The Law
Leonard Cohen Lyrics


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How many times did you call me
And I knew it was late
I left everybody
But I never went straight
I don't claim to be guilty
But I do understand
There's a Law, there's an Arm, there's a Hand
Now my heart's like a blister
From doing what I do
If the moon has a sister
It's got to be you
I'm going to miss you forever
Tho' it's not what I planned
There's a Law, there's an Arm, there's a Hand

Now the deal has been dirty
Since dirty began
I'm not asking for mercy
Not from the man
You just don't ask for mercy
While you're still on the stand
There s a Law, there's an Arm, there's a Hand

I don't claim to be guilty
Guilty's too grand
There s a Law, there's an Arm, there's a Hand

That's all I can say, baby
That's all I can say
It wasn't for nothing
They put me away
I fell with my angel




Down the chain of command
There s a Law, there's an Arm, there's a Hand

Overall Meaning

Leonard Cohen's song "The Law" is a reflection on personal accountability and the inevitability of consequences for one's actions. The singer seems to be reflecting on past mistakes, acknowledging the wrong that has been done, but also the understanding that the Law, the Arm, and the Hand will always be present to judge and execute justice.


The singer mentions receiving late-night phone calls, leaving everyone else behind, but never going straight. This suggests a life of dishonesty and possibly even criminal activity. The singer claims not to be guilty, but at the same time there is a sense of resignation and acceptance of the punishment that has been received. The repeated line "there's a Law, there's an Arm, there's a Hand" emphasizes the fact that actions have consequences, and that even if one isn't caught by the law, the moral and ethical codes that govern society will ultimately take their toll.


The mention of the moon and its supposed sister could be interpreted as an analogy for the singer's own sense of guilt and the emotional toll it has taken on their heart. The singer acknowledges that they will miss someone forever, implying that this someone is likely to have left them due to their own actions.


Overall, "The Law" is a poignant reflection on accountability and the inescapability of the consequences of one's choices.


Line by Line Meaning

How many times did you call me
The singer is asked about how many times someone called them.


And I knew it was late
The singer knew they were being called late at night.


I left everybody
The singer abandoned all the people in their life.


But I never went straight
The artist did not follow a morally satisfactory path in life.


I don't claim to be guilty
The artist denies any guilt or responsibility for their actions.


But I do understand
However, the singer acknowledges the existence of consequences for their actions.


There's a Law, there's an Arm, there's a Hand
The singer refers to the concept of karma or divine justice, where actions have inevitable consequences.


Now my heart's like a blister
The artist's heart is damaged or suffering due to their past actions.


From doing what I do
This pain is the result of the artist's own actions and choices.


If the moon has a sister
The artist is addressing a specific person, possibly a lover or close friend.


It's got to be you
The singer believes that this person is connected to the moon, and therefore may have some kind of mystical or divine quality.


I'm going to miss you forever
The artist will always feel the loss of this person.


Tho' it's not what I planned
Despite this, the absence of this person was not intentional or desired by the singer.


Now the deal has been dirty
The singer recognizes that their actions have had negative consequences, and that there was wrongdoing involved.


Since dirty began
This unethical behavior has been going on for a long time.


I'm not asking for mercy
The artist is not seeking forgiveness or clemency for their past actions.


Not from the man
They do not expect to receive mercy from any earthly authority figure.


You just don't ask for mercy
The singer believes that asking for mercy is a sign of weakness or cowardice.


While you're still on the stand
It is not appropriate to ask for mercy until you have been judged or punished for your actions.


I don't claim to be guilty
The artist repeats their denial of guilt or responsibility for their actions.


Guilty's too grand
The word 'guilty' implies too much culpability, and the artist does not feel they are fully to blame for their actions.


That's all I can say, baby
The artist has nothing more to add or explain about their situation.


That's all I can say
The singer has said all that they are capable of saying.


It wasn't for nothing
Despite the negative consequences of their actions, the artist believes that something positive came out of their experiences.


They put me away
The singer was imprisoned or institutionalized as a result of their actions.


I fell with my angel
The singer had a close relationship with someone who was important to them.


Down the chain of command
This person and the singer themselves were caught up in a larger system of power and authority that ultimately led to consequences for their actions.


There's a Law, there's an Arm, there's a Hand
The song ends on this repeated refrain, emphasizing that the consequences of our actions are inevitable and will ultimately be dealt with by forces greater than ourselves.




Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Written by: LEONARD COHEN

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Most interesting comment from YouTube:

@aviralkumar1393

The Law Lyrics
[Verse 1]
How many times did you call me and I knew it was late
I left everybody but I never went straight
I don't claim to be guilty, but I do understand
There's a law, there's an arm, there's a hand
There's a law, there's an arm, there's a hand

[Verse 2]
Now my heart's like a blister from doin' what I do
If the moon has a sister, it's got to be you
I'm gonna miss you forever, though it's not what I planned
There's a law, there's an arm, there's a hand
There's a law, there's an arm, there's a hand

[Verse 3]
Now the deal has been dirty since dirty began
I'm not asking for mercy, not from the man
You just don't ask for mercy while you're still on the stand
There's a law, there's an arm, there's a hand
There's a law, there's an arm, there's a hand

[Bridge]
I don't claim to be guilty
Guilty's too grand
There's a law, there's an arm, there's a hand
There's a law, there's an arm, there's a hand

[Verse 4]
That's all I can say, baby, that's all I can say
It wasn't for nothing that they put me away
I fell with my angel down the chain of command
There's a law, there's an arm, there's a hand
There's a law, there's an arm, there's a hand
There's a law, there's an arm, there's a hand



All comments from YouTube:

@dwaynewladyka577

Love this very much. Leonard Cohen is so good. I'm glad I saw him live. May he rest in peace. Cheers! ✌️🇨🇦

@beataspiewakjonsson1749

Love this song ❤️
RIP Mr Cohen 🙏❤️🌹

@zoritzar.2840

Svaka reč je nežna strela sa preciznom putanjom do srca.
Umetnost spajanja suptilnog i bolno istinitog. ❤️🌹

@PhantomLAM

This song sounds as heavy as any metal track without any massive guitars or screaming, how??? Cohen is a fucking legend.

@blaiseoak8091

A poet of thought, who touched our souls, gangster, citizen, or plebeian. His music reached us all ❤❤

@duskom3277

Legenda!!
Fali taj promukli glas gospodina na sceni!!
Pocivaj u miru zivis vjecno u svojim pjesmama!!

@RATCLIFFE-LISTENS

Another Masterpiece! He must have written subconsciously for that deep wide river of a Voice. Now he is gone his genius can be heard by many enticed listeners . Thanks to Blue Note for their Cohen tribute masterpiece. They are treating his talent and artistry with the respect he deserves.

@user-bt6qd8it1d

Something much bigger and true out there than the fallacy they caste on us as mortals ❤

@celinastefanska9537

Witam,cieszę się że mogę słuchać pięknej muzyki wspaniałego artysty, cudownych głos,merci 😍💓👌❤🎸🌹🌻🌼🍀☕🌞🌷🌿😘

@romanparas5667

poezja to mało, można się w tym zatracić

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