When The Ship Comes In

Album: The Times They Are A-Changin' (1964)
Play Video
  • Oh, the time will come up
    When the winds will stop
    And the breeze will cease to be breathin'
    Like the stillness in the wind
    Before the hurricane begins
    The hour that the ship comes in

    And the seas will split
    And the ship will hit
    And the sands on the shoreline will be shaking
    Then the tide will sound
    And the wind will pound
    And the morning will be breaking

    Oh, the fishes will laugh
    As they swim out of the path
    And the seagulls they'll be smiling
    And the rocks on the sand
    Will proudly stand
    The hour that the ship comes in

    And the words that are used
    For to get the ship confused
    Will not be understood as they're spoken
    For the chains of the sea
    Will have busted in the night
    And will be buried at the bottom of the ocean

    A song will lift
    As the mainsail shifts
    And the boat drifts on to the shoreline
    And the sun will respect
    Every face on the deck
    The hour that the ship comes in

    Then the sands will roll
    Out a carpet of gold
    For your weary toes to be a-touchin'
    And the ship's wise men
    Will remind you once again
    That the whole wide world is watchin'

    Oh, the foes will rise
    With the sleep still in their eyes
    And they'll jerk from their beds and think they're dreamin'
    But they'll pinch themselves and squeal
    And know that it's for real
    The hour when the ship comes in

    Then they'll raise their hands
    Sayin' we'll meet all your demands
    But we'll shout from the bow your days are numbered
    And like Pharaoh's tribe
    They'll be drownded in the tide
    And like Goliath, they'll be conquered

Comments: 2

  • Jon from Yellow Springs, OhIn “The Double Life Of Bob Dylan ” Clinton Heylin writes that Dylan had been playing around with ideas for this song previous to being refused a room at a hotel over his appearance. Heylin thinks that Dylan had the song “Pirate Jenny” from Three Penny Opera, another revenge fantasy concerning a ship and an apocalyptical comeuppance, as a key source of inspiration for “When the Ship Comes In.”
  • Barry from New York, NcI was at the Dylan tribute show at Madison Square Garden in 1992. The Clancy Bros. with Tommy Makem did a stirring rendition of this song. "Dylan with an Irish accent."
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Tim McIlrath of Rise Against

Tim McIlrath of Rise AgainstSongwriter Interviews

Rise Against frontman Tim McIlrath explains the meanings behind some of their biggest songs and names the sci-fi books that have influenced him.

Zakk Wylde

Zakk WyldeSongwriter Interviews

When he was playing Ozzfest with Black Label Society, a kid told Zakk he was the best Ozzy guitarist - Zakk had to correct him.

Music Video Director David Hogan

Music Video Director David HoganSong Writing

David talks about videos he made for Prince, Alabama, Big & Rich, Sheryl Crow, DMB, Melissa Etheridge and Sisters of Mercy.

Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty

Rob Thomas of Matchbox TwentySongwriter Interviews

Rob Thomas on his Social Distance Sessions, co-starring with a camel, and his friendship with Carlos Santana.

Chris Isaak

Chris IsaakSongwriter Interviews

Chris tells the story of "Wicked Game," talks milkshakes and moonpies at Sun Records, and explains why women always get their way.

Charlie Daniels

Charlie DanielsSongwriter Interviews

Charlie discusses the songs that made him a Southern Rock icon, and settles the Devil vs. Johnny argument once and for all.