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"Ten Duel Commandments" is the 15th song of Act One of the musical Hamilton.

Ten common rules of dueling etiquette are discussed as Hamilton, Laurens, Burr and Lee recite the code duello in preparation for Laurens' and Lee's duel.


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 you next of kin
Tell them where you've 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 doing 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



  • The counting-up at the beginning and throughout the song foreshadows a later duel between Philip Hamilton and George Eacker. Philip's mother taught him to count up in French, which is illustrated in "Take A Break", and in various parts in the musical this counting is alluded to; a miscount is heard in Philip Hamilton's duel, after which he is fatally shot.


Songs in Hamilton (Broadway Production)
Act One
Alexander Hamilton
Aaron Burr, Sir
My Shot
The Story of Tonight
The Schuyler Sisters
Farmer Refuted
You'll Be Back
Right Hand Man
A Winter's Ball
The Story of Tonight (Reprise)
Wait For It
Stay Alive
Ten Duel Commandments
Meet Me Inside
That Would Be Enough
Guns And Ships
History Has Its Eyes On You
Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)
What Comes Next?
Dear Theodosia
Tomorrow There'll Be More Of Us
Act Two
What'd I Miss
Cabinet Battle #1
Take A Break
Say No To This
The Room Where It Happens
Schuyler Defeated
Cabinet Battle #2
Washington On Your Side
One Last Time
I Know Him
The Adams Administration
We Know
The Reynolds Pamphlet
Blow Us All Away
Stay Alive (Reprise)
It's Quiet Uptown
The Election of 1800
Your Obedient Servant
Best of Wives and Best of Women
The World Was Wide Enough
Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story