Monday, March 17, 2014

Finnegan's Wake



Tim Finnegan lived in Watling street
A gentleman Irish, mighty odd
He had a brogue both rich and sweet
And to rise in the world he carried a hod
You see he'd a sort of a tipplin' way
With a love for the liquor he was born
And to send him on his way each day,
He'd a drop of the craythur every morn'
   
    Whack fol' the dah will ya dance to your partner
    Round the floor your trotters shake
    Isn't it the truth I told ya?
    Lots of fun at Finnegan's wake

One morning Tim was rather full
His head felt heavy which made him shake
He fell off the ladder and he broke his skull
And they carried him home, his corpse to wake
Rolled him up in a nice, clean sheet
laid him out upon the bed
With a bottle of whiskey at his feet
And a barrel of porter at his head

    Whack fol' the dah will ya dance to your partner
    Round the floor your trotters shake
    Isn't it the truth I told ya?
    Lots of fun at Finnegan's wake

Well his friends assembled at the wake
And Mrs. Finnegan called for brunch
Well, first she brought them tea and cake
Then pipes, tobacco, and whiskey punch
Then the Widow Malone began to cry
"such a nice clean corpse did you ever see?"
" Tim, auvreen! Why did you die?"
"Will you hold yer gob?" says Molly McGee'

    Whack fol' the dah will ya dance to your partner
    Round the floor your trotters shake
    Isn't it the truth I told ya?
    Lots of fun at Finnegan's wake

Well, Mary Murphy took up the job
"Oh Biddy," says she, "you're wrong, I'm sure."
Well Biddy fetched her a belt in the gob
And left her sprawling on the floor
Then the war did then engage
'Twas woman to woman and man to man
Shillelagh law was all the rage
And a row and a ruction soon began

    Whack fol' the dah will ya dance to your partner
    Round the floor your trotters shake
    Isn't it the truth I told ya?
    Lots of fun at Finnegan's wake

Well Mickey Maloney ducked his head
When a bottle of whiskey flew at him
It missed, and landing on the bed
The whiskey scattered over Tim
Bedad revives, see how he rises!
Timothy risin' from the bed!
Sayin' "Throwin' your whiskey around like blazes,"
"Thanum an Dhul! do ye think I'm dead?"


It's author unknown, Finnegan's Wake is a music hall ballad that arose in mid-19th century Ireland. The song also provided James Joyce with the foundation for his last major work Finnegans Wake (without the possessive apostrophe) in 1939. Rife with Irish phrases unfamiliar to the English ear, the last part of Finnegan's Wake concludes with our protagonist Tim Finnegan saying, "Thanum an Dhul", which means "In the name of the devil."

On this St. Patrick's Day we toast Tim Finnegan and say, "Sláinte!"

Cheers!