Robert Hunter wrote the lyric on his first trip to England in a very productive, and slightly inebriated, songwriting session. "It was the second day I was there, and everybody went and left me alone with a case of Retsina," he said in a documentary
. "I realized, here I was in London, the city I'd always dreamed of going to, and I was very very happy. I felt like I'd come home to some psychic place, maybe the home of Robin Hood and Peter Pan. I'd only drank half a bottle of this Retsina but it was having the whole case there that was important. I sat down and wrote 'Ripple
,' 'To Lay Me Down
' and 'Brokedown Palace' that afternoon. It was a magic day. I knew I was writing stuff that would live forever."
Hunter was at the home of Dead extended "family" member Alan Trist
. He had been jotting down dozens of bad songs (by his own estimation) when these three came to him.