"Dance Me to the End of Love" as written by and Leonard Cohen....
Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic till I'm gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Oh, let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone
Let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon
Show me slowly what I only know the limits of
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on
Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long
We're both of us beneath our love, we're both of us above
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the children who are asking to be born
Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn
Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn
Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic till I'm gathered safely in
Touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love


Lyrics submitted by Fistan

"Dance Me to the End of Love" as written by Leonard Cohen

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Dance Me to the End of Love song meanings
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21 Comments

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  • +5
    General CommentThe song title 'Dance Me to the End of Love' is explaining that something, anything that seems strong or eternal, even love, has an end. This relates directly to the song itself.

    The song is about the string quartet who were forced to play beside the crematoriums in the death camps. The members of the quartet were going to be killed after in the crematorium but were allowed to play music. This playing of music is joy and happiness to the members of the quartet, the last piece of love and joy they will experience before their end.

    The song lyrics themselves describe a man and woman who are dancing, yet the man is asking for the woman to dance him or help him to do many things. This couple are exactly like the string quartet. Both of these groups of people are going to be killed in the crematorium but, they can experience joy, whether it'd be playing music or dancing, for the last time until before their end. It shows that both these groups, predominantly the couple, are enjoying themselves through something they love and are forgetting all their troubles and concerns of their deaths. He is asking her to take them back to happier times and reflect on their lives and realise the happiness in their lives before their end.

    Key lines
    "Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin" - String quartet's instruments burned in crematorium
    "Show me slowly what I only know the limits of" - Only know limits of life physically so, he wants her to take him back to a happier time in their dance.
    "We're both of us beneath our love, we're both of us above" - our love is joy and happiness, they will die so they are beneath it, yet they are happy and joyful before they die so they are above
    "Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn" - wants her to take him back to an early time where they were young, happy and exuberant
    "Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn" - encapsulate this moment of joy before our death, even though we know the inevitable will happen
    Lucho23on February 28, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhen I hear this intense emotional song I visualise a very old couple, still together after many many years and still in love, dancing with eachother quietly.
    Non April 20, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Commentvery soothing...
    asnowfallon March 30, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti think this song is just about wnting love and not caring about what comes with it
    he just wants his lover to be there the whole time and he doesnt particular care what else happens
    joeosbornemusicon June 15, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it's all of the above. It's about a lifelong dance partner. A young couple learning about life. Learning, laughing, living, loving, growing old together. A dance partner in the dance of life, until the music stops.

    The song is chronological: courtship, marriage, children, then aging and death.

    The last lines are:

    "Dance me through the panic till I'm gathered safely in"
    The panic is the process and fear of dying. I'm afraid, so hold my hand and dance me until I'm gathered safely in.

    "Touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove"

    The naked hand is the flesh. The glove is a metaphor for the touch of your memory after you are gone. You may be gone, but your love remains. Your memory is there to dance me in my heart. Dance me to the end of love.
    Hoponthebusguson February 11, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is by far the most romantic song I've ever known.
    I love every line of this song, but a few stand out: "Dance me to the children who are asking to be born"--my knees go weak over that one. Or: "Raise a tent of shelter now though every thread is torn" suggesting they have few posessions but their love is enough to sustain them.
    I fantasize about re-marrying my husband just so that this can be our (second) wedding song!
    nursejenon February 07, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI don't know if it's the music, or the lyrics, or both, but this song creeps me out.
    misterbojangleson February 14, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is about getting married. they dance "through the panic" of their nervousness but then theyre "safely in." later, after the wedding when "the witnesses are gone" they consummate the marriage and "move like they do in babylon." (babylon being the place of sin). then he describes their affection for each other outlasting any possession, such as their curtains. and at the end of the song, he repeats the verse about the burning violin to show that the passion from the beginning of the relationship is still alive. leonard cohen is AWESOME.
    sploogerellaon January 03, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBeing creeped out might not be all that weird, considering this quote from an interview with Cohen:

    "'Dance Me To The End Of Love' ... it's curious how songs begin because the origin of the song, every song, has a kind of grain or seed that somebody hands you or the world hands you and that's why the process is so mysterious about writing a song. But that came from just hearing or reading or knowing that in the death camps, beside the crematoria, in certain of the death camps, a string quartet was pressed into performance while this horror was going on, those were the people whose fate was this horror also. And they would be playing classical music while their fellow prisoners were being killed and burnt. So, that music, "Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin," meaning the beauty there of being the consummation of life, the end of this existence and of the passionate element in that consummation. But, it is the same language that we use for surrender to the beloved, so that the song -- it's not important that anybody knows the genesis of it, because if the language comes from that passionate resource, it will be able to embrace all passionate activity."

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    anoton January 05, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentstarted collecting Cohen's written words 45 years ago. Dance Me to the End of Love is probably my favorite song. It's deliriously sensuous and romantic. Even after all this time, the man's talent takes my breath away. Maybe one day I will get to see him live.
    CeciliaDeron November 28, 2012   Link

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