Quinn The Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)

I listened to this song last night during a 4-mile jog. As I was listening to it, I wondered about the lyrics and their meaning. I think that the version I listened to was recorded by Manfred Mann, but I notice online today that the song was actually written by Bob Dylan.

Here is an interesting interpretation of the song by Jim Trombetta. According to Trombetta, the song is about the apocolypse, which sounds reasonable to me, given the lyrics.

Evidently, The Grateful Dead also recorded this song. I don't think I have ever heard their version.

Here are the lyrics (my thoughts are in parentheses):

Ev'rybody's building the big ships and the boats,Some are building monuments,Others, jotting down notes, (different strokes for different folks as the world comes to an end. Some follow Noah's example of building an Ark.) Ev'rybody's in despair,Ev'ry girl and boy (it's not a happy time.) But when Quinn the Eskimo gets here,Ev'rybody's gonna jump for joy. (Who is Quinn? It's the essential question. Is he a Jesus like figure? Is he Jesus? Is he God? Is it a boy or a girl? What is the significance of Quinn being an Eskimo? And, is he simply named after Anthony Quinn who played an eskimo around the time this song was written?) Come all without, come all within, (everyone is invited. everyone.) You'll not see nothing like the mighty Quinn. (Quinn is "mighty", and there is nothing like him.) I like to do just like the rest, (I am normal) I like my sugar sweet,But guarding fumes and making haste,It ain't my cup of meat. (Assuming guarding fumes is really "jumping Qs", as I've seen elsehwere, this line has sexual conotations. It appears that the speaker is saying that he is not homosexual.) Ev'rybody's 'neath the trees,Feeding pigeons on a limbBut when Quinn the Eskimo gets here,All the pigeons gonna run to him. (Nature is naturally attracted to Quinn.) Come all without, come all within,You'll not see nothing like the mighty Quinn.A cat's meow and a cow's moo, I can recite 'em all (More Noah allegory??),Just tell me where it hurts yuh, honey,And I'll tell you who to call. (??) Nobody can get no sleep,There's someone on ev'ryone's toes (people are stressed out to the max!! Nobody is relaxing.) But when Quinn the Eskimo gets here,Ev'rybody's gonna wanna doze. (Quinn will calm everyone down.) Come all without, come all within,You'll not see nothing like the mighty Quinn.


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