The Water Is Wide (O Waly, Waly) Printable Lyrics – PDF

“The Water Is Wide” (also known as “O Waly, Waly” or “Waly, Waly”) is a very popular folk song of Scottish origin. The lyrics probably date back to the 17th century; yet, they were first printed in around 1725 in William Thomson’s Orpheus Caledonius, or a Collection of the best Scotch Songs. In this collection it is found under the name “Wale’ Wale’ up yon Bank“. Cecil Sharp published the song in Folk Songs From Somerset (1906). Later on, Pete Seeger included the song in his 1958 LP American Favorite Ballads, Vol. 2 and made it famous during the folk revival movement.

The theme is that of two lovers separated by insurmountable obstacles; hence the element of water – such as a river or the sea – stands for all those adversities in life that hinder two persons from being together. People’s interest in such stories is universal and timeless, since, one way or another, we all identify with love’s hardships. Adding its beautiful melody, it’s no wonder why the song has been performed and recorded numerous times up to this day, by great artists like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, Maura O’Connell, Cliff Richard, Barbra Streisand, Eva Cassidy – just to name a few.

On this page you will find lyrics and a printable PDF file with lyrics for free download. You can also watch a sing-along video.

Table of Contents

Printable Lyrics PDF

Click on the button to download a PDF file with lyrics to this song for free.

Lyrics PDF download


The water is wide I cannot cross o’er
And neither have I wings to fly
Give me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row my love and I.

Love is gentle, love is kind
The sweetest flower when first it’s new
But love grows old and waxes cold
And fades away like morning dew.

There is a ship that sails the sea
She’s loaded deep as deep can be
But not as deep as the love I made
I know not how I’ll sink or swim.

The water is wide I can not cross o’er
And neither have I wings to fly
Give me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row my love and I
And both shall row my love and I.

Sing-along Video

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