Once I was a young horse all in my youthful prime,
My mane hung over my shoulders and my coat he did so shine,
But now I'm getting old my features do decay.
My master he looks down on me and his words I heard him say:
Poor old horse, Poor old horse,
Poor old horse, let him die.
My master used to ride me at every chase all round,
My legs they were so nimble I could trip over the ground,
But now I'm getting old and scarce able to crawl,
My master he looks down on me, saying I am no use at all.
Once all in the stable I use good corn and hay
That grows in yonder fields and likewise meadows so gay,
But now I'm getting old I scarce get any at all,
For I'm obliged to nibble the short grass that grows against the wall.
Once all in the stable I was keep so fine and warm
To keep my tender limbs from all aching, pain and harm,
But now I'm getting old to the fields I'm obliged to go,
Let it hail, rain or sunshine, or the winds blow high or low.
My hide unto the hunstman so freely I will give,
My bodt to the hounds, for I'd rather die than live,
Than lay my legs so low that have run so many a mile,
Over hedges over ditches, over turnpike gates and stiles.
Source: Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society
, Dec 1959
Collected by Cecil Sharp from C Shire, Blacksmith, Langport, Somerset, 19 Aug 1904.
(Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six
Poor Old Horse