"The Islander" as written by Tuomas Lauri Johannes Holopainen and Marco Hietala....
An old man by a seashore
At the end of day
Gazes the horizon
With seawinds in his face
Tempest-tossed island
Seasons all the same
Anchorage unpainted
And a ship without a name

Sea without a shore for the banished one unheard
He lightens the beacon, light at the end of world
Showing the way lighting hope in their hearts
The ones on their travels homeward from afar

This is for long-forgotten
Light at the end of the world
Horizon crying
The tears he left behind long ago

The albatross is flying
Making him daydream
The time before he became
One of the world`s unseen
Princess in the tower
Children in the fields
Life gave him it all:
An island of the universe

Now his love`s a memory
A ghost in the fog
He sets the sails one last time
Saying farewell to the world
Anchor to the water
Seabed far below
Grass still in his feet
And a smile beneath his brow

This is for long-forgotten
Light at the end of the world
Horizon crying
The tears he left behind long ago

So long ago
So long ago

This is for long-forgotten
Light at the end of the world
Horizon crying
The tears he left behind so long ago

So long ago


Lyrics submitted by noufi

"The Islander" as written by Tuomas Lauri Johannes Holopainen Marco Hietala

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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The Islander song meanings
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  • +5
    General CommentI see this song as a retelling of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." Many of the images, symbols, and metaphors are the same. In "The Rime," the old man was destined to tell his tale to everyone he met until his dying day. In "The Islander," the old man is returning to the sea to die and his story is now being told by another.
    Mistress_Of_Cyanideon December 13, 2007   Link
  • +5
    My OpinionThis song goes to show you how incredibly talented this group of musicians is. With Tarja it was all about how well they could blend opera and metal, and they succeeded multiple times, but it was getting stale. I mean how many times can they do the same thing?

    But this album takes a totally different turn, and just sounds incredible. It's well-produced, well-written and very well performed. This song in particular exemplifies that. Whereas "The Poet And The Pendulum" and "Amaranth" show off their incredible compositional skills and Annette's wonderful voice, this song brings in a totally different influence that you would never have guessed at, having heard only their older albums. Two thumbs way the hell up!
    PookieEatWorldon March 03, 2010   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI think the song is quite explicit in its meaning if you stop and read it all as one. I believe it's about an old man who's lost his love and children and is now facing suicide. As the video clip hints to (see it, EVEN if you have already).

    The first strophe shows us an old sailor forgotten by the world, so we may deduce whatever took his love and kids away from him also has something to do with him being forgotten. Old age? I don't think so.

    Because the second strophe clearly states "sea without a shore" - so there's no way back home for him, and "banished one" - so I believe he's in exile, and that's what took them away. And now he's grown old.

    "He lightens the beacon, light at the end of world". This beacon, "showing the way lighting hope in their hearts / the ones on their travels homeward from afar", I believe to be some sort of distress call from the old man, not meaning an actual home for the ones in their travels, but making them think it's home.

    The third strophe, after the chorus, is straightforward, as he daydreams of "the time before he became / one of the world`s unseen", or, as I said, an exile. He had a wife or companion, and kids, "life gave him it all".

    Fourth strophe comes back to today's time, as his love's gone, and he prepares to set sails one list time, towards the next life. The rest of the strophe is shown in the movie, go see it.

    The chorus, I think, is detached from the narration, and is just Nightwish singing who this song is for. For the long forgotten exile crying at the end of the world, for all the memories they left behind.

    So that excludes the people that were "lucky" enough to be exiled to the Americas :P
    Morbuson January 26, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIn the official booklet of the DoubleLP it says that the ALL lyrics are from Tuomas, the MUSIC is from Marco.

    In an interview Tuomas said that Marco was playing a melody of his second Band "Tarot" which has no use there anymore and the songwriter of Nightwish immediately thought of an old man on an island and wrote this lyrics ;)

    I was just inspired of this song, because here nobody can quarrel over Tarja/Annette/-Voice etc,etc,etc but can anyone say what the rest is about? plz
    LastoftheWildson October 01, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentTo the best of my knowledge, Marco wrote all of the parts in this song.

    it's a pretty straight foreward song in terms of "messege"

    I LOVE the instruments/music!!!!
    evilMoWon October 04, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI think it metaphorically reflects the last days of ernest Hemmingways life.
    He was an adventurer for a long time, he gave light in between the mass media with his critical journalism about war, but his illness led him astray from what he once was. He traveled to horizons and beyond and in the end killed himself. While in his last days his mood was often described as a manic, melancholic vitality, the person in the song leaves this world with "a smile beneath his brow", so he maybe seeks joy and finds it in death, like hemmingway, who often described the gun he shot himself with, as a brown loved one.
    There are a few more references to hemmingways stories, like "the old man and the sea" or the protagonist of "islands in the stream and his situation" but it would take me so long, so i close this text with the fact, that the sea man in the offical music video looks a lot like hemmingway in his last days.
    whatever26on January 12, 2014   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis is a song for the loneliness, a brokenhearted soul with only memories of wonderful days.

    "An old man by a seashore
    At the end of day
    Gazes the horizon
    With seawinds in his face
    Tempest-tossed island"

    "Seasons all the same
    Anchorage unpainted
    And a ship without a name"

    Only emptiness feelings are left, cause there is nothing left for "the storms" to take away, except scars. When your feelings are not bright, even peaceful sky is like a thousand storms. Too many storms have hit the man's "island of soul".

    "Sea without a shore for the banished one unheard
    He lightens the beacon, light at the end of world
    Showing the way lighting hope in their hearts
    The ones on their travels homeward from afar"

    The man is waiting passively for something to come at him. His soul has been hardened and scarred, yet deep inside, he is still longing for love and attention, just like a lighthouse calling out to lost souls out there. Tired travelers are looking for peaceful harbor to settle their adventures out there. With little light left, the man wish someone would come to him.

    "The albatross is flying
    Making him daydream"

    Albatross is a metaphor for a good lucks, for curses being lifted and sailors would find their way to their shore. Somehow, the lonely man has a deja vu about when happiness is still in his heart, when "The time before he became, One of the world`s unseen", before he was left alone, unattended, uncared.

    "Princess in the tower
    Children in the fields
    Life gave him it all:
    An island of the universe"

    I believe this part could either be the metaphor for his loved ones, his family. It could also just represent the happiness, the time when the man feels as if he has had everything.

    "Now his love's a memory
    A ghost in the fog"

    Now everything is just a memory, unseen and unreal covering him, haunting him. It is a curse, scarring him from moving forward and letting his soul isolated. In this sentence, "love" is mentioned directly, which is exactly what the man is longing for.

    "He sets the sails one last time
    Saying farewell to the world"

    The man want to look for love one more time. The second sentence is a bit hard to understand. It could either be "the world he used to live in"/ "his inner, isolated world full of scars and painful memories" or "the memories where he used to keep as his whole world".

    "Anchor to the water
    Seabed far below"
    Grass still in his feet
    And a smile beneath his brow"

    Isnt it conflicting where the lyrics mention "grass" when assuming the man is at the sea and ocean? Cause I believe it is a metaphor. "Grass still in his feet" = constantly moving and searching for something. In this new adventure, the man has yet finding a place for his soul to settle. Yet hope is still in his eyes and he is happier now as he has moved forward, looking to get away from his lonesome.

    The chorus just prove it further:

    "This is for long-forgotten
    Light at the end of the world
    Horizon crying
    The tears he left behind so long ago"

    It is a positive step forward. Feelings which once was "Seasons all the same/
    Anchorage unpainted/ And a ship without a name". It is hope for a future away with lonely, isolated soul. "horizon crying" has two meaning: direct meaning is a man being filled with his emotions, crying looking at the horizon. The other meaning is: "horizon" = future; "crying" = calling/ or a breakout of emotions.
    "the tears" is used really well here, cause "tears" represents both side of emotions: sadness or happiness. "The tears he left behind so long ago" means the man's emptiness, emotionless self has left.

    I could have over-complicated the meaning of the lyric. However there are 2 things that make me question the direct meaning of the song and the video:
    1- The tunes are relatively flat, sad with the way the song was sang slowly, completely different with the band's direction at the time. When Nightwish has Anette Olzon as their lead singer, most of their songs were more upbeat and active than with Tarja Turunen. It stirs up your feelings of emptiness and loneliness.
    2- It is inline with the other song that was sang by Marco - "While your lips are still red". There are just way too many metaphors there in these two song, either common metaphors or those got made up by Nightwish. I consider these two songs as masterpiece in terms of their meanings.
    duke443229on June 09, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI LOVE them doing celtic style. I almost died of happiness hearing this. I'm not going to make any comments on the meaning until I actually see the correct lyrics though. Fantastic song though!
    RainbowDemonon September 10, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think the story Tuomas wrote is about an old lonely man who spended his lifetime on an island far away from "the normal day-life". I don't think that he was born on that island because in the chorus it says he left tears behind long ago, maybe when he'd left his
    home. He lived there so long that the world had begun to forget him, the only people who know "the light at the end of the world" (his beacon) are the travelers who are making their ways over the sea, but they know only the light of the tower, not the man who spends
    his life in there. In the song the narrator (Tuomas of course) wants to remain the people of this "one of the world's-unseen" and the lyrics explain how the old man is standing at the beach and looking ("gazes") at the horizon, maybe suddenly he wants to go back, to leave the island while he is daydreaming about the good old times when he's seeing the bird (albatross) flying so free.
    He sets the sails one last time, of the ship which he didn't used so long and sails out at the ocean. There the song discribes that he's "saying farewell to the world", maybe that means after the last time on the ocean he's happy and all his targets in his life are reached, so he can die there.
    I think this could tell the line where it says "and a smile beneath his brow". It says "brow", so the smile he does is in his eyes, I think, and that could mean that he's happy.

    I don't know who s the "princess in the tower" of course it's not the old man^^ or who are the
    "Children in the fields", if life gave him it all (the island), does it mean that the named persons
    are on the island to?! Then he wouldn't be alone, but maybe it's an easy thing in the song I don't
    check, so can anyone help me? I don't know if the rest of my suppositons are right, I can't ensure that only one idea of the meaning is right^^ it's just the things I've realized yet.
    So please, someone could use this to tell me the secret message of this song, if there is one.

    And sorry about my english
    LastoftheWildson September 30, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThats a great theory LastoftheWilds, but theres one problem, Marco wrote this song, not Tuomas
    MithosKon September 30, 2007   Link

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