The Water is Wide

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This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.
 
The Water is Wide
Thought to be an English or Scottish folk song that has been sung since the 1600s.
Tune for The Water is Wide (help | file info or download)

Lyrics[edit]

The water is wide, I cannot get o'er,
And neither have I wings to fly,
Bring me a boat that will carry two,
And I will sail, my love, to you.

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

I put my hand into a bush,
Thinking the sweetest rose to find,
I pricked my finger to the bone,
And left the sweetest rose behind.

A man that climbs where nothing hangs,
And he who grips where nothing grows,
And he that loves an unkind maid,
Against the stream, I'm sure he rows.

Against the stream, love, I dare not go,
Because the stream it runs too strong.
I'm deadly feared I'm one of those
Who loved an unkind maid too long.

I leant my back unto an oak,
I thought he was a trusty tree,
But first he bowed, and then he broke,
And so did my true love to me.

The grass does grow on every lea,
The leaf does fall from every tree,
How happy that small bird does cry
That her true love does by her lie.

There is a ship that sails the sea,
She's loaded deep as deep can be,
But not so deep as the love I'm in,
I know not if I sink or swim.

When my love's dead and at her rest,
I'll think on her whom I love best,
I'll wrap her in the linen strong,
And think on her when she's dead and gone.

I cast my anchor in the sea,
And it sunk down into the sand.
So did my heart in my body,
When I took my false love by the hand.

Alternate lyrics[edit]

The water is wide, I can't cross o'er
Nor do I have light wings to fly
Build 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 so deep as the love I'm in
And I know not how I sink or swim.

I leaned my back up against an oak
Thinking he was a trusty tree
But first he bended, and then he broke
And thus did my false love to me.

I put my hand into a bush
The sweetest flower there to find
I pricked my finger to the bone
And left the sweetest flower alone.

Oh, love is handsome and love is fine
It's like a gem when first it's new
But love grows old and waxes cold
And fades away like the morning dew.

Alternate lyrics[edit]

The water is wide, I cannot get o'er,
And neither have I wings to fly,
O, go and get me some little boat,
To carry o'er my true love and I.

A-down in the meadow the other day,
A-gath'ring flowers both fine and gay,
A-gath'ring flowers both red and blue,
I little thought what love can do.

I put my hand into some soft bush,
Thinking the fairest flower to pluck;
I pricked my finger unto the bone
And left the fairest flower alone.

I leaned my back against some oak,
Thinking it was a trusty tree,
But first he bended and then he broke,
And so my true love proved false to me.

There is a ship sailing on the sea,
She's loaded deep as deep can be;
But not so deep as in love I am,
I care not whether I sink or swim.

Where love is planted, O, there it grows,
It grows and blossoms like the rose.
It has a sweet and pleasant smell
No flow'r on earth can it excel.

Must I be bound, O, and she go free,
Must I love one that cannot love me ?
Why must I play such a childish part,
And love a girl that will break my heart ?

O, love is handsome and love is fine,
And love is charming when it is true;
As it grow older, it groweth colder,
And fades away like the morning dew.