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Coldplay – Viva La Vida lyrics

I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own

I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy's eyes

Listen as the crowd would sing
"Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!"

One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand

I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing

Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field

For some reason I can't explain
Once you go there was never
Never an honest word

And that was when I ruled the world

It was the wicked and wild wind
Blew down the doors to let me in

Shattered windows and the sound of drums
People couldn't believe what I'd become

Revolutionaries wait
For my head on a silver plate

Just a puppet on a lonely string
Oh who would ever want to be king?

I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field

For some reason I can't explain
I know Saint Peter won't call my name
Never an honest word
But that was when I ruled the world

I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field

For some reason I can't explain
I know Saint Peter won't call my name
Never an honest word
But that was when I ruled the world

Lyrics taken from

Submitted byrafaelmoliv
Corrected byraekiar

Please input the reason why these lyrics are bad:

songmeaningsPost my meaning

  • e
    It sounds like it's sung from the point of view of a deposed ruler, possibly a French king after the Revolution.
    He's remembering a time where he was in power, and now that his reign has been overthrown, his focus is on the afterlife - St. Peter calling his name, and hearing the Roman choirs could be references to what sort of welcome he expects in heaven.
    I checked the link above - some people have also picked up on the Biblical references, and in that sense, it could be about someone like Jesus or John the Baptist (whose head was delivered on a silver plate), or any prophet who might have run into trouble with their government, and might be awaiting execution.
    That's if you take it all literally - it could be a metaphor for any situation where someone is reflecting on their life - someone who used to have a better job, or a better relationship, and is dreaming of a better life in the future.
    "Viva la Vida" could mean "Long live life" in addition to "Live the life". Revolutionary armies have been known to chant "Viva la Revolution", or "Long live the revolution!"
    That phrase is what makes me favor the French Revolution aspect over the Biblical prophet angle.
  • l
    I don't think anyone's wrong on this. Great personal perspectives. For me, the song is reflective of the frailty of men that dates back to Adam. Adam ruled the world. Adam lost that power and authority when he took heed to the voice of satan (wicked wind). As a result, Adam was kicked out of the Garden of Eden. Where he once ruled the Garden and only required to dress and keep it, he then was reduced to till the ground with sweat and tears (now sweeping streets he once ruled). Yet, despite Adam's fall, for some reason we can't explain, the hope of redemption through Christ Jesus made grace available so that our names will still be called on that day of judgment.
    Adam's fall is indicative of what we see today. The forbidden fruit of contemporary society is wrapped in the skins of mortgage fraud, voter fraud, banking fraud, political fraud, and all sorts of fraud that amount to nothing more than the same old lies that have culminated into what we have today- a fallen and bankrupt system that once ruled the world. Who would want to be king? Who would want to be president at a time when the lies of men created such a mess?!? There are folk waiting for Obama to fail and place his head on a platter should this economy not recover just so they can prove the fraud was not theirs but someone else's. Whether your republican or democrat, christian or not, we can all agree a corrupt and fraudulent government, a corrupt and fraudulent group of citizens and special interests created the problems we have today.
    In my world, I have experienced that fall and everyone is gunning for you when it happens. But there's hope, and my name is still on the roster as one of His own. Salvation is mine. And yours.
  • p
    The reason you think this song is g* is because you have never experienced a loss so deep it eats away at your very soul. I identify with this song I have gone through a divorce after 23 years of marriage and I lost my home, my husband and the life I once knew. I lost my mother two weeks ago and that added to the feeling of having everything I have known for years come crashing down. This song is symbolic of life and the changes that can turn your world around. Everytime I hear it I cry.
    Some of you are too young to know what this song is about, one day you will know.
  • deathmyfriend
    Omg. This song rules so damm hard! He let all the power go to his head and he got into the wrong crowds. His people started to hate him and wanted him out of power. Then he finally realized what he did and felt really horrible about what he did and wondered if this happened to all royalty. Idk, I just interpreted this song from what I thought. This is the best song I have ever heard from coldplay. This song is sooo beautiful. Viva la Vida Coldplay!
  • b
    Why This Song Can Be Seen as Christian:
    1. If you look at the rest of the songs they wrote, they all have something to do with God in one context or word.
    2. Castles "upon pillars of song (salt [?])" and "pillars of sand" are parts of a parable told by christ.
    3. This song is overall about a king at the end of his life that acknowledges God, Christ, and the saints aka Saint Peter and he thinks that he's not going to heaven for what he did. "but that was when [he] ruled the world" states he hopes that all those actions are forgiven.

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