The Water is Wide


(Scottish folk song)

1. 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.

2. A ship there is and she sails the seas.
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.

3. I leaned my back up against a young oak
Thinking he were a trusty tree
But first he bended and then he broke
Thus did my love prove false to me.

4. O love is handsome and love is fine
Bright as a jewel when first it’s new
But love grows old and waxes cold
And fades away like the morning dew.

See also

  • Song with chords (PDF)
  • MIDI file
  • Listen to the song

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1 thought on “The Water is Wide”

  1. The lyrics I learned are slightly different. “There is a boat/ and it sails the seas/ it’s loaded deep as deep can be/ But not as deep as the love I’m in/ I know not how I sink or swim.” There are other differences, too. “Oh, love is gentle and love is kind/ The sweetest flower when first it’s new/ But love grows old and waxes cold/ and fades away like the morning dew.” In the version I learned, that stanza precedes “I leaned my back.” But it is quite natural that there would be variations in the lyrics of a folk song, and I’m not suggesting that “my” lyrics are better than yours.

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