Fountain of Lamneth
by Rush

Album: Caress Of Steel (1976)


  • The song is divided into 6 parts:
    I. In the Valley
    II. Didacts and Narpets
    III. No One At the Bridge
    IV. Panacea
    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." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Steve - Farmington, NY
  • Voivod lyricist and drummer Michel "Away" Lanvegin is a big fan of this song, as it draws him into a dark narrative in another world.

Comments: 25

  • Trail Zombie from Asheville NcI agree with Razor LSD or some other?? All great analogies from the experience.
  • Scott from Winfield WvTurn My Head, Surprised My Gaze Is Caught And Held
    And I Am Helpless, Mesmerized...
    What A Beautiful Way To Say...” Love At First Site”
    RIP Neil
  • The Necromancer from Newton-le-willowsI can confirm that (the) Fountain of Lamneth is not to be found in Lambeth. Quite frankly, I'm parched now and would gladly drink of the Fountain of Salmacis.
  • Tommy from Monroe N.cBasically all the outside information I know about the Lountain of Famneth is not a lot. First of all Songfacts it's The Fountain of Lamneth, not Fountain of Lamneth. Most people know the acoustic sections are about birth and death. I think the harder section of In the Valley is about your dreams as a child. Didacts and Narpets is about parents and teachers setting the life for people. No one at the bridge is about no one caring for the protagonist, I think. Panacea is about the protagonist meeting his girlfriend, since Panacea is the Virgin Mary. Bacchus Plateau may be about a bull and doring life (I'm not entirely sure). This may or may not help you, this is what I think and I apologize in advance for the autistic grammar.
  • James from Oc So-cal Didacts and Narpets was recorded with a single microphone located some distance from the kit. Hence the mono sound of the drums. The other instruments went stereo.
    Now can someone help me out?
    Is part 2 of FOL the same takes as part 1? Aside from the killer solo I can't hear major differences. Maybe I'm to close to it but I've been falling asleep to Caress and waking up with it still playing since I was 13. I'm 52 now, and this music still stirs my soul.
  • Harold from Wagoner, OkFountain of Lamneth is definitely about a life journey. A person is born new, lives and learns. Finds a dream or a goal and seeks it and embarks on an adventure. Experiences love and leaves it for the dream. Achieves the goal and lives the dream, also realizes a life lesson. One particular line on that part really strikes me as bitter sweet. "Life is just a candle and the dream must give it flame." The dream gives illumination to life but also consumes it. Finally, the character returns to the present moment, a point from which he can move forward.
  • Javier from Universal City, TxI think you hit it right on the money, Haley from Oakwood, IL
  • John from Polk City, FlJohn from Ashville, NC... You're completely WRONG! It IS a unified epic piece that was masterfully written. It's the entire journey from birth until the end. If you can't see (or hear) that, maybe you should listen again. I know that Rushs' musical genius might be just a little too much for most to comprehend, but even after being told the meaning, you still don't get it? This piece, along with the entire album, is definitely in the top 3 of their best. Yes, the Necromancer may be a "stronger" piece, but it is nowhere near the epic journey that FOL takes you on. "As a complete work it's a bloody mess passing as a unified epic, which it's simply NOT."... Really?!?! Do you live under a rock? You do have ears, don't you? Use them!
  • Al from Long Island, NyCOS is such an underrated album...FOL is a beautiful song about a mans journey from birth to death...amazing...dont compare it to 2112 or cygnus 1*2...all three amazing and all three epic in their own way
  • Pryce from Litchfield, Nhwhat is this song about?
  • Spamlet from Cleveland, OhI realize I'm in the minority but I'll still never understand why COS is so hated (it's in my RUSH top 3 behind Permanent Waves and HYF- another outright masterpiece which many fans despise). FOL is easily my favorite side-length RUSH epic. Cygnus parts 1 and 2 are in second place and then 2112.
  • Michalis from Athens, GreeceHallo everybody..i have the impression that Panacea is not referring to the Greek word which means the peak of peace, but it is the title of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ :)the exact Greek word is Panagia (Virgin Mary)..if you pay attention to the lyrics you will see that he is talking to a person..
    Michalis - Athens Greece
  • Alex from Houston, TxI agree very much with Haley from Oakwood. 'The Valley' can represent where you are brought up, where your "journey" starts. 'Didacts and Narpets', which, I believe, is another way of saying "teachers and parents" represents the conflicts we all have in our teenager years, whether it be an outside or inside force. 'No One At The Bridge' can represent this same feeling, where we feel isolated from the rest of mankind, but it can also represent the feelings we get when we finally set off on this "epic journey", and there is "no one there" to aid us. 'Panacea' can represent the full tranquility in our lives, when we have finally reached "the peak" of our lives, as Haley explained, and can no longer go uphill from there. 'Bacchus Plateau' can represent the point in our lives when we are tired of our normal daily lives, have hit our mid-life crisis, and need to relive our earlier years. 'The Fountain' can represent the final goal, how we've tried so hard, and made it so far, and can continue our "journey" from that point on, sort of like a "gateway to Heaven". Those are my thoughts about the meaning to 'The Fountain of Lamneth'.
  • Razor from Staten Island, NyDoes anybody else think this song might be about tripping on LSD???
    That my take.
  • B from T, Onjeff from detroit your probably right i believe that metallica were actually inspired by rush so thats probably why there are some similarities. also ty to haley from oakwood i rly wanted to know what this song was about and i think that rly sums it up. great song no one at the bridge is my fav part
  • Mousettin from Turkiye, Turkeyi am turk. and i don't know the mean of the word, "lamneth". i am looking for someone who can explain the meaning of the word, to me. is there anybody out there?
  • Francisco from London, United KingdomThis is my favourite Rush song that runs above 15 mins. Its meaning is absolutely brilliant.

    I just wish Rush had reprised the music of Bacchus Plateau (my favorite part) instead of the music for part 2. Part 2 is my least fav compared to all the rest.
  • John from Asheville, NcIn bits and pieces there are moments of brilliance here...(in the valley, panacea). As a complete work it's a bloody mess passing as a unified epic, which it's simply NOT. The Necromancer is a stronger piece.
  • Dv4067 from Bloomingdale, Nj Fountain of Lamneth is an excellent piece of work, great moments in this music. Drums for Didacts and Narpets doesn't have the same tight stereo image as the rest of the drum tracks, so I'm thinking it was recorded in a different location for whatever reason. An excellent drum piece, just an outstanding take. Anyone else have any insight on that track? I've loved this collection of songs since I first heard them back when I was 11. Great music.
  • Andy from Auckland, New ZealandI was listening to side 2 of Relayer by Yes the other night, and was struck by a similarity in the drum patterns in one section to those in Didacts and Narpets. Hmmm.
  • Jesse from L.a., CaPanacea has beautiful acoustic guitar work by Lifeson.
  • Jeff from Detroit, MiI might be the only person to notice this, but I think the intro to Fade to Black by Metallica is ripped off from this song.
  • Kent Lyle from Palo Alto, CaRush decided to release a Genesis album. With Gabriel having just left, there was probably ample concern that Genesis wasn't going to do it. Alex uses his volume pedal in true Steve Hackett-style, and I suppose even tries to transcribe Tony Banks onto guitar. I doubt that Geddy had elaborate stage costumes prepared, though if he had I would loved to have seen them.
  • Haley from Oakwood, IlI think it's basically an analogy of life. The Fountain is the goal of life, whether for you that's a job, a family, a certain amount of money...The different part are the different parts of life. In The Valley is birth, childhood wonder and innocence, and safety. Didects and Narpets are the teenage years, where you're trying to find out who you are, what you should be doing, and it's all very confusing, hence the theme of the music at this part, mostly drums. No one at the Bridge is young adulthood, when you take teh leap and go out into the world, by yourself, and have to brave the water and figure out how to steer. Panacea is when you've reached your peak of peace, where idealy you're married, have a decent career, with the potential and peace of a stable home and family. Bacchus Plateau is the "golden' years, where you leveled out, and are now just enjoying yourself.

    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

    And then there's this part, which speaks, I think, of a time when you realize that because you have bascally nothing to work for, hope for, goals, that life becomes rather...pointless.

    The Fountain is the grand epiphany, and it speaks about the 'goal' not being an end, but just a point in the journey, and it goes on forever.

    That's my take on it.
  • Charlie from Thomaston, Dci think its about a guy who lives a normal life and then journeys to the fountain of lamneth through peril and danger just to find out that the journey is more important. thats what i think, anyway. regardless, its a great song form a great album.
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