D'ye ken John Peel with his coat so gay,
D'ye ken John Peel at the break of the day,
D'ye ken John Peel when he's far, far away,
With his hounds and his horn in the morning?
For the sound of his horn brought me from my bed,
And the cry of his hounds which he oft-times led;
Peel's view halloo would awaken the dead,
Or the fox from his lair in the morning.
Yes, I ken John Peel and Ruby too!
Ranter and Ringwood, Bellman and True,
From a find to a check, from a check to a view,
From a view to a death in the morning.
Then here's to John Peel from my heart and soul,
Let's drink to his health, let's finish the bowl,
We'll follow John Peel thro' fair and thro' foul,
If we want a good hunt in the morning.
D'ye ken John Peel with his coat so gay?
He lived at Troutbeck once on a day;
Now he has gone far, far, far away;
We shall ne'er hear his voice in the morning.
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Source: The Scottish Students' Songbook. Pub. Bayley and Ferguson.
Words by John Woodstock Graves. Written for his friend, the Cumbrian huntsman, John Peel (1776-1854).
The tune is a version of Bonnie Annie which iteslf is believed to derive from the English dance, Red House, printed in The Dancing Master, 1703.
To quote from John Peel: The Man and the Song, John Woodcock Graves in his account written in 1863 said:
Nearly forty years have now wasted away since John Peel and I sat in a snug parlour at Caldbeck, hunting over again many a good run, when a flaxen-haired daughter of mine came in saying "Father, what do they say to what Granny sings?" Granny was singing to sleep my eldest son with a very old rant called "Bonnie (or Cannie) Annie." The pen and ink for hunting appointments being on the table the idea of writing a song to this old air forced itself on me, and thus was produced, impromptu "D'ye ken John Peel with his coat so gray." Immediately after I sang it to poor Peel, and I well remember saying to him in a joking style, "By Jove, Peel, you'll he sung when we're both run to earth."
Roud: 1239 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six