Friday, December 31, 2010

Singing in the New Year

Before Robert Burns' "Auld Lange Syne" (1788) became popular, another farewell song took place of pride at leave-taking time at social gatherings.  "Goodnight and Joy Be with You All," now more commonly known as "The Parting Glass," was a traditional Irish or Scotch ballad.  Its evolution into its current "modern" incarnation is fascinating and very complicated; if you're interested in the history, check out this great page.  To summarize, with the specific tune and lyrics matched below, its first known appearance was in Henry Playford's 1700 Collection of Original Scotch Tunes; it was frequently republished and revised over the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, though a 1770 broadside ballad of the song is believed to be what more or less cemented it into the form most often performed by Irish and Scottish folk singers today.

Here's a link to the best version I could find online, though my absolute favorite is the rendition performed by the Jack Marshland character (played by Joe McFadden) in episode three of the BBC Cranford (2007).  Sadly, I can't find that one on YouTube, but it's track 17 on the Cranford soundtrack and you can hear a teeny preview of it on Amazon.

"Goodnight and Joy Be with You All"
(or, "The Parting Glass")

Oh all the money that e’er I had, I spent it in good company
And all the harm that e’er I’ve done, 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

Oh all the comrades that e’er I’ve had, they are sorry for my going away
And all the sweethearts that e’er I’ve had, they would 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 I’ll 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 enthralled
So fill to me the parting glass, good night and joy be with you all

My dearest dear, the time draws near when here no longer can I stay
There’s not a comrade I leave behind, but is grieving for my going away
But since it has so ordered been what is once past can’t be recalled
Now fill to me the parting glass, good night and joy be with you all

If I had money for to spend, If I had time to waste away
There is a fair maid in this town, I feign would while her heart away
With her rosy cheeks and dimpled chin, my heart she has beguiled away
So fill to me the parting glass, good night and joy be with you all

If I had money for to spend, I would spend it in her company
And all the harm that I have done, I hope it’s pardoned I will be
And all I’ve done for want of it to memory I can’t recall
So fill to me the parting glass, good night and joy be with you all

A man may drink and not be drunk, a man may fight and not be slain
A man may court a pretty girl and perhaps be welcomed back again
But since it has so ordered been by a time to rise and a time to fall
Come fill to me the parting glass, good night and joy be with you all.

The first three stanzas are the oldest and most commonly recited.  I haven't been able to trace the origins of the latter four.  There is also an older seventeenth-century song of the same title with a completely different tune and lyrics, though the sentiment is the same.

Although there are records of "Auld Lange Syne" being sung at New Year's celebrations long before in both Scotland, America, and around the world, Burns' song did not become synonymous with New Year's Eve tradition Stateside until a 1929 performance by Guy Lombardo.  I almost wish he had sung "Parting Glass" instead... :-)

So with that, Happy New Year everyone, and good night and joy be with you all.

5 comments:

lahbluebonnet said...

I have never heard of this song before. I thought Aud Lang Syne went waaaaayyyy back although I still can't figure that one out! ;) My husband always says it's such a depressing song for a new year.
Laurie

Robin's Egg Bleu said...

Beautiful blog! Glad I stumbled across it! Have a warm, cozy and safe New Year!
Take Care,
Robin

Placedelaconcorde said...

It is about time this version made it to youtube. Enjoy! Also, if you haven't, watch the movie that the Shaun Davey rendition comes from. Irish cinema at its finest!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKK4driU_Yo

P.S. Sorry about the quality, nothing I could do, the video I took it from was just like that.

0b8cbf70-c34f-11e2-8030-000bcdcb2996 said...

I had never heard this song until I was at a concert of Celtic Woman and they used it to close the show. Less than a week later I was watching a rerun of Brothers & Sisters and they used it to close the episode about closing the family business. Now less than another week I run into this site. 3 times in 3 weeks must mean something. Great song though.

0b8cbf70-c34f-11e2-8030-000bcdcb2996 said...

Now I just heard it again on the season 3 trailer for Walking Dead.
Good version.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_F4Cz8q_S2A