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The Broom of Cowdenknows

No: 217; variant: 217C

  1. IT was on a day whan a lovely may Was cawing out her father’s kye, And she spied a troop o’ gentlemen, As they war passing bye.
  2. ‘O show me the way, my pretty maid, O show me the way,’ said he; ‘My steed has just now rode wrong, And the way I canna see.’
  3. ‘O haud you on the same way,’ she said, ‘O haud ye on’t again, For, if ye haud on the king’s hieway, Rank rievers will do ye na harm.’
  4. He took her by the milk-white hand, And by the gerss-green sleeve, And he has taiglet wi the fair may, And of her he askd na leave.
  5. Whan ance he got her gudwill, Of her he craved na mair, But he poud out a ribbon frae his pouch, And snooded up the may’s hair.
  6. He put his hand into his pouch, And gave her guineas three: ‘If I come na back in twenty weeks, Ye need na look mair for me.’
  7. But whan the may did gang hame, Her father did her blame; ‘Whare hae ye been now, dame?’ he said ‘For ye’ve na been your lane.’
  8. ‘The nicht is misty and mirk, father, Ye may come to the door and see; The nicht is misty and mirk, father, And there’s na body wi me.
  9. ‘But there cam o tod to your flock, father, The like o him I never saw; Or he had tane the lambie that he had, I wad rather he had tane them aw.
  10. ‘But he seemd to be a gentleman, Or a man of some pious degree; For whanever he spak, he lifted up his hat, And he had [a] bonnie twinkling ee.’
  11. Whan twenty weeks were come and gane, Twenty weeks and three, The lassie began to grow thick in the waist, And thoucht lang for his twinkling ee.
  12. It fell upon a day whan bonnie may Was cawing out the kye, She spied the same troop o gentlemen, As they war passing bye.
  13. ‘O well may you save, my pretty may, Weill may you save and see! Weill may ye save, my lovely may! Go ye wi child to me?’
  14. But the may she turnd her back to him, She begoud to think meikle shame; ‘Na, na, na, na, kind sir,’ she said, ‘I’ve a gudeman o my ain.’
  15. ‘Sae loud as I hear ye lie, fair may, Sae loud as I hear ye lee! Dinna ye mind o yon misty nicht Whan I was in the bucht wi thee?’
  16. He lichted aff his hie, hie horse, And he set the bonnie may on: ‘Now caw out your kye, gud father, Ye maun caw them out your lone.
  17. ‘For lang will ye caw them out, And weary will ye be, Or ye get your dochter again . . .
  18. He was the laird o Ochiltree, Of therty ploughs and three, And he has stown awa the loveliest may In aw the south cuntree.