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Lyr Req: Help! Version of Water Is Wide

20 Nov 99 - 10:50 AM (#138716)
Subject: HELP! Version of WATER IS WIDE
From: Ben Starr

Hi everyone. My parents used to sing an incredibly beautiful version of this song. The first few lines were:

The river is wide. I cannot see.
Nor do I have light wings to fly.
Build me a boat that can carry two,
And both shall row, my love and I.

Then they proceeded into verses that I cannot seem to find ANYWHERE.
Does anyone have a clue?

Thanks!

Ben Starr
benjaminstarr@hotmail.com


Threads on this song:

(Not an all-inclusive list. Some say Carrickfergus is a version of this song.)


20 Nov 99 - 11:00 AM (#138723)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: HELP! Version of WATER IS WIDE
From: doug

the water is wide, i can't CROSS oer,
and neither have
i wings to fly
but give me a boat that can carry two
and we both shall cross, my love and i

a ship therre is
and it sails the seas
as lovely as
a ship may be
dum dum dum

the waters are deep
as the deep blue sea

but not as deep
as the love i'm in
i know not how
to sink or swim

sorry for the gaps doug


20 Nov 99 - 01:46 PM (#138805)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: HELP! Version of WATER IS WIDE
From: Banjoman_CO

Hi Ben Starr, Welcome to Mudcat. This is one of my favoriet songs. There is a version of it in the Digitrac. Just type 'Water is Wide" in the search line and it will take you to it. This version has most of the verses that I like, hope you do two.

See Ya Banjoman


20 Nov 99 - 02:03 PM (#138816)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: HELP! Version of WATER IS WIDE
From:

This song (really songs, as it's a collection of floating lyrics verses rarely given the same way twice) was discussed for a second time recently on the rec.music.folk mail list.


20 Nov 99 - 02:10 PM (#138820)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: HELP! Version of WATER IS WIDE
From: Liz the Squeak

If you are into that sort of thing, the Celebration Hymnal in the UK has a communion hymn written to that tune known as 'Waly waly', quite tasteful compared with some of the crap that is in there...

LTS


20 Nov 99 - 02:34 PM (#138830)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: HELP! Version of WATER IS WIDE
From:

Re: "Waly waly", "The Water is Wide" and "Love is Pleasing"

"Picking Lillies" in Logan's 'Pedlar's Pack', p. 336, does not contain the verse "The water is wide", but add it on and you have the basis of several other versions. (Three verses of Logan's song are in 'Scot Musical Museum', #563. Allen, noted below, reprints these and the tune. Another copy of Logan's song is in the Roxburghe collection III, 421, entitled "A New Love Song") Several of the verses are from 17th century broadside ballads.

Perhaps the best I can do is give reference to an article in Journal of the Folk-Song Society, 8, pp. 161-71 (1954), by J. W. Allen, 'Some Notes on "O Waly Waly"' where he commences his first section 'Down in the Meadows' with a broadside text quite similar to Logan's.

His next section is 'The Water is Wide' which contains a traditional song with "The Water is Wide" verse, "Maggie Gordon" (from U.S.). Allen's next version in this section, from Cecil Sharp's MSS, probably stems from a version very much like the 19th century stall copy printed by A. L. Lloyd in 'Folk Song in England', another conflation. His title is "I'm always drunk and seldom Sober". [Barely related to Greig-Duncan #783. A version of this latter sung by Ewan MacColl, (Folkways FW 8759) obtained from a James Grant of Aberdour, Banffshire, commences with a variant of Lloyd's first verse.]

This is in my paperback reprint at p. 197. I do not know if my paperback reprint edition is paginated the same as the original edition, but if not, you can find in his Index of Songs as "The Water is Wide". In Lloyd's song "The Water is Wide" verse commences "The seas are deep, I cannot wade them", which is the biggest variant I've seen.

Another conflation put together from versions collected by Cecil Sharp is #119, "The Water is Wide", in Fredrick Woods' 'The Oxford Book of English Traditional Verse', 1983 "The Water is Wide" is also the title of another conflation put together from many sources, broadside and traditional, in Stephen Sedley's 'The Seeds of Love', p. 160, 1967.

Allen points out that "The Ripest of Apples" (from U.S.) JFSS I, p. 45 (1900) is a version of "The Water is Wide" (2nd of three verses) is a variant of "The water is wide."

The Scots "Waly Waly" doesn't contain the 'Water is Wide' verse.


21 Nov 99 - 12:50 AM (#139061)
Subject: Lyr Add: THE WATER IS WIDE (from Pete Seeger)
From: JamesJimFolk

Once saw a film clip of Pete Seeger singing this one aboard a sailing ship on the Hudson:

The water is wide I cannot cross over
Neither have I wings to fly
Give me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row my love and I

A ship there is and she sails the sea
She's loaded deep as deep can be
But not as deep as the love I'm in
And I know not how I sink or swim

I leaned my back up against a young oak
Thinking she was a sturdy tree
But first she bended then she broke
Thus did my false love unto me

I thrust my hand into a rose bush
Thinking the sweetest flower to find
I pricked my finger to the bone
And left the sweetest flower alone

Oh love is handsome and love is kind
Gay as a jewel when first it's new
But love grows old and waxes cold
And fades away like morning dew

Great song - challenging harmony!

Jim

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 16-Jul-02.


22 Nov 99 - 06:45 AM (#139448)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: HELP! Version of WATER IS WIDE
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca

Well, the Water is Wide is also known by two other names, or has ties to them. Some of the verses get swapped around. Look under

Waly, Waly
Carrickfergus

Those two are alternate songs/titles. You might check in the search engines for other locations with the same names. Here's another Waly, Waly. Here's another with some of a history of the song Leslie Nelson's site - Waly, Waly.


22 Nov 99 - 11:35 AM (#139522)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: HELP! Version of WATER IS WIDE
From: Anglofile

In California in 1976, at a sort of spiritual sleepover camp for twenty-somethings, I came across two verses to this which I've never found in any source. Chances seem good they are new. They come after the first two verses Jim gives above.

I'll never leave you anymore,
For I have found in your bright eyes
A river of love, a heart of gold,
A peaceful mind, a hand to hold.

And what shall I do with this precious gift?
Shall I hold it to myself?
Oh, no I can't, I would lose it sure;
It must be given, if it's to endure.

When I sing the song now I use this combination of four verses to make it a love song without an unhappy ending.

Does this qualify as a variant?

Jerry

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 16-Jul-02.


22 Nov 99 - 01:29 PM (#139579)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: HELP! Version of WATER IS WIDE
From: Angel

I have a version of this lovely tune with words from Corinthians 13..Tho I may speak with bravest fire.....can send if you want


22 Nov 99 - 07:47 PM (#139731)
Subject: Lyr Add: THE RIVER IS WIDE (from Kingston Trio)
From: bill

The river is wide, I cannot see.
Nor do I have light wing to fly.
Build me a boat that can carry two,
And both shall row, my love and I.

My love is like the lofty tree,
It shudders fierce and then sways free.
If it should fade when the summer's through,
She'll bloom again when the spring shines through.

When love is young, then love is fine;
Just like a gem when first it's new;
But love grows old and waxes cold;
And fades away like the morning dew.

The river is wide, I cannot see;
Nor do I have light wings to fly.
Build me a boat that can carry two,
And both shall row my love and I.

If you need the music the Kingston Trio recorded this song on their Make Way album.

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 16-Jul-02.


02 Mar 00 - 06:10 AM (#188018)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: HELP! Version of WATER IS WIDE
From: GUEST

I'd love a copy of the words from Corinthians. Don't suppose you know the chords too do you ??

Alan


02 Mar 00 - 06:33 AM (#188023)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: HELP! Version of WATER IS WIDE
From: GUEST,wavestar

I, too, would love to see the verse from Corinthians...
I've been collecting the myriad verses of this song for about a year now, in a leisurely fashion, and have a few that haven't been posted, and have also copied down the ones here I didn't have, thanks...

Down in the meadow the other day
Gathering flowers both fine and gay
Gathering flowers both green and blue
I little thought what love can do.

Must I be bound, while you go free?
Must I love a man who does not love me?
Must I be born with so little art
As to love a man who will break my heart?

When salt sea turns far inland
And mussels grow on every tree
When cockleshells make Christmas bells
Then I would lose my love for thee.

Most of the other verses I have are here, or close variants to them. Interestingly enough, I always knew the first line as, The water is wide, I can't cross o'er...
Please post the lyrics from Corinthians!
-Jessica

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 16-Jul-02.


29 Jan 01 - 05:32 PM (#385157)
Subject: Lyr Add: THOUGH I MAY SPEAK
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca

I found it! Here is the song using this tune in the United Church of Canada's newest Hymnary - Voices United. The title is Though I May Speak, and it comes from 1st Corinthians, #13

THOUGH I MAY SPEAK
O Waly Waly (Gift of Love) 8 8 8 8
Though I may speak with bravest fire,
and have the gift to all inspire.
and have not love, my words are vain,
as sounding brass, and hopeless gain.

Though I may give all I possess,
and striving so, my love profess,
but not be given by love within,
the profit soon turns strangely thin.

Come, Spirit, come, our hearts control,
out spirits long to be made whole.
Let inward love guide every deed;
by this we worship, and are freed.

It's really nice.

In the King James version:

1 Corinthians Chapter 13

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling crystal.

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

3 And though I bestow all my goods to fee the poor, and though i give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.

5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeking not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in truth;

7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there betongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I though as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.


29 Jan 01 - 09:25 PM (#385316)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: HELP! Version of WATER IS WIDE
From: GUEST,sgtpepkb@aol.com

I sang the song my senior year of high school. very nice song.

The water is wide, I cannot get oer, neither have I, wings to fly, build me a boat, that can carry two, and both shall row, my love and I. I put my back against and old oak tree. There is is a ship and she sails the sea ,she loaded deep as deep can be but not as deep as the love I give ,I don't know how i sink or swim Love is hansome and love is kind as sweet as flower when first is new, but love grows old ,and waxes cold, and fades away like summer dew.


30 Jan 01 - 06:28 AM (#385533)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: HELP! Version of WATER IS WIDE
From: GUEST,Monashee

Water is wide..I cannot cross o'er..and neither have .I wings to fly..Give me a boat..that can carry two..and both shall row..my love and I...There is a ship..and she sails the sea...she's loaded deep..as deep can be..But not as deep..as the love I knew...Oh know not I...I sink or swim....I leaned my back up against an oak..thinking it'was a trusty tree...But frst it swayed..and then it broke..As so did my..true love to me..Love is handsome..and love is kind..bright as a jewel..when first is new..But love grows old..and waxes cold....And fades away..like the morning dew....Water is wide....etc..(one of many variations)


30 Jan 01 - 11:26 PM (#386241)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: HELP! Version of WATER IS WIDE
From: richlmo

Karla Bonoff has a nice version on one if her albums.


16 Feb 03 - 09:25 AM (#891451)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: HELP! Version of WATER IS WIDE
From: GUEST,jj

When I first heard this song, it was on a bbc t.v programme one sunday morning about 3 years ago.(The Water Is Wide)
I think the programme was called "The Day" .
I didn't catch the name of the young fellow who was singing the song,but it was truly wonderful to listen to.
I would love to purchase this version,but I do not know the name of the artist. Any suggestions? (I wrote to the BBC but they were unable to help)


26 Jun 04 - 09:46 PM (#1214828)
Subject: Lyr Add: PUSH ON THE CORNER
From: Joybell

Here's a version of "Of Late I've Been Driven Near Crazy"
I learned it from an elderly man in a pub in Collingwood - suburb of Melbourne, Victoria Australia. Sometime between 1984 and 1986. He called it an old Melbourne song. Been trying to track it down ever since. Tune is almost the same.

PUSH ON THE CORNER

Last night I was driven near crazy, by one I both love and adore.
Now she's packed up her boxes and left me, and I ain't gonna see her no more.
I've written her hundreds of letters, to beg her my faults to forget,
but now she's found one she loves better, and this is the answer I get:

Oh, wait till the push on the corner refuses to drink a long beer!
Wait till the thieves and pickpockets from the streets of Fitzroy disappear.
When the dear little Collingwood lassies from powder and paint they are free,
When the Chinese are coppers on Bourke Street, my darling I'll come back to thee.


push: gang
Fitzroy, Collingwood : tough inner suburbs of Melbourne, containing red-light district.
Bourke St : a main thoroughfare of central Melbourne business district.

Interesting connections, I think. Our friend O'Leary has written a good 2nd verse to this, and I'll try to persuade him to post it.
Joy
Push on the Corner thread


07 Aug 04 - 08:41 AM (#1241648)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: HELP! Version of WATER IS WIDE
From: GUEST

I've heard a version of this by the Southend choirs, only four verses:

The water is wide, I cannot cross o'er,
And neither have I the wings to fly,
Build me a boat that can carry two,
And both shall row, my true love and I.

A ship there is, and she sails the sea,
She's laden deep as deep can be,
But not so deep as the love I'm in,
And I know not if I sink or swim.

(The third verse was in complex harmony and I couldn't make out the words - something about an oak tree)

Oh love is handsome and love is kind,
Bright as a jewel when first is new,
But love grows old and waxes cold,
And fades away like the morning dew


07 Aug 04 - 12:29 PM (#1241761)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: HELP! Version of WATER IS WIDE
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca

Guest, if you look way up to Jim's post, you'll see the missing verse about the oak tree.


26 Sep 08 - 12:08 PM (#2450921)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: HELP! Version of WATER IS WIDE
From: GUEST,Mary

There is another version of this song that was sung at my wedding...does anyone have the words that begin "the finest gifts..." I can't find it anywhere!


26 Sep 08 - 01:36 PM (#2451000)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: HELP! Version of WATER IS WIDE
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego

The Seeger version, or something very near it, was a staple of my repertoire as far back as 1957. It has an enduring quality in both melody and lyric, even though some consider it too old-fashioned these days. I still consider it a favorite.