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Broomfield Hill

  • Trad - Child 43

    Oh it's of a lord in the north country
    He courted a lady gay
    As they were riding side by side
    A wager she did lay

    Oh I wager you five hundred pound
    Five hundred pound to one
    That a maid I will go to the merry green wood
    And a maid I will return

    So there she sat in her mother's bower door
    And there she made a moan
    Saying, Should I go to the Broomfield Hill
    Or should I stay at home

    Then up and spake this witch woman
    As she sat all alone
    Saying, You shall go to the Broomfield Hill
    And a maid you shall come home

    For when you get to the Broomfield Hill
    You'll find your love asleep
    With his hawk, his hound and his silken satin gown
    And his ribbons hanging down to his feet

    And pick the blossom from off the broom
    The blossom that smells so sweet
    And lay some down at the crown of his head
    And more at the sole of his feet


    So she's away to the Broomfield Hill
    And she's found her love asleep
    With his hawk, his hound and his silken satin gown
    And his ribbons hanging down to his feet

    And she's picked a blossom from off the broom
    The blossom that smells so sweet
    And she's laid some down at the crown of his head
    And more at the sole of his feet

    And she's pulled off her diamond ring
    And she's pressed it in his right hand
    For to let him know when he wakened from his sleep
    That his love had been there at his command

    And when he woke out of his sleep
    When the birds began to sing
    Saying, Awake, awake, awake, master
    Your true love's been and gone

    Oh where were you, my gay goshawk
    And where were you, my steed
    And where were you, my good greyhound
    Why did you not waken me

    Oh I clapped with my wings master
    And all my bells I rang
    Cried, oh waken, waken, waken, master
    Before this lady ran

    And I stamped with my foot, master
    And I shook my bridle till it rang
    But nothing at all would waken you
    Till she had been and gone

    So haste ye, haste ye, my good white steed
    To come where she may be
    Or all the birds at the Broomfield Hill
    Shall eat their fill of thee

    Oh you need not waste your good white steed
    By racing to her home
    For no bird flies faster through the wood
    Than she fled through the broom

    As sung by Martin Carthy

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1879:] There are two versions, one named The Broomfield Hill, and the other Lord John. A fragment of the first was given in Herd's collection, and a complete copy in the 'Border Minstrelsy'. The other version is from Kinloch's 'Ancient Scottish Ballads'. It is supposed that it is referred to in the "Complaynt of Scotland" under the title of Brume, brume on hil. (Ord, Glasgow Weekly Herald, December 20)

  • [1912:] A Song of Brume, brume on hil is named in 'The Complaynt of Scotland', 1549, sung by Moros in Wager's "very merry and pithy comedy called 'The longer thou livest the more fool thou art," c. 1568; and included in Captain Cox's "bunch of ballets and songs all auncient," 1575; but the connection between this and the ballad are not completely established.

    The ballad is still popular in England, and is printed as The Merry Broomfield by Mr. Such [publisher of broadsheets], who told me, however, that he only sells it occasionally to country hawkers. (Johnson, Ballads xv)

  • [1959:] This ancient ballad was a great favourite with singers in England and Scotland. Sharp alone collected at least twelve distinct versions. It was often printed on broadsheets and in America a good version found its way into a popular pocket song book, 'The Pearl Songster', about the middle of the nineteenth century. Some texts make it clear that the bold girl had bewitched the lover into his deep sleep. In England, other versions of the song have been reported from Dorset, Lincs., Somerset, Norfolk, Hereford, and Essex. (EFS111f)

  • [1965:] The use of the broom in this old ballad to lull an over-enthusiastic suitor to sleep, is another example of the use of herbs. Broom collected on Twelfth Night was believed on the Continent to be extremely potent against witches and spirits. The subject of the ballad is a wager between a knight and a maid, the stake being 500 against her virginity, but by use of the broom she outwits him and escapes. The song is widespread in England and Scotland and in some versions the knight eventually succeeds. (Notes 'Martin Carthy')

  • [1979:] Broom, says Geoffrey Grigson, is 'one of the great landscape plants, and since it breaks into flower in May and June, one of the plants of love and romance in European poetry' (The Englishman's Flora, Paladin, 1975, p. 138). The story is at least seven hundred years old, and it has been appearing in ballad form in English since the eighteenth century. [...] It remains in oral tradition to this day. (Palmer, Country 121)

  • [1986:] This is an old favourite, one of the "biter-bit" stories with a subtler touch than usual. The theme was common in mediaeval European romance and in ballad form it has been found throughout Europe ever since. It is not very common in the United States. Broom, of course, is a magicking plant and the story is very appealing to women, who made, sang and passed down to their daughters songs about the possibility of females using their wit to extricate themselves from difficult encounters with the male. (Peggy Seeger, notes 'Blood and Roses', vol. 4)

  • [1999:] The broom is believed to have sleep-inducing properties and the woman in this song makes full use of her country craft. (Notes Show of Hands, 'Anglicana')

  • more: Broomfield Hill (A Wager, A Wager)
    http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=17084

Quelle: England

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