A city freeze
Get on your knees
Pray for warmth and green paper.
A city drought

You're down and out
See your trousers don't taper.
Saddle up
Kick your feet

Ride the range of a London street
Travel to a local plane
Turn around and come back again.

And at the chime of the city clock
Put up your road block
Hang on to your crown.
For a stone in a tin can
Is wealth to the city man
Who leaves his armor down.

Stay indoors
Beneath the floors
Talk with neighbors only.
The games you play

Make people say
You're either weird or lonely.
A city star
Won't shine too far

On account of the way you are
And the beads
Around your face
Make you sure to fit back in place.

And at the beat of the city drum
See how your friends come in twos;
Or threes or more.
For the sound of a busy place

Is fine for a pretty face
Who knows what a face is for.

The city clown
Will soon fall down
Without a face to hide in.
And he will lose

If he won't choose
The one he may confide in.
Sonny boy
With smokes for sale

Went to ground with a face so pale
And never heard
About the change
Showed his hand and fell out of range.

In the light of a city square
Find out the face that's fair
Keep it by your side.
When the light of the city falls
You fly to the city walls
Take off with your bride.

But at the chime of a city clock
Put up your road block
Hang on to your crown.
For a stone in a tin can

Is wealth to the city man
Who leaves his armor down.

Lyrics submitted by foxyurchin, edited by smallwonderrobot

"At the Chime of a City Clock" as written by Nick Drake

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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At The Chime Of A City Clock song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentAnother great song by Nick, I've always assumed it was written after he started university as a look at the way city life seems to him as a boy from the country.

    To Cherub Rock: I'm almost envious, if you've only heard Bryter Layter then you still have alot of great material to experience, probably best to get Five Leaves Left next, Riverman alone makes it well worth getting.
    Martelon January 04, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentAnonymity. I think he craved it but was simultaneously frightened by it. As Martel said, he was a country boy, and the anonymity offered by the boondocks is completely different than that provided by the city. The country can offer shelter from the world, but in the city, it's like the world just doesn't notice you there. It's effectively the same thing, but in the city, the comfort's cold.
    aventurineon January 23, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song is my calming medicine...I tend to lose my temper sometimes, and amazing how it always works. Thanks, Nick.
    silentexclamationon September 11, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMy favourite Nick Drake song. I love the Put up your roadblock part.
    goldenloveon January 28, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy favourite Nick Drake song so far (but I've only heard Bryter Layter). Where are the comments? This song is a classic! I love how smooth and easy and atmospheric it sounds.
    Cherub Rockon January 02, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt is a beautiful song, the lack of comments is pretty ... I dunno the word, saddening maybe. I wish more people would listen to Nick, I love his songs, this one I just heard for the first time today, it's amazingly calming.
    niennaon January 03, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAlright, I'll try Five Leaves Left next. I've heard there is plenty of debate about which one is the best (i.e. they're all very good). I've found them cheap too so all the more motivation..
    Cherub Rockon January 05, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo be completely honest, I don't think I can choose one as my favorite. All albums are truly amazing, even though there were only 3. They are all different in their own way, but magical and inspiring as well. This song is a perfect example of how Nick Drake could write a beautiful song with a beautiful orchestration to back him up.
    hydrobombon December 09, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreen paper. Is that a reference to money or his liking of marijuana?
    releaseme88on June 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song, the melody is beautiful
    debbie14on August 28, 2006   Link

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