Oh Mary was unhappy with the life that she led
She was a simple girl without much to say
So one day she upped and left her dreary home
And she left all her friends to wander all alone
And at first she was afraid, she was so far away
From her home but slowly she got to like it anyway

Oh Mary won't you please come
Mary won't you please come
Mary won't you please come

Well in time she found
That mountain that she had been taught
Her whole life, that she must avoid
And though at first it hurt, and no one could comfort her
She finally came to appreciate it
And she liked it, she liked it--oh wasn't she surprised
And though still alone, she grew so much inside

Oh Mary won't you please come
Mary won't you please come
Mary won't you please come

And after a time, she became so sublime
She could look in people's eyes and read their minds
Though her hands would sometimes bleed and occasionally
She would long for her past and the memories they bring
She decided to return to her old home town
And her heart was burning with all the things she found

Oh Mary won't you please come
Mary won't you please come
Mary won't you please come
Please come home

So Mary came back and at first no one recognized her face
And her friends were all a little bit afraid
When they heard what she had to say
They all slowly backed away
And her family took her aside and put their arms around her
They said:
Mary, won't you please come back to us now
There is still time to repent for all your sins
And Mary started to cry when she realized
That she'd never come home again in her life

Oh Mary won't you please come
Mary won't you please come
Mary won't you please come
Please come home
Come home, yeah yeah yeah
Come home, home
Come home, yeah yeah yeah
Come home, yeah yeah yeah
Come home, home
Come home, yeah yeah yeah
Come home, yeah yeah yeah
Yeah yeah yeah, yeah yeah yeah
Yeah yeah yeah, yeah yeah....


Lyrics submitted by Tomis Grey

Mary Lyrics as written by Danny Elfman

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Mary song meanings
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20 Comments

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  • +6
    General Comment

    In her restrictive and ignorant home environment, Mary was unhappy. She was 'simple' and 'didn't have much to say' - introverted, thoughtful. She leaves, because she suspected that there was something to life that she couldn't learn about in her home town. So, she leaves on a journey of discovery. She's afraid that she might learn something that will shatter her preconceived notions about the world, but she persists, because this is something she has to do. However, once she gets accustomed to things she starts to enjoy her journey, and she learns things that perhaps she wasn't supposed to - things which do, in fact, go completely against the teachings of her community. The mountain. And the realization that everything she'd ever been taught was a lie was painful for her, but eventually she the freedom of this knowledge, and it helps her to grow as a person. This enlightenment gives her an insight into others - just by looking into their eyes, she can see what they're thinking. Perhaps not specifically, but more than before - probably in this place, which isn't her home, people actually do have more independent thought. At home, everyone has dead, emotionless eyes - no thought, no dissent, nothing of interest. But there's still the gnawing desire to return home and share her enlightenment... her journey has changed her. She doesn't have that same empty gaze, and the look of wisdom frightens people. What she has to say, once again speaking against the teachings of the community, isn't welcomed by anyone, so they shun her and move away nervously. Her family, however, wants her to come back to the town, so they urge her to cast off what she has learned of the outside world and embrace their ways again. Of course, this isn't possible for Mary; now that she's seen what life really is, how can she return to her ignorant ways? And so she cries with the realization that she can never belong here again - they won't welcome her back as long as she acknowledges an opposing world view, and she obviously can't just cast aside what she's discovered. She no longer has a place she truly belongs.

    I don't see the prostitution angle at all.

    user_lainon September 15, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    I believe I'm going to disagree with the prostitution/Pregnancy/Drugs/Cult theories.

    I think this song is about a woman who was born and raised in a very conservative religious community. She was unhappy with this way of life, so she left home in search of better things.

    The mountain that she’s been taught to avoid is probably sex, since the religious folks tend to frown upon it, and at first it hurts, losing her virginity. But she comes to appreciate it, the love, and the intimacy. I don’t think the “Growing inside” means pregnancy, I think it just means that having experienced more of what life has to offer, she grew as a person.

    She becomes used to the lifestyle outside of the religious ways, being free. She gets a feel for the world and people around her, and she feels more spiritual than she ever could have felt in a religious town, ironically. Nonetheless, she longs to go home and tell her friends and family of this great new life she’s found. She goes home, and she finds that these people aren’t happy for her and her new life. In fact they fear what she’s become, and the “sin” that she brings with her.

    Her family still loves her, though. They want her back and tell her that she can go back to the way things were, that she could repent and be Christian (I’m assuming) again. That’s when she starts to cry because she realizes that she can’t keep her lifestyle and her family and friends. She can’t go back, she doesn’t want to go back, and so she realizes that she can never come back, because she’ll never be accepted living the way she wants to.

    If you ask me, it’s a song about a woman who takes her life in her own hands in order to be happy, but has to make sacrifices to get there.

    Slightly_Shinobion May 10, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    What makes you think she turns to prostitution?

    I thought the song was about a girl who left the safety, comfort and ignorance of home and wanders off, like a nomad on a spiritual mission, a conquest of her soul. I think it is a spiritual journey, because of the words, "she left all her friends to wander all alone" (almost like a modern day Jesus) and "That mountain that she had been taught" (mountains are stereotypically places of gaining insight) and "she grew so much inside" (inside, meaning spiritually). Anyway, she returns home to free her parents and friends from their [religious] ignorance (they are probably conservative catholics), and finds she that they are incapable of understanding her revelations.

    zenwizardon February 25, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I first heard this song when I was about 10 years old and it first came out. I never thought it was bout hookers (don't think I didn't know full well what those were) until I asked my mom to help me interpret that line about the mountain, and my mom responded "It sounds like she ran away and became a hooker."

    Anyway, the line where her family tells her to repent for her sins does suggest that at the very least, her family is religious, and perhaps that's what drove her away. Think about it, they could have said "Mary, please come back to us now -- we love you!" or "Mary, please come back to us now -- we forgive you!" But instead, they say "There is still time to repent for all your sins!" No wonder she fled from a bunch of nuts like that. I always thought the line about bleeding hands souded more like an implication that she was "working herself to the bone" so to speak, than like any sort of stigmata.

    Taliaon March 07, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I personally feel that Mary leaves home, attains enlightenment, and becomes the new Messiah. Not Christian or any specific Messiah--just an enlightened person (I get this from the 'though her hands would sometimes bleed'--that's stigmata). I also get this feeling from 'though it hurt at first/and no one could comfort her' because spiritual enlightenment seems like a hard and painful thing to do.

    I would think it's about drugs or prostitution--if there weren't lines like 'and she grew so much inside.' When singing about drugs, you usually don't mention someone's spiritual growth. The lines 'and her family took her aside and put their arms around her/They said/Mary, won't you please come back to us now/There is still time to repent for all your sins' also seem to cast sympathy on Mary rather than the plight of her family and friends.

    It has a somewhat melancholy tune, which makes one think it's from the POV of Mary herself reminiscing about her past.

    I suppose Mary doesn't have to be a Messiah--she could be any girl who leaves home and gains some sort of knowledge about herself. She could be a lesbian, a magician, even a scientist because of how vague the metaphor is. I just don't think this is really about Mary's 'downfall' per se.

    Kaza999on January 19, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    hmmm... i think that i'm going to have to agree with all these posts in this sense; i believe that the song is about discovering taboos for what they really are. mary's family was most likely christian, and many things that they preach against (i.e., drugs, sex, philosophy, etc.) are not as bad as they make them out to be, and can actually provide a great experience for learning and understanding ourselves and the world better (when you understand psychology and the nature of people, you certainly can "read their minds" to an extent). when mary returns home to tell her family about what she's found, they see what she's done as sinning instead of growing as a person. with all the new experiences and knowledge that mary has become accustom to, there's no way that she could go back to her old ways of thinking without dishonoring herself.

    truth_or_happinesson December 29, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    The song really makes sense in a bery broad way, and the ambiguousness allows for many possibilities.

    I think we can agree, however, that Mary comes from a white Christian (probably Catholic) family, in either a rural or suburban area. She's unhappy, she runs away, has some very painful yet eye-opening experiences, then realizes that she wants to go back to when she was innocent, but can't.

    Or it could be a metaphor for a person changing as they grow older.

    Or it could be that it's the story of Buddha, with the name "Mary" as a substitute for "Buddha"

    Or it could refer to one of the biblical Marys.

    Whatever it may be, it's a great song, and it sounds fantastic as well.

    PursuitofLifeon March 04, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Maybe shes running from the town's folk cause they were pushing religion on her? I know I would run from people telling me to repent

    50210on October 06, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I haven't seen anyone compare this song to Myshkin's story in Dostoyevsky's "The Idiot". In the Idiot a woman named Mary leaves her home town and when she comes back people start to turn on her until the children beging to show their love for her. Just a thought.

    House_Of_Dollson December 08, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    it would seem that this article by Richard Elfman about one of his many wild life experiences would best explain the inspriation and meaning of "Mary": buzzine.com/2008/02/mary/

    basedcorianderon July 01, 2010   Link

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