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The Broom O'Cowdenknowes

[Familiar Brew]


In an old book, "Songs of Scotland prior to Burns", that was given to me by my late friend Joe Mell, this song is listed as a 'pastoral ballad' of the early 1800's. Still, the air probably goes back much farther than that. In that version the events are told from the girl's point of view. The one given here, for better or worse, is a more standard version of the story.

Broom is a plant that grows in the border areas of Scotland and produces a lovely golden-yellow flower. I believe Cowdenknowes was a farm

How blithe each morn was I to see
My lass come o'er the hill
She skipped the burn and ran to me
I met her with good will

Oh, the broom, the bonny bonny broom
The broom o'Cowdenknowes
Faen would I be in my aen country
Herding her father's ewes

She neither herded ewes nor lambs
As the flock a'sleeping lay
She gathered in the sheep at night
And cheered me all the day


Hard fate that I should banished be
Gang sae wearily to mourn
Because I loved the fairest lass
That e'er on earth was born


Adieu ye Cowdenknowes adieu
Farewell all pleasures there
To wander by her side once more
Is all I crave or care