Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Boar and the Fox






the video of this Hogg song by the Battlefield Band



The Boar he has a-hunting gone,
To a lady of command,
And he's gone to the Lady Fox,
And he's proffered her his hand.

"You're welcome here Lord Bruin," she says,
"You are welcome here to me,
But ere I lie into your bed,
You must grant me favours three."

"Favours three then I will grant,
No matter what those favours are,
For there isn't a beast in all the wood
That will dare to challenge me.

So bid me bring the red deer's heart,
Or the nombles of a hind,
To be a bridal supper dish
Fitting my true lover's mind."

"No, oh no," cried the Lady Fox,
"These are not the gifts for me,
But there are three birds in fair Scotland
Sitting on a single tree.

And I must have the heart of one,
And the heads of the other two.
Then I will go for will or woe
And be a bride, a bride to you."

Oh, woe be to that Lady Fox.
She's the vilest of her creed
For the bonny birds were reaved away,
And condemned by her to bleed.

The Boar was caught inside her den,
With a trap that severed his leg,
And she's tied the Boar up by the neck,
And he has hung 'til he was dead.


From "A Story of Good Queen Bess"
by the Ettrick Shepherd [James Hogg], in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 29, No. 179, April, 1831, page 581:



1. The boar he would a-wooing go,
To a mistress of command,
And he's gone away to the lady fox,
And proffer'd her his hand.
'You're welcome here, Lord Bruin,' she says,
'You're welcome here to me;
But ere I lie into your den,
You must grant me favours three.'

2. 'Yes—favours three I will grant to thee,
Be these whate'er they may,
For there is not a beast in the fair forest
That dares with me to play.
Then bid me bring the red deer's heart,
Or nombles of the hind,
To be a bridal supper meet*,
Fitting my true love's mind.'

3. 'O no, O no,' said the lady fox,
'These are no gifts for me;
But there are three birds in fair Scotland,
All sitting on one tree;
And I must have the heart of one,
And the heads of the other two.
And then I will go, for well or woe.
To be a bride to you.'

4. Now woe be to that vile she-fox,
The worst of this world's breed,
For the bonny, bonny birds were reaved away,
And doom'd by her to bleed;
And she tied the boar up by the neck,
And he hung till he was dead.



[* Some later editions of Hogg's works have "meat."]


This unusual and macabre song was found in James Hogg's 'Tales of the Borders'. We don't know its origins or date but it may be an allegory based on a political murder in Scottish history. The melody is a pipe tune called Sleep Dearie Sleep. (Notes Battlefield Band, 'Home Is Where the Van Is')

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