FISH OF THE SEA
This shanty originated as a Scottish fisherman’s song. It was also popular with Gloucester
fishermen in the American Northeast. American’s evidently sang the song to a Scottish
tune, and Whall (a Scotsman), in “Sea Songs and Shanties” gives it a different tune from
the usual Scottish air. In addition, it was also sung to the tune of “Blow the Man Down”.
It was also sung to other tunes. This is a Canadian version, given by Barry Taylor. This
was a capstan shanty, and sailors would take turns with verses, giving a new fish each
time for as long as was necessary.
Come all you young sailormen, listen to me
I’ll sing you a song of the fish in the sea,
Windy weather boys, stormy weather, boys
When the wind blows we’re all together, boys
Blow ye winds westerly, blow ye winds, blow
Jolly sou’wester, boys, steady she goes.
Up jumps the eel with his slippery tail,
Climbs up aloft and reefs the topsail,
Then up jumps the shark with his nine rows of teeth
Saying, ‘You eat the dough boys, and I’ll eat the beef!’
Up jumps the lobster with his heavy claws,
Bites the main boom right off by the jaws!
Up jumps the halibut, lies flat on the deck
He says, ‘Mister Captain, don’t step on my neck!’
Up jumps the herring, the king of the sea,