The Merry Broomfield
The West Country Wager

Melody -

Traditional Ballad

A noble young squire that lived in the West,
He courted a young lady gay;
And as he was merry he put forth a jest,
A wager with her he would lay.

2. A wager with me, the young lady replied,
I pray about what must it be?
If I like the humour you shan't be denied,
I love to be merry and free.

3. Quoth he, I will lay you a hundred pounds,
A hundred pounds, aye, and ten,
That a maid if you go to the merry Broomfield,
That a maid you return not again.

4. I'll lay you that wager, the lady she said,
Then the money she flung down amain;
To the merry Broomfield I'll go a pure maid,
The same I'll return home again.

5. He covered her bet in the midst of the hall,
With a hundred and ten jolly pounds;
And then to his servant he straightway did call,
For to bring forth his hawk and his hounds.

6. A ready obedience the servant did yield,
And all was made ready o'er night;
Next morning he went to the merry Broomfield,
To meet with his love and delight.

7. Now when he came there, having waited a while,
Among the green broom down he lies;
The lady came to him, and could not but smile,
For sleep then had closed his eyes.

8. Upon his right hand a gold ring she secured,
Drawn from her own fingers so fair;
That when he awaked he might be assured
His lady and love had been there.

9. She left him a posie of pleasant perfume,
Then stepped from the place where he lay,
Then hid herself close in the besom of broom,
To hear what her true love did say.

10. He wakened and found the gold ring on his hand,
Then sorrow of heart he was in;
My love has been here, I do well understand,
And this wager I now shall not win.

11. Oh! where was you, my goodly goshawk,
The which I have purchased so dear,
Why did you not waken me out of my sleep,
When the lady, my love, was here?

12. O! with my bells did I ring, master,
And eke with my feet did I run;
And still did I cry, pray awake! master,
She's here now, and soon will be gone.

13. O! where was you, my gallant greyhound,
Whose collar is flourished with gold;
Why hadst thou not wakened me out of my sleep,
When thou didst my lady behold?

14. Dear master, I barked with my mouth when she came,
And likewise my collar I shook;
And told you that here was the beautiful dame,
But no notice of me then you took.

15. O! where wast thou, my servingman,
Whom I have clothed so fine?
If you had waked me when she was here,
The wager then had been mine.

16. In the night you should have slept, master,
And kept awake in the day;
Had you not been sleeping when hither she came,
Then a maid she had not gone away.

17. Then home he returned when the wager was lost,
With sorrow of heart, I may say;
The lady she laughed to find her love crost,
This was upon midsummer-day.

18. O, squire! I laid in the bushes concealed,
And heard you, when you did complain;
And thus I have been to the merry Broomfield,
And a maid returned back again.

19. Be cheerful! be cheerful! and do not repine,
For now 'tis as clear as the sun,
The money, the money, the money is mine,
The wager I fairly have won.


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