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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleHere's away to the downs
Roud No.1243
Collected FromAsh, George
LocationAmpney Crucis
CountyGloucestershire
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Gloucestershire: Williams, A: MS collection No Gl 39
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 29th July, 1916, p 3, Part 39, No. 2: Williams, A: Folk songs of the Upper Thames, 1923, p 65, 66
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

Now, my brave boys, here's away to the downs,
The huntsman says, "Come, follow the hounds;"
He's right well pleased with his last night's nap,
Shaking his ears with a trite in his lap;
This is the sport we all do excel,
We never fear the hares or the foxes.
Fol the rol

Verse 2

See Diana with her comely face,
Bow and quiver and her unpinned dress!
She's up to the chase we very well do know,
For to exceed young Cupid slow;
Each lovely swain playing the fool,
Courting his lass with sighs and tears,
We hunt all the day, at night sport and play,
We'll have them all for many a long hour.
Fol the rol.

Verse 3

See how comely she leads them along!
The ploughman excels them all with his song,
Han dan Taddler! See how they wing!
Three little beauties winding a ring.
Canter away! Hey dovvy day!
That's good again! bring her in with a rally.
Round up all! she's gone to the pit.
Yonder she runs, and she's quite out of hearing.
Fol the rol.

Verse 4

Hark unto Flora, she that is good!
Rather he hunts them into the wood;
Drunk, and he doubled it. See where he's gone!
Yonder he scrapes it over the lawn.
Gone, gone away! Gone, gone away!
That's good again! Look to Rackwood and Cornel,
Call back the hounds, for they're gaining ground -
What the devil makes the footmen to holloa?
Fol the rol.

Verse 5

Don't hold her so hard, or drive her so fast,
See the old lady! We shall work her at last!
She's almost spent, you may see that;
Call back your hounds, she's sure for to quat.
Make good your hold, quick be your speed,
Alight from your horses to keep her from tearing;
She's up. Ha! Ha! She's up. Ha! Ha!
Faith and truth! there's no pleasure in it;
Hallo! Hallo! Hallo! Hallo! Hallo! Hallo!
Yonder she runs, and is dead in a minute.
Fol the rol.

Verse 6

Now if that a gunner shoots at a hare,
If he don't kill him he's sure for to swear;
If it wasn't for profit, more than the fun,
There'd never be so many hares die with the gun.
To catch them by night is all our delight,
Whip-cord and wire is all my desire;
We'll drink about until the glass is out,
We'll kiss the pretty girls, boys, at our leisure.
Fol the rol.
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Note 1
Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS: This very old hunting song I discovered at Ampney Crucis. It was sung by a shepherd, who learned it when he was young, of an aged Morris dancer, near Cirencester. I am not sure whether the fox or hare is intended in the sport and there a few words in the piece which I do not quite understand. The song is a good one, nevertheless: I have not heard it elsewhere. Copy of George Ash, Ampney Crucis.

Williams, Alfred: FSUT: 'This very old hunting song I discovered at Ampney Crucis. It was sung by a shepherd, who learned it when he was young, of an aged Morris dancer, near Cirencester. There a few words in the piece which I do not quite understand. The song is a good one, nevertheless: I have not heard it elsewhere. Copy of George Ash, Ampney Crucis.

Note 2

Williams originally had a chorus:

Chorus

Fol the rol the riddle rol the day

Note 3

In Verse 2 Line 3 the WGS text read:

Three little beauties winding in a ring.

Note 4

There are minor punctuation differences between the Ms and printed versions.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.

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