"Magpie" as written by and Davey Dodds....
Magpie, was it you who stole the wedding ring?
Or what other thieving bird would steal such hope away?
Magpie, I am lost among the hinterland,
Caught among the bracken and the fern,
And the boys who have no name.

there's No Name For Us
But Still We Sing

And still we sing,
Little boy, little boy,
Lost and blue,
Listen now, let me tell you what to do,
You can run on, run along or home
Between the knees of her,
All among her bracken and her ferns,
And the boy will have a name.

And We Will Sing

And We Will Sing,
One For Sorrow

Two For Joy

Three For A Girl

Four For A Boy

Five For Silver

Six For Gold

Seven For A Secret,, Never To Be Told

Lyrics submitted by playedinstereo

"Magpie" as written by Davey Dodds

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Magpie song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentI will never be able to listen to this song and not cry.
    It means so much to me, as does the person who originally sent it to me, and allowed me to fall in love with Patrick.
    peanuts and raisinson December 20, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song is so incredible.
    one of patrick's best ever. i think his most..... terrible.
    ieatseedson March 03, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love the way its a converstaion, i agree it is an incredible song, very powerful, questioning life from my interpretation
    Blacklaceangelon April 25, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this song speaks of birth out of wedlock.

    "Was it you who stole the wedding ring?" - There was no marriage involved.

    "and the boys who have no name" - No father present = no surname

    Basically, the magpie tells the troubled child who does not have a father, to get over it. "You can run on, run along, alone or home between the knees of her" - You can either go with the flow of live and get over it, or you can cower back to the safety of the single parent and live life as a cowardly nameless boy.

    My interpretation is probably not even half right.. But I don't care. That is what this song means to me.
    Haemoglobineron September 25, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI always thought this song was being "sung" to a guy who has knocked up a girl, maybe his fiance or just his girlfriend. Society and family expect him to propose/marry her as soon as possible so the child won’t be born out of wedlock, but deep down he's toying up whether he should even stay with her.

    He can "run on, run along, alone" and abandon the girl, carrying on with his life despite ruining hers and the child’s, or he can go "home between the knees of her" and stick by her, helping her raise the child, giving it his name, etc.
    spentcigaretteon November 17, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI will never forget when Patrick played this song nearly 3 years ago in a concert and he said this song has just come to me and it was him and the ukulele and I'm sure everybody thought there was some unearthly being singing to them...
    swdlon November 26, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti do agree with Haemoglobiner. i think you are right, i mean, i understood that too.

    my #2 fave song from 'the magic position', really great one.
    rafaelawenneron January 25, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI also think that it might be to do with an unexpected child but I heard in an interveiw that Patrick Wolf was writing it about Marianne Faithful. I went online and looked up her biography and all I came up with that seemed to have anything song worthy was drugs and maybe her having hepititus c. (I of course think that most things in her life were probably 'songworthy' but what I ment was song worthy by another person) Maybe she is an unexpected mother, and it is told from the up knocker's point of veiw. I think it might be about him using this 'magpie' excuse for not wanting to be married. Maybe he was cheeting on a girlfriend when he got her pregnant. The part about the one for sorrow etc. I think is about how hard you wouild have to work (lack of a better word) to achieve these things, the odd numbers are one option - that he would leave the girl he got pregnant and the child - the even are the other option. I doubt that makes much sence though.
    JessicaIsGorgeouon February 20, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationFor me this song is about love that cant be fulfilled and accepted, love of two boys in a society that rejects it (here gay marriages are not allowed for example, but the wedding ring might be a symbol not a direct reference to law allowing or forbidding gay marriages)

    It's about choosing one way or another, way of truth (being with your love) or way of doing what they want to see you doing, being with a girl.

    I know that the songs is sung by a boy and a girl, but... to me it sounds (probably because her voice is the way it is) that it could represent not just girl, but this mix of both. It's not clearly girl voice. It's more like a voice of... some kind of destiny. Not a real person.

    Patrick is the one who sings the real person here, person lost and blue, and eventually he sings with his 'destiny'.

    the "boys who have no name' makes me think of how Oscar Wilde's lover, Bosie, wrote a poem about 'love that dare not speak it's name' that was later used against Oscar in trial when they accused him for homosexuality.

    when it's sang 'there's no name for us', that one of the strongest moments of this song for me

    when he'll run to a girl 'the boy will have a name' because he'll actually be replaced with a girl, with someone accepted

    That's what it means for me.
    joothemooon December 20, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI noticed that, during the counting part, it relates to an old rhyme about superstition over crows and magpies (go figure), to help one remember whether the number of either they see foretells good or bad things:

    One for sorrow, two for mirth,
    Three for a wedding, four for a birth,
    Five for silver, six for gold,
    Seven for a secret no to be told,
    Eight for heaven, nine for hell,
    And ten for the devil's own sel'.
    ContraryMissMaryon January 04, 2009   Link

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