The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #21766   Message #933688
Posted By: Joe Offer
15-Apr-03 - 12:55 AM
Thread Name: Origins of Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Subject: RE: Origins of Row, Row, Row Your Boat
Look what I found at the Levy Sheet Music Collection:

Title: Gently Down the Stream
Composer, Lyricist, Arranger: Words & Music by Nelson Kneass.
Publication: New York: Berry & Gordon, 297 Broadway, 1854.
Performer: Songs composed by & for Geo. Christy and Wood's Minstrels & Sung by them at their Hall, 444 Broadway

Down by the river our log hut stands,
Where father and mother once dwelt
And the old door latch that was worn by our hands
And the church where in prayer we knelt
Years, years have passed since that happy time
And the river is rolling along
And the rippling sound on the mossy bank
Is singing the same old song:

Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream
All that's past is gone, you know, the future's but a dream
Row, row, row, gently down the stream
Row, row, row, gently down the stream

There stands the tree we used to climb,
And the mill with its rolling din;
And the old wharf boat, there it used to float,
Where the school boys used to swim.
Still the old hut is standing there,
And the river is rolling along;
And the birds and the bees, the blossoms, the trees,
Are singing the same old song.

There is a version from 1852, with the same first verse and chorus, different tune, and no second verse. The 1852 song is attributed to R. Sinclair. The title of the 1852 song was "Row, Row, Your Boat, or, the Old Log Hut." Note that according to Fuld, the common lyrics and tune were first published in 1851 - you'll find those common lyrics in the Digital Tradition and in the Folksinger's Wordbook (silber & Silber).

Yes, MMario, I know you alluded to the 1850's songs way up top - but you didn't post them. Gonna post the tunes?
-Joe Offer-

Lots of parodies on this page (click).
Click here for more legible sheet music at the American Memory Collection, Library of Congress.