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origins: Horning the Colt/Horn Boys Horn

DigiTrad:
SO SELFISH RUNS THE HARE


Lady Mondegreen 05 Sep 07 - 03:19 PM
Lady Mondegreen 05 Sep 07 - 03:28 PM
ClaireBear 06 Sep 07 - 02:43 PM
Joe Offer 06 Sep 07 - 02:58 PM
ClaireBear 06 Sep 07 - 03:03 PM
Joe Offer 06 Sep 07 - 03:41 PM
Joe Offer 07 Sep 07 - 04:04 AM
GUEST,TonyR 12 Oct 13 - 07:46 AM
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Subject: 'Horning the Colt' ceremonial song.
From: Lady Mondegreen
Date: 05 Sep 07 - 03:19 PM

Does anyone out there in Mudcatland know of a tune or more words for the following song/chant:

Swift is the hare; cunning is the fox,
Why should not this little calf grow up to be an ox,
To get his own living among the briars and thorns,
And die like his daddy with a great pair of horns.

Variants so far:

So swiftly runs the hare, so keen runs the fox,
Why shouldn't this young colt grow up to he an ox
And get his own living 'mongst briar and thorns
And drink like his daddy with a long pair of horns?

and:

So swiftly runs the hare, so cunning runs the fox,
Why shouldn't this young calf grow up to be an ox?
and get his living among the briars and thorns,
and die like his daddy with a long pair of horns.

It seems this was sung at Weyhill Fair in Hampshire, England, during the ceremony of 'Horning The Colt'. New shepherds were initiated by either (source 1) wearing a pair of ram's horns and supporting a mug of ale on their heads, or (source 2) by drinking from a cup placed between a pair of ram's horns, in either case the song was sung during this process.

I'd be really grateful for any info. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Horning the Colt
From: Lady Mondegreen
Date: 05 Sep 07 - 03:28 PM

Just found this on the digitrad, searching for 'Horns', so I've answered my own question already! Any other contenders?

http://www.mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=5422


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Subject: RE: Horning the Colt
From: ClaireBear
Date: 06 Sep 07 - 02:43 PM

The version you've linked to is the one I know (from the Watersons I think, or the Copper Family, or Shirley Collins...it was so many years ago that I'm afraid I've forgotten). I used to perform it with my singing partner Jon Berger, here in California.

We though it was far too short, though, so Jon wrote three more verses bringing in other meanings for "horns." Actually he didn't so much write them as borrow lines from other traditional songs and fill them them out a bit to make the song more or less cohesive. I quite like the result.

Later, Berkeley Morris crafted a dance to suit the tune, and it proved a crowd-pleaser as a dance as well.

So, if you don't mind verses that aren't traditional in the classic sense of the word, herewith submitted for your consideration is our four-verse version.* The traditional first verse is from the other thread:

SO SELFISH RUNS THE HARE

(Verse 1 traditional, verses 2 and later copyright Jonathan Berger)

So selfish runs the hare and so cunning runs the fox,
ho would think that this little calf would grow to a noble ox?
To live among the briars and to run among the thorns,
And die the death that his father did with a large pair of horns.

cho: Horns, large horns; horns, large horns,
And die the death that his father did with a large pair of horns.

The hunt is up, the hounds are out, the lark's song fills the air.
And we're away to the gay green wood to hunt the buck and hare.
The moon is riding down the sky to usher in the morn.
We'll rouse the town with fanfares blown on a large pair of horns.

cho: Horns, large horns; horns, large horns,
We'll rouse the town with fanfares blown on a large pair of horns.

Our miller had a lusty wife, her age was twenty-three.
She slept one night with sailor lad who had just come from the sea.
'Twas only nine months after that a pretty babe was born,
And the miller frowned for his head was crowned with a large pair of horns.

cho: Horns, large horns; horns, large horns,
The miller frowned for his head was crowned with a large pair of horns.

So come all you jolly fellows, drink your ale and down your beer
To welcome in the harvest and the turning of the year.
We'll drink the season with the blood of old John Barleycorn;
I'll drink to thee and thou to me from a large pair of horns.

cho: Horns, large horns; horns, large horns,
I'll drink to thee and thou to me from a large pair of horns.

                            ***

*Fond of puns, we planned to craft a fifth verse as an homage to Tolkien, with a chorus of "Huorns, large huorns..." but sadly we never got around to it. Any volunteers?


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Subject: RE: lyr/tune req: Horning the Colt
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Sep 07 - 02:58 PM

ClaireBear, we'd better be careful about implying that the dance came from her in California - the Albion Country Band do it as part of a Morris medley, so apparently it has been a Morris tune for a good while.

Roud comes up with six citations - Sharp apparently collected the song is a few locations. Alternate title for the song is "Horn Boys Horn."

We certainly don't have much information here on this song, although Malcolm makes brief reference to it in this message. Anybody have the Sharp books that have it?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: lyr/tune req: Horning the Colt
From: ClaireBear
Date: 06 Sep 07 - 03:03 PM

Sorry, I had no idea. I'm fairly sure Berkeley's version was an original dance, but I will double-check.


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Subject: RE: origins: Horning the Colt/Horn Boys Horn
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Sep 07 - 03:41 PM

Well, I think we californians can claim   a   dance to this tune, but not   the   dance.
It's an intriguing song. I hope we can find out more about it.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: origins: Horning the Colt/Horn Boys Horn
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Sep 07 - 04:04 AM

refresh - any more information?
Are there broadsides with this song?


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Subject: RE: origins: Horning the Colt/Horn Boys Horn
From: GUEST,TonyR
Date: 12 Oct 13 - 07:46 AM

This song is indeed a song sung at the 'Horning of the Colts' ceremony at Weyhill Fair held near Andover in Hampshire, England. More information can be found in my book 'Weyhill Fair ..."the greatest fair in the Kingdom" by Anthony C. Raper, published by Barracuda Books in the UK - now unfortunately long out of print.


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