The Mermaid Song


 

The Mermaid Song is a sea shanty.  “Sea shanties are not the only songs associated with work on the sea, nor the only ones sung on board. Almost any song with a regular beat can be used to synchronize steady-paced work such as winding a capstan or a winch. There are also many, many songs about life at sea.”

The Mermaid Song as sung by Capt. Jim Parsons1amermaidcolor002b

When I was a lad in a fishing town
My old man said to me:
“You can spend your life, your jolly life
Sailing on the sea.
You can search the world for pretty girls
Til your eyes grow weak and dim,
But don’t go fishing for a mermaid, son
If you don’t know how to swim”

‘Cause her hair was green as seaweed
Her skin was blue and pale
I loved that girl with all my heart
I only liked the upper part
I did not like the tail

So I signed aboard of a whaling ship
And my first very day at sea
There I spied in the waves,
Reaching out for me
“Come live with me in the sea said she,
Down on the ocean floor
And I’ll show you many’s a wonderous thing
That you’ve never seen before

So over I jumped and she pulled me down,
Down to her seaweed bed
A pillow made of tortoise-shell
She placed beneath my head
She fed me shrimp and caviar
Upon a silver dish
From her head to her waist was just to my taste
But the rest of her was a fish

‘Cause …

Then one day, she swam away
So I sang to the clams and the whales
“Oh, how I miss her seagreen hair
And the silvery shine of her scales
Then her sister, she swam by
And set my heart awhirl
From her head to her waste was an ugly fish
But the rest of her was a girl

‘Cause her hair was green as seaweed
Her skin was blue and pale
I loved that girl with all my heart
I did not like the upper part
And that’s how I get my …