I see a dark sail on the horizon
Set under a black cloud that hides the sun.
Bring me my broadsword and clear understanding.
Bring me my cross of gold as a talisman.
Get up to the roundhouse on the cliff-top standing.
Take women and children and bed them down.

Bring me my broadsword and clear understanding.
Bring me my cross of gold as a talisman.
Bless with a hard heart those who surround me.
Bless the women and children who firm our hands.
Put our backs to the north wind. Hold fast by the river.
Sweet memories to drive us on for the motherland.

I see a dark sail on the horizon
Set under a black cloud that hides the sun.
So, bring me my broadsword and clear understanding.
Bring me my cross of gold as a talisman.
So bring me my broadsword
And a cross of gold as a talisman.

Lyrics submitted by idiotic

"Broadsword" as written by Ian Anderson

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Broadsword song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentThe song is about Brittain being invaded by Northern Europe. The first verse is from Brttain's perspective, seeing the invaders coming, hiding the women and children, and preparing for battle. The second verse is from the invaders' perspective, discussing strategies for the upcoming battles. The final verse is from both perspectives, as both the Brittish and the invaders have the same objective: survive.

    Assuming this invasion takes place around the sixth century, it could be the Vikings (Danes) invading Brittain, as Christianity had reached Northern Europe by that time.

    Ian instills the irony that both the invaders and the defending Brittish prepare for battle in the same way (grab a sword and a cross).
    Krendall2006on January 12, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA Christian begins preparation to defend his family and people from an approaching (Viking?) raid from the sea.
    offhandon December 02, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Commentye, like people have said, it's all about the Saxon's defending against the vikings. while the first idea about the Crusades isn't bad, i don' think that's what it is. Ian Anderson was very interested in British history and this is just the sort of thing he wrote his songs about
    lillestaton October 20, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentDisagree with the Saxon part, lillestat. The scene is probably set in celtic Scotland or perhaps a pre-Saxon area of Britain. The roundhouse is probably a broch, a sturdy stone-built shelter built to defend against invasions. There are still some standing today. Having said that, if it's pre-Saxon England then it's probably not Christian. So I'll stick with Scotland.
    McWulfon June 16, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIt is quite clear.
    It is about people who fight AGAINST viking invasion. I presume, Irish or English warriors, who fight against Danes. They see viking ship on the horizon, take up their broadswords, take symbols of their God, hide their women and children, and prepare themselves for battle to defend their land.
    Gareth Beaumainon May 28, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthats amazing how well your description fits the song, Kendall2006
    fattkazon June 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWonderful strong drumbeat, electric guitar riff, and synth brass stabs on this one!
    Kopachrison May 03, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is about the Anglo Saxons. the Saxon runes around the edge of the album cover are a dead giveaway
    aethelwulfon June 05, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI can read Anglo-saxon runes, and the runes on the album cover are actually the first few lines of this very song. So yes, it is about the Anglo saxons.

    As for the cross, it could be a different symbol, but according to wikipedia the Christianization of the Anglo-saxon kingdoms began in AD 597, so it may not be too much of a stretch to think it was the christian cross.

    Who knows what Anderson was thinking though, eh?
    Manetherinon July 25, 2013   Link
  • -1
    General CommentI believe the cross referenced is the Solar, or Odinic cross (equal-armed, usually surrounded by a circle), which was a very common religious symbol among the Norse.
    illannoyedon November 21, 2007   Link

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