Poor Unfortunate Souls
The Little Mermaid 1989 CD
Pat Carroll
Released December 13, 1989
October 14, 1997 (Re-release)
October 3, 2006 (Special Edition)
Recorded 1988-89
Length 4:49
Label Walt Disney Records
Produced by Alan Menken
Howard Ashman

"Poor Unfortunate Souls" is a song written and composed by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. It is sang by Ursula (Pat Carroll) when she tells Ariel "what she does". She makes bargins with merfolk by trading things for magic spells. They usually have hard missions, and then in the end keeps the merfolk as slaves.


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

"Can you do that?"

"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."

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

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

"Have we got a deal?"

"If I become human, I'll never be with my father or sisters again!"

"But you'll have your man. Life's full of tough choices, innit? Oh—and there is one more thing we haven't discussed the subject of payment."

"But I don't have any—"

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

But without my voice, how can I—

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

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On a lady who's withdrawn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
This poor unfortunate soul

Beluga, Sevruga
Come winds of the Caspian Sea
Larynxes, glossitis
Et Max Laryngitis
La voce to me

Now sing!

Ah, ah, ah...

Keep singing!

Ah, ah, ah...


"Poor Unfortunate Souls (Reprise)"
The Legacy Collection The Little Mermaid
Jodi Benson
Released November 24, 2014
Recorded 1988-89
Length 0:31
Label Walt Disney Records
Produced by Alan Menken
Howard Ashman

"Poor Unfortunate Souls (Reprise)", also known as "Vanessa's Song", is a song written and composed by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman that is featured in the film but was never included on the official soundtrack until The Legacy Collection version. The song is performed by Jodi Benson as Vanessa, who is actually Ursula in disguise. It is the second to last song within the film. The song describes how Ursula intends to control the oceans and capture Ariel.


What a lovely little bride I'll make,
My dear, I'll look divine!
Things are working out according to my ultimate design!
Soon I'll have that little mermaid,
and the ocean will be mine!


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