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Duncan Ban MacIntyre
The Song of the Bottle


This is the most elaborate of Macintyre's drinking songs. Unlike Alexander MacDonald's "Bottle" song, it is not complicated by political opinions or propaganda. It is a clever, humorous composition and appropriately merry in the rollicking second half of each stanza.

When we sit at our ease
and dispose of a bottle,
our stock will not miss
the sum we put down;
with the joy of the cup
will come honour and fortune,
so why not be tipsy
before we desist?

The elegant stuff
will make us sing tunefully,
its delight put eloquence
into our speech;
the right sweet liquor
assuaged our thirst,
and we should be doleful,
were it not to be found.

A toast to the heroes,
the affable Gaels,
who were wont, as a custom,
to be quaffing the dram;
lovers of the tasty stuff,
who, stiff though the score be,
would not stint the scattering
of their wealth at such time.

The man who has means
will get all he wishes;
let the man who is frugal
remain over there;
the man who is niggardly,
we will not tolerate,
and the man who is genial
will be swept to our side.

Most princely the product,
potent flow of distilling—
a balm that will soften
the heart that is mean;
it would make blithe
the man who was mettlesome,
and banish the churl
from the man who was close.

There is not in the land
a gentle or common man,
that does not crave
for each merit it has;
though there be strife
about rearing the family,
how can we manage
to abstain from the dram?

To the body ‘tis cooling
each day of sunshine,
when heat from the skies comes
over highlands of peaks;
‘tis good for a frosty day,
to put warmth in the pores
of the man who will choose
to dash to the inn.

It will impart cheer
to a comely company—
some round the table,
while some of them dance;
we should raise a lively tune
and melodies,
and responsively sing
the refrain of each verse.

Since we have sat on so long
and have drunk all we had,
the right course is to go to bed,
as the time has arrived.
Only plenty would serve
to give joy to our spirit,
a long drink in the morning
as a cure for our heads.

It will put verve
in the man that lacks energy,
and cheer up the heart
of each man that is faint;
the sick man becomes
gaily frolicsome:
the cure of each ailment
is the nectar of dram.


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