"THE BROKEN BOWL
AS RECITED BY A. ROBB, LATE OF THE 42nd REGIMENT
SCOTCH RECITER AND STORY TELLER.
WHAUR Neidpath's wa's wi'pride look doon
Upon a guid auld burgh toun,
Amang the guid auld freen's o' mine-
Amang the sib as sib could be-
But weel I wat ye sune sall see
She wasna ae drap's bluid tae me.
Ane o' the awfu' cleanin' kind,
That clean folk clean out o' their'mind :
An' aften as we've' seen betide,
Clean guid men frae their ain fireside.
A fykie, fashious, yammerin' yaud,
That cud the gear fu' steevely haud ;
An ill-set sour ill-willy wilk-
She had a face 'twad yearned milk,
Forbye a loud ill-scrapit tongue
As ere in harmless heid was hung.
To grin an' growl, to work an' flyte,
Was aye the ill-spun wisp's delight ;
0 heaven, I'm sure that Tibbie's meanin'
Was'ae great everlastin' cleanin'.
Frae morn tae nicht she ne'er was still-
Her life was like a teugh tread-mill.
She was jist like an evil-speerit,
She ne'er cud settle for a minute,
But when a dud she made or clootit,
Then a-' the toun wad hear about it
Whene'er folk couldna keep her clues,
She heckled them about their views ;
But when the wrath began to boil,
She grew real fear't about their sowl.
'Twas queer (but nocht sae queer as folk)
An' to the workin' she wad yoke
Thro' perfect spite an' fair ill-natur';
An' the deil's buckie o' a cratur'
Was o' the pipe a mortal hater.
John, honest man, had aye tae hap,
For peace sake, o'er the weeshen stap ;
But e'er the lintel he wad pass,
'Twas, ' Man, for gudesake, min' the bass
Tak' care o' this, tak' care O 'that,
Haud aff the hearth noo when it's wat,
When ance it's dry, syne tak' a heat;
Tak' care, man, whaur ye set your feet!
Fa' tae yer parritch, an' beware
Ye let nae jaups fa' on the flare ;
Weel o'er the bicker haud yer snout,
Nor fyle my weel-washed table clout.
To toil, noo, 'deed I'm no sae able,
Keep yer black dottle aff the table !
Wae's me ! but ye hae little thocht-
Ye never think hoo sair I'm wrocht
To hae things richt when hame ye come-
(Confound ye ! smoke it up the lum !)
Some men wad hae the sense tae say,
Ye'er sair forfouchen like the day-
Puir body ! 'od I'm sure ye're wearit,-
The like o' that wad gie ane speerit.
But you, whene'erye've clawed your croggie
Ye mak' this house a fair killogie.
Inower the door there's no a steek
But's pushioned wi' yer 'bacca reek ;
An' tho' I clocher till I'm chokin',
I winna' pit ye past yer smokin'.
What needs I toil ? what needs I care ?
Ye've blawn mair siller i' the air
Than wad hae built a house an' mair,
Yer neist gudewife 'll mend the matter-
She'll no be sic a tholin cratur';
She'll gie yer weel-hained gear the air,
My certie, man, she'll kaim yer hair !
An' wi' the saut blab in yer e'e,
Ye'll mind the patience I've haen wi' ye.
Dae ye want tae scomfish me ootricht ?
Ye've ne'er laid doon the pipe the nicht;
For a' I've said ye're never heedin'-
Begin, ye scoondrel, tae the readin'!'
Owre weel John kenned his his house was
An' keepit like a new-made preen ;
That a' frae end to end was bright,
For Tibbie toiled frae morn to nicht,
So he, to hain the weary wark,
Ance hired a lassie stout and stark-
A snod bit lassie, fell an' clever ;
But Tibbie was as thrang as ever.
Nae suner was the cleanin' through,
Than cleanin' just began anew.
Noo, on a bink, in stately pride,
Her favoured bowls stood side by side;
Braw painted bowls, baith big an' bonny-
Bowls that were never touched by ony :
For they were honoured vessels a',
And servile wark they never saw;
Save when a dainty she was makin'.
She whiles took ane her meal to draik in.
Ae day the lasssie, a' thing richtin',
Wi' canny care the bowls are dichtin',
An', puir thing ! tho' her care increases,
She braks ane in a thoosand pieces.
'What's that?' screeched Tibbie, ' Losh
preserve us !
Is this the way the fremyt serves us ?
De'il speed the fummilin' fingers o' ye-
Ower Cuddy Brig I'll tak' an' throw ye,
Ye glaikit good-for-naething jaud.
Ye'll break us out o' house an' haud,
My fingers yuke to hae ye whakit-
Tell me, ye cutty, hoo ye brak it ?
Ye donnert slut! ye 'thoughtless idiot!
Tell me this minute hoo ye did it ?
In 'Embro' toun thae bowls were coft,
An' sax-an-twenty miles were brocht,
Weel packit up an' kindly carrit
An' gien tae me when I was marrit,
In name o' a' that e'er was wrackit,
In a' tho 'warl', hoo did ye brak-it !'
The lassie sabbit lang an" sair,
But Tibbie's tongue cud never spare ;
Loud was its clear an' wrathfu' tenor,
When in John stappit to his dinner-
An' as he drew inower his seat,
Her tongue brak ower him like a spate;
He heard o' a' the sad disaster,
An' aye the tongue gaed fast an' faster;
An' aye cam' the ither growl-
Lassie hoo did ye brak the bowl!'
Wheesht ! wheesht I quo' John, nae mair
Odd sake ! ye've plenty mair without it.
But ere anither word was spoken-
Wi' face thrawn like a weel wrung stockin'-
She squeeled-'D'ye want to brak my heart?
Ye monster ! will ye tak' her part ?
Is this my thanks for a' my toil ?
Hoo cud the gipsy brak my bowl ?'
Patient John heard the endless clack ;
Till his twa lugs were like to crack ;
An' risin', stappit to the shelf
Whaur whummilt stood the gaucie delf
An' lookin' ower the precious raw,
He raised the biggest o' them a',
An', without steerin' aff the bit,
Clash let the bowl fa' at his fit;
An' as the frichtit flinders flew
Quoth he, 'Ye ken the way o't'noo,
For sure as I'm a leevin sowl,
That's hoo the lassie brak the bowl'
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Probable date published:
1860- shelfmark: APS.4.94.3
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