Friday, November 11, 2011


Oh, those priceless moments at 3:00 AM!

As I laid there in my semi-conscious stupor, contemplating the best position for additional sleep, the words to a song came to me from long ago.  Strangely, I remembered the lyrics and tune to the song, which I first heard circa 1964 on an album by the singing group, The Lettermen.

The name of the song is "The Whiffenpoof Song"; and, although I loved the tune and the harmony, I never understood the meaning.

So, after all these years, the question again popped into my mind---What does the song mean?

When I arose I immediately Googled this subject.  Here are the results of my search (and HEY!----I LEARNED SOMETHING TODAY!)

---A Whiffenpoof is an imaginary or indefinite animal, e.g. "The Great Horned Whiffenpoof"

---The Whiffenpoof Fish that forms the subject of a piece of comic dialogue in Victor Herbert's 1908 operetta, "Little Nemo"

---The Whiffenpoofs, the Yale University singing group founded in 1909 and named after the imaginary beast in Herbert's operetta

The A Capella Whiffenpoofs of Yale sing "The Whiffenpoof Song" as a traditional closing number in their performances.  The song was first published in 1909.

"Mory's" refers to Mory's Temple Bar.  "Louis" refers to Louis Linder, a former owner of the bar.

The chorus is from the poem "Gentlemen Rankers" by Rudyard Kipling.

The Whiffenpoofs tour all over the world and sing a variety of A Capella songs.

The Whiffenpoof Song

To the tables down at Mory's
To the place where Louis dwells
To the dear old Temple Bar we love so well
Sing the Whiffenpoofs assembled with their glasses raised on high
And the magic of their singing casts its spell

Yes, the magic of their singing of the songs we love so well
"Shall I Wasting" and "Mavourneen" and the rest
We will serenade our Louis while life and voice shall last
Then we'll pass and be forgotten with the rest

We're poor little lambs who have lost our way
Baa baa baa
We're little black sheep who have gone astray
Baa baa baa

Gentlemen songsters off on a spree
Doomed from here to eternity
Lord, have mercy on such as we
Baa baa baa......


  1. My parents loved this song. I suspect it was a regional and generational thing. They always played it on New Year's Eve. Rudee Vale, I believe put the song out there for the rest of America to hear. Thanks for the memory. Have a wonderful weekend. Blessings...Mary

  2. You sang this song beautifully this morning! I love this 3 AM inspiration coming to 'fruition' (that currently overused word :-) as your blog post today. I also loved the fact this song has your mother's unique middle name in it, Mavourneen. It is an Irish term of endearment for a girl or woman. It also means "marvelous beauty". I really enjoyed the singing on the YouTube. I learned something new today, too, thanks to you! ♥

  3. Never heard of it. I HAVE heard of "I'm the Slime" by Frank Zappa. Ever read those lyrics? Wooo!

  4. The Yale singing group is a really exciting bunch!

  5. As you so rightly say you learn something new every day, thanks for the song that is new to me.


  6. I enjoyed learning the history of something that makes me smile just saying the name of it- thanks!

  7. How beautiful!! The singers sound Irish? and what a funny name, I learnt something today. Bless you Clint.

  8. I enjoyed learning about this - I had never heard of it - and I don't know if I know what it is or not! sandie

  9. LOL "Clint" I have never heard this song, or even of the indeed I learned something today ...thanks for thu'learnin.
    Go have fun with your beautiful wife today

  10. Ok, when I am awake at 3AM tomorrow with that song in my head, I will hunt you down.
    Seriously, don't you love Google? Other wise unanswered questions keep us awake.
    Arkansas Patti

  11. I've never had that thought at 3:00 but I've sure had others. Thank the Lord for google!

  12. I sing with 14 other seniors at Rehab/Nursing and Retirement Homes and the Whiffenpoof song is part of a repertoire we are now learning. Having sung it before with a group I looked up the History to bring to rehearsal this morning. Thanks for an excellent review of this great group !! marje gillies