The song dates back to at least World War I where it was a sung by American and British soldiers. It gained more popularity in present times by being included in Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. The Lyrics (as told by Alvin Schwartz):
"Don't you ever laugh as the hearse goes by,There are a number of variations in the chorus of this song. In late 1950s eastern Washington State, it was sung:
For you may be the next one to die.
They wrap you up in a big white sheet
From your head down to your feet.
They put you in a big black box
And cover you up with dirt and rocks.
All goes well for about a week,
Then your coffin begins to leak.
The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out,
The worms play pinochle in your snout,
They eat your eyes, they eat your nose,
They eat the jelly between your toes.
A big green worm with rolling eyes
Crawls in your stomach and out our eyes.
Your stomach turns a slimy green,
And pus pours out like whipping cream.
You'll spread it on a slice of bread,
And this is what you eat when you are dead."
"The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out,
The worms play pinochle on your snout.
A big black bug with two red eyes, crawls up through your stomach and out through your eyes.
Your liver turns to a slimy green, and looks and tastes like whipped cream"