The minstrel in the gallery
Looked down upon the smiling faces
He met the gazes observed the spaces
In between the old men's cackle

And he brewed a song of love and hatred
Oblique suggestions and he waited
He polarized the pumpkin-eaters
Static-humming panel-beaters

The minstrel in the gallery
Looked down on the rabbit-run
And threw away his looking-glass
Saw his face in everyone

Hey, he titillated the men-of-action
Belly warming, hands still rubbing
On the parts that they never mention
Salaried and collar-scrubbing

He pacified the nappy-suffering, infant-bleating, one-line jokers
T.V. documentary makers, overfed and undertakers

Sunday paper backgammon players
Family-scarred and women-haters
Then he called the band down to the stage
And he looked at all the friends he'd made

The minstrel in the gallery
I looked down on the rabbit-run
And threw away his looking-glass
And saw his face in everyone


The minstrel in the gallery
Looked down upon the smiling faces
Met the gazes

Lyrics submitted by knate15

"Minstrel In The Gallery" as written by Martin Barre Ian Anderson

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Minstrel In The Gallery song meanings
Add your thoughts


sort form View by:
  • +2
    General CommentThe song is about self we look down at people and scorn them...the Minstrel does this to his audience, But throughout the gig he watches the audience and sees himself in them. He we should that we are all equal and the same.
    Fayciferon August 29, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe minstrel in the gallery is actually Ian Anderson himself... In order for you tocomprehend the image this song is describing, take a look at the cover art of "Minstrel in the Gallery"

    This song describes all the everyday people, with their weakness and their ignorance, but in a loving way. The minstrel is just an observer, watching them in apathy, trying to understand them as well as tease them (just like when you tease someone in order to make him think, or just to get a chance to check their reaction)

    In the end of the song, the minstrel doesn't need any looking glass to know himself. A stare at the people faces is just as efficient
    manos87on September 29, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentto me, the minstrel in the gallery is a metaphor for the "god that lives in you and me" mentioned in "My God" on the aqualung album

    the gallery is the upper landing so to speak and the minstrel is the upper you so to speak

    up in the gallery observing looking down from on high, the ancient metaphor that your conciousness is really god having an experience in your body, he is thus the minstrel in the gallery, he makes the music, he leads the band it's all metaphor.

    he looks down on the "rabbit run" referenced in the song "skating away" in the line "you're a rabbit on the run" a metaphor for someone lost in their lower self so they are "on the run" or in fear as they are not understanding their own fears and terrors while lost in a lower mode of conciousness so to speak

    he throws away his looking glass

    he "falls awake" he wakens or rather we waken to him in us

    and we realise that he is in fact all of us

    once we let go of our attachment to the separateness of body and ego etc etc we learn that we are indeed all one, god having a separate experience in all of us but that ultimately

    he will call the band down to the stage and look on all the friends he made

    like the lyric

    when all is one and one is all

    or here in this lyric

    the pretender is barred & cannot enter
    while the true son is welcome anytime
    two men in the field but only one has a hope
    the other is blind and has more than enough rope
    when push comes to shove you'll know who is who
    but wrap your mind around this
    both of them are you!

    yes minstrel in the gallery to me is masterful metaphor for the idea that we are part animal part god

    and this minstrel, this god in us, look at what he does in the song

    through all the quirky ugliness and ambiguity of life he brings forth his son

    his band of merry men

    his friends

    his very own

    kribhususon June 06, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat album.
    inpraiseoffollyon October 03, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe word "Overfed" should be in brackets as it describes the TV documentary makers, whereas "undertakers" doesn't. Some places have "overfed and undertakers" in brackets but this would be grammatically incorrect, and Ian was a stickler for correct grammar. It's just the same as saying TV documentary makers and undertakers, but a couple of extra syllables are needed. "Overfed" is a means of filling the verse.

    Interestingly, if you do an internet search for "overfed and undertakers" it returns only references to this song. The phrase is not used in any other context anywhere in literature of any kind.
    amypaul957on December 23, 2017   Link
  • -1
    General CommentOMG, I love this song!!! The part where he says, "He pulverized the pumkin-eaters" always makes me smile. I think it's the way he laughs when he says "pumpkin-eaters". = )
    jena71on February 06, 2009   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top