The Broom of Cowdenknows

No: 217; variant: 217A

  1. THERE was a troop of merry gentlemen Was riding atween twa knows, And they heard the voice of a bonny lass, In a bught milking her ews.
  2. There’s ane o them lighted frae off his steed, And has ty’d him to a tree, And he’s gane away to yon ew-bught, To hear what it might be.
  3. ‘O pity me, fair maid,’ he said, ‘Take pity upon me; O pity me, and my milk-white steed That’s trembling at yon tree.’
  4. ‘As for your steed, he shall not want The best of corn and hay; But as to you yoursel, kind sir, I’ve naething for to say.’
  5. He’s taen her by the milk-white hand, And by the green gown-sleeve, And he as led her into the ew-bught, Of her friends he speerd nae leave.
  6. He as put his hand in his pocket, And given her guineas three: ‘If I dinna come back in half a year, Then luke nae mair for me.
  7. ‘Now show to me the king’s hie street, Now show to me the way; Now show to me the king’s hie street, And the fair water of Tay.’
  8. She showd to him the king’s hie street, She showd to him the way; She showd him the way that he was to go, By the fair water of Tay.
  9. When she came home, her father said, ‘Come, tell to me right plain; I doubt you’ve met some in the way, You have not been your lain.’
  10. ‘The night it is baith mist and mirk, You may gan out and see; The night is mirk and misty too, There’s nae body been wi me.
  11. ‘There was a tod came to your flock, The like I neer did see; When he spake, he lifted his hat, He had a bonny twinkling eee.’
  12. When fifteen weeks were past and gane, Full fifteen weeks and three, Then she began to think it lang For the man wi the twinkling eee.
  13. It fell out on a certain day, When she cawd out her father’s ky, There was a troop of gentlemen Came merrily riding by.
  14. ‘Weel may ye sigh and sob,’ says ane, ‘Weel may you sigh and see; Weel may you sigh, and say, fair maid, Wha’s gotten this bairn wi thee?’
  15. She turned her sel then quickly about, And thinking meikle shame, ‘O no, kind sir, it is na sae, For it has a dad at hame.’
  16. ‘O hawd your tongue, my bonny lass, Sae loud as I hear you lee! For dinna you mind that summer night I was in the bught wi thee?’
  17. He lighted off his milk-white steed, And set this fair maid on; ‘Now caw out your ky, good father,’ he said, ‘She’ll neer caw them out again.
  18. ‘I am the laird of Knottington, I’ve fifty plows and three; I’ve gotten now the bonniest lass That is in the hale country.’