Over the Water to Charlie
DESCRIPTION: "Come boat me o'er, come row me o'er, Come boat me o'er to Charlie." "We'll o'er the water, we'll o'er the sea, We'll o'er the water to Charlie." The singer tells her love for Charlie, laments his exile, says she would bear her sons again to die for him
AUTHOR: Robert Burns?
EARLIEST DATE: 1788 (Scots Musical Museum #187)
KEYWORDS: love Jacobites separation exile ship
1720-1788 - Life of Charles Edward Stuart, "Bonnie Prince Charlie"
1745-1746 - '45 Jacobite rebellion led by Bonnie Prince Charlie
Apr 16, 1746 - Battle of Culloden. The Jacobite rebellion is crushed, most of the Highlanders slain, and Charlie forced to flee for his life.
Jun 28-29, 1746 - Aided by Flora MacDonald, and dressed as her maidservant, Charles flees from North Uist to Skye in the Hebrides.
Sep 20, 1746 - Charles finally escapes to France
FOUND IN: US(NE) Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (9 citations):
Hogg2 38, "O'er the Water to Charlie" (1 text, 1 tune)
GreigDuncan1 135, "O'er the Water to Charlie" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
GreigDuncan8 1733, "Owre the Water to Torry" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Lyle-Crawfurd2 186, "O'er the Water to Charly" (1 text)
Linscott, pp. 262-263, "Over the Water to Charlie" (1 short text, 1 tune, with one verse of this and two of the "Charlie" verses of "Weevily Wheat")
Winstock, pp. 52-54, "Over the water to Charlie" (1 tune)
DT CHARLOVER* CHARLOV2*
ADDITIONAL: James Kinsley, editor, Burns: Complete Poems and Songs (shorter edition, Oxford, 1969) #211,, pp. 319-320, "O'er the Water to Charlie" (1 text, from 1788)
James Johnson, Editor, _The Scots Musical Museum_ [1853 edition], volume II, #187, p. 195, "O'er the water to Charlie" (1 text, 1 tune)
Bodleian, Johnson Ballads fol. 26, "O'er the Water to Charlie" ("Come boat me o'er, come row me o'er"), J. Catnach (London), 1813-1838
cf. "The Quaker's Wife" (tune, per GreigDuncan8)
NOTES [142 words]: Roud lumps this (and several other Bonnie Prince Charlie songs) with the "Weevily Wheat" family. Certainly Linscott's version is really just a "Weevily Wheat" variant which has swallowed a fragment of this song. But "Weevily Wheat" is a dancetune that mentions "Charlie" (not necessarily Charles Edward Stuart) incidentally, while this is a sure Jacobite song. As such, I separate them.
Just how much this piece owes to Burns is unknown to me; he surely had a hand in it, but it's interesting to note that there is a verse out there which he did not publish. - RBW
Hogg2: "I do not know if the last two stanzas have ever before been printed, though they have often been sung." His final verse, "I ance had sons, but now hae nane; I bred them toiling sairly; And I wad bear them a' again, And lose them a' for Charlie," is not in the Burns version. - BS
Last updated in version 3.2
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.