The Fountain of Lamneth

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Background and Commentary

“The second half of Caress of Steel contains Rush’s first side-long composition. On the cover of the record, six individual songs are listed, but even a casual listen reveals they are meant to be taken as a whole. There are several recurring musical and lyrical motifs, and the tracks all melt into each ether. The epic appears to be about a man’s compulsion to see and taste the world, and if possible to understand what these experiences mean. The traveler finds that the key, the end, the answer, is that there is none. Even with the strict time limits, you can hear how the band is developing its compositional skills. The playing is solid, with definite signs of improvement, but it is not as noticeable as the leaps in technique made from the first to the second album.”—Bill Banasiewicz, Rush Visions

Alex in 2013 listed the “Panacea” portion of the song as among Rush’s worst, saying they were trying to do something with it but it just didn’t work out. “It was . . . innocent.”

Reaching the Fountain of Lamneth
Graham Whieldon

“[The song] was just something we had to do. But it’s kind of absurd. I mean, it’s just where we were at. We were a young band, a little pretentious, full of ambitions, full of grand ideas, and we wanted to see if we could make some of those grand ideas happen. And ‘Fountain of Lamneth’ was the first attempt to do that. And I think there are some beautiful moments, but a lot of it is ponderous and off the mark. It’s also the most time we ever had to make a record. I think we had a full three weeks, and we were just indulging ourselves.'”—Geddy in Contents Under Pressure

The piece is “considered by some to be overly ambitious and convoluted. . . . The first song in the suite recounts the birth of the child and his bond with his mother. The ‘valley’ is a classical symbol of fertility and creation. The fountain represents the life-force of man, situated at the center of the four rivers of paradise on earth. Carl Jung [the influential psychologist, contemporary of Freud] called this the ‘land of infancy’ that arises when life is inhibited. The mountain is an ascension symbol, the place where the philosophers dwelled (hence it was a symbol of the intellect). Fields of dew is a spiritual metaphor. ‘No One at the Bridge’ opens with sounds of waves as it describes the sea of alienation and the bridge to maturity. The troubled waters may be symbolic of the unconscuous as well.”—Robert Telleria, Merely Players

Alex points to the influence of Gensis and GTR songwriter and guitarist Steve Hackett in influencing the sound he strived for in the album, and particularly on the solo in “No One at the Bridge.” He’s “so articulate and melodic, precise and flowing. . . . The solo is almost a steal from his style of playing, It’s one of my favorites.”—Alex in Merely Players

In reference to “Panacea,” the title is “Greek for ‘cure-all’ and the song recounts the ‘discovery’ of the opposite sex, almost a mother figure again. Homer’s navigation epic, The Odyssey, may have inspired this suite as Panacea could be a Calypso or Circe, an enchantress or siren who lured the hero Odysseus to stay with her on the island. The next lines were to follow the question, ‘have I left my life behind?’ but Neil vetoed these and a few other stanzas before finalizing the song: ‘The symmetry of snowflakes / In the music of the stream / A symphony of springtime / In the shadow of a dream.’ In ‘Bacchus Plateau,’ the traveler is at a crossroads. He discovers wine as a temporary distraction or panacea. Bacchus was the Roman equivalent of the Greek god of wine and fertility. Dionysus would appear in future Rush songs [most notably in ‘Cygnus X-1: Hemspheres’]. The cask of ’43 symbolizes the futility of existence [although here’s another view of this] and the goblet, of possibilities. Originally, the chorus went, ‘You’ve something more to give / I guess it doesn’t matter / You’ve so much more to live.’ Neil changed his character’s outlook for the final lyrics: ‘There’s not much more to live.'”—Robert Telleria, Merely Players

“‘The Fountain of Lamneth’ predates epics like ‘2112’ and the Cygnus X-1 series, and is only 34 seconds shorter than ‘2112.’ It also forms a complete story, this one about a man in search of the Fountain of Lamneth, and chronicles the individual occurrences of his journey. Regarding ‘Didacts and Narpets’ (which consists mostly of a drum solo), in the October 1991 news release from the Rush Backstage Club, Neil Peart said: ‘Okay, I may have answered this before, but if not, the shouted words in that song represent an argument between our hero and the Didacts and Narpets—teachers and parents. I honestly can’t remember what the actual words were, but they took up opposite positions like: “Work! Live! Earn! Give!” and the like.’ A didact is a teacher, and ‘narpet’ is an anagram of parent.”—Wikipedia

Lyrics

I. In the Valley

I am born
I am me
I am new
I am free
Look at me
I am young
Sight unseen
Life unsung

My eyes have just been opened
And they’re open very wide
Images around me
Don’t identify inside
Just one blur I recognize
The one that soothes and feeds
My way of life is easy
And as simple are my needs

Yet my eyes are drawn toward
The mountain in the east
Fascinates and captivates
Gives my heart no peace
The mountain holds the sunrise
In the prison of the night
‘Til bursting forth from rocky chains
The valley floods with light

Living one long sunrise
For to me all things are new
I’ve never watched the sky grow pale
Or strolled through fields of dew
I do not know of dust to dust
I live from breath to breath
I live to climb that mountain
To the Fountain of Lamneth

II. Didacts and Narpets

Stay! Go!
Work! No!
Learn! Live!
Earn! Give!
Stay or fight? What’s right?
Listen!

III. No One At the Bridge

Crying back to consciousness
The coldness grips my skin
The sky is pitching violently
Drawn by shrieking winds
Seaspray blurs my vision
Waves roll by so fast
Save my ship of freedom
I’m lashed helpless to the mast

Remembering when first I held
The wheel in my own hands
I took the helm so eagerly
And sailed for distant lands
But now the sea’s too heavy
And I just . . . I just don’t understand
Why must my crew desert me?
When I need . . . I need a guiding hand…

Call out for direction
And there’s no one there to steer
Shout out for salvation
But there’s no one there to hear
Cry out supplication
For the maelstrom is near
Scream out desperation
But no one cares to hear

IV. Panacea

The whiteness of confusion
Is unfolding from my mind
I stare around in wonder
Have I left my life behind?

I catch the scent of ambergris
And turn my head, surprised
My gaze is caught and held and I
Am helpless . . . mesmerized

Panacea, liquid grace
Oh let me touch your fragile face
Enchantment falls around me
And I know I cannot leave

Here’s a meaning for my life
A shelter from the storm
Pacify my troubles with
Her body, soft and warm

Naked in our unity
A smile for every tear
Gentle hands that promise me
Comfort through the years

Yet I know I must be gone
Before the light of dawn

Panacea, passion pure
I can’t resist your gentle lure
My heart will lie beside you
And my wandering body grieves

V. Bacchus Plateau

Another endless day
Silhouettes of grey
Another glass of wine
Drink with eyes that shine
To days without that chill at morning
Nights time out of mind

Chorus:
Draw another goblet
From the cask of ’43
Crimson misty memory
Hazy glimpse of me
Give me back my wonder
I’ve something more to give
I guess it doesn’t matter
There’s not much more to live

Another foggy dawn
The mountain almost gone
Another doubtful fear
The road is not so clear
My soul grows ever weary
And the end is ever near

Chorus

VI. The Fountain

Look! The mist is rising
And the sun is peaking through
See the steps grow lighter
As I reach their final few
Hear the dancing waters
I must be drawing near
Feel, my heart is pounding
With embattled hope and fear

Now, at last I fall before
The Fountain of Lamneth
I thought I would be singing
But I’m tired…out of breath
Many journeys end here
But, the secret’s told the same
Life is just a candle and a dream
Must give it flame

The key, the end, the answer
Stripped of their disguise
Still it’s all confusion
And tears spring to my eyes
Though I’ve reached a signpost
It’s really not the end
Like Old Sol behind the mountain
I’ll be coming up again

I’m in motion
I am still
I am crying
I am . . . still
I’m together
I’m apart
I’m forever
At the start

Still . . . I am

Tablature

Part 1: In the Valley

Excerpted from Fretplay.

[Riff 1] – Freely

D A/C# Bm
e:—-5—–5———|——-5——-5–|———7——-7—–|
B:————8-7—–|—5——7——-|—-7——-7———-|
G:–7—-7——–7—|-6—6——6—-6|–4—-7——7—-4—|
D:——————7-|——————|———————–|
A:——————–|——————|———————–|
E:——————–|——————|———————–|

D G G/F#
e:———7——-7—|——-3—-3—————–3——-|
B:—-7——-7——–|———0—-3———-3——3—–|
G:——7——-7——|—–0———-0——0———-0—|
D:-7——————-|——————0——–0——–0-|
A:———————|————————————–|
E:———————|-0-3—————–2—————-|

E A
e:——0—–0—–0—————————————|
B:—0———-0——2——————–5—————|
G:——–1——-1—-2——6—4–7—6——————|
D:-2——————-2—7——————————–|
A:———————0————————————|
E:———————————————————-|

*** Since it features so prominently, here is how the first measure
is played on the repeats:

D
e:——————–|
B:——7—-8-7——|
G:–7~—-7——7—-|
D:—————–7–|
A:——————–|
E:——————–|

For Complete tab, go to Fretplay.

Part 2: Didacts and Narpets

By Berzerk Neil

Excerpted from Fretplay.

e:—————-|————–|————–|——————–|
B:—————-|————–|————–|——————–|
G:—————-|–9——7—-|————–|–9—-9–7———|
D:—————-|–9——7—-|–5——3—-|–9—-9–7———|
A:—————-|–7——5—-|–5——3—-|–7—-7–5———|
E:—————-|————–|–3——1—-|——————–|
Stay! Go! Work….

e:—————-|—————–|—————–|————–|
B:—————-|—————–|—————–|————–|
G:—————-|–9——7——-|—————–|————–|
D:–5——3——|–9——7——-|–5——3——-|————–|
A:–5——3——|–7——5——-|–5——3——-|————–|
E:–3——1——|—————–|–3——1——-|————–|
Earn! Give! Wait! Fight! …

For complete tab, go to Fretplay.

Part 3: No One at the Bridge

Excerpted from Fretplay.

[Riff 1]
Em(addF#)
e:———————————————————-|
B:———————————————————-|
G:——-0———–0———–0———–0————–|
D:—–4—4——-4—4——-4—4——-4—4————|
A:—2——-2—2——-2—2——-2—2——-2———-|
E:-0———–0———–0———–0———–0——–|

[Riff 2]
Gm(addA)/Bb
e:———————————————————-|
B:———————————————————-|
G:——-0———–0———–0———–0————–|
D:—–7—7——-7—7——-7—7——-7—7————|
A:—5——-5—5——-5—5——-5—5——-5———-|
E:-6———–6———–6———–6———–6——–|

[Riff 3]
C G G/F#
e:———————————————————-|
B:———————————————————-|
G:———0———-0———–0———-0————–|
D:——2———-0———–0———-0—————–|
A:—3———-2——————————————-|
E:————————-3———-2———————|

[Riff 4a] – Freely
A C(addD)
e:–0————–3–3—3–3——————————|
B:–2–2-2-0~——3–3—3–3——————————|
G:–2————–0–0—0–0——————————|
D:–2————–2–2—2–2——————————|
A:–0————–3–3—3–3——————————|
E:———————————————————-|

For complete tab, go to Fretplay.

Part 4: Panacea

Excerpted from Fretplay.

[Riff 1]
Am C G Am Am C G
e:—————————0—–|——————3———|
B:–1——-1——–0———–1-|-1——-1——–3———|
G:————–0———-0——-|-2———–0—-0———|
D:—-2——-2———0———-|-2-2——-2——0———|
A:–0—0-2-3——————–0-|-0—0-2-3——–2———|
E:—————-2–3————-|—————2–3———|

[Riff 2a] [Riff 2b]
D(add G&E) C9
e:–5—————|–3——————————|
B:—-5———5—|—-3———3——————|
G:——0—–0—0-|——0—–0—0—————-|
D:——–4~——–|——–2~———————–|
A:–5—————|–3——————————|
E:——————|———————————|

[Riff 2c] [Riff 2d]
G G
e:–3——————-|–3—————————–|
B:—-3———3——-|—-3———3—————–|
G:——0—–0—0—–|——0—–0—0—————|
D:——–0~————|——–0~———————-|
A:———————-|–2—————————–|
E:–3——————-|——————————–|

For complete tab, go to Fretplay.

Part 5: Bacchus Plateau

Excerpted from Fretplay.

[Riff 1]
Em7 A Dsus2 D Dsus2 D5
e:—————-0–2—0–2–0———————–|
B:–3–2—3–2—3–3—3–3–3–3——————–|
G:–0–2—0–2—2–2—2–2–2–2——————–|
D:–2–2—2–2—0–0—0–0–0–0——————–|
A:–2–0—2–0—————-3———————–|
E:—————————————————–|

[Riff 2]
G D(addG)/F# E5
e:—————————————————–|
B:—————————————————–|
G:————–0——–0—————————–|
D:————0——–0——————————-|
A:———-2——–0———————————|
E:–0–2–3——–2——–0————————–|

Progression:

Fade in with [Riff 1] x1

[Riff 1] x1

[Riff 1] x3 w/ lyrics:

Another endless day. ….
Another glass of wine. Drink …..G D
To days without that chill at morning. ….

[xx0787]
D G A A D D [Riff 2] x1 D A
Draw another goblet from the ….
[xx0787]
D G A A D D [Riff 2] x1
Crimson misty memory, hazy ….
[xx0787]
D A G G D D [Riff 2] x1 D A
Give me back my wonder, I’ve ….
[xx0787]
D A G G D D [Riff 2] x1 Dsus4 Dsus4
I guess it doesn’t matter; there’s ….

D D
live.

For complete tab, go to Fretplay.

Part 6: The Fountain

Excerpted from Fretplay.

[Riff 1] Play 2x
B(addE) A(addB) D5 C5
e:—————5-|—————————————-|
B:-0–0—0–0—7-|—————————————-|
G:-8–6—8–6—7-|o–5-5—5-5-5-5-5-7-7—————–o|
D:-9–7—9–7—7-|o–5-5—5-5-5-5-5-7-7—————–o|
A:-0–0—0–0—5-|—3-3-0-3-3-3-3-3-5-5——————|
E:—————–|—————————————-|

[Riff 2] Freely arpeggate
Em7 G G/F#
e:–0——-3—3——————————————-|
B:–3——-3—3——————————————-|
G:–0——-0—0——————————————-|
D:–2——-0—0——————————————-|
A:–2——-2—x——————————————-|
E:–0——-3—2——————————————-|

Progression:

[Riff 1] x2

[Riff 1] x2 w/ lyrics:

Look, the mist is rising and the ….

Hear the dancing waters, I must ….[Strike A5]

[Riff 2] x2

[Riff 2] x2 w/ lyrics:

Now at last I fall before the ….

D C
Many journeys end here, but ….

D C Fmaj7 G6
Life is just a candle, and a ….

[Riff 1] x2

[Riff 1] x2 w/ lyrics:

The key, the end, the answer, ….

Though I’ve reached a signpost, it’s ….[Strike A5]

[Riff 2] x1

[Guitar Solo] in the key of G over: [Riff 2] x2 then [Riff 3] x1

(this is only an approximation; and a BAD one at that; the beginning is
right, and the ending is right, the rest is … )

e:———-7-7—————–7~–7-9-10-12-10~———–|
B:-10s5~-5—–10p8~-8h10~-8-10—————————–|
G:———————————————————-|
D:———————————————————-|
A:———————————————————-|
E:———————————————————-|

e:-15p14p12h15–15p14p12h15—10p9p7–5—5—–7-9–7h9p7–|
B:————————————–7—7s9————-|
G:———————————————————-|
D:———————————————————-|
A:———————————————————-|
E:———————————————————-|

For complete tab, go to Fretplay.

Tutorials

“The Fountain of Lamneth” guitar cover (“No One at the Bridge”)

“The Fountain of Lamneth” bass cover (part IV)

“The Fountain of Lamneth” drum cover (“No One at the Bridge”)

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~ by rvkeeper on January 31, 2011.

 
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