During the Age of Sail, boats were at the forefront of cultural ‘cross-pollination’, particularly in terms of music. ‘Wild Rover’ is a folk song that became (and remains) immensely popular with tall ship sailors, who took the tune and lyrics from port to port as they traveled.
Learn ‘Wild Rover’ from the High Kings in the video below. Get ready to sing and clap along!
Note: The tunes, lyrics and history of a single sea song or shanty are often diverse and debated, given how these songs were passed along and changed (often simultaneously on many ships all over the seas). This is part of what is beautiful and fascinating about them. What we’re representing in this blog post is only one, and certainly not the only, version of a song and its history.
Full Lyrics - Wild Rover
And I spent all me money on whiskey and beer
And now I’m returning with gold in great store
And I promise to play the wild rover no more
And it’s no, nay, never, (Clap, Clap, Clap, Clap)
No, nay, never, no more
Will I play the wild rover,
no never, no more
I went to an ale house I used to frequent
And I told the landlady me money was spent
I asked her for credit she answered me nay
For a custom like yours I could have any day
I reached in my pockets pulled out sovereigns bright
And the landlady’s eyes opened wide with delight
She said I have whiskey and wines of the best
And the words that I’d spoken were only in jest
I’ll go to my parents confess what I’ve done
And I’ll ask them to pardon their prodigal son
If they forgive me as oft times before
I’ll promise to play the wild rover no more