We are two mariners
Our ships' sole survivors
In this belly of a whale
Its ribs are ceiling beams
Its 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 relay 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

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, bind 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, bind 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 at sea
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, oh, oh, 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 heart great joy
To see your eyes fill with fear
So 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, Gedrah

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

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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The Mariner's Revenge Song song meanings
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  • +3
    General Comment

    Yeah, 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
  • +3
    General Comment

    I love the pun in the first stanza last line.

    sleepytimeon March 29, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    even 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
  • +2
    General Comment

    This song could rival Dylan for storytelling.

    tom65on July 27, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General Comment

    I 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 Comment

    no need to get rude, ill fix it

    skyphilison March 15, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    Hey, 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 Comment

    Not so fast, fadetoflashes, the word is definitely "quailed" -- see this archaeic definition:


    You don't give their song-writing enough credit.

    jsmjron May 10, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    I 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 Comment

    attn 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 08, 2005   Link

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