"Courage (for Hugh Maclennan)" as written by Paul H. Williams, Marcio Hilton Fragoso Borges and Milton Silva Campos Do Nascimento....
Watch the band through a bunch of dancers
Quickly, follow the unknown, with something more familiar
Quickly, something familiar
Courage, my word it didn't come it doesn't matter

Sleepwalk, so fast asleep in a motel
That has the lay of home and piss on all of your background
And piss on all your surroundings
Courage, my word, it didn't come, it doesn't matter
Courage, your word, it didn't come, it doesn't matter
Courage, my word, it didn't come, it doesn't matter
Courage, it couldn't come at a worse time

There's no simple explanation
For anything important any of us do
And yeah the human tragedy
Consists in the necessity
Of living with the consequences
Under pressure, under pressure
Courage, my word, it didn't come, it doesn't matter,
Courage, your word, it didn't come, it doesn't matter
Courage, my word, it didn't come, it doesn't matter
Courage, it couldn't come at a worse time

It couldn't come at a worse time
It couldn't come at a worse time

Lyrics submitted by black_cow_of_death

"Courage" as written by Gordon Downie Robert Baker

Lyrics © Peermusic Publishing

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Courage (For Hugh Maclennan) song meanings
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  • +5
    General CommentThe reference to Hugh MacLennan leads to what the song is all about.

    The third stanza is lifted almost directly from MacLennan's novel, The Watch that Ends the Night: "But that night as I drove back to Montreal I at least discovered this: that there's no simple explanation for anything important any of us do, and that the human tragedy, or the human irony, consists in the necessity of living with the consequences of actions performed under the pressure of compulsions so obscure we do not and cannot understand them."

    The novel deals with a man who marries his childhood sweetheart (who is in poor health) after her husband is reported killed in the war. The husband's return precipitates a crisis.

    The song more or less expresses what the novel is all about. Courage couldn't come at a worse time, but also, it didn't come when it was needed. It isn't about living with the consequences of doing something terrible so much as it's about living with the consequences of the ordinary decisions we make, and equally, regretting what we fail to do.
    wonderdogon January 31, 2005   Link
  • +2
    MemoryThought you'd like to know.....Sarah Polley, the Canadian actress, does a beautiful version of this song, in thr film, "The Sweet Hereafter" In fact, the whole soundtrack to the film is gorgeous. Check it out...
    Martinsherry16on January 14, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentMakes the hair on your neck stand on your end, and a shiver down your spine.
    Drink_and_Fighton August 03, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwell, to me personally, it kind of sums up something of a problem of mine, that is that whenever i should do something... i can't i get nervous over analyze and freeze, but it doesn't really matter, life goes on (Courage, my word, it didn't come, it doesn't matterr)
    But when, in hindsight, i never should have reacted i have all the courage in the world... (Courage, it couldn't come at a worse time). hah this is a problem of mine that has almost ruined my life on many occasions - it's eerie to see it summed up in a song
    Newfieon September 17, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentCourage, like wonderdog said is in fact about living with the consequences of our ordinary decisions. Not what we have done, but what we are presently doing. Living with the future instead of the mistakes in our passed. Learning how to deal with failure. Courage can not be summoned or depended on, so you have to deal with your bad choices and act upon them.
    However, Gord is a poet. And poetry was made so people could take it and turn it into something they can relate to. Thus creating endless possibilities to poetry. So, do the hip have endless possibilities to many of there songs? Of course they do. The meaning solely depends on how we as individuals decode them.
    connorhillon January 23, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCourage, It couldn't come at a worst time! It never comes at the right times. Gordie writes amazing songs, and tells everything how it is.
    The Hip rules!
    Fully__Completelyon March 07, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with the drinking fighter. It is a scary tune after one reads the lyrics. It's about a man doing something so severe he could never live it down. Can anyone say doing time?
    OpinionHeadon May 25, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWonderdog is a smart doggie. Excellent job tying the song, the novel and Gordie's insights together.
    thecrossboneon February 06, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthat explanes why on the live album version of this song, Gordie talks about "good old montreal". great song, as usual from the Hip. all their live stuff rocks!
    ...and i melton July 14, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI cant say for sure, but the title of the album may well come from Hugh MacLennan's "The Watch That Ends the Night" as well as the reference in this tune.

    P.39 "But absolutely and positively and completely"

    Just a thought
    thecrossboneon July 03, 2006   Link

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