> Peter Bellamy > Songs > Nostradamus
Al Stewart recorded his song about the French Renaissance seer Nostradamus (1503-1566) in 1973 for his album Past, Present & Future. Peter Bellamy recorded it for both of his 1975 albums Peter Bellamy and Tell It Like It Was. The latter version was also included in 1999 on his 3CD anthology Wake the Vaulted Echoes. He commented in the first album's notes:
This ominous song is the work of English singer-songwriter Al Stewart. The verses are very closely based on Erica Cheetham's recent translation of the Centuries of Nostradamus, first published in 1555. There seems little doubt that the seer accurately anticipated Napoleon and Hitler, so it is unsettling that the “signs” with which the song ends are supposed to be those which herald the destruction of the West with “weapons of living fire …”
But “it is not only sceptics such as James Randi who suggest that his reputation as a prophet is largely manufactured by modern-day supporters who fit his words to events that have either already occurred or are so imminent as to be inevitable, a process sometimes known as “retroactive clairvoyance”. There is no evidence in the academic literature to suggest that any Nostradamus quatrain has ever been interpreted as predicting a specific event before it occurred, other than in vague, general terms that could equally apply to any number of other events.” (Wikipedia)
Martin Hall sang Nostradamus in 1992 on his Fellside cassette Ringing the Changes. He commented:
It was the late, great, Peter Bellamy, with his unique and uncompromising style and energy, who introduced me to this Al Stewart song, of a man’s intriguing prophecy which is supposedly reaching its climax.
Damien Barber recorded Nostradamus in 1995 for his album Boxed (which wasn't released before 2000) and together with Mike Wilson for their 2009 CD Under the Influence.
Jon Boden sang Nostradamus as the 12 August 2010 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day.
Peter Bellamy sings Nostradamus
In the East the wind is blowing all the boats across the sea,
And their sails, they fill the morning, and their cries ring out to me.
Oh the more it changes, well, well the more it stays the same,
And the hand just rearranges all the players in the game.
Oh, I had a dream:. It seemed I stood alone,
And the veil of the ages, it goes sinking from my eyes like a stone.
A king shall fall and put to death by the English Parliament shall be,
Fire and flame to London come in the year of six and twenty-three.
An emperor of France shall rise who shall be born near Italy.
His rule shall cost his empire dear, Napoleon, his name 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.
And from Castile shall Franco come and the government driven out shall be.
An English king he seeks divorce and from his throne cast down is he.
And one named Hitler shall become captain of greater Germany.
No law does this man observe, and bloody his rise and fall shall be.
In the new lands of America, three brothers now shall come to pass.
Two alone are born to rule, but all must die before their hour.
And two great men, yet brothers not, shall make the North united stand;
Their power will deceive the throne and fear possess the Eastern lands.
And three leagues from the gates of Rome, a pope named Paul is doomed to die.
A great wall that divides a city, at this time is cast aside.
And these are the signs I bring to you to show you when your time is nigh,