In 2001, Leonard Cohen recorded "Alexandra Leaving
," based on Constantine P. Cavafy's 1911 poem "The God Abandons Antony." Whereas Cavafy's work is based around the Roman general Antony being besieged in the city of Alexandria by Octavian, Cohen's version is centered on a woman named Alexandra.
Marling wrote this song about her fascination with Cohen's attitudes towards women. "As much as I love him, I'm obsessed with his idea of women and how they become these facades," Marling explained to Mojo
magazine. "I wanted to imagine what it's like to survive that passionate projection."