I wandered down the pathway, through the misty moor
Like I knew he did a thousand times before
Voices seem to echo "Come talk with me a while
Just around the corner, just another mile..."

I had heard the stories, her legend served her well
A mystic's myth or fable, truth or fairy tale
A raggle taggle gypsy , with a toothless smile
Said "Sit with me my darling, let's talk a little while..."

*And the road goes on, seeming ever longer on the Way to Mandalay
And the road goes on, forever will I wander on the Way to Mandalay...

The mile went on forever, the minutes turned to days
Could I have been misguided by the mystic's ways?
The moment lasts forever, at least it does for me
Caught between what happened and what could never be...


Lyrics submitted by Nightweaver

Way to Mandalay song meanings
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  • +1
    My InterpretationMandalay is a city in Myanmar, former Burma, and big center of Buddhism. But is this really just a song about a city in Asia?

    "I wandered down the pathway, through the misty moor"
    It happens in UK. The "way to Mandalay" is purely metaphorical. It's about striving to achieve some goal. Freedom? Spiritual enlightenment? Perfection in art?

    "Like I knew he did a thousand times before"
    Words "on the way to Mandalay" are almost-quotation from Rydyard Kipling's poem "Mandalay", which says "on the road to Mandalay". That's likely him, who walked the moor "a thousand times" before Candice did.
    The poem tells about British soldier, who, quartered in Mandalay, found there freedom, good times and love ('hot' relationship with Asian girl). Then, back on British Islands, he longs for that place, that time. And that's probably how Candice felt.

    "Voices seem to echo "Come talk with me a while
    Just around the corner, just another mile...""
    'Voices' aren't real voices of course (she's not schisophreniac!), but her thoughts. If she tried to achieve spiritual enlightenment (satori?), the thoughts would be what stays in the way. But it could also be just her hopes: 'Come on, I know you're tired, but go on, you've gone so far yet, soon you'll be there!'.

    "I had heard the stories, her legend served her well
    A mystic's myth or fable, truth or fairy tale"
    Her feelings are ambivalent. She follows the idea ('legend'), but now she starts to doubt it. The legend was appealing, but not everything that 'sounds good' is really a truth.

    "A raggle taggle gypsy, with a toothless smile
    Said "Sit with me my darling, let's talk a little while...""
    Ambivalence again. Gypsy often pesonifies freedom, with all advantages and dangers it brings, but traditionally also symbolized a liar once. 'Toothless smile' can mean old age (experience), or... poverty. Though 'raggle taggle', can also mean just 'eccentric'.
    Gypsy is ambiguous character then. Maybe he or she talked to Candice when she was a little girl ('sit with me my darling, let's talk a little while' - that's the way people often talk to children) to rouse some hankering in her soul. Now she follows it, but feels doubtful.

    "And the road goes on, seeming ever longer on the Way to Mandalay
    (...) The mile went on forever, the minutes turned to days
    (...) The moment lasts forever, at least it does for me"
    It takes too long! She hoped she'd get there after shorter or longer time / effort, but the goal seems to move away instead of getting closer...

    "And the road goes on, forever will I wander on the Way to Mandalay"
    ...so she starts to seriously doubt if it's achievable at all.

    "Could I have been misguided by the mystic's ways?"
    She had got some (spiritual?) guidance, but now she asks herself if it was worth anything. She suspects that she's been just tricked - maybe by some cunselor, maybe by her own intuition. She's afraid she follows the pure illusion.

    "Caught between what happened and what could never be"
    She asks herself, hasn't she lost the very contact with reality. Maybe - she thinks - what she wants to achieve, is inachievable, just impossible, and has nothing to do with the things that really happen.

    The song tells about slowly losing all the hope, but not giving up despite of it. What it expresses, some people call 'a difficult optimism'.
    Yarekhon April 20, 2020   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBeautiful song...
    Tashadragonon January 01, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree. Stunning.
    touteslescouleurson January 29, 2009   Link

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