“Buy Broom Besoms (I Maun Hae a Wife)”


The besom-seller calls his wares, then confesses, "I maun hae a wife, whaso'er she be." He will take anything, e.g., "If that she be bonnie, I shall think it right; If she should be ugly, what's the odds at night?"


The besom-seller's cry, "Buy broom besoms, wha will buy them noo? (Fine heather ringers), better never grew" is obviously very old, and inspired Burns in 1796 to write "Wha will buy my troggin."

It isn't really a song, though, and it evidently invited completion, as I am aware of at least three texts with this burden:

* I Maun Hae a Wife, probably Scottish, in which the old besom-maker desperately seeks a companion. This humorous text seems to be the best-known of the variants

* The Sam Henry text "Fine Broom Besoms," in which the singer misses Barney

* The Besom Maker, a song of seduction, printed as a broadside. - RBW

Cross references


  1. Stokoe/Reay, pp. 20-21, "Buy Broom Buzzems" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Roud #1623
  4. BI, DTbroomb


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1900 (Stokoe/Reay)
Found in: Britain(England(North)