Tempest

  • The pale moon rose in it's glory
    Out on the Western town
    She told a sad, sad story
    Of the great ship that went down

    T'was the fourteenth day of April
    Over the waves she rode
    Sailing into tomorrow
    To a golden age foretold

    The night was black with starlight
    The seas were sharp and clear
    Moving through the shadows
    The promised hour was near

    Lights were holding steady
    Gliding over the foam
    All the lords and ladies
    Heading for their eternal home

    The chandeliers were swaying
    From the balustrades above
    The orchestra was playing
    Songs of faded love

    The watchman, he lay dreaming
    As the ballroom dancers twirled
    He dreamed the Titanic was sinking
    Into the underworld

    Leo took his sketchbook
    He was often so inclined
    He closed his eyes and painted
    The scenery in his mind

    Cupid struck his bosom
    And broke it with a snap
    The closest woman to him
    He fell into her lap

    He heard a loud commotion
    Something sounded wrong
    His inner spirit was saying
    That he couldn't stand here long

    He staggered to the quarterdeck
    No time now to sleep
    Water on the quarterdeck
    Already three foot deep

    Smokestack was leaning sideways
    Heavy feet began to pound
    He walked into the whirlwind
    Sky splitting all around

    The ship was going under
    The universe had opened wide
    The roll was called up yonder
    The angels turned aside

    Lights down in the hallway
    Flickering dim and dull
    Dead bodies already floating
    In the double bottom hull

    The engines then exploded
    Propellers they failed to start
    The boilers overloaded
    The ship's bow split apart

    Passengers were flying
    Backward, forward, far and fast
    They mumbled, fumbled, and tumbled
    Each one more weary than the last

    The veil was torn asunder
    'Tween the hours of twelve and one
    No change, no sudden wonder
    Could undo what had been done

    The watchman lay there dreaming
    At fourty five degrees
    He dreamed that the Titanic was sinking
    Dropping to her knees

    Wellington he was sleeping
    His bed began to slide
    His valiant heart was beating
    He pushed the tables aside

    Glass of shattered crystal
    Lay scattered roundabout
    He strapped on both his pistols
    How long could he hold out?

    His men and his companions
    Were nowhere to be seen
    In silence there he waited for
    Time and space to intervene

    The passageway was narrow
    There was blackness in the air
    He saw every kind of sorrow
    Heard voices everywhere

    Alarm-bells were ringing
    To hold back the swelling tide
    Friends and lovers clinging
    To each other side by side

    Mothers and their daughters
    Descending down the stairs
    Jumped into the icy waters
    Love and pity sent their prayers

    The rich man, Mister Astor
    Kissed his darling wife
    He had no way of knowing
    It'd be the last trip of his life

    Calvin, Blake and Wilson
    Gambled in the dark
    Not one of them would ever live to
    Tell the tale on the disembark

    Brother rose up 'gainst brother
    In every circumstance
    They fought and slaughtered each other
    In a deadly dance

    They lowered down the lifeboats
    From the sinking wreck
    There were traitors, there were turncoats
    Broken backs and broken necks

    The bishop left his cabin
    To help others in need
    Turned his eyes up to the heavens
    Said, "The poor are yours to feed"

    Davey the brothel-keeper
    Came out dismissed his girls
    Saw the water getting deeper
    Saw the changing of his world

    Jim Dandy smiled
    He never learned to swim
    Saw the little crippled child
    And he gave his seat to him

    He saw the starlight shining
    Streaming from the East
    Death was on the rampage
    But his heart was now at peace

    They battened down the hatches
    But the hatches wouldn't hold
    They drowned upon the staircase
    Of brass and polished gold

    Leo said to Cleo
    I think I'm going mad
    But he'd lost his mind already
    Whatever mind he had

    He tried to block the doorway
    To save all those from harm
    Blood from an open wound
    Pouring down his arm

    Petals fell from flowers
    'Til all of them were gone
    In the long and dreadful hours
    The wizard's curse played on

    The host was pouring brandy
    He was going down slow
    He stayed right to the end and he
    Was the last to go

    There were many, many others
    Nameless here forever more
    They never sailed the ocean
    Or left their homes before

    The watchman, he lay dreaming
    The damage had been done
    He dreamed the Titanic was sinking
    And he tried to tell someone

    The captain, barely breathing
    Kneeling at the wheel
    Above him and beneath him
    Fifty thousand tons of steel

    He looked over at his compass
    And he gazed into its face
    Needle pointing downward
    He knew he lost the race

    In the dark illumination
    He remembered bygone years
    He read the Book of Revelation
    And he filled his cup with tears

    When the Reaper's task had ended
    Sixteen hundred had gone to rest
    The good, the bad, the rich, the poor
    The loveliest and the best

    They waited at the landing
    And they tried to understand
    But there is no understanding
    On the judgement of God's hand

    The news came over the wires
    And struck with deadly force
    Love had lost its fires
    All things had run their course

    The watchman he lay dreaming
    Of all the things that can be
    He dreamed the Titanic was sinking
    Into the deep blue sea Writer/s: BOB DYLAN
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 1

  • Gandolf from InternetI believe most people that give a version of lyrical meaning are way off. It is not political as some claim. I would make two observations. Some wonder why the watchman is sleeping. Well he's not, I think. I think he is high (dreaming) weed or something stronger. Therefore tripping a bit, but not sleeping.
    Secondly, some have given bewildering views of the score. You have caught the essence of the beat if you imagine, on the ballroom floor, women in gowns, men in their tuxedos, twirling to a lively waltz. ta ta ta-drum beat, ta ta ta-drum, ta ta ta-drum.
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