MUSIC VIDEO: The Catfish Mermaid (Or, The Transformation Of Captain Joe Eddie Into A Catfish)

The Transformation of Captain Joe Eddie into a Catfish

Deep in the Valley where the mighty Red River runs, well-stock’d with fish and mark’d with hooks of blood
Here did the fishermen ’till the heat of day, pursue the cat and load themselves with rey;
When then Captain Joe Eddie, calling to the rest: “My boys,” said he, “our sport is at its best,
The sun is high advanc’d and downward sheds his burning beams directly on our heads;

Then by consent abstain from further spoils, pull in the hooks and gather up the toils,
And ‘ere tomorrow’s sun begins his race, take the cool morning to renew the chase.”
They all consent, and in a cheerful train the jolly fishermen loaded with the slain,
Return in triumph from the Red River plain, leavin’ Captain Joe Eddie time to refrain.

Oh-oh, river flow
This is the story of Captain Joe
A fisherman you all may know
Oh-oh, river flow

Down in a vale with pine and cypress clad, refresh’d with gently winds, and brown with shade,
The Catfish Mermaid’s private haunt, there stood, full in the center of the darksome wood,
A spacious grotto, all around o’er-grown, with hoary moss, and arch’d with pumice-stone.
From out its rocky clefts the waters flow, and trickling swell into a river above.

Nature had ev’rywhere so played her part, that ev’rywhere she seem’d to vie with art.
Here the bright Mermaid, toil’d and chaf’d with heat, was want to bathe her in the cool retreat.
Here did she now with all her train resort, panting with heat, and breathless from her sport;
Her tackle-bearer laid her rod aside, some loos’d her seashells, some her veil unty’d;

Each busy nymph her proper part undrest; while Crocale, more handy than the rest,
Gather’d her flowing hair, and in a noose, bound it together, whilst her own hung loose.
Seven of the fairest fanned her with sea ferns, two of the fastest watched her close and learned;
Five of the more ignoble sort by turns, fetch up the water, and unlade the urns.

Oh-oh, river flow
This is the story of Captain Joe
A fisherman you all may know
Oh-oh, river flow

Now all undrest the shining Mermaid stood, when Captain Joe Eddie, wilder’d in the wood,
To the cool grott by his hard fate betray’d, the fountains fill’d with naked nymphs he strayed.
The frighted virgins shriek’d at the surprize, the river echoed with their peircing cries.
Then in a huddle ’round their Goddess pressed: she, proudly eminent above the rest,

With blushes glow’d: such blushes as adorn, the ruddy welkin or the purple morn;
And tho’ the crowding nymphs her mermaid body hide, half backward shrunk, and view’d him from a side.
Surprised, at first she would have snatch’d her spear, but sees the circling waters round her near;
These in the hollow of her hand she flung, and splash’d ’em in his face, while thus she sung:

“Tell if thou can’st, the wond’rous sight disclosed,
A Mermaid naked to thy view exposed.”

Oh-oh, river flow
This is the story of Captain Joe
A fisherman you all may know
Oh-oh, river flow

This said, the Cap’ begun to diminish, by slow degrees, and ended in a catfish!
A rising horn on either lip as he grins, and stretches out his skull and tastes with his skin;
Taste with his skin, his senses o’er-grown, his bosom pants with fears before unknown:
Metamorphed at length, he swims away in haste, and wonders why he swims away so fast.

But as by chance, within the wave of a neighb’ring brook, he saw his whiskered horns and alter’d look.
Wretched Captain Joe Eddie! in a doleful tone, he try’d to speak but only gave a groan;
And as he wept, he tasted, with silent pace, the tears trickling down his ancient face.
What should he do? Or seek his old abodes, or herd among the cats and sculk in holes!?

Here shame dissuades him, there his fear prevails, and each by turns his aching heart assails.

Oh-oh, river flow
This is the story of Captain Joe
A fisherman you all may know
He turned in to a Catfish Joe

As he thus ponders, he behind him feels, his op’ning hooks and their lines and reels:
A gen’rous crew, or to maintain the chase, or snuff the vapour from the scented race.
He bounded off with fear, and swiftly swam, o’er muddy banks and the varied chann’
Through brakes and thickets forc’d his way, and flew; through many a ring, where once he did pursue.

In vain he oft endeavour’d to proclaim, his new misfortune, and to tell his name;
Nor voice nor words the brutal tongue supplies; from shouting men, and horns, and dogs he flies,
Deafen’d and stunn’d with their promiscuous cries.

When now the sharpest of the rods, that angled, went near his nose, and t’was that Lady Foot dangled
He smelled it fast through his skin, could not resist, and in a moment felt the hook pierce his lip and twist.
‘Till all the rods came up, and ev’ry hook, tore the sad Captain grov’ling on the ground,
Who now appear’d but one continu’d wound.

With dropping tears his bitter fate he moans,
And fills the river with his dying groans.

Oh-oh, river flow
This is the story of Captain Joe
A fisherman you all may know
He turned in to a Catfish Joe

His sailors with a piteous look he spies, and turns about his dark supplicating eyes.
His sailors, ignorant of what had chanc’d, with eager haste and joyful shouts advanc’d,
And call’d their Captain Joe Eddie to the game. He shook his head in answer to the name;
He heard, but wish’d he had indeed been gone, or only to have stood a looker-on.

But to his grief he finds himself too near, and feels his rav’nous hooks with fury tear
Their wretched Captain panting in a net with but one wish: For them to know he was that dying catfish.

Oh-oh, river flow
This is the story of Captain Joe
A fisherman you all may know
He turned in to a Catfish Joe

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