Singer tells of meeting sweet Molly Malone in Dublin, where she sold shellfish from a barrow; her parents were also fishmongers. She dies of a fever; now her ghost wheels the barrow. Chorus: "Singing 'Cockles and mussels, alive, alive-o"
We don't have "peddler" as a keyword -- pity. Meanwhile, I believe this started out as a Tin Pan Alley song? For better or for worse, it seems to have entered tradition -- at least, at every Irish gig I've played, some drunk asks for it. - PJS
Although the Poet's Box broadside is the earliest version I've found, it can hardly be the original; incredibly badly printed (Apart from the title, it can't decide if Miss Malone is Molly or "Melly," and the chorus runs "Alive, alive, O! alive, alive O! Crying Cockles and! alive, alive, O!"), and no tune is indicated. It has to be derivative. - RBW