All along the watchtower
The whole scenery switches as we go into this verse. We go from the outskirts of town, to right up on the edges of it where the watchtowers are.
This verse seems to be somewhat similar in language to a passage in the Bible; Isaiah Chapter 21, verses 5-9, where it reads
“Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise ye princes, and prepare the shield. For thus hath the Lord said unto me, go set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth. And he saw a chariot with a couple of horsemen, a chariot of asses, and a chariot of camels; and he hearkened diligently with such heed…And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground”
The watchtowers here could be viewed in the Biblical sense, as the towers set up outside of Babylon to protect from intruders.
Or, as this song was released around the time of the Vietnam War, the watchtowers could be a reference to the actual watchtowers France set up all around Vietnam when they conquered parts of it. If you look at it this way, the conflict that the thief and joker have talked about have to due with the turmoil in America during war time, when the country wasn’t sure what to do.
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