'Twas on last Easter Monday, the day appointed was,
For me to go down in the broom to meet my bonny lass.
How sweet and pleasant was the day I kept her company,
She was low, low down in the broom awaiting there for me.
I turned myself all round about to see what I could see,
And there I saw my own true-love come wandering down to me,
I kindly took her by the hand and gave her kisses three,
And it's low, low down in the broom my true-love went with me.
I took her by the lily-white hand and said, "My own sweetheart,
Since you and I together met I hope we never shall part.
I hope we never shall part, my love, until the day we die,
We'll go again down in the broom and married we will be."
She said, "Young man, leave go my hands, for I'm sure it will never be so,
For little does my mother think, nor yet my father know.
It often does run in their minds what will become of me,
They little know I'm in the broom a-talking along with thee."
I took her round the middle so small and gently laid her down,
And these were the words she said to me as she lay in the broom,
"Do what you will, young man," she said, "'tis all the same to me,
For little does my mother think that I'm in the broom with thee.
My father is a miser and will not give me gold,
My mother is a scolding dame and the house control,
But I will love my bonny lad until the day I die,
And it's low, low down in the broom he'll be waiting there for me."
I gave my love a parting kiss and homeward I retired,
I told her to remember our meeting in the broom,
For what was done and what was said, 'twas all as one to me,
But I'll call again down in the broom and so merrily we will be.
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Source: Purslow, F, (1968), The Wanton Seed, EDFS, London
Frank Purslow's notes follow:
Gardiner H460/H 948. The tune from George Smith of Fareham; the text from James Channon of Ellisfield near Basingstoke, augmented with Smith's and from a broadside, publisher unknown. A widely-known song, hardly ever printed since the broadside versions, It could be assumed from the rhyming of "die" and "be" or "me" that it has a Scottish origin. The late Frank Kidson, however, was of the opinion that My Daddy is a Canker't Carle, to the air of which Burns wrote My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose, was apparently a version of an English song of the Low Down in the Broom variety - see the last verse but one. In England, however, the song is sung to a number of different tunes which suggests that here, at any rate, it never had a tune of its own, broadside texts - which seem to be the origin of English versions - being sung to any tune that happened to fit the metre; this particular one being fairly obviously an adaption of a dance tune. As there seems to be no English ballad sheet earlier than the very end of the 18th century the inference would rather seem to be that, if the Scottish song is indeed a relative of this English one, the the Scottish one is the original.
Most of the examples listed are Scottish; printed sources of the 18th and 19th centuries. Discounting for now the unprovenanced text in Ord's Bothy Songs and Ballads (1930), which may have come from tradition or from print, the only 20th century sets appear to be those found by Hammond and by Percy Merrick (Henry Hills of Lodsworth, Sussex: Journal of the Folk Song Society, vol. I issue 3, 1901, pp.94-5). Merrick's set is short -three verses only- and Percy Grainger borrowed nearly half of it to fill the gaps in Joseph Taylor's Brigg Fair.
Frank Kidson, in a note to Hills' version, quotes two verses of a broadside in the British Museum (pressmark 1876e), this presumably the one referred to by Purslow. Roud lists one broadside beginning "On Monday in the morning, the day appointed was". This is not dated, but George R. Carey's Sailor's Songbag: An American Rebel in an English Prison, 1777-1779 (1976) contains a text beginning "It was on Whitsun Wednesday the day appointed was", so the variant (English?) form goes back that far at any rate.
There are broadside examples of both groups at Ã?Â Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads:
Low down in the broom ("My daddy is a canker'd carle ...")
Whitsun Monday. A new song
Roud: 1644 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six