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ENGLISH SONG AND BALLAD MUSIC.
The wife around her husband throws Away he goes, he flies the rout,
Her arms, and begs his stay ; Their steeds all spur and switch;
My dear, it rains, it hails and snows, Some are thrown in, and some thrown but,
You will not hunt to-day. And some thrown in the ditch.
But a hunting we will go. But a hunting we will go.
. A brushing fox in yonder wood, At length his strength to faintness worn,
Secure to find we seek ; Poor reynard ceases flight;
For why, I carried, sound and good, Then hungry, homeward we return,
A cartload there last week. To feast away the night.
And a hunting we will go. Then a drinking we do go.
Instead of the last three stanzas of the above, the four following are usually sung:—
Th' uncavern'd fox, like lightning flies, Despairing, mark ! he seeks the tide,
His cunning's all awake; His heart must now prevail ;
To gain the race he eager tries ; Hark ! shout the hunters, death betide,
His forfeit life the stake ! His speed, his cunning fail.
When a hunting we do go, &c. When a hunting we do go, &c.
Arous'd, e'en Echo huntress turns, For lo ! his strength to faintness worn,
And madly shouts her joy ; The hounds arrest his flight;
The sportsman's breast enraptur'd burns, Then hungry homewards we return,
The chace can never cloy. To feast away the night.
Then a hunting we will go, &c. Then a drinking we do go, &c.
THE VICAR OF BRAY.
Simon Aleyn, Canon of Windsor, was Vicar of Bray, in Berkshire, from 1540 to 1588. " He was a Papist under the reign of Henry VIII., and a Protestant under Edward VI.; he was a Papist again under Mary, and once more became a Protestant in the reign of Elizabeth. When this scandal to the gown was reproached for his versatility of religious creeds, and taxed for being a turncoat and an inconstant changeling, as Fuller expresses it, he replied, ' Not so neither; for if I changed my religion, I am sure I kept true to my principle; which is, to live and die the Vicar of Bray.' "
This vivacious and reverend hero gave birth to a proverb, " The Vicar of Bray will be Vicar of Bray still." In a sermon preached before the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London, by John Evans, in 1682, after describing the common notion of a Moderate Minister in the church, as one who would comply with the humours and fancies of all parties, he says, " And if this be moderation, the old Vicar of Bray was the most moderate man that ever breathed." (Southey's Common Place Book, p. 159.)
Nichols in his Select Poems says that the song of the Vicar of Bray " was written by a soldier in Colonel Fuller's troop of Dragoons, in the reign of George I."
In the ballad operas, such as The Quakers' Opera, 1728, and The Grub Street Opera and the Welsh Opera, both 1731, the original name of the tune is given as The Country Garden.
In some of the copies the tune is printed in % time, which entirely changes its character; it then becomes a plaintive love ditty instead of a sturdy and bold I air. The curious will find the i version in National English Airs (No. 26, p. 14). j