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A good many gentlemen take great delight
In hunting bold Reynard, the fox
For the very best food he does eat in the night
And lives upon fat geese and ducks.
In ash-pit or copse I did lie
And I lived an extraord'nary rate
In picking the bones of young lambs
Till the farmers they all me did hate.

All for my lord's horses and hounds they did send
And the huntsman he swore I must die,
They made all the hair on my coat stand on end
And caused me from my young ones to fly.
All down Stony Lane they did run me
And I gave them a very good race,
When I entered the wood I did rest
Then the dogs they got forward a pace.

All through the wild woods they gave chase, and did gain
And the gamekeeper saw me go by,
They chased me out into the wild open plain
'Twas then that he fired at my thigh.
'Twas in Stony fields they did kill me
Those bloodthirsty dogs did me follow,
They tore my old coat all in pieces,
And it caused the glad huntsmen to holler.

O, pardon, dear huntsman, for I've spoiled your game
And the keeper has caused me to die
But I've left little brothers of mine to remain
That love little lambs better than I.
O now that bold Reynard is dead
We'll go to The Dolphin and dine
And we'll dip his fore-foot in a bumper
And drink our lord's health in good wine.

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Source: Kennedy, P. (1975) Folksongs of Britain and Ireland. London: Oak Publications.

Collected from Edwin Thomas at Allerford, Minehead, Somerset by Peter Kennedy and Maud Karpeles in 1952.

Kennedy notes:
Edwin Thomas responded to a letter written by Dr Maud Karpeles and published in a north Somerset newspaper, prior to a recording expedition. The object of the expedition was to trace descendants of Somerset singers from whom Cecil Sharp had noted songs between 1903 and 1913, and Mr Thomas was certainly the outstanding discovery on this occasion.
Bold Reynard should not be confused with the hunting song Bold Reynolds, or with the Three Jolly Huntsmen

Roud: 1868 (Search Roud index at VWML)

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

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