Fifteen men on the dead man's chest
Drink and the devil had done for the rest.
The mate was fixed with the bosun's pike
and the bosun brained with a marlin-spike.
Cookie's throat was marked belike
It had been clutched by fingers ten.
And there they lay, all good dead men,
Like break o' day in a boozing den
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!

Fifteen men of the whole ship's list
Dead and bedamned and the rest gone whist
The skipper lay with his nob in gore
Where the scullion's axe his cheek had shore,
And the scullion he'd been stabbed times four
And there they lay, and the soggy skies
Dripped all day long up staring eyes
By murk sunset and by foul sunrise--
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!

Fifteen men of 'em stiff and stark
Ten of the crew bore the murder mark
'Twas a cutlass swipe or an ounce of lead,
Or a yawning hole in a battered head,
And the scuppers glut of a rotting red.
And there they lay, aye, damn my eyes,
Their lookouts clapped on Paradise,
And their souls bound just contrariwise--
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!

Fifteen men of 'em good and true
Every man jack could 'a sailed with Old Pew
There was chest on chest full of Spanish gold,
And a ton of plate in the middle hold,
And the cabins riot with loot untold--
And there they lay that had took the plum,
With sightless glare and lips struck dumb,
While we shared all by the rule o' thumb--
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!

More was seen through the stern light screen
Charting, no doubt, where a woman had been
A flimsy shift on a bunker cot
With a thin dirk slot through the bosom spot
And the lace stiff dry with a purplish blot--
Oh, was she a wench, some shuddering maid--
That dared the knife and took the blade--
By God, she was tough for a plucky jade--
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 them all in a mainsail tight,
With twice ten turns of hawser's bight.
And we heaved 'em over and out of sight,
With a yo-heave-ho and a fare-ye-well,
A sudden plunge in a sullen swell.
Ten fathoms deep on the road to hell--
Yo-Ho-Ho and a bottle of rum!


Lyrics submitted by McCaber

The Derelict song meanings
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