One night many years ago on a long forgotten way
I came across a sight so grim it haunts me to this day
An old man lay just off the road, hands clutched to his chest
barely hanging onto life and looking for some rest.
His hair was long and white – it got tangled in the breeze
and the lines etched in his face were like the rings etched in the trees
There was something cold and eerie ’bout the way he drew his breath
’cause it was just like he’d been breathing in the very night itself.
He said, “Hey boy, come closer, there’s a tale behind these tears
’bout the way that death’s been chasing me these last three thousand years
I’ve been everywhere there is to go, seen all there is to see
from the iron fist of pharaohs to the new democracy.
I’ve walked the sands of Canaan,
I’ve climbed the hills of Rome
I’ve been everywhere and still I swear,
ain’t never had a home
I always knew that I could stay
for just a little while
’cause death was right behind me
every step of every mile.
I thought for sure I’d lost him when I fought the wars of Spain
but I’d lay in camp each night and hear him echoing my name
So I marched on to England and I took the Isle of Mann
but in the shadow of my victory I felt his creeping hand.
I pirated the ocean,
had command of every wave
till the water seemed to taunt me
like it was my would-be grave
Then I settled in America
and fought the Civil War
where I remained a bounty hunter
right through 1884.
Now I’m all out of running, ain’t nowhere for me to go
I’ve fought my final battle, I’ve tried everything I know
And if you listen closely boy, you’ll hear his footsteps too
Just remember, once he takes me, he’ll be coming after you.”