the devil, he may take you

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the devil, he may take you

Post by navi » Mon Nov 30, 2020 6:14 am

I first produced my pistol and I then produced my rapier
Saying stand and deliver or the devil, he may take you

Source:

http://www.countysongs.ie/song/whiskey-in-the-jar

I'd be surprise if you didn't know the song and the lyrics. It is a very famous Irish folk song that has been covered many times.

But what does' 'may' mean in that sentence? Does it indicate permission, or probability or...?

Gratefully,
Navi
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Re: the devil, he may take you

Post by Phil White » Mon Nov 30, 2020 2:47 pm

The lyric you reproduce for "Whiskey in the Jar" is the one used famously by Thin Lizzy and on most subsequent recordings.
There are many different variants of the lyrics, and most traditional Irish versions, including that of the Dubliners use a lyric similar to this for those two lines:
I first produced my pistol, and then produced my rapier.
Said stand and deliver, for I am a bold deceiver,
As far as the meaning of "may" in the Thin Lizzy version is concerned, I take it to mean something like "as far as I am concerned, the devil can have you" (in other words, "I will kill you"). But hey, it's a song lyric and it needs an unstressed syllable at that point. "May" is as good as anything as far as unstressed syllables go.

Chill and listen to one of the greatest rock guitar riffs of all time.
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Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

Re: the devil, he may take you

Post by navi » Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:28 am

Thank you very much for all your replies,

It is a wonderful song, and the Thin Lizzy version is truly great. I have listened to it many times. I will listen to it again right now, but that's just because you ordered me to! There are certain orders one just cannot disobey!

Respectfully,
Navi
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Re: the devil, he may take you

Post by Bobinwales » Fri Dec 11, 2020 11:35 pm

I haven't sung the song in years, but because I read your post I decided to find out if I still knew it. So I went into the room where I keep my instruments and played it.
I am sure that you will be pleased to know that I did remember!
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Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

Re: the devil, he may take you

Post by Phil White » Fri Dec 11, 2020 11:45 pm

Ah, but what words?
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Re: the devil, he may take you

Post by Bobinwales » Fri Dec 11, 2020 11:55 pm

The traditional ones, although in fairness Thin Lizzy's version was not that far off.
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Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

Re: the devil, he may take you

Post by navi » Sat Dec 12, 2020 8:30 am

Bobinwales wrote: Fri Dec 11, 2020 11:35 pm I haven't sung the song in years, but because I read your post I decided to find out if I still knew it. So I went into the room where I keep my instruments and played it.
I am sure that you will be pleased to know that I did remember!
Wonderful! You are very lucky. I can't play any instruments and can't sing either. If I could play and sing, I'd definitely learn that song.

The first line of the chorus is gibberish. It is just meaningless syllables thrown together. It think it goes something like 'wak fa ma da di yo There's whiskey in the jar-o;'.
I used to hear 'Work for my daddy-o. There's whiskey in the jar-o'' and I thought it meant: Work is for my old man. There's whiskey in the jar. (ie. work isn't for me! my father works, but I don't, I drink!) I had found meaning in something meaningless!
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Re: the devil, he may take you

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sat Dec 12, 2020 3:16 pm

navi wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 8:30 amI had found meaning in something meaningless!
You possess a useful superpower for parsing the utterances of many of today's politicians.
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Re: the devil, he may take you

Post by Bobinwales » Sat Dec 12, 2020 4:19 pm

I learned it as:
.
Wa sha rim ram a doo ram a day,
Whak for my daddio,
Whak for my daddio.
There’s whiskey in the jar.
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Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

Re: the devil, he may take you

Post by navi » Sat Dec 19, 2020 4:44 am

Erik_Kowal wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 3:16 pm
navi wrote: Sat Dec 12, 2020 8:30 amI had found meaning in something meaningless!
You possess a useful superpower for parsing the utterances of many of today's politicians.
Don't overestimate me!

The song has many versions, but all of them are good.

Thank you all very much,
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