A lie to say, "O my mountain has coal veins and beds to dig.
500 men with axes and they all dig for me."
A lie to say, "O my river where many fish do swim,
half of the catch is mine when you haul your nets in."
Never will he believe that his greed is a blinding ray.
No devil or redeemer will cheat him.
He'll take his gold to where he's lying cold.

A lie to say, "O my mine gave a diamond as big as a fist."
But with every gem in his pocket, the jewels he has missed.
A lie to say, "O my garden is growing taller by the day."
He only eats the best and tosses the rest away.
Never will he be believe that his greed is a blinding ray.
No devil or redeemer can cheat him.
he'll take his gold to where he's lying cold.
Six deep in the grave.

Something is out of reach
something he wanted
something is out of reach
he's being taunted
something is out of reach
that he can' beg or steal nor can he buy

his oldest pain
and fear in life
there'll not be time
his oldest pain
and fear in life
there'll not be time

A lie to say "O my forest has trees that block the sun
and when I cut them down I don't answer to anyone."
No, no, never will he believe that his greed is a blinding ray
no devil or redeemer can cheat him.
He'll take his gold where he's lying cold.


Lyrics submitted by kornchick

A Campfire Song song meanings
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3 Comments

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  • 0
    General CommentIf the protagonist were called Scrooge the message couldn't be any clearer: love is where real value lies. "Something is out of reach that he can't beg or steal nor can he buy". When love feels unattainable, our grief and need make us vulnerable in ways that we may not be able to bear.

    We don't know what caused this loss: 'something is out of reach, something he wanted.. he's being taunted' but we see him trying to make of wealth a comfort and a shield unaware that this drives him further from contact with nature, with humanity, with himself 'Never will he believe that his greed is a blinding ray'.

    Great song regardless of whether you know or care about the lyrics.
    EddieTheCaton August 24, 2010   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationIt's about greedy, selfish, exploitation of the land and of workers by a capitalist landowner. He is materially rich because of his property but in truth he does not own what he has got because it is the land/mine and its workers that have provided him with it. Moreover he is spiritually and morally unfulfilled/unhappy. Money cannot buy that.

    By extension it is about our relationship with natural resources (there is a strong environmentalist bent to the final verse) and with one another as a society (the 500 men with axes and the fishermen clearly have a greater claim to what they dig and catch than does the person who claims legal ownership of the land).
    lazaridis2on June 03, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMichael Stipe!
    kyeoon August 27, 2013   Link

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