“I'm a Poor Old Chimney Sweeper”


"I am a poor old chimney sweeper, I have but one daughter and now I can't keep her. So since she has resolved to marry, Go choose you one and do not tarry." Once the girl has chosen her love, the couple is told to join hands, step over a broom, and be wed


The Warners (on the basis of the television miniseries "Roots"!) credit jumping over a broom as a Black wedding ceremony. But I have also seen (in, I must admit, a science fiction story) what appears to be a British rhyme on the same subject.

Elsewhere, however, a "broomstick wedding" is one not given formal or clerical recognition. An example of this is in Dickens's _Great Expectations_, chapter 48: Wemick describes a couple as having been "married very young, over the broomstick (as they say)."

Randolph's text is shorter and rather different in tone from the Warners', but there are too many lyric similarities for me to separate them. - RBW


  • Rebecca King Jones, "Chimbley Sweeper" [excerpt] (on USWarnerColl01)


  1. Warner 189, "Chimbley Sweeper" (1 short text, 1 tune)
  2. Randolph 571, "The Chimney Swallow" (1 fragment)
  3. Roud #7023
  4. BI, Wa189


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1917
Found in: US(MW,SE)