Thomas Billington (arr.)
(1754 - ?1832)

The Broom of Cowdenknowes
(S.A.T.B. + reduction)
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Billington issued two sets of "glees selected from the Scotch songs" in the late 1780s, to satisfy two contemporary enthusiasms: that for mixed sex social music, and that for all things North-British. The current arrangement comes from the second set.

These glees were selected from a repertoire of well-known Scottish songs that had been anthologised in the previous seventy years. Verses that are not underlaid were not included by Billington, and have been imported from external sources.
Lyrics: Anon

How blithe I was each morn to see
My swain come o'er the hill;
He leaped the brook and flew to me,
I met him with good will.
O the broom, the bonny, bonny broom,
The broom of Cowdenknowes,
I wish I were with my dear swain,
With his pipe and my ewes.


Hard fate, that I must banished be,
Gang heavily and mourn,
Because I loved the kindest swain
That ever yet was born.
O the broom ...

I wanted neither ewe nor lamb
While his flock near me lay;
He gathered in my flock at night,
And cheered me all the day.
O the broom ...

He tuned his pipe and played so sweet,
The birds sat list'ning by;
E'en the dull cattle stood and gazed,
Charmed with the melody.
O the broom ...

Adieu, ye Cowdenknowes, adieu,
Farewell all pleasures there;
Ye gods, restore me to my swain
Is all I crave or care.
O the broom ...