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The Weary Pund O Tow

The weary pund, the weary pund, The weary pund o' tow; I think my wife will end her life, Before she spin her tow. I bought my wife a stane o' lint, As gude as e'er did grow, And a' that she has made o' that Is ae puir pund o' tow. There sat a bottle in a bole, Beyont the ingle low; And aye she took the tither souk, To drouk the stourie tow. Quoth I, For shame, ye dirty dame, Gae spin your tap o' tow! She took the rock, and wi' a knock, She brak it o'er my pow. At last her feet - I sang to see't! Gaed foremost o'er the knowe, And or I wad anither jad, I'll wallop in a tow. The weary pund, the weary pund, The weary pund o' tow; I think my wife will end her life, Before she spin her tow.


David Rintoul

About this work

This is a song by Robert Burns. It was written in 1792 and is read here by David Rintoul.

More about this song

Perhaps one of Burns' finest strengths as a poet was to approach everyday occurrences and gild them with humour and keenness of vision to elevate them from mere ordinary happening. The comedic The Weary Pund O' Tow, published in Scots Musical Museum in 1792, is no exception.

Tow is a flax-fibre which must be treated, beat, and combed before the fibre is ready for spinning into cloth - an arduous process before final results. The husband persona clearly laments here on the domestic lassitude of his partner, chiding her for her lack of locomotion in every stanza and repeatedly in every chorus; the goodwife, however, does not take his 'gentle reminder' well, clouting him over the head with the very object under consideration.

Perhaps the slowness of the air's tempo might suggest a sweet tilting love song, or a soft mournful ballad, but this only ironically emphasizes Burns' humorous lyrics.

Lisa Harrison

Themes for this song

marriage drink

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