Ten Duel Commandments

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton, Anthony Ramos, Jon Rua, Leslie Odom, Jr.

About Ten Duel Commandments

"Ten Duel Commandments" is the fifteenth song from Act 1 of the musical Hamilton, based on the life of Alexander Hamilton, which premiered on Broadway in 2015. Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote both the music and lyrics to the song.


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One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine

It’s the Ten Duel Commandments

It’s the Ten Duel Commandments
Number one

The challenge, demand satisfaction
If they apologize, no need for further action

Number two

If they don’t, grab a friend, that’s your second

Your lieutenant when there’s reckoning to be reckoned

Number three
Have your seconds meet face to face

Negotiate a peace

Or negotiate a time and place

This is commonplace, ‘specially ‘tween recruits

Most disputes die, and no one shoots
Number four
If they don’t reach a peace, that’s alright
Time to get some pistols and a doctor on site

You pay him in advance, you treat him with civility

You have him turn around so he can have deniability


Duel before the sun is in the sky

Pick a place to die where it’s high and dry
Number six

Leave a note for your next of kin
Tell ‘em where you been
Pray that hell or heaven lets you in


Confess your sins
Ready for the moment of adrenaline when you finally face your opponent

Number eight

Your last chance to negotiate
Send in your seconds, see if they can set the record straight


Aaron Burr, sir

Can we agree that duels are dumb and immature?

But your man has to answer for his words, Burr

With his life? We both know that’s absurd, sir

Hang on, how many men died because Lee was inexperienced and ruinous?

Okay, so we’re doin’ this

Number nine

Look ‘em in the eye, aim no higher
Summon all the courage you require
Then count

One two three four

Five six seven eight nine


Ten paces


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Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda (; born January 16, 1980) is a Puerto Rican composer, lyricist, playwright, rapper, and actor best known for creating and starring in the Broadway musicals In the Heights and Hamilton. He co-wrote the songs for Walt Disney Animation Studios' Moana soundtrack (2016) and co-starred in the film Mary Poppins Returns. Miranda's awards include a Pulitzer Prize, three Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award, a MacArthur Fellowship, three Tony Awards and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Miranda was awarded the Kennedy Center Honor in 2018. Miranda wrote the music and lyrics for the musical In the Heights, which premiered on Broadway in 2008. For this work, he won the 2008 Tony Award for Best Original Score, the show's cast album won the 2009 Grammy Award… more »

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Written by: Christopher E. Martin, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Khary Kimani Turner

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

10 facts about this song

Musical Influence
"Ten Duel Commandments" is from the musical "Hamilton", an incredibly successful show that has garnered critical acclaim and commercial success, created by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Historical Context
The song depicts the lead up to the historic duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. In reality, this political and personal rivalry led to Hamilton's death.
Reggae Influence
The song takes inspiration from The Notorious B.I.G's song "Ten Crack Commandments", reinventing and expanding it with a reggae beat and a historical context.
The song introduces the audience to the rules of dueling, which were prevalent in the era in which "Hamilton" is set.
Duel Rules
The laws instated governing duels during that era are personified in the song, with each commandment presenting a new rule.
Significance of the Duel
The Hamilton-Burr duel, which is the focus of the song, was one of the most infamous and influential moments in U.S. political history, marking the downfall of Aaron Burr's career and the end of Hamilton's life.
Cultural Impact
"Ten Duel Commandments" has permeated popular culture making appearances in commercials, T.V. shows and movies, parallel to how the entire "Hamilton" soundtrack has significantly influenced contemporary music.
Musical Structure
The song is known for its unique structure and canonic style, where lyrics are layered over top of each other creating a rich and complex soundscape.
Educational Slant
"Ten Duel Commandments" provides a rare historical re-enactment of 18th and 19th-century duels. It acts as a vital history lesson through music, showcasing Miranda’s genius in making history accessible and entertaining.
Charts and Awards
Despite not being released as a single, the popularity of the musical ensured that the song reached a wide audience. The "Hamilton" Original Broadway Cast Recording peaked at number 2 on the Billboard 200, and won a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album in 2016.

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    "Ten Duel Commandments Lyrics." Lyrics.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 30 Sep. 2023. <https://www.lyrics.com/lyric/32212228/Lin-Manuel+Miranda/Ten+Duel+Commandments>.

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