Rolling Home

A song that is “widely known across the seven seas”. Many English and American versions can be found (“rolling home to Old New England”, or sometimes to “Newfoundland”) plus German (“di old Hamborg”) and Scottish (“to Caledonia”). There are a multitude of words to choose from, just about all of the English versions telling of a return from Australia to England. Hugill says this is the most famous homeward bound song of them all and that it is definitely a shanty not a forebitter. Some collectors think it is based on a poem of Charles Mackay, written aboard ship on 1858 – but the poem may be derived from the song. Some versions have a four line stanza, some a two line (which we have chosen).

Rolling Home                                                                         

Pipe all hands to man the windlass, clap all hands that can clap on
As we heave around the capstan, we will sing this well known song
Rolling home, rolling home, rolling home, across the sea
Rolling home to dear old England, rolling home fair land to thee.
 
To Australia's lovely daughters we will bid a fond adieu.
We shall ne'er forget the hours that we spent along with you.
Rolling home, rolling home, rolling home, across the sea
Rolling home to dear old England, rolling home fair land to thee.
 
We will leave you our best wishes, we will leave your rocky shores.
For we're bound to dear Old England, to return to you no more.
Rolling home, rolling home, rolling home, across the sea
Rolling home to dear old England, rolling home fair land to thee.
 
Ten thousand miles now lay behind us, ten thousand miles or more to roam.
Soon we'll see our native country, soon we'll greet our dear old home.
Rolling home, rolling home, rolling home, across the sea
Rolling home to dear old England, rolling home fair land to thee.         
 
Eighteen months away from England, now a hundred days or more
On salt-horse and cracker-hash, boys, Boston beans that made us sore.
Rolling home, rolling home, rolling home, across the sea
Rolling home to dear old England, rolling home fair land to thee.
 
Now the Lizard Light's a-shinin' and we're bound up to the Nore,
With the canvas full an' drawin' soon we'll be on England's shore.
Rolling home, rolling home, rolling home, across the sea
Rolling home to dear old England, rolling home fair land to thee.