The Derelict

Young Ewing Allison

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 boson’s pike,
The boson brained with a marlin spike,
And cookie’s throat was marked belike.
It had been gripped by fingers ten,
And there they lay all good dead men.
Like break of day at a boozin’ ken
Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum!

Fifteen men of a whole ship’s list,
Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum!
Dead and be-damned and the rest gone whist.
Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum!

The skipper lay with his knob in gore,
With a scullion’s axe his cheek had shore.
And the scullion he was stabbed times four.
And there they in the soggy skies,
Dripped all day long in up staring eyes.
At murk sunset, and at foul sunrise.
Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum!

Fifteen men of them stiff and stark.
Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum!
Ten of the crew had the murder mark.
Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum!

‘Twas a cutlass swipe or an ounce of lead,
Or a yawing hole in a battered head.
And the scuppers glut with a rotting red.
And there they lay, “I damn me eyes”,
All lookouts clapped on paradise,
All souls bound just contrary-wise.
Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum!

Fifteen men of the good and true.
Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum!
Every man-jack could have sailed with Old Pew!
Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum!

There was chest on chest full of Spanish gold,
With a ton of plate, in the middle hold.
And cabins riot of loot untold!
And they lay there, that had took the plumb,
With sightless glares, and their lips struck dumb.
While we shared all, by the rule of thumb.
Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum!

More was seen by the stern light screen.
Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum!
Chartings, no doubt, where a woman had been.
Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum!

A flimsy shift of a bunker cot,
With a thin dirk-slot through the bosom spot.
And the lace stiff-dry in a purplish blot.
Or was she a wench, some shuttering maid,
That dared the knife, and took the blade.
By God, she was stuff 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 the mainsail tight.
With twice-ten turns of a hawsers bight.
Then we heaved them over and out of sight!
With a “Yo, Heave Ho!” and a “Fair you well!”
And a sullen plunge in a sullen swell.
[SLOWLY]
Ten fathoms deep, on the road to Hell…
Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum!

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