The Fishes

(Fish of the Sea)

Oh, a ship was rigg'd, and ready for sea,
And all of her sailors were fishes to be
Ch: Windy weather! Stormy weather!
When the wind blows we're all together.

A variant to the chorus was:
Ch:
Blow ye winds westerly, gentle south-westerly,
Blow ye winds westerly - steady she goes

O, the first came the herring, the king of the sea,
He jumped on the poop, "I'll be captain," said he.

The next was a flat-fish, they call him the skate,
"If you be the captain, why sure, I'm the mate."

The next came the hake, as black as a rook,
Says he, "I'm no sailor, I'll ship as the cook."

The next came t he shark, with his two rows of teeth,
"Cook, mind the cabbage and I'll mind the beef."

And then came the codfish, with his chuckle-head,
He jumped in the chains: began heaving the lead.

The next came the flounder, as flat as the ground,
"Chuckle-head, damn your eyes, mind how you sound."

The next comes the mack'rel, with his stri-ped back,
He jumped to the waist for to board the main tack.

And then came the sprat, the smallest of all,
He jumped on the poop, and cried, "main topsail haul."

and so on.
From Sea Songs and Shanties by W. B. Whall (1910, 1912, 1913, 1920)