This curious tale was printed in London as a broadside in the early 19th century as “Mr Lobski or The Ugly Wife”, and then is found in “The Universal Songer or Museum of Mirth”, a collection of words of songs published in London in 1834, as “Mr Lobski’s Fishing Tale”, to be sung to the tune of “And they allowed ‘twas just the thing”. This latter publication may well be the source of Mr Goode’s song. The name Reynolds is printed alongside the song and he may have been the composer. This is the only version to have appeared in oral tradition.
Originally there was a final verse:
Let all men that are frail in flesh Observe salt water is not fresh For wives their husbands will condemn Who thinks with sprats to gudgeon them, To gudgeon them, etc