Cygnus X-1 Book 2: Hemispheres
by Rush

Album: Hemispheres (1978)
  • [I. Prelude]

    When our weary world was young
    The struggle of the ancients first began
    The gods of love and reason
    Sought alone to rule the fate of man

    They battled through the ages
    But still neither force would yield
    The people were divided
    Every soul a battlefield

    [II. Apollo / Dionysus]

    [Apollo: Bringer Of Wisdom]
    'I bring truth and understanding
    I bring wit and wisdom fair
    Precious gifts beyond compare
    We can build a world of wonder
    I can make you all aware
    I will find you food and shelter
    Show you fire to keep you warm
    Through the endless winter storm
    You can live in grace and comfort
    In the world that you transform'

    The people were delighted
    Coming forth to claim their prize
    They ran to build their cities
    And converse among the wise
    But one day the streets fell silent
    Yet they knew not what was wrong
    The urge to build these fine things
    Seemed not to be so strong
    The wise men were consulted
    And the Bridge of Death was crossed
    In quest of Dionysus
    To find out what they had lost

    [Dionysus: Bringer Of Love]
    'I bring love to give you solace
    In the darkness of the night
    In the Heart's eternal light
    You need only trust your feelings
    Only love can steer you right
    I bring laughter, I bring music
    I bring joy and I bring tears
    I will soothe your primal fears
    Throw off those chains of reason
    And your prison disappears'

    The cities were abandoned
    And the forests echoed song
    They danced and lived as brothers
    They knew love could not be wrong
    Food and wine they had aplenty
    And they slept beneath the stars
    The people were contented
    And the gods watched from afar
    But the winter fell upon them
    And it caught them unprepared
    Bringing wolves and cold starvation
    And the hearts of men despaired

    [III. Armageddon: The Battle Of Heart and Mind]

    The universe divided
    As the heart and mind collided
    With the people left unguided
    For so many troubled years
    In a cloud of doubts and fears
    Their world was torn asunder into hollow
    Hemispheres

    Some fought themselves, some fought each other
    Most just followed one another
    Lost and aimless like their brothers
    For their hearts were so unclear
    And the truth could not appear
    Their spirits were divided into blinded
    Hemispheres

    Some who did not fight
    Brought tales of old to light
    'My Rocinante sailed by night
    On her final flight'
    To the heart of Cygnus' fearsome force
    We set our course
    Spiralled through that timeless space
    To this immortal place

    [IV. Cygnus: Bringer Of Balance]

    I have memory and awareness
    But I have no shape or form
    As a disembodied spirit
    I am dead and yet unborn
    I have passed into Olympus
    As was told in tales of old
    To the city of Immortals
    Marble white and purest gold...

    I see the gods in battle rage on high...
    Thunderbolts across the sky...
    I cannot move, I cannot hide...
    I feel a silent scream begin inside...

    Then all at once the chaos ceased
    A stillness fell, a sudden peace
    The warriors felt my silent cry
    And stayed their struggle, mystified

    Apollo was atonished
    Dionysus thought me mad
    But they heard my story further
    And they wondered, and were sad

    Looking down from Olympus
    On a world of doubt and fear
    Its surface splintered
    Into sorry Hemispheres

    They sat a while in silence
    Then they turned at last to me
    'We will call you Cygnus
    The god of Balance you shall be'

    [V. The Sphere: A Kind Of Dream]

    We can walk our road together
    If our goals are all the same
    We can run alone and free
    If we pursue a different aim
    Let the truth of love be lighted
    Let the love of truth shine clear
    Sensibility
    Armed with sense and liberty
    With the heart and mind united in a single
    Perfect
    Sphere

Comments: 17

  • Rick from AnaheimThis song is perfection! Geddy's vocals and melody lines are at their best. I never get tired of listening to this song.
  • Rrradam from Denver, NcLike Ayn Rand's Anthem inspired 2112, Book 2 was inspired by Fredrick Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music, in which he espouses on what he calls the Apollonian and Dionysian philosophical concepts. Certainly my favorite literary composition, ever written, in any form... Both beautiful and profound. Even clever, where the Hero, after having being ripped apart (atom by atom) when entering the black hole in Book 1, reemerges as Cygnus in Book 2.
  • Christopher from Coweta, OkI know they've said they were done with songs like this, but just one more.... It blows my mind how good this song is.
  • Diego from São Paulo, Brazil"Apollo was atonished /Dionysus thought me mad" I personally found this passage to be really interesting ...The contrasting adjectives to each god .
    Asnonishing the god truth and prophecy and being considered mad by who some considered to be the god of madness !
  • Larry from Ft. Pierce, FlWOW! Even Homer would have been amazed with this song! The streets of Athens would echo with its sounds.
  • Moose from Chicago, IlRush is arguably the best story-telling band ever. Their ability to write an engaging, epic story and combine it with stellar accompanying music is unparalleled. While plenty of other bands come to mind (The Who's 'Tommy' :)), Rush has a plethora of epic's - The Necromancer, The Fountain of Lamneth, 2112, Xanadu, Cygnus X-1, the 'Fear' series (The Weapon, Witch Hunt, The Enenmy Within, & Freeze), and more.
  • Moises from Mexico, Mexicoi am also astonished about this song... its a dream song.. the beautiful mithology made song... the eternal battle between reason and love.... and finally that battle is in ourselves, in our hemispheres, in our beautiful and complex mind...and all joined with that professional music...
    thats really beautiful, i have just listened to it and thats my opinion
  • Devon from Uniontown, Pai believe that dionusus was the god of wine and revelry, not love. that would be aphrodite, who is a goddess.
  • Travis from Calgary, AbActually Chuck, their second longest song I believe is Fountain of Lamneth from Caress of Steel, with 2112 as the longest.

    Though if you count both parts to Cygnus X-1 then it would be quite a deal longer.
  • John from Asheville, NcI like this song quite well, though I'm not a fan of album-length epics. One of their better ones though and light years stronger than the close to the Kings album. Much better effort this go 'round.
  • Chuck from Houston, TxIf I'm not mistaken, this is the second longens rush song the band ever made.
  • Kent Lyle from Cincinnati, OhAlex's richly harmonic 12-string electric defines his sound as much as anything he's ever done.
  • David from N.providence, RiArguably one of the best Rush songs ever. I'm not sure how well Countdown fits as a closer to Cygnus X-I and X-II, but it's a thought I suppose.
  • Tj from Chicago, IlThis could be my number 1 rush song along with xanadu (exit... stage left/live) & the camera eye. The way Geddy's shrieking, high pitch tone swings with the music is simply ASTOUNDING.
  • Wil from Milwaukee, WiListen to this IMMEDIATELY after Cygnus X-1 from A Farewell To Kings!!! Then finish up with Countdown fron Signals!! What a trilogy!!!
  • Chris from Spencerport, NyThis has to be one of my favorite Rush songs. The story flows so well and the music fits perfectly.
  • Paul from Spring, TxTotally awesome song, I love the story, with its extremelly moving lyrics, and a melody that fits perfectly with the mood and sounds great.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Lace the Music: How LSD Changed Popular Music

Lace the Music: How LSD Changed Popular MusicSong Writing

Starting in Virginia City, Nevada and rippling out to the Haight-Ashbury, LSD reshaped popular music.

The 10 Bands Most Like Spinal Tap

The 10 Bands Most Like Spinal TapSong Writing

Based on criteria like girlfriend tension, stage mishaps and drummer turnover, these are the 10 bands most like Spinal Tap.

Meshell Ndegeocello

Meshell NdegeocelloSongwriter Interviews

Meshell Ndegeocello talks about recording "Wild Night" with John Mellencamp, and explains why she shied away from the spotlight.

Pete Anderson

Pete AndersonSongwriter Interviews

Pete produced Dwight Yoakam, Michelle Shocked, Meat Puppets, and a very memorable track for Roy Orbison.

Which Restaurants Are Most Mentioned In Song Lyrics?

Which Restaurants Are Most Mentioned In Song Lyrics?Song Writing

Katy Perry mentions McDonald's, Beyoncé calls out Red Lobster, and Supertramp shouts out Taco Bell - we found the 10 restaurants most often mentioned in songs.

Daryl Hall

Daryl HallSongwriter Interviews

Daryl Hall's TV show is a hit, and he's been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - only one of these developments excites him.