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The song is divided into 6 parts:
I. In the Valley
II. Didacts and Narpets
III. No One At the Bridge
V. Bacchus Plateau
VI. The Fountain
Some lyric explanation:
"Ambergris" is a waxy substance from the intestines of the sperm whale, highly valued for making perfume with.
"Didacts and Narpets" possibly an anagram for "Addicts and Parents."
"Panacea" is a supposed cure for everything.
"Bacchus" was the Roman god of wine. The Greek equivalent is Dionysus.
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 like that." (thanks, Mike - Mountlake Terrace, Washington, for all above)
A didact would be a teacher, sharing a root with the word didactic, which is "inclined to teach" or "teaching moral lessons." It would fit with Narpets being Parents, though, seeing as how the major shaping influences in the life of a young person are the teachers and parents, with the two often being one and the same. (thanks, Steve - Farmington, NY)
Pete produced Dwight Yoakam, Michelle Shocked, Meat Puppets, and a very memorable track for Roy Orbison.