Author Topic: Add: The Fox Hunt


Posted - 08 Dec 02 - 11:49 pm

Fox Hunt, The

You gentlemen of high renown
Come listen unto me
That take delight in foxhunting
By every degree
A story now I'll tell to you
Concerning of a fox
O'er Royston Hills and mountains high
And over stony rocks

Old Reynold being in his den
And hearing of these hounds
Which made him for to prick his ears
And tread upon the ground
Methink me hear some jubal hounds
Pressing upon my life
Before that they do come to me
I'll tread upon the ground

We hunted full four hours or more
By parishes sixteen
We hunted full four hours or more
And came by Barkworth Green
Oh if you'll only spare my life
I promise and fulfil
I'll touch no more your feathered fowl
Nor lambs in yonder fold

Old Reynold beat and out of breath
And dreading of these hounds
Thinking that he might lose his life
Before these jubal hounds
Oh here's adieu to duck and geese
Likewise young lamb also
They've got old Reynold by the brush
And will not let him go

Source: Kennedy, D (1987) Martin Carthy: A Guitar in Folk Music. Petersham, New Punchbowl Music


From the sleeve notes of See How It Runs by Brass Monkey (Topic Records, 1983)

Collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams in Norfolk. The tone of voice, which quietly and unsentimentally insists on things balanced and which resonates in much of traditional song, is about as consonant as a dull thud with that of a farming industry that views all undomesticated creatures as vermin and treats them as such, casting a hunting fraternity ludicrously as conservator of wildlife (so that it can, of course, have something to hunt) - the implications of which are as unpalatable as they are mind-boggling.

Database entry is here


Posted - 13 Dec 02 - 12:54 pm

Just me quibbling again, but isn't it usually Reynard, not Reynold?


Posted - 13 Dec 02 - 01:39 pm

I remember reading some decades ago that "Reynard" was from the French and "Reynold" from the English. I don't know whether it is true or even relevant ...

Malcolm Douglas
Posted - 13 Dec 02 - 02:18 pm

Roud 190. Found mainly in the South of England, though not unknown in Yorkshire. The Copper Family have a particularly well-known version.

The set here was noted by Ralph Vaughan Williams from Stephen Poll (or Pole), at Tilney St. Lawrence, Norfolk, January 7th 1905. It was first published in The Journal of the Folk Song Society, vol.II, issue 7, 1905; but only the tune was given. The text above seems to have been retrieved from his MS collection, and published with the tune in Imogen Holst and Ursula Vaughan Williams, A Yacre of Land: Sixteen Folk-Songs from the Manuscript Collection of Ralph Vaughan Williams, London: Oxford University Press, 1961. Mr. Poll, incidentally, was also a fiddle player, and used to play for dances at Lynn Fair. He was 80 when Vaughan Williams met him.

Many country singers, being not necessarily familiar with the word Reynard, commonly sang it as Reynolds in this and in other songs.


Posted - 13 Dec 02 - 07:55 pm

Thanks, Malcolm.

Do the original manuscripts use 'The Fox Hunt' as the title? I only know this from the revival recordings. The Young Tradition and Brass Monkey both use that, but Fairport Convention use 'Reynard the Fox'

I've put 'Reynard the Fox' as an alternative title in the database entry as users may well search for that.

Malcolm Douglas
Posted - 13 Dec 02 - 08:42 pm

Mr Poll's tune was printed in the Journal with no title; as a "second version" of a set noted in Cornwall as Huntsman's Song. The set as it appeared in A Yacre of Land was entitled The Foxhunt. Other versions have appeared as Bold Reynard (but more often as Bold Reynolds) and Gentlemen of High Renown.

Fairport have confused the issue, as usual; Reynard the Fox is a completely different song.

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