"Poor Unfortunate Souls" is the big Broadway style villain number featured in The Little Mermaid. The music was composed by Alan Menken while the lyrics were by Howard Ashman. The song is performed by Ursula (Pat Carroll) and is sung to persuade Ariel to give up her voice for the one she loves, Prince Eric. The song was covered by the Jonas Brothers for the Little Mermaid two-disk special special edition of the soundtrack, released on October 3, 2006 to correspond with the two-disk The Little Mermaid Platinum Edition DVD. The Special Edition Soundtrack includes a music video for the song, where the boys are singing around a public swimming pool. Although the song mostly stays true to the lyrics of the original, certain lines have been changed to prevent any reference to magic or gender. For instance, the line "They weren't kidding when they called me, well, a witch" was changed to "They weren't kidding when they called me kinda strange", as well as the line "I'm a very busy woman" changed to "I'm a very busy person." Where the original line was "Flotsam, Jetsam, now I´ve got her, boys", it's been change to "Nick and Kevin, now I´ve got her, boys". Also, the second verse and ending have been omitted. Instead, the song ends with a reprise of the chorus following the first verse.
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
And I fortunately know a little magic
It's a talent that I always have possessed
And my lady, 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?
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!
Yet on land it's much preferred for ladies not to say a word
And after all dear, what is idle babble 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On a lady who's withdrawn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 get's a man
Come on you poor unfortunate soul
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 the 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!
Come winds o'f the Caspian Sea
Laryngitis la voce to me
These lyrics were meant to be heard just before Ursula tells Ariel the price of her deal in an attempt to convince her that going on land is the right choice, despite never being able to see her family again.
Come on, I know you need a little magic
And magic is my specialty du jour
Don't just stand there looking sick
Would I kid you? Play a trick?
Like I told you, I don't do that anymore
So I think you ought to take my little bargain
Yes, I think you ought to make my little deal
Sure, it's hard to leave your life
But you could be a prince's wife
Why don't you let me take that dream and make it real?
Come on, you poor unfortunate soul
Poor child! Poor fish!
Aren't you glad you brought your problem
To a lady you can trust?
Won't you let me grant your wish?
You poor unfortunate soul
Poor sweet! Poor dear!
Aren't you lucky that I'm ready
With a potion and a plan?
Aren't you glad you came and asked
If I could help you? And I can
When a mermaid comes to Ursula
She always gets her man
You poor unfortunate soul!