Say goodbye, my one true lover
And we'll steal a lover's song
How it breaks my heart to leave you
Now the carnival has gone

Oh my love, the dawn is breaking
And my tears are falling rain
For the carnival is over
We may never meet again

Like a drum my heart was beating
And your kiss was sweet as wine
But the joys of love are fleeting
For Pierrot and Columbine

Now the cloak of night is falling
This will be our last goodbye
Though the carnival is over
I will love you 'til I die

Though the carnival is over
I will love you 'til I die
Oh, I will love you 'til I die
I will love you 'til I die

Lyrics submitted by ecorchee1

The Carnival Is Over Lyrics as written by Tom Springfield Frank Farian

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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The Carnival Is Over song meanings
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  • 0
    General CommentAw - a trip down memory lane! I loved this song when I was a kid, it was sung by The Seekers, Judith Durham, wonderful voice. I was a bit queasy when I saw Nick Cave had covered it, I thought he might spoil it for me. But he could have been born to sing it, his version is just as good as the original. Love it! Anybody who hasn't heard the older version, it's well worth a listen.
    morbid moragon August 26, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song took an unusual road for me.
    The surface includes a bittersweet parting, but this is only what happens.
    What it means is the beauty of interpretation, unique to each listener.

    The song made me think of the transition in life and relationships from heat to light, possibly back again, if only in memory. The root of "carnival" lent fuel to this concept and I grew it in my mind as a reminiscence from old age back to the fires of lust that burned loud and insistent in the speaker's younger days. Lovingly, he recounts how the core of love persisted:
    "Though the carnival is over, I will love you `til I die"

    The cloak of night, in my interpretation, fit well with the thought of someone in Autumn years, even.

    Of course, there is a parting mentioned: This tangles my whole "end of flesh and youthful things", but the meaning still appeals to me.

    Could the parting be a death? of the speaker, or a beloved life-mate?
    Perhaps there is a literal fling between a traveling performer and a resident (a literal carnival suits me just fine, with a parting required once "the carnival is over")

    Here, I could tie in my light/heat concept as the one left behind likens him/herself to Pierrot, losing the only object of their affection to something else ( the literal carnival itself, or finding passion/heat with another, forsaking their dedicated, unrequited love/light. )

    A great song, I'd be interested to hear the original.
    warmPhaseon July 11, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song was written by Tom Springfield and was originally sung by Judith Durham in the 60's group The Seekers. The Seekers were originally from Australia, like Nick Cave and maybe this is Nick's tribute to his fellow antipodeans.

    The song is definitely about things ending and is extensively sung in Australia when public events finish (it was due to have closed the Sydney Olympics until Judith Durham broke her hip and couldn't perform). A bit of a national institution like 'Waltzing Mathilda' but a very moving song none the less.
    pete515on September 27, 2010   Link

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