Forbes Dredge Song

“Song of the Dredge”, presented by Edward Forbes to the British Association at its annual meeting in 1839. Sung in the tune of Cream by Prince (kidding).

“Hurrah for the dredge, with its iron edge,
And its mystical triangle.
And its hided net with meshes set
Odd fishes to entangle!
The ship may move thro’ the waves above,
‘Mid scenes exciting wonder,
But braver sights the dredge delights
As it roves the waters under.

Forbes_1854.gifThen a-dredging we will go wise boys
A-dredging we will go!
A-dredging we will go, a-dredging we will go,
A-dredging we will go, wise boys,
A-dredging we will go!

Down in the deep, where the merman sleep,
Our gallant dredge is sinking;
Each finny shape in a precious scrape
Will find itself in a twinkling!
They may twirl and twist, and writhe as they wist
And break themselves into sections,
But up they all, at the dredge’s call,
Must come to fill collections.


The creatures strange the sea that range,
Though mighty in their stations,
To the dredge must yield the briny field
Of their loves and depredations.
The crab so bold, like a knight of old,
In scaly armour plated,
And the slimy snail, with a shell on his tail,
And the star-fish —– radiated!


As quoted by Sir William Herdman in: Founders of Oceanography and Their Work. 1923. London, Edward Arnold & Co. P. 17-18.