The Queen & The Soldier

"I had been thinking about this song for months and months, and when I finally sat down to write, it came out in rhyme and in meter, and in surprising ways. Ways that I hadn't expected. The rhymes would suggest themselves to me, that's the way it seemed. It's hard to say exactly what inspired this song. I know that I wanted to write a song about a woman who was in power and it's hard to find a symbol for someone like that. So I chose the queen to do that. There are details in it that were influenced by things that were happening around me at the time, but I can't really tell you where the idea came from. Then once I had the soldier come to the door, the whole thing unfolded itself. It took me months though to get to the point where the whole thing would clarify itself. The Queen and the Soldier is a strange song for me because it seems to work on a variety of levels. I still haven't figured that one out yet. I don't know what it means to me, yet. I feel a very strong sympathy with both characters. Obviously, I like the soldier better than the queen; I think most people do. I feel a very strong identification with both characters. Some people want to know if that's my idea of romance, which it certainly is not! I mean, I'm not crazy... in that way, anyway. To me, that was a song about power. It was a song about power and the misuse of power and how people hang on to it, no matter what, even if it means that they are ultimately unhappy and suffering because of it."
-Suzanne Vega

The soldier came knocking upon the queen's door
He said, "I am not fighting for you any more"
The queen knew she'd seen his face someplace before
And slowly she let him inside.

He said, "I've watched your palace up here on the hill
And I've wondered who's the woman for whom we all kill
But I am leaving tomorrow and you can do what you will
Only first I am asking you why."

Down in the long narrow hall he was led
Into her rooms with her tapestries red
And she never once took the crown from her head
She asked him there to sit down.

He said, "I see you now, and you are so very young
But I've seen more battles lost than I have battles won
And I've got this intuition, says it's all for your fun
And now will you tell me why?"

The young queen, she fixed him with an arrogant eye
She said, "You won't understand, and you may as well not try"
But her face was a child's, and he thought she would cry
But she closed herself up like a fan.

And she said, "I've swallowed a secret burning thread
It cuts me inside, and often I've bled"
He laid his hand then on top of her head
And he bowed her down to the ground.

"Tell me how hungry are you? How weak you must feel
As you are living here alone, and you are never revealed
But I won't march again on your battlefield"
And he took her to the window to see.

And the sun, it was gold, though the sky, it was gray
And she wanted more than she ever could say
But she knew how it frightened her, and she turned away
And would not look at his face again.

And he said, "I want to live as an honest man
To get all I deserve and to give all I can
And to love a young woman who I don't understand
Your highness, your ways are very strange."

But the crown, it had fallen, and she thought she would break
And she stood there, ashamed of the way her heart ached
She took him to the doorstep and she asked him to wait
She would only be a moment inside.

Out in the distance her order was heard
And the soldier was killed, still waiting for her word
And while the queen went on strangeling in the solitude she preferred
The battle continued on

Suzanne Vega, ''The Queen & The Soldier''

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