Cherise was brushing her long hair gently down
It was the afternoon of carnival as she brushes it gently down
Rubin was strumming his painted mandolin
It was inlaid with a pretty face in jade played in the carnival parade
Cherise was dressing as Pirouette in white
When a fatal vision gripped her tight Cherise beware tonight
Rubin, Rubin tell me truly true
I feel afraid and I don't know why I do, Is there another girl for you?
If you could see my heart you would know it's true
There's none Cherise, except for you, except for you
I'd swear to it on my very soul, If I lie, say I fall down cold
When Rubin played on his painted mandolin
The breeze would pause to listen in before going on its way again
Masquerade began when nightfall finally woke
Like waves against the bandstand, dancers broke to the painted mandolin
Looking out to the crowd who is standing there
Sweet Ruby Claire at Rubin stared, at Rubin stared was dressed as Pirouette in red
And her hair hung gently down
The crowd pressed round, Ruby stood as though alone
Rubin's song took on a different tone and he played it just for her
The song he played was the carnival parade
Each note cut a thread of Cherise's fate it cut through like a blade
Rubin was playing his painted mandolin
When Ruby froze and turned to stone for the strings played all alone
The voice of Cherise from the face of the mandolin
Singing Rubin, Rubin tell me true for I have no one but you
If you could see my heart you would know it true
There's none Cherise, except for you, except for you
I'd swear to it on my very soul, If I lie, say I fall down cold
The truth of love an unsung song must tell
The course of love must follow blind without a look behind
Rubin walked the streets of New Orleans till dawn
Cherise so lightly in his arms and her hair hung gently down

Lyrics submitted by itsmyownmind

Rubin And Cherise song meanings
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  • 0
    General Commentit's spelt rueben and cerise
    TangledUpInBlueon May 22, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYou mean rEUben and cerise.
    inourdron May 23, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentNot a whole lot of meaning, just tells a simple story in the most well phrased and beautiful way imaginable...
    guitargabeon April 01, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThere are 2 versions of this song. There is the Robert Hunter version, "Reuben and Cerise" that includes the information that Cerise DIES because of Reubens betrayal and that he carries "the ghost of Cerise in his empty arms, and her hair hung gently down", and the Garcia version, "Rubin and Cherise" that ignores this fact. Contrary to what people like "guitargabe" might think, this song has a WHOLE LOT of meaning and symbolism packed into it. Hunter himself would never want to suggest that there is only one correct interpretation of his lyrics, but he does admit to being heavily influenced by archetypal symbols in his "storytelling". Songs like Reuben and Cerise, Althea, Terrapin Station, Scarlet Begonias, and others share MANY symbolic links to the concept of the Anima.
    trpnstn1on November 30, 2017   Link

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