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Updated 05/24/2013


The Wild Rover

The Wild Rover was written as a temperance song.  This would place it no earlier than 1829.  song is found printed in a book "The American Songster", printed in the USA by W.A. Leary in 1845, and spread from Scotland to America from the Temperance movement. There is another USA printed version in the "Forget-Me-Not Songster" (c 1850), published by Locke. An alternative history of the song is suggested by the fact that a collection of ballads, dated between 1813 and 1838 is held in the Bodleian Library.

It is often considered to be a drinking song rather than a Temperance song. It has become very popular in Scotland and England. In Britain, the song is especially popular with sport fans and has been adopted as the basis for many football chants. The song is a staple for artists performing live music in Irish pubs.


I've been a wild rover for many's the year,
and I spent all me money on whiskey and beer.
And 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! No, nay, never, no more,
will I play the wild rover. No (nay) never no more!

I went to an alehouse I used to frequent,
and I told the landlady me money was spent.
I asked her for credit, she answered me "nay,
such a custom as yours I could have any day" 

I took from me pocket ten sovereigns bright,
and the landlady's eyes opened wide with delight.
She said "I have whiskeys and wines of the best,
and the words that I told you were only in jest".


I'll have none of your whiskeys nor fine Spanish Wines,
For your words show you clearly as no friend of mine.
There's others most willing to open a door,
To a man coming home from a far distant shore.


I'll go home to me 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
then I never will play the wild rover no more.