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The Broom of Cowdenknows

No: 217; variant: 217F

  1. 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.
  2. ‘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?’
  3. ‘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.’
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. ‘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.’
  7. 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.
  8. ‘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.
  9. ‘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.’
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. ‘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?’
  13. 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.
  14. ‘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.’