Evermore Versions

I have always loved Led Zeppelin’s Battle of Evermore, a song full of Tolkienesque imagery and mythic allegory. But I never knew until recently that Sandy Denny, the woman who sang the original backing vocal with Robert Plant, was the only backup singer ever featured on a Zeppelin album.
I listened to this song often when I was  high in school in high school, but somehow the magic of it has intensified with the passing of time. I have been recently obsessed with rediscovering many Led Zep songs. The mandolin melody that begins this one has been pushing me to the brink of melancholic crisis in the last several days, and my esteem for the musical prowess of the band has grown. My eyes fill with tears at times and I feel like a neurotic fool but it is all redeemed by the magic of this song; something about the progression of the chords and plucked strings in the first bars sends me over the edge.

The mandolin melody calls to mind E.A. Poe’s Israfel . . .

I bring to your attention three versions of this song.
But first (since this is a poetry blog) the LYRICS:

The Queen of Light took her bough, and then she turned to go
The Prince of Peace embraced the gloom, and walked the night alone
Oh, dance in the dark of night / Sing to the morning light
The dark Lord rides in force tonight, and time will tell us all
Oh, throw down your plow and hoe, rest not to lock your homes
Side by side we wait the might of the darkest of them all . . .
I hear the horses’ thunder, down in the valley below
I’m waiting for the angels of Avalon, waiting for the eastern glow
The apples of the valley hold the seeds of happiness
The ground is rich from tender care; repay, do not forget no, no
Oh, dance in the dark of night / Sing to the morning light
The apples turn to brown and black, the tyrant’s face is red
War is the common cry, pick up you swords and fly
The sky is filled with good and bad and mortals never know
Oh, well, the night is long, the beads of time pass slow
Tired eyes on the sunrise, waiting for the eastern glow
The pain of war cannot exceed the woe of aftermath
The drums will shake the castle wall, the ring-wraiths ride in black, ride on
Sing as you raise your bow, shoot straighter than before
No comfort has the fire at night that lights the face so cold
Oh dance in the dark of night, sing to the morning light
The magic runes are writ in gold to bring the balance back
bring it back . . .
At last the sun is shining, the clouds of blue roll by
With flames from the dragon of darkness the sunlight blinds his eyes

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