Broom of Cowdenknows, The [Child 217]

DESCRIPTION: A gentleman sees a pretty (shepherdess), and lies with her (without her leave). She becomes pregnant. Some weeks or months later, the gentleman returns and claims her for his own
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1768 (Percy collection; tune mentioned 1632)
KEYWORDS: seduction pregnancy abandonment return marriage bastard
FOUND IN: Britain(England,Scotland(Aber)) US(NE,So)
REFERENCES (9 citations):
Child 217, "The Broom of Cowdenknows" (15 texts)
Bronson 217, "The Broom of Cowdenknows" (21 versions+1 in addenda)
Bronson-SingingTraditionOfChildsPopularBallads 217, "The Boom of Cowdenknows" (3 versons: #6, #9, #17)
Greig/Duncan4 838, "The Cowdenknowes" (10 texts, 10 tunes plus a single verse on p. 555)
Lyle-Andrew-CrawfurdsCollectionVolume2 178, "The Tod Wi the Twinkland Ee" (1 text)
Lyle-Andrew-CrawfurdsCollectionVolume1 32, "The Laird of Ochiltree Walls" (1 text, 1 tune); 49, "The Laird o' Ochiltree" (1 text)
Barry/Eckstorm/Smyth-BritishBalladsFromMaine pp. 293-295, "The Broom of Cowden-Knowes" (1 text plus an excerpt from "Broom (II)," 1 tune) {Bronson's #21}
Moore/Moore-BalladsAndFolkSongsOfTheSouthwest 43, "The Bonny Broom" (1 text, 1 tune)
Whitelaw-BookOfScottishBallads, pp. 288-289, "The Broom of Cowdenknows" (1 text)

Roud #92
Stanley Robertson, "The Ballad of the Ewe Buchts" (on Voice06)
Murray, Mu23-y1:041, "Ewe Buchts," James Lindsay Jr. (Glasgow), 19C
NLScotland, L.C.1270(004), "Ewe Buchts," unknown, n.d. (the site says 1840-1850, but a second ballad on the sheet refers to [Charles Stewart] Parnell, which puts it least thirty years after that); also L.C.Fol.70(2b), "Ewe Buchts," unknown, n.d.

cf. "The Wylie Wife of the Hie Toun Hie" [Child 290] (plot)
cf. "The Dainty Doonby" (plot)
cf. "The Sleepy Merchant" (plot)
cf. "The Bonnie Parks o' Kilty" (plot)
cf. "A Nobleman" (plot)
cf. "The Broom o the Cowdenknowes (II - lyric)" (tune & meter)
The New Way of the Broom of Cowden Knowes (Broadside NLScotland, Ry.III.a.10(007), "The New Way of the Broom of Cowden Knowes" ("Hard Fate that I should banisht be, And Rebell called with Scorn, for serving of a Lovely Prince, As e'er yet was born"), unknown, prob. 1716)
The Glasgow Factory Lass (per broadside Murray, Mu23-y1:010, "The Glasgow Factory Lass," unknown (Glasgow), no date)
Laird o Ociltree Wa's
Laird o Lochnie
Ewe Buchts
Bonnie Mary Is to the Ewe Buchts Gane
The Laird o' Youghal Tree Wells
NOTES [148 words]: Note that this melody is used for two pieces, both called "Broom o' the Cowdenknow(e)s," and both Scottish: The ballad listed here, and a more lyric piece about a man who must leave home because he fell in love with a girl above his station.
Although the texts of this piece are generally quite late, the tune appears much older. Olson-BroadsideBalladIndex ZN2610, "Through Lidderdale as lately I went," registered in 1632, claims a "pleasant Scotch tune, called, The broom of Cowdenknowes" as its melody.
It's ironic to add that the tune you've almost certainly heard for this song (Bronson's #1) is from Playford, without lyrics -- and neither the Playford tune nor any of its immediate relatives in Bronson has a text (Bronson's group Aa includes six tunes; #4 has a single stanza of lyrics, the rest none -- and that stanza in #4 is the lyric version of the song, not the ballad!). - RBW
Last updated in version 4.1
File: C217

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