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The Broom of Cowdenknows

No: 217; variant: 217N

  1. O THERE war a troop o merry gentlemen Cam riding oure the knowes, And they hear the voice o a bonny lass, In the bichts, milking the yowes.
  2. ‘O save thee, O save thee, my bonnie may! O saved may ye be! My steed he has riden wrang, Fain wad I ken the way.’
  3. She has tane the steed by the bridle-reins, Has led him till the way, And he has tane out three gowd rings, Gien them to that bonnie may.
  4. And he has tane her by the milk-white hand And by the gerss-green sleeve, And he laid her doun on the side o yon hill, At her daddie speird na leave.
  5. Now she has hame to her father gane, Her father did her blame: ‘O whare hae ye been, my ae dochter? For ye hae na been your lane.’
  6. ‘O the nicht is mirk, and very, very wet, Ye may gang to the door and see; O there’s nabody been wi me, father, There’s nabody been wi me.
  7. ‘But there cam a tod to your bucht, father, The like o him I neer saw; Afore you’d gien him the lamb that he took, Ye’d rather hae gien them a’.
  8. ‘O wae be to my father’s sheep-hird, An ill death may he dee! For bigging the bucht sae nar the road, Let the Lochinvar to me!’
  9. She’s tane her pig and her cog in her hand, And she’s gane to milk the kye; But ere she was aware, the Laird o Lochinvar Cam riding in the way.
  10. ‘O save thee, O save thee, my bonnie may! I wish ye may be sound; O save thee, O save thee, my bonnie may! What maks thy belly sae round?’
  11. O she has turnd hersel round about, And she within her thoucht shame: ‘O it’s nabody’s wills wi me, kind sir, For I hae a gudeman o my ain.’
  12. ‘Ye lee, ye lee, my bonnie may, Weel do I ken ye lee! For dinna ye mind o the three gowd rings I gied ye o the new moneye?’
  13. ‘O weel do I mind thee, kind sir, O weel do I mind thee; For ae when ye spak ye lifted up your hat, And ye had a bonnie twinklin ee.’
  14. ‘O ye need na toil yoursel, my dear, Neither to card nor to spin; For there’s ten pieces I gie unto thee; Keep them for your lying in.’
  15. Now she has hame to her father gane, As fast as she could hie; And she was na weel crownd wi joy Till her auld son gat she.
  16. But she’ll na tell the daddie o it Till father not to mither, And she’ll na tell the daddie o it To sister nor to brither.
  17. And word is to the Lochinvar, And word is to him gane, That sic a tenant’s dochter Has born a bastard son:
  18. And she’ll na tell the daddie o it To father nor to mither, And she’ll na tell the daddie o it Till sister nor to brither.
  19. ‘O weel do I ken the reason o that, And the reason weel do I ken; O weel ken I the reason o that; It’s to some o her father’s men.
  20. ‘But I will awa to Littlejohn’s house, Shule them out o the door; For there’s na tenant on a’ my land Shall harbour an arrant hure.’
  21. Then out and spak the house-keeper, ‘Ye’d better lat her abee; For an onie harm befa this may, A’ the wyte will be on me.’
  22. O he has turnd himsel round about, Within himsel thoucht he ‘Better do I loe her little finger Than a’ thy haill bodie.
  23. ‘Gae saddle to me my six coach-mares, Put a’ their harness on, And I will awa to Littlejohn’s house For reports o this bastard son.’
  24. Now whan he cam to Littlejohn’s house, Littlejohn was at the door: ‘Ye rascal, ye rogue, ye impudent dog, Will ye harbour an arrant hure!’
  25. ‘O pardon me, my sovereign liege, O pardon me, I pray; Oh that the nicht that she was born She’d deed the very neist day!’
  26. But he is in to his bonnie lassie gane, And has bolted the door behind, And there he has kissd his bonnie lassie sweet, It’s over and over again.
  27. ‘Ye did weel, ye did weel, my bonnie may, To keep the secret twixt me and thee; For I am the laird o the Ochilberry swair, The lady o ‘t I’ll mak thee.
  28. ‘Come doun, come duun, now gentlemen a’, And set this fair lady on; Mither, ye may milk the ewes as ye will, For she’ll neer milk them again.
  29. ‘For I am the laird o the Ochilberry swair, O thirty plows and three, And I hae gotten the bonniest may That’s in a’ the south countrie.’