Daily (?) Captain Cox (“what a bunch of ballets and songs, all auncient:”)– “Broom, Broom on Hil”

This next portion of the Captain’s library lists seven songs, then sums up “and a hundred more, he hath, fair wrapt vp in Parchment, and bound with a whipcord.”    Those of us who follow after Laneham, and the Captain, and Furnivall, may want to take a moment to process our frustration with the period equivalent of “but I won’t go into all of it”  (or, as several period cookbook scribes assumed, “Of course any good cook does not need to be told…”).     

PEDIGREE:   Mr. Furnivall cites a play printed circa 1568, (“The Longer Thou Livest, The More Fool Thou Art”,  “Newly compiled by VV. VVager,   Imprinted at London by Wyllyam HoW for Richarde  Johnes: and are to be solde at his shop vnder the Lotterie house”)  as the one place in which any part of the ballad from Captain Cox’s repertoire is recorded.   In an interlude (?) after the Prologue,  a character called Moros sings “the foote of many Songes, as fooles were wont.”    Among these is the refrain of “Broom, Broom on Hill”.      

Furnivall goes on to cite several other sources, including a list he delves into later in “Captain Cox: His Ballads and Books” from a work called “The Complaynt of Scotland”, printed 27 years before Laneham’s letter was written.     A Mr. William Chappell had also researched English ballads and found several which referred to brooms and hills, including one from the Pepys Collection.    However, Furnivall believed these other works to be different from the one Captain Cox knew.

SYNOPSIS: The refrain is:

“Brome, brome on hill,

The gentle Brome on hill, hill:

Brome, brome on Hive hill,

The Brome stands on Hiue hill a.”


AVAILABILITY:   Internet Archive contains a copy of “The Longer Thou Livest, The More Fool Thou Art”, an entry in the early 20th century “Tudor Facsimile Texts” series:



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