Caught in the chaos in the market square
I don't know what, I don't know why, but something's wrong down there
Their bodies twistin' and turnin' in a thousand ways
The eyes all rollin' round and round into a distant gaze
Ah, look at that crowd!

Some are jumping up in the air say "We're drowning in a torrent of blood!"
Others going down on their knees, seen a saviour coming out of the mud
Oh Mother! It's eating out my soul
Destroying law and order, I'm gonna lose control

What can I do to stop this plague, spread by sight alone
Just a glimpse and then a quiver, then they shiver to the bone
Ah, look at them go!

Bunderschaft, you are going daft? Better seal off the castle grounds
"This is Moribund, the Burgermeister, I'm gonna keep this monster down,
Somebody sent the subversive element; going to chase it out of town."
No-one will tell what all this is about
But I will find out.

This thing's really outrageous, I tell you on the level
It's really so contagious must be the work of the devil
You better go now, pick up the pipers, tell them to play
Seems the music keeps them quiet, there is no other way.
Ah, close the doors!

"We've tried potions and waxen dolls, but none of us could find any cures,"
Mother please, is it just a disease, that has them breaking all my laws,
Check if you can disconnect the effect and I'll go after the cause
No-one will tell what this is all about
But I will find out
I will.


Lyrics submitted by Bobo192

Moribund the Burgermeister Lyrics as written by Peter Gabriel

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Moribund The Burgermeister song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +2
    General Comment

    The literal meaning is the story of a medieval town leader (burger meister = town master) trying to deal with an outbreak of madness in the townsfolk, and his determination and self-doubt.

    Underneath that, though, I think, is an allegory about the natural human panic at being thrown out of our depth, having our idea of how the world works challenged on a profound level, and being frightened of change.

    I think both the literal and allegorical stories are sly references to parents being freaked out by how their children dance (and, by extension, their music, their speech, their morals, and so on).

    DexXon January 09, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I always thought that it was about ergot-infected rye. In the middle ages sometimes whole towns' stores of rye got infected with a fungus which caused animals and people to go crazy. It was called St Anthony's Fire, and made them convulse and hallucinate.

    uffyon May 24, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    In 1518, Strasbourg was stricken by the Dancing Plague. It could be that.

    cambyrdon May 07, 2021   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Great soundtrack to an old black & white horror movie based in Bavaria!!

    nagromnaion August 18, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    The lyrics are pretty self explanatory.

    Although, I'd like to add that this song feels to be an extension of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. I realize it doesn't fit within the story but the style in the music is very much comparable.

    It's a great song and a nice transition going from Genesis to his solo work.

    raeloneqon February 13, 2013   Link
  • -2
    General Comment

    well, the "plot" seems to be pretty clear, i just wonder what inspired peter to write this song.. and i believe it could be metaphorical.. then i have no idea what does all the metaphor thing mean.

    carrotkinson April 28, 2007   Link

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