Dead Man’s Chest

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Also called: “The Derelict”, “Fifteen Men On The Dead Man’s Chest”, or “Yo Ho Ho, and a Bottle of Rum”.

This song was a fictional sea shanty originally from Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island (1883). Stevenson actually only wrote the chorus in his book, but it was turned into a full song later. Read more at Wikipedia.

Fifteen men on the Dead Man’s chest,
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!
Drink and the Devil had done for the rest,
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!

The mate was fixed by the bo’sun’s pike
And the bo’sun brained with a marlin-spike,
The cookie’s throat was marked belike
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!
It had been clutched by fingers ten.
And there they lay, all good dead men,
Like break o’ day in a boozin’ ken
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!

Fifteen men of the whole ship’s list,
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!
Dead and bedamned and their souls gone west
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!

The skipper lay with his nob in gore
Where the scullion’s axe his cheek had shore,
And the scullion he was stabbed four times four
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!
And there they lay, and the soggy skies
Rained all night long in upstaring eyes
By murk sunset and by foul sunrise–
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!

Fifteen men of ’em stiff and stark,
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!
Ten of the crew bore the murder mark,
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!

‘Twas a cutlass swipe or an ounce of lead,
Or a gaping hole in a battered head,
And the scuppers glut of a rotting red.
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!
And there they lay, aye, damn my eyes,
Their lookouts clapped on Paradise,
And souls bound just contrariwise–
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!

Fifteen men of ’em good and true,
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!
Every man jack could ‘a sailed with Tom Tew
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!

There was chest on chest of Spanish gold,
And a ton of plate in the middle hold,
And the cabins riot with loot untold–
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!
And there they lay that had took the plum,
With sightless eyes and with lips struck dumb,
While we shared all by rule o’ thumb–
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!

More was seen through the stern’s light screen,
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!
Chartings no doubt where the woman had been,
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!

A flimsy shift on a bunker cot
With a dirk slit sheer through the bosom spot
And the lace stiff dry in a purplish rot–
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!
Or was she wench or shuddering maid–
She dared for gold but she took the blade–
(Now it matters not for the price is paid!)
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!

Fifteen men on the Dead Man’s chest,
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!
Drink and the Devil had done for the rest,
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!

We wrapped ’em all in a mainsail tight,
With twice ten turns of hawser’s bight.
And we heaved ’em over and out of sight,
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!
With a yo-heave-ho and a fare-ye-well,
And a sullen plunge in a sullen swell.
Ten fathoms deep on the road to hell–
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!

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