The Mermaid

Melody -

On Friday morn when we set sail,
And our ship not far from the land;
We there did espy a fair, pretty maid,
With a comb and a glass in her hand.

For the raging seas did roar,
And the stormy winds did blow,
While we jolly sailor boys were up, up aloft,
And the landlubbers lying down below, below, below,
And the landsmen were all down below.

Then up spoke the captain of our gallant ship,
And a brave young man was he;
"I've a wife and a child in fair Bristol Town,
But a widow I fear she will be."

Then up and spake the little cabin boy,
And a pretty little boy was he;
"Oh, 1'm more grieved for my daddy and my mam
Than you for your wife may be."

Then three times round went our gallant ship,
And three times round went she;
For the want of a lifeboat, all went down,
And she sank to the bottom of the sea.

Chorus: (Richard Lewin, 1930s)
Now here up in Heaven we get all we want to eat
And there's good beer and grog as well.
The bunks are very cosy and the girls are very sweet
Which the land-lubbers haven't got in Hell, in Hell, in Hell -
Which the land-lubbers haven't got in Hell.

Mermaids turn up in the folklore of almost every seafaring nation. The attributes of the species vary slightly, but nearly all mermaids are portrayed as having long blond hair which they comb whilst looking at themselves in a mirror. It is considered bad luck to see a mermaid and in some traditions sailors see mermaids before they die. This popular sea song bears out this legend.

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