William Edmondstoune Aytoun

(1813 - 1865 / Scotland)

The Broken Pitcher - Poem by William Edmondstoune Aytoun

It was a Moorish maiden was sitting by a well,
And what the maiden thought of, I cannot, cannot, tell,
When by there rode a valiant knight from the town of Oviedo,
Alphonso Guzman was he hight, the Count of Tololedo.

'Oh, maiden, Moorish maiden! why sitt'st thou by the spring?
Say, dost thou seek a lover, or any other thing?
Why dost thou look upon me, with eyes so dark and wide,
And wherefore doth the pitcher lie broken by thy side?'

'I do not seek a lover, thou Christian knight so gay,
Because an article like that hath never come my way;
And why I gaze upon you, I cannot, cannot tell,
Except that in your iron hose you look uncommon swell.

'My pitcher it is broken, and this the reason is -
A shepherd came behind me, and tried to snatch a kiss;
I would not stand his nonsense, so ne'er a word I spoke,
But scored him on the costard, and so the jug was broke.

'My uncle, the Alcaydé, he waits for me at home,
And will not take his tumbler, until Zorayda come:
I cannot bring him water - the pitcher is in pieces -
And so I'm sure to catch it, 'cos he wallops all his nieces'

'Oh maiden, Moorish maiden! Wilt thou be ruled by me?
Then wipe thine eyes and rosy lips, and give me kisses three;
And I'll give thee my helmet, thou kind and courteous lady,
To carry home the water to thy Uncle, the Alcaydé.'

He lighted down from off his steed line - he tied him to a tree -
He bent him to the maiden, and he took his kisses three;
'To wrong thee, sweet Zorayda, I swear would be a sin!'
And he knelt him at the fountain, and he dipped his helmet in.

Up rose the Moorish maiden - behind the Knight she steals,
And caught Alphonso Guzman in a twinkling by the heels:
She tipped him in and held him down beneath the bubbling water -
'Now, take thou that for venturing to kiss Al Hamet's daughter!'

A Christian maid is waiting in the town of Oviedo;
She waits the coming of her love, the Count of Tololedo;
I pray you all in charity, that you will never tell,
How he met the Moorish maiden beside the lonely well.


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 15, 2010



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