Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Parting Glass.

The Parting Glass.

Of all the money e'er I had,
I spent it in good company.
And all the harm I've ever done,
Alas! it was to none but me.
And all I've done for want of wit
To mem'ry now I can't recall
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all

Oh, all the comrades e'er I had,
They're sorry for my going away,
And all the sweethearts e'er I had,
They'd wish me one more day to stay,
But since it falls unto my lot,
That I should rise and you should not,
I gently rise and softly call,
Good night and joy be with you all.

If I had money enough to spend,
And leisure time to sit awhile,
There is a fair maid in this town,
That sorely has my heart beguiled.
Her rosy cheeks and ruby lips,
I own she has my heart in thrall,
Then fill to me the parting glass,
Good night and joy be with you all.

The song was printed as a broadside in the 1770s, although the song is doubtless older than its 1770 appearance. It was known at least as early as 1605, when a portion of the first stanza was written in a farewell letter, as a poem now known as "Armstrong's Goodnight", by one of the Border Reivers executed that year for the murder in 1600 of Sir John Carmichael, Warden of the Scottish West March.

"Armstrong's Goodnight"

This night is my departing night,
For here no longer must I stay;
There's neither friend no foe of mine
But wishes me away.

What I have done through lack of wit,
I never, never can recall;
I hope you're all my friends as yet;
Good night. And joy be with you all.

The song is also known as Good Night and Joy Be With You All.

Sam Henry collected The Parting Glass in Ireland in 1938. In Folksongs of Britain and Ireland, Peter Kennedy relates it to the Manx song Te Traa Goll Thie (It's Time to Go Home).

This is a beautifully touching song to sing at a funeral for it is a true reflection of the joys of life. In many ways an Irish mans celebration of life.

1 comment:

  1. One of my favorite songs – deeply compelling in its ability to express sorrow mixed with celebration.