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poetry of field-sports yet remains to be written. The only songs
upon the subject are for the most part the effusions of rude writers, and the homeliest diction seems to have been considered the most appropriate, or at all events the most likely to please the rough and ready gentlemen who a hundred or a hundred and fifty years ago leaped five-bar gates, and lived their lives among hounds and horses. Even Dibdin, so admirable in his sea-songs, became coarse when he sang of the sports of the field.
English songs in praise of angling, cricketing, and skating, are, as literary compositions, of a much more refined class than the other sporting lyrics.
Mr. Armiger, of Melton Mowbray, who published, in 1830, a collection of songs and ballads relating to racing, hunting, coursing, shooting, hawking, angling, and archery, has selected no less than three hundred lyrics of these various kinds; which number, great as it is, is far from having exhausted the subject; for, with a view of presenting an original compilation, he purposely excluded from it every song to be found in a similar volume, published in 1810, under the title of “Songs of the Chase," containing upwards of three hundred and fifty songs upon the same topics. The object of his volume was to show the groundlessness of “the complaint frequently made at the festive board of a dearth of sporting songs,” a
an object in which he most undoubtedly succeeded, although his collection might be cited to prove what neither he nor the previous editor intended to show-a dearth of genius in writers of this class. The selection here made includes some of the most ancient sporting songs in the lauguage-valuable on that account, if on no other—and also some of the most popular of later compositions.
WE three archers be,
That value not honours or money.
We three good fellows be,
But give us fair play for our money.
We three merry men be,
Though we had not a penny of money.
From a curious musical miscellany, called, "Pamelia,” 4to. Lond. 1609. The song, however, is much older than the date of the book, being frequently mentioned by Elizabethan writers.
Now, Robin, lend to me thy bow,
Sweet Robin, lend to me thy bow;
With my sweet ladye go.
And whither will thy ladye go?
Sweet Wilkin tell it unto me;
To wait on thy ladye.
My lady will to Uppingham,*
To Uppingham, forsooth, will she;
To wait on my ladye.
* A market-town in Rutlandshire.
Adieu, good Wilkin, all beshrewd,
Thy hunting nothing pleaseth me;
For ang’ring of thy ladye.
My hounds shall be led in the line,
So well I can assure it thee;
To please my sweet ladye.
With that the ladye she came in,
And will’d them all for to agree;
Nor never shall for me.
In the "very merry and pithie commedie” called " The longer thou livest the more fool thou art,” there is a stage direction-"Here entreth Moros, counterfeiting a vain gesture and foolish countenance, singing the foote (burden) of many songs, as fooles are wont; among others, 'Robin, lend me thy bowe, thy bowe.' The play was entered at Stationer's Hall in 1568-9."-Chappebl’s “ Popular Music of the Olden Time," Part II., page 79.
THE KING'S HUNTE IS UP.
THE hunte is up, the hunte is up,
And it is well nigh day;
To bring his deer to bay.
And darkness it is filed;
the morne To leave his idle bed.
Behold the skyes with golden dyes,
Are glowing all arotid;
All laughing at the sound.
The horses snort, to be at the sport,
The dogges are running free;
Of hey tantara to see !
The sunne is glad, to see us clad
All in our lustre greene;
To see, and to be seene.
Awake all men,
To bring his deere to baye.
Among the favourites of Henry the Eighth, Puttenham notices one Gray, what good estimation did he grow unto, with the same King Henry, and afterwards with the Duke of Somerset, Protectour, for making certaine merry ballades whereof one chiefly was, “ The Hunte is up, the hunte is up."-- From Chappell's “Popular Music of the Olden Time.”