Herring Girls

Herring girls are knitting, gathered round the harbour seats,
Hands that are never idle, always busy for the fleet.
Their working clothes are ready and their fingers wrapped so neat,
But it doesn’t stop the salt from seeping through.

Early every morning with the sleep still in their e’e,
Two lassies for the gutting and the packer makes it three.
Herring girls are waiting on the Peterhead quay
To welcome the fishermen home.

It’s down into the herring yard ‘til late into the night,
In their leather boots and aprons with their head-scarves fastened tight.
A shilling for a barrel, an extra tanner if it’s right,
From Buckie all the way to Whitby town.

They drag the boats and launch the boats and keep their menfolk dry,
They fetch the fish and salt the fish and sell the fish forebye.
With dignity and pride although the pay is never high,
As they chase the silver darlings down the coast.

They gut the fish and pack the fish from Aberdeen to Shields,
Some lassies at the pickling, some working at the creels.
There’s coopers there and curers there and all the canny chiels
Who buy the herring landed on the quay.

Jenny loves a fisher lad, who has a quarter-share,
And every time his fleet moves on you’ll find young Jenny there.
Peggy’s always combing out the tangles in her hair,
And Marie wants to be the herring queen.

On Saturday there’s dancing with the working week behind,
On Sunday there’s the mission hall for bread and holy wine.
But on Monday you go back to dousing herring in the brine
And the week’s as long as ever it has been.
 

Herring Girls © W. J. Adair/ Sad Jeb Music 2012

Music and lyrics are the copyright of Bill Adair. You may use the songs and you may print the lyrics in order to learn them but you may not reproduce any of this material in written, printed or recorded form, online or offline, for any other purpose than your own personal use without permission from the copyright owner. The use of any of the content, written or recorded, for any commercial or profitmaking purpose online or offline is totally prohibited.

Back to Bill Adair Lyrics

Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict Valid CSS!

Site by Desktop Solutions