"The Mariner's Revenge Song" as written by and Colin Meloy....
We are two mariners
Our ship's sole survivors
In this belly of a whale
It's ribs are ceiling beams
It's guts are carpeting
I guess we have some time to kill

You may not remember me
I was a child of three
And you, a lad of eighteen
But, I remember you
And I will relate to you
How our histories interweave
At the time you were
A rake and a roustabout
Spending all your money
On the whores and hounds
(Oh, oh)

You had a charming air
All cheap and debonair
My widowed mother found so sweet
And so she took you in
Her sheets still warm with him
Now filled with filth and foul disease
As time wore on you proved
A debt-ridden drunken mess
Leaving my mother
A poor consumptive wretch
(Oh, oh)

And then you disappeared
Your gambling arrears
The only thing you left behind
And then the magistrate
Reclaimed our small estate
And my poor mother lost her mind
Then, one day in spring
My dear sweet mother died
But, before she did
I took her hand as she, dying, cried:
(Oh, oh)

"Find him, find him
Tie him to a pole and break
His fingers to splinters
Drag him to a hole until he
Wakes up naked
Clawing at the ceiling
Of his grave"

It took me fifteen years
To swallow all my tears
Among the urchins in the street
Until a priory
Took pity and hired me
To keep their vestry nice and neat
But, never once in the employ
Of these holy men
Did I ever, once turn my mind
From the thought of revenge
(Oh, oh)

One night I overheard
The prior exchanging words
With a penitent whaler from the sea
The captain of his ship
Who matched you toe to tip
Was known for wanton cruelty
The following day
I shipped to sea
With a privateer
And in the whistle
Of the wind
I could almost hear
(Oh, oh)

"Find him, find him
Tie him to a pole and break
His fingers to splinters
Drag him to a hole until he
Wakes up naked
Clawing at the ceiling
Of his grave

There is one thing I must say to you
As you sail across the sea
Always, your mother will watch over you
As you avenge this wicked deed"

And then, that fateful night
We had you in our sight
After twenty months, it seemed
Your starboard flank abeam
I was getting my muskets clean
When came this rumbling from beneath
The ocean shook
The sky went black
And the captain quailed
And before us grew
The angry jaws
Of a giant whale

(Oh)

Don't know how I survived
The crew all was chewed alive
I must have slipped between his teeth
But, oh, what providence
What divine intelligence
That you should survive
As well as me
It gives my eye great joy
To see your eyes fill with fear
To lean in close
And I will whisper
The last words you'll hear
(Oh, oh)


Lyrics submitted by skyphilis, edited by BogusCraft, mikeca, Cevari, decemberists12, cannibal1307, jamesinkc, SlowestRunner

"The Mariner's Revenge Song" as written by Colin Meloy

Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

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The Mariner's Revenge Song song meanings
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101 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentI love the pun in the first stanza last line.
    sleepytimeon March 28, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentYeah, me too. And this one is wrong. It's "Find him, bind him..." Also, it's "wanton cruelty" rather than "one cruel deed", and "wailed" instead of "quailed". Fuck songmeanings.net for not posting my flawless copy and posting this persons. Actually, I don't give a shit. But still. Fuck 'em.
    fadetoflasheson March 07, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song could rival Dylan for storytelling.
    tom65on July 27, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think the last part is most important and a brilliant technique.
    The narrator is singing the song to *you*, the rake who took his mother.
    When Colin sings "And I will whisper the last words you'll hear..", the fact that it's
    instrumental, your mind fills it in with the woman's words as if they're haunting you.
    I found myself singing the words in my head as I was waiting for him to sing it.

    People have said her words are stuck in their heads after they hear the song and I think this
    helps to that effect.
    devilishdon August 19, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Commentno need to get rude, ill fix it
    skyphilison March 15, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHey, pumkinhed, they are "gods" among the weird kids. They're not widely popular by MTV's standards, I mean, they haven't been featured on the OC.. yet. But still, they have a large, very large following of, *gasp* Americans!
    Nimbus the Kittenon April 02, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentNot so fast, fadetoflashes, the word is definitely "quailed" -- see this archaeic definition:

    education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/…

    You don't give their song-writing enough credit.
    jsmjron May 10, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commenteven though this is kind of petty, but it would make sense that the line would read, "our ships' sole survivors" rather than "ship's" since there were two ships and whatnot.
    nonethelesson June 09, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI like how Colin makes the narator eventually lose his mind to his obsession with revenge. He obsesses so long over it that it becomes part of him, and he personifies this trait of him with his mother. His mother is his other personality, as he is skitzephrenic. It's truely wonderful. (See: the tenth paragraph, second line)
    SMUSER17000263on July 20, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentattn warmgun:

    "Our ship's sole survivors"

    "I shipped to sea
    With a privateer"

    "And the captain quailed"

    "The crew all was chewed alive"

    the mariner is not the only person on his ship
    AmericanSuperHeroson August 07, 2005   Link

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