Leather Bottel, The
DESCRIPTION: The stoppered leather bottle is better than any open container. It is better than a silver flagon, which is likely to be stolen. The leather bottle is preferred by many. When old it can be used to patch shoes or to hold odds and ends.
AUTHOR: John Wade (source: Ebsworth and Bodleian Wood E 25(56))
EARLIEST DATE: c.1662 (Ebsworth); before 1675 (broadside, Bodleian Douce Ballads 1(119b))
LONG DESCRIPTION: The leather bottle with the stopper in is better than a can, glass, pot or tankard, which can spill. It is better than a silver flagon, which is likely to be stolen. The leather bottle is preferred by field-workers and hunters. When old it can be used to patch shoes or to hold odds and ends.
KEYWORDS: farming harvest hunting drink nonballad
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South))
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Dixon-Peasantry, Song #23, pp. 208-210, "The Leathern Bottel" (1 text)
Bell-Combined, pp. 423-424, "The Leathern Bottle" (1 text)
Williams-Thames, pp. 244-245, "The Leather Bottel" (1 text) (also Wiltshire-WSRO Ox 240)
ADDITIONAL: J Woodfall Ebsworth, The Roxburghe Ballads, (Hertford, 1888 ("Digitized by Microsoft")), Vol. VI Part 3 [Part 18], pp. 467-473, "A Song in Praise of the Leather Bottel" (1 text))
John Ashton, _A Century of Ballads_, Elliot Stock, London, 1887; reprinted 1968 by Singing Tree Press, pp. 181-184, "A Song in Parise of the Leather Bottel" (1 text)
Bodleian, Douce Ballads 1(119b)[some words cropped], "A Pleasant New Song in Praise of the Leather [Bottel]" ("God above that made all things"), R. Burton (London), 1641-1674; also Wood E 25(56), "A Pleasant New Song in Praise of the Leather Bottell"; Harding B 2(37), Harding B 2(38), "A Song in Praise of the Leather Bottle"
cf. "The Bottel-Makers Delight" (tune, per Bodleian Douce Ballads 1(119b))
NOTES: Williams-Thames: "I have heard of it in every quarter of the Upper Thames Valley, though I have met with no one who could recite the piece complete. By carefully noting and comparing the different verses and inquiring as to the number of them, and the vessels introduced, I ultimately arrived at the following, which was the version most in use here."
The Ebsworth and Bodleian texts have eleven verses. The later Dixon and Williams-Thames texts introduce no additional verses though Williams-Thames adds a chorus.
The verses are not of uniform length. They are comprised of rhyming couplets. Excluding the chorus couplet, "I wish in heaven his soul may dwell, That first invented the leather bottle," the Ebsworth text has verses of three to seven couplets, Dixon's verses are three or four couplets, and Williams-Thames are all 3 couplets and a chorus adding a couplet of its own.
Although the verses are not uniform in length, the shared couplets make it easy to identify the shared verses. Here is how the verses are distributed, by subject:
- introduction: -- Ebsworth, Dixon, Williams-Thames
- compare cans of wood: -- Ebsworth
- compare glasses: -- Ebsworth, Dixon, Williams-Thames
- compare pots or tankards: -- Ebsworth, Dixon
- compare silver flaggons: -- Ebsworth, Williams-Thames
- leather bottle is good: -- Ebsworth, Williams-Thames
- used by scythe-men: -- Ebsworth
- use by hay-makers: -- Ebsworth, Williams-Thames
- use by corn-stackers: -- Ebsworth
- use by hunters: -- Ebsworth, Williams-Thames
- when the bottle is old: -- Ebsworth, Dixon, Williams-Thames - BS
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