To ride the storm, to an empire of the clouds To ride the storm, they climbed aboard their silver ghost To ride the storm, to a kingdom that will come To ride the storm and damn the rest... oblivion
Royalty and dignitaries, brandy and cigars Grey lady giant of the skies, You hold them in your arms The millionth chance they laughed, to take down his majesty's craft "To india" they say, "magic carpet float away", an october fateful day...
Mist is in the trees, Stone sweats with the dew The morning sunrise, red before the blue
Hanging at the mast, Waiting for command His majesty's airship, The r101
She's the biggest vessel built by man, A giant of the skies For all you unbelievers, The titanic fits inside
Drum roll tight her canvas skin, Silvered in the sun Never tested with the fury, With the beating yet to come The fury yet to come
In the gathering gloom, A storm rising in the west The coxswain stared Into the plunging weather glass
We must go now, We must take our chance with fate We must go now, For a politician, he can't be late
The airship crew awake for thirty Hours at full stretch But the ship is in their backbone, Every sinew, every inch
She never flew at full speed, A trial never done Her fragile outer cover Her achilles would become An Achilles yet to come
Sailors of the sky, a hardened breed Loyal to the king, And an airship creed
The engines drum, The telegraph sounds Release the cords That bind us to the ground
Said the coxswain "Sir, she's heavy" "She'll never make this flight" Said the captain "Damn the cargo" "We'll be on our way tonight"
Groundlings cheered in wonder, As she backed off from the mast Baptising them her water From the ballast fore and aft Now she slips into our past
Feeling the wind as it rolls you Feeling the diesels that push you along Watching the Channel below you Lower and lower, into the night
Lights are passing below you Northern france, asleep in their beds Storm is raging around you A million to one, that's what he said
Reaper standing beside her With his scythe cuts to the bone Panic to make a decision Experienced men asleep in their graves
Her cover is ripped and she's drowning Rain is flooding into the hull Bleeding to death and she's falling Lifting gas is draining away
"We're down lads" came the cry Bow plunging from the sky Three thousand horses silent As the ship began to die
The flares to guide her path Ignited at the last The Empire of the Clouds, Just ashes in our past Just ashes at the last
Here lie their dreams As I stand in the sun On the ground where they built And the engines did run
To the moon and the stars, Now what have we done Oh the dreamers may die But the dreams live on Dream lives on - dream lives on...
Now a shadow on a hill, The angel of the east The Empire of the Clouds May rest in peace
And in a country churchyard, Laid head to the mast Eight and forty souls Who came to die in France