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Down Among The Dead Men


This English drinking song, first published in 1728 and credited to Henry Purcell, has been popular ever since; it was regularly sung by the Victorians and now features on a video game soundtrack as well as being a staple of US college glee clubs (You Tube is full of fresh faced chaps in neat slacks and blazers belting it out.

The song starts with a toast to the king and develops into a celebration of getting drunk and shagging. The 'dead men' are either those too drunk to stand or the empty bottles (or both). Bacchus, mentioned in the later verses, was the Roman god of wine, fertility, and ritual madness.

And, for those who are worried by the Royalism and licentiousness of the original, there is also a socialist rewrite.

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