"In the year of '39, assembled here the Volunteers in the days when lands were few. Here the ship sailed out into the blue and sunny morn, the sweetest sight ever seen. And the night followed day and the storytellers say that the score brave souls inside, for many a lonely day, sailed across the milky seas, ne're looked back, never feared, never cried."
A lot of people think the song is set in 1539 or 1639. Nope. It's not about a sailing ship. This song is actually about a spaceship, and is set in 2039.
"In the year of '39 came a ship in from the blue, the Volunteers came home that day. And they bring good news of a world so newly born, though their hearts so heavily weigh. For the Earth is old and grey, little darlin' well away, but my love, this cannot be. Oh, so many years have gone, though I'm older but a year, your mother's eyes, from your eyes, cry to me."
They left in '39 but return in '39. 2139, 100 years later. The Volunteers have been traveling at near the speed of light, and because of time dilation, have only aged a single year while 100 years have passed on Earth.
Now if only someone would explain Seven Seas of Rhye to me.