Come over to the window, my little darling
I'd like to try to read your palm
I used to think I was some kind of Gypsy boy
Before I let you take me home

Now so long, Marianne, it's time that we began
To laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again

Well you know that I love to live with you
But you make me forget so very much
I forget to pray for the angels
And then the angels forget to pray for us

Now so long, Marianne, it's time that we began

We met when we were almost young
Deep in the green lilac park
You held on to me like I was a crucifix
As we went kneeling through the dark

Oh so long, Marianne, it's time that we began

Your letters they all say that you're beside me now
Then why do I feel alone?
I'm standing on a ledge and your fine spider web
Is fastening my ankle to a stone

Now so long, Marianne, it's time that we began

For now I need your hidden love
I'm cold as a new razor blade
You left when I told you I was curious
I never said that I was brave

Oh so long, Marianne, it's time that we began

Oh, you are really such a pretty one
I see you've gone and changed your name again
And just when I climbed this whole mountainside
To wash my eyelids in the rain

Oh so long, Marianne, it's time that we began



Lyrics submitted by Hosimosi

"So Long, Marianne" as written by Leonard Cohen

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Lyrics powered by LyricFind


So Long, Marianne song meanings
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37 Comments

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  • +8
    General Comment:I think the line about 'you've gone and changed your name again' means she has re-married.
    To me this song is to an ex-girlfriend explaining why they broke up but he is saying that he still loves her and wants to be in touch again to 'laugh and cry' about the past because so much time has passed they should be able to now.
    The first verse is explaining how he thinks of himself as a ‘gypsy boy’ a free spirit who has no material home until the day when he submitted to her and let her take him home and look after him. The second verse is saying how he loved this life but it wasn’t how he wanted to live and there were more important things for him to be doing rather than just being happy and loved up. I think he felt she was smothering him and making him lose sight of his original goals and the path he was on to begin with. I think the relationship ended because he felt he was being tied down: 'you held on to me like i was a crucifix' and 'your fine spiderweb fastening my ankle to a stone' and he woke up one morning feeling alone and isolated. He blamed her for the way he felt and was ‘cold as a new razor blade’ to her so eventually she left.
    I have absolutely no idea what the last 2 lines mean tho ‘…to wash my eyelids in the rain’ !!
    That’s just my interpretation but whatever it means it is a lovely song!
    corrinacorrinaon November 07, 2007   Link
  • +4
    General Comment:Still though, I think the Marianne he refers to in the song is Marianne Ihlens, his girlfriend and muse through the sixties. She is the woman pictured on the back of the cover to "Songs From A Room". They lived together for ten years on the greek island of Hydra.
    Amalieon August 28, 2005   Link
  • +4
    General Comment:This is the song I can relate to more than any other song. I met a lady named Marianne in my late 20's, she in her early 30's ("we met when we were almost young"). She introduced me to Cohen's music and taught me what love is. Her inspiration got me started in writing poetry.
    I was married at the time and she couldn't wait for me, so she moved on and later married ("i see you've gone and changed your name again").
    Although we separated 12 years ago, we still have contact with each other. We are soul mates and the day will come when we will ("cry and laugh and laugh and cry about it all again") and I can stop ("to wash my eyelids in the rain").
    _gandalfon January 05, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General Comment:The most beautiful thing in this song, to me, is the absence of bitterness, even if the relationship has ended. In fact, he's asking that they should "laugh and cry" about all of it, like two old friends would over childhood memories.

    The song begins with how they were at the beginning; reading palms by the window, growing out of his Gypsy boy phase... Their love was perhaps a bit naive ('almost' young), the kind where one takes the role of a savior (like a crucifix), where one 'forgets' things that are dear to him/her...

    In this song, it feels like he was the first to realize what was missing ('why do I feel alone?') but he couldn't leave, feeling tied down by her. The actual reason for their breakup is that he was 'curious'. That, to me, doesn't say much, but that's probably the point. It sounds vague and lacks commitment. Imagine asking "Will you always love me?" and being answered "I'm curious to see if I will"... this is typically where women's sirens go off ;) He then excuses himself with "I never said that I was brave". Not brave enough to leave, not brave enough to keep her. In the end, it had to be her that leaves him.

    I think it's possible to truly love someone knowing that you're not made for each other. Hence, the lack of bitterness I find in this song. So long, Marianne! I still think you're pretty, I still care about you. So long!

    Washing my eyelids in the rain. I've done this. Rain is often a metaphor for sadness (in books, movies, etc). Nothing feels better than to cry in the rain with your nose pointing at the stars (looking *up*, not down). Feels like the whole world is crying with you and at the same time, it washes your own tears away...
    powetteon July 23, 2008   Link
  • +3
    General Comment:Ok. I am sorry, but I think my interpretation of this song is going to be a bit darker, but still- doesn't mean that this song isn't beautiful. this song is deep deep love, at a point where love is not the shiny, naive, pretty image of a sunrise, but the sad, melancholic, pensieve and painful image of a sunset. and as usual, these two extremes touch each other.

    If you read a little more about leonard cohen, you will realise that he went through a probably very long phase of depression during his life, at times also coined by thoughts of suicide.
    It is important to get this hint when listening to leonard cohen, but if you listen closely you won't even need that hint.

    Come over to the window, my little darling,
    Id like to try to read your palm
    (He is trying to open up to a women he loves, and asks to come closer and look at life from his perspective- the window is the image of his own point of view- and he wants to imagine a future with her)
    I used to think I was some kind of gypsy boy
    Before I let you take me home.
    (Before he met her he used to feel like the kind of person who always takes love from others, but is incapable of giving back the same kind of love- that is the image of the gypsy boy- given that he is depressed. Depressed people are incapable of showing their feelings, at times they are even incapable of feeling love, emotions, sadness, or joy, but they need love more than anything else, because they have none left inside themselves. and then when he meets her, it is the first time that he is actually capable of feeling to a certain extent, and wants to go "home" with her)

    Chorus: so long marianne, its time that we began
    To laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again
    (This probably refers to the part where his depression has lifted and where he is capable of feeling joy and sadness again- "It's time that we began to laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again")

    Well, you know that I love to live with you,
    But you make me forget so very much
    (He is trying to tell her that he wants to live with her, but that he is scared of opening up to her, because doing so would mean letting go, "forgetting" his past)
    I forget to pray for the angel
    And then the angels forget to pray for us.
    (He forgets to open up for a new life, for the angels, for hope etc. and therefore,because he is so closed up against positive emotions and positive sides of life, and therefore positive emotions and experiences don't come to him "And then the angels forget to pray for us!". it's kind of like a self-fulfilling prophecy)

    Chorus

    We met when we were almost young
    Deep in the green lilac park
    You held on to me like I was a crucifix
    As we went kneeling through the dark.

    (They probably met a long time ago, and he fell in love with her, she falls in love with him and doesn't want to let him go. probably she is not even aware of the fact that she is holding on to him "like a crucifix", that is just his perception of himself, and they go through a dark phase of his life together, because she is swept into his dark sphere of depression and suicidal thoughts due to their close relationship)

    Chorus

    Your letters say that you are beside me now
    Then why do I feel alone?
    (She assures him time and again that she will be with him and stand through this phase with him despite his suicidal thoughts, but still he feels very isolated and alone, and is still not ready to emotionally acknowledge her love, even though he actually does appreciate it)
    Im standing on a ledge and your fine spider web
    Is fastening my ankle to a stone.
    (he is still on the verge of suicide, and her love is the fine spider web that is keeping him from commiting suicide and is "fastening his ankle to a stone", which means as much as that he is incapable from taking this big step towards death)

    Chorus

    For now I need your hidden love
    Im cold as a new razor blade
    (He acknowledges that he needs her love, but that he is incapable of showing love himself, and therefore he wants her to hide her love to him, because displaying love and emotions openly always comes with expectations and hopes of this love being responded, and he is incapable to do so, but still he needs her to love him. So short- he loves her, but can't show it- and she loves him and wants to show it but he wants her to love him without showing it, because he is "cold as a new razor blade"- incapable of showing and giving emotions)
    You left when I told you I was curious
    I never said that I was brave.
    (The woman, marianne, probably leaves him just at the point where he starts contemplating love with her, and he feels slightly forsaken or deceived, because he did want to dare a relationship with her, but he wasn't ready yet, he was still scared "I never said that i was brave...")
    horus

    O you are really such a pretty one
    I see youve gone and changed your name again
    (HE realises that he lost her because she is very attractive and capable of finding someone else, but he was not able to give her what she needed so she marries someone else"I see you've gone and changed your name again)
    And just when I climbed this whole mountainside
    To wash my eyelids in the rain.

    Sorry but I am incapable of interpreting the last part of the song. I am experiencing the same kind of thing as described in this song, except for the fact that i am "marianne".
    It feels like the person i love is trying to explain his emotions to me via the words of leonard cohen and i am very grateful and amazed at leonard that he was capable of putting such deep and extreme emotions into such soft and beautiful words, so that I can slightly relate to what my "friend" must be going through. it gets very rough if you don't understand, but once you get an idea of what they think and feel, it gets a lot easier. my friend is now about to "climb the mountainside", and i wish him good luck and I hope he knows that i will be waiting on the other side. But since he is not over the mountainside yet, I myself haven't figured out so far how to wash his eyes in the rain...I will think of something;)

    darkred86on April 02, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:I learned to play this song. I've always seen it as a sad serenading song. Especially with the "come over to the window" part. It seems like him and Marianne are still friends, even though they are broken up and saying good bye.
    mrmisteron March 23, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:How does this song have no comments yet? This is my favourite song of all time.
    FallSemester_on December 24, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:how does this only have one page of comments???? and my chemical romance probably have about 10 pages a song!haha!..Cohen is a legend, this is poetry one of the best songs of all time
    abby meliaon June 17, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment:My favourite line from this song is "I used to think I was some kind of Gypsy boy before I let you take me home".....I have it tattooed on my arm and to me it shows how everyone can feel insecure but the love of someone dear can get rid of all those doubts
    Iusedtoliveformusicon August 09, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:Marianne is a street in Montrèal.
    elephant_rangeon March 19, 2005   Link

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