Album: Past, Present and Future (1973)
Play Video
  • In the east the wind is blowing the boats across the sea
    And their sails will fill the morning and their cries ring out to me

    Oh, the more it changes, the more it stays the same
    And the hand just re-arranges the players in the game

    Oh, I had a dream
    It seemed I stood alone
    And the veil of all the years
    Goes sinking from my eyes like a stone

    A king shall fall and put to death by the English parliament shall be
    Fire and plague to London come in the year of six and twenties three
    An emperor of France shall rise who will be born near Italy
    His rule cost his empire dear, Napoleon his name shall be

    From Castile does Franco come and the Government driven out shall be
    An English king seeks divorce, and from his throne cast down is he
    One named Hister shall become a captain of Greater Germanie
    No law does this man observe and bloody his rise and fall shall be

    Man, man, your time is sand, your ways are leaves upon the sea
    I am the eyes of Nostradamus, all your ways are known to me
    Man, man, your time is sand, your ways are leaves upon the sea
    I am the eyes of Nostradamus, all your ways are known to me

    In the new lands of America three brothers now shall come to power
    Two alone are born to rule but all must die before their hour
    Two great men yet brothers not make the north united stand
    Its power be seen to grow, and fear possess the eastern lands

    Three leagues from the gates of Rome a Pope named Pol is doomed to die
    A great wall that divides a city at this time is cast aside
    These are the signs I bring to you
    to show you when the time is nigh

    Man, man, your time is sand, your ways are leaves upon the sea
    I am the eyes of Nostradamus, all your ways are known to me

    Man, man, your time is sand, your ways are leaves upon the sea
    I am the eyes of Nostradamus, all your ways are known to me Writer/s: ALISTAIR IAN STEWART
    Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 4

  • John Cobb from Wilmington, DeI saw Al Stewart booed of stage at the Spectrum in Phil., Pa. He was opening for ELO, and they were late due to bus trouble. I had 5th row seats, and enjoyed Mr. Stewart anyway.
  • Bill from San Francisco, CaAl has stated he doesn't believe in the prophecies, and doesn't care if you do. It was just a good song to write, he claims.
  • Greg from Shelbyville, KyHere are the complete sleeve notes from Past Present and Future:

    The subject of the final song is Nostradamus (1503 to 1566) a provencal doctor and seer, who published his major work of prediction, "The Centuries" in 1555. The book was so called because it was divided into ten parts, each of 100 four line verses, stretching from the date of publication to an indefinite future. Many first editions still exist and there is no doubt as to the authenticity of the text.

    Nostradamus saw that a century after his death there would be a great fire in London; "The blood of the just will be demanded of London, burnt through fire in three times twenty and six." There too was the death of Charles the First; "The English Parliament will put its King to death." The name of Napoleon is revealed in an anagram; "Pay Nay Loron will be more of fire that=n blood.." "The Emperor born bear Italy."

    Then appears a second Anti Christ, Hitler; "Hister, the German of the Crooked Cross." 'Captain of Greater Germanie." He will be followed by a third and terrible Anti Christ, who will come from the East; "The long awaited Anti Christ will never return in Europe, he will appear in Asia." He will be linked with the death of a Pope named Paul (the last one dies in 1621) and with the influence of three brothers. The theme of war is constantly linked with these three brothers born in the New Land of America, who will all three be assassinated; "The Anti Christ will soon annihilate the three", and it will be a long drawn out war of attrition, lasting twenty seven years.

    Indications as to the imminence of this was are that "The West will be at the height of its power" and that it will break out thirteen years after an alliance between two world leaders who are not brothers." Before this Nostradamus sees Britain and France entering into a long and successful union, which may well be interpreted as The Common Market. The only other indication is that war may break out "the year of the great seventh number being accomplished", which would mean at the end of the 1970's, and which would be followed by a time of great slaughter. Even New York itself is not exempt; "The city of hollow mountains" (skyscrapers) will be poisoned through its water supply.

    The visions of Nostradamus of war and doom are similar to those of every prophet through the ages. Perhaps he may yet be honoured in his own country, and his warnings not ignored by future generation.


    The book on which the song "Nostradamus is based is "The Centuries of Nostradamus" by Erika Cheetham, to be published by Neville Spearman Limited, London and Putnams, NY.

  • Greg from Shelbyville, KyAl writes on lyric sheet insert for the album:
    For "Nostradamus I have leaned heavily on the researches of Erika Cheetham, whose book on the subject is shortly to be published, and who has kindly written some sleeve notes for me. Whether or not you believe his prophesies to be true rest with you; but history seems to be on his side.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

The Fratellis

The FratellisSongwriter Interviews

Jon Fratelli talks about the band's third album, and the five-year break leading up to it.

Mark Arm of Mudhoney

Mark Arm of MudhoneySongwriter Interviews

When he was asked to write a song for the Singles soundtrack, Mark thought the Seattle grunge scene was already overblown, so that's what he wrote about.

He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss): A History Of Abuse Pop

He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss): A History Of Abuse PopSong Writing

Songs that seem to glorify violence against women are often misinterpreted - but not always.

Soul Train Stories with Stephen McMillian

Soul Train Stories with Stephen McMillianSong Writing

A Soul Train dancer takes us through a day on the show, and explains what you had to do to get camera time.

Richard Marx

Richard MarxSongwriter Interviews

Richard explains how Joe Walsh kickstarted his career, and why he chose Hazard, Nebraska for a hit.

Billy Gould of Faith No More

Billy Gould of Faith No MoreSongwriter Interviews

Faith No More's bassist, Billy Gould, chats to us about his two new experimental projects, The Talking Book and House of Hayduk, and also shares some stories from the FNM days.