The Traitor Lyrics - Leonard Cohen

Review The Song (2)



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
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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






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about The Traitor | Reviewer: mni | 12/5/12

From The Netherlands,
for me The Traitor is about an englishman who got the scarletfever and went to fight with the Reds in Spain against Franco.

But this volunteer died when he lingered on her side (trench) and is kissed by mustard gas. He is not able to tell the other soldiers in the trench nor the ones in the lands of the mothers. Betrayed by politicians and betraying his own life with fatal daydreams.

Silence | Reviewer: Somabho Raychaudhuri | 8/1/07

Dear Leonard,
The meaning of your song rests in meaninglessness.The swan and the battlefield are lost in this chaotic cosmos.And the Supreme One is sleeping.



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------ Performed by Leonard Cohen

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------ 08/28/2014

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