Sweet Thames Flow Softly

Two of my favorite singers, Christy Moore and Sinead O’Connor, sing this song by Ewan MacColl. There seems to be difference of opinion on the origin of the song, but the majority point to the song being written for an experimental production by the Critics Group, based on Romeo and Juliet, which was broadcast by the BBC to schools in May 1966.  Moore sang it first on the first Planxty album, which was released in 1973.

Sweet Thames Flow Softly

I met my girl at Woolwich Pier beneath a big crane standing
And oh, the love I felt for her it passed all understanding
Took her sailing on the river, flow, sweet river, flow
London town was mine to give her, sweet Thames, flow softly
Made the Thames into a crown, flow, sweet river, flow
Made a brooch of Silvertown, sweet Thames, flow softly

At London Yard I held her hand at Blackwall Point I faced her
At the Isle of Dogs I kissed her mouth and tenderly embraced her
Heard the bells of Greenwich ringing, flow, sweet river, flow
All the time my heart was singing, sweet Thames, flow softly
Limehouse Reach I gave her there, flow, sweet river, flow
As a ribbon for her hair, sweet Thames, flow softly

From Shadwell dock to Nine Elms Reach we cheek to cheek were dancing
Her necklace made of London Bridge her beauty was enhancing
Kissed her once again at Wapping, flow, sweet river, flow
After that there was no stopping, sweet Thames, flow softly
Richmond Park it was her ring, flow, sweet river, flow
I’d have given her anything, sweet Thames, flow softly

From Rotherhithe to Putney Bridge my love I was declaring
And she, from Kew to Isleworth, her love for me was swearing.
Love had set my heart a-burning, flow, sweet river, flow
Never saw the tide was turning, sweet Thames, flow softly
Gave her Hampton Court to twist, flow, sweet river, flow
Into a bracelet for her wrist, sweet Thames, flow softly

But now alas the tide has changed my love she has gone from me
And winter’s frost has touched my heart and put a blight upon me
Creeping fog is on the river, flow, sweet river, flow
Sun and moon and stars gone with her, sweet Thames, flow softly
Swift the Thames runs to the sea, flow, sweet river, flow
Bearing ships and part of me, sweet Thames, flow softly


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