4 May 2010 0 Comments

Bonnie Shoals of Herring

Written by Ewan McColl (c) 1959

To the North Sea we’re faring

To that wide and wasteful ocean

Casting our nets, reaping the harvest of the deep

While we hun the bonnie shoals of Herring

Oh it was a bright and a summers morn

It was from Yarmouth harbour I was faring

As a cabin boy on a sailing lugger

We were going to hunt the shoal of herring

Oh the hours were long and the wages bad

And the treatment surely took some bearing

There was little kindness and the kicks were many

While we hunted for the shoals of Herring

Well we fished the swab and the broken bank

And I was cook and I the quarters sharing

And I used to sleep standing on my feet

Dreaming of the silver shoals of herring

Now your up on deck and you’re a fisherman

You can swear and show a manly bearing

Take your watch on deck with the other fellas

As you hunt the bonnie shoals of herring

Now you’re a net rope man, boy you’re on the go

And you’re learning all about sea faring

For your education scraps of navigation

As you hunt the bonnie shoals of herring

And we fished the home grounds in the month of june

Then for cannie sheals we soon was bearing

With a hundred crown of those silver darlings

That were taken from the shoals of herring

Through them wild seas and them living gales

Just to earn our daily bread were faring

From the Dover straights to the Faeroe Islands

Just to hunt the bonnie shoals of Herring

Yes I earned me keep and I earned my pay

And I earned the gear that I was wearing

I sailed a million miles and caught ten million fishes

That were taken from the shoals of Herrings

Through night and day the seas we’re bearing

Come winter’s Gale or stormy weather

Sweating and cold, growing up growing old

And dying while we hunt the bonnie shoals herring

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