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

Well I’ve been a wild rover for many a-year

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