Sting - Ballad Of The Great Eastern Lyrics




In 18 hundred and 59, the engineer Brunel,
Would build the greatest ship afloat, and rule the ocean's swell.
Nineteen thousand tons of steel they used to shape the mighty keel,
Forged inside the smelter where they made the gates of Hell...
And the name upon the contract, Isambard Brunel.

As day-by-day the monster grew, the engineer Brunel,
Would watch the devil's handiwork, and woe betide a man who shirks,
Or slows the pace to build the keel, nineteen thousand tons of steel,
Anyone with eyes to see is but a bride of Hell,
And the name upon the draftsman's chart, Isambard Brunel.

A riveter was on the hull with his apprentice lad,
He'd served his time with the older man, some say it was his dad.
200 men upon the shift but when the day is done,
The count is hundred 98...before the setting sun,
They searched the yard all through the night until the morning bell,
No more delays are countenanced by Isambard Brunel,
And so they work a double shift, to make the time in full,
No mention of the missing men...they seal the double hull.

The ship was launched upon the tide and all the townsfolk cheered,
A brass band played but not a word of omens they had feared,
But before the afternoon was out, the celebration wrecked,
A dignitary clutched his heart...and collapsed upon the deck.
No doctors could revive him as the telegraphs would tell,
And the name upon the coffin...Isambard Brunel.

And now upon the open sea, the mighty ship did plough,
But many feared the darkness, in the shadow of its prow.
An explosion on the lower deck, would take the souls of five,
With a growing superstition 'mong the sailors still alive.

The captain and his boy are lost while rowing to the shore,
The crew will threaten mutiny and say they'll work no more,
They began to say the ship was cursed, they hadn't even seen the worst,
They'd signed on able-bodied men, but they wouldn't sail to Hell...
When the name upon the manifest is Isambard Brunel.

For 14 years that ship will sail, misfortune taken hard,
The owners barely find a crew to reach the breakers' yard.
And as they take the plates apart, unseal the double hull,
The breakers call the foreman o'er, they'd found a human skull.
And then they find the younger man, perforced to understand,
That in the hour of their torment, he'd reached his father's hand.

In 18 hundred and 59, the engineer Brunel,
Would build the greatest ship afloat, and rule the mighty swell.
The final shift was over, and the breakers' hammers fell,
And the name upon the manifest, the contract signed in Hell,
Was the same as on the draftsman's chart...one Isambard Brunel.





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Sting Ballad Of The Great Eastern Comments
  1. Richard Head

    good stuff

  2. Norman Rogers

    Beautiful ballad...one of the masts from the great eastern still stands to this day at the corner of the Kop at Liverpool fc, (Anfield ground.).Everton fc was the residents at the time in the late 1800,s the mast was salvaged as the great Eastern was scrapped on the nearby river mersey..

  3. Paul Cox

    Very pretty song. Very fitting for such an ambitious and forward thinking engineer Isambard (Sam) K. Brunel. May his and all the other kindred spirits involved in the building, and operation of this beautiful vessell, the s s great eastern, live forever. And, each time a large liner is seen upon the seas, may we all raise a glass to the late mr. Brunel for his tireless. pioneering efforts. And also to Sting for the composition of this wondrous song celebrating those who dared to think outside the box, and make something different to advance the world.

  4. Hell Yeah

    Why can't there be a video to this..?

  5. Fallen Channel!

    Yeah, sure thing lyrics are amazingly good; BUT GOD, HAVE SOMEONE EVEN NOTICED THAT HE MODULATES THREE TIMES? like; he starts in Gm; then goes to it's relative major: Bb... And finally he goes to Em; I mean seriously, every time he does it, he changes the ambience, and that is very much in line with the whole plot of the lyrics. Sounds so natural... Love him ♥

  6. Алексей Иванищев

    памяти моряков не вернувшихся домой. спасибо

  7. WayneB27

    Haunting sea shanty in the same vein as Gordon Lightfoot's Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

  8. Mario Rossi

    In 18 hundred and 59, the engineer Brunel,
    Would build the greatest ship afloat, and rule the ocean's swell.
    Nineteen thousand tons of steel they used to shape the mighty keel,
    Forged inside the smelter where they made the gates of Hell…
    And the name upon the contract, Isambard Brunel.

    As day-by-day the monster grew, the engineer Brunel,
    Would watch the devil's handiwork, and woe betide a man who shirks,
    Or slows the pace to build the keel, nineteen thousand tons of steel,
    Anyone with eyes to see is but a bride of Hell,
    And the name upon the draftsman's chart, Isambard Brunel.

    A riveter was on the hull with his apprentice lad,
    He'd served his time with the older man, some say it was his dad.
    200 men upon the shift but when the day is done,
    The count is hundred 98…before the setting sun,
    They searched the yard all through the night until the morning bell,
    No more delays are countenanced by Isambard Brunel,
    And so they work a double shift, to make the time in full,
    No mention of the missing men… they seal the double hull.

    The ship was launched upon the tide and all the townsfolk cheered,
    A brass band played but not a word of omens they had feared,
    But before the afternoon was out, the celebration wrecked,
    A dignitary clutched his heart…and collapsed upon the deck.
    No doctors could revive him as the telegraphs would tell,
    And the name upon the coffin… Isambard Brunel.

    And now upon the open sea, the mighty ship did plough,
    But many feared the darkness, in the shadow of its prow.
    An explosion on the lower deck, would take the souls of five,
    With a growing superstition 'mong the sailors still alive.

    The captain and his boy are lost while rowing to the shore,
    The crew will threaten mutiny and say they'll work no more,
    They began to say the ship was cursed, they hadn't even seen the worst,
    They'd signed on able-bodied men, but they wouldn't sail to Hell…
    When the name upon the manifest is Isambard Brunel.

    For 14 years that ship will sail, misfortune taken hard,
    The owners barely find a crew to reach the breakers' yard.
    And as they take the plates apart, unseal the double hull,
    The breakers call the foreman o'er, they'd found a human skull.
    And then they find the younger man, perforced to understand,
    That in the hour of their torment, he'd reached his father's hand.

    In 18 hundred and 59, the engineer Brunel,
    Would build the greatest ship afloat, and rule the mighty swell.
    The final shift was over, and the breakers' hammers fell,
    And the name upon the manifest, the contract signed in Hell,
    Was the same as on the draftsman's chart… one Isambard Brunel.

  9. Catherine Sean

    l'album et génial celui qui aime pas n'écouter pas

  10. Natalia Tamayo

    this song is amaizing

  11. Eduardo Quincoso

    Sting es la bestia ! Genio !

  12. Hawker Hellfire

    Great story, shame it's impossible. You don't seal a double hull, you have to have access for inspections. And anyone working in that hull would know how to get out.

  13. Marin Šimić

    Real art is behind sting s music.

  14. Dougie Pinchen

    This engineer, Brunel, was undoubtedly a great man. However, the human cost of driving his projects forward probably caused many of the most able, and who could afford to, to sail abroad into the Colonies instead of work this highly dangerous and probably enforced labour. This counters the common knowledge that the 'British' were superior in everything they did. In fact, the legacy of Imperialism was just as bloody for its own subjects as it was for the conquered. It still requires the State to correct these wrongs and should be a priority of the United Nations to reconcile such broken people and families with their Ancestral homes. "£500" to delve. That's a Royal promise. Te Deum - that's the Catchphrase.

  15. Sean G. Dolan

    "But forced to understand....he'd reached his father's hand." Instant tears...

    codebracker

    Still don't get what that means, did his son get the job to dismantle his father's ship?

    Hawker Hellfire

    The way the Corpses lay the son was reaching for his fathers hand. It's an old legend about the Great Eastern, workers were stuck in the double hull. Except it's impossible as Double Hulls have openings for inspections.

    Jove Rogers

    That whole verse gives me goosebumps every time!
    But yeah, he's talking about the lost workers

    Arek P

    @Jove Rogers ok thanks for that, I thought it might have been reaching the hand of God (his Father)

  16. Yvonne Eley

    Part of an AMAZING story....

  17. BC Studio

    one of the most sad and beautiful thing ever heard

  18. Calum Peissel

    4:20 the instrumental is amazing

    CombraStudios

    420 blaze it

    Antoni Sójka

    Calum Peissel maybe of scotland

    Pax Brittanica

    Calum Peissel Exactly what ai was thinking!

    Alison Smith

    @Antoni Sójka no English Northumbrian pipes.

  19. SJF UNITED

    I can not get it out of my head

    Admiral Ackbar

    And now upon the open sea, the mighty ship did plough,
    But many feared the darkness, in the shadow of its prow.
    An explosion on the lower deck, would take the souls of five,
    With a growing superstition 'mong the sailors still alive.

  20. Max Hardcore

    Well Written

  21. Kunal Puri

    For the small minded comments. Look kiddos, a world full of fan-boys doesn't exactly add up to balance. If you're so afraid of an alternative representation of history and society, you should probably get off the internet and worship Rupert Murdoch instead. Help him build his empire of lemmings. This medium, like art, wasn't built for you.

  22. The Harbinger

    I love the song.  But being an engineer myself I can't get behind casting Isambard Brunel as some evil being.

    Christopher Bloom

    Oliver Grigg sorry I confused SS great Briton for great eastern.

    Elizabeth Percy

    Totally agree with you that is what I was thinking Brunel was not an evil man

    Hell Yeah

    @Oliver Grigg ...wasn't on the banks of the river mersey. ?

    Oliver Grigg

    @Hell Yeah It was, but only briefly. It was used as a essentially a giant advertising board, before being ultimately scrapped in 1889

    Hell Yeah

    @Oliver Grigg thanks for the reply..
    ...I've seen it on coast were they've dug up and found steel plates off the ship.....is it the great eastern. ...even near by there was a pub called the "the great eastern "..?

  23. painguin

    holy shit this is really garbage

    Marti Purull

    It takes some sensitivity to appreciate certain types of music.  I am the biggest Police fan and I am in a rock band too. Sting was already the best pop-rock songwriter the world had seen. Then he became an excellent songwriter that didn't care if he was top of the charts or not. And now that excellent songwriter is also an amazing storyteller. This album is about stories. And each story and the general story are told in fantastic well-crafted songs. It is not for everyone, though, I agree. Personally, I am so grateful he decided not to rewrite Roxanne, Message in a Bottle and Every Breath You Take over and over again in horrible, money-making, pseudo sequels. This man is a genius.

    Paul Feldioreanu

    +painguin hey, that's no way to talk about your mom's cooking

    Sean G. Dolan

    Sting's later works take more than a mere glance or listen to understand. There is a form and function to everything he writes. He is a song weaving genius. And his genius is rarely understood to its full potential. This song is one of his most haunting creations and I so wish it were used in the show. The album is unbelievable.

    UKimpress

    oh my god this is a great great song!!!

    Eric Ross

    Where can I watch the show? I might not make it to an actual performance if I can watch it on my computer, can you let me know?
    I'm a huge fan of the album!