W3C  Songs & Poetry of the Mounted Packs   SONGS

 

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He stood looking up the fell, a very small man at the bottom of a very big mountain. On holiday in the Lakes he had decided to “have a spin with the hounds”. Usually he followed hounds on horseback but today was different.

It had begun well enough with coffee laced with rum in the farmhouse, he had been made welcome as he joined the group stood in front of the roaring fire but now the last hound had disappeared over the mist shrouded ridge 1800 feet above him and the followers were starting to climb the fell behind them. He followed slowly in their wake. Before long he had stopped and finding a convenient rock sat down to regain his breath. Hounds and hunters had long since gone and he was alone, very alone.

The hunting songs on this site have proven to be one of the most visited sections. When I launched the site I offered to put on line “hunting songs” not necessarily confined to those about Lakeland. In the last two years I have amassed quite a collection and perhaps it’s time to share them. So especially for the chap described above (and the story is true), here is the first collection of songs and poetry of the mounted packs.

On the Death Of The Fox at Gopsall
1868

Not a halloa was heard, nor a blast of the horn,
As away thro’ the cover he scurried;
Not a bay from a hound, nor a who whoop was borne
O’er the grave where poor reynard we buried.

We buried him silently, holding our breath –
To sportsmen in future a warning;
But murder was out, and his untimely death
Was known everywhere in the morning.

His skin was unrent his bones were unbroken
We laid him down, just where he fell;
None at first had the spirit to venture a joke,
Or laugh at so awful a sell.

Not loud but deep were the curses we said,
And our hearts were o’er come with sorrow,
As we thought of the fox that before us lay dead,
And our hunt we had lost on the morrow.

We thought as we smoothed down his narrow bed,
And arranged each muscular limb,
That he horn of the huntsman might sound o’er his head
But never in honour of him.

Loudly they’ll talk of the deed that’s been done
And Appleby’s * squire much abuse;
And the people all round will be poking their fun,
As soon as they get the news.

But scarcely our mournful task was done,
And though we thought of resuming our firing,
When the vulpecide vowed he would give up his gun,
And homewards talked of retiring.

Slowly he left amid many a sneer,
The field of his fame fresh and gory,
Tho’ offered the brush, he declined with a tear,
Such a basely earned trophy of glory.

Moral:
All ye who chance to read these lines,
This moral may espy:
If with old gentlemen you shoot,
Take care to wipe their eye.

*Old George Moore of Appleby, shot a fox accidentally.

~ ~ ~

Quorn Hounds 1867

Mr. Thomas Boothby of Tooley Park founded the Quorn Hunt in 1696 in, Leicestershire although hunting the fox had taken place on a more informal basis prior to that date. The Hunt takes its name from the village of Quorn, where the hounds were kennelled from 1753 until 1904.

(Sung to the tune of  "Who can tell?")

When will the *Marquis come? Who can tell?
Half-past twelve or half-past one? Who can tell?
Is he sober is he drunk? Nipping "like Myn heer von Dunk?
Will he ride or will he funk? Who can tell?

Shall we have to wait again? Who can tell?
In the wind and in the rain? Who can tell?
While the Marquis, snug and warm, in the hall where
Toadies swarm,
Leaves us to the pelting storm? Who can tell?

Where'll he draw by way of luck? Who can tell?
Gartree Hill, or Bradgate Park? Who can tell?
Sport regarding as a jest, which will suit his fancy best —
North or south, or east or west? Who can tell?

Where, oh where, rings Goodhall's ** horn? Who can tell?
Why came I with this cursed Quorn? Who can tell?
Marquis, this is not a race; can you look us in the face,
And declare you love the chase? Who can tell?

* Harry, last Marquis of Hastings, died 1868
** Mr Tailby’s huntsman

~ ~ ~

The Haydon Hunt
The Opening Meet at Blenkinsopp
(November 1862)

The first irrefutable record of The Haydon Hunt is 25th November 1809, during which day, on the vast Greenwich hospital estates sequestered from the Earls of Derwentwater, they killed their fox in the open after a hunt of some three hours.

The pack, at that time, hunted both hare and fox and was “trencher-fed” with local farmers throughout the country, each responsible for perhaps a couple or two of hounds, meeting twice a week. Although the pack was not kennelled together at that time, the members based their headquarters at The Anchor Inn, at the southern end of the old stone bridge spanning the South Tyne at Haydon Bridge. This former coaching inn also survives today.

Come, all you gallant hunters, and listen one and all
To the opening meet at Blenkinsopp, that pretty little Hall;
The Haydon Hounds, that gallant pack, which stands in such great fame
They belong to a gentleman who is worthy of their name.

Chorus (after each verse)
Tally ho! Hark away; Tally ho; hark away;
One and all in chorus call, hark! hark away.

On the first day of November, 18 and 62,
There were over fifty riders, and footmen not a few;
The Huntsman and the Whippers-in received their Master’s call
To cast off at the Rookery, a wood close to the Hall.

Now the riders and footmen all moved towards that place,
And cast the hounds into the wood, and then began the chase;
Now Reynard had no time to loose, as he nearly lost his brush,
For the hounds were all around him near a Rhododendron bush.

Oh! The glorious sounds of horn and hound, when running in full cry,
Moves the heart of all true hunters who shout Tally Ho! With joy;
The music echoed through the woods which echoed back in turn,
Then Reynard getting well ahead, he made for Painsdale Burn.

Now Reynard made straight up the burn, the hounds close on his track
When he saw the people standing around he slyly doubled back;
The scent being bad, the hunt was slow, but the music was a charm,
So they dragged him on, but lost him, near to the Spittal Farm.

Now the Darlies Wood they next did try, which proved a great success,
When the hounds brought Reynard sharply down towards the Wilderness;
He dodged about from wood to wood, how long there is no proof
But he lost his life, his head and brush, at the top of College Cleugh.

Now success to all the hunters that joined this Opening Meet,
Both Ladies and Gentleman, who so ably kept their seat;
Long may they live for to enjoy the whip, spur and cap,
For they never seek the fences in search of any gap.

Isaac Pattinson, Haltwhistle

~ ~ ~

With thanks to Francis Templer and Ian Scanlan of the Haydon Hunt for contributing the above song.

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