W3C Songs of Sylvia Shepherd   SONGS


Sylvia Shepherd, Rydal Park 2009


I have known Sylvia Shepherd all my life. She was following hounds on the Lakeland Fells long before I was born and I’m proud to call her a friend. In her youth she could hold her own on the fell with the male followers and her love of the hounds and knowledge of hunting shines through in these four songs.

The Coniston

You bold and ardent hunters be ready on the morn,
To join the chase at break of day when Anthony blows his horn,
With his pack of spotted beauties o'er the mountain tops will fly,
Like British soldiers at the front they mean to kill or die.

There's Music and Mischief, Matchem fit and true
Dilwyn and Dainty that makes five of you
Should an old dog fox from Sawrey in the morning break away
These bonny hounds will have his brush before the close of day.

There's Welcome and Lavish, Ruby as well,
Black saddled Cora, a proper little swell,
There's Chanter and Cragsman, Warrior spic and span
Glena and old Rally are the best that ever ran.

To the Coniston foxhound's success now I will sing
May good fortune favour them and keep the fox at bay
So hark, my lads together don't let your spirits lack
But give your kind assistance to this gallant old fell pack.

Sylvia Shepherd

~ ~ ~

Written After 20 Years Hunting With The Coniston

Give me the shining daybreak,
A cool clear dawn in May,
The still of the slumbering valley
The fells a delicate grey.

Give me the rain washed turf,
The tortuous mountain track.
As I stand and wait in silence
To hunt with the Coniston pack.

Give me the hounds who will lait him,
Ransome and Tempest will try
While Careless like Lavish her mother
Knows in the brackens hard by.

Give me those fleet footed beauties,
Those bitches who work with a will,
Trinket, li’le Countess and bounty
Will hunt him through high crag and ghyll.

Give me the heart lifting chorus
As hounds run their fox in full cry,
The crags with echoes resounding
Proclaiming the scent is breast high.

Give me the change in their music,
Which tells of a tiring fox
As hounds turn him into the valley,
As they press through bracken and rock.

Give me a view of them bunching,
With every hound in at the kill,
The steam rising up as they tussle.
On the edge of a silvery rill.

Give me the keenest Foxhunter,
Who will follow all day to the end
Who ne’er can resist the cry of those hounds,
And I will call him my friend.

When the hounds are kenneled and sleeping,
And talk round the fire falls slack,
Come hunters and I’ll give you a toast now,
We’ll drink to the Coniston pack.

Sylvia Shepherd

~ ~ ~

Braeside Hunt 1960

In the last day of December in nineteen sixty
We lowsed at Braeside to give Skelghyll a go,
We drew through to Holbeck but all was quite bare
Save that some silly fellow he halloaed a hare.

Now a few hounds struck forard and soon struck a line
So we halloaed them out but it all took some time,
They ran through by Hindcore and Stock Ghyll crossed o’er
They climbed out Snow Cove and we heard them no more.

Cross Scandale and high Pike they merrily went
To catch this game fox was their earnest intent,
Down Rydal through Nab Scar they ran without check
They turned him in-bank and crossed back o’er t beck.

Reynard climbed back for Scandale and through Brock Crag,
They were pressing him hard so he’d no time to lag.
Over Snarker Moss End past Petts with a will
The hounds screaming death and determined to kill.

By High Grove and Idle Hill Reynard sped on
The hounds had a job through the sheep where he’d gone,
But by Bank End and Park Farm the hunt seemed to mend
Out Long Green Head his way he did wend.

We jumped into cars and to Kentmere we flew,
Old Marples would collapse if ever he knew!
At Millriggs we stopped for a good look around
And saw them at Croft Head marking to ground.

We climbed upto t’spot and young Turk was put in,
He soon buckled fox and then what a din,
We kept hounds well back and let that fox go
While Kentmere re-echoed our glad Tally-ho!

They chased him through brackens, they chased him in’t wood
They chased him through fields til he found twas no good
They chased him in bank with never a check,
They chased him to a standstill and killed him in’t beck.

All the folk there went wild such a hunt they’d never seen,
Such a tremendous route with hound work so keen,
They halloaed and shouted and tumbled in’t beck
And one fellow went in right up to t’ neck.

Now this hunt we’ll remember when we’re not so young,
Our kids’ll say “They’ve run three hunts into one”,
So here’s to the Coniston Foxhounds so grand,
We all know they’re second to none in the land.

Ken and Sylvia Shepherd

~ ~ ~

Funny thing, I remember this hunt, Dad came home worn out by trying to follow it on foot.

Saw much of it, but not the conclusion, and the song is right - they spoke of it for years, and we kids didn’t believe it!!

The Coniston Pack

We all sing songs of foxhounds,
And of hunting long ago,
Of how the lively horn sounds
And of John Peel's view halloa.
There are many good hounds throughout this land
But none that can compare...

With the Coniston pack which never turns back
From the drag to the foxes lair.

There’s Mercy and old Bounty
For working out a drag
None like them in the country
Their efforts never lag,
Old Venture as a marker - none equal I declare...

There’s many a fast hound running
In this noted old fell pack
And a fox must use his cunning
He can’t afford to slack.
There’s Rally and there’s Remedy – by far the fastest pair...

A hound well known to every fox
Was Ruler of great fame
Alone he’d search the crags and rocks
Until he found his game
He’d run them well, them bowl them o’er
Showing that quality so rare...

New pups come in each season
And learn to join the chase
To hunt, give mouth with reason
And strive to beat the pace,
What better teacher could there be
To make them all aware...

So now we’ll raise our glasses
To those who hunt with hounds,
And to the lads and the lasses
May all good luck abound
We’ll drink to Bruce and Anthony
And follow without a care...

Sylvia Shepherd 1954

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