The Lantern
The Rolling Stones Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

We, on our present life,
Knew that the stars were right.
That if you are the first to go,
You'll leave a sign to let me know,
Tell me so.
Please, carry the lantern lights.

You crossed the sea of night,
Free from the spell of fright
Your cloak it is a spirit shroud.
You'll wake me in my sleeping hours,
Like a cloud.
So, please, carry the lantern high.

Me, in my sorry plight,
You waiting ev'ry night.
My face it turns a deathly pale,
You're talking to me, through your veil,
I hear you wail.
So, please carry the lantern light.

The servants sleep,
The door's are barred.




You hear the stopping of my heart-we never part.
So, please carry the lantern high.

Overall Meaning

The Rolling Stones' song "The Lantern" is a haunting and mysterious track, filled with allusions to death, the afterlife, and the unexplainable forces that govern our lives. The opening lines, "We, on our present life, / knew that the stars were right," suggest a belief in fate or destiny, and that somehow the universe has decreed that one of the two lovers will be the first to pass away. The idea of a "sign" left behind, as mentioned in the second line, is a common trope in literature and myth, often used to symbolize a connection or bond that transcends death.


Throughout the song, the singer implores his lover to "carry the lantern high," suggesting that even in death they will be united by this symbol of light and illumination. The image of the lantern itself is open to interpretation - is it a literal device to guide the way in the afterlife, or a metaphor for knowledge or spiritual enlightenment? The use of the word "cloak" in the second verse further adds to the sense of mystery and otherworldliness, suggesting that the deceased lover has taken on a supernatural form.


The final lines of the song, "The servants sleep, / the door's are barred. / You hear the stopping of my heart - we never part. / So, please carry the lantern high," confirm the idea that even in death, the two lovers will remain connected, linked by their love and the shared experience of passing through the "door" into the unknown realm of the afterlife.


Line by Line Meaning

We, on our present life,
In our current existence,


Knew that the stars were right.
We felt that the alignment of celestial bodies boded well for us.


That if you are the first to go,
If you pass away before me,


You'll leave a sign to let me know,
You'll find a way to communicate with me from beyond the grave.


Tell me so.
Please tell me how I'll know.


Please, carry the lantern lights.
Bring a light to guide me.


You crossed the sea of night,
You made it through the darkness of death.


Free from the spell of fright
Without being scared.


Your cloak it is a spirit shroud.
Your garment covers you like a veil.


You'll wake me in my sleeping hours,
You'll communicate with me in my dreams.


Like a cloud.
In a way that's hard to grasp.


So, please, carry the lantern high.
Bring a light to guide me more clearly.


Me, in my sorry plight,
I'm in a sad and difficult situation.


You waiting ev'ry night.
You stay by my side every evening.


My face it turns a deathly pale,
I'm filled with fear and anguish.


You're talking to me, through your veil,
You're communicating with me despite being separated by death.


I hear you wail.
I hear your cries.


So, please carry the lantern light.
Bring a light to guide me through this difficult time.


The servants sleep,
The staff is asleep.


The doors are barred.
The doors are locked securely.


You hear the stopping of my heart-we never part.
You sense my impending death, but we'll always be together.


So, please carry the lantern high.
Bring a light to guide me through this darkness and uncertainty.




Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Songtrust Ave
Written by: ROBERT CURTICE AMOS

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Comments from YouTube:

@VideoAmericanStyle

I'm glad this album is finally getting the attention it deserves. I skipped over it for far too long, believing it was their worst. Big mistake. It's AWESOME.

@angus7278

Even if it was their worst, it's still way better than most bands best!

@raymonddobos8896

iconic..mellotron too..

@happentodie8776

was something wrong with your ears ....but that said this was imo the weakest track on the album

@mark1952able

First heard this when I was in 10th grade.............remember every lyric to this day!

@EclecticoIconoclasta

the worst Stones albums are the ones from the 80s after Emotional rescue. Put Their satanic majesties againts other psychedelic british albums from that era and it will be one of the best after the beatles ones, pink floyd debut, oddessey and oracle by the zombies, SF Sorrow by the PRetty things and Ogden nuts flake by the Small faces

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@GravityBoy72

I'm getting into this album.. it only took 50 years.

@marcjacobs5988

Same here :-)

@darrinsiberia

@@marcjacobs5988 and youtube?

@marcjacobs5988

@@darrinsiberia also :-) Thanks for the response.....

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