> Danny Spooner > Songs > Rowing Song

Row On

[ Roud 2084 ; trad.]

Danny Spooner sang the Rowing Song on his 2002 album Launch Out on the Deep. He noted:

Martin Wyndham-Read taught me this song on one of his many visits to Australia. The words are a fusion of love and anxiety that must have been the constant companion of coastal families who gained their living from the sea. I think it originates from North America and while the words are old the tune is contemporary. It's a great song to sing.

John Roberts and Tony Barrand sang Row On in 2003 on their CD Twiddlum Twaddlum. They commented:

The text of this song is in Gale Huntington's Songs the Whalemen Sang, from the logbook of the whaleship Three Brothers, Nantucket, 1846. The English singer Tim Laycock gave it a tune. It, too, [like A Pilgrim's Way] was sung at the memorial for Steve Adams. Row on, Steve!

Paul and Liz Davenport sang Row On, Row On on their 2018 album Shadows in the Mist. They noted:

A poem, dated 1846 and found in the logbook of the Nantucket whaler Three Brothers. was set to this lovely tune by Tim Laycock. The whalers frequently noted such sentiments in the backs of their logbooks. It remains for us and for many of our friends one of the most beautiful and optimistic of songs. It may be found in its original form in Gale Huntington's Songs the Whalemen Sang, published in 1964.

David Milton sang Row On on his 2018 CD Songs from the Bell Man. He noted:

These words were found in the 1846 journal of the New Bedford whaler Three Brothers. The tune was added by Tim Laycock. Coastal tragedies aren’t just a thing of the past, I actually came across this song when I was singing at a concert raising money for the victims of the 2004 Tsunami in Indonesia. I also sung this song at my son’s wedding in a 1000 year old monastery in Germany—because of that beautiful memory I always hear these words as a love song, though I know others will hear it in their own way.

Lyrics

Danny Spooner sing Rowing Song John Roberts and Tony Barrand sing Row On

Dark clouds are on the summer sky,
There's thunder in the wind.
Row on, row on and homeward hie,
Nae give one look behind.

Clouds are upon the summer sky,
There's thunder in the wind.
Pull on, pull on and homeward hie,
Nor give one look behind.

Chorus (after each verse):
Row on, row on, another day
May shine with brighter light.
Ply, ply the oars and haul away,
There's dawn beyond the night.

Chorus (after each verse):
Row on, row on, another day
May shine with brighter light.
Ply, ply the oars and pull away,
There's dawn beyond the night.

Bear where thou goest these words of love,
Say all that words can say.
Changeless affection strength may prove,
But speed upon the way.

Bear where thou goest the words of love,
Say all that words can say.
Changeless affection, strength to prove,
But speed upon the way.

Like yonder river would I glide
To where my love would be,
My barque would soon outsail the tide
That flows towards the sea.

Like yonder river would I glide
To where my heart would be,
My barque should soon outsail the tide
That hurries to the sea.

But yet a star shines constant still
Through yonder cloudy sky,
And hope as bright my bosom fills
From faith that cannot die.

Row on, row on, God speed the way,
Thou canst not tarry here.
Clouds gather round the closing day,
Tomorrow may be clear.

Row on, row on, God speed the way,
Thou canst not linger here.
Storms hang about the closing day,
Tomorrow may be clear.

(repeat first verse)