Tag Archives: The Traitor

The Traitor, Leonard Cohen With Martha Wainright (from I’m Your Man Show)


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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 she’d 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

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“The Traitor”, LEONARD COHEN


“The Traitor”,  LEONARD COHEN

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

The Traitor_Martha Wainwright_Leonard Cohen_I’m Your Man



A divine composition based on a unique poem, made a complete Leonard Cohen pièce de résistance, and the rendition beyond the realm of words by Martha Wainwright not to forget the out of this world musical arrangement: I am so happy to be able to appreciate this historic moment of excellence in the making. The explanation given by Mr. Cohen to the meaning of the verse describes a predicament in which each and every one of us found ourselves at least once in life, which makes it our life story, within which we can dissolve completely.

The world is indeed the theater in which we’re actors, directors and spectators:

The traitor, by Leonard Cohen

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 

Leonard Cohen: “It was called “The Traitor”. It was about the feeling that we have of betraying some mission that we were mandated to fulfill, and being unable to fulfill it, and then coming to understand that the real mandate was not to fulfill it, and that the deeper courage was to stand guiltless in the predicament in which you found yourself”.

Leonard Cohen: The Traitor with Martha Wainwright (featured in the special features of the DVD “I’m Your Man”)



The traitor, by Leonard Cohen

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 

Leonard Cohen: “It was called “The traitor”. It was about the feeling that we have of betraying some mission that we were mandated to fulfill, and being unable to fulfill it, and then coming to understand that the real mandate was not to fulfill it, and that the deeper courage was to stand guiltless in the predicament in which you found yourself”.