The Broom of Cowdenknows
No: 217; variant: 217F
- BONNY MAY has to the ewe-bughts gane,
To milk her father’s ewes,
An aye as she milked her bonny voice rang
Far out amang the knowes.
- ‘Milk on, milk on, my bonny, bonny may,
Milk on, milk on,’ said he;
‘Milk on, milk on, my bonny, bonny may;
Will ye shew me out-ower the lea?’
- ‘Ride on, ride on, stout rider,’ she said,
‘Yere steed’s baith stout and strang;
For out o the eww-bught I daurna come,
For fear ye do me wrang.’
- But he’s tane her by the milk-white hand,
An by the green gown-sleeve,
An he’s laid her low on the dewy grass,
An at nae ane spiered he leave.
- Then he’s mounted on his milk-white steed,
An ridden after his men,
An a’ that his men they said to him
Was, Dear master, ye’ve tarried lang.
- ‘I’ve ridden east, an I’ve ridden wast,
An I’ve ridden amang the knowes,
But the bonniest lassie eer I saw
Was milkin her daddie’s yowes.’
- She’s taen the milk-pail on her heid,
An she’s gane langin hame,
An a her father said to her
Was, Daughter, ye’ve tarried lang.
- ‘Oh, wae be to your shepherds! father,
For they take nae care o the sheep;
Fro they’ve bygit the ewe-bught far frae hame,
An they’ve trysted a man to me.
- ‘There came a tod unto the bucht,
An a waefu tod was he,
An, or ever he had tane that ae ewe-lamb,
I had rather he had tane ither three.’
- But it fell on a day, an a bonny summer day,
She was ca’in out her father’s kye,
An bye came a troop o gentlemen,
Cam ridin siwftly bye.
- Out an spoke the foremost ane,
Says, Lassie hae ye got a man?
She turned herself saucy round about,
Says, Yes, I’ve ane at hame.
- ‘Ye lee, ye lee, ye my bonny may,
Saw loud as I hear ye lee!
For dinna ye mind that misty nicht
Ye were in the ewe-bughts wi me?’
- He ordered ane o his men to get down;
Says, Lift her up behind me;
Your father may ca in the kye when he likes,
They sall neer be ca’ed in by thee.
- ‘For I’m the laird o Athole swaird,
Wi fifty ploughs an three,
An I hae gotten the bonniest lass
In a’ the north countrie.’