“Fishermen's Song (We'll Go to Sea No More)”


"O blithely shines the bonnie sun Upon the Isle of May, And blithely rolls the morning tide Into St. Andrew's Bay." "When haddocks leave the Firth of Forth, And mussels leave the shore, When oysters climb up Berwick Law, We'll go to sea no more."


This occurs in several anthologies of fishing poems, and I'm pretty sure I met is somewhere in the dim and misty past. I can't find any folk collections, other than the perhaps dubious one in Montgomery, but on the other hand, no one seems to know who wrote this. So I am, very hesitantly, indexing it.

It is ironic to note that this is largely coming true: Pollution and overfishing have nearly destroyed the fish stocks around the British Isles, and the small fishing vessels are nearly as extinct as the fish.

The Isle of May is a speck of land just about halfway between the north and south shores of the Firth of Forth, right at the spot where the Firth opens into the North Sea. It is thus the gateway from the Firth into the open ocean. - RBW


  1. Montgomerie-ScottishNR 184, "(O blithely shines the bonnie sun)" (1 short text)
  2. BI, MSNR184


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1964 (Montgomerie)
Keywords: fishing food
Found in: Britain(Scotland)