The Longest Song Wiki

Reported to have been written by fisherman William Delf of either Grimsby or Whitby (conflicting sources). This folk song pays homage to a number of coastal fishermen who lost their lives in a storm in February of 1889.

It was first popularized by The Watersons.

It appears as track seven on Written In Salt.


These lyrics are based on the version performed by the Longest Johns on their album, Written In Salt. The original lyrics can be found here.

Methinks I see a host of craft spreading their sails a-lee
As down the Humber they do glide all bound for the Northern Sea.
Methinks I see on each small craft a crew with hearts so brave
Going out to earn their daily bread upon the restless wave.

And it's three score and ten boys and men were lost from Grimsby town.
From Yarmouth down to Scarborough many hundreds more were drowned.
Our herring craft, our trawlers, our fishing smacks as well,
They long to fight the bitter night and battle with the swell.

Methinks I see them yet again as they leave the shores behind
And cast their nets into the waves , those herring shoals to find.
Methinks I see them yet again and all on board's all right,
With their sails close reefed and the decks cleared up and the sidelights burning bright.


Well October's night t'was such a sight, t'was never seen before:
As masts and yards and broken spars came floating to the shore.
There was many a heart of sorrow, there was many a heart so brave.
There was many a hearty fisher lad who found their watery grave.