Treasure Island

Anonymous Americas

(1000-1950 / United States)

The Leather Bottel


Now God alone that made all things,
Heaven and earth and all that's in,
The ships that in the seas do swim
To keep out foes from coming in,
Then every one does what he can,
All for the good and use of man:
And I wish in Heaven his soul may dwell
That first devis'd the leather bottel.

Now what d'ye say to cans of wood?
Faith, they're naught, they cannot be good;
For when a man for beer doth send,
To have them fill'd he doth intend;
The bearer stumbles by the way
And on the ground the beer doth lay;
Then doth the man begin to ban,
And swears 'twas long o' the wooden can;
But had it been in a leather bottel
It had not been so, for all had been well,
And safe therein it would remain
Until the man got up again:
And I wish in Heaven his soul may dwell,
That first devis'd the leather bottel.

What do you say to glasses fine?
Faith, they shall have no praise of mine;
For when a man's at table set
And by him several sorts of meat,
The one loves flesh, the other fish,
Then with your hand remove a dish,
Touch but the glass upon the brim,
The glass is broke, and naught left in,
The table-cloth though ne'er so fine
Is soil'd with beer, or ale, or wine,
And doubtless for so small abuse
A servant may his service lose:
But I wish in Heaven his soul may dwell,
That first devis'd the leather bottel.

What say you to the handled pot?
No praise of mine shall be its lot;
For when a man and wife's at strife,
As many have been in their life,
They lay their hands upon it both
And break the same although they're loth;
But woe to them shall bear the guilt,
Between them both the liquor's spilt,
For which they shall answer another day,
Casting so vainly their liquor away;
But if it had been leather-bottel'd,
One might have tugg'd, the other have held,
Both might have tugg'd till their hearts should break,
No harm the leather bottel could take:
Then I wish in Heaven his soul may dwell,
That first devis'd the leather bottel.

What say you to flagons of silver fine?
Why, faith, they shall have no praise of mine;
For when a lord for sack doth send,
To have them fill'd he doth intend,
The man with the flagon runs away
And never is seen after that day;
The lord then begins to swear and ban
For having lost both flagon and man;
But had it been either by page or groom
With a leather bottel it had come home:
And I wish in Heaven his soul may dwell,
That first devis'd the leather bottel.

And when this bottel is grown old
And that it will no longer hold,
Out o' the side you may cut a clout
To mend your shoes when they're worn out;
Then hang the rest up on a pin,
'Twill serve to put odd trifles in,
As rings, and awls, and candles' ends,
For young beginners have such things:
And I wish in Heaven his soul may dwell
That first devis'd the leather bottel.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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