colin telling his own story here) is regarding a story from his youth. It was a day, a moment, a period of magic. The experiences are real and specific - from the pinch of a cigarette to the sun on the radio. There were happy games like overturning pebbles, playful jokes of ill begotten children on the lawn.They were happy, they were enjoying this lake. Yet he harbored something more.

    Whatever he had to wait for, he was ready to wait for her ... until the oceans fell away. He wanted those footprints to be his ghost. The more he tries to define his love, the quicker he was to dismiss it. He wrote it down, threw it all away. "You won't will you, because you never do," judges her reaction before he ever takes action. He wants her to do more - wants her to say things that would lead him to know what is what she will do. He was naive, terminally fae. As confident she seemed to be was as unconfident he was in her.

    Yet where my mind churns is what she was - who she was. Did she love him in return, did she just keep him around, did she just want to stay friends. Why didn't she that she will, or will she or won't. What were the things she would do, what she wouldn't do. In the end, he never had a clue. But neither did we.

    So in part the beauty of this song is that it is like the singer that addresses the audience. It tatters me. It tethers me to it. It could be a much simpler song, a much simpler story - but to tell the truth I would never have a clue.
    abesimpsonon April 23, 2017   Link

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