God's Gift of Music - "The Water is Wide" Various Artists

The Water is Wide - Robin Spielberg, piano

Video from Robin Spielberg


"I have always loved this folk song, and have turned to it many times over the years in times of trouble. I first recorded it after our daughter's 4 month stay in the neonatal intensive care unit, and then again a decade later, adding cello the arrangement. I hope this tune brings you much comfort and peace as it does for me." from video introduction


James Taylor The Water Is Wide

Video from Mark Lombardo


MCPS Elementary Schools - The Water is Wide

Video from OHS Choir Archive

Arr. Teresa Jennings


The Water is Wide Lyrics


The water is wide,

I can't cross over,

And neither have I wings to fly.

Build 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 so deep

As the love I'm in,

I know not how I sink or swim.


Oh love is handsome

And love is fine,

The sweetest flower

When first it's new.

But love grows old

And waxes cold

And fades away like Summer dew.


Build me a boat

That can carry two

And both shall row, my love and I,

And both shall row, my love and I.



.."The Water Is Wide" is often called an "old Folk song" but in fact it is not that old. It came only to prominence after Pete Seeger introduced the song in 1958 on his LP American Favorite Ballads, Vol. 2 (Folkways FW 02321). In fact it was somehow courageous to designate the song as an "American Favorite Ballad" because it was barely known there at that time. In the liner notes to the LP he didn't tell his listeners where he had learned this piece. But it was included two years later in a songbook called American Favorite Ballads. Tunes and Songs as Sung by Pete Seeger (Oak Publications, New York 1960). Here he described "The Water Is Wide" as "another song from England, collected by Cecil Sharp many years ago and titled by him 'Waillie, Waillie'" (p. 77). And on page 4 we can read that it was "printed by permission". A copyright by London publishers Novello & Co. - 1908 and 1936 - is acknowledged and for some reason he names English Folk-songs from the Southern Appalachians by "Cecil Sharpe" [sic!] as the source..." from the article: "The Water Is Wide" The History Of A "Folksong" (revised July 2012)


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