Quo' the Haddock to the Skate
DESCRIPTION: Disconnected couplets, lines, halflines, names and places. One coherent example: the eel, haddock and skate comment that London is far away so the haddock advises the eel to "crook your tail weel"
EARLIEST DATE: 1908 (GreigDuncan8)
KEYWORDS: nonballad nonsense fishing
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Greig #22, p. 2, ("Quo' the haddock to the skate"); Greig #24, p. 2, ("The carle sits upo' the sea, A' his can'les on his knee") (2 texts)
GreigDuncan8 1644, "Quo' the Haddock to the Skate" (2 texts)
cf. "The Herring Loves the Moonlight" (The Dreg Song)
Carle Sits Upon the Sea
NOTES [260 words]: The two GreigDuncan8 texts are not very similar: 1644A has 37 lines; 1644B has 19; 5 lines are sort of common to both. There is a pattern repeated in 1644A that does not appear in 1644B: the last word(s) of one line begins the next, followed by "and" and alliteration. For example, "Cam' to warn Wullie Tod, Wullie Tod an' Wullie Tey," "Staw the rumples fae ma tyke, Fae ma tyke an' fae ma tum," "Ca' my mither Jerry King, Jerry King and Jerry Couth" and "Rang the bell o' Dousie, Dousie and Dulzie." The result is a strange linking of couplets; for example, "Ye's three an' I's fower; Shaw's the gate tae Aiberdour -- Aiberdour an' Aiberdeen, Cragleith upo' the green, Craigleith and Wullie Fair...." There are additional pairs of lines in 1644A that are close to the pattern. One of those close to the pattern - "Kent ye John Auld; John Auld and Jeelsie" -- is the odd line sort of shared in 1644B: "Kent ye John Young, John Auld?" The other shared lines are the conversation among the haddock, eel and skate.
There seem few outright nonsense words. If more texts are found, or someone with the time, knowledge and inclination to review both texts cares to make a detailed analysis, the texts may be split. - BS
This sort of linking of last word of one stanza to the first line of the next is in fact an ancient device; I wonder if some relatively modern poet did not imitate it. In the version of this sung by Cilla Fisher, at least, it is highly effective. For more on this problem, see the notes to "The Herring Loves the Moonlight (The Dreg Song)." - RBW
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