"Matilda Mother" as written by and Syd Barrett....
There was a king who ruled the land
His majesty was in command
With silver eyes the scarlet eagle
Showers silver on the people
Oh mother, tell me more

Why'd'ya have to leave me there
Hanging in my infant air
Waiting?
You only have to read the lines
They're scribbly black and everything (shines)

Across the stream with wooden shoes
With bells to tell the king the news
A thousand misty riders climb up
Higher once upon a time

Wandering and dreaming
The words have different meaning
Yes they did

For all the time spent in that room
The doll's house, darkness, old perfume
And fairy stories held me high on
Clouds of sunlight floating by
Oh mother, tell me more
Tell me more


Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae

"Matilda Mother" as written by Syd Barrett

Lyrics © T.R.O. INC.

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Matilda Mother song meanings
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26 Comments

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  • +2
    General Commenteh, i dont know about all this deep meaning stuff for this song. Syd loved fairy tales and stories. I think this is just a song about his childhood, like perhaps his mother reading him a story.
    ZombieCultHeroon April 03, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentSyd is remembering his mom reading him fairytales as a child. Childlike, charming tune. The whole album is excellent
    CuteSparkinaon June 28, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentPlayed during concerts in 1966 and 1967. Recorded February 21/22, 1967. The lyrics were taken directly from a children's book written by Hillaire Belloc. Barrett was forced to rewrite the lyrics after the Belloc estate refused to grant permission.
    LouDawg808on October 13, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIm pretty sure Its "Wondering and Dreaming." but I could very well be wrong.
    floydganjagirl11on May 31, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOn the whole it seems to be another childhood innocence song like Remember a Day - just looking back at the time when things were so much simpler, no adult problems.
    AlanOldieon July 18, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOh, I love this song so much! I love fairytales and I can relate to it. I'm always daydreaming about floating through the sky...

    I think it's about fairytales and how much Syd loved his mom reading them to him when he was a little boy. I can hear a bunch of different Grimm's fairytales in this song. :)
    sonic_leaveson April 21, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentany idea why Wright is singing most of the time instead of Barrett himself? i do love how Barrett comes in for the last verse right after the solo. as for the WWII allegory, i think Waters would be more likely to sing about such a serious topic than Barrett so i wouldn't agree.

    "There was a king who ruled the land
    His majesty was in command
    With silver eyes the scarlet eagle
    Showered silver on the people
    Oh Mother, tell me more"

    Wright sings of a childhood story from long ago.

    "Why'd' you have to leave me there
    Hanging in my infant air
    Waiting
    You only have to read the lines
    They're scribbly black and everything shines"

    Barrett is grown up but still nostalgically wishing his mother told more stories. i've seen "air" and "care" but i really can't hear "chair" at all.

    "Across the stream with wooden shoes
    With bells to tell the king the news
    A thousand misty riders climb up
    Higher once upon a time"

    Wright continues telling a childhood story especially noticeable by the phrase "once upon a time".

    "Wandering and dreaming
    The words have different meaning
    Yes they did"

    Now that he's grown up the story changes meaning to him as he has different problems and new situations to encounter. As if the words "wander and dream" in his mind.

    "For all the time spent in that room
    The doll's house, darkness, old perfume
    And fairy stories held me high on
    Clouds of sunlight floating by
    Oh Mother, tell me more
    Tell me more
    Aaaaaaaah
    Aaaaaaaah
    Aaaaaaaah"

    this time Barrett sings and he isn't telling another story. he's describing the way his childhood stories were being told in a dark room (nighttime bed story) and i'm guessing the "old perfume" was his mother's. he sings "tell me more twice" and proceeds to the "Aaaaah"s which i guess is him crying when a baby. since the mother stopped telling stories the baby began to cry wishing the mother wouldn't stop.

    for a childhood song it doesn't sound as happy as "It Would Be So Nice" but then again that was written by Wright. the organ solo in the song doesn't sound too happy either. does anyone know what Wright is singing in a high pitch when Barrett starts the line "for all the time spent in that room" (guessing it's Wright)?
    TheDarkSideoftheMooon July 26, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTake this song at face value. It's just a song about a guy remembering how magical, safe, and secure he felt as a child when his mother read him fairy tales. Syd did not write allegorical lyrics. His lyrical style was simple stream of consciousness and only rarely did he delve into symbolism and never allegory.

    Syd wrote about whatever was on his mind at the moment in his lyrics. When Syd wrote while he was on acid you get gobbledegook lyrics like in the song Octopus. There is no deeper meaning to these songs other than the stream of consiousness Syd had at that particular point in time, its meaning probably lost even to Syd as the memory of the trip faded. Other more coherent songs like Matilda Mother and Lucifer Sam are what they are, a rememberance of childhood and a song about his cat.

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar folks.
    flacrwdogon January 05, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love this song it's so fabulous and childish,
    haven't heard an interpretation to this song.
    i think it's syd who tells 'bout a mother like figure in his childhood who i guess used to tell him stories.pretty reasonable explanation i think.
    eshtaryuson June 24, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI’d like to think my interpretation can’t be much crazier than Syd was, but here is what it sounds like to me lol

    This song is about Hitler (the king who ruled….) bombing England (showered silver) and America coming to Europe to help... (misty riders)
    The bells to tell the king the news…. that king is the king of England I suppose

    When this all happened Syd was only a child. It has the feel of a fairy tale. The reason being that his mom didn't want to scare him, but she wanted to explain what was happening, so she told the story like a fairy tale. In the song, he gets upset that she doesn't continue the story, which I think is a cute line because she can't continue the story when she doesn't know how the story's going to end. Also, “clouds of sunlight floating by.” Maybe there was so much bomb smoke that it looked dark all day. So when the sun finally appeared, it was in small visible batches, sort of like clouds.

    If you read the booklet that comes with the cd, it says “all the time spent in that ROOM”
    I think the room is the bomb shelter, and the old perfume is because once you’ve been in there long enough with mom wearing perfume it’ll probably smell. If I’m wrong about this whole thing, then I must be crazy like Syd. :)
    steve82con November 22, 2004   Link

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