Sunday, August 30, 2015

Landlord, Fill the Flowing Bowl

Landlord, fill the flowing bowl until it doth run over
Landlord, fill the flowing bowl until it doth run over
For tonight we'll merry be, for tonight we'll merry be,
For tonight we'll merry be -
Tomorrow we'll be sober

Here's to the man drinks water pure and goes to bed quite sober
Here's to the man drinks water pure and goes to bed quite sober
Falls as the leaves do fall, falls as the leaves do fall,
Falls as the leaves do fall -
He'll for before October

Here's to the man who drinks good ale and goes to bed quite mellow
Here's to the man who drinks good ale and goes to bed quite mellow
Lives as he ought to live, lives as he ought to live,
Lives as he ought to live -
And dies a jolly fellow

Here's to the maid who steals a kiss and runs to tell her mother
Here's to the maid who steaks a kiss and runs to tell her mother
She's a foolish, foolish thing, she's a foolish, foolish thing,
She's a foolish, foolish thing -
For she'll not get another

Here's to the maid who steaks a kiss and stays to steal another
Here's to the maid who steals a kiss and stays to steal another
She's a boon to all mankind, she's a boon to all mankind,
She's a boon to all mankind -
For she'll soon be a mother

So landlord, fill the flowing bowl until it doth run over
Landlord, fill the flowing bowl until it dith run over
For tonight we'll merry be, for tonight we'll merry be,
For tonight we'll merry be -
Tomorrow we'll be sober

 - trad. English. I first heard this song the way the Kingston Trio did it, but the words here are how I learned it in the SCA. They hew closely to those in Rise Up Singing, which is probably their source; the song is commonly said in that community to be of sixteenth century origin, but I am not aware of any source to back this up. It's certainly old, but in folk music that often proves to mean Victorian at best. It is my experience that, in the first/last verse, "merry" is customarily pronounced /'me.rai/, that is, with the second syllable sounding like "rye."

2 comments:

  1. Hmm, historical consensus anywhere?

    http://tunearch.org/wiki/Landlord_Fill_the_Flowing_Bowl has first publication in the 1880s.
    http://history.wiltshire.gov.uk/community/getfolk.php?id=758 says 1916.
    Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, Harding B 17(55a) had it around 1828 according to http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=66904 / http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/ballads/ballads.htm.

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    1. It's not surprising to occasionally find a much earlier source than the rest for a song, since there are often gaps in the record. I'm not surprised to find somebody pushing it back sixty years from what a reliable source says.

      Relevantly, it's not medieval (hence the "modern" tag, which I tend to apply to anything new enough for folklorists to have noticed it at the time). And, as noted, I'm pretty sure the words I'm used to hearing among SCA bards are specifically a result of the rather strong influence of Rise Up Singing (1988) on the modern American folk music world.

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