Jethro Tull - A Passion Play The Ministry Of Information Jethro Tull a passion play explained The Ministry of Information Ian Anderson A Live Passion
Annotated by the Ministry of Information In the studio and live concerts APP @ MoI Tull The annotated passion play Magus Perde
To the Ministry admin centre MoI APP - 1973 Tull lyrics Ian Anderson's lyrics for Jethro Tull's 'A Passion Play' dissected and discussed Pilgrim's Progress
Martin Barre Jeffrey Hammond-Hammond John Evan Barriemore Barlow The Chateau d'Isaster Tapes Chateau d'Herouville
Introduction to the album and annotations
The Play's overall narrative
Act One
Act Two
The story of the hare who lost his spectacles
Act Three
Act Four
Alternative views
The music of The Play
The cast of The Play
The 1973 album
The Play, played live in 1973
The Chateau d'Isaster Tapes - this page
The Linwell theatre booklet
Site Search
Ian Anderson's lyrics for Jethro Tull's 'A Passion Play
  Mark Ridley, Derek Small, Max Quad, Ben Rossington, John Tetrad

The Lyrics

Proper annotations will follow in due course!

IntroductionChateau d'HerouvilleFurther Notes

First Post



    The title is a contraction of 'animal' and 'mêlée', or 'confused conflict'

Tiger Toon


Look At The Animals

The tiny ant leaves his tiny ant drops in the sand,
And makes his home inside a rusty watering can,
Occasionally going out to look for bread and jam.

He runs into a sparrow who hasn't eaten for a week,
And later, quite contented, the sparrow cleans his beak,
Failing to notice pussy cat has come out to take a leak.
Our cat partakes of dinner when a sudden kangaroo
Emerges from the undergrowth and asks to use the loo.
Kangaroos aren't usually dangerous, for that would never do.
My goodness, will you look at all the animals queuing on the stairs!
Look at the animals in the zoo; how would you like to be one?
They're waiting to use the lavatory and putting chewing gum in each other's hair.
Look at the animals, look at you; well how would you like to free one?
Good gracious, will you look at all the animals playing with their tools!
Look at the animals, look at you; well how would you like to queer one?
Flying from the chandeliers and treading in elephantine stools.
Look at the animals, two by two; aren't you glad to be one?
This kangaroo's a lunatic and his pouch is very full
Of pussy cats and penguins who can't fly as a rule,

But then neither could the pussy cat: he never went to school.
The kangaroo gets nervous when confronted by the size
Of an elephant named Simon who is always telling lies;
He swears he wears green corduroys and can button up his fly.
Presently, a fatter Simon's indigestion fails.
He regurgitates the whole damn mess into an aluminum pail,
And the tiny ant scuttles back inside his watering can
Occasionally going out to look for bread and jam.
(Woof, woof, woof)

Back to the top of the page

Law of the Bungle

The tiger flashes sharpened teeth.
Bowler-hatted; summer briefs beneath his pinstriped skin.
To kill demands a business sense;
Economy moves non-residence approaching from down-wind.
Being a tiger means you laugh
Whenever lesser tigers have to eat meat that's infected.
Being a tiger means your mate
When overfed will defecate in places least expected.

Knowing a tiger means you must
Accept his promise of mutual trust
And offer him your throat.

Loving a tiger means you take second place to the cake you bake
(Spoken:) and with undying servile obedience keep the stiffly starched
collar of his conference shirt spotless and remove daily the daubed bloody
evidence of his dastardly misdeeds from the otherwise immaculate elegance
of his pinstripe tiger coat.

Law Of The Bungle Part II

"Hello. This is 'Law of the Bungle Part II'. By the way, I'm Martin Barre; but sometimes I'm an owl, and my feathers are really smooth, and when I feel romantic I like to dress up in men's clothing."


Left Right

The master playwright
urges you to play right/play wrong;
life is long and every night's the first night.

The wardrobe mistress
urges you to dress left/dress right;
what a mess; well your underpants were too tight.

Who's on the stage door
to help you find the way in/way out?
It's not a sin to be knowing that you don't know.

When you breathe your last line
will you make your exit stage left/stage right?
Well, you might decide while there's still time.

You have an angel on your shoulder
but you wear the old god's horns.
And you dance around the maypole
while the vicar makes a toast
to the pagan celebration
and extends an invitation to us all
so he can save us when we fall.

Who's your leading lady?
Will you help to get her off the bus? It's best
to pass the test before you get too lazy.

Strike up the orchestra.
Take your cues on the up-beat/Beat down
Anyone who says he doesn't like the sound.

Back to the top of the page


Brain-storming, habit-forming, battle-warning weary winsome actor spewing spineless
chilling lines.
The critics falling over to tell themselves he's boring and really not an awful lot of fun.
Well who the hell can he be when he's never had V.D., and he doesn't even sit on
toilet seats?
Court-jesting, never-resting he must be very cunning to assume an air of dignity and
bless us all with his oratory prowess,
his lame-brained antics and his jumping in the air.
And every night his act's the same and so it must be all a game of chess he's playing,
but you're wrong, Steve. You see, it's only solitaire.

Critique Oblique

Critic of the black and white it's your first night.
The Passion Play gets in the way, spoils your insight.
Tell me how the baby's made, how the lady's laid,
Why the old dogs howl with sadness.

The blue thing in the ball leaves naught but a bloody footprint on the memory
of last summer's trip to Europe.
Did you buy a passport from the queen? Note parallel with APP's 'a knighthood from a queen'


And your little sister's immaculate virginity wings away on the bony shoulder
of a young horse named George who stole surreptitiously into her geography
The examining body examined her body.

Instrumental (6 mins)

Post Last

(One two three two)

Instrumental (3¾ mins)

The editor lies screaming (begging in his working drink),
Questioning "Who is God's favorite rock star this week?"
And will the front page pay him?
The deadline for the headline is the breadline.

Instrumental (1½ mins)

Back to the top of the page


In long years of ancient time, stood alone a friend of mine.
Reflected by the ever-burning sigh of a god who happened by.
And in the dawn, there came the song of some sweet lady singing in his ear.
Your god has gone, and from now on, you'll have to learn to hate the things you fear.
We want to know, are we inside the womb
of Passion Plays, and by righteousness consumed?
Or just in lush contentment of our souls?
And so began the age of man.
They left his body in the sand.

The glasses raised to a god on high who smiled upon them from the sky.
So take the stage. Spin down the ages. Loose the passion. Spill the rage upon your son
who holds the gun up to your head;
the play's begun.

Then God, the director, smells a rat.
Pulls another rabbit from His hat.
Sniffs the air and He says, "Well, that's that I'm going."


The actors milling helplessly the script is blowing out to sea.
But what the hell, we didn't even pass an audition.
The lines you'll have to improvise.
The words are written in the eyes of politicians who despise their fathers.
And so the play necessitates that all you boys participate
in fierce competition to eliminate each other.

And groupies, on their way to war, get to write the next film score.
But the rock and roll star knows his glory is really nothing.
Men of religion, on the make, pledge an oath they undertake
to make you white for God's own sake, and none other.
While ladies get their bedding done to win themselves a bouncing son,
but bad girls do it for the fun of just being.
And me, I'm here to sing along,
and I'm not concerned with righting wrongs,
just asking questions that belong without an answer.
But God is laughing up his sleeve
as He pours himself another cup of tea,
and He waves goodbye to you and me,
at least for now.

Back to the top of the page

No Rehearsal

Did you learn your lines today? Well, there is no rehearsal.
The tickets have all been sold for tomorrow's matinee.
There's a telegram from the writer, but there is no rehearsal.
The electrician has been told to make the spotlights brighter.
There's one seat in the circle, five hundred million in the stalls.
Simply everyone will be there, but the safety curtain falls
When the bomb that's in the dressing room
blows the windows from their frames.
And the prompter in his corner is sorry that he came.

Instrumental (2 mins)

There is one seat in the circle, five hundred million in the stalls.
Simply everyone will be there, but the safety curtain falls
When the bomb that's in the dressing room
blows the windows from their frames.
And the prompter in his corner is sorry that he came.

When the bomb that's in the dressing room
blows the windows from their frames.
And the prompter in his corner is sorry that he came.

Did you learn your lines today? Well there is no rehearsal.
The interval will last until the ice-cream lady melts away.
The twelve piece orchestra are here, but there is no rehearsal.
The first violinist's hands are chilled he's gone deaf in both ears.
Well, the scenery is colourful, but the paint is so damn thin.
You see the wall behind is crumbling, and the stage door is bricked-in.
But the audience keep arriving`till they're standing in the wings.
And we take the final curtain call, and the ceiling crashes in.

Ian Anderson
Magus Perde

All lyrics © 1973 Chrysalis Records, Ltd. Used with respect, but not permission.

APP lyrics
discussion from TalkTull Chateau d'Isaster ideas from the St. Cleve Chronicle
Site Search Return to the top of the page Links to other sites
Ronnie Pilgrim G.Oddie
Contact the MoI The internal structure of the MoI
the hare who lost his spectacles
Peter Dejour Classic progressive rock
To the main entrance Jethro Tull tour history Jethro Tull - 'A Passion Play' annotated The Ministry Of Information blog Designed by NRT, for the MoI
APP analysed
The foot of our stairs A Passion Play