"Hope In The Air" as written by and Laura Beatrice Marling....
There is a man that I know
For seventeen years he never spoke
Guess he had nothing to say
He opened his mouth on judgment day

I listened with all of my might
But was scared by the look in his eyes
Like he'd already lost the fight
And there was no hope ever in sight

No hope in the air,
No hope in the water,
Not even for me,
Your life serving daughter

I have seen men provoked
I have watched lives revoked
And I looked at my life and I choked
And from there, no more ever has spoke

Why fear death?
Be scared of living
Our hearts are small and ever thinning
There is no hope ever of winning
So why fear death?
Be scared of living

But I won't give up that quick
My life is a candle and a wick
You can't put it out but you can't break it down
In the end, we are waiting to be lit

There's hope in the air
There's hope in the water
But no hope for me, your life serving daughter

Speak minds handed down to you
By the lies handed down by your truth
Your angels that dance at your will
Will mask your scrambling youth

I forgave you your shortcomings
And ignored your childish behavior
Laid a kiss on your head
And before I left said,
"Stay away from fleeting favour"

Oh, pick up your rope, Lord
Sling it to me
If we are to battle, I must not be weak.
And give us your strength, World
and your food and your water
Oh I am your saviour,
Your life serving daughter

There's hope in the air
There's hope in the water
But sadly, not me, your life serving daughter


Lyrics submitted by seaports, edited by unstumpd, LouLopps, twitty

"Hope in the Air" as written by Laura Beatrice Marling

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Hope In The Air song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentI'm pretty sure this is about King Lear, from the view of Cordelia.

    Cordelia is his youngest daughter, she has 2 evil elder sisters. Lear asks his 3 daughters to say who loves him most. The elder two give long-winded and false speeches and their undying love, much to Lear's approval. When Cordelia is asked, she replies 'Nothing.'This sends Lear into a rage and he banishes her from the Kingdom. The word 'nothing' appears a lot in the play as a bad omen.

    The only people on her side are Kent and the Fool. The fool encourages Kent to leave Lear because he is clearly mad, but Kent refuses.


    'No hope in the air
    No hope in the water
    Not even for me
    Your last-serving daughter'
    -This refers to the recurring belief in the play that they are all doomed and there is no hope. Cordelia is Lear's last-serving daughter in that she is the only one who remains loyal to him.

    'From there no more ever I spoke.'
    -She says 'nothing'

    'A friend is a friend forever
    And a good one will never leave, never,'
    -Just as Kent never leaves the King

    'But you've never been south of what grows off your mouth
    You will never understand ever'
    -In his rages Lear uses brutal, monstrous language. He does not understand the effect it has on those he attacks, like he did to Cordelia.

    'The angels that dance at your will
    Will mask your scrambling youth'
    -His false daughters and courtiers dance around him, sucking up to him and flattering him. Disguising his age.

    'I forgave you your shortcomings
    And ignored your childish behaviour
    Laid a kiss on your head
    and before i left said
    stay away from fleeting favour'
    -Though he had wronged her, Cordelia forgave him and always loved him. Ignoring his childish tantrums and flaws. Before she left court, her last words were to warn him against the falseness of her sisters.

    Cordelia is hung at the end of the play, and Lear dies of broken heart.
    flibberdyjibberon October 20, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI agree with what fibberdyjibber said, partly. But my hypothesis is that it's about her own relationship with her father.

    There is a man that I know
    For seventeen years he never spoke
    Guess he had nothing to say
    He opened his mouth on judgment day

    Laura Marling was raised in a religious school, and probably in a religious home, and it may have been that her father was quiet, stoic, and emotionally unavailable. Perhaps he presented few words and less emotion to her until he laid down the law when she was 17 (He hopened his mouth on judgment day), probably in response to finding out she had done something against his beliefs - in my mind, probably something to do with a relationship of hers.

    I listened with all of my might
    But was scared by the look in his eyes
    Like he'd already lost the fight
    And there was no hope ever in sight

    She listened to his words, because the less one says, the more people pay attention when one does speak, but his anger terrified her after years of not seeing any emotion, positive or negative, from him. His look "like he'd already lost the fight" is his anger at losing his daughter to worldly ways, and that "there was no hope ever in sight" - that she'd never be the little girl she once was in his eyes.

    No hope in the air,
    No hope in the water,
    Not even for me,
    Your last serving daughter

    He felt hopeless after this experience, even toward his last remaining daughter (Laura was the youngest)

    Why fear death? Be scared of living
    Oh, hearts are small and ever thinning
    There is no hope ever of winning
    So why fear death? Be scared of living

    Laura had a fear of death around this time, and perhaps the first and last line is her teling herself that life is far worse than death could ever be. "Hearts are small and ever-thinning" could be saying to her father that people become more jaded as they get older, so why not forgive her and let her keep her heart young? But alas, "there is no hope ever of winning" this particular argument.

    I have seen men provoked
    I have watched lives revoked
    And I looked at my life and I choked
    And from there, no more ever has spoke

    She had seen a lot in her few years, but despite that when she looked back on her actions, she was apalled at her own behavior (a feeling brought on more by her father's disapproval than by a breach of her own morals). And after that, she was scared of relationships because of the anger they could cause in her own family.

    But I won't give up that quick
    My life is a candle and a wick
    You can't put it out but you can't break it down
    In the end, we are waiting to be lit

    Despite her father's rage, she won't give up living her life the way she wants to that easily, viewing life as a "candle and a wick", waiting to be lit by the life she could have.

    There's hope in the air
    There's hope in the water
    But no hope for me,
    Your last serving daughter

    Her father recovers from his pain, and regains hope, but not in her.

    A friend is a friend forever
    And a good one will never leave, never
    But you've never been south of what rolls off your mouth
    You will never understand, ever

    Despite her father's emotional unavailability, she still had a friendship with him, and that will not change, but because he's "never been south of what rolls off [his] mouth" - that is to say, he's never experienced the kind of relationships she is experiencing - he will never understand what she's going through, or why she did what she did.

    Speak minds handed down to you
    By the lies handed down by your truth
    Your angels that dance at your will
    Will mask your scrambling youth

    The first two lines may be a reference to her father's religion, all his life having had his opinions handed down to him by the lies handed down by his Truth (religion). His "angels that dance at his will" may be his other two daughters, who ended up how he wanted them to be, thus "making his scrambling youth" - he lived vicariously through raising them "properly," to fill the void of his lack of passionate relationships.

    I forgave you your shortcomings
    And ignored your childish behavior
    Laid a kiss on your head
    And before I left said,
    "Stay away from fleeting favour"

    She forgave him his shortcomings and his childish rejection of her right to make her own decisions. She left the family home (she moved to London at 16 - maybe 17 was poetic license, and the events occured at a previous time), still loving him, but telling him to beware his other daughters' apparent acceptance of his doctrines.

    Oh, pick up your rope, Lord, sling it to me
    If we are to battle, I must not be weak.
    And give us your strength, World, and your food and your water
    Oh I am your saviour, your last serving daughter

    I think these are the most powerful lines in the song. The first two lines are a challenge to the religion she had been raised with, and her saying "if I have to fight this faith for the rest of my life, I can't do it weakly." She then asks the world of human nature to provide her with sustainence she now lacks after leaving the church, saying that she is now a partisan for her cause and that of those like her, the "last serving daughter" of the carnal world.

    This is what this song says to me. Perhaps I relate to it in this way through my own experiences (it's the story of my life o.o), but this is my interpretation of this beautiful, haunting song.
    meigwokyanon December 15, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Comment'you speak minds handed down to you
    by the lies handed down by your children
    and your angels that dance to your will
    to mask your scrambling fail

    I forgave you, your short comings
    and ignored your childish behavior
    let a kiss on your head
    and before I left said, "stay away from fleeting failure."'

    I love those lines so much. Great song...the entire new album is just wonderful.
    missmeon March 28, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"why fear death
    be scared of living
    oh, hearts are small and ever thinning
    there is no hope ever of winning
    oh, why fear death
    be scared of living"

    that's my favourite :)
    with most Laura songs, i can never say exactly what the song's meaning is, but more the feeling of it. for this one, i would say it's about life and uncertainty and that feeling of insignificantness. also, that hopelessness of how little you can do to change things. it's about being blind and unaware of our world. it's about a lot of things.

    obviously, this is probably just what i want to hear :)
    newromanticwayon April 18, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI might be way off base here, but there are bits of this that sounds like the narrator is arguing with/berating god

    "pick up your rope, Lord
    sling it to me
    if we are to battle, I must not be weak
    and give us your strength, Lord
    our food and your water
    oh, I am your savior
    your last serving daughter"

    el_hon July 15, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this site but too often than not the lyrics are incorrect. I mean some of these lines for Laura's song don't even make sense.
    mmm4dmbon May 08, 2013   Link

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