“Oh, all the money, that ‘ere I have spent
I have spent it in good company
And all the harm, that ‘ere I’ve done,
Alas, it was to none, but me
And all that I have done
For lack of wit
To memory now
I can’t recall
So, fill to me The Parting Glass
Goodnight and Joy be with you all!
Oh, all the comrades, that ‘ere I have had
Are sorry for my going away
And, all the sweethearts, that ‘ere I have had
Would wish me one more day, to stay
But since it falls, unto my lot
That I shall rise, and you shall not
I will gently rise, and as softly call
Goodnight and Joy be with you all!”
The informant learned this song from her childhood family friends, the McNeils. The McNeils would travel across the country in a giant bus, singing folksongs and teaching people about history through these folksongs. It is entitled, “The Parting Glass”, from either Ireland or Scotland, the informant couldn’t remember. The informant says this is one of her favorite songs, because of the melody and the memories it brings back. When the informant was in her twenties, she sang this song with her new friends in Finland, where there is a great tradition of singing at and after meals. It helped her bond with these Finnish friends, despite their ethnic diversity. And twenty years later, when her children were younger, she used to sing them this song as a bedtime lullaby. The song brings back memories of her childhood with the McNeils, her adventures in Finland, and spending time with her children. Thus, it means a lot to the informant.
The song is about a person saying farewell to some friends. It says, “I will gently rise, and as softly call/Goodnight and Joy be with you all”. The singer is saying goodnight to his friends after an evening of fun. The song is happy because the singer wishes Joy on all his friends. In the first stanza of the song, the singer is taking responsibility for his actions. He is very humble and wise. This might be reflective of Irish or Scottish culture, where they place an emphasis on solving your own problems, not bragging, and being responsible for yourself. I think the song has a very nice message.
I grew up listening to this song and others recorded by the McNeils. The song has a very pretty memory, similar to other Scottish and Irish slow melodies. I never looked into the lyrics until now, but I’m glad to find that the message is pleasant. It brings me back to my childhood as well.