The History of Row Row Row Your Boat


Row Row Row Your Boat

Gently down the stream

Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily

Life is but a dream

This rhyme, Row Row Row Your Boat, is one of the most popular baby songs and nursery rhymes. It is often sung as a “round,” where at least three voices sing the same melody in unison, but each voice starts at different times. The beauty of it is, although voices begins at different times, it fits harmoniously as different voices coincide with different parts of the melody.

The modern tune with the lyrics was recorded in 1881 by Eliphalet Oram Lyte, which was included in The Franklin Square Song Collection. Although it has been suggested that the original lyrics were published in 1852, but with a different tune. The original lyrics of the rhyme are the four lines mentioned above, but people often add additional verses to the song.

Row Row Row Your Boat not only plays as a nice song for kids and babies, it appeals to adults too. There is a deep esoteric meaning behind the playful lyrics of this rhyme. It is often considered as a metaphor for life. There are many theories on what each line means, and what each object symbolizes.

In the opening line ‘Row Row Row Your Boat,’ if the boat symbolizes the body, ‘row, row, row,’ signifies that you have to work persistently to achieve your goals. ‘Gently down the stream’ may symbolize that, even though you are working hard and fast in life, you should try not to miss the beautiful and wonderful moments. ‘Merrily, merrily, merrily’ encourages a positive attitude, no matter how many hardships you may face. ‘Life is but a dream’ signifies that we can dream of and make happen anything we put our minds to by believing in ourselves. This is an especially great lesson for young children.