Song Lyric Sunday: “The Wild Rover”

Jim’s prompt for today is “Drifter/Loner/Vagabond.” The word “vagabond” made me think, “begorrah, we gotta have an Irish tune!” So here’s one that’s more or less in line with today’s theme.

“The Wild Rover” is an old Irish folk tune that could be somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 years old. This gets played a lot at Irish bars, and is a particular favorite, because it calls for audience participation, namely four claps in time with the music after “and it’s no, nay, never” in the refrain. Get a bunch of kilted pipers and drummers in the bar who’ve had a couple, the four claps might be replaced by the group bellowing “RIGHT UP YER KILT!” (Actually, I’m not sure about that; usually by the time they got around to playing this one, I was feeling happy in an alcohol-induced way and that’s what it sounded like, so that’s what I’d say.) The version we’re about to hear is by The Dubliners, who neither clap nor shout after “no, nay, never.” Some people take the fun out of everything, y’know?

The lyrics (which are also in the video), courtesy of AZLyrics:

I’ve been a wild rover for many’s the year
And I’ve spent all my money on whiskey and beer
But now I’m returning with gold in great store
And I never will 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 into an ale-house I used to frequent
And I told the landlady my money was spent
I asked her for credit, she answered me nay
Such “a custom as yours I can have any day”

And it’s no, nay, never [RIGHT UP YER KILT!]
No, nay, never, no more
Will I play the wild rover
No, never, no more

I took from my pocket ten sovereigns bright
And the landlady’s eyes opened wide with delight
She said I’d have whiskey and wines of the best
And the words that you told me were only in jest

And it’s no, nay, never
No, nay, never, no more
Will I play the wild rover
No, never, no more

I’ll go home to my parents, confess what I’ve done
And I’ll ask them to pardon their prodigal son
And when they’ve caressed me as oft’ times before
I never will play the wild rover no more

And it’s no, nay, never
No, nay, never, no more
Will I play the wild rover
No, never, no more

That’s Song Lyric Sunday for October 13, 2019.

25 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday: “The Wild Rover”

    1. I was a piper for a few years with a pipe band, and wore a kilt. It’s generally a Scots thing, but the Irish regiments in the British Army wear saffron colored kilts. Pipe bands adopt a tartan regardless of whether they identify as Scots or Irish more out of tradition than anything (plus the rules for piping contests are that you wear Highland dress).

      As to whether anything is worn under the kilt: if a woman asks, you can give her a guided tour. Lifting up a kilt uninvited is grounds for getting knifed (part of Highland dress is a *sgian dubh)

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