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Alexandra Leaving

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I am a fan of Leonard Cohen's lyrics - I find they are truly inspired. I was listening to Alexandra Leaving the other day and looked up the lyrics. If you are not familiar with the song - it is a typical L. Cohen dirge about the loss of love.

One of the websites I found had the translation of the greek poet Constantine P. Cavafy's poem The God Abandons Antony. This is a poem about Mark Antony's impending defeat in the siege of Alexandria. Antony had a dream of a procession passing by his window at night and this dream portended the defeat.

I found it very interesting how Cohen took this poem and reworked it - retaining much of the imagery in the original but putting his own mark on it.

By the way, Cohen co-wrote this song with Sharon Robinson. She has a beautiful version of it on her website (such a deep rich velvety voice):

Sharon Robinson Music

The God Abandons Antony

At midnight, when suddenly you hear

an invisible procession going by

with exquisite music, voices,

don't mourn your luck that's failing now,

work gone wrong, your plans

all proving deceptive - don't mourn them uselessly:

as one long prepared, and full of courage,

say goodbye to her, to Alexandria who is leaving.

Above all, don't fool yourself, don't say

it was a dream, your ears deceived you:

don't degrade yourself with empty hopes like these.

As one long prepared, and full of courage,

as is right for you who were given this kind of city,

go firmly to the window

and listen with deep emotion,

but not with the whining, the pleas of a coward;

listen - your final pleasure - to the voices,

to the exquisite music of that strange procession,

and say goodbye to her, to the Alexandria you are losing.

Constantine P. Cavafy

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Hey Eddie, I'd love to hear your version. I tried to do it, but can't get anywhere with it.


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I fell in love with this Cohen's version of this tune and his version of Closing time. I am almost done with Closing time.

Bass - Guitar Tracks - Drums - Shakers - Strings - Violins and Hammond. About 17 tracks.

Both versions will mostly be instrumental key board and guitar work.


When I am ready, I will put a file together with some tracks from the original. The I will play along to it with and see how it turns out.

The i can send you a file that you could work on as to guitar compatible in your email.


On the guitar, this tune requires a mixture of long sustained chords with incidental melody lines and singing or melody lines carrying the tune.

Its played quite slow.

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Hi Eddie,

Really looking forward to hearing both versions. I didn't know you liked Leonard Cohen - but I'm not surprised - we tend to have similar tastes.

I think there is an opportunity for a really searing electric guitar solo in Alexandra Leaving. Just seems calling out for it.


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Well, well Eddie! Who'd a thought - can't wait to hear what both of you come up with. One of my fav albums and one of the best songs on it - I never get tired of listening to all of those songs.

Doug: dirge!!?? Traitor! ;)

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