The Wild Rover

The wild rover (1) (A Drinking Song - Traditional)

From "A Song-book of Folk and Pop Music" by Mario Papa & Giuliano Iantorno, Zanichelli Editore, Bologna, 1977 


l've been a wild rover for many's the year

And l've spent all my money on whisky and beer;

But now I'm returning with money in great store

And I never will play the wild rover no more.



And it's no nay (2) never,

No nay never no more

Will I play the wild rover,

No never, no more.


I went into an ale-house (3) I used to frequent

And I told the landlady my money was spent.

I asked her for credit, she answered me: " Nay,

Such a custom as yours I can have every day ".


Chorus: And it's no nay never, etc.


I then took from my pocket ten sovereigns (4) bright

And the landlady's eyes opened wide with delight;

She said: " I have whisky and wines of the best

And the words that you told me were only in jest (5)".


Chorus: And it's no nay never, etc.


I'll go home to my parents confess what I have done

And I’ll ask them to pardon the prodigal son,

And when they caress me as oft-times (6) before,

I never will play the wild rover no more.


Chorus: And it's no nay never, etc.


1. The wild rover: a famous traditional British folk song often sung in evening sing-songs at the pub. There are some famous singing pubs in Britain where young and old go to drink and sing together.

2. Nay: No (old use).

3. Ale-house: public house, in Britain familiarly called ' Pub ', where alcoholic drinks are sold.

4. Sovereigns: old British gold coins, face value £1.

5. In jest: as a joke, not seriously.

6. Oft-times: often (old use).


The pub


In Britain people like to meet in taverns, called public houses or more familiarly 'pubs'. There are about 73,000 pubs in Britain and they are more than just drinking houses. Pubs are places where people relax, chat, make friends, sometimes have tight meals, play darts and, of course, drink. Most pubs have a dart board and any customer may play. In many pubs there are also dart teams which play matches against teams from other pubs. The most popular drink served in pubs is beer, light or dark. It is generally served in pints, and people drink it either at the bar, that is the counter where drinks are served, or at the tables. There are drinking laws in Britain. By these laws, young people under eighteen are not allowed to buy alcoholic drinks in the pubs, and there are hours during the day when alcoholic drinks cannot be served at all. In fact the usual opening hours for pubs are:

London 11.00 a.m. - 3.00 p.m.

5.30 p.m. - 11.00 p.m.

Provinces 11.30 a.m. - 3.00 p. m.

5.30 p.m. – sometimes 10.30 pp.

                  sometimes 11.00 p.m.

Off-licenses (Where alcoholic drinks can be bought for consumption elsewhere):

8.30 a.m. until the end of permitted hours