It was early one morning as I was a-walking,
That I heard of a noble foxhunting,
'Twas betwixt two gentlemen and the Duke of Wellington,
It was early as the day was a-dawning.
There was Dido, Spendigo, Gently he was there-O,
And Traveller that never looked behind him,
There was Countance, Rollinance, Bonny Lass and Jovale,
Now these were the dogs that could find him.
Now this fox he was young and his days were just begun,
Straightway he did run for his cover,
He ran up the highest hill and down the lowest dale,
Thinking to gain his life forever.
Now poor Jack tripped o'er the plain and he tripp-ed back again,
And his horse and his hounds never failed him,
Now forever and a day old Jackie he would say,
Jog along my brave boys all together.
Now this fox was getting old and his days were nearly over,
Straightway he did run for the river,
But little Dido he jumped in, and after he did swim,
And Traveller destroyed his life forever.
Garners Gay, EDFS, 1967
Fred Hamer says "This is the kind of song that the first interested Baring- Gould in the tunes of the West Country. I had it from two people, but Wilf Martin a gardener (now retired), was the better singer."
Wilf Martin lived in Pelynt, Cornwall. A recording of him singing this song appeared on a cassette, The Leaves of Life
which was issued by EFDSS and the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VMWL 003) but this believed to be long out of print.
The song was quite popular in the South of England, and is generally known to Revival singers as Dido Bendigo
, though it shows up under a number of names; Baring Gould, for example, got it as The Duke's Hunt
, and Sharp as The Duke [of Rutland]'s Hunting Song
Broadside editions at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads
Dido, a favourite hunting song
Printed between 1819 and 1844 by J. Pitts, 6, Great St. Andrew Street, 7 Dials [London]. Johnson Ballads fol. 142
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if they cannot see an image for the main link.)
Dido, a new hunting song
Printer and date unknown. Firth b.33(29)
Dido and Spandigo
Printer and date unknown. Harding B 16(74b); Firth c.19(110) [incomplete].
(Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six