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Lyr Add: The Hare, to the Hunter

GUEST,Suibhne Astray 24 Feb 12 - 07:23 AM
theleveller 24 Feb 12 - 09:03 AM
theleveller 24 Feb 12 - 09:05 AM
tijuanatime 24 Feb 12 - 09:30 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 24 Feb 12 - 09:40 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: The Hare, to the Hunter
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 24 Feb 12 - 07:23 AM

Just been revisiting this very fine & ancient poem which I feel sure is bound to be of interest to certain Mudcatters, assuming they don't already know it.


The Hare, to the Hunter

Are mindes of men, become so voyde of sense
That they can joye to hurte a harmlesse thing?
A sillie beast, which cannot make defence?
A wretche? a worm than can not bite, nor sting?
If that be so, I thank my maker than,
For makyng me, a Beast and not a Man.

The Lyon lickes the sores of wounded Sheepe,
He spares to pray, whiche yeeldes and craveth grace:
The dead mans corpse hath made some Serpentes weepe,
Such rewth may ryse in beasts of bloudie race:
And yet can man (which bragges above the rest)
Use wracke for rewth? can murder murder like him best?

This song I sing in moane and mournful notes
Which fayne would blaze, the bloudie minde of Man,
Who not content with Hartes, Hindes, Buckes, Rowes, Gotes,
Bores, Bears, and all, that hunting conquers can,
Must yet seeke out, me sillie harmeless Hare,
To hunte with houndes, and course sometimes with care.

The Harte doth hurte, I must a truth confess,
He spoyleth Corne are beares the hedge adowne:
So doth the Bucke, and though the Rowe seeme lesse,
Yet doth he harme in many a field and Towne
The clyming Gote doth pill both plant and vine,
The pleasant meads are rowted up with Swine.

But I poor beast whose feeding is not seene,
Who breaks no hedge, who pill no pleasant plant:
Who stroye no fruite, who can turn up no greene,
Who spoyle no corne, to make the Plowman want:
Am yet pursewed with hounde, horse, might and mayne
By murdering men, until they have me slayne.

Sa How, sayeth one, as soone as he me spies,
Another cries Now, Now, that sees me starte,
The houndes call on, with hydeous noyse and cryes,
The spurgalde Jade must gallop out his parte:
The horne is blowen, and many a voyce full shryll,
Do whoup and crie, me wretched Beast to kyll.

What meanest thou man, me for the pursew?
For first my skinne is scarcely worth a placke,
My fleshe is drie, and hard for to endew,
My greace (God knoweth) not great upon my backe,
My selfe, and all, that is within me founde,
Is neyther good, great, ritche, fatte, sweete not sounde.

So than thou shewest thou vauntes to be but vayne,
Thou bragst of witte, above all other beasts,
And yet by me thou neyther gettest gayne
Nor findest foode, to serve thy gluttons feasts:
Some sporte perhaps, yet Grevous is the glee
Which endes in Bloud, that lesson learne of me.


Endew : portion
Jade : old horse
Pill : rob or plunder
Placke : small copper coin worth 1/3 of an English penny
Rewthe : pity, compassion
Spurgalde : wounded by the spur
Stroye : destroy
Than : then
Wracks : wreck, destruction

Anon. From - The Booke of Hunting (?) - Source: The Leaping Hare by George Eart Evans & David Thomson (Faber, 1972)


For my own setting (& other notes):

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Hare, to the Hunter
From: theleveller
Date: 24 Feb 12 - 09:03 AM

I love 'The Leaping Hare' especially the 'Names of the Hare' where it's called, amongst other things, a 'turpin' which can be translated as brigand or robber. So Dick lived up to his name.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Hare, to the Hunter
From: theleveller
Date: 24 Feb 12 - 09:05 AM

Heaney translated it as 'rascal'.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Hare, to the Hunter
From: tijuanatime
Date: 24 Feb 12 - 09:30 AM

By coincidence this was posted today.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Hare, to the Hunter
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 24 Feb 12 - 09:40 AM

The translation I use of Names of the Hare runs thus:

the man that should the hare meet / will never come to have him beat / unless he lay upon the ground / that which he carries in his hand / be it staff or be it bow and bless him with his elbow / and with right good devotion he shall speak this orizon / in honour of the hare / then will he better fare...

the hare / the scutter / the big / the bouchart / the scuffler / the robber / the rascal / the racer / the way-beater / the hairless / the go-by-ditch / the grimer / the wimont / the bulger / the steal away / the mumbler / the ill-to-meet / the scutt / the dew creature / the grass biter / the late at home / the treacherous / the friendless one / the wood-cat / the broad gazer / the broom cat / the purblind / the furze cat / the croucher / the west gazer / the wall eyed / the side gazer / likewise the hedge chaser / the stub-deer / the long ear / the straw beast / the lecher / the wild beast / the leaper / the short beast / the lurker / the wind swift / the skulker / the hare shagger / the hedge cowerer / the dew duck / the dew hopper / the sitter / the grass hopper / the fittle foot / the fold sitter / the light foot / the fern sitter / the cabbage deer / the weed cropper / the go by ground / the sit still / the peg tail / the turn to hill / the swift away / to make afraid / the white of womb / the go with lambs / the chump / the jowler / the miser / the peasant / the make unrest / the break word / the snub nose / the shaven / his chief name is villain

the stag with the leathery horns / the animal that lives in the corn / the animal that all men scorn / but the animal that no one dare name / aye the animal that no one dare name

and when all this you have spoken / then the hare's might is broken / then you can journey forth / east and west / and south and north / whatever way a man will / a man that has any skill

and now good day to you Sir Hare / so well may God let you fair / that you come to me alive / above black furrows / beneath winter skies

Translation: mostly Thor Ewing (I asked him to take a look at it! He used Beast rather than Animal) with references to the Leaping Hare and other modifications. The ending is by me, circa 1984.

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