"The Parting Glass" as written by and Ed Sheeran....
Of 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 mem'ry now I can't recall
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all.

Of all the comrades that e'er I had,
They are sorry for my going away,
And all the sweethearts that e'er I 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.

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 welcome back again.
But since it has so ought to be,
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.
Good night and joy be with you all.


Lyrics submitted by Lixe, edited by akmd1998, november6

The Parting Glass song meanings
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6 Comments

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  • +9
    My InterpretationI know it's supposed to be a drinking song that was (as the story goes, at least) composed by a travelling Scot-- the "gently rise and softly call" part is him saying goodbye to his companions that were at the inn as he leaves, and the "parting glass" is that one more for the road type deal-- but I can't help but think of an alternate meaning every time I hear it.

    It always reminds me of death. In my mind, the singer knows he's going to die and recalls his life. Maybe he's an old man on his deathbed or a soldier bleeding out. Either way, as he goes, he's content and happy with what he's done, even though his comrades "will be sorry for my going away" and his sweethearts would "wish me one more day to stay."

    When he "gently rises" and goes into the "night" of death, it's bittersweet, but he doesn't want anyone to be sad that he's gone. So he wishes them joy, and passes on.

    I know it's not really the "real" meaning, but it just really seems to fit to me.

    Also, Ed's performance of this is fantastic, I have to say.
    november6on December 31, 2012   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationI would like to agree, this song evokes a sense of mourning to me. It is Irish tradition, when a father, brother, or lifelong friend dies, to go out with a group of other close men and have a drink.
    I can't help but picturing a group of Irish men dressed in their Sunday best on an Irish cliff, arms raising a glass of Irish whiskey to the sea. They look back and remember the time spent with their loved one.
    I recall upon when my uncle passed away just over a year ago. My father, uncles, grand uncles, and cousins, as well as his best friends were in Prince Edward Island. This is where all my family has lived. He grew up in Ct, however always visited and worked on the farm there. We went out to the middle of a hay field with a bottle of whiskey and each drank a swig to the memory of a great man.
    I believe this song is touching upon this tradition.
    LiamGranton June 06, 2013   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationReminds me of a 'last call' song, or like an old Irish poem.
    blymehon June 19, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem used it to close their performance at Carnegie Hall in 1962. Lovely live album by the way.

    I agree with november6. I've always had the sense of a bittersweet wake song.
    kevino7on September 08, 2014   Link
  • -1
    General CommentWell, actually it was written and used in the movie The Waking of Ned Devine about a guy who dies in a small Irish village leaving behind a winning lottery ticket for about $7 million pounds. So the song is really about his last words to people in the village saying to raise a glass in his honor.

    The movie is terrific and the song absolutely fitting,
    robbejtxon February 10, 2014   Link
  • -2
    General CommentWritten 1988 by Shaun Davy.
    robbejtxon February 10, 2014   Link

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