The Little Mermaid ♪ Poor Unfortunate Souls

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

This is a funny song from the soundtrack of Disney's The Little Mermaid (1989).

Background: pretty little mermaid is half tricked and half curious and came to the sea-witch octopus Ursula to complain about her dissatisfaction with her dad (Triton) and yearning to become a human so that she can be with her prince charming. In this song, Ursula seduces and ensnares Little Mermaid to sign a contract so the mermaid can get legs, but with the cost of her beautiful voice. In 3 days, if Little Mermaid get her prince charming to kiss her, then she gets her legs permanently and her voice back, else Ursula owns her soul.

Poor Unfortunate Souls

Ursula: The only way to get what you want is to become a human yourself.

Ariel: Can you do that?

Ursula: My dear, sweet child. That's what I do -- it's what I live for. To help unfortunate merfolk -- like yourself -- poor souls with no one else to turn to.

mended to repair, patch up, fix, alter for the better.
get the girl chicks want to get thinner (prettier), guys want to get the chicks. Here, shows the eternal human desire, based on evolutionary conditions for propagation.
I admit that in the past I've been a nasty
They weren't kidding when they called me, well, a witch
But you'll find that nowadays
I've mended all my ways
Repented, seen the light and made a switch
True? Yes
And I fortunately know a little magic
It's a talent that I always have possessed
And here lately, please don't laugh
I use it on behalf
Of the miserable, lonely and depressed (pathetic)

Poor unfortunate souls
In pain, In need
This one longing to be thinner
That one wants to get the girl
And do I help them?
Yes, indeed

Those poor unfortunate souls
So sad
So true
They come flocking to my cauldron
Crying, “Spells, Ursula please!”
And I help them?
Yes, I do

Now it's happened once or twice
Someone couldn't pay the price
And I'm afraid I had to rake 'em 'cross the coals
Yes, I've had the odd complaint
But on the whole I've been a saint
To those poor unfortunate souls

Ursula: Have we got a deal?

Ariel: If I become human, I'll never be with my father or sisters again.

Ursula: But you'll have your man. Life's full of tough choices, isn't? Oh -- and there is one more thing. We haven't discussed the subject of payment.

Ariel: But I don't have any --

Ursula: I'm not asking much. Just a token, really, a trifle. What I want from you is… your voice.

Ariel: But without my voice, how can I --

Ursula: You'll have your looks! Your pretty face! And don't underestimate the importance of body language! Ha!

blabber To chatter; babble.
prattle idle or foolish and irrelevant talk.
dote show excessive affection for.
swoon To be overwhelmed by ecstatic joy.
fawn To seek favor or attention by flattery and obsequious behavior.
on a roll idiom. Meaning: Undergoing or experiencing sustained, even increasing good fortune or success.
Caspian Sea the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area. Its borders are Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan.
The men up there don't like a lot of blabber
They think a girl who gossips is a bore
Yes, on land it's much preferred
For ladies not to say a word
And after all, dear, what is idle prattle for?
Come on, they're not all that impressed with conversation
True gentlemen avoid it when they can
But they dote and swoon and fawn
On a lady who's withdrawn
It's she who holds her tongue who gets her man

Come on, you poor unfortunate soul
Go ahead!
Make your choice!
I'm a very busy woman
And I haven't got all day
It won't cost much
Just your voice!

You poor unfortunate soul
It's sad
But true
If you want to cross a bridge, my sweet
You've got to pay the toll
Take a gulp and take a breath
And go ahead and sign the scroll!

Flotsam, Jetsam, now I've got her, boys
The boss is on a roll

“Beluga… Sevruga… Come Winds of the Caspian Sea!”
“Now rings us glossitis and maxlarnygitis La Voce to me!”
“Now Sing…”

From this, we can also see the mastery of manipulation by the sea-witch. This reminds me of the Star Wars character: Palpatine: The Portrait of a Perfect Sociopath and Master Politician.

a cartoon drawing of a happy girl-mermaid with a lobster
This is a great album.

Little Mermaid

Animation Songs