"...and pluck till time and times are done"

The Annotated "Silver Apples of the Moon"

An installment in The Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics.
By David Dodd
Research Associate, Music Dept.
University of California, Santa Cruz
(The opinions expressed are those of the author, not of the University of California.)
Copyright notice; © 1995, David Dodd

"Silver Apples of the Moon"
Title by Robert Hunter; music by Bruce Hornsby and Vince Welnick

"Silver Apples of the Moon"

Recorded on

Instrumental composition.

Silver Apples of the Moon

This note from a reader:
  • Date: Mon, 27 Nov 1995 21:56:06 -0700
    From: sl7qc@cc.usu.edu
    Subject: Silver Apples of the Moon


    Here's a reference you may already be familar with. In a poem by W.B. Yeats entitled "The Song of Wandering Aengus", a fish just caught by a fisherman turns into a beautiful women with apple blossoms in her hair. She calls the man by name then vanishes. The fisherman resolves to search the world for her and the poem ends with these lines:

    "I will find out where she has gone,
    and kiss her lips, and take her hands,
    and walk along long dappled grass,
    and pluck till time and times are done,
    The silver apples of the moon,
    The golden apples of the sun."

    I hope this is useful.
    Lynn Orchard

  • Thanks, Lynn!

    And Ives Chor pointed out the similar line in "Pride of Cucamonga".

    Yet another note from a reader:

    Subject: Silver Apples of the Moon
    Date: Fri, 02 May 1997 15:00:04 -0400
    From: rmtyler@mwbb.com (Tyler, Robert M.)

    David - marvelous job you're doing; this is by far the most interesting page I've seen on the WWW. Keep up the inspiring work. Here's my humble two cents:

    I see that you have explained the link between Yeats and "Silver Apples of the Moon." You might be interested to know that in 1967 Nonesuch Records commissioned Morton Subotnick, the pioneering electronic music composer, to write an electronic piece. The resulting work -- you guessed it, "Silver Apples of the Moon" -- was the first large-scale piece composed expressly for the LP medium/format. I don't know whether Hunter knew this when he titled the piece on Infrared Roses, but it certainly fits the music.


    Robert Tyler

    First posted: November 28, 1995
    Last revised: May 3, 1997