RECENT SONGS

September 1979




Click on the song title to see the lyrics, or just scroll down.

Click on the RealAudio or WAV button next to the song
title to hear a 30 second sound clip from the official
Sony site: www.leonardcohen.com.
Copyright © 1979 Sony Music Entertainment (Canada) Inc.


1. The Guests 6:37
2. Humbled in Love 5:13
3. The Window 5:55
4. Came So Far For Beauty 4:02
5. The Lost Canadian (Un Canadien Errant) 4:40
6. The Traitor 6:14
7. Our Lady of Solitude 3:12
8. The Gypsy's Wife 5:11
9. The Smokey Life 5:17
10. Ballad of the Absent Mare 6:21

Total time 52:50. CBS 86097

Below: original photo for the cover art.
Copyright © 1979 by Hazel Field, Quebec, Canada.
Hazel shot the photo in the autumn of 1979 during Harry Rasky's
filming of The Song of Leonard Cohen. The documentary was
filmed in Montreal and Europe. Photo used by permission.




The Guests

One by one, the guests arrive
The guests are coming through
The open-hearted many
The broken-hearted few

And no one knows where the night is going
And no one knows why the wine is flowing
Oh love I need you
I need you
I need you
I need you
Oh . . . I need you now

And those who dance, begin to dance
Those who weep begin
And "Welcome, welcome" cries a voice
"Let all my guests come in."

And no one knows where the night is going ...

And all go stumbling through that house
in lonely secrecy
Saying "Do reveal yourself"
or "Why has thou forsaken me?"

And no one knows where the night is going ...

All at once the torches flare
The inner door flies open
One by one they enter there
In every style of passion

And no one knows where the night is going ...

And here they take their sweet repast
While house and grounds dissolve
And one by one the guests are cast
Beyond the garden wall

And no one knows where the night is going ...

Those who dance, begin to dance
Those who weep begin
Those who earnestly are lost
Are lost and lost again

And no one knows where the night is going ...

One by one the guests arrive
The guests are coming through
The broken-hearted many
The open-hearted few

And no one knows where the night is going ...


Humbled in Love

Do you remember all of those pledges
That we pledged in the passionate night
Ah they're soiled now, they're torn at the edges
Like moths on a still yellow light
No penance serves to renew them
No massive transfusions of trust
Why not even revenge can undo them
So twisted these vows and so crushed

And you say you've been humbled in love
Cut down in your love
Forced to kneel in the mud next to me
Ah but why so bitterly turn from the one
Who kneels there as deeply as thee

Children have taken these pledges
They have ferried them out of the past
Oh beyond all the graves and the hedges
Where love must go hiding at last
And here where there is no description
Oh here in the moment at hand
No sinner need rise up forgiven
No victim need limp to the stand

And you say you've been humbled in love...

And look dear heart, look at the virgin
Look how she welcomes him into her gown
Yes, and mark how the stranger's cold armour
Dissolves like a star falling down
Why trade this vision for desire
When you may have them both
You will never see a man this naked
I will never hold a woman this close

And you say you've been humbled in love...


The Window

Why do you stand by the window
Abandoned to beauty and pride
The thorn of the night in your bosom
The spear of the age in your side
Lost in the rages of fragrance
Lost in the rags of remorse
Lost in the waves of a sickness
That loosens the high silver nerves

Oh chosen love, Oh frozen love
Oh tangle of matter and ghost
Oh darling of angels, demons and saints
And the whole broken-hearted host
Gentle this soul

And come forth from the cloud of unknowing
And kiss the cheek of the moon
The New Jerusalem glowing
Why tarry all night in the ruin
And leave no word of discomfort
And leave no observer to mourn
But climb on your tears and be silent
Like a rose on its ladder of thorns

Oh chosen love, Oh frozen love...

Then lay your rose on the fire
The fire give up to the sun
The sun give over to splendour
In the arms of the high holy one
For the holy one dreams of a letter
Dreams of a letter's death
Oh bless thee continuous stutter
Of the word being made into flesh

Oh chosen love, Oh frozen love...

Gentle this soul


I Came So Far For Beauty

I came so far for beauty
I left so much behind
My patience and my family
My masterpiece unsigned
I thought I'd be rewarded
For such a lonely choice
And surely she would answer
To such a very hopeless voice
I practiced all my sainthood
I gave to one and all
But the rumours of my virtue
They moved her not at all
I changed my style to silver
I changed my clothes to black
And where I would surrender
Now I would attack
I stormed the old casino
For the money and the flesh
And I myself decided
What was rotten and what was fresh
And men to do my bidding
And broken bones to teach
The value of my pardon
The shadow of my reach
But no, I could not touch her
With such a heavy hand
Her star beyond my order
Her nakedness unmanned
I came so far for beauty
I left so much behind
My patience and my family
My masterpiece unsigned


Un Canadien Errant (The Lost Canadian)

(by Antoine Gerin-Lajoie)

Un Canadien Errant
Banni de ses foyers,
Parcourait en pleurant
Des pays etrangers.
Parcourait en pleurant
Des pays etrangers.

Un jour, triste et pensif,
Assis au bord des flots,
Au courant fugitif
Il adressa ces mots:
Au courant fugitif
Il adressa ces mots:

"Si tu vois mon pays,
Mon pays malheureux,
Va dire a mes amis
Que je me souviens d'eux.
Va dire a mes amis
Que je me souviens d'eux.

O jours si pleins d'appas,
Vous etes disparus...
Et ma patrie, helas!
Je ne la verrai plus.
Et ma patrie, helas!
Je ne la verrai plus.

[A wandering Canadian,
banned from his hearths,
travelled while crying
in foreign lands.
travelled while crying
in foreign lands.

One day, sad and pensive,
sitting by the flowing waters,
to the fleeing current
he addressed these words:
to the fleeing current
he addressed these words:

If you see my country,
my unhappy country,
go tell my friends
that I remember them.
go tell my friends
that I remember them.

O days so full of charms,
you have vanished...
And my native land, alas!
I will see it no more.
And my native land, alas!
I will see it no more.]


The Traitor

Now the Swan it floated on the English river
Ah the Rose of High Romance it opened wide
A sun tanned woman yearned me through the summer
and the judges watched us from the other side

I told my mother "Mother I must leave you
preserve my room but do not shed a tear
Should rumour of a shabby ending reach you
it was half my fault and half the atmosphere"

But the Rose I sickened with a scarlet fever
and the Swan I tempted with a sense of shame
She said at last I was her finest lover
and if she withered I would be to blame

The judges said you missed it by a fraction
rise up and brace your troops for the attack
Ah the dreamers ride against the men of action
Oh see the men of action falling back

But I lingered on her thighs a fatal moment
I kissed her lips as though I thirsted still
My falsity had stung me like a hornet
The poison sank and it paralysed my will

I could not move to warn all the younger soldiers
that they had been deserted from above
So on battlefields from here to Barcelona
I'm listed with the enemies of love

And long ago she said "I must be leaving,
Ah but keep my body here to lie upon
You can move it up and down and when I'm sleeping
Run some wire through that Rose and wind the Swan"

So daily I renew my idle duty
I touch her here and there -- I know my place
I kiss her open mouth and I praise her beauty
and people call me traitor to my face


Our Lady of Solitude

All summer long she touched me
She gathered in my soul
From many a thorn, from many thickets
Her fingers, like a weaver's
Quick and cool

And the light came from her body
And the night went through her grace
All summer long she touched me
And I knew her, I knew her
Face to face

And her dress was blue and silver
And her words were few and small
She is the vessel of the whole wide world
Mistress, oh mistress, of us all

Dear Lady; Queen of Solitude
I thank you with my heart
for keeping me so close to thee
while so many, oh so many, stood apart

And the light came from her body
And the night went through her grace
All summer long she touched me
I knew her, I knew her
Face to face


The Gypsy's Wife

And where, where, where is my Gypsy wife tonight
I've heard all the wild reports, they can't be right
But whose head is this she's dancing with on the threshing floor
whose darkness deepens in her arms a little more

And where, where is my Gypsy wife tonight?
Where, where is my Gypsy wife tonight?

Ah the silver knives are flashing in the tired old cafe
A ghost climbs on the table in a bridal negligee
She says, "My body is the light, my body is the way"
I raise my arm against it all and I catch the bride's bouquet

And where, where is my Gypsy wife tonight?...

Too early for the rainbow, too early for the dove
These are the final days, this is the darkness, this is the flood
And there is no man or woman who can't be touched
But you who come between them will be judged

And where, where is my Gypsy wife tonight?...


The Smokey Life

I've never seen your eyes so wide
I've never seen your appetite quite this occupied
Elsewhere is your feast of love
I know ... where long ago we agreed to keep it light
So lets be married one more night

It's light, light enough
To let it go
It's light enough to let it go

Remember when the scenery started fading
I held you til you learned to walk on air
So don't look down the ground is gone,
there's no one waiting anyway
The Smoky Life is practiced
Everywhere

So set your restless heart at ease
Take a lesson from these Autumn leaves
They waste no time waiting for the snow
Don't argue now you'll be late
There is nothing to investigate

It's light enough, light enough
To let it go
Light enough to let it go

Remember when the scenery started fading
I held you til you learned to walk on air
So don't look down the ground is gone,
there's no one waiting anyway
The Smoky Life is practiced everywhere

Come on back if the moment lends
You can look up all my very closest friends

Light, light enough
To let it go
It's light enough to let it go


Ballad of the Absent Mare

Say a prayer for the cowboy
His mare's run away
And he'll walk til he finds her
His darling, his stray
but the river's in flood
and the roads are awash
and the bridges break up
in the panic of loss.

And there's nothing to follow
There's nowhere to go
She's gone like the summer
gone like the snow
And the crickets are breaking
his heart with their song
as the day caves in
and the night is all wrong

Did he dream, was it she
who went galloping past
and bent down the fern
broke open the grass
and printed the mud with
the iron and the gold
that he nailed to her feet
when he was the lord

And although she goes grazing
a minute away
he tracks her all night
he tracks her all day
Oh blind to her presence
except to compare
his injury here
with her punishment there

Then at home on a branch
in the highest tree
a songbird sings out
so suddenly
Ah the sun is warm
and the soft winds ride
on the willow trees
by the river side

Oh the world is sweet
the world is wide
and she's there where
the light and the darkness divide
and the steam's coming off her
she's huge and she's shy
and she steps on the moon
when she paws at the sky

And she comes to his hand
but she's not really tame
She longs to be lost
he longs for the same
and she'll bolt and she'll plunge
through the first open pass
to roll and to feed
in the sweet mountain grass

Or she'll make a break
for the high plateau
where there's nothing above
and there's nothing below
and it's time for the burden
it's time for the whip
Will she walk through the flame
Can he shoot from the hip

So he binds himself
to the galloping mare
and she binds herself
to the rider there
and there is no space
but there's left and right
and there is no time
but there's day and night

And he leans on her neck
and he whispers low
"Whither thou goest
I will go"
And they turn as one
and they head for the plain
No need for the whip
Ah, no need for the rein

Now the clasp of this union
who fastens it tight?
Who snaps it asunder
the very next night
Some say the rider
Some say the mare
Or that love's like the smoke
beyond all repair

But my darling says
"Leonard, just let it go by
That old silhouette
on the great western sky"
So I pick out a tune
and they move right along
and they're gone like the smoke
and they're gone like this song



Copyright © 1979 Leonard Cohen,
Sony/ATV Music Publishing Canada Company
and Antoine Gerin-Lajoie




[PREV PAGE] [NEXT PAGE] [INDEX PAGE] [SUB INDEX PAGE]