The Broom of Cowdenknows

No: 217; variant: 217D

  1. O BONNIE May is to the yowe-buchts gane, For to milk her daddie’s yowes, And ay she sang, and her voice it rang Out-ower the tap o the knows, knows, knowes, Out-owr the tap o the knowes.
  2. Ther cam a troop gentilmen, As they were rydand by, And ane o them he lichtit doun, For to see May milkand her kye.
  3. ‘Milk on, milk on, my bonnie lass, Milk on, milk on,’ said he, ‘For out o the buchts I winna gang Till ye shaw me owr the lee.’
  4. ‘Ryde on, ryde on, ye rank rydars, Your steeds are stout and strang, For out o the yowe-buchts I winna gae, For fear that ye do me some wrang.’
  5. He took her by the milk-white hand, And by the green gown-sleive, And thare he took the will o her, Bot o her he askit nae leive.
  6. But whan he gat his will o her He loot her up again, And a’ this bonny maid said or did Was, Kind sir, tell me your name.
  7. He pou’t out a sillar kame, Sayand, Kame your yellow hair; And, gin I be na back in three quarters o a year, It’s o me ye’ll see nae mair.
  8. He pu’t out a silken purse And he gied her guineas thrie, Saying, Gin I may na be back in three quarters o a year, It will pay the nourice fee.
  9. He put his fut into the stirrup And rade after his men, And a’ that his men said or did Was, Kind maister, ye’ve taiglit lang.
  10. ‘I hae rade east, I hae rade wast, And I hae rade owr the knowes, But the bonniest lassie that I ever saw Was in the yowe-buchts, milkand her yowes.’
  11. She put the pail upon her heid, And she’s gane merrilie hame, And a’ that her faither said or did Was, Kind dochter, ye’ve taiglit lang.
  12. ‘Oh, wae be to your men, faither, And an ill deth may they die! For they cawit a’ the yowes out-owre the knowes, And they left naebody wi me.
  13. ‘There cam a tod unto the bucht, The like I never saw, And afore that he took the ane that he took, I wad leifar he had tane ither twa.
  14. ‘There cam a tod unto the bucht, The like I never did see, And, ay as he spak, he liftit his hat, And he had a bonnie twinkland ee.’
  15. It was on a day, and it was a fine simmer day, She was cawing out her faither’s kye, There cam a troup o gentilmen, And they rade ways the lass near by.
  16. ‘Wha has dune to you this ill, my dear? Wha has dune to you this wrang?’ And she had na a word to say for hersell But, ‘Kind sir, I hae a man o my ain.’
  17. ‘Ye lie, ye lie, bonnie May,’ he says, ‘Aloud I hear ye lie! For dinna ye mind yon bonnie simmer nicht Whan ye war in the yowe-buchts wi me?
  18. ‘Licht doun, licht doun, my foremaist man, Licht doun and let her on, For monie a time she cawit her faither’s kye, But she’ll neir caw them again.
  19. ‘For I am the laird o Ochiltree Wawis, I hae threttie pleuchs and thrie, And I hae tane awa the bonniest lass That is in a’ the north countrie.’