Leonard Cohen Hallelujah meaning
April 22, 2005 5:53 AM   Subscribe

I really enjoy the song "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen, both the original and the Rufus Wainwright remake. I'm planning on playing it at a gig, but can you help me with some lyric interpretation in case someone asks "what the hell was all that about?"

It reminds of something from the Da Vinci code. Any idea what the "secret chord" would be? And what's up with that bondage verse?

Here are the lyrics:

I heard there was a secret chord
That david played and it pleased the lord
But you don't really care for music, do you
Well it goes like this the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall and the major lift
The baffled king composing hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah

Well your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to her kitchen chair
She broke your throne and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah

Baby i've been here before
I've seen this room and i've walked this floor
I used to live alone before i knew you
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
But love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah

Well there was a time when you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show that to me do you
But remember when i moved in you
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was hallelujah

Well, maybe there's a god above
But all i've ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you
It's not a cry that you hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah
posted by Dag Maggot to Media & Arts (52 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
It makes reference to the story of David and Bathsheba, and possibly Samson and Delilah as well. The "secret chord" part doesn't seem especially significant to me, but those are great lyrics, they could mean a lot of things.
posted by ludwig_van at 6:05 AM on April 22, 2005

I've always seen the kitchen chair part as a simultaneous reference to domesticity *and* bondage (either literal or just passionate imagery). Because Leonard Cohen is freaky like that :-)

(p.s. I think Jeff Buckley's version tops everyone's, even the composer himself, but that's just me...)
posted by ibeji at 6:17 AM on April 22, 2005 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Hallelujah is a Hebrew word which means "Glory to the Lord." The song explains that many kinds of Hallelujahs do exist. I say : "All the perfect and broken Hallelujahs have an equal value ." It's, as I say, a desire to affirm my faith in life, not in some formal religious way but with enthusiasm, with emotion....
It's a rather joyous song. I like very much the last verse. I remember singin' it to Bob Dylan after his last concert in Paris. The morning after, I was having coffee with him and we traded lyrics. Dylan especially liked this last verse, "And even though it all went wrong, I stand before the Lord of song with nothing on my lips but Hallelujah."

LC - 1985.

From this great site.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:24 AM on April 22, 2005 [1 favorite]

I'm partial to the Rufus Wainwright version, myself. My wife prefers the (really excellent) John Cale version. Neither of us particularly digs Jeff Buckley in general, so I don't have much to say about his version.
There are several different versions of the song floating around; IIRC, Cohen's original version is more about theistic than interpersonal love/devotion/sex/communion, and it wasn't until a particular live recording (memory fails me as to which, though I recall that I really don't like that particular rendition) that Leonard made it more ambiguous/analogous in subject.
I'm not sure I could say what it's about beyond that. It's supposed to be difficult. It's substantial enough that it warrants serious grappling-with; it's not unlike its subject matter in that regard.
posted by willpie at 6:35 AM on April 22, 2005

willpie (or his wife) beat me to this, but I also recommend the John Cale version, of which I've only heard a live performance, a sample of which is available here.

I guess it really says something about a song that it inspires multiple, thoroughly appreciated versions!
posted by kimota at 7:05 AM on April 22, 2005

I just don't get how people prefer jeff buckley covers to leonard... but that's not the question.

The "secret chord" I think is just a reference to David's being a blessed musician, that he was so close to the divine that it came through in his music too. And the second verse definitely seems to reference sampson & delilah, with the mention of bathing and cutting the hair. It seems like a transition from the individual divine into the (broken) glory found through love, and the last three verses all move into more personal territory about his own love (he starts using the first person).
posted by mdn at 7:06 AM on April 22, 2005 [1 favorite]

As for the secret chord: well, David (as a boy) played the harp and pleased the king Saul with it, and the Lord was also pleased with him, as he was annointed by Samuel (this is all in I Samuel Chapter 16). Not a reference to a "secret chord" but I always assumed it was just an extrapolation on this story.
posted by dagnyscott at 7:12 AM on April 22, 2005 [1 favorite]

Jeff Buckley's cover was used to great effect in the final episode of Season 3 of The West Wing. The Rufus Wainwright version is on the Shrek soundtrack.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:17 AM on April 22, 2005

I've always thought of the song as Cohen's reinterpretation of the commonly-thought, joyous, "valentines day" love, with an emphasis on its dark side. He's not speaking of love as this joyous victorious thing, he seems to feel it's a type of bewildering torture; that your love of another person can be just as puzzling, frustrating, and elusive as trying to understand God's love, which can sometimes be cruel and humiliating.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.
posted by lilboo at 7:17 AM on April 22, 2005

Huh, I always thought it was "sacred chord."
posted by gaspode at 7:18 AM on April 22, 2005

This song was also (over)used in 'The Edukators', a recent German film about anarchists that I saw recently - excellent film. Not sure which version was used.
posted by altolinguistic at 7:20 AM on April 22, 2005

word, lilboo!
posted by ibeji at 7:49 AM on April 22, 2005

Other verses, FYI:

You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah etc

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth,
I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:56 AM on April 22, 2005 [3 favorites]

I love this song too, but I feel like it's been way, way overexposed since Shrek. The Buckley version played over the final scene in last season's The O.C. finale.

That said, it's popular for a reason, so go ahead and play it. And I really wouldn't worry about people approaching you for lyrics interpretation. The song has different meanings for different people, that's part of what makes it great.
posted by bonheur at 8:27 AM on April 22, 2005

Among the many cover versions mentioned, I don't think anyone's mentioned k.d. lang's, from her album "Hymns of the 49th Parallel." It's a great album, all songs by Canadian songwriters. (Cohen, Neil Young, Bruce Cockburn, Jane Siberry, Joni Mitchell...)
posted by dnash at 9:27 AM on April 22, 2005

I was just going to ask if it's the same song that's in Shrek. Thanks, bonheur. I can't agree with overexposure though. I hadn't heard it before Shrek nor since. I always play that part of the movie at least twice because of that song.
posted by deborah at 9:38 AM on April 22, 2005

I understood that the LC song was a corruption/play on the version CunningLinguist mentions above, the authorship I'm not sure on, but would think dates well past 1985.

But then I tend to be poorly informed.
posted by cmyr at 9:39 AM on April 22, 2005

I've been asked the "yeah, but what is it about?" question, and I didn't have an answer at the time, so I thought about it a little bit.

I thought that he was saying that love between two people was a hollow approximation of actual love, which is between man and God. That we try to express love physically and sometimes approach it, but in the end we always screw it up somehow -- perhaps by seeing it as conquest rather than submission. These are biblical ideas, and that's probably why they fit the song for me.

Even given Cuninglinguist's quote, I don't see how the song comes off as "rather joyous" -- although maybe Leonard has a different idea of what happiness is than me. He's certainly approached religion differently than I have: a Jew preoccupied with Christ who became a Buddhist monk. Well, something worked, I guess.
posted by Hildago at 9:45 AM on April 22, 2005 [1 favorite]

Not answering the question (which has been dealt with as well as might be expected) but I would like to say that the John Cale version rules all others. And I curse the movie "Shrek" for all time.
posted by Decani at 10:09 AM on April 22, 2005

I understood that the LC song was a corruption/play on the version CunningLinguist mentions above, the authorship I'm not sure on, but would think dates well past 1985.

My track of cohen singing this has those verses in it... not sure of the year of the recording, though, so possibly a later version or something.

I think the connection between joy and brokenness is exactly what he's trying to get at: the power of love is in connection, but connection is only possible because we're separate, isolated, broken. If we were whole & unified unto ourselves, we would never feel love, so love necessarily has pain inside it somewhere... something like that.
posted by mdn at 10:13 AM on April 22, 2005 [1 favorite]

I seem to recall the Major 7th being a "sacred chord". This is subject to my hazy memory and I could be bullshitting, however.

Quite the opposite of this "sacred chord" is:

"Some 4-voice chords are used in traditional, 'classical' and church music but others such as the diminished seventh were strictly forbidden in early sacred music as they contained the tritone interval; the mathematical halfway point in the octave which allegedly sounded Satanic."

Yet another interesting excerpt:

"In medieval times, the Tritone, after being rejected by the Church as the interval of the Holy Trinity due to its extremely dissonant sound, became the interval of the Devil himself, and it was banned and cursed by the Church. They even went so far as to suggest that it invoked the Devil to prevent its use, and a great deal of diabolical superstition became associated with this devilish interval of Musick."
posted by basicchannel at 10:24 AM on April 22, 2005 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Also there's this interesting observation:
"My contribution is to say that the 'secret chord' on Leonard Cohen's original version seems to me to be a D#7add? chord as E-223434-e standard tuning and falling on the word 'composing' in the first verse. As you may have guessed the 'minor fall' and the 'major lift' also correspond to the Fm and the D chords used on those lines. Although it is an overplayed song (see the O"fucking"C) I still think that Jeff Buckley has done credit to it as a cover. My interpretation of it would be that Leonard Cohen was simply relating a sexual experience to a religious one but the additions Jeff made to the words seem to be his own personal reply filled with much more angst than the original. Good song."
posted by basicchannel at 10:30 AM on April 22, 2005 [1 favorite]

aah, I love that song. It makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up just thinking about it. :)
posted by By The Grace of God at 10:34 AM on April 22, 2005

I don't have anything to add, but wanted to say thanks all, for your interpretations. This is one of my favorite pieces of poetry, and the Jeff Buckley version sends me into orbit.

And I always thought the correspondence between the lyrics and the music here:

Well it goes like this the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall and the major lift

was lovely.

And man, when he holds that note towards the end, so sweetly and impossibly forever, my heart swells.
posted by Specklet at 11:00 AM on April 22, 2005

In my opinion, Buckley sings it like he just likes to sing -- it doesn't sound like he understands the lyrics or stands by them. Unlike the minimalistic, unadorned John Cale cover, which is glorious in its evocation of hurt, loss and wisdom hard gained through experience. Cale has clearly lived, as has Cohen, and they both have the scars to prove it. Then again, saying anything against Buckley these days is akin to blasphemy, and I have been excommunicated several times already for voicing my opinion on the matter.
posted by gentle at 11:29 AM on April 22, 2005

gentle, I have no interest in excommunicating you, but I feel pretty much the exact opposite from you. I find Cale's version to be fairly perfunctory, like a recital, whereas I find Buckley's to be almost tragic in its weight, and to have a much more dramatic shape in it rising and falling.

To each their own, I guess.

Oh, and I'm not much of a Buckley fanboy. I like some of his songs, but don't think he's a saint.
posted by papercake at 12:20 PM on April 22, 2005

In my opinion, Buckley sings it like he just likes to sing

Interesting as I have always felt precisely the opposite in that when listening to Buckley sing this song, particularly through headphones, I feel that he ceases to exist as an individual and the music ceases to exist as a song and instead some perfect moment of clarity and wisdom is being revealed directly into my soul without the need for senses.

That may be pretty hard to swallow, but I feel that the way it is recorded, with his very audible sigh at the beginnning, the very audible sound of his fingers moving on the frets and the absolute lack of ANY other ambient sound gives the sense of a highly personal shared moment - as if I had stopped a moment to pray or reflect and Buckley was sent specifically to convey the message of the song to me. I just think it is an intensely personal and private performance of the song and it always enables me to transcend the specifics of whatever time or place or moment I am in when I hear it. It's like instant peace.

Now I think I need to go change my underwear.
posted by spicynuts at 1:06 PM on April 22, 2005

I like the Buckley version also, there's just something about the juxtaposition of his high, boyish voice with the dark themes of the song that works for me, more of that sacred/profane combo that I love so much...
posted by lilboo at 1:11 PM on April 22, 2005

Cohen is always altering his texts; he's said several times that he never believes a work is finished. I've heard him sing several versions of Bird on a Wire over the years. That's a great thing about going to see him live---you may well hear an old song made new again. It wouldn't surprise me that Hallelujah has evolved too.
posted by bonehead at 1:13 PM on April 22, 2005

(Not that I don't still love you above all things Leonard - we'll always have "Chelsea Hotel #2.")
posted by lilboo at 1:13 PM on April 22, 2005

I like both the Buckley and Cale covers -- and I'm more of a Cale fan than a Buckley fan -- but I think the Buckley cover has the edge, for the reasons spicynut says.

And Specklet's observation about "the fourth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift" -- for musicians who know the basic theory there, the lyric is describing exactly what the music is doing. Having that woven so seamlessly into the song spun my head the first time I heard it and made me immediately fall in love. If you're ever explaining the song to a non-musician, it's important to note that.
posted by weston at 1:21 PM on April 22, 2005 [1 favorite]

I know it's just a taste issue, but I'm with gentle. The buckley version just sounds like some ordinary boy singing a song that he doesn't really understand. I believe leonard cohen when he sings it.
posted by mdn at 1:34 PM on April 22, 2005

Make sure you all hear the k.d. lang version. It's...wondrous. Her voice is perfectly suited to the song, and she just sings the hell out of it. Did it live at the Juno Awards and it was amazing.

I'm listening to it right now, and there's no way if I can tell whether it's "secret" or "sacred" chord. Both work really, really well though, so I'm inclined to believe it's, well, both, or could be either. Fits with Cohen's work.
posted by livii at 2:33 PM on April 22, 2005

I have and have listened to the original by Leonard Cohen, and the covers by Jeff Buckley, John Cale, k.d. lang, and Rufus Wainwright. I'd have to say that I like Jeff Buckley's version the most, with k.d. lang coming in a very close second, if not tied even, and Rufus Wainwright not trailing far behind her. I enjoy all three pretty much equally, but if I had to rank them, it would be as above. Next would come Cale, and finally, the original composer himself.

Some songs are just better covered, I've found. For example, John Lennon's Jealous Guy isn't great, but the cover by Elliott Smith is absolutely fantastic because of the voice and closeness Elliott brings to it.

And then of course are the covers that are complete shit compared to the original, like Madeleine Peyroux's cover of Elliott Smith's Between the Bars.
posted by thebabelfish at 3:37 PM on April 22, 2005

On September 13, 2001, VH1 started playing a video of one of the above versions with the carnage of 9/11 as the visuals. This was the first time I'd ever heard this song, and so now my entire appreciation of it will be forever linked to those awful, awful pictures.

Not to say that it wasn't beautifully done, it was. I guess I'm glad that Shrek wasn't my first introduction to it.
posted by ColdChef at 5:22 PM on April 22, 2005 [1 favorite]

The Leonard Cohen version is best, I think.
posted by Hildago at 6:32 PM on April 22, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for all of your input guys - a great discussion - now I have to go find the JJ Cale and KD Lang versions!

It's funny -as I write this, I'm listening the Annie Lennox version of "Castles Burning". It's the same kind of song, a great cover of an old classic (Neil Young) that has a cryptic meaning and a certain sadness about it. Also popularised by a recent movie (American Beauty)
posted by Dag Maggot at 6:52 PM on April 22, 2005

whereas I find Buckley's to be almost tragic in its weight

man, it's just amazing how differently these things come across to different people. I went & listened to buckley, kd lang, and cohen all in a row, really trying to give a chance to the two covers, especially after all the comments in here. The kd lang version was pretty good & I'll keep the track. But I remember why I ditched the buckley track the first time I found it. I find it almost irritating. The sigh at the beginning just seems artificial, and then he sings just slightly too quickly, tripping over the surface of the song, in a sing-songy kind of way. Basically it just does not convince me at all; I don't feel that the words mean anything to him. ...And then back to the original, and there just was no contest. Eh.

Funny thing is I was first introduced to Cohen via concrete blonde's cover of Everybody Knows (for pump up the volume), and at the time I though concrete blonde's version was amazing, and was disappointed in what seemed like a less interesting version when I found the original. Years later I began getting into cohen through other albums, and finally, much more recently, I sought out the concrete blonde cover and listened to it - and it's crap. I mean, not crap, but it's got nothing on cohen's version; it's superficial and empty in comparison, and I can't understand how I could've thought it was better. So I guess that's just to say, not only can it be hard to explain to each other why one version seems more powerful, but your own opinions can be mysterious to you at a different point...
posted by mdn at 7:14 PM on April 22, 2005 [1 favorite]

I'm not a big fan of covers as a rule, but I find I like many of Cohen's songs better sung by someone else. I haven't heard the Buckley or Lang versions of Hallelujah but Cale's breaks my heart every time. And my all time favorite cover of Cohen's is (yes indeedy) Don Henley's Everybody Knows, which kicks Concrete Blonde's ass and pretty much hypnotizes me every time. It's one of my top ten tracks ever.

Two good tribute albums: I'm Your Fan and Tower of Song.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:44 PM on April 22, 2005

Buckley's voice sounds angelic, so when he sings the "Hallelujahs" it sounds genuine to me.

Cohen has women singing a sort of a gospely back-up to try to add spiritual weight, but I just don't believe it from him. I have a hard time imagining him moved to those heights of blissful, almost divine physical passion. I have no problem imaging him as tired and world weary, and that does come across in his version better.

So, I guess whether you like one or the other version depends on what you want the song to be -- a hopeful celebration of past love tantalizingly out of reach, or weary resignation to love lost.

I prefer Buckley.
posted by willnot at 12:19 AM on April 23, 2005

On Shrek DVD (as opposed to the soundtrack CD) Hallelujah is sung by John Cale. Infuriatingly, the film version hacks out the line "Maybe there's a god above" in the most inelegant manner.
posted by slightlybewildered at 1:33 AM on April 23, 2005

Just to clarify: cmyr, it is most definitely written by Cohen, and first appears on his 1985 album Various Positions, but was written and probably performed earlier.

I like Cohen as a songwriter -- but he's got a voice made for song-writing, if you get my drift. Cohen and Shatner own the spoken-sung zone.

Buckley's got a lovely voice with incredible range, but I'd be the first to say that he's singing it from a young man's callow and too-deliberately deeply-felt perspective. Cale and Wainwright get the older world-weariness a little better. I still prefer Buckley's version -- it's just outstanding. It's like he and the song were born for each other, like Sean Connery and James Bond. And you shouldn't take it at face value, either -- he's singing in an older persona, not as peach-fuzzed Jeff Buckley. Think of a contralto singing Handel.

FYI there's a version done by Bono -- who mixes an even duller spoken-word vocal (except for the chorus) with a curious electronica backing. Ironically, Bono's is one of the other voices I'd love to hear stretched around the song, maybe in a less pained, expansive Joshua Tree style. But maybe he thought that had been done before.

Another note regarding Shrek: the film used Cale, but the soundtrack used Wainwright, due to rights clearance issues.

The lyrics, I think, are not only expressive enough that you can hear them differently at different ages, but that you can hear them differently each time you listen.
posted by dhartung at 1:42 AM on April 23, 2005

Partial to Cale here. That damned song makes me cry every time I hear it. Dammit.
posted by TeamBilly at 6:48 AM on April 23, 2005

I'd like to hear Nick Cave give a shot at covering the song.
posted by thebabelfish at 7:45 AM on April 23, 2005

Gotta say I 've only heard the Rufus and Jeff Buckley versions; love the Rufus, the Jeff leaves me saying "that's it?". I think I just find Wainwright's vocals so much more exciting. I'll have to look into the other covers mentioned...

By the way, you can download a live version of Rufus's version when he played the Wolf Trap back in June of 2004. (you can also get a copy of his "Cigarettes & Chocolate Milk" as well as a duet with Ben Folds, a tongue-in-cheek cover of Wham's "Careless Whisper")
posted by blueberry at 1:19 AM on April 24, 2005 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: That Careless Whisper is a good one - thanks blueberry.
posted by Dag Maggot at 3:27 AM on April 24, 2005

The reason I don't like Buckley's version is the same reason that I like very few Jeff Buckley tunes in general: He's melismatic and overly-embellished. It's like listening to a male Mariah Carey, tacking on needless notes at every phrase. Jeff Buckley was overhyped during his life, and is now destined to be remembered forever because he died young. But he's like an American Idol singer, and his production was always goopy and schmeared onto everything.
Cohen, on the other hand, suffers from an almost naive disregard for the settings of his songs. I saw an interview with him once in which he said that by the time he recorded the songs, he didn't care about it anymore. He had already gotten paid and hell, he was a short guy from a Jewish background who was fucking Rebecca DeMornay, and what the hell did he care how his songs sounded? He had it made.
Cale's version is hands-down the best, with this resignation in his voice that's just fucking blunt and beautiful at the same time.
Wainwright's all right, I guess. But Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk is about the best thing that I've heard from him.
posted by klangklangston at 11:07 AM on April 24, 2005

I recently had a discussion about the secret chord with a bunch of fellow musicians. The general consensus is that all musicians strive for that one moment that makes a song a work of absolute beauty: the secret chord that brings tears to your eyes, the one turn of the fingers that changes everything. All musicians hope for it. That's Leonard voicing what we can't put into words or music: the hope for writing a song that truly conveys everything we've ever wanted.

That said, Hallelujah is my favorite song of all time and comes closest to finding that chord, I believe.
posted by honeydew at 2:05 PM on April 24, 2005

I've now had opportunity to hear Cohen's, Cale's and Buckley's versions. Cale wins hands down. You can hear the emotion in the words as he sings. Buckley's is simply blah. And, well, although Cohen can write a wonderful song, he can't sing. I can't seem to track down Wainwright's or kd lang's versions. Bummer.
posted by deborah at 8:46 PM on April 24, 2005

Oops, just saw the link to Wainwright's version. He sounds just like Cale to me. Or is it possible that the mp3 that I have of Cale's version is mislabelled?
posted by deborah at 8:49 PM on April 24, 2005

Found a snippet of Cale's version at Amazon. And yes, I have ..er.. had a mislabelled mp3. From what I can tell from that snippet, I prefer Wainwright's version.
posted by deborah at 9:02 PM on April 24, 2005

I realize this conversation is years old, but I don't imagine that people stop caring about the ideas, or would mind terribly revisiting them...

I think there are two very different poems being discussed here. One is Cohen's original, consisting of the first two verses quoted in the question, and the two that were added by 'Cunning Linguist' on 22 April (several years ago, not in the future).

To me, Cohen's song/poem is about redemption. Beyond the beauty of the lyric describing the music, "the minor fall, the major lift" seems to be a clear allusion to fall from grace (the broken) and the resurrection, which restores the holy via the broken.

Before going any further, let me issue a disclaimer. I want to consider the song as biblical literature, and for that purpose it seems necessary to use and take seriously theological language and ideas. How you interpret that language (as poetic/symbolic, literal, etc.), and whether and what you believe about any of it, is up to you.

With that disclaimer in mind, then, we suffer from a 'minor fall' because to God our sin is not as big a deal as some make it out to be; we're more like straying children than tragic figures. Anybody who thinks otherwise is guilty of pride. What is major for Christianity is the resurrection of Jesus, and, through Him, of ourselves; hence the 'major lift' - up on the cross, and thence to eternal life.

The final verse is the clincher; allow me to repeat it:

I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth,
I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Broken, imperfect, sinful, limited, pathetic, losers that we are, if the word (or is that Word) has to get through our thick skulls and into our hard hearts by such mundane and tawdry routes as (perhaps kinky) sex, well, so be it. Cry the gospel, shout out the glory, do you hear me? Halllelujah! So what if everything (by human reckoning) went wrong, as long as the beautiful truth oh 'glory to God' is there in the end?

The OTHER song/poem seems to be about something much more secular, and I have to confess that it doesn't speak to me as strongly. Perhaps someone who understands it better could lay it out?
posted by jcshultis at 1:40 AM on April 5, 2006

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