Hunting and Poaching Songs

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Hunting songs are almost always jolly songs with lots of choruses, about the day itself, the company, the open air, the dogs, the nobility of the quarry, and on most occasions the fox or hare seems to escape, as in The Howden Hare or The brown hare of Whitebrook Head. They come from a time when the morality of hunting was not questioned. Poaching songs are usually adventure songs, about the thrill of the moonlit night, and the eternal contest with the gamekeeper. The better ones also comment on the iniquity of the squire owning so much when poor folk are starving, and are often linked to the barbarity of the legal system of the late 18th and early 19th centuries which led to many fine transportation songs.


Sections on this theme are to be found in Folk Songs of Britain and Ireland, The Folk Songs of Britain, and The Voice of the People.


Probably the most famous hunting song is Do ye Ken John Peel?, formerly routinely taught to English school children during the early to mid years of the 20th century.

  • Other songs on this theme.

The Horn of the Hunter (Song)

The Hounds of the Meynell (Song)

Wild and Wicked Youths (Song)

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