Irish Stout Irish SongsMusic

The Mermaid Song

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A Collection of Irish Pub Songs

words and music Traditional

Twas Friday morn when we set sail
And we were not far from the land
When the captain, he spied a lovely mermaid
With a comb and a glass in her hand

O the ocean's waves will roll
And the stormy winds will blow
While we poor sailors go skipping to the top
And the landlubbers lie down below (below, below)
And the landlubbers lie down below

Then up spoke the captain of our gallant ship,
And a brave old man was he,
He said, "This fishy mermaid has warned me of our doom:
We shall sink to the bottom of the sea!" chorus

And up spoke the mate of our gallant ship
And a well-spoken man was he
I have me a wife in Salem by the sea
And tonight she a widow will be

And up spoke the cookie of our gallant ship
And a red hot cookie was he
Saying I care much more for my pots and my pans
Than I do for the bottom of the sea

Then up spoke the cabinboy, of our gallant ship
And a nasty little lad was he.
I'm not quite sure I can spell "mermaid"
But I'm going to the bottom of the sea.

Then up spoke the cannibal who snuck aboard our ship
And a hungry mad invader was he
You can drown right now beneath the cold ocean waves
Or you can be dinner for three, your choice

Then up spoke the parrot of our gallant ship
And a smartarse parrot was she
Brawk, you're going to drown, your going to drown, Brawk
And flew to the shore for her safety

Then three times around went our gallant ship
And three times around went she
Three times around went our gallant ship
And she sank to the bottom of the sea

Chords: KEY G

C D7 G
C D7 G

G G D7 D7
C D7 G

Background: This seems to be one of the most popular songs sung at Renaissance festivals. It's loved by Rennies and a favorite for our home faire's (Excalibur Fantasy Faire) pub sing. I first remember hearing this song in 1999, when we played at the West Texas Renaissance Faire. I was adamant against playing any 'popular' or more appropriately, 'over done' Ren faire songs.

That was cured with time. Now these songs are some of my favorite. I love seeing the wenches line up and dance along. I love the shouting at the end. I love the parody performed by Celtic Cleavage! ;) The song has gotten better and better, and I think we have finally made the song our own with a very unique sea-worthy sound, and some fun anachronistic additions, because that's what makes Faire so much fun!

The cannibal and parrot verse are original by Marc Gunn.

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