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old moose DTStudy: Rolling Home to Dear Old England (61* d) Lyr Add: ROLLING HOME (TO DEAR NEW ENGLAND) 20 Sep 02


All the notes tell me how much this song was liked, and I find it pleasing but not a favorite. Going through the books and tapes available to me I have found Stan Hugills' version, of course, and two others not mentioned so far in the thread. I give them with proper citations, but no scores. I have a score for the version in the "Songs of the Sea" and in "American Sea Songs and Shanties" but none for the LP version. If asked I will make shift to fax any score wanted
A further note to give some dimension to all this. My spouse, aka Mehitabel tells me that her grandfather, 1888 -1965, loved this song above all others; he and his forefathers were British seamen, and this was the song sung at his funeral.


pp 141-143 American Sea Songs & Chanteys c.1948 Frank Shay and Edward A. Wilson from Iron Men and Wooden Ships c. 1924


This ballad, so completely English, is a great favorite on the vessels of all nations. Several attempts have been made by eager patriots to give it a Yankee slant, such as "rolling home to dear old Boston" or to New York or some other two-syllable port but without any auricular success. Americans, letting go as the song deserves, still roll home to merry England.

Rolling Home

Up aloft amid the rigging,
Swiftly blows the favoring gale,
Strong as springtime in its blossom,
Filling out each bending sail.
And the waves we leave behind us,
Seem to murmur as they rise,
We have tarried here to bear you,
To the land you dearly prize.

Rolling home, rolling home,
Rolling home across the sea;
Rolling home to dear old England,
Rolling borne, dear land, to thee!

Full ten thousand miles behind us,
And a thousand miles before,
Ancient ocean waves to waft us
To the well-remembered shore,
Newborn breezes swell to send us
To our childhood's welcome skies,
To the glow of friendly faces
And the glance of loving eyes.

Rolling home, rolling home,
Rolling home across the sea;
Rolling home to dear old England,
Rolling home, dear land, to thee!


The Oxford book of Sea Songs - Song 116 p.238

Call all hands to man the capstan
See your cable is all clear
For tonight we'll sail for England
And for England, sure, we'll steer

Rolling home, rolling home,
Rolling home across the sea;
Rolling home for dear old England,
Rolling home, dear land, to thee!

Up aloft amidst the rigging,
Loudly roars th' exulting gale,
Like a bird with outstretched pinions,
Rolling on 'neath billowing sail.

Chorus

Many thousand miles behind us,
Many thousand miles before,
Ancient ocean waves to waft us
To the well-remembered shore,

I have heard it in various parts of the world, and I think that on the whole it has given me more pleasure than any song I have ever heard. 'It has many stanzas, for I expect that many of its lovers have added to it.' So John Masefield wrote of 'Rolling Home', which was originally a poem written by Charles Mackay (1814 89) on 26 May i858 while homeward bound from America as a passenger on the Europa. Its eight verses were indeed augmented by sailors. Hugill, who calls it 'the most famous homeward-bound song of them all', prints well over twenty, many with variants. Bob Roberts (190782) heard this version sung in the forecastle of the barquentine, Water witch, coming up-Channel, when an American sailor remarked: 'Goddam, that song almost makes me wish I was a "limey".' He need not have worried, for there are versions in which 'dear old England' is replaced by New England, fair Columbia, and New York City, not to speak of bonny Scotland, dear old Ireland and even Deutschland Heimat. The song was also used as a capstan shanty.



Songs of The Sea Norman Luboff Choir Columbia c. 1948

Rolling home, rolling home,
Rolling home across the sea;
Rolling home to dear New England,
Rolling home, dear land, to thee!

Call all hands to man the capstan
See your cable is run clear
We'll heave and heave together
And for New England we will steer

Chorus

All the waves we leave behind us
seem to murmur as they go
there's a hearty welcome waiting
In the land to which you go

Chorus

Then we'll sing in joyful chorus
Thru the watches of the night
Till we see the shores of dear New England
In the early morning's light

From Mehitabel -
I noticed that every available tune is slightly different, consistent with sailors making up tunes or words as they carry it from ship to ship and can't quite remember it. The "Rolling Home tune #1" in my family is quite different from the two in the data base.




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