15 Men on a Dead Man’s Chest Sea Shanty was written for Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Most people only know the chorus, “Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!”and there’s probably a very good reason Most likely your parents didn’t want you running around the house  singing about cracking skulls, cutting throats, and harpooning people.

By today’s’ standard Treasure Island, had this book been written in recent years it would have never became a beloved children book. It’s actual has some morbid scenes but children have played “Treasure Island” for over a 130 years. 

Fifteen Men on a Dead Man’s Chest” was written by Robert Louis Stevenson for his book “Treasure Island”, which was published in 1883. Stevenson wrote part of the song. The poet Young E. Allison expanded it into a poem called Derelict, which was published in 1891. Even though Stevenson and Allison made up this song for fictional works, it’s still sung today.
15 Men on a Dead Man’s Chest – American Children’s Songs – The USA – Mama Lisa’s World: Children’s Songs and Rhymes from Around the World . By all definition, these men really worked each other over is mildly put.

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 bosun’s pike, (whaling harpoon)
And the bosun brained by a marlinspike,
And the 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 boozin’ den
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 bedamned and their souls gone whist,
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!
The skipper lay with his nob in gore
Where the scullion’s ax his cheek had shore,
And the scullion he was stabbed times four
And there they lay, and the soggy skies
Dripped ceaselessly in upstaring eyes,
By murk sunset and by foul sunrise””
Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!

Fifteen men of ’em 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, aye, damn my eyes
Looking up at paradise
All souls bound just contrawise
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.

Fifteen men of ’em good and true
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
Ev’ry man jack could ha’ sailed with Old Pew,
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
There was chest on chest of Spanish gold
With a ton of plate in the middle hold
And the cabins riot of stuff untold,
And they lay there that took the plum
With sightless glare 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 through a sternlight screen
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum
Chartings undoubt where a woman had been
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.
‘Twas a flimsy shift on a bunker cot
With a dirk slit sheer through the bosom spot
And the lace stiff dry in a purplish blot
Oh was she wench or some shudderin’ maid
That dared the knife and took the blade
By God! she had stuff for a plucky jade
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.

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.
We wrapped ’em all in a mains’l tight
With twice ten turns of a hawser’s bight
And we heaved ’em over and out of sight,
With a Yo-Heave-Ho! and a fare-you-well
And a sudden plunge in the sullen swell
Ten fathoms deep on the road to hell,
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!

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About unholypursuit

A. White, a former librarian who is also long time member of Romantic Time and Publisher's Weekly. A. White has been writing for over fifteen years. She took classes in creative writing in college, specializing in ancient myths and legends. and at a local community center while living in Chicago. In college she won the national contest to verbally list every country in the world, it's capital and ingenious language. Her works are mainly horror, fantasy, extreme, and sci-fi as well as, as some may says, "the truly strange predicament and puzzling." Books that I've written are "Clash with the Immortals, and eleven others which are part of the "Unholy Pursuit saga,". She has been working on the Chronicles since 2007. She wished to complete them all before introducing them to public so the readers wouldn't have to for the continuation to be written. The ideas of the book come from classic literature such as whose work greatly influence the world world such as Homer, Sophocles, Herodotus, Euripides, Socrates, Hippocrates, Aristophanes, Plato, Aristotle and many more. The "Book of Enoch" influenced the usage of Azazael as a main character and love interest. I created the primary main character from the Chronicle of Saints. I wanted to show them as real flesh and blood with thoughts, desires and yearning as any human. Not as they are so often depicted. So I created one of my own to show her as a real human that everyone can relate to.
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2 Responses to 15 Men on a Dead Man’s Chest Sea Shanty was written for Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

  1. lynn k scott says:

    I love Treasure Island. I tried to get my daughter to enjoy it as much as I did, but she just didn’t care for it. I feel the classics are dying out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I loved it too and played pirates with other children. Sadly, many of the classic are dying out I wish I could say they aren’t. Believe it or knowing something about them can help land jobs or promotions. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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