“The Milking Song”


"Pbroo, pbroo! my bonnie cow! ... Ye ken the hand that's kind to you; Sae let the drappie go, hawkie." The calf is sleeping in the pen, but will come soon. The milk makes visitors glad.


Ord believes that Jamieson produced this as an imitation, or perhaps an improvement, of an actual milking song. It seems likely enough. I know of no purely traditional collection.

And, no, I have no idea how one pronounces "pbroo"!

Similar milking rhymes are of course common. Baroing-Gould-MotherGoose 490, p. 213, runs

Cushy cow, bonny, let down thy milk,

And I will give thee a gown of silk;

A gown of silk and a silver tee,

If thou will let down thy milk to me.

There is a similar text in Montgomerie-ScottishNR -- #29, "(Bonnie lady, Let down your milk)." - RBW


  1. Ord, p. 244, "The Milking Song" (1 text)
  2. Roud #3939
  3. BI, Ord244


Author: Robert Jamieson
Earliest date: 1930 (Ord)
Keywords: animal food nonballad