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The Warson Hunt

[ Roud 23095 ; VWML SBG/2/2/93 ; trad.]

Dave Lowry sang The Warson Hunt on his 2024 WildGoose album Songs of a Devon Man. Bill Crawford noted:

In the Sabine Baring-Gould manuscripts. Collected by him from James Parsons, Lewdown [VWML SBG/2/2/93] . Also from John Horn, innkeeper of Lydford, and Richard Horn, miller of Lewtrenchard.


Dave Lowry sings The Warson Hunt

Come all you jolly hunters bold,
I’ll sing you something new,
’Twas in the springing of the year
Of eighteen hundred two.
A pack of hounds from Kelly came.
And cobs from far and nigh,
The huntsman swore of oaths a score,
This day the hare shall die.

Squire was on his silver tail
And the Parson on a bay,
Surgeon Stone bestrode a roan
And the huntsman rode a grey;
And some had horses from the plough,
And some as coaches drew.
And some was there on shinks’s mare,
And one on crutches too.

They tried the down by Warson town,
At last they start the hare,
And full in view the hounds pursue.
With tiff and taff, and tare.
The Master said, “I stake my head,
A golden guinea lay,
We’ll kill that hare, by George, I swear
Before the turn of day.”

And Davy said, “he’d steals this way,
I’ll catch her as I stand.”
How he did stare when puss aware
Slipped nimbly through his hands.
At the Hartswall wood a girly stood
With milking pails a pair,
Between her feet in middle street
Like lightning shot the hare.

Long time they toil’d,
With sweat were soiled,
That Puss was not o’ertook!
And away she wore to Sandry moor,
She leap’d full many’s the brook.
The Squire he rode with whips and spur
His gallant silver tail;
And they on foot was hard put to’d,
And some began to fail.

Then said the huntsmen drawing rein,
“That Puss us all has beat,
A mighty run, and we’re well done,
Acknowledge our defeat,”
And some rode east, and some rode west
And some returned south.
But not a few put unto Lew
To fill the hungry mouth.

Squire he opened wide his door
The hunt to entertain
With beef and beer and such good cheer
No hungry man disdain.
And it is said, he staked his head,
That he would kill, that day,
He lost his head, all night as dead
Beneath the table lay.

Come fill the horn with barley corn
And drink a huntsmen’s toast
And never swear to kill a hare
Lest you should rue your boast.
Or should you fail on foaming ale
And punch, a royal brew,
Why who would care to miss his hare
And lose his head at Lew!