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John C. Bunnell Traditional Halloween/Samhain songs? (25) RE: Traditional Halloween/Samhain songs? 31 Oct 21

And now for something completely different: the following is of 20th-century vintage, but is clearly and explicitly meant as a Halloween song. I remember the song as being quite popular at filk circles, with enthusiastic audience participation on the choruses. (My printed copies of the lyrics indicate that the chorus should follow every verse, but I believe in performance every other verse was more usual for practical reasons....)

There is a YouTube recording, but it's not a particularly good rendering.


words: A. Kritchner, Leslie Fish, Shawn Wall
music: Leslie Fish

Saddle the black and saddle the bay,
Saddle the dun and saddle the grey,
That we may ride as ride we may – now off and away!

Upon a brisk and chilly wind we’re off to ride again;
Whatever steed we choose to mount is ready to our rein;
And be it wood, or flesh and blood, or foal of air and fire,
If we can call it to our side, we ride to our desire!

There’s Meg bestride a beast so stout for all her height so fine,
And Alice has a saddle on a beast of fire and shine,
My mount’s a gallant man when once the magic bridle’s gone,
But any steed will bear us well as we go riding on!

Now some of us will ride to hunt as lords and ladies do;
The pack we follow to the chase would scare the gentry blue!
Our huntsman has three horns – one horn to blow, and two horns more;
Our quarry runs away on feet that count two less than four!

We ride through oak and thistle, ocean waves or grassy glen,
So any prey we choose to take is never seen again;
And be it winged, or finned, or hooved, or riding that which is,
We’ve never missed a kill, or lost a soul which could be his!

Now some of us ride journeying to places far and fair;
The night is cold but as of old, we ride not clad but bare;
The journey’s end tonight is sweet; we’ll seek it as we may;
If fire awaits, it will not burn us till another day!

And some of us ride out towards a fight against the strong;
The motto on our banner flares: “Whatever rules is wrong!”
Rebellion is our ancient goal; we fight the pious lies,
And in the battle at the end, the world will be our prize!

And some of us would ride for love, and some for gain would ride,
And some would ride for mischief’s sake, and some for ancient pride;
We know what gave our power to us, we know where we are bound,
So free we ride upon the wind and never touch the ground!

We rode the earth before the gods, and still we ride today,
And none have dared to bar our path that ever rose from clay;
Though many times they’ve tried to deal, and some have tried to join,
I’m riding one who paid me with a very precious coin!

We’ll meet upon the bracken, or at Benevento’s tree,
At old Kirk Allowey, or at Dom Daniel in the sea;
We’ll call the storm to hide our track, we’ll chill the land below,
And we shall ride from dusk to dawn, still singing as we go!

They call us evil witches, and they call us chaos-born,
But still they cower in their beds to hear our huntsman’s horn;
And if May Eve, or Lammas Eve, or Hallows’ Eve’s in sight,
Our cavalcade is on its way – we ride, we ride tonight!

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