“Down in the Diving Bell (The Mermaid (II))”


Singer, a sailor, sees amazing sights while down in the diving bell (including the Atlantic Cable used as a clothesline). He courts and marries a mermaid and they live happily, if wetly, ever after


I call this "Down in the Diving Bell" to differentiate it from "The Mermaid", and because it seems to have entered tradition under that title. The origin is almost certainly music-hall or vaudeville. - PJS

Bodleian Harding B 11(965) has no reference to the Atlantic cable (which would have set an early date of 1865; an article on the diving bell was printed in 1771 in the Encyclopaedia Britannica (source: _The History of the Diving Bell_ by Arthur J Bachrach, Ph.D. on the Historical Diving Society site.)) - BS

Cross references


  • Bodleian, Harding B 11(965), "Down in the Diving Bell," J. Harkness (Preston) , 1840-1866


  • Warde Ford, "The Mermaid (Down in the Diving Bell)" (AFS 4199 A2, 1938; tr.; in AMMEM/Cowell)


  1. Roud #5013
  2. BI, RcDitDB


Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1867 (Broadside Bodleian Harding B 11(965))
Found in: US(MW)