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Stephen Sondheim
Stephen Sondheim
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Stephen Sondheim - Send In The Clowns Lyrics

Song details
TitleSend In The Clowns
ArtistStephen Sondheim
AlbumLittle Night Music [1997], Track 11
The Story So Far.. [2008], Track 12 Disc 2
Rank266 (+62) history »
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Song lyrics
Isn't it rich?
Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground,
You in mid-air.
Send in the clowns.

Isn't it bliss?
Don't you approve?
One who keeps tearing around,
One who can't move.
Where are the clowns?
Send in the clowns.

Just when I'd stopped
Opening doors,
Finally knowing
The one that I wanted was yours,
Making my entrance again
With my usual flair,
Sure of my lines,
No one is there.

Don't you love farce?
My fault, I fear.
I thought that you'd want what I want -
Sorry, my dear.
But where are the clowns?
Quick, send in the clowns.
Don't bother, they're here.

Isn't it rich?
Isn't it queer?
Losing my timing this late
In my career?
And where are the clowns?
There ought to be clowns.
Well, maybe next year.
submitted by Christina
corrected on June 9th, 2014

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0 likes - like | 06-04-2010 20:07 CProseedcakeKSC 
1 posts
Oh good God! Everyone who has commented on the meaning of this song thus far has given inaccurate information.

The song is from a musical called "A Little Night Music". It is sung by Desiree to Frederik, her former lover who is now married to a much younger woman. She tries to "rescue" him from his unhappy marriage, but he tells her that he "has no intention of being saved". This is the song she sings, trying miserably to make light of her humiliation and rejection.

"Send in the clowns" is a phrase from the theatre for when a show is being poorly received (not when an acrobat dies). The audience are unhappy, let's cheer them up by sending in the clowns. Desiree is at her lowest in this song, and as an actress, feels that this is the time when comic relief is sorely needed. The other meaning of the clowns is indicated in the line, "Don't bother, they're here", as she realises that she and Frederik are the biggest of clowns; that is to say, fools.
0 likes - like | 09-05-2009 21:57 jaysee 
1 posts
Thanks for helping me to understand this song.

When I learn a song, I do just that - really learn it.

Jesse Campbell
0 likes - like | 16-06-2007 05:26 hecarriesme 
236 posts
I was finally able to actually hear this song... it's a great song.
0 likes - like | 14-03-2005 18:00 nazjamo 
25 posts
I am going to sing this song in our school concert. I think it's a great song to sing!!!!!!
0 likes - like | 09-01-2005 23:13 hecarriesme 
236 posts
Actually, both of you are kind of right in a way. It is literally about an acrobat who dies on stage in the circus, as the name implies. To "send in the clowns" was a circus practice when something very bad happened - like someone fell off the high wire and died. So that's what it's about literally.

Yes, it's symbolic. Underneath the surface, it's about a couple whose relationship is falling apart and they've both hurt each other in many ways. So he keeps imploring, "Send in the clowns, send in the clowns," because it's a major tragedy to them, equivalent to a death in the circus.

That's pretty much what it means, tho it's pretty open to interpretation.
0 likes - like | 24-10-2004 12:24 ChrisSusi 
1 posts
The song is about a couple who have been together for a while. One has an affair and realizes that they truly wish to be with the other but the other has left. Hence the irony, ha ha joke is on them - now where are the clowns?
0 likes - like | 01-09-2004 03:43 sweetnlow4ever 
1 posts
what is this song about? friend says that it's about an acrobat who dies and that's why the clowns come, but i highly doubt that...i think the song is somehow metaphorical....