Cod Liver Oil

Famously sung by Ronnie Drew with the Dubliners, this amusing ditty was written by Johnny Burke, a balladeer from St. John’s, Newfoundland.  I first learned this from the singing of Tom Callinan, and it has been one of those brainworms throughout the years since I first heard him perform it at a small function in Clinton, CT.

Jos. Morneault


I’m a young married man and I’m tired of me life
For years I’ve been married to an ailing young wife
She does nothing all day, only sits down to sigh
Saying I wish to the lord that I only could die

Well a friend of me own came to see me one day
And he told me my wife was just pining away
But he afterwards told me that she could get strong
If I buy her a bottle from Dr De’Jung

Chorus:        Oh doctor, oh doctor, oh doctor De’Jung
.                     Your cod liver oil is so pure and so strong
.                     I’m afraid of me life, I’ll go down in the soil
.                    If me wife don’t stop drinking your cod liver oil

.                    Didilee I dee dee, didili de, didili de dum

So I bought her a bottle, t’was just for to try
And the way that she scoffed it you’d swear she was dry
I bought her another, it went down just the same
Till I own she’s got cod liver oil on the brain

Oh she liked it so good, now, that there is no doubt
I own that me wife, she got terrible stout
And as she got stout, of course, she got strong
And then I got jealous of Dr. De’Jung

Me house it resembles a big doctor’s shop
With bottles and bottles from bottom to top
And when in the morning the kettle do boil
You’d swear it was singing out cod liver oil