Keep your eyes open
And prick up your ears
Rehearse your loudest cry.
There's folk out there
Who would do you harm
So I'll sing you no lullaby.
There's a lock on the window;
There's a chain on the door:
A big dog in the hall.
But there's dragons and beasties
Out there in the night
To snatch you if you fall.

So come out fighting
With your rattle in hand.
Thrust and parry. Light
A match to catch the devil's eye.
Bring a cross of fire to the fight.

And let no sleep bring false relief
From the tension of the fray.
Come wake the dead with the scream of life.
Do battle with ghosts at play.

Gather your toys at the call-to-arms
And swing your big bear down.
Upon our necks when we come to set
You sleeping safe and sound.

It's as well we tell no lie
To chase the face that cries.
And little birds can't fly
So keep an open eye.
It's as well we tell no lie
So I'll sing you no lullaby.

Lyrics submitted by Philadelphia Eagles

"No Lullaby" as written by Ian Anderson

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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No Lullaby song meanings
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  • +1
    My OpinionHmmm. I don't know about LaughingLynx's idea about a deceased older sibling; I cannot see that in the lyrics myself. I do, however, like his connecting the mythical dangers of dragons, ghosts, and devils to the real dangers of childhood like SIDS and various childhood diseases. Much like those older perceived dangers, children are more susceptible to these real perils than adults, despite everything parents do to protect them (locks, chains, dogs).

    In a more expansive sense, "No Lullaby" is about a loss of innocence once children learn fear. The singer is almost guiding the child in ways to strike back at the darkness in terms a child can understand like "come out fighting with your rattle in hand" and "gather your toys in a call to arms". He's telling the child to be watchful and wary and mindful that he or she is vulnerable. The child is his or her own last line of defense, which is a paralyzing thought for those of us who have children.
    ThreeSongRuleon October 01, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNo comments on this great song? It may be my favorite track on HH. I'd love to read some thoughts on this song.
    jchumsleyon June 21, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI view it as being sung to a new-born baby, possibly one whose older sibling died ('do battle with ghosts at play', keeping in mind how siblings have a tendency to fight) (morbid of me, I know); the parents know that harm can befall children (little birds can't fly, it's as well we tell no lie). Even though there are locks and chains and guard dogs, unseen things can snatch a child ("dragons & beasties" = SIDS, illness); it's a dangerous place so be on guard.
    I find it a rather sad song, as it disabuses the illusion of childhood innocence, where everyone lives "happily ever after" and "nothing bad can happen to baby".

    Per the cup of wonder website, though, it has to do with the rise of fascism in Europe.
    LaughingLynxon March 22, 2008   Link

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