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The Parting Glass, About what?

DigiTrad:
FAREWELL
PARTING GLASS


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: The Parting Glass (79)
Film rendition of 'The Parting Glass' (21)
Lyr Req: The Parting Glass sung with another song (29)
Parting glass lyrics needed (4) (closed)
English Goodnight & joy be with you all? (5)
Lyr Req: The Parting Glass - full version? (4)
Tune Req: The 'Other' 'Parting Glass' (29)
Lyr Add: Erin's Farewell - Parting Glass variant (1)
Lyr Req: The Parting Glass (4) (closed)
Lyr Req: 'The Parting Glass' in Irish Language? (6)
Lyr Add: The Farting Lass - Parting Glass parody (6)


Nick E 14 Nov 08 - 07:24 PM
Stilly River Sage 14 Nov 08 - 07:56 PM
Leadfingers 14 Nov 08 - 07:57 PM
Liz the Squeak 15 Nov 08 - 06:07 AM
MMario 15 Nov 08 - 07:55 AM
GUEST,Big Tim 15 Nov 08 - 08:00 AM
GUEST,Big Tim 15 Nov 08 - 08:06 AM
Stilly River Sage 15 Nov 08 - 09:16 AM
Marje 15 Nov 08 - 09:35 AM
Big Al Whittle 15 Nov 08 - 12:27 PM
GUEST 15 Nov 08 - 12:39 PM
gnu 15 Nov 08 - 12:46 PM
trevek 15 Nov 08 - 01:07 PM
Malcolm Douglas 15 Nov 08 - 01:16 PM
GUEST,Big Tim 15 Nov 08 - 02:24 PM
Amos 15 Nov 08 - 06:02 PM
GUEST 15 Nov 08 - 06:16 PM
Malcolm Douglas 15 Nov 08 - 06:22 PM
RTim 15 Nov 08 - 07:47 PM
RTim 15 Nov 08 - 07:50 PM
Art Thieme 15 Nov 08 - 10:30 PM
Stilly River Sage 16 Nov 08 - 12:07 AM
Amos 16 Nov 08 - 03:37 AM
greg stephens 16 Nov 08 - 07:26 AM
Liz the Squeak 16 Nov 08 - 08:03 AM
gnu 16 Nov 08 - 09:32 AM
Megan L 16 Nov 08 - 09:39 AM
gnu 16 Nov 08 - 10:35 AM
Ron Davies 16 Nov 08 - 10:40 AM
Stilly River Sage 16 Nov 08 - 11:22 AM
RTim 16 Nov 08 - 11:27 AM
Amos 16 Nov 08 - 11:54 AM
gnu 16 Nov 08 - 11:55 AM
Marje 16 Nov 08 - 11:59 AM
Claymore 16 Nov 08 - 12:18 PM
GUEST,Gerry 16 Nov 08 - 04:44 PM
Malcolm Douglas 16 Nov 08 - 05:23 PM
Jim McLean 16 Nov 08 - 05:52 PM
Lighter 16 Nov 08 - 06:00 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Nov 08 - 06:04 PM
Stilly River Sage 16 Nov 08 - 06:59 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Nov 08 - 07:05 PM
Amos 16 Nov 08 - 08:59 PM
Rowan 17 Nov 08 - 04:35 PM
trevek 18 Nov 08 - 08:08 AM
Snuffy 18 Nov 08 - 09:09 AM
Sue the Borderer 18 Nov 08 - 09:48 AM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Nov 08 - 10:27 AM
Megan L 18 Nov 08 - 10:29 AM
McGrath of Harlow 18 Nov 08 - 12:41 PM
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Subject: Parting Glass, a song for sots?
From: Nick E
Date: 14 Nov 08 - 07:24 PM

The Masterless Men have recorded a version of The Parting Glass on their latest album.(I assume it is the latest as they just started playing it on CJYQ....RadioNewfoundland.ca) They music & lyrics are in the DigiTrad database A very fine song, and I have never heard any other version, so nothing to compare it to. It strikes me that It could well be an alternative to Auld Ang Syne.

It also seems I can read it as a song where the protagonist is a pub denizen who has drunk everyone under the table and thinks in an intoxicated state he has a shot at some lassie he has never really had a chance with.

So my question is, is it a fond farewell, or just another drunk at the bar, or a bit of each?

Whack fall the day, Nick


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 14 Nov 08 - 07:56 PM

He died.


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 14 Nov 08 - 07:57 PM

I take it as a 'Goodbye Old Friends' song !


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 15 Nov 08 - 06:07 AM

It's a fond farewell, possibly before the eve of a battle.

Not everyone who goes to a pub and says goodbye is a drunken sot.

LTS


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: MMario
Date: 15 Nov 08 - 07:55 AM

I've always read it as a fond farewell; the last words of someone who had "gone away"


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Subject: Lyr Add: GOOD NICHT AND JOY BE WI' YE A'
From: GUEST,Big Tim
Date: 15 Nov 08 - 08:00 AM

I first heard this song by the Clancy's and assumed that it was Irish. However, I've since discovered that it isn't, it's definitely of Scots origin.

GOOD NICHT, AND JOY BE WI' YE A'

Good nicht and joy be wi' ye a',
Since it is sae that I maun gang,
Short seemed the gate to come – but ah!
Tae gang again is weary lang.
Sic joyous nichts come nae sae thrang,
That I sae soon should haste awa',
But since it's sae that I maun gae,
Good nicht and joy be wi' ye a'.

This nicht I ween we've had the heart,
Tae gar auld time tak' tae his feet,
That mak's us a' fu' laith tae pairt,
And aye mair fain again tae meet.
Tae dree the winter's drift an' weet,
For sic a nicht is nocht ava,
For hours the minutes o' the sweet,
Good nicht and joy be wi' ye a'.

Our bald-powed daddies, here we've seen,
In younkers revels fidgin' fain,
Our grey haired grannies, here hae been,
Like daffin' hizzies young again.
Tae mony a merry auld Scots strain,
We've deftly passed the time awa',
We met in mirth, we pairt in pain,
Good nicht and joy be wi' ye a'.

My nimble steed neighs at the yett,
My shooders roun' the plaid I throw,
I've clapt the spur upon my buit,
The guid braid bunnet on my brow.
The nicht is wearin' late I trow,
My hame lies mony a mile awa',
The mair's the need tae mount an' go,
Good nicht and joy be wi' ye a'.

Bring me the deochandorus gill,
'Twill licht a bouat in my e'r,
Through mirk nae fear that I gang will,
Drink doubly an' I'll doubly see.
Young lads an' lasses, tent ye me,
As hame ye daunder twa an' twa,
Love guide your gait, blin' though it be,
Good nicht and joy be wi' ye a'.

Glossary. sae, go. gate, road, distance. thrang, often. gar, make. ween, suppose. laith, loathe. fain, glad. dree, endure. ava, at all. pow, head. fidgin' fain, fidgeting excitedly. hizzies, light hearted young girls. yett, gate. buit, boot. trow, in truth. deochandorus gill, large farewell whisky (literally, a drink at the door).bouat, (bouet) sparkle (literally, a lantern). mirk, dark night. tent, listen to, heed.

This version is credited (by bothy ballads man John Ord to the Aberdeen poet John Imlah (1799-1846), of 'Whaur Gadie Rins' fame. Though he probably did write these words, Imlah didn't originate the song, as at least two versions were in print before he was born.


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: GUEST,Big Tim
Date: 15 Nov 08 - 08:06 AM

typo: sae, so.


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 15 Nov 08 - 09:16 AM

I listened to Paddy Graber's version many times as I was learning the words--each listening strikes me that his ghost is leaving the tavern, unseen by his companions.

SRS


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Marje
Date: 15 Nov 08 - 09:35 AM

Thanks for posting those lovely Scots words.

As for the more commonly sung version, I've always thought that its appeal was that (like a lot of the best songs) it would suit a variety of circumstances. Someone has to leave (he doesn't say why), and invites friends to share a final drink before the parting. He is going to miss them all, and one girl in particular.

He's not necessarily drunk, or for that matter dead or dying. But it could be a fitting song for various occasions, and that's part of its charm.

Marje


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Nov 08 - 12:27 PM

well there does seem to be an element of resignation. Resigning the company, and sad to be doing so - for whatever the reason - the party's over for this bloke, wouldn't you say?


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Nov 08 - 12:39 PM

Big tim, e'e instead of e'r, I think.


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: gnu
Date: 15 Nov 08 - 12:46 PM

Never saw it any other way but death. Great discussion.


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: trevek
Date: 15 Nov 08 - 01:07 PM

Big Tam, thanks for the Scots lyrics. While it seems to fit the 'Clancy' tune, is there also an alternative tune?

I took it that someone was leaving, perhaps for death or perhaps a journey (maybe to the army). I believe the Clacy's played it at some funerals of their number (Liam?.

When I was leaving the army I sang it to my friends at the Irish Pub in Dusseldorf before I left Germany.


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 15 Nov 08 - 01:16 PM

Several other sets of words, both Scottish and (later) Irish, are in other threads on this song (see links above). It has long been used as an all-purpose song of parting; as I've mentioned before ('origins' thread, with abc notation) the tune appeared in Gow's Repository of the Dance Music of Scotland, II, c.1802, p 76, with the comment 'This Tune is played at the Conclusion of every convivial Dancing meeting throughout Scotland.'

No particular reason to think that references to death or the army were ever intended, though of course the song in most of its forms is sufficiently general to be interpreted in that way if it suits the situation.


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Subject: Lyr Add: GOOD NIGHT AND JOY BE WI' YE A' (Boswell
From: GUEST,Big Tim
Date: 15 Nov 08 - 02:24 PM

Yet another version is by Sir Alexander Boswell (1775-1822) of Ayrshire. His version is quite different from the others, apparently written by a man close to death. In 'Scots Minstrelsie', John Greig says that the air was '[was] popular long before 1740'.

Good night, and joy be wi' ye a',
Your harmless mirth has cheered my heart,
May life's fell blasts oot o'er ye blaw,
In sorrow, may ye never pairt.
My spirit lives but strength is gone,
The hillside fires now blaze in vain,
Remember, sons, the deeds I've done,
And in your deeds, I'll live again.

When on yon moor, oor gallant clan,
Frae boasting foes, their banners tore,
Who showed himsel' a better man,
Or braver bore the red claymore?
But when in peace, then mark me there,
When through the glen the wanderer came,
I gave him o' oor hardy fare,
I gave him here a welcome hame.

The auld may speak, the young maun hear,
Be canty, but be guid and leal,
Your ain ills, aye ha'e heart tae bear,
Anither's, aye ha'e heart tae feel,
So ere I set, I'll see you shine,
I'll see you triumph ere I fa',
My parting breath shall boast ye mine,
Good night, and joy be wi' ye a'.

Glossary. fell, hard, testing. canty, cheerful. leal. loyal, true.

(Yes GUEST, should be e'ye (eye).


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Amos
Date: 15 Nov 08 - 06:02 PM

The key line is "since it has fallen to my lot that I should rise and you should not....".

I see no intent of mentioning death in this line. The word "to rise" means to rise in the world (by promotion to a city office, for example, or to a brigade somewhere, or some such) as much as it might to rise out of it by transcendent transmigration.

A


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Nov 08 - 06:16 PM

Big tim, e'e pronounced ee, wan ee twa een.


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 15 Nov 08 - 06:22 PM

'To rise' also (and more usually) means simply 'to stand up'. Often the simplest interpretation is the most likely.


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: RTim
Date: 15 Nov 08 - 07:47 PM

I am another singer who loves to play golf - and when I am in the mood, ie. when the sun is on my back! - I play at least 4 days a week!! Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: RTim
Date: 15 Nov 08 - 07:50 PM

I am going crazy..... I posted a message to the WRONG THREAD!!! maybe because we have just finished a bottle of Champagne to celebrate the birth of my second Granddaughter - Emmeline Constance...Hic Tim Radford.


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 15 Nov 08 - 10:30 PM

A fine sentiment---in all of them.

Art


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 12:07 AM

For those of us challenged by the dialects above, here it is in English, from the DT:

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

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

Oh, all the comrades that e'er I had
They're sorry for my going away
And all the sweethearts that 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'll gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be with you all





It is the poetics of the song that speak of death, in my estimation.

But since it falls unto my lot
That I should rise and you should not
I'll gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be with you all


This sounds like and reads like a departure not seen or heard by the others. Gently/softly sounds incorporeal. Ghostly. A spirit in the room, wishing a farewell to the friends who can't see him rise or hear the soft call.

SRS


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Amos
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 03:37 AM

Oh. Well it could be so. I had thought he had simply drunk everyone else under the table.


A


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: greg stephens
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 07:26 AM

I just imagine him standing up, saying cheerio and slipping quietly out and leaving his friends to drink on.Possibly he has got to relieve the babysitter, or the pre-booked taxi has arrived.


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 08:03 AM

Sorry Greg... I cannot see a bloke, whilst there is still drink to be had, rising from the table to go home and relieve the babysitter.

Not in my experience - either as babysitter or as mother!

LTS


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: gnu
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 09:32 AM

"They're sorry for my going away"

"They'd wish me one more day to stay"

"That I should rise and you should not"

He's gonna die.


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Megan L
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 09:39 AM

Behave the Scots are great at parting songs hell they have had plenty of practice. emmigration, the sea , wars and work. Not everything has to be about death.


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: gnu
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 10:35 AM

Rise. To heaven. Dead... as a nit.... as a doornail... takin a dirt nap... pushin up shamrocks...


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Ron Davies
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 10:40 AM

That's part of the appeal of this wonderful song--that it is open to so many different interpretations.


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 11:22 AM

I agree.


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: RTim
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 11:27 AM

I have to stay very focused and un-emotional when singing this song - or I dissolve into tears thinking about all my absent friends and family. Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Amos
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 11:54 AM

Going away from what? How about leaving a small town where he built friendships and had lovers, learned to kick a goal, learned to smoke and drink, and finally is leaving for a bigger city where his diligence has earned him a seat in a Large Corporation? Or a staff position in the London Constabulary? Or a sergeant's stripe in an Expeditionary Battalion? Or what have you-=-maybe he's rising by going to Amerikay?



A


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: gnu
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 11:55 AM

I agree. (Thought I could wind up Megan.)


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Marje
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 11:59 AM

As Malcolm says, the simplest interpretation is often the best - if you're all sitting together having a drink, and someone has to leave, they'll stand up (rise) before the others, and say goodbye. The song suggests a longer parting than just "see you all again next Friday", but the separation could be for all sorts of reasons. You don't have to be about to die to know, or hope, that people will miss you when you go.

Marje


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Claymore
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 12:18 PM

Though often sung in a minor key (usually Em),the Clancys sang it in a major key in full voice, especially in the greatist movie of all time, IMHO, the "Waking of Ned Devine" as the closing piece. As joyful an ending as one could want. It's an Irish indie flick from about 1998; the endimg is clearly about life. It says as much about the Irish as "Tunes of Glory" speaks of the Scots, and "The Englishman who went up a Hill and Down a Mountain" speaks to the Welsh sensibilities. Together with "Local Hero" a fine lot of viewing.

But I digress; sorry about the thread creep ;)


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 04:44 PM

I once heard a singer introducing this song say that the narrator was going to be hanged, which gives another meaning to the line, "That I should rise and you should not." I'm surprised no one else has suggested this interpretation.


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 05:23 PM

Why would they? It's completely barmy.


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 05:52 PM

I've just come back from a couple of weeks of 'online freedom' and looked at this thread. I can only endorse Malcom's last posting. It's merely a 'cheerio' song with many variants and closed a number of songbooks and meetings until Auld Lang Syne took over.


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 06:00 PM

I'm with Malcolm on this, but I'm also with SRS. There is no *logical* reason to associate the song with death, but the summing up of the speaker's life at the beginning, the sad melody, the introspection, and even the duration of the song can easily suggest - intentionally or otherwise - a regretful departure from something more meaningful than a beer bust.

Decades ago, when I first heard it, I associated "rise" with going to Heaven. There is no real contextual basis for this interpretation, but songs often inspire satisfyingly illogical feelings.


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 06:04 PM

"since it has fallen to my lot that I should rise and you should not...."

I always thought of this as a song for the the night before they hang you - "Whether on the scaffold high...

It's about parting anyway, and that can be for any reason and for any length of time.


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 06:59 PM

Though chances are that you're not sitting in a bar drinking with your chums the night before they're going to hang you. ;-D


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 07:05 PM

You'd have them in your cell, maybe, if you could arrange it. As in the case of The Night Before Larry was Stretched.


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Amos
Date: 16 Nov 08 - 08:59 PM

IT is fascinating to me how an abstract text poetically constructed induces such widely differing visions of the "inevitable" meaning to be taken. I know this was said before, but it striking what people inject in the willing framework of those indefinite poetic words. Doomed to hang? ABout to die? Off to the army? NEw job in another town?

There's no determinant in the song itself, so the difference must rise from the viewpoints doing the viewing of it.


A


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Rowan
Date: 17 Nov 08 - 04:35 PM

It fascinates me too, Amos. Malcolm has said it better than I could but I reckon it's the mark of a great poem (or song) that the simplicity of its expression allows wide variation in interpretation, which would mean it could be applied to a wide range of situations.

Early in Melbourne's folk scene revival it was routinely sang as the last song of the evening. While occasionally someone dropped off the perch most of us survived until the next gathering and I never heard anyone associate it with death/hanging/military service/ghostly presences departing or any of the other fates mentioned above.

Just a more melodic and expressive communal way of saying "Hooroo."

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: trevek
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 08:08 AM

how many songs about hanging speak of 'rising'? It's usually swinging or dropping.

Or are we to assume that the final drop is at the bottom of the Parting Glass.


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Snuffy
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 09:09 AM

Rowan,

I don't think I've ever said "hooroo". I assume it means something like bye-bye: is it an Aussie expression?


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Sue the Borderer
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 09:48 AM

I knew I'd heard the hanging theory before!
Just searched out an old (1964) LP called Scotch and Irish by Robin Hall and Jimmy MacGregor. The sleeve note says
"We use here a combination of the two Irish tunes but there are also several Scottish variants of this fine song. In Sir Walter Scott's "Scottish Minstrelsy" it is described as the farewell song of a murderer on the eve of his execution and contains the final line "I hope you're a' my friends as yet. Goodnight and joy be wi' ye all."

Can anyone access the "Scottish Minstrelsy" to check this out? I can't even listen to the LP to hear what they sing on it, but it does seem that Gerry's suggestion is perhaps not 'completely barmy.'

Sue


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 10:27 AM

See the 'origins' thread (links above) for some comments on the Scott business. The 'hanging' song was 'Johnie Armstrong', not 'Parting Glass'; there may be a link between the tunes, and a number of people over the years seem to have jumped to conclusions that aren't justified by such evidence as we have.


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: Megan L
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 10:29 AM

The problem with the hanged man theory is that even in those days it would be unlikely they would have let him nip down the alehouse the night before tae say tara tae his pals.


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Subject: RE: The Parting Glass, About what?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 18 Nov 08 - 12:41 PM

It's not really a matter of what a song is about, more often than not, it's to do with applicability. Rather the way that often wimding up some event on TV - a football match, or maybe some political story - they will often edit the pictures with some pre-existing song, and the song matches the mood and the images.
.......................

You clearly didn't open up the link in my previous post, Megan...


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