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“Buy a Broom”

But Laura liked the waltz songs best. She loved the Broom song, though they had to sing ‘broom’ so many times to make the tune swing… — By the Shores of Silver Lake, Chapter 10, “The Wonderful Afternoon”

BBuy a Broom is an adaptation of the German song “O Du Leiber Augustin.” According to an account published in 1848, Augustin was an itinerant bagpiper, probably named Marx Augustin, who died in Austria in the early 1700s. Also called “The Bavarian Girl’s Song,” “Buy a Broom” was very popular in the 1830s, appearing in print as early as 1825. Today, the tune is most recognized as the children’s song with lyrics beginning, “Did you ever see a lassie go this way and that way…”


1. From Tuetschland I come with my light wares all laden,
To dear happy England in summers gay bloom.
Then listen fair lady and young pretty maiden,
Oh buy of this wand’ring Bavarian a Broom.

[chorus} Buy a Broom, Buy a Broom (Buy a Broom)
Oh buy of the wand’ring Bavarian a Broom.

2. To brush away insects that sometimes annoy you
You’ll find it quite handy to use night and day,
And what better exercise pray can employ you
Than to sweep all vexations, intruders away.

[chorus] Buy a Broom, Buy a Broom (Buy a Broom)
And sweep all vexations, intruders away.

3. Ere winter comes on, for sweet Home soon departing,
My toils for your favor again I’ll resume.
And gratitudes tear in my eyelid is starting,
Bless the time that in England I cried, Buy a Broom.

[chorus] Buy a Broom, Buy a Broom (Buy a Broom)
Bless the time that in England I cried Buy a Broom.

[spoken] Yes, I shall go back to my own Country,
and tell them there, I sold all my wares in England, singing:

4. O’ mein lieber Augustin, Augustin, Augustin,
O’mein lieber Augustin, Autustin, Alles ist weg,
Book ist weg, Stock ist weg, auch ich bin in dem Dreck
O’ mein lieber Augustin Alles ist web.

(from By the Shores of Silver Lake)

Buy a broo-oom, buy a broom, buy a broom!
Buy a broom, broom, buy a broom, broom!
Will you buy of this wandering Bavarian a broom?
To brush off the insects
That come to annoy you,
You’ll find it quite useful
By night and by day.

CLICK HERE to listen.



Click on the above images to view a copy of historical sheet music of “Buy a Broom.”

This music is archived in the Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music, part of Special Collections at the Milton S. Eisenhower Library of The Johns Hopkins University. The collection contains over 29,000 pieces of music and focuses on popular American music from 1780-1960.    


“Buy a Broom” (SSL10)
     “Buy a broo-oom, buy a broom, buy a broom…”