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The Mariner's Revenge Song
The Decemberists Lyrics


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
Oh

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 © BMG Rights Management
Written by: Colin Meloy

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
To comment on specific lyrics, highlight them
Most interesting comments from YouTube:

Ross Easson

We are two mariners
Our ships' sole survivors
In this belly of a whale

Its ribs our ceiling beams
Its guts our 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 relate 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
Oh-ohhhhh

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-ohhhhh

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-ohhhhh

"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"
Death rattle

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-ohhhhh

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-ohhhhh

"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"

[Haunting, sailor-esque musical interlude lead by mandolin, accordion, tuba and violin]

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

As before us grew
The angry jaws
Of a giant whale

[Instrumental noise]
Oh Ohhhhhhhhhh
[Screaming]
Ohhhhh
[Screaming]

Don't know how I survived
The crew all was chewed alive
I must have slipped between his teeth

But, O! 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
Ohh-ohhhhh



Anselma Reich

I find it weird, that everyone blames the mother's vengefulness alone for the boy's fate.

I mean, think about it.
His mother was a widow in times when a woman (especially from lower classes) was basically screwed without a man to act as legal guardian.
That young man seemed sweet at first and she probably assumed, that he was hard-working and kind and would be a good step-father figure.
But then the child witnessed his mother getting abused and broken to the point, where she was physically and mentally a wreck. Mayby the man abused him too.
And then the bastard leaves the sick mother and her child to fend for themselves, while also leaving them with his gambling debts.
Because of the high debt, the town reclaimed what little property the mother had left, leaving her and the boy homeless.
She went insane and died sometime later, as a result of her consumption (which might mean Tuberculosis) and the last words the boy heard from his mother was her demanding from him to avenge the wrongs done to both of them.
All of that is already extremely traumatising for a little child, even without her last request. He would have been old enough to remember all this misery, but too young to remember the better times before that.
Then the boy had to survive on the streets as an orphan for whole fifteen years. It could be that in some moments, his mother's dying wish was the only thing that kept him up.
When a prior finally offers him employment, that young man is somewhere between 18-20 years old, and by that time his mind would be warped beyond repair.


So yeah, while the mother's demand for revenge played a part in how messed up he is, she wasn't the entire reason. He might already have been messed up at that point and with his miserably existence afterwards, he would have been filled with hatred and vengefulness anyway. Especially, when you consider that he was only three, when his mother met that man. Old enough to remember all the abuse, but too young to remember the better times before. With what that man did to them, the boy would have been fucked up anyhow.



BiFross

For the ending of the song, during "Audioviolence" as someone coined it, this is what plays in my head:

All of this is with no dialogue

7:26 : The Mariner begins saying the last words his mother ever spake, breathing heavily, psyching himself up to murder the man that brought ruin to him and his family.

7:38 : The Mariner beings throwing punches as the two begin to brawl, The Rake returning punches until he is knocked to the ground by a good right hook.

8:00 : The Rake pulls a bootknife and begins swinging wildly, the desperation and fear of a life terribly lived flashing in his eyes, as he realizes he wasted the precious gift, all too late.

8:10 : The Mariner disarms the rake, as the bootknife flies into the side of the whale's stomach, the two continue fighting without the knife. The Rake gets in a good hit as well, slamming the Mariner into a rib.

8:20 : The Rake picks up a large splintered board, improvising a club, as the Mariner recovers the knife. After which, the two are both bloodies and bruised, yet still burning, enraged by the fire of life itself, yet fighting for two different purposes.

8:30 The Rake slams the board into the Mariner's chest, cracking a rib. The two continue fighting, fueled by pure adrenaline

8:37 : The Mariner delivers a deep cut across the Rake's chest, then promptly digs the bootknife into his stomach. Half a second later, the cut to black, and the resurfacing of the Rake's tricorn



Scene

Just gonna leave the lyrics here so i can sing along



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
Oh
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



All comments from YouTube:

Dominic Chaput

I love how in the beginning he basically says, "I could kill you right now, but I've got time before the whale finishes eating. Let me tell you the story of exactly how you fucked up my life"

galaxybear _

Chad energy.

James Brooks

it sets a beautiful stage

Paul Crandell

Not just how you fucked up my life but, also how fucked up I am about to make your ending be.

Zorro Uzimay

I love this

Susan Charlton

I love the wording of it to. "We have some time to kill." It has two meanings and neither are good for the whaler.

3 More Replies...

Relatively Good Looking Jack

I really love this tale for one reason
Usually in this type of tale when a mother passes away and leaves behind a child they often tell them something like
"Move on, live a good life, be a good man, don't get in trouble" or something.
Meanwhile the mariner's mother:
"Find that piece of shit and fuck him up"
It's so real, I love it

L J

@Peter Gant this guy doesn’t understand the burden of proof.

Bigboy Now

@A random encounter apparently his grandfather ended a fuckin bloodline

Thomas Bel

@Peter Gant oh ffs. That isn't how shit works. If you are saying something exists then you have the burden of proof. You shouldn't believe anything until given reason to do so... You can't just say well I believe in fairies because there isn't any proof there aren't fairies....
Well you know what else doesn't have proof? Things that don't exist. Things that do exist have proof.
The shifting the burden of proof does nothing but show the room temperature IQ of the person who says such nonsense

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