Fishes Lamentation or Windy Old Weather
In came the herring, the king of the sea.
I think it high time our anchor to weigh.
For it's hazy weather, blowing weather.
When the wind blows it's stormy weather.
Then in came the salmon as red as the sun.
He went between decks and fired a gun.
Then in came the oyster with his sharp shell,
Crying: 'If you want a pilot I'll pilot you well.'
Then in came the flounder with his wry mouth.
He went to the helm and steered to the south.
Then in came the shark with his sharp teeth:
'Let go the clew-gallants, haul in the main sheet.'
Then in came the dolphin with his crooked beak:
'Pull in the main sheet, let go the main tack.'
Then in came the cod with his chuckle head.
He went to the main chains and sounded the lead.
Then in came the suck-pin so near the ground:
'Pray, Mr Cod, do you mind the wind.'
Then in came the whiting with her glowing eyes:
'Take in the clew-gallants, let go the main ties.'
Then in came the sprat, the least of them all.
He stepped between decks and cried: 'Hold, boys, all'
Then in came the mackerel with his sly look:
'Pray, Mr Herring, do you want a cook?'
Then in came the guardfish with his long snout.
He stepped between decks and turned about.
Then in came the smelt with his sweet smell:
'All hands go to dinner and I'll ring the bell.'
Then in came the crab with his crooked claws:
'I'll never go to sea with such lubbers as these.'
Then in came the lobster with his black cloak:
'All hands go to sleep and I'll go to smoke.'
from Roy Palmer, Oxford Book of Sea Songs
from late eighteenth century
tune from Bob Roberts