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Hoist the Colours

Here is, at last, the dissection of Hoist the Colours, as was requested. First, the lyrics:

Yo, Ho haul together, hoist the colours high
Heave ho, thieves and beggars, never shall we die
Yo, Ho haul together, hoist the colours high
Heave ho, thieves and beggars, never shall we die

The King and his men stole the queen from her bed
and bound her in her bones
The seas be ours and by the powers
Where we will…we’ll roam

Yo, Ho haul together, hoist the colours high
Heave ho, thieves and beggars, never say we die

Some men have died and some are alive
And others sail on the sea
With the keys to the cage
And the devil to pay
We lay to Fiddler’s Green!

Yo, Ho haul together, hoist the colours high
Heave ho, thieves and beggars, never shall we die

The bell has been raised from its watery grave
Do you hear its sepulchral tone?
A Call to all, pay heed to the squall
And turn your sail towards home!

Yo, Ho haul together, hoist the colours high
Heave ho, thieves and beggars, never shall we die

Hoist the Colours is a song known by the pirates all over the Seven Seas. It was sung by men and women sentenced to be hung by the East India Trading Company, started by a cabin boy holding a piece of eight. It was also a call to arms for the Bretheren Court.

So, what does this song actually mean? Well, let’s break it down bit by bit to figure that out.

Yo, Ho haul together, hoist the colours high
Heave ho, thieves and beggars, never shall we die

When I look at this part, it sort of reminds me of the scene in Troy where Paris…or it might have been Achilles, I can’t tell those two apart… anyway one of those guys who may be played be Orlando Bloom or someone famous, he turns to his soldiers, points at the beach with his sword, and says, “Imortality! It’s yours. Take it!” And at this point, my history teacher paused the clip (I was in public school back then -the dark days) to ask what he meant. And since no one could answer, she explained to us that he didn’t necessarily mean that his soldiers would live forever, but that they would be remembered forever, and their memories kept them alive eternally. I think this is what they mean when they say, “never shall we die”, that they will be remembered by the pirates, the Bretheren Court, and their enemies. Next line.

The King and his men stole the queen from her bed
and bound her in her bones
The seas be ours and by the powers
Where we will…we’ll roam

This part, apparently, is about Calypso. I never really liked her. Her teeth are so… ugh. But she’s a cool character. By being bound in her bones, they mean her human form, her mortal self, Tia Dalma, the voodoo lady who gives Jack a jar of dirt. The second half is pretty self-explanitory, basically the pirates go where they want and you don’t stop them. Moving on.

Some men have died and some are alive
And others sail on the sea
With the keys to the cage
And the devil to pay
We lay to Fiddler’s Green!

This is obvious. Some men have died and some are alive and others sail on the sea. Not hard to figure out. Fiddler’s Green, according to answers.yahoo.com, means the place pirates, or seafaring men, go when they die – the equivalent of Davy Jone’s Locker, except that doesn’t rhyme, so they couldn’t put that there.

The bell has been raised from its watery grave
Do you hear its sepulchral tone?
A Call to all, pay heed to the squall
And turn your sail towards home!

A call to all, to all pirates, to finally take back what is theirs, beat Davy Jones to oblivion, and save Jack from the dead, if they can. I like the word sepulchral. This is the official definition for it:

of or relating to a tomb or interment.
“sepulchral monuments”

So, this is interesting, because both Jack and Hector Barbosa were dead, and now they’ve returned. And the bell has been raised from its “watery grave”, so the word sepulchral works nicely. All in all it’s a great songp acked with meaning, and I like it a lot.

So, now that you know how a song dissection works, why not suggest which song I should do next?

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