Parting Glass, The - Chords, Lyrics and Origins

Origins

This is the Irish version of a very old ballad that has its origins in Scotland. The Scottish version first appeared in an early seventeenth century collection of Scottish airs called the Skene Manuscript. Somewhat romantically, part of the first verse was included in a farewell letter written by a border Reiver who was about to be executed for the murder of Sir John Carmichael in 1600. Was the song inspired by the letter, or was the letter quoting from the song? If you know the answer, please post it in a comment at the bottom of this page.

This, though, is the Irish version of the song. It's often sung at the end of a concert or gathering, and sometimes, poignantly, in memory of a departed friend. It's one of those songs, frankly, that really hits me in the gut.

There are well-known versions of The Parting Glass by The Clancy Brothers, the Pogues, Cara Dillon and many others.  Bob Dylan used the tune for his song, "Restless Farewell".  The beautiful version in the youtube video is by The Wailin' Jennys.

The Wailin' Jennys' version is a cappella (voices, unaccompanied by instruments).  But for guitarists like me out there who feel naked without strumming the odd chord, try a single downstroke on each chord during the first verse.  Then build the song up.  You could fingerpick the chords in later verses for instance.

Fore more information about The Parting Glass see this Wikipedia article.

Chords

Capo at 4th Fret

    Am     F         C      G7

Of all the money e'er I spent,

   C                              G7


I spent it in good company.

      Am     F      C         G7

And all the harm e'er I've done,

  C    Am C       F

Alas! it    was to none but me.

      C   F   C           C      F C

And all I've done for want of wit

     F         Dm7 C        G7

To mem'ry now I can't recall

     Am   F        C         G7

So fill to me the parting glass

       C      F     C      F

Goodnight and joy be with you all.

 

 

     Am     F            C      G7

Oh, all the comrades e'er I had,

          C                             G7

They're sorry for my going away,

      Am     F              C      G7

And all the sweethearts e'er I had,

         C      Am C           F

They'd wish me one more day to stay,

     C      F C       C   F   C

But since it falls unto my lot,

       F          Dm7     C              G7

That I should rise and you should not,

  Am     F         C      G7

I gently rise and softly call,

        C      F     C      F

Good night and joy be with you all.



   Am   F        C             G7

If I had money enough to spend,

      C                           G7

And leisure time to sit awhile, 

        Am F           C        G7

There is a fair maid in this town, 

       C       Am     C         F

That sorely has my heart beguiled. 

     C  F C              C F  C

Her rosy cheeks and ruby lips,

  Am        F        C         G7

I own she has my heart in thrall, 

        Am   F         C        G7

Then fill to me the parting glass, 

         C     F    C        F

Good night and joy be with you all.

Lyrics

Of all the money e'er I spent,
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.

Other Irish Folk Songs
Other Traditional Folk Songs