Waly Waly (The Water is Wide)

DESCRIPTION: The singer laments the effects of unrequited love and an untrue lover. Typical symbols include the rotten-hearted oak that looks solid but breaks and the beautiful flower protected by thorns. In some versions the lover is untrue; sometimes (s)he is dead
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1714 (Ritson, _Scotish Song_)
KEYWORDS: love rejection lyric nonballad lament lover death
FOUND IN: Britain(England,Scotland(Aber)) Ireland US(Ap,NE,SE) Canada(Newf)
REFERENCES (28 citations):
Child 204 notes, "Waly, Waly, Gin Love Be Bony" (1 text)
Bronson (204), 8 versions (including "Jamie Douglas")
Bronson (204), "Jamie Douglas" (2 tunes, of which #1 is this song)
Percy/Wheatley III, pp. 145-148, "Waly Waly, Love Be Bonny" (1 text)
Whitelaw-Song, pp. 521-522, "Waly Waly" (1 text)
BarryEckstormSmyth pp. 469-474, "Jamie Douglas" (notes and scattered stanzas; the only full text is in fact this piece)
Kennedy 149, "Deep in Love" (1 text, 1 tune)
Logan, pp. 336-337, "Picking Lilies" (1 text)
GreigDuncan8 1918, "I Spied a Ship Sailin' on the Sea" (1 fragment)
Greig #173, p. 2, ("I spied a ship sailin' on the sea") (1 fragment)
Peacock, pp. 475-476, "Love is Lovely" (1 text, 1 tune, strongly composite, starting with a verse perhaps from "Peggy Gordon," then the chorus of "Waly Waly (The Water Is Wide)," two more which might be anything, and a conclusion from "Carrickfergus")
Leach, pp. 546-551, "Jamie Douglas" (3 texts, with only the third text belonging with this piece)
Friedman, p. 101, "Jamie Douglas" (2 texts, with only the second text belonging with this piece)
Sharp-100E 39, "O Waly Waly" (1 text, 1 tune)
Reeves-Sharp 108, "Waly Waly" (1 text, a composite of four versions)
Reeves-Circle 30, "Deep in Love", "Picking Lilies" (2 texts)
Sandburg, pp. 16-17, "Waillie, Waillie!" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #8}
Copper-SoBreeze, pp. 218-219, "Love" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hodgart, p. 143, "O Waly, Waly" (1 text)
Lomax-FSNA 70, "Love is Pleasin'" (1 text, 1 tune, of four verses, two of which go here, one belongs with "Fair and Tender Ladies," and the fourth could be from several sources; the whole could be a "Love is Teasing" variant)
HarvClass-EP1, pp. 323-324, "O Waly, Waly" (1 text)
PSeeger-AFB, p. 77, "The Water Is Wide" (1 text, 1 tune)
SHenry H683, p. 393, "The Apron of Flowers" (1 text, 1 tune -- apparently a collection of floating verses including one that goes here)
ReedSmith, pp. 3-4, "(no title)" (1 text)
Silber-FSWB, p. 145, "Waillie"; p. 163, "The Water Is Wide" (2 texts)
DT (204), WALYWALY WALYWAL2* WALYWAL3* CCKLSHLL* WATRWIDE*
ADDITIONAL: James Johnson, Editor, _The Scots Musical Museum_ [1853 edition], volume II, #158, p. 166, "Waly, Waly" (1 text, 1 tune)
Alfred M. Williams, _Studies in Folk-Song and Popular Poetry_, Houghton Mifflin, 1894, pp. 89-91, "Waly, Waly, gin Love by Bony / Lady Anne Bothwell's Lament" (1 text)

Roud #87
RECORDINGS:
Freeman Bennett, "Love is Lovely" (on PeacockCDROM) [one verse only]
Liam Clancy, "The Water is Wide" (on IRLClancy01)
Mobile Strugglers, "Trouble, Trouble's Followed Me All My Days" (on AmSkBa, classified there for want of a better place; it's really a collection of floaters, and could as easily go with "I Wish, I Wish/Love Is Teasing." It shares the verse "If I had wings like Noah's dove" with "Dink's Song," but not its distinctive chorus. - PJS)
Pete Seeger, "The Water is Wide" (on PeteSeeger18) (on PeteSeeger34) (on PeteSeeger47)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Jamie Douglas" [Child 204] (lyrics)
cf. "Love Is Teasing"
cf. "Careless Love"
cf. "Died for Love"
cf. "The Butcher Boy" [Laws P24] (floating lyrics)
cf. "Dink's Song" (floating lyrics)
cf. "Oh, Johnny, Johnny" (floating lyrics)
cf. "Arthur's Seat" (lyrics: two verses)
cf. "The Water's Deep, Love, I Canna Wide" (floating lyrics)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
A Ship Came Sailing
When Cockle Shells Turn Silver Bells
NOTES: Some scholars consider this a degraded form of "Jamie Douglas" [Child 204], with which it shares several lyrics. It can hardly be denied that they are related. Since, however, "Waly Waly" has worn away to a purely lyric piece (and some even believe it to be the older of the two songs, which has provided a few chance lyrics to "Jamie Douglas"), it is my firm opinion that the two should be kept separate.
Paul Stamler considers at least some of the versions of "I Wish, I Wish/Love is Teasing" to belong here. To me, they look more like versions of "The Butcher Boy." Still, it shows you how lyric this piece has become.
Under the title "Forsaken," this is one of the handful of traditional songs in Palgrave's Golden Treasury (item CXXXIII)- RBW
The two verses shared with "Arthur's Seat" are neither common floaters nor verses shared with "Jamie Douglas": one is the title verse ("Now Arthur-Seat shall be my bed ....") and the other the Martinmas wind reference ("Martinmas wind, when wilt thou blow ...). - BS
Last updated in version 4.1
File: K149

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