"Rambling Man" as written by and Laura Beatrice Marling....
Oh naive little me
Asking what things you have seen
And you're vulnerable in your head
You'll scream and you'll wail till you're dead

Creatures fade by night
Following things that aren't right
And they're tired and they need to be lead
You'll scream and you'll wail till they're dead

But give me to a rambling man
Let it always be known that I was who I am

We're beaten, battered, and cold
My children will live just to grow old
But if I sit here and weep
I'll be blown over by the slightest of breeze

And the weak need to be lead
And the tender I'll carry to their bed
And it's a pale and cold affair
And I'll be damned if I'll be found there

But give me to a rambling man
Let it always be known that I was who I am

It's funny that the first chords that you come to
Are the minor notes that come to serenade you
And it's hard to accept yourself as someone
You don't desire
As someone you don't want to be

Oh give me to a rambling man
Let it always be known that I was who I am
Oh give me to the rambling man
Let it always be known that I was who I am


Lyrics submitted by schlust, edited by fiddling, maggieoomay

"Rambling Man" as written by Laura Beatrice Marling

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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Rambling Man song meanings
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20 Comments

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  • +8
    General CommentI think perhaps, after about a million listens, that this is a song about the ways in which our expectations of what being a woman can often mean--that women are meant to be caretakers, to be nurturers, to sacrifice themselves and their expectations to those of their children and family--may erode a woman's identity if she isn't careful to fight to be recognized as her own entity, separate of what she can offer to others. The protagonist of this song sees how easy it is to be subsumed by others' needs and expectations of what it means to be female, and is determined to break away from them and forge her own sense of power and worth--hence the lines--"And the weak need to be lead/and the tender hearts carried to their beds/and it's a pale and cold affair/And I'll be damned if I'll be found there." Instead, she wants to either follow the example of a rambling man--a creature who by definition has learned to break away from domestic convention and pursue his own fate--and/or to be with one romantically, although if she does decide to commit to someone, she still wants it to "always be known that I was who I am", meaning that she doesn't want him to be able to take the credit for her adventurous spirit any more than she wants to spend her life catering to society's view of what a woman should be. She recognizes that life can batter us all down in different ways, but that those who cannot accept that we're all fated to die, and so must live our lives passionately while we still have them, are doomed to stay vulnerable and in their own heads, too consumed with angst to really live. While she knows that it can be easy to be consumed by doubt, depression and the like--"it's funny how the first chords you come to/are the minor notes that come to serenade you"--she also knows that it is or should be equally difficult to accept a half-fulfilled life--"It's hard to accept yourself as someone you don't desire/As someone you don't want to be." For all these reasons and more, I will always love this song. I'm not sure, but I think that the official video, with it's images of things and people submerging and emerging from water, cryptic boxes, etc...tends to bear out my theories at least a little, I hope.
    carpeomniachicaon October 06, 2010   Link
  • +3
    General Commentit's 'creatures VEILED by night' (not 'fade by night')
    ribison January 19, 2011   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationI interpret it to be about becoming (or fear of becoming) something/someone that you really don't want to be, but it might be all you know; or maybe you've become (or fear to become) someone others (possibly society in general) expect you to be.
    DivingUpon April 08, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThe above seems to be missing the following verse towards the end:

    It's funny how the first chords that you come to
    are the minor notes that come to serenade you
    and it's hard to accept yourself as someone you don't desire
    as someone you don't want to be


    As far as the meaning? Think that I need to ponder it a bit more...
    Mwasa254on March 24, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentBeautiful...just...gah. I love it so much.
    missmeon April 22, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love it.
    Seriously...I think its about not giving in to taking the easy way. Being proud of who you are, unlike others and just coolness.
    I love the bit where she sings
    but give me to a rambling man
    let it always be known that i was who i am

    NadiaHofon April 27, 2010   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningI think that she’s mainly saying that some people will truly just sit around and wait until they’re dead because they don’t know what to do… they’re tired and lost. But she knows what she wants out of life, and she’s going to live it out. And in this verse:

    Beaten, battered, and cold
    my children will live just to grow old
    but if I sit here and weep
    I’ll be blown over by the slightest of breeze

    I think she’s saying that her children will be the same as those other people… just living to grow old, but if she just sits there and cries about it, she won’t be able to live herself. LOVE this song. I think there are a lot of different angles to it.
    gadreamingon May 13, 2010   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationI think this is a woman's head-heart conversation.
    renegadeoboeon September 12, 2011   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningI think it's essentially a song of contempt and defiance in the face of the expectations of others, about the need to follow a certain path in life. She doesn't want to be a follower, live a passionless life, and spend her days fading into nothing.

    She looks around her and sees weak people ("tired and they need to be lead") simply following the path that others choose, ending up living a horrible life ("scream and they'll wail till they're dead") with partners they don't love ("By someone you don't want to be"), children that have no purpose in life ("My children will live just to grow old") and completely helpless ("blown over by the slightest of breeze").

    She doesn't want to be one of these people. She won't be one of these people. At least she hopes she won't be one of these people. But whatever happens, at least she is someone now.
    ramblingwriteron October 13, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLove this!!!!!!
    ThisMeansMoreon November 15, 2009   Link

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