The Water Is Wide cover
The Water Is Wide cover

The Water Is Wide Lyrics Meanings
by Hayley Westenra


The Water Is Wide Lyrics

O Waly, waly, (a lament "woe is me") up the bank,
And waly, waly, doun the brae (hill),
And waly, waly, yon burn-side (riverside),
Where I and my Love wont to gae (go)!
I lean'd my back unto an aik (oak),
I thocht it was a trustie tree,
But first it bow'd and syne (soon) it brak (broke)
Sae my true love did lichtlie (lightly) me.

O waly, waly, gin love be bonnie (beautiful),
A little time while it is new!
But when 'tis auld (old) it waxeth cauld (cold),
And fades awa' like morning dew.
O wherefore should I busk my heid (adorn my head),
Or wherefore should I kame (comb) my hair?
For my true Love has me forsook,
And says he'll never lo'e me mair (more).

Now Arthur's Seat
Sall (shall) be my bed (burial place),
The sheets sall ne'er be 'filed by me
Saint Anton's well sall be my drink
Since my true Love has forsaken me.
Marti'mas wind, when wilt thou blaw (blow),
And shake the green leaves aff the tree?
O gentle Death, when wilt thou come?
For of my life I am wearing 'Tis not the frost, that freezes fell,
Nor blawing snaw's (snow) inclemencie,
'Tis not sic cauld (such cold) that makes me cry;
But my Love's heart grown cauld to me.
When we cam in by Glasgow toun,
We were a comely sicht (sight)to see,
My Love was clad in the black velvet,
And I mysel in cramasie (crimson).

But had I wist (known), before I kist (a coffin died),
That love had been sae ill to win,
I had lock'd my heart in a case o' gowd (gold),
And pinn'd it wi' a siller (silver) pin.
And O! if my young babe were born,
And set upon the nurse's knee
And I mysel were dead and gane,
And the green grass growing over me!

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