The Oh Hellos: Soldier, Poet, King Meaning
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Soldier, Poet, King Lyrics
Who carries a mighty sword
He will tear your city down, o lei o lai o lord
O lei, o lai, o lei, o lord
He will tear your city down, o lei o lai o lord
There will come a poet
Whose weapon is his word
He will slay...
1TOP RATED#1 top rated interpretation:anonymous Mar 26th 2020 report
Considering that the band has said that the entire album is about looking back on an abusive relationship (specifically with one's family/parents), the soldier, poet and king, respectively, represent the different ways that other people can help someone move on from such a relationship, and how effective they are.
The "soldier" represents the people who physically remove the victim from the abuser, and take away the tangible power they have over their victim. It's worth noting that "tear your city down" is first used with the soldier, and then repeated later, because even though the soldier "tore the city down", what it represents still stands in the victim's mind.
The "poet" represents people who help the victim get over or move past their fear of their abuser. Ridicule and dissection are the most powerful tools to combat fear with, so to make sure the victim understands that the abuser no longer holds, and realistically didn't hold, as much power over them as they claimed, "slaying them with their tongue", has more impact than anything physically tangible.
The "ruler" is the most important: it's the more kind-hearted people who fill the void the abuser used to hold. Friends who look after people who left abusive families, new lovers after abusive exes, overall people who demonstrate to the victim how they're SUPPOSED to be treated. The line "smeared with oil like David's boy" likens the importance of this person in breaking the cycle of abuse to a king chosen by a prophet (and thus by God himself) to ensure the kingdom's health.
Then, after the three finally come together, the city is finally torn down, the old ruler deposed, and thus, the victim free to move on with their lives, which is celebrated with the upbeat second half with joyous chants of "O lay, o lord", which could either be seen as celebrations of the new ruler, or as vicious mockery of the old one (maybe both?), as the cycle is finally broken.
2TOP RATED#2 top rated interpretation:anonymous Jan 28th 2020 report
It is assumed that the soldier is joshua, who destroyed Jericho.
The poet is king David, the person who wrote the psalms.
The king is Jesus.
3TOP RATED#3 top rated interpretation:anonymous Sep 4th 2020 report
As another commenter mentioned, the song is about abuse, but I think the titular soldier, poet, and king represent three methods of abuse. Specifically, I think this song was intended as a sort of twisted fable to warn listeners about the roles of an abuser, similar to the tale of Little Red Riding Hood.
The soldier is physical abuse, and the "city" is the victim's body. The sword is a traditional symbol of aggression and willingness to engage in physical violence.
The poet is verbal abuse, and "slay you with his tongue" refers to breaking the victim down verbally.
The king/ruler is the least obvious one: psychological abuse. With the allusions to Biblical rulers (brow laid in thorn, smeared in oil, David's boy), this abuser may have an inflated ego or narcissistic disorder, viewing himself as a grand, important person with extreme power over the victim.
anonymous Feb 19th report
Its been pretty funny for me to read that this song was intended to have such strong religious undertones because when I first heard it I thought it was a massive euphemism (which isn't uncommon in folk music)!
I won't go into details to spare blushes but if you listen to the first two verses it doesn't take too much imagination to hear what I heard.
anonymous Feb 17th report
The sword is equivalent to the word. In Ephesians it says “the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.” It’s also we’ll known that He is the king of kings and wore a crown of thorns. So, Jesus is the soldier, poet, and king.
anonymous Jan 27th report
The song has to do with the future coming of Jesus.He is the solider, the Post, and the King. It's in revelation 19. Jesus will come on a white horse carrying a mighty sword and will tear down the nations. He is also the King of Kings.
anonymous Dec 10th report
I feel like allongnwith the biblical references and interpretations in the other comments, this song might be about the three different figureheads that God sent to Israel. First, the soldier might refer to Moses, Joshua and the judges. They were the early leaders of israel and they, specifically Joshua and the judges (Gideon, Deborah, Samson), led battles against the israelite’s neighbours to defend their homeland. The poet refers to the prophets, since they were the ones sent by God to counsel the king/s of israel and its people, and some even most of the times they stood against the corruption and sinfulness of the kings by lecturing them. And of course, the ruler represents Jesus, as many, many people pointed out
anonymous Sep 8th report
They have confirmed that this song is about the second coming of Christ based on the writings of CS Lewis, makes me like the song a little less lol
anonymous Jul 24th 2020 report
When I first saw the song, my mind immediately went to the interpretation of the three fire signs in the Greek zodiac; Aries, the solider, Sagittarius, the poet, and Leo, the King.
anonymous Jul 9th 2020 report
Each paragraph describes a form of abuse, or oppression: the first, represented by the mighty soldier, resembles a military oppression; the second, represented by the poet, a cultural oppression; the third and last one is the trickiest one, because it is clearly represented by Jesus, but its described as a "ruler" not a "savior" so I think it's like this to symbolize a religious oppression. That's my take!
anonymous Mar 17th 2020 report
I think it refers to the trinity the soldier is Jesus who worked between people, the poet is the holy spirit who whispers in your ear and the king is God who looks after us.
anonymous Jan 23rd 2020 report
I think it has to do with culture in the middle ages.
A generic soldier, representing the combat skills and battles fought at the time.
A generic poet, representing the power of literature, and how it grew fast in that time period.
And a generic king, representing the religion of the time. The line "whose brow is laid in thorn", referring to the crown of thorns, and "David's boy", referring to Jesus.
anonymous Jul 24th 2019 report
Sounds like a Religious type of references, possibly to Jesus and maybe some other prophets from the Bible.
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