Pirate Song

(1902)

Henry F. Gilbert's "Pirate Song" was published by Wa-Wan Press in 1902. The song adapts text from Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, with additional stanzas written by Alice C. Hyde.

The song was immensely popular and was even performed for President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the White House. American baritone David Bispham wrote to Gilbert about the song:

"You may say from me that since Damrosch's 'Danny Deever' no song by an American composer has so profoundly moved my audiences, whether at home or abroad as your 'Pirate Song.'"

Bispham was the first American-born baritone to have an international career in opera.

--Christie Finn Source: Sherrill V. Martin's Henry F. Gilbert: A Bio-Bibliography

Pirate Song
Text adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island


Fifteen men on a 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.
Drink and the devil had done for the rest,
Yo! ho! ho and a bottle of rum.
Yo! ho! ho and a bottle of rum.


Hate lies close to love of gold.
Dead men's secrets are tardily told.
Yo! ho! ho and a bottle of rum.
Yo! ho! ho and a bottle of rum.


Dead men only the secret shall keep
Yo! ho! ho and a bottle of rum.
So bare the knife and plunge it deep.
Yo! ho! ho! Yo! ho! Yo! ho! ho!


Fifteen men on a 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,
Fifteen men on a dead man's chest,
Drink and the devil had done for the rest,
Yo! ho! ho! Yo! ho! Yo! ho! ho!


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