"Only If for a Night" as written by and Florence Welch Paul Epworth....
And I had a dream
About my old school
And she was there all pink and gold and glittering
I threw my arms around her legs
Came to weeping (came to weeping)
Came to weeping (came to weeping)

And I heard your voice
As clear as day
And you told me I should concentrate
It was all so strange
And so surreal
That a ghost should be so practical
Only if for a night

And the only solution was to stand and fight
And my body was bruised and I was set alight
But you came over me like some holy rite
And although I was burning, you're the only light
Only if for a night

And the grass was so green against my new clothes
And I did cartwheels in your honour
Dancing on tiptoes
My own secret ceremonials
Before the service began
In the graveyard doing handstands

And I heard your voice
As clear as day
And you told me I should concentrate
It was all so strange
And so surreal
That a ghost should be so practical
Only if for a night

And the only solution was to stand and fight
And my body was bruised and I was set alight
But you came over me like some holy rite
And although I was burning, you're the only light
Only if for a night

Madam, my dear, my darling
Tell me what all the sighing's about
Tell me what all the sighing's about

And I heard your voice
As clear as day
And you told me I should concentrate
It was all so strange
And so surreal
That a ghost should be so practical
Only if for a night

Only if for a night


Lyrics submitted by llscience, edited by Mellow_Harsher, notcanadian

"Only If for a Night" as written by Florence Welch Paul Epworth

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

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Only If for a Night song meanings
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18 Comments

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  • +15
    General CommentFlorence's long dead Grandma comes back as a ghost in a dream to give Florence practical advice, against the backdrop of her old school (she was a schoolgirl when her gran passed away). For Florence, it is as if her Grandma is alive again, if only for a night, and in the dream, Florence celebrates by doing cartwheels. Sad and beautiful. This song is about loving and remembering the dead,
    yhtrownuon October 22, 2011   Link
  • +6
    My InterpretationAfter listening to this song for the hundredth time, I think I have formed my opinion on what this song is about. It's obvious from Flo's other songs that she has battled depression. Her grandmother committed suicide. Perhaps Flo was going through a particularly dark time, contemplating suicide, self harming ("My body was bruised and was set alight). In this dark time, her grandmother came to her, in a dream or in her imagination, to help her through it, convincing her not to hurt herself (And you told me I should concentrate), to fight through her depression (And the only solution was to stand and fight).

    This is an absolutely beautiful song that carries so much meaning for different people. My interpretation may or may not be right but that's how I see it.
    Musicats78on August 21, 2012   Link
  • +5
    General Commentthis song is even more beautiful when you know the meaning behind the lyrics. such a lovely, sad song.
    Bethie09on October 22, 2011   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI think the line is "My body was bruised," not "My body was loose", and "my doll, my dear, my darling", not "Madam, my dear, my dame". The 'ghost' is using terms of endearment, offering some comfort and wanting to know what's troubling her and offering advice.
    LadyMonstrouson November 12, 2011   Link
  • +4
    My InterpretationI know this song is about Florence's grandma, but the reason I love this song is because for me, personally, I think this song is not just about the dead. This song is about anyone you have ever loved and missed, and the longing to be with them once more, only if for night. I mean that's basically the gist of the song anyways, but everyone knows it's written for Florence's grandma.

    Love this song so much <3
    sappire999on February 12, 2013   Link
  • +3
    General CommentFlorence stated in in interview that she wrote this about a dream she had where her dead grandmother visited her near her old school and gave her some career advise. she said that she thought it strange that sometthing spiritual could be so practical. She also said it was partly inspired by joan of arc and about dreams and visions
    scoobydogon November 12, 2012   Link
  • +2
    My OpinionProbably my favorite off of Ceremonials . Such a good song.
    sdrosario1on October 22, 2011   Link
  • +2
    My OpinionI've got no idea why but I keep hearing "came to repay" instead of "came to weeping" in the first verse. I guess it kind of makes sense both ways.

    I heard about her grandmother committing suicide but for some reason didn't associate this song with that event in Florence's life. This is such a bittersweet song. I can relate. May you RIP, Gran. <3
    TheChronicRon December 15, 2011   Link
  • +1
    My OpinionThis song touches me in a thousand ways. My mother passed away two months ago, and everytime i listen to this song,it just gets me. I imagine my mother before the sickness creeped in,and how i would always want to make her proud,and i see my myself too doing cartwheels in front of her,and her clapping with glee....and by the service beginning in the graveyward,i envision her having to leave.As though the reality comes back in ,but i earnestly try and make her stay by doing one last handstand...

    Florence and The Machine once again wrote a masterpiece.
    Dream2Beon December 24, 2011   Link
  • +1
    Lyric CorrectionIsn't it:
    And the only solution was to stand and fight
    And my body was loose and I was set alight
    But you came over me like some holy rite
    And although I was burning, you're the only light

    Anyway, my personal favourite off the album, I really hope she makes it a single <3
    lushsnowfairyon December 28, 2011   Link

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