If it be your will
That I speak no more
And my voice be still
As it was before
I will speak no more
I shall abide until
I am spoken for
If it be your will
If it be your will
That a voice be true
From this broken hill
I will sing to you
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing

From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing

If it be your will
If there is a choice
Let the rivers fill
Let the hills rejoice
Let your mercy spill
On all these burning hearts in hell
If it be your will
To make us well

And draw us near
And bind us tight
All your children here
In their rags of light
In our rags of light
All dressed to kill
And end this night
If it be your will

If it be your will


Lyrics submitted by Fistan, edited by traumermusing, Mellow_Harsher

"If It Be Your Will" as written by Leonard Cohen

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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If It Be Your Will song meanings
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21 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentI've interpreted this song as one person's struggle to accept the fate of another... It makes me think of the times I have sat next to someone I cared about deeply, watched helplessly as an illness filled their body and I was left with my questioning prayers, yearning for understanding for what was to come. Prayers that sought to give space for the worsening of a condition and hope for a recovery. At these times, I've felt so inept that I have felt like the singer and like I am the broken hill. I have admitted that I know that I'm not the one who gets to decide who gets well and who dies, but on my knees, I am humble and open and willing to serve to ease the path for the one I love...

    It is a song that strips away all the tangible things that are important to me on a regular day and leaves me bare, facing the magnitude of life and death.
    shanaraeburnson March 18, 2011   Link
  • +3
    Song MeaningI believe that this is a song from someone who is connected with the basic spiritual principles behind all religions, surrendering to the will of the divine to guide his life, allowing it to unfold in divine order, and acknowledging the need for healing here on this earth.
    Taicaon May 04, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentCohen sings of his nearly complete subjection towards the will of another. If the will tells him to be silent, he will be silent, if the will tells him he can sing, he will sing. He has great admiration for the will of whoever he is singing about (be it Zen master or a woman or God), as, if allowed to express his true voice ("if a voice be true"), he will sing in praise of him/her from the imperfect landscape, "the broken hill". The person whose will Cohen obliquely praises also has great power, as his/her mercy can redeem the burning hearts in hell, under the condition of course that it is willed. Cohen's great hope in this will, which is presumably a human one, almost borders on praying to a supernatural being, one who can "make us well" if we devote ourselves to it and pray and sing to it. I say his subjection is "nearly" complete because he still urges the will to act on behalf of the suffering, cajoling it in song. The will has the power to "end this night" of the darkness of the human condition, in which people are dressed in only dirty "rags of light" which are fragmented and not fully whole and illuminated. The will at once is something to be a subject of, and something to pray to for spiritual sustenance that it may be capable of bestowing.
    jmax1983on August 06, 2007   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI always felt it was v about a ex lovers rejection, his surrendering to that which he can not change, "the speak no more" referring to the end of the compromise that is a relationship. "The voice be still" reference is a graceful non angered goodbye, understanding is not easy for anyone. "I shall abide until, I have been spoken for" in reference to his not being done with the relationship but the other is. "If it be your will" again referring to the unrequited love. " that a voice be true" reference to honesty, " from this broken hill, I will sing to you" the hill being the relationship that is broken, and the singing is him pleading not to end it, "all the praises they shall ring" meaning he is trying to remind her off the good times, "to let me sing" if she will hear him. "If there is a choice, let the rivets fill, let the hills rejoice" explaining how he doesn't want it to end, "let your mercy spill, on all the burning hearts in hell" the burning heart is the heart that's in love and its in hell from being dumped, the mercy would be not calling it quits, "to make us well, bins us tight all your children here in there rags of light" to get us back together, marriage the tie that binds.. we are the 'children. The rags of light is our lost innocent during this fight."all dressed to kill" refers to killing the relationship "end this night" being this horrible feeling, or fight, " if it be your will " submission up her wishes to end the relationship.

    Problably not what LC jag in mind but that's what it's ment to me for 20 years
    -David maryniak
    dmayniakon May 06, 2015   Link
  • +1
    General Comment When I was at his concert he explained how this song was written as more of a prayer than a song at the time. It is about a rough time in Leonard's life and he is appealing to God to relieve his burden. As well as humbling himself and and basically stating that he is not in control of anything, and God owes him nothing.
    Alf33on November 19, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think for me it has to do with surrender + relinquishment in our places of pain, weakness, brokenness. It's a plea for renewed hope, joy + mercy. A plea for comfort and an end to suffering + pain.
    lori101539on May 06, 2016   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done - - " There is the will - it is his God he is talking to.
    SadSongs12on November 12, 2016   Link
  • +1
    General CommentLeonard Cohen is my favorite lyricist.
    Antony Hegarty is my favorite vocalist.
    Antony singing Cohen was... sublime.

    This song has beautiful lyrics, although I don't completely understand them (but I don't think Cohen, as a poet, really wants his lyrics to be completely understood). To me, the song is about the speaker completely submitting himself (or herself) to someone the speaker admires enough to believe that he or she can heal emotionally wounded people simply by loving them; this someone could be a lover, teacher (master), or deity.

    Antony's rendition of this song was, as I said above, absolutely sublime. His voice adds emotion and depth that Cohen's voice can't approach, and it fits the song perfectly. I regret that it is difficult to find a recording of his performance that doesn't have an instrumental chunk cut out of it for an interview with Cohen that breaks up the magical flow of the song.
    HiOnMusicon May 18, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHe is giving you the choice?
    Co-operation over conflict,
    Love over war,
    Earth first,
    If it be your will?

    Be the change that you want to see in the world......(M.Ghandi)
    dylan522on November 28, 2016   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis is a prayer.
    Although I dislike religious thinking, the song touches me.
    Maybe because Leonard is bowing deep for the will of what he knows, he can't understand. Acknowledging the fact there is so much we humans are not geared to grasp, can't achieve, knowing not your ego is what matters. There is reassurance there, there is beauty in what you feel are your faults.
    Jepz11on December 19, 2017   Link

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