Hangman, hangman, hold it a little while,
Think I see my friends coming, Riding a many mile.
Friends, did you get some silver?
Did you get a little gold?
What did you bring me, my dear friends, To keep me from the Gallows Pole?
What did you bring me to keep me from the Gallows Pole?

I couldn't get no silver, I couldn't get no gold,
You know that we're too damn poor to keep you from the Gallows Pole.
Hangman, hangman, hold it a little while,
I think I see my brother coming, riding a many mile.
Brother, did you get me some silver?
Did you get a little gold?
What did you bring me, my brother, to keep me from the Gallows Pole?

Brother, I brought you some silver,
I brought a little gold, I brought a little of everything
To keep you from the Gallows Pole.
Yes, I brought you to keep you from the Gallows Pole.

Hangman, hangman, turn your head awhile,
I think I see my sister coming, riding a many mile, mile, mile.
Sister, I implore you, take him by the hand,
Take him to some shady bower, save me from the wrath of this man,
Please take him, save me from the wrath of this man, man.

Hangman, hangman, upon your face a smile,
Pray tell me that I'm free to ride,
Ride for many mile, mile, mile.

Oh, yes, you got a fine sister, She warmed my blood from cold,
Brought my blood to boiling hot To keep you from the Gallows Pole,
Your brother brought me silver, Your sister warmed my soul,
But now I laugh and pull so hard And see you swinging on the Gallows Pole

Swingin' on the gallows pole!

Lyrics submitted by kevin

Gallows Pole song meanings
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  • +4
    General Comment

    I have been listening to this today because I think the lyrics are wrong here. The last line, I believe says "She's swingin' on the Gallows Pole." The sister gave herself sexually to the hangman in exchange for freedom for her brother. So the final line is "she's swinging on the gallows pole." Meaning either figuratively (by prostituting herself) or figuratively (the hangman actually hanged her after he "did" her). Personally, I believe it is figurative...that the hangman's desire for sex was greater than the money and finally won the brother's freedom (at the expense of the sister). My two cents.

    Admanon July 04, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    ToOlHoLiO was close but also not colse...the song does talk about friends and family coming and trying to help, but in the end it doesn't work...the person talking ends up being hung. "Swingin' from te gallows pole!" the song tells us that if you do something bad take it like a man and dont drag your family and friends down with you.

    fake0303on March 06, 2003   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    Gallows Pole is actually a very AMERICAN tune. It is an old Delta Blues (as with many of LZ's songs) song originally recorded by Lead Belly. Plant references this on one of the newer recordings of the song, either a bootleg or the "Walking into Clarksdale"

    Speedbumpon April 19, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General Comment

    This song comes from a VERY old folk song. It has many many many different versions. This one being the most popular. It most of the versions the accused actually lives though. Zeppelin is the only one that kills him. Also, in the original version, it was a woman who was being hanged. She kept begging her family to bribe the hangman, but they had just came to watch her die. Eventually, her lover comes and saves her, and she puts a curse on her family. Led Zeppelin got this song from Huddie Ledbetter. His version is KICK ASS. He called it Gallis Pole though. Dylan also did a version of it called Seven Curses.

    rhiannonbowlinon August 29, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    This song is about how you can try to whore your own sister to save yourself. That's the British for you.

    Bite Meon May 09, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    This is actually an old british folk-style sort of song, just redone by Led Zeppelin. It is pretty odd, bbut like you said, that`s the British for you.

    ramtharon May 18, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    I love it when the drums come in!!

    RAin_fULon April 11, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    The practice of paying provincial hangmen was very common in England up to the early 18th C. I think that the lyrics have been embellished a little but it's a deliciously dark little number that they have taken right out of medieval history and brought it back to us with a fusion of folk and heavy rock. Fantastic stuff!

    chaikyon June 09, 2003   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    look, ive read all your "definitions"..... its about the meaning of the song, not the origin, and analysing every detail, just listen to it, theres this guy about to be hung, desperate to survive, and he tries everything to save himself including whoring his sister (Whether intentional or not)... and the guy still hangs him, its about life, its about the struggle to survive, there are people out there doing it tough, trying to get themselves out of shit day by day, but theres always a guy above them pulling them by the chain...... thats what the song is about, so yeh, in summary. a song about betrayal, and the human will to survive... thinking about that just reminded me of the song by the verve "bitter sweet symphony"... 'try to make ends meet try to make some money then you die'........

    Schr4nzon September 29, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    This song is more of a cover of an old blues song of the same name by the blues singer "leadbelly", with a few more improvised lyrics.

    Twieqon April 01, 2006   Link

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