Click on arrow to hear the song performed by Derek B. Scott, Professor of Critical Musicology, University of Leeds, to his own piano accompaniment.

This was the most popular of the many ballads J.W. Cherry (1824–89) composed between the late 1840s and early 1870s. The lyrics begin by describing the childish pleasure in collecting shells while wandering along a beach, but then turn into a mediation on the life-long human tendency to be enticed by attractive objects, which are collected and then discarded. As a tuneful vehicle for instructive comments on human nature, the song remained popular in the drawing room for many years.


Scott, Derek B. The Singing Bourgeois: Songs of the Victorian Drawing Room and Parlour. 2nd ed. Aldershot, Hampshire; Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2001.

Created 20 May 2018