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How many is (are) brose?

Abby Sale 10 Aug 03 - 12:05 PM
Jim McLean 10 Aug 03 - 12:27 PM
GUEST,Q 10 Aug 03 - 01:20 PM
Uncle_DaveO 10 Aug 03 - 01:38 PM
Jim McLean 10 Aug 03 - 02:15 PM
GUEST,Q 10 Aug 03 - 02:57 PM
Shonagh 11 Aug 03 - 02:54 PM
GUEST,Q 11 Aug 03 - 03:32 PM
maple_leaf_boy 26 May 09 - 08:09 PM
curmudgeon 26 May 09 - 08:14 PM
maple_leaf_boy 26 May 09 - 09:35 PM
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Subject: How many is (are) brose?
From: Abby Sale
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 12:05 PM

So I'm singing the lovely (forlorn love?) song "Ye Hae Lien Wrang, Lassie" and I come to the lines:

When I first listened, I distinctly heard MacColl sing:

For ay the brose ye sup at e'en,
Ye bock the mair the morn, lassie.


And that makes sense to me - the more you eat at night (ie enjoy yourself) the more you'll be sick (ie regret it/have morning sickness) the next day - or soon).

But the text notes for the LP, from Merry Muses 1800, and agreeing with my Legman copy of it, actually give:

Ye bock them or the morn, lassie.

That makes almost as much sense but suggests that 'brose' is a simple plural (for broo?) and not a singular or collective noun (eg grass).

From Mudcat Scots Gloss (but my Chambers Scots Dictionary adds little pertinent [except the great epithet 'broseheid' which would be the exact equivalent of Puddin'Head.])

brose                  oatmeal dish
brose                 soup
Brose                 a thick mixture of meal and warm water; also a synonym
                for porridge.

Can any Scots logologists advise?


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Subject: RE: How many is (are) brose?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 12:27 PM

In Paisley, where I come from, my parents and folks of their age always referred to soup as 'thae soup were guid', i.e. those soup were good.
Maybe because of the many ingrediants, I don't really know, but soup was always spoken of as in the plural. Peasbrose, a common meal, was again spoken of as plural, not in this song though ....
Peasebrose again, Maw, peasebrose again,
Ye feed me like a craw, Maw, an' me yer only wean!
Jim McLean


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Subject: RE: How many is (are) brose?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 01:20 PM

Brose is the "modern" Scottish form of the old French broez, later browes, browis. Commonly treated as plural, like porridge, broth, etc.
In print by 1657, Whigs Supplic., "A bag which kept his meal for brose." Additional quotations in the OED.
Then there is athole brose- a mixture of whiskey and honey, mentioned by Sir Walter Scott and others.


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Subject: RE: How many is (are) brose?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 01:38 PM

Athol (no e) Brose is "brose" because it's thickened with oatmeal, if you can believe that! It's not bad.

Incidentally, that's "whisky", not "whiskey" if you're speaking of Scotch, which is the potable called for in Athol Brose.

Athol Brose was reputedly invented by an Earl of Athol, and was for many years considered a proprietary drink of the House of Athol. You were not allowed to use that term if you were not of the House of Athol.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: How many is (are) brose?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 02:15 PM

I checked in Brewer, The Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, and 'broso' is said th be Greek for 'to eat'


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Subject: RE: How many is (are) brose?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 10 Aug 03 - 02:57 PM

The early versions did contain meal. Here is a recipe for the one without meal: Athole Brose 2
Both Sir Walter Scott (1818) and Neil Gow (1840) spelled it Athole. This is followed in the OED.

Being American, I spell it whiskey, which also is the spelling used with the definition of athole brose in the Oxford English Dictionary.
The recipe is said to be very old (probably is) but there is no proof of the name "Athole brose" being applied before the 19th c. in writing.

The Stewarts of Athole descend from the natural sons of the Earl of Buchan, fourth son of Robert II of Scotland.
Also see Historic Earls and Earldoms of Scotland: Earldoms
The Athole Highlanders were the old 77th Highland Regiment of the late 18th century.

John Stewart was the first Earl of Athol (15th c.). I am not about to get into the problem of Athole vs. Athol (both ignorance and lack of interest on my part). Let the Scottish royalists fight over that. Whether any of these had anything to do with the Athole brose is unknown; the name may apply to the region near the Tay where the Atholes had lands.


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Subject: RE: How many is (are) brose?
From: Shonagh
Date: 11 Aug 03 - 02:54 PM

Brose was the common meal for all the bothy lads in the farms arounf the north east of scotland. its a mixture of oatmeal and either water or milk. if they were lucky they had cabbage or neeps mixed through it. yummy eh?! Pretty stodgy i reckon.

what they used to do, if they knew they would be out on the fields all day they made up a batch of brose, put it in a drawer in their kist and then cut slices whenever they were hungry!

at the start of their term (6 months work) the farmhands were given enough oatmeal to last them for the term. This was 6 and a half bolls which is around 30 bucketfulls! and if you think that they are having brose 3 times a day, its not an awful lot to live on! no wonder they were always hungry! dont fancy it much myself like.....!


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Subject: RE: How many is (are) brose?
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 11 Aug 03 - 03:32 PM

More brose recipes (and tales) here at Scotland On Line. (Note spelling Atholl)
Atholl brose


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Subject: RE: How many is (are) brose?
From: maple_leaf_boy
Date: 26 May 09 - 08:09 PM

I've been playing this one quite a bit, recently. It has a very pretty
melody. I have a question about it: Do more verses of lyrics exist
besides the chorus and the three in the DT page? I've looked on at
a couple of other sites, but they have the same version, though.


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Subject: RE: How many is (are) brose?
From: curmudgeon
Date: 26 May 09 - 08:14 PM

Sadly, most of Burns' songs, composed and collected, were not very long. But thy were mere lyrics and not ballads - Tom


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Subject: RE: How many is (are) brose?
From: maple_leaf_boy
Date: 26 May 09 - 09:35 PM

I see. I was just wondering, but I can probably just
repeat verse 1 at the end, or maybe an instrumental to let it stretch
a half a minute longer.
It's much too poetic for me to go ahead and write
a fourth verse. It'd ruin the song, if I tried to write one.


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