Herring Loves the Moonlight, The (The Dreg Song)
DESCRIPTION: "The herring loves the moonlight, The mackerel loves the wind; But the oyster loves the dredging song, For she comes of a gentle kind." The oysters are called, and hearers are urged to buy them.
EARLIEST DATE: 1962 (Baring-Gould-MotherGoose), with related materials going back to at least 1776 (Herd)
KEYWORDS: food fishing
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #870, p. 325, "(The herring loves the merry moonlight)"
cf. "Quo' the Haddock to the Skate" (lyrics)?
NOTES: This is rather a conundrum, though it may be the fault of one or another of the Fisher Family (probably Archie). There is, in Herd, a song beginning "I rade to London yesterday," and continuing
Hay-cock, quo' the seale to the eel,
Cock nae I my tail weel?
Tail-weel, or if hare,
Hunt the dog frae the deer,
This was recorded by Cilla Fisher. A similar song is indexed as "Quo' the Haddock to the Skate." The version in the Digital Tradition ends with
The oysters are a gentle kin,
They winna tak unless you sing.
Come buy my oysters aff the bing,
To serve the sheriff and the king,
And the commons o' the land,
And the commons o' the sea;
Hey benedicte, and that's good Latin.
Murray Shoolbraid's Digital Tradition notes imply that this is from another source.
And Archie Fisher has recorded that as "Dreg Song." But he prefaces it with a verse quoted as a Mother Goose rhyme by the Baring-Goulds: "The herring loves the moonlight...." But this is from Walter Scott. There is, however, a very similar rhyme in Opie-Oxford2 (#206): "The hart he loves the high wood, The hare she loves the hill; The knight he loves his bright sword, The lady loves her will," which is thematically similar to some of the tales related to "The Marriage of Sir Gawain" [Child 31]." So I don't know what genuinely goes with what. For the moment, I'm lumping the whole mess here. - RBW
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