THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE

Please don't cry
For the ghost and the storm outside
Will not invade this sacred shrine
Nor infiltrate your mind
My life down I shall lie
If the bogey-man should try
To play tricks on your sacred mind
To tease, torment, and tantalise
Wavering shadows loom
A piano plays in an empty room
There'll be blood on the cleaver tonight
And when darknesss lifts and the room is bright
I'll still be by your side
For you are all that matters
And I'll love you to till the day I die
There never need be longing in your eyes
As long as the hand that rocks the cradle is mine
Ceiling shadows shimmy by
And when the wardrobe towers like a beast of prey
There's sadness in your beautiful eyes
Oh, your untouched, unsoiled, wonderous eyes
My life down I shall lie
Should restless spirits try
To play tricks on your sacred mind
I once had a child, and it saved my life
And I never even asked his name
I just looked into his wondrous eyes
And said : "never never never again"
And all too soon I did return
Just like a moth to a flame
So rattle my bones all over the stones
I'm only a beggar-man whom nobody owns
Oh, see how words as old as sin
Fit me like a glove
I'm here and here I'll stay
Together we lie, together we pray
There never need be longing in your eyes
As long as the hand that rocks the cradle is mine
As long as the hand that rocks the cradle is mine
Mine
Climb up on my knee, sonny boy
Although you're only three, sonny boy
You're - you're mine
And your mother she just never knew
Oh, your mother ...
As long ... as long ... as long
I did my best for her
I did my best for her
As long ... as long ... as long as ... as long
I did my best for her
I did my best for her
Oh ...

This haunting tune is often interpreted as referring to child abuse, and it's easy to see why : "I once had a child", "Although you're only three", "you're mine", "together we lie", and the general tone of threatening care. Of course, it's only an interpretation as it could very well be entirely innocent.
Even if that is intended, and there's little doubt that Morrissey could miss the meaning, it's hardly immoral (assuming you accept such a thing as morality anyway) : a song about a situation doesn't condone the situation. The whole child-abuse fiasco is just patently ridiculous; no matter how "dodgy" the lyrics may be in places, it has no bearing on Morrissey's or the group's opinions.
The Hand That Rocks The Cradle is actually one of the first songs that Morrissey & Marr penned. It was played at The Smiths' first rehearsal session with Steve Pomfret, the guitarist who first introduced Morrissey to Johnny.

 Visit Troy Tate version of this song

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