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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 to me shall come
I'll tread upon the ground."

We hunted full four hours or more
By parishes sixteen
We hunted full four hours or more
And come by Barkworth Green
"Oh if you'll only spare my life
I promise and fulfill
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.

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

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.

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.

Note on the ABC/Score: The lack of bar lines isn't a mistake. To quote the song book: "Martin insisted on this melody being written in as free a way as possible, rather than forcing it into a time signature that did not neccessarily reflect the actual rhythmic feel of the song"

Roud: 190 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six

Related Songs:  Bold Reynard [Reynard The Fox] (easily confused with) Gentlemen of High Renown (thematic) Reynard The Fox (easily confused with)

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