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The Mermaid Song




Written by our beloved Key West songwriter Shel Silverstein.




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Sheet Music

Spoken Intro: When I was twelve years old I used to see the pictures of mermaids in all the books and magazines. Not mermaids but mermaids (pronounced MAREmaids), that's what we called them at home. And all the pictures, yeah, they never had no bras on, they didn't have anything on! And I was old enough that I knew that they didn't really exist, but, I also wondered, if they did exist, what the hell would you do with one if you caught it?!)

(1) When I was a lad in a fishing town, an old man said to me,
"You can spend your life, your jolly life, a-sailing on the sea.
You can search the world for pretty girls 'til your eyes grow weak and dim,
But don't go swimmin' with a mermaid, son, if you don't know how to swim!

'Cause her hair is green as sea-weed,
Her lips are blue and pale.
I'll tell you now before you start,
You can love that girl with all your heart,
But you'll only love the upper part;
You will NOT like the tail!

(2a) I signed on to a whalin' ship, and my very first day at sea,
I spied a mermaid in the waves, a-reachin' out to me.
"Come live with me in the sea," said she, "and down on the ocean's floor.
I'll show you a million wond'rous sights you've never seen before!"

(2b) So I jumped on in and she pulled me down, down to her seaweed bed.
A pillow she made of tortoise shells, and placed beneath my head.
She fed me shrimp and caviar from a silvery dish.
She was just my taste (down to her waist), but the rest of her was fish!

Her hair was green as seaweed.
Her lips were blue and pale.
Her face it was a work of art,
But I only gave her half my heart,
'Cause tho I loved the upper part,
I did NOT like the tail!

(3a) And then one day when I looked up, I saw a sailin' ship,
And I met the stare of a millionaire out on a fishing trip.
A diamond ring he tied on a string and lowered it down to her,
And my love divine, she went for the line and went for the usual lure!

(3b) So I sighed in the rolling tide, and I cried to the clams and the whales
How I missed her hair and her sea-green eyes; I missed the shine of her scales.
Just then her sister swam on by, and set my heart a-whirl --
For her upper part was an ugly old fish, but the bottom half was GIRL!

Her toes are round and rosy!
Her legs are slim and pale!
Her face might not be a work of art,
But I love that girl with all my heart.
And I don't give a damn about the upper part --
That's how I end my tale! ('Cause now I'm getting tail!)

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