The scent grows richer, he knows he must be near,
He finds a long passageway lit by chandelier.
Each step he takes, the perfumes change
From familiar fragrance to flavors strange.
A magnificent chamber meets his eye.
Inside, a long rose-water pool is shrouded by fine mist.
Stepping in the moist silence, with a warm breeze he's gently kissed.
Thinking he is quite alone,
He enters the room, as if it were his own
But ripples on the sweet pink water
Reveal some company unthought of
Rael stands astonished doubting his sight,
Struck by beauty, gripped in fright;
Three vermilion snakes of female face
The smallest motion, filled with grace.
Muted melodies fill the echoing hall,
But there is no sign of warning in the siren's call:
"Rael welcome, we are the Lamia of the pool.
We have been waiting for our waters to bring you cool."
Putting fear beside him, he trusts in beauty blind,
He slips into the nectar, leaving his shredded clothes behind.
"With their tongues, they test, taste and judge all that is mine.
They move in a series of caresses
That glide up and down my spine.
As they nibble the fruit of my flesh, I feel no pain,
Only a magic that a name would stain.
With the first drop of my blood in their veins
Their faces are convulsed in mortal pains.
The fairest cries, 'We all have loved you Rael'."
Each empty snakelike body floats,
Silent sorrow in empty boats.
A sickly sourness fills the room,
The bitter harvest of a dying bloom.
Looking for motion I know I will not find,
I stroke the curls now turning pale, in which I'd lain entwined
"O Lamia, your flesh that remains I will take as my food"
It is the scent of garlic that lingers on my chocolate fingers.
Looking behind me, the water turns icy blue,
The lights are dimmed and once again the stage is set for you.

Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae

Lamia Lyrics as written by Peter Gabriel Michael Rutherford


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The Lamia song meanings
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  • +2
    General Comment

    This song is their best. Love this line: "Rael stands astonished doubting his sight, Struck by beauty, gripped in fright". Progressive rock is sick!

    dhruvon October 19, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Peter Gabriel really knew how to write lyrics. He was an amazing singer, and a good flute player, but writing was his real talent.

    Valfuson September 03, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    "Each empty snakelike body floats, Silent sorrow in empty boats."

    One of the best lines I've ever read.

    Frances-The-Toolon November 19, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    This song gives me goosebumps and brings tears to my eyes. Particularly the live version in the Genesis box set. There was a time when I listened to the whole of "The Lamb" live every day! It is an incredible story and beautiful playing. Saw it live in Albany, NY December 1974.

    Apesbrainon April 06, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    These lyrics are gorgeous, and the song is the most evocative/clearest to tell the meaning of on this album.

    EnduringChillon February 11, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I so agree with all the comments above. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway is my all time favourite album since I bought on day of release. I'm now 60 and it sounds even better than it did then . . .The Lamia is a beautiful track.

    ToeKnee777on November 23, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    No real attempts at interpretation for which i came here for, so i'll give it a go. Gabriel is a master of painting with scenes with words. I have always felt that the center of this passage is: "As they nibble the fruit of my flesh, I feel no pain, Only a magic that a name would stain." The fact that The Lamia are female in nature is significant and the erotic, seductive nature of the lyrics reinforce this element of the storyline. The fact that The Lamia expire after joining with Rael is of particular significance but . . . honestly, as the track ends and i type this (Scent of Garlic, Chocolate Fingers) I have a hard time coming to any conclusions. Especially because i'm not listening to this in the context of the whole album. Essentially, i listen to this entire album as if it was a Picasso - seeing different things each time i take it on. But it always springs ideas of human identity and letting go of self within a complicated maze of existence in modern life while tackling our archetypes, gender, relationships (familial and material form) and our place within these definitions.
    Similar to the impressionistic nature of Yes lyrics, Gabriel's lyrics often paint a color (for lack of more descriptive word) of life. Almost a temperature. Poetry often points to that which defy's words. The in between of a group of meanings. A gathering of ideas that express a different direction not able to be expressed directly. Wow, i know that will sound like complete gibberish to many. Ha. So be it. May you walk with no walls guiding you.

    mark102093on December 03, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    From Wikipedia: "Keats's poem also influenced British progressive-rock band Genesis and their track "The Lamia" from the 1974 double concept album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. The lyrics to the track, written by then lead vocalist Peter Gabriel, describe three snakelike creatures with female faces, roughly corresponding to Diodorus's description.

    ...lamiae; these were folkloric monsters similar to vampires and succubi that seduced young men and then fed on their blood"

    ProgressivelyObsessedon August 05, 2017   Link
  • 0

    I’ve listened to Genesis since I was 15; now at the age of 55. My favorite all time band. The lamb lies down is epic. I always imaged that one day someone would come out with play for the music on the Lamb lies down on Broadway. As I listen to the music I envision what a great play it would be.

    gracelynn1on May 08, 2018   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I've always interpreted this as a NYC Turkish Bathouse adventure that Rael stumbled into while on acid.

    musicamondeon May 23, 2020   Link

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