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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitlePoor old horse
Roud No.513
Collected FromTanner, Charles
LocationBampton
CountyOxfordshire
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Oxfordshire: Williams, A: MS collection No Ox 217
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 18th March, 1916, p 3, Part 23, No. 4: Williams, A: Folk songs of the upper Thames, 1923 p 155
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

O once I was kept all in the stable warm,
To keep my poor flesh and my bones from all harm,
But now I am turned out all in the streets to go,
To face the winter weather in hail, rain, frost and snow.

Refrain

Poor old horse! You must die!

Verse 2

O once I was dressed in linsey woolsey fine,
My mane it did hang down, and my coat it did shine;
But now I'm growing old, and nature does decay,
My master oftimes frowns on me, and one day I heard him say -

Refrain

Verse 3

You're old and you're cold, your pace it is but slow,
You eat all my hay and you break all my straw;
Nor neither are you fitting all in my team to draw;
So we'll whip him, cut him, skin him, to the hounds we'll let him go -

Refrain

Verse 4

My hide unto the huntsman so freely I will give,
My body to the hounds, for I'd rather die than live,
Besides these active legs of mine, that have run so many miles,
Over hedges, over ditches, over fences, gates and stiles.

Refrain

Verse 5

Now nature is all over, I've done my best and worst,
And all that they can do is turn me into dust;
But don't you think it hard, nor think it no disgrace,
For if I could pay myself again I'd win the Derby race.

Refrain.
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Notes

Williams, Alfred: Ms: 'Of all the songs I have none has provided me with greater labours than has this one. The first of the following two copies I obtained rather easily: it was the discovery that another version existed which occasioned the difficulties. For quite a year I have been trying to find the second version complete, but though I am certain of its existence I have as yet been unable to obtain it quite to my satisfaction, and I have assumed that I shall not find it now. This copy I obtained of Charles Tanner, Bampton. I have also heard it with the exception of the last verse at Brize Norton, Taynton and Quenington.'

Williams, Alfred: Ms: 'Of all the songs I have none has provided me with greater labours than has this one. The first of the following two copies I obtained rather easily: it was the discovery that another version existed which occasioned the difficulties. For quite a year I have been trying to find the second version complete, but though I am certain of its existence I have as yet been unable to obtain it quite to my satisfaction, and I have assumed that I shall not find it now. This copy I obtained of Charles Tanner, Bampton. I have also heard it with the exception of the final stanza at Brize Norton, Taynton and Quenington.'

Williams, Alfred: FSUT: 'A very old and well known song. Copy of Charles Tanner, Bampton. Heard also at Brize Norton, Taynton and Quenington.'

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.

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