Sailing

introduced by Judy Cook

clipper shipSailing was a favorite song of Americans in the early years of the Twentieth Century. It was one of the songs selected from those sent in by 20,000 people in response to a request from the National magazine. Four hundred of those songs were selected by Joe Mitchell Chapple and published as Heart Songs Dear to the American People first published in 1909, and revised many times since then. The song also appears in the 1938 book 357 Songs We Love to Sing. Sailing was written in 1880 by Godfrey Marks, a pseudonym of British organist and composer James Frederick Swift (1847–1931). Many people know and enjoy singing the chorus, but many fewer realize there are three fine verses to go with it.

 

Listen to Judy Cook sing Sailing

 

Score Sailing MuseScoreClick on the image for a downloadable PDF

LYRICS

Heave ho! my lads, the wind blows free,
A pleasant gale is on our lee,
And soon across the ocean clear
Our gallant barque shall bravely steer;
But ere we part from England's shore tonight,
A song we'll sing for home and beauty bright.
Then here's to the sailor, and here's to the heart's so true,
Who will think of him upon the waters blue.

Chorus:
Sailing, sailing, over the bounding main;
For many a stormy wind shall blow, ere Jack comes home again
Sailing, sailing, over the bounding main;
For many a stormy wind shall blow ere Jack comes home again.

The sailor's life is bold and free,
His home is on the rolling sea;
And never heart more true or brave,
Than his who launches on the wave;
Afar he speeds in distant climes to roam,
With merry song he rides the sparkling foam.
Then here's to the sailor, and here's to the heart's so true,
Who will think of him upon the waters blue.

Sailing, sailing, over the bounding main;
For many a stormy wind shall blow, ere Jack comes home again
Sailing, sailing, over the bounding main;
For many a stormy wind shall blow ere Jack comes home again.

The tide is flowing with the gale,
Heave ho, my lads! set ev'ry sail;
The harbor bar we soon shall clear;
Farewell once more to home so dear;
For when the tempest rages loud and long,
That home shall be our guiding star alone.
Then here's to the sailor, and here's to the heart's so true,
Who will think of him upon the waters blue.

Sailing, sailing, over the bounding main;
For many a stormy wind shall blow, ere Jack comes home again
Sailing, sailing, over the bounding main;
For many a stormy wind shall blow ere Jack comes home again.


Judy Cook performs each year throughout the United States and Britain with concerts of folk song and multi-media historically themed programs. Judy has one book and eight CDs of traditional Anglo-American, 19th Century, and occasionally contemporary songs. The two most recent,
Light and Shade and Well Met: Songs of the Sea were released in 2018. Her first book, A Quiet Corner of the War, presents the Civil War letters of her great-great grandparents with extensive notes and research; it is published by the University of Wisconsin Press (Fall 2013). Three of her eight multi-media programs feature letters from that book. She coproduces a weekly broadcast folk radio program “Glad4Trad” of which you can hear the most recent sample on her website. Learn more about Judy at judycook.net.

     
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