The Johnnie Hallelujah

I rewrote the lyrics to Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah my freshman year of college, as a tribute to St. John’s College. I played this on my guitar at Collegium (the college-wide talent show). Here’s the lyrics, with references to Euclid’s Elements, Plato’s Republic, and Homer’s Odyssey.

I heard there was a sacred line
That Euclid made, and it pleased the mind
But you don’t really care for Euclid, do ya?

Well it goes like this: the chord, the kiss
The tangent line to the circle’s rift
The baffled man constructing hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah

Your mind was strong, but you needed proof
You saw the line and you saw the truth
Its beauty in the firelight overthrew ya

But it tied you down with shackles bare
Opened your eyes and fixed your stare
And from your breath it drew the hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah

Baby, I’ve been here before
I’ve sailed that sea and I’ve walked that shore
I used to sail alone before I knew ya

I carved our bed, I heard the muse
But love is not a vict’ry cruise
It’s a cold and it’s a wailing hallelujah

Hallelujah, hallelujah
Hallelujah, hallelujah

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