Caller Herrin'
By Carolina Oliphant, Lady Nairne, (1766-1845)

  • Wha’ll buy my caller herrin’?
  • They’re bonnie fish and halesome farin’;
  • Wha’ll buy my caller herrin’,
  • New drawn frae the Forth.
  • When ye were sleepin’ on your pillows,
  • Dream’d ye aught o’ our puir fellows,
  • Darkling as they fac’d the billows,
  • A’ to fill the woven willows?
  • Buy my caller herrin’,
  • New drawn frae the Forth.
  • Wha’ll buy my caller herrin’?
  • They’re no brought here without brave darin’;
  • Buy my caller herrin’,
  • Haul’d through wind and rain.
  • Wha’ll buy my caller herrin’? etc.
  • Wha’ll buy my caller herrin’?
  • Oh, ye may ca’ them vulgar farin’ -
  • Wives and mithers, maist despairin’,
  • Ca’ them lives o’ men.
  • Wha’ll buy my caller herrin’? etc.
  • When the creel o’ herrin’ passes,
  • Ladies clad in silks and laces,
  • Gather in their braw pelisses,
  • Cast their heads and screw their faces,
  • Wha’ll buy my caller herrin’? etc.
  • Caller herrin’s no got lightlie:-
  • Ye can trip the spring fu’ tightlie;
  • Spite o’ tauntin’, flauntin’, flingin’,
  • Gow had set you a’ a-singing
  • Wha’ll buy my caller herrin’? etc.,
  • Neebour wives, now tent my tellin’;
  • When the bonnie fish ye’re sellin’,
  • At ae word be in yere dealin’ -
  • Truth will stand when a’ thin’s failin’,
  • Wha’ll buy my caller herrin’? etc
  • Notes
  • CALLER: fresh. FARIN: food, fare. CREEL: basket.
  • PELISES: long fur-lined garment. GOW: Neil Gow, a famous fiddler.
  • TENT: heed.
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