Jump to content
Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
Slate Blackcurrant Watermelon Strawberry Orange Banana Apple Emerald Chocolate Marble
bluecongo

Take of the Fruit but Guard the Seed

Recommended Posts

It's common knowledge Carouselambra is Plant writing about Zep towards the end.

the key line of the song is "Take of the fruit but guard the seed "

what is your interpretation of that lyric?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ledsox   

I take it to mean that it's ok to indulge but don't over do it and lose the plot.

There ate other, more primal ways of looking at it  obviously, but in the context of the other lyrics I'll stick with my first interpretation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JTM   

Make sure you whip it out, or wear a condom.

Edited by JTM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've wondered whether it has something to do with Karac's death, Karac being the fruit and Robert being the seed. I'm not sure how that would fit into the larger narrative though, or what specifically he would be trying to say there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It always kind of struck me along the lines of "enjoy the rewards that come with success, but don't damage the impetus for that success"...

 

Particularly given that Carouselambra has been described as a "message song" by Plant to his bandmates and/or the Zeppelin empire...perhaps "take of the fruit, but guard the seed" was a message towards Page, Bonzo and Grant?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
WD52   

'Stop taking hard drugs guys it is ruining the band' fairly obvious I would have thought. Or if seed is taken to be singular 'Stop taking heroin Jimmy.'

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Take of the fruit but guard the seed, refers to Plant's deteriorating relationship with Page: you can use me as a cog in the Led Zeppelin machine, but you must also value my friendship.

Their friendship has never fully recovered since those times. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had speculated the meaning to be along those lines. Eat from the tree but hold sacred the seed (now roots) of the tree.

When this time period comes up in the various books written about the band  (never read another Cole book after Hammer)  , I have to take pause. And wrestle, try and rationalize and obviously try to understand what happened there. I can't and nor will I ever.

And no, it was never the same.

The band was for all intents and purposes was done too. The innate chemistry died too despite those few final fleeting flashes of forgone fury. Say that 5x fast.

Bedtime.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
IpMan   
13 hours ago, The Dark Lord said:

Take of the fruit but guard the seed, refers to Plant's deteriorating relationship with Page: you can use me as a cog in the Led Zeppelin machine, but you must also value my friendship.

Their friendship has never fully recovered since those times. 

I would say this is the most likely, and accurate interpretation, especially in light of plant's consistent use of double entendre in his lyrics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I want to pivot from the "take of the fruit but guard the seed" because I agree it was a double entendre, one of the meanings circling around Page. I also believe many of the lyrics are a double entendre, but there's one verse in the middle section that I think Plant directly refers to Page:

"How keen the storied hunter's eye prevails upon the land"

I think Plant is referring to Jimmy Page's vision from The Song Remains The Same. Remember Jimmy Page is searching for a hermit who knows all the answers, yet when he gets to the top of the mountain, he is surprised to discover he himself is the hermit looking down upon the land below.
 

"To seek the unsuspecting and the weak"

This line is an extension of the first line. Plant though Page was GOAT, Robert Plant idolized Page until his son died, which Plant will eventually address.


"And powerless the fabled sat, too smug to lift a hand"

This line is ambiguous, but when I tried analyzing the verse as a timeline, it made more sense. When you're on top of the world, it seems as if you'll never come down (too smug to lift a hand, past tense - early 70s at the peak). Plant uses hindsight to highlight the consequences of not lifting a hand (and powerless [now, late 70s substance abuse] the fabled sat). Zeppelin is a shell of what they once were, they're practically a fabled tale.


"Toward the foe that threatened from the deep."

Back to the timeline, when you're on top of the world, you'll never come down. Well, this is the come down. I think when Plant says deep I think he's referring to something spiritual, as in a surfacing of subconscious behaviors caused by something unexpected (Karac Plant's death unveiled a plethora of emotions from the members, especially Robert).


"Who cares to dry the cheeks of those who saddened stand 
Adrift upon a sea of futile speech?"

Apparently, while he had his reasons, Jimmy Page didn't go to Karac's funeral, which devastated Plant, it's part of the reason as to why their relationship has never fully healed since. 'Those who saddened stand adrift upon a sea of futile speech,' Plant is referring to himself. He's sad still and he's communicating through song, or a sea of futile speech. Understanding this, he's basically saying "Jimmy why didn't you help me when I was down?" Totally head scratching lyrics.


"And to fall to fate and make the 'status plan'
Where was your word, where did you go? 
Where was your helping, where was your bow? Bow."

Plant doesn't really need any subtext here. He just flatly asks this person these questions. And if it's still ambiguous, when Robert Plant says "Where was your bow? Bow." Well you guessed it. While the bow is another double entendre, Plant is specifically referring to Jimmy Page and his bow.

 

Now I need to find out the other lyrics. But wow, Robert Plant was getting really deep. Very very complex.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/18/2017 at 11:20 AM, Zeppelin01024 said:

I want to pivot from the "take of the fruit but guard the seed" because I agree it was a double entendre, one of the meanings circling around Page. I also believe many of the lyrics are a double entendre, but there's one verse in the middle section that I think Plant directly refers to Page:

"How keen the storied hunter's eye prevails upon the land"

I think Plant is referring to Jimmy Page's vision from The Song Remains The Same. Remember Jimmy Page is searching for a hermit who knows all the answers, yet when he gets to the top of the mountain, he is surprised to discover he himself is the hermit looking down upon the land below.
 

"To seek the unsuspecting and the weak"

This line is an extension of the first line. Plant though Page was GOAT, Robert Plant idolized Page until his son died, which Plant will eventually address.


"And powerless the fabled sat, too smug to lift a hand"

This line is ambiguous, but when I tried analyzing the verse as a timeline, it made more sense. When you're on top of the world, it seems as if you'll never come down (too smug to lift a hand, past tense - early 70s at the peak). Plant uses hindsight to highlight the consequences of not lifting a hand (and powerless [now, late 70s substance abuse] the fabled sat). Zeppelin is a shell of what they once were, they're practically a fabled tale.


"Toward the foe that threatened from the deep."

Back to the timeline, when you're on top of the world, you'll never come down. Well, this is the come down. I think when Plant says deep I think he's referring to something spiritual, as in a surfacing of subconscious behaviors caused by something unexpected (Karac Plant's death unveiled a plethora of emotions from the members, especially Robert).

I have a completely different interpretation of those lines.

"How keen the storied hunter's eye prevails upon the land to seek the unsuspecting and the weak"

I think the "storied hunter" here is a reference to the Wild Hunt of Celtic mythology. The huntsman of the wild hunt was in many respects similar to the grim reaper. I think this line is a reference to Karac, he being the "unsuspecting and weak" that the huntsman apparently sought.

"And powerless the fabled sat, too smug to lift a hand toward the foe that threatened from the deep"

I think the "fabled" does refer to Page, but I think it's a comment towards Page's apparent lack of response or concern regarding Karac's death. The "foe" in this line could be another reference to the hunter i.e. death, or I like to see it as Plant's sadness and depression welling up from deep inside, and that Page did little to offer any condolence or comfort. But I'm not rock solid on that one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe ya'll are looking too deeply into Plants gobbly gook lyrics and making it fit into your narrative? Seriously, you guys are making it out to look like if only Page had  gone to Plants son funeral everything would have been just dandy (Jones didn't make it either). And yeah, Page had a drug/alcohol problem but so did his buddy Bonham. The "where was your bow" part being interpreted as Jimmy's guitar is way the fuck out there man :D. But hey, whatever keeps ya' busy I guess?

Edited by blindwillie127

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Strider   
On 2/23/2016 at 10:31 AM, White Phone said:

It always kind of struck me along the lines of "enjoy the rewards that come with success, but don't damage the impetus for that success"...

 

Particularly given that Carouselambra has been described as a "message song" by Plant to his bandmates and/or the Zeppelin empire...perhaps "take of the fruit, but guard the seed" was a message towards Page, Bonzo and Grant?

 

On 2/23/2016 at 7:17 PM, The Dark Lord said:

Take of the fruit but guard the seed, refers to Plant's deteriorating relationship with Page: you can use me as a cog in the Led Zeppelin machine, but you must also value my friendship.

Their friendship has never fully recovered since those times. 

 

9 hours ago, Balthazor said:

I have a completely different interpretation of those lines.

"How keen the storied hunter's eye prevails upon the land to seek the unsuspecting and the weak"

I think the "storied hunter" here is a reference to the Wild Hunt of Celtic mythology. The huntsman of the wild hunt was in many respects similar to the grim reaper. I think this line is a reference to Karac, he being the "unsuspecting and weak" that the huntsman apparently sought.

"And powerless the fabled sat, too smug to lift a hand toward the foe that threatened from the deep"

I think the "fabled" does refer to Page, but I think it's a comment towards Page's apparent lack of response or concern regarding Karac's death. The "foe" in this line could be another reference to the hunter i.e. death, or I like to see it as Plant's sadness and depression welling up from deep inside, and that Page did little to offer any condolence or comfort. But I'm not rock solid on that one.

All of these takes are generally in line with my interpretation of Plant's lyrics. And I'll go even further. Many are referencing Karac's death and Jimmy's no-show at the funeral as the beginning of Plant's disillusionment.

But I think it goes back even further, to the summer of 1975 and his accident in Greece. It was a near-tragedy for his entire family, and yet because of financial concerns and their tax exile status, he was separated from his family during those anxious days. Everybody scattered.

I wonder if subconsciously Plant didn't start to have doubts about Page and Grant? They had allowed money to come before family and that must have been cause for Plant to question their priorities.

7 hours ago, blindwillie127 said:

Maybe ya'll are looking too deeply into Plants gobbly gook lyrics and making it fit into your narrative? Seriously, you guys are making it out to look like if only Page had  gone to Plants son funeral everything would have been just dandy (Jones didn't make it either). And yeah, Page had a drug/alcohol problem but so did his buddy Bonham. The "where was your bow" part being interpreted as Jimmy's guitar is way the fuck out there man :D. But hey, whatever keeps ya' busy I guess?

If you can read the lyrics to "Carouselambra" and not think Plant is addressing issues with the band, either directly or indirectly, more power to you. But he clearly has something on his mind in this song a little deeper than his usual "whole lotta love" palaver.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎2‎/‎24‎/‎2016 at 6:14 AM, bluecongo said:

These have all been great responses

The Epic is a mash of a Viking dirge, Greek allusions and Celtic episodes.  Plant had a channeling session or two and the pen just moved on the paper like a staff on a witching board- jumbled emotions/spirit = jumbled lyrics.  With that many words I have to think he had some help from band members.  You can't channel and then stretch it over a framework and go lay it down and cut it.


Touched by the timely coming roused from the keeper's sleep     7,6
Release the grip, throw down the key     8

Held now within the knowing rest now within the peace     7,6
Take of the fruit, but guard the seed     8
Take of the fruit, but guard the seed     8

They had to stay     4

Held now within the knowing, Rest now within the peace     7,6 
Take of the fruit, but guard the seed     8
Take of the fruit, but guard the seed     8
 

The seed is a reference to the allegory of the fruit of death [pomegranate] rumored to have sprung from the blood of Adonis.

ibid Persephone vs. Hades- if you eat the seed you are condemned to the underworld. Take of the fruit is good for you, guard the seed refers to not getting tricked or beguiled and thereby being in contract to condemnation.

"where was your helping... where was your bow"   BC you know about the sigil and what the bow was really about. It didn't help. It was believed in and it did not help.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rm2551   

I'd love a remix of this song where Plant's vocals are way more up front. I think this is as much his song as the others, but I always thought he got too buried in the mix (especially the original). I'm sure the song would just lift if he was well out in front.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On June 20, 2017 at 1:58 AM, Strider said:

If you can read the lyrics to "Carouselambra" and not think Plant is addressing issues with the band, either directly or indirectly, more power to you. But he clearly has something on his mind in this song a little deeper than his usual "whole lotta love" palaver.

Yes, its deeper than WLL. But Plant was really really good at being 'deep and meaningless', which cleverly leaves a lot of room open for the listener to interpret the lyrics how they want. But, to conclude that every line in Carouselambra is either about Page or Grant or the band is just silly to me. Thats not Plants style at all. Lets say, "take of the fruit but guard the seed" was directed at his wife for his sons death while he was on tour? Maybe she had been remiss and, had an affair or two and was partying a lot, ya' know, enjoying the rewards of her husbands success? The seed being 'Karac' (of course). See what I'm saying? Just came up with that off the top of my head by the way.

Just my two cents

Edited by blindwillie127

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rm2551   

It's such a nice song to listen to...

I wonder if they ever considered it for the o2 gig? Would have been best bookend EVER.

Edited by rm2551

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Brigante   

I always thought this line was just saying it's ok to enjoy the fruits of your labours, so long as you don't do anything to fuck up the thing that produced the fruit in the first place. Or there'll be no more fruit.  
Obviously relating to Robert and Jimmy's relationship and maybe contrasting the earlier hedonism of Zeppelin with Jimmy's heroin use, etc.
Really interesting to read some of the more detailed, specific interpretations on here, though. 

Edited by Brigante

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a really excellent artistic sort of thread. I agree that of course some of the lyrics can't be pinned down to a literal

meaning. But some come very close to bad blood and/or massive disgust and disillusion with Zep overall. Unfortunately,

the whole thing with Karac's funeral, Jimmy looks oblivious no matter what. But supposedly at the time, Jimmy wasn't 

just doing heroin, he was doing coke, drinking heavily at times, taking qualludes, and who knows what else. I think

the "partying" aspect is way overdone, Plant and Jones partied some, but no life killer. Jimmy loved to be onstage,

but by 77' for whatever reasons he seemed to want to blot out reality a lot. Of course that line the "fruit and the seed"

could mean that Page is now destroying the inner core ( fruit tree itself) and not just naturally picking fruit that will

be returning without ill effect. And Plant was seemingly singing about all this stuff(well not the funeral) on Presence.

Getting off topic a bit, but Jimmy may have been a psychological wreck , not just an addict. But a deep friend(??) not

going to your young son's funeral , was primal to Robert and hence the lyrics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, Mithril46 said:

I think the "partying" aspect is way overdone

less than a fraction of what went on is in the public lore... the word destroyer falls way short people and people lost track of people

..."They had to stay..."

 

Edited by Dallas Knebs
corrected spelling

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's very interesting with the semi-veiled messages and comments negatively about  Jimmy in the lyrics, did ANYone

ever bring this to Jimmy's attention ?? Ha Ha. Jimmy supposedly never heard of EVH until 82' ?? Preposterous . Although

from some accounts Jimmy was only half-conscious from 77' to 84', some books say Jimmy was both physically and mentally

in bad shape overall since 77'. Only reason I stay on this , and I remember other stars commenting on the "Karac" situation,your whole behavior and motivation changes most people heavily addicted to opiates. Robert starting with Presence

had quite a few anti-Page/ Zep lyrics, richly deserved, and every right to leave the band. However Robert obviously had

no understanding of many addict's possible moral slide and so on. Obviously an interviewer would be afraid of asking Jimmy

if some lyrics were directed at him/Zep, interview over.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sems Fir   

The wonderful thing about song lyrics is that they are open to interpretation and can be seen in many different ways.  It’s no secret Carouselambra is Robert penning his point of view of living in the “fish bowl” at the time.  The lyric line “take of the fruit, but guard the seed” for me means it’s okay to indulge in sex (the fruit) but protect (i.e. guard) the seed once it’s sown (i.e. the child) that spouts from the seed.  Unfortunately, Robert is reminiscing stating he should’ve been there to guard (protect) Karac and he was not.  He was off being the rock star in Led Zeppelin away from home when his family needed him there.  For Robert I think one of the hardest things he has to live with is that he was not there to be able to say goodbye to the son he adored and loved.

For me the lyric lines that are the most haunting to him are “I heard the words, I couldn’t stay, I couldn’t stand it another day.”  I believe this references that fateful phone call he received in New Orleans with the news that Karac had passed, hence he “heard the words” over the phone.  From that point on Robert didn’t want to be in Zeppelin any longer, and “couldn’t stand it (being a member of Led Zeppelin) another day.”  Hence his thought of leaving for a teaching position, and wanting out of Led Zeppelin.

The sisters mentioned in the first line I believe are Maureen and her sister at home bidding their time in quiet peace in England away from the crazy lifestyle of living on the road.  Waiting for a call that may never come, may be Robert describing how he knew the current lifestyle of some of the members of the band and their entourage could end tragically if kept up (including maybe for Plant) hence the call Maureen may never receive stating something tragic happened to him.

Robert likes to shroud his lyrics with hidden meanings and used the “deep and meaningless” comment to deflect discussing that hard time period in his life in my opinion.  Carouselambra is my favorite Led Zeppelin song and I collect the In Through The Out Door timeframe as a focus.  I could give my interpretation of each lyric line, but they are just my opinion.  Only Robert could confirm what he was trying to state.  That’s my take on the line “take of the fruit, but guard the seed” with a little extra thrown in.

Robert

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×