"Unfaithful Servant" as written by and Robbie Robertson....
Unfaithful servant, I hear you leaving soon in the morning
What did you do to the lady, that she's gonna have to send you away?
Unfaithful servant, you don't have to say you're sorry,
If you done it just for the spite, or did ya do it just for the glory?
Like a stranger you turned your back
Left your keys and gone to pack
Bear in mind who's to blame, and all the shame

She really cared, the time she spared and the home you shared.
Unfaithful servant, I can hear the whistle blowing
Yes, that train is a-coming and soon you'll be going
Let us not bow our heads for we won't be complaining

Life has been good to us all
Even when that sky is raining
To take it like a grain of salt
Is all I can do it's no one's fault
Makes no difference if we fade away
It's just as it was, it's much to cold for me to stay

Goodbye to that country home
So long to a lady I have known
Farewell to my other side
I'd best just take it in stride
Unfaithful Servant, you'll learn to find your place

I can see it in your smile
And, yes, I can see it in your face
The memories will linger on
But the good old days, they're all gone
Oh, lonesome servant, can't you see
That we're still one and the same, just you and me


Lyrics submitted by hari66

"Unfaithful Servant" as written by Robbie Robertson

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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The Unfaithful Servant song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentWhatttttt??? How does this not have a comment... it's probably one of the greatest band songs if not one of the best songs of the sixties!
    mclennon1on August 13, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYa, it is too bad that there are not more comments here, since the song is somewhat confusing.

    Who is the narrator here? The line "farewell to my other side" makes it sound like is "the lady's" husband. We don't know what the servant did, and neither does the narrator, but for some reason both of them have to leave. The narrator finds his situation very similar to the servants though. I love the line, "It makes no difference if we fade away". The Band have a song with a similar title...
    clovuson September 30, 2008   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI've heard an expression about alcohol and drugs that they "make good servants but bad masters." In other words, they are usually enjoyable up until a certain point untill they start to take over and you become addicted or reliant on them. So I can't help but think that this song is about an alcoholic or any other sort of addict whose wife has finally had enough and kicked him out. He's obviously talking to another side of him (we're still one in the same, just you and me). I think that other side of him has to be addiction x. Alcoholism, drugs, gambling, whatever the vice or addiction, was the good servant that he finally realizes has turned unfaithful. It betrayed him somehow and not even he seems to know what was actually done to lady that made him send him away.
    Dookie19on May 30, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhatttttt??? How does this not have a comment... it's probably one of the greatest band songs if not one of the best songs of the sixties!
    mclennon1on August 13, 2008   Link
  • 0
    Question"Goodbye to that country home,
    so long, lady I have known,
    Farewell to my other side,
    I'd best just take it in stride"

    ...Whose words are these? I thought the singer is a friend of the "unfaithful servant". But this part sounds as if the "unfaithful servant " is singing.
    Nagi1995on May 25, 2017   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI see a biblical connection to this one (as is true for many of The Band's songs). Christ's parable of the unfaithful servant (Lk 12:41-48) compares a faithful servant who, when put in charge of the master's lands in the latter's absence, does what is expected of him, with an unfaithful one who uses the master's absence as an excuse for debauchery and abusing the other servants. When the master returns and sees what has happened, he punishes the unfaithful servant and throws him out. The parable ends with Christ saying that one who knows what is expected and does not do it will be punished heavily; if he does not know what is expected and does wrong, he will receive a light punishment. "everyone to whom much is give, of him much will be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more."

    The song talks of how well the unfaithful servant has been treated by his wife/partner and implies that he has done something to betray that love and trust, and is thus being sent away, as in the parable.

    I think the narrator is also the servant. The change in POV in the next-to-last stanza is a well-used literary trope, especially for a conflicted narrator. Robertson's running buddy Mr. Zimmerman was also fond of it (cf. "Tangled Up in Blue").
    radiodaddyon November 24, 2019   Link

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