Scotlands Songs

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Rolling Home to Caledonia

-3:10

Rollin home, rollin home, rollin home across the sea

Rollin home to Caledonia, rollin home, dear land, to thee


Ten thousand miles ahind us, just a hundred miles afore

And the ocean rins to tak us tae oor best-beloved shore

We will join in joyous chorus, in the watches o the night

For we'll see our land of Scotland, when the grey dawn brings the light


Up aloft, amongst the riggin, blaws the loud exultin gale

Like a birdie's wide-stretched pinions, spreadin wide each swellin sail

The wild waves cut behind us, and they murmur as they flow

There are lovin hearts that wait for you, in the land to which you go


There are welcome cheers tae greet us, there are kisses for us all

Mothers, faithers, wives and faimilies, standin at the harbour wall

They will tell us o their longin, we will tell them o oor trials

And at last we will be safe home, after aa the weary miles


Hear this performed by Ewan McVicar, who rewrote some lines.


There are different texts of this song, and it is perhaps better known as 'Rolling Home to Dear Old England'. Stan Hugill in Shanties From the Seven Seas (1961) calls it "the most famous home-ward bound song of them all". He prints eight pages of various versions, and one of them is in German and sings of rolling home to Hamburg.