Poor Unfortunate Souls
Poor Unfortunate Souls

Feature Film:

The Little Mermaid



Written By:

Howard Ashman

Composed By:

Alan Menken

Poor Unfortunate Souls is a song written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken for The Little Mermaid. This song is sung to Ariel by Ursula the Sea Witch. In a style that combines Broadway Theatre with Burlesque. Ursula uses the song to seduce Ariel into trading her voice for the chance to temporarily become human.

A short melodic reprise of this song is featured later in the original Disney movie being sung by Vanessa, Ursula's alter ego.


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.

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 gentleman 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On a lady who's withdrawn.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 get's a 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 the 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.