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Down Among the Dead Men

Composed by Henry Purcell

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Down Among the Dead Men

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Sheet Music


"Down Among the Dead Men" is an English drinking song first published in 1728, but possibly of greater antiquity. The song begins with a toast to "the King" and continues with obeisance’s to the god Bacchus which become increasingly less subtle descriptions of the benefits of alcohol in procuring opportunities for sex. At the conclusion of each stanza of the song, those who deny the song's declarations are condemned to lay "down among the dead men," a euphemism for drunken unconsciousness. The lyrics to the song have been most widely attributed to John Dyer. It was first performed at the theatre at Lincoln's Inn Fields. The song makes use of a number of metaphors, most prominently the ”Dead men" being a term for empty bottles and the expression to "lie down among the dead men" means to get so drunk as to slip from one's chair and land under the table where the empty bottles have been discarded. The song maintained its popularity into the Victorian era, with the lyrics modified to replace the word "King" with the word "Queen" during the reign of Queen Victoria. Several vocal and instrumental performances of "Down Among the Dead Men" are included in the soundtrack to the 2013 video game Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag.

Henry Purcell (1659-1695) is generally considered to be one of the England's greatest composers, his music instantly recognisable by a unique mix of tradtionally european baroque elements. Following the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 england was able to experience a return to public performance of music both sacred and secular. The newly crowned Charles II had come to adore theatre during his exile in Louis xiv's french court and so the reinstatement of court music led to the composition of all kinds of incidental music to masques and pageants.

Arranged by John Sweden

A Solo for feature for Bass Trombone

1:30 Minutes

4 Trumpets
1 Horn in F
4 Trombones
1 Tuba
Trumpet 4 doubles on Flugelhorn

Alternative transposed parts for Eb Soprano Cornet, Eb Tenor Horn, Bb Trombone, Euphonium or Baritone in Treble Clef and Eb & Bb Bass in Treble Clef are automatically included in both hard copy and download formats.

If you require additionally transposed parts, please drop me an email at