The Leather Bottel
A New Academy of Complements (London: Thomas Rooks, 1671). Wing 529.
1 Now God alone that made all things,
2Heaven and earth and all that's in,
3The ships that in the seas do swim
4To keep out foes from coming in,
5Then every one does what he can,
6All for the good and use of man:
7 And I wish in Heaven his soul may dwell
8 That first devis'd the leather bottel.
9 Now what d'ye say to cans of wood?
10Faith, they're naught, they cannot be good;
11For when a man for beer doth send,
12To have them fill'd he doth intend;
13The bearer stumbles by the way
14And on the ground the beer doth lay;
15Then doth the man begin to ban,
16And swears 'twas long o' the wooden can;
17But had it been in a leather bottel
18It had not been so, for all had been well,
19And safe therein it would remain
20Until the man got up again:
21 And I wish in Heaven his soul may dwell,
22 That first devis'd the leather bottel.
23 What do you say to glasses fine?
24Faith, they shall have no praise of mine;
25For when a man's at table set
26And by him several sorts of meat,
27The one loves flesh, the other fish,
28Then with your hand remove a dish,
29Touch but the glass upon the brim,
30The glass is broke, and naught left in,
31The table-cloth though ne'er so fine
32Is soil'd with beer, or ale, or wine,
33And doubtless for so small abuse
34A servant may his service lose:
35 But I wish in Heaven his soul may dwell,
36 That first devis'd the leather bottel.
37 What say you to the handled pot?
38No praise of mine shall be its lot;
39For when a man and wife's at strife,
40As many have been in their life,
41They lay their hands upon it both
42And break the same although they're loth;
43But woe to them shall bear the guilt,
44Between them both the liquor's spilt,
45For which they shall answer another day,
46Casting so vainly their liquor away;
47But if it had been leather-bottel'd,
48One might have tugg'd, the other have held,
49Both might have tugg'd till their hearts should break,
50No harm the leather bottel could take:
51 Then I wish in Heaven his soul may dwell,
52 That first devis'd the leather bottel.
53 What say you to flagons of silver fine?
54Why, faith, they shall have no praise of mine;
55For when a lord for sack doth send,
56To have them fill'd he doth intend,
57The man with the flagon runs away
58And never is seen after that day;
59The lord then begins to swear and ban
60For having lost both flagon and man;
61But had it been either by page or groom
62With a leather bottel it had come home:
63 And I wish in Heaven his soul may dwell,
64 That first devis'd the leather bottel.
65 And when this bottel is grown old
66And that it will no longer hold,
67Out o' the side you may cut a clout
68To mend your shoes when they're worn out;
69Then hang the rest up on a pin,
70'Twill serve to put odd trifles in,
71As rings, and awls, and candles' ends,
72For young beginners have such things:
73 And I wish in Heaven his soul may dwell
74 That first devis'd the leather bottel.
Publication Start Year:
RPO poem Editors:
N. J. Endicott
2RP.1.512; RPO 1996-2000.