His Lady's Command

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His Lady's Command

Postby holydove on Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:32 pm

I apologize if this has been discussed before, I searched but didn't find anything.

I've always been intrigued by this line from Who By Fire: ". . .who by his lady's command"

As the theme of this song is actual physical death, not death of the ego, or any other kind of emotional/psychological death, I wonder, in what context do you imagine that someone's lady would command him to die?

Is the lady a Dom, or a Queen, or a Muse, or just an "ordinary" lady, or something else?

That scene from Alice in Wonderland where the Queen of Hearts keeps shouting "Off with his head!!" comes to mind. . .

Editing: Or is it a reference to the Art of Courtly Love, where a man must be willing to die for the woman he loves, and her wish is his command?
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Re: His Lady's Command

Postby somewhat_nifty on Tue Aug 09, 2011 3:40 pm

holydove wrote:Or is it a reference to the Art of Courtly Love, where a man must be willing to die for the woman he loves, and her wish is his command?


I have to say, that's how it always struck me, and LC does see himself as a troubadour...
I'm chained to the old masquerade...
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Re: His Lady's Command

Postby Steven on Fri Aug 12, 2011 12:39 am

Hi holydove,

The dynamics of relationships can have deadly consequences and "lady's command" can refer to devastating
power that can be afflicted upon the vulnerable, clueless, p-whipped, emasculated, and others. It happens to some of the
brightest people. Never thought "command" in the song was referring to an actual verbal authoritative statement,
necessarily.
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Re: His Lady's Command

Postby holydove on Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:09 pm

somewhat_nifty, that was the one that struck the truest chord for me too; & yes, Leonard is indeed quite the troubadour! Thank you for pointing that out!

Steven, thank you for your insightful comments. I agree that the lyric does not necessarily refer to an explicit verbal command. In fact, in the courtly love scenario, it wouldn't be a verbal command, but an implicit expectation that the man prove his love by undertaking heroic ventures which could end in death; perhaps that dynamic still happens today, in more subtle forms (& it's not always the man who perishes in the end, it could also be the woman, or both). But I also agree that in modern times, as in all times, there are many ways by which the dynamics of relationships can result in death for one or more of the parties involved.
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Re: His Lady's Command

Postby Steven on Sat Aug 13, 2011 4:20 am

Hi holydove,

Thanks for your words and for the opportunity to reconsider the possibilities of the lyrics of this song. It took Leonard to add this avenue of relationship derived destruction to the prayer based list that inspired the song. Proving ordeals, courtly or otherwise, have a tendency to diminish the ordealed in the eyes of the one that demands them. -- Both partners usually lose. The kind of proving that has a more decent chance of getting both partners
results that are mutually desirable is expressed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnmYOJoN5xU.
:)

Btw, the "who shall I say is calling?" lyric line in Leonard's song is one of the most provocative and poetic of lyric lines
I know. Hadn't thought about that line for awhile till just now. Not that anyone brought it up.
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Re: His Lady's Command

Postby Diane on Sat Aug 13, 2011 2:53 pm

Steven wrote:the "who shall I say is calling?" lyric line in Leonard's song is one of the most provocative and poetic of lyric lines I know. Hadn't thought about that line for awhile till just now. Not that anyone brought it up.


just popping in to say - now you come to mention that, Steven - I agree - a v. powerful line.
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Re: His Lady's Command

Postby holydove on Sun Aug 14, 2011 9:01 pm

Steven wrote: Btw, the "who shall I say is calling?" lyric line in Leonard's song is one of the most provocative and poetic of lyric lines
I know. Hadn't thought about that line for awhile till just now. Not that anyone brought it up.



Hi Steven,

Yes, that is a really stunning & powerful line! I remember an interview where Leonard said that it is that line - "& who shall I say is calling" - which turns the song into a prayer. ( I thought that was worth mentioning, in case you hadn't seen that interview). Glad you brought it up!
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Re: His Lady's Command

Postby Steven on Wed Aug 17, 2011 5:46 pm

Hi holydove,

Never thought of this song as prayer-like, myself. Was thinking of the Rosh Hashanah /
Yom Kippur prayer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unetanneh_Tokef. Hadn't seen the interview.
Heard Leonard mention prayer about "If It Be Your Will." That song is undeniably prayer-like. :)
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Re: His Lady's Command

Postby holydove on Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:00 pm

Hi again, Steven!

Thank you for the link to all the interesting & thorough info about the Unetanneh Tokef (I still have to return & read more of it, when I have a little more time). Yes, Leonard's song is based on that prayer, which is said between Rosh Hashonah & Yom Kippur.

My interpretation of Leonard's comment, that the line, "& who shall I say is calling" is what makes the song a prayer, in this context, is this: with that line, the narrator is asking who or what determines when & how each person will die; & one possibility is that the narrator is posing his question, directly, to the Source of creation. In other words, he is asking, "who or what are you?" Or he could be posing the question to noone in particular, or to himself. But regardless of who the narrator is talking to, with this question, it is the investigation into who or what gives life & who or what takes it away, that makes the song a prayer, & if he is talking to the Source, he is thereby trying to open a dialogue with his creator, with the specific purpose of discovering what exactly the nature of this creator is. This inquiry takes the whole thing a pretty big step further than the original prayer, & I find this to be a very interesting & beautiful perspective on what constitutes prayer.
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Re: His Lady's Command

Postby Steven on Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:15 pm

Hi holydove,

With you on everything you said in your last post, but "prayer," only because I don't feel an imploring prayerful tone
to the song. Like what you said and the way you expressed it.

This week's East Coast U.S. 5.8 Earthquake had me wondering "Who by earthquake?" An odd feeling when the
terra is not so firma, at least to those who experienced their first quake.
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Re: His Lady's Command

Postby Steven on Fri Aug 26, 2011 3:07 am

And now, "Who by hurricane?" with the impending arrival of Hurricane Irene. Stay safe everyone
who will be in its path.
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Re: His Lady's Command

Postby imaginary friend on Fri Aug 26, 2011 4:12 am

'Amen' to both of Steven's last posts!
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Re: His Lady's Command

Postby holydove on Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:22 pm

I hear you, Steven! The recent earthquake was not very far from where I live, & some people in the area felt it, but I was face-down on an acupuncture table when it happened, & I think the tremors I felt had more to do with the 30 needles in my body, than the earthquake, but one can't be completely certain! But I defintely felt the rumblings of an earthquake many years ago, & I remember it vividly, esp. that moment when I realized it was probably an earthquake, & that the next few moments might be my last ones on this earth!! And now, both my apartments (I have 2 only by chance & it's a temporary situation) are in the direct path of the hurricane; I think I will go to NYC, where power outages, due to trees falling on cables, are less likely!

"who by earthquake, who by hurricane" indeed - a very witty & apropos extension to the song, Steven! All "prayers" in all forms are quite welcome!

Thank you for your good wishes & you stay safe too!
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