The Broomfield Hill

No: 43; variant: 43F

  1. A NOBLE young squire that livd in the west, He courted a young lady gay, And as he was merry, he put forth a jest, A wager with her he would lay.
  2. ‘A wager with me?’ the young lady reply’d, ‘I pray, about what must it be? If I like the humour you shan’t be deny’d; I love to be merry and free.’
  3. Quoth he, ‘I will lay you an hundred pounds, A hundred pounds, aye, and ten, That a maid if you go to the merry broomfield, That a maid you return not again.’
  4. ‘I’ll lay you that wager,’ the lady she said, Then the money she flung down amain; ‘To the merry broomfield I’ll go a pure maid, The same I’ll return home again.’
  5. He coverd her bett in the midst of the hall With an hundred and ten jolly pounds, And then to his servant straightway he did call, For to bring forth his hawk and his hounds.
  6. A ready obedience the servant did yield, And all was made ready oer night; Next morning he went to the merry broomfield, To meet with his love and delight.
  7. Now when he came there, having waited a while, Among the green broom down he lies; The lady came to him, and coud not but smile, For sleep then had closed his eyes.
  8. Upon his right hand a gold ring she secur’d, Down from her own finger so fair, That when he awaked he might be assur’d His lady and love had been there.
  9. She left him a posie of pleasant perfume, Then stept from the place where he lay; Then hid herself close in the besom of the broom, To hear what her true-love would say.
  10. He wakend and found the gold ring on his hand, Then sorrow of heart he was in: ‘My love has been here, I do well understand, And this wager I now shall not win.
  11. ‘O where was you, my goodly gawshawk, The which I have purchasd so dear? Why did you not waken me out of my sleep When the lady, my lover, was here?’
  12. ‘O with my bells did I ring, master, And eke with my feet did I run; And still did I cry, Pray awake, master, She’s here now, and soon will be gone.’
  13. ‘O where was you, my gallant greyhound, Whose collar is flourishd with gold? Why hadst thou not wakend me out of my sleep When thou didst my lady behold?’
  14. ‘Dear master, I barkd with my mouth when she came, And likewise my coller I shook, And told you that here was the beautiful dame, But no notice of me then you took.’
  15. ‘O where was thou, my serving-man, Whom I have cloathed so fine? If you had wak’d me when she was here, The wager then had been mine.’
  16. ‘In the night ye should have slept, master, And kept awake in the day; Had you not been sleeping when hither she came, Then a maid she had not gone away.’
  17. Then home he returnd, when the wager was lost, With sorrow of heart, I may say; The lady she laughd to find her love crost,– This was upon midsummer-day.
  18. ‘O squire, I laid in the bushes conceald, And heard you when you did complain; And thus I have been to the merry broomfield, And a maid returnd back again.
  19. ‘Be chearful, be chearful, and do not repine, For now ‘tis as clear as the sun, The money, the money, the money is mine, The wager I fairly have won.’