Right from the very beginning, from the prologue of the first book before anything really begins to happen, we know there is a shanty about the Vampirate ship, The Nocturne:

I'll tell you a tale of Vampirates,
A tale as old as true.
Yea, I'll sing you a song of an ancient ship,
And its mighty fearsome crew.
Yea, I'll sing you a song of an ancient ship,
That sails the oceans blue...
That haunts the oceans blue.

The Vampirate ship has tattered sails,
That flap like wings in flight.
They say the captain, he wears a veil
So as to curtail your fright.
At his death pale skin
And his lifeless eyes
And his teeth as sharp as night.
Oh, they say that the captain, he wears a veil
And his eyes never see the light.

You'd better be good, child - good as gold,
As good as good can be.
Else I'll turn you in to the Vampirates
And wave you out to sea.
Yes, you'd better be good child - good as gold,
Because - look! Can you see?
There's a dark ship in the harbour tonight
And there's room in the hold for thee!
(Plenty of room for thee!)

Well, if pirates are bad,
And vampires are worse,
Then I pray that as long as I be
That though I sing of Vampirates
I never one shall see.
Yea, if pirates are danger
And vampires are death
I'll extend my prayer for thee -
That thine eyes never see a Vampirate...
...and they never lay a hand on thee.

Connor and Grace first hear this song from their father the lighthouse keeper, and it pops up at other moments, recited by other people, throughout the series.

Where did it originate, in-universe? Was it written by people who feared and hated The Nocturne, or by the Vampirates themselves to make people avoid them? How old is it really?


I’ll make the quotation as short as possible, because I don’t know how much of the surrounding text would be spoilers. From book five, Vampirates: Empire of Night, page 150, statement by Mosh Zu, a vampirate:

We created a sea shanty to strike fear into the hearts of mortals and persuade them to keep their distance.

The book then lists the text of the shanty in the question. The age of the shanty isn’t specified, but the authorship is.

Page number from hardcover edition (2010) from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

  • And for anyone else who was wondering, shanty in this context is an alternate spelling for chantey, “a song sung by sailors in rhythm with their work” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary). – Molag Bal Apr 19 '16 at 1:44
  • The first mention I can find of Mosh Zu immediately states that he’s a vampirate, so I don’t think that his name is a spoiler. – Molag Bal Apr 19 '16 at 1:54
  • I was going to ask whether you've read these books too, but I guess that last comment makes clear you haven't :-) You're right, he is a vampirate (I think), but he's a very unusual one, more so even than the Captain, and he doesn't travel on the ship (I don't think he ever has), but lives and works in Sanctuary. Also, your original quote was fine - no need to remove the first sentence, as it's not spoilery at all. – Rand al'Thor Apr 19 '16 at 10:34
  • @Randal'Thor I read a handful of sentences from a search last night, but not every book is searchable. I found some text somewhere that said something like, "a vampirate named Mosh Zu," which gave me the impression that it was his first mention, but then I couldn't find it again. Also, the official site lists him as a vampirate on their "meet the crew" page, so it seemed safe enough to leave his name in here. I had heard of vampirates from this site, but I don't know any more about them than what I read yesterday. – Molag Bal Apr 19 '16 at 12:47
  • He's first mentioned in book 3 chapter 2, where he's referred to as "the Vampirate guru". This is ambiguous as it could mean either a Vampirate who's a guru or a guru for the Vampirates. He's definitely a vampire, but not sure whether he'd count as a Vampirate when he lives on land. Anyway, good find - this is definitely an accept-worthy answer. – Rand al'Thor Apr 19 '16 at 12:51

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