FINNEGANS WAKE“Finnegan’s Wake” is a ballad that arose in the 1850s in the music–hall tradition ofcomical Irish songs.It is famous for being the basis of James Joyce‘s masterwork, Finnegans Wake, where thecomic resurrection becomes symbolic of a universal cycle of life. Whiskey, whichbrought both Finnegan’s fall and his resurrection, is derived from Irish “uisce beatha”meaning “water of life.” So too, the word “wake” is both of a passing and of a new rising.Joyce removed the apostrophe in the title to assert an active process in whichmultiplicities of “Finnegans,” that is, all of us, wake, i.e., arise after falling. It alsofeatured as the climax of the primary storyline in Philip José Farmer‘s award-winningnovella, Riders of the Purple Wage. The song is a staple of the Irish folk-music group,The Dubliners, who have played it on many occasions and included it on several albums.Tim Finnegan lived in Walkin StreetA gentle Irishman, mighty odd;He’d a beautiful brogue so rich and sweetAnd to rise in the world he carried a hod.Now, Tim had a bit of the tipplin’ wayWith a love for the liquor poor Tim was bornAnd to help him on with his work each dayHe’d a “drop of the Craythur every morn.Chorus:Whack fol the dah O, dance to your partnerWelt the floor, your trotters shake;Wasn’t it the truth I told youLots of fun at Finnegan’s wake!One mornin’ Tim was rather fullHis head felt heavy which made him shake;He fell from the ladder and broke his skullAnd they carried him home his corpse to wake.They rolled him up in a nice clean sheetAnd laid him out upon the bed,A gallon of whiskey at his feetAnd a barrel of porter at his head.ChorusHis friends assembled at the wakeAnd Mrs. Finnegan called for lunch,First she brought in tay and a cakeBiddy O’Brien began to cry“Such a nice clean corpse, did you ever see?“O Tim, mavourneen, why did you die?”“Arragh, hold your gob” cried Paddy McGee!ChorusThen Maggie O’Connor took up the job“O Biddy,” says she, “You’re wrong, I’m sure”Biddy she gave her a belt in the gobAnd left her sprawlin’ on the floor.And then the war did soon engage‘Twas woman to woman and man to man,Shillelagh law was all the rageAnd a row and a ruction soon began.ChorusThen Mickey Maloney ducked his headWhen a noggin of whiskey flew at him,It missed, and falling on the bedThe liquor scattered over Tim!Tim revives! See how he rises!Tim he rises from the dead,Says, “Whirl your whiskey around like blazes”“Thanum an Dhul, do you think I’m dead?”Chorus
Then pipes, tobacco’ and whiskey punch.