> A.L. Lloyd > Songs > The Old Bitch Fox

The Old Bitch Fox (Chivvy-O)

[ Roud 1241 ; Ballad Index WT062 ; Wiltshire 751 , 752 ; trad.]

A.L. Lloyd sang+ The Old Bitch Fox, accompanied by Steve Benbow on guitar, on his and Ewan MacColl’s 1958 Topic LP Bold Sportsmen All. He commented in the sleeve notes:

English hunting songs tend to have a literary, mock-hearty ring. They often sound as if they were made not by folk singing man, but by the local squire or his learned friends. But here is a song that comes straight from the heart of a forthright villager, who has watched huntsmen and hounds and quarry, and has decided that of them all, he prefers the fox. This version was obtained from Charles Evans, of Aylesbury, Bucks, in 1951.

Danny Spooner sang The Old Bitch Fox in 2011 on his CD The Fox, The Hare and the Poacher’s Fate.


A.L. Lloyd sings The Old Bitch Fox

When I lived up in Buckinghamshire
A pack of foxhounds I chanced for to hear,
By hunting an old bitch fox they made them groves ring,
She was fitting to run before lord, duke or kind.
To my chivvy-o, chivvy-o, ran tan taro, boys,
Never I thought of the poor bitch fox.

Now they hadn’t been running past six mile or more
Before this old bitch she began to grow sore;
This old bitch fox he was crafty and sly,
She run up a house, it was three storeys high.
To my chivvy-o, chivvy-o, ran tan taro, boys,
Up on the roof ran the old bitch fox.

Up rides Squire Atkins, with his needle eye;
“Ay! Ay!” says the fox, “I am mounted so high,
Ay! Ay!” says bold Reynolds, “I’m out of your reach.”
“Make a fire!” says proud Atkins, “I’ll soon down thee fetch.
To my chivvy-o, chivvy-o, ran tan taro, boys,
Burn down the building to catch ’em bitch fox!”

Then up Jim Baulker with his sporting gun,
Swears that bold Reynolds give them a fair run.
“You call off your dogs now and set her at large,
If you don’t do it quick you shall have me discharge.
To my chivvy-o, chivvy-o, ran tan taro, boys,
I’ll pepper your britches to save the bitch fox!”

I wish in my heart I was under the ground,
Where lords, dukes and squires could never be found.
I’ll drink to that bitch fox with all my old heart,
In a big mug of beer, lads, a gallon or quart.
To my chivvy-o, chivvy-o, ran tan taro, boys,
Be brave and crafty like the old fox.