Lyricist: SUMNER, GORDON / MATHES, ROBERT / TICKELL, KATHRYN / LAWRY, JO   Composer: TICKELL, PETER / COLEMAN, IRA / MILLER, DOMINIC


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

Ballad Of The Great Eastern

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Lyricist: SUMNER, GORDON / MATHES, ROBERT / TICKELL, KATHRYN / LAWRY, JO   Composer: TICKELL, PETER / COLEMAN, IRA / MILLER, DOMINIC


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