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Hozier – Swan Upon Leda: Lyrics Meaning


Hozier – Swan Upon Leda Lyrics Meaning

The meaning of the lyrics for ‘Swan Upon Leda’ by Hozier is based on the story of the poetry ‘Leda and the Swan’ by W.B. Yeats. ‘Swan Upon Leda’ is the first new song from Hozier for his upcoming album, Unreal Unearth. The release date of the song is the 7th of October, 2022. Hozier and Jennifer Decilveo produced the song in Dublin, Ireland. In his tweet, Hozier said he was inspired by Egyptian journalist and author, Mona Eltahawy.

‘Swan Upon Leda’ by Hozier means that Leda was raped by Zeus in the form of a Swan, representing how he forced on to Leda.

Leda brought eggs to earth. Those eggs hatched into Helen and Polydeuces who were the offspring of Zeus. At that exact moment, Leda bore Castor and Clytemnestra, offspring of her spouse Tyndareus who was the King of Sparta. As Paris of Troy abducted Helen, the queen of Sparta, this triggered an immediate Trojan war that lasted for 10 years. But in the end, the patriarchal society of that time won regardless. This concept is explained in the article below.

Swan Upon Leda Lyrics Meaning

The lyrics to ‘Swan Upon Leda’ by Hozier talk about the oppression women have been facing from generation to generation. She referred to the present system that controls and endangers women as the world’s oldest profession. At the same moment, Roe v Wade got overturned. The song is the exploration of this idea of Mona Eltahawy in a single piece. Let’s analyze the meaning of the lyrics behind the song ‘Swan Upon Leda’ by Hozier line by line in detail.

[Verse 1]

Her husband waits outside
A cryin’ child pushes a child into the night
She was told he would come this time
Without leavin’ so much as a feather behind
To enact at last the perfect plan
One more sweet boy to be butchered by man

Verse 1 to ‘Swan Upon Leda’ Lyrics


The first verse to ‘Swan Upon Leda’ lyrics by Hozier points at how women are looked upon derogatorily as a way to produce offspring. In the lyrics, the husband waits outside where his wife, a young girl (a child), is giving birth to another child. It’s just like young Leda with Zeus. As she gives birth to a baby boy, that boy is raised with toxic ideas about women. He is punished for expressing how he feels with other men. Society raises kids in a way where not even the winner truly wins.

[Chorus/ Outro]

But the gateway to the world
Was still outside of reach for them
Would never belong to angels
Had never belonged to men
The swan upon Leda
Empire upon Jerusalem

Chorus & Outro parts to ‘Swan Upon Leda’ Lyrics

The gateway to the world
Is gone in a tremblin’ hand
When nature unmakes the boundary
The pillar of myth still stands
The swan upon Leda
Occupier upon ancient land

2nd Chorus to ‘Swan Upon Leda’ Lyrics


Hozier talks about the fact that there is no superior gender in the chorus of ‘Swan Upon Leda’ lyrics. It is a societal construction built up so that men could feel powerful over women. “Occupier upon ancient land” means how Palestine was occupied by the British and then was handed over to Israel. This is how Empires were forced onto Jerusalem. It’s just like how Zeus forced himself onto Leda. But the world was never meant to be owned by men.

[Verse 2]

A grandmother smugglin’ meds
Past where the god child-soldier
Setanta stood dead
Our graceful turner of heads
Weaves through the checkpoints like a needle and thread
Someone’s frightened boy waves her on
She offers a mother’s smile and soon she’s gone

Verse 2 to ‘Swan Upon Leda’ Lyrics


The second verse to ‘Swan Upon Leda’ lyrics by Hozier talks about the restrictions on abortion rights. A grandmother smuggling meds is a reference to an Irish granny smuggling medicines from the UK across the border past the statue of Setanta. Setanta was a warrior hero but he stood dead as he cannot do anything about the issues women are facing. Women are expected to jump through hoops and are forced to fit into the beauty standards. It’s just like Zeus forcing himself onto Leda.

Conclusion: Swan Upon Leda Meaning

‘Swan Upon Leda’ by Hozier means how society forces women as Zeus forced himself onto Leda. It’s sad to see how we talk about liberalization. But the liberalization is not possible with one party accepting the change. A system that has existed for a long period of time cannot be broken immediately. Brave women have tried to change the system since the time of ‘The French Revolution.’ Yet we still have a long way to go.

What do you think is the meaning behind the song ‘Swan Upon Leda’ lyrics by Hozier? Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter @laviasco.

Read the meaning behind the lyrics of the song ‘Swan Upon Leda’ by Hozier line by line on Genius in detail.


Laviasco is an entertainment website run by a single person, the Admin himself, Mr. Suraj Marahatta, from research to blogging to website maintenance. Here, I have been providing the meaning of the lyrics of the songs little by little since 2019. My goal is to provide authentic sources for the facts and stay up-to-date.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Louis

    Laviasco, I think you missed an important bit regarding Setanta. In Irish mythology, Setanta is a demigod — another instance of a god ravishing a woman. One version of the myth includes an abortion. Also, when he was mortally wounded in battle, he chained himself upright to a stone so he would die standing and facing his enemies. Statues depict him in this way, thus the “stood dead’ reference. In this verse, Hozier may be pointing out the sad irony of Irish oppression of women’s right against the backdrop of British occupation of Ireland, but that’s just my guess.

    1. Laviasco

      thank you for your input, Louis.

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