Reynard the Fox

Traditional

Audio

This example of "Reynard the Fox" is performed by Andy Irvine with Sweeney's Men from their album "1968"
Please refer to Cantaria's Copyright information

Recorded by Sweeney's Men on "1968" and by Ewan McColl on "Champions and Sporting Blades"
There are no fewer than three distinct versions of this song that are well known in the tradition.

"Bold Reynard," a rather different version, is found in Kennedy's Songs of Britain and Ireland.

This is one of the group of hunting songs written from the viewpoint of the quarry. See these other very similar songs: The Granemore Hare, and The Creggan White Hare and The Hare's Lament

On the first day of March in the year of ninety-three
The first recreation was in this country
The King's County gentlemen o'er hills, dales and rocks
They rode so joyfuly in search of a fox

Tally-ho, hark away, tally-ho hark away
Tally-ho, hark away me boys away, hark away

When Reynard was started he faced Tullamore
And Arklow and Wicklow along the sea shore
We kept his brush in view every yard of the way
And it's straight he made his course for the street of Rosstrade

For Reynard, sly Reynard lay hid there that night
And we swore we would watch him until the daylight
Next morning early the hills did resound
Of the sweet smell of horses and the sweet cry of hounds

When Reynard was started he faced to the hollow
Where none but the footmen and hounds they could follow
The gentlemen cried "Watch him, watch him, what will he do?
If the rocks do not stop him he will cross Killaloe"

When Reynard was captured his wishes to fulfill
He sent for pen and paper and ink to write his will
And what he made mention of, we found it no thank
For he gave us a cheque on the National Bank.

"Oh to you, Mr Casey, I leave my whole estate
And to you, Mr Johnson, my money and my plate
I give to you, Sir Monaghan, my whips, spurs and cap
For you jumped hedge and ditches and ne'er looked for a gap."