The Broom of the Cowdenknowes


Words, music and chords appear in The Andy M. Stewart Collection, pub. 1998


This example of "The Broom of the Cowdenknowes" is performed by Andy M. Stewart with Silly Wizard on the albums Wild and Beautiful and The Best of Silly Wizard, both available from the Chivalry Music store
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sheet music (toggle as desired for printing)

Background notes

Notes from Andy M. Stewart: 
This song is easily traceable back to the early seventeenth century where it appears in a small collection as "The Lovely Northerne Lass." Allan Ramsay also published a version in his "Tea Table Miscellany", during the 1720s. It is a moving tale of love, banishment and exile, supported by a very beautiful melody. Cowdenknowes is in Berwickshire, near to the village of Earlston, a place much associated with the 13th century poet and prophet, "Thomas The Rhymer".  I got this song years ago, from my friend and neighbour, Archie Fisher.

How blythe was I each morn tae see 
My lass come o'er yon hill 
She tripped a burn and ran tae me 
I met her with good will. 

O the broom, the bonnie, bonnie broom 
The broom o the Cowdenknowes 
Fain wad I be in my ain country 
Herding my faither's yowes 

[extra verse found in some other versions]
We neither herded ewes nor lamb 
While the flock near us lay 
She gathered in the sheep at night 
And cheered me all the day 

Hard fate that I should banished be 
Gang wearily and mourn 
Because I loved the fairest lass 
That ever yet was born 

Fareweel, ye cowdenknowes, fareweel 
Fareweel all pleasures there 
Tae wander by her side again 
Is all I crave or care