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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleGreen broom
Roud No.379
Collected FromBarrett, George
LocationMarston Meysey
CountyWiltshire
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 4 - Wiltshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Wt 422
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 25th March, 1916, Part 24, No. 6: Williams, A: Folk songs of the upper Thames, 1923, p 152, 153
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

There was an old man and he lived in the west,
And his trade it was cutting of broom, green broom;
He had but one son, and his name it was John,
And he lay abed until 'twas noon, 'twas noon,
And he lay abed until 'twas noon.

Verse 2

The old man came home, and upstairs he went,
And swore he would fire the room, the room,
If Jack did not rise, go and sharpen his knives,
And go to the wood to cut broom, green broom,
And go to the wood to cut broom.

Verse 3

Then Jack he arose, and slipped on his clothes,
And away to the woods he did roam, did roam;
There were markets and fairs everywhere,
For this young man to sell broom, sell broom,
For this young man to sell broom.

Verse 4

Now a lady, being sat in her chamber so high,
Saw this young man with his broom, his broom,
She called to her maid, and thus to her said -
"Call in that young man with his broom, sweet broom,
Call in that young man with his broom."

Verse 5

Jack entered the kitchen, and thence to the hall,
And then to this fair lady's room;
She smiled and she said -"Can you leave off your trade,
And marry a lady in bloom, in bloom,
And marry a lady in bloom?"

Verse 6

Then Jack gave consent, and to church they both went,
And he married this lady in bloom, in bloom;
Now they live at their ease, and kiss when they please -
No more to the fairs crying, "Broom! Green broom!"
No more to the fair crying, "Broom!"
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Note 1

Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS: 'This I have heard in many quarters and many versions, though none of the copies differed very considerably. The fourth verse I had not heard locally. I met with it recently at Hatherop, however, and am told that it is in the song as sung formerly at Culham, near Abingdon. Copy otherwise obtained of George Barrett, Marston Meysey.'

Williams, Alfred: FSUT: 'This I have heard in many quarters and many versions, though none of the copies differed very considerably. The fourth verse I was long in obtaining. I met with it recently at Hatherop, however, and am told that it is in the song as sung formerly at Culham, near Abingdon. Copy otherwise obtained of George Barrett, Marston Meysey.'

Note 2

In WGS and FSUT there is an additional Verse 4 with the reminder of the Ms text following:

Verse 4

Now Jack took a road he knew very well,
Till he came to a castle so high, so high,
He holloaed and bawled, so loudly he called -
"Pretty maids, do you want any broom, green broom,
Pretty maids do you want any broom?"

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.

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