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Corfe, organist of Salisbury Cathedral, 1792 - 1804, issued two sets of "Twelve glees.... composed from ancient Scotch melodies" in the early 1790s, to satisfy two contemporary enthusiasms: that for mixed sex social music, and that for all things North-British. The current arrangement comes from the first set.

These glees were selected from a repertoire of well-known Scottish songs that had been anthologised in the previous seventy years. Corfe appears to have been particularly indebted for source material to James Johnson's "Scots Musical Museum", Edinburgh 1787, which included texts edited and improved by Robert Burns. Verses that are not underlaid were not included by Corfe, and have been imported from external sources (most especially the aforementioned "Scots Musical Museum").

Lyrics: Anon

How blithe ilk morn was I to see
My swain come o'er the hill;
He skipped the burn 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 his ewes.


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 ...

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

Joseph Corfe (arr.)
(1740 - 1820)

The Broom of Cowdenknowes

(S.A.T.B. + reduction)

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