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Old Rosin the Beau

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“Old Rosin the Beau”
“Rosin the Bow”


Song by (various)
The Clancys
Pete Seeger
(& others)



Irish waltz


4, 5, or 8 verses, with chorus,
or 11 verses


“Rosin the Bow”, traditional (anon.)
“Old Rosin the Beau” (1838), arranged by J. C. Beckell.

“Old Rosin the Beau” (or “Rosin the Bow”) is an American folk song popular in the 19th century, probably of British or Irish origin, first published in Philadelphia during 1838.

An earlier version, “Rosin the Bow” (not “Beau“) refers to rosin with the bow of a violin, but both cover the same general subject (see below: Full lyrics).


There are many variations of the song(s), and the tune has been re-used in other songs for political campaign jingles, slave songs, comedy songs, or other folk songs.


Early versions of “Old Rosin the Beau” relate the story of a man who was popular in his youth, then in late life, the ladies refer to him as “Old Rosin, the beau“, as he prepares for the grave.


As a drinking song, the chorus chimes, “Take a drink for Old Rosin the Beau” and uses dark comedy, with jests about his grave or tombstone, taken in stride while repeating the sing-song melody.


The song is structured where soloists can sing a verse, and then the group can join the chorus/refrain portion after each verse.


The lyrics depend on which version of the song is considered.


The 1838 version of “Old Rosin the Beau” begins with the following verse:

The lyrics, as arranged by J. C. Beckell in 1838, are as follows:

I have travell’d this wide world over,
And now to another I’ll go.
I know that good quarters are waiting,
To welcome old Rosin the beau.

To welcome old Rosin the beau…
To welcome old Rosin the beau
I know that good quarters are waiting
To welcome old Rosin the beau.

The original folk song, “Rosin the Bow” begins as follows:

I’ve always been cheerful and easy,
And scarce have I needed a foe.
While some after money run crazy,
I merrily Rosin’d the Bow.

Some youngsters were panting for fashions,
Some new kick seemed now all the go,
But having no turbulent passions,
My motto was “Rosin the Bow.”

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