Album: Zero She Flies (1970)
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  • Prince Louis Battenberg is burning the Admiralty lights down low
    Silently sifting through papers sealed with a crown
    Admiral Lord Fisher is writing to Churchill, calling for more Dreadnoughts
    The houses in Hackney are all falling down
    And my grandmother sits on the beach in the days before the war
    Young girl writing her diary, while time seems to pause
    Watching the waves as they come one by one to die on the shore
    Kissing the feet of England

    Oh the lights of Saint Petersburg come on as usual
    Although the air seems charged with a strangeness of late, yet there's nothing to touch
    And the Tsar in his great Winter Palace has called for the foreign news
    An archduke was shot down in Bosnia, but nothing much
    And my grandmother sits before the mirror in the days before the war
    Smiling a secret smile as she goes to the door
    And the young man rides off in his carriage, homeward once more
    And the sun sets gently on England

    Ah the day we decided to drive down to Worthing, it rained and rained
    Giving us only a minute to stand by the sea
    And crunching my way through the shingles, it seemed there was nothing changed
    Though the jetty was maybe more scarred that I'd known it to be
    And Mandi and I stood and stared at the overcast sky
    Where ten years ago we had stood, my Grandfather and I
    And the waves still rushed in as they had the year that he died
    And it seemed that my lifetime was shrunken and lost in the tide
    As it rose and fell on the side of England

    Prince Louis Battenberg is burning the Admiralty lights Writer/s: ALISTAIR IAN STEWART
    Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 4

  • Libby from Louisville, KentuckyI think it's a case of that quote- You have the whole of your life to write your first album,& six months to write the second. Al had a lot to say of his past when he began the historical/ autobiographical songs. There isn't that urgency now. Love the man's work.
  • Chepooka from Homewood, AlabamaAgree with Jeffrey and Mike, one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite artists. I saw Al in Houston on the second night of a 2-night stand. Those who attended the 1st performance were able to request a number to be played at the next night's show. My choice would have been "Manuscript". I purchased a CD after the show and those who did so were able to have it signed by Al. I asked him when it was my turn if he had performed "Manuscript" the previous night and his response was, "No, can't do them all".
  • Mike from Cambridge, United KingdomManuscript is my favourite Al Stewart song. I heard him say once, when someone called out for Manuscript: "Hmm. That's a good song. In fact the only good song I wrote". Which isn't true of course, but it shows how he regards it.

    I agree that his older material surpasses the more famous records like YOTC. But he's not finished yet. Take a listen to "A Beach Full Of Shells" and in particular "Somewhere in England 1915".
  • Jeffrey from Reading, PaWhat a fantastic song, and SOOO playable on acoustic guitar. I was at an Al Stewart concert
    in 2008 and hoped we would ask the audience if they had any song requests. This would have been
    my overwhelming choice had he done so.
    So much of Al's older material (like this song) is absolutely wonderful. It's a shame so many associate him with only "Song on the Radio"
    and "Year of the Cat", very mediocre efforts
    (by his own admission).
    If I played to live audiences, I'd certainly do
    a LONG Al Stewart set, and this song would always
    be included in it. Kudos to one of the world's
    greatest song writers for this song.
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