The Broom of Cowdenknows

No: 217; variant: 217G

  1. O THE broom, and the bonny, bonny broom, And the broom of the Cowdenknows! And aye sae sweet as the lassie sang, I the bought, milking the ewes.
  2. The hills were high on ilka side, An the bought i the lirk o the hill, And aye, as she sang, her voice it rang Out-oer the head o yon hill.
  3. There was a troop o gentlemen Came riding merrilie by, And one o them has rode out o the way, To the bought to the bonny may.
  4. ‘Well may ye save an see, bonny lass, An weel may ye save an see!’ ‘An sae wi you, ye weel-bred knight, And what’s your will wi me?’
  5. ‘The night is misty and mirk, fair may, And I have ridden astray, And will ye be so kind, fair may, As come out and point my way?’
  6. ‘Ride out, ride out, ye ramp rider! Your steed’s baith stout and strang; For out of the bought I dare na come, For fear at ye do me wrang.’
  7. ‘O winna ye pity me, bonny lass? O winna ye pity me? An winna ye pity my poor steed, Stands trembling at yon tree?’
  8. ‘I wadna pity your poor steed, Tho it were tied to a thorn; For if ye wad gain my love the night Ye wad slight me ere the morn.
  9. ‘For I ken you by your weel-busked hat, And your merrie twinkling ee, That ye’re the laird o the Oakland hills, An ye may weel seem for to be.’
  10. ‘But I am not the laird o the Oakland hills, Ye’re far mistaen o me; But I’m ane o the men about his house, An right aft in his companie.’
  11. He’s taen her by the middle jimp, And by the grass-green sleeve, He’s lifted her over the fauld-dyke, And speerd at her sma leave.
  12. O he’s taen out a purse o gowd, And streekd her yellow hair: ‘Now take ye that, my bonnie may, Of me till you hear mair.’
  13. O he’s leapt on his berry-brown steed, An soon he’s oertaen his men; And ane and a’ cried out to him, O master, ye’ve tarryd lang!
  14. ‘O I hae been east, and I hae been west, An I hae been far oer the knows, But the bonniest lass that ever I saw Is i the bought, milkin the ewes.’
  15. She set the cog upon her head, An she’s gane singing hame: ‘O where hae ye been, my ae daughter? Ye hae na been your lane.’
  16. ‘O nae body was wi me, father, O nae body has been wi me; The night is misty and mirk, father, Ye may gang to the door and see.
  17. ‘But wae be to your ewe-herd, father, And an ill deed may he die! He bug the bought at the back o the know And a tod has frighted me.
  18. ‘There came a tod to the bought-door, The like I never saw; And ere he had taken the lamb he did I had lourd he had taen them a’.’
  19. O whan fifteen weeks was come and gane, Fifteen weeks and three, That lassie began to look thin and pale, An to long for his merry-twinkling ee.
  20. It fell on a day, on a het simmer day, She was ca’ing out her father’s kye, By came a troop o gentlemen, A’ merrilie riding bye.
  21. ‘Weel may ye save an see, bonny may! Weel may ye save and see! Weel I wat ye be a very bonny may, But whae’s aught that babe ye are wi?’
  22. Never a word could that lassie say, For never a ane could she blame, An never a word could the lassie say, But, I have a good man at hame.
  23. ‘Ye lied, ye lied, my very bonny may, Sae loud as I hear you lie! For dinna ye mind that misty night I was i the bought wi thee?
  24. ‘I ken you by your middle sae jimp, An your merry-twinkling ee, That ye’re the bonny lass i the Cowdenknow, An ye may weel seem for to be.’
  25. Than he’s leapd off his berry-brown steed, An he’s set that fair may on: ‘Caw out your kye, gude father, yoursel, For she’s never caw them out again.
  26. I am the laird of the Oakland hills, I hae thirty plows and three, An I hae gotten the bonniest lass That’s in a’ the south country.’