"African Herbsman" as written by Joe Price, Mark Roth and Richie Havens....
All twinklin' lee
Can't see the right roads when the streets are paved
The old slave men might grind slow
But it grinds fine, yeah

African herbsman, why linger on?
Just concentrate, 'cause heaven lives on
Retired slave men will look with a scorn
With a transplanted heart (yes, how quick they had to part)
(how quick they had to part)

The remembrance of today
Is the sad feelin' of tomorrow
(how quick) Oh (part), oh yeah

African herbsman, seize your time
I'm takin' illusion on the edge of my mind
I'm takin' losers down through my life
Down through my life, yeah (yes, how quick they had to part)
(how quick they had to part)

Dideh part, yes, they part
In remembrance of today
(how quick they had to part)

African herbsman, why linger on?
Just concentrate, 'cause your heaven lives on
Greet-I-eth slave men will look with a scorn
With a transplanted heart, yes, how (quick they have to part)
(how quick they have to part)

In remembrance of today
Brings sad feelings of tomorrow
(Yes, how quick they have to) Lead me on, oh, Lord, I pray to you

(African herbsman) (African herbsman)
African, African herbsman


Lyrics submitted by spliphstar, edited by nomusician2, CaptainKirksta

"African Herbsman" as written by Bob Marley

Lyrics © Peermusic Publishing,

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

African Herbsman song meanings
Add your thoughts

24 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +2
    General Commentyou said it perfectly. i cant believe the lack of posts on this messageboard. I think also the african herbsman might possibly be a medicine man... possibly.
    tenneseejedon September 10, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe part "With a transplanted heart (yes, how quick they had to part)" is adopted from the richie havens song indian rope man which by the way also is a really cool song..but the words are a little different i suppose...
    seasidezingston December 09, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Oh twinklin' V" is referring to the stars or a star formation that can be used to navigate the night. "Can't see the right roads when the street are paved" is referring to the changing times and possibly to street lamps that interfere with navigating the stars. "The old slave-mill might grind slow" is referring to the fact that times are changing and because slavery is abolished there is less labor at the mill. "But it grinds fine, yeah" saying that it will suit the slave mans purpose but at a price now. Maybe the slaves built the mill.


    "African herbsman, why linger on?" Here Marley is asking I believe the Rastafarians why stay in Jamaica and not move to Africa? Marcus Garvey the originator of the Rastafarian religion started a movement to move back to Africa.
    "Just concentrate, 'cause your heaven lives on"
    "Retired slave man will look with a scorn"
    "With a transplanted heart (yes, how quick they have to part)" talking of the transplanted heart my interpretation of this is the slave man took the slaves hearts, and Rastafarians don't believe in organ donation. "Yes how quick they have to part" refers to the emancipation proclamation.

    "The remembrance of today"
    "Is the sad feelin' of tomorrow"
    (... how quick they have to ...) Oh (... part), oh yeahs
    This refers to when the song was written the Black man was coming up in the world and the oppressors would have sorrow for what they did for generations to come.

    "African herbsman, seize your time" this is referring to the Rastafarians exodus to Africa Marley is in effect telling his people it's time to go.
    "I'm takin' illusion on the edge of my mind"
    I'm takin' losses down thru my life
    Down thru my life, yeah (yes, how quick they we to part)
    (... how quick we have to part)
    "Yes how quick we have to part" has changed from how quick they have to part. In effect saying we are parting way's with the slave men to Africa.

    One Love

    Changed Lee to V, road to roads, Gree-ti-eth to Retired(Read interpertation), Had to have, Losser to losses( because it is said like it is spelled) and they to we( it is said both ways in the song)
    CaptainKirkstaon May 03, 2015   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation"Oh twinklin' V" is referring to the stars or a star formation that can be used to navigate the night. "Can't see the right roads when the street are paved" is referring to the changing times and possibly to street lamps that interfere with navigating the stars. "The old slave-mill might grind slow" is referring to the fact that times are changing and because slavery is abolished there is less labor at the mill. "But it grinds fine, yeah" saying that it will suit the slave mans purpose but at a price now. Maybe the slaves built the mill.


    "African herbsman, why linger on?" Here Marley is asking I believe the Rastafarians why stay in Jamaica and not move to Africa? Marcus Garvey the originator of the Rastafarian religion started a movement to move back to Africa.
    "Just concentrate, 'cause your heaven lives on"
    "Retired slave man will look with a scorn"
    "With a transplanted heart (yes, how quick they have to part)" talking of the transplanted heart my interpretation of this is the slave man took the slaves hearts, and Rastafarians don't believe in organ donation. "Yes how quick they have to part" refers to the emancipation proclamation.

    "The remembrance of today"
    "Is the sad feelin' of tomorrow"
    (... how quick they have to ...) Oh (... part), oh yeahs
    This refers to when the song was written the Black man was coming up in the world and the oppressors would have sorrow for what they did for generations to come.

    "African herbsman, seize your time" this is referring to the Rastafarians exodus to Africa Marley is in effect telling his people it's time to go.
    "I'm takin' illusion on the edge of my mind"
    I'm takin' losses down thru my life
    Down thru my life, yeah (yes, how quick they we to part)
    (... how quick we have to part)
    "Yes how quick we have to part" has changed from how quick they have to part. In effect saying we are parting way's with the slave men to Africa.

    One Love

    Changed Lee to V, road to roads, Gree-ti-eth to Retired(Read interpertation), Had to have, Losser to losses( because it is said like it is spelled) and they to we( it is said both ways in the song)
    CaptainKirkstaon May 03, 2015   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOn top of bob marley being one of my favorite artists... this is one of my favorite songs by him. I'm surprised that I'm going to be the frist to comment about this song. I got from this song that he was singing about how no matter how bad something is at the moment... you need to keep your faith in something that will keep you going. "just concentrate,'cause your heaven lives on" with guidence hes saying that, "sure, you may have it rough, and sure today is still going to be remembered tomorrow and may still bring the pain, but love life."The ache lessens through time. ah, thats it. sorry if this doesnt make sense.
    WatermelonOfJoyon July 31, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNot really knowing much about Bob Marley, but the African herbsman could be about how they use the psychedelic plants that grow there to escape reality.
    Taylouron May 30, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe "psychedelic plants that grow there" would be Marijuana, and its not hallucinogenic. On that note, yes, they did smoke it to relax.
    Fred123on July 24, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe African herbman might have been Bobs weed dealer.
    Atomic_sushion August 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentone of my favorite songs by the great Bob Marley
    louden09on August 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentlol you people think you know what your talking about WatermelonOfJoy and Fred123 know whats up
    jon8on January 01, 2007   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain