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Lyr/Origins: The Keeper

DigiTrad:
THE KEEPER


Related threads:
Lyr/Chords Req: The Keeper (Frank Hennessy) (9)
Cecil Sharp and the Keeper (13)


GUEST,Kevin.A.Murphy@sff.net 12 Aug 02 - 02:31 AM
Malcolm Douglas 12 Aug 02 - 10:06 AM
Malcolm Douglas 12 Aug 02 - 12:52 PM
EBarnacle1 12 Aug 02 - 02:21 PM
Malcolm Douglas 12 Aug 02 - 03:37 PM
Joe Offer 17 Nov 04 - 03:16 AM
Malcolm Douglas 17 Nov 04 - 03:42 AM
Joe Offer 17 Nov 04 - 01:25 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THE KEEPER
From: GUEST,Kevin.A.Murphy@sff.net
Date: 12 Aug 02 - 02:31 AM

The lyrics set for "The Keeper" had only one version, so I ran through the web and found all of these others.

Please add them.

Kevin
-----------------------------------------------------------------
THE KEEPER

The keeper did a hunting go,
And under his cloak, he carried a bow.
All to shoot a merry little doe
Among the leaves so green-o.

CHORUS:
GROUP A: Jackie Boy? GROUP B: Master!
A: Sing ye well? B: Very well!
A: Hey down! B: Hoe down!
ALL: Derry, derry down among the leaves so green-o
A: To my hey B: To my hoe
A: down down B: down down
A: Hey down! B: Hoe Down!
ALL: Derry, derry down among the leaves so green-o

The first doe he shot at, he missed.
The second doe he trimmed, he kissed.
The third doe went where nobody missed.
Among the leaves so green-o. CHORUS

The fourth doe she got caught by a tree,
Because of this she could not flee.
So he slew her quite leisurely,
Among the leaves so green-o. CHORUS

The fifth doe she did cross the brook.
The keeper brought her back with his crook.
Where she is now, you must look,
Among the leaves so green-o. CHORUS
-----------------------------------------------------------------
THE KEEPER

The keeper would a-hunting go
And under his cloak he'd carry a bow
All for the shoot of a merry little doe
Among the leaves so green-o

CHORUS:
BOYS: Jackie boy? GIRLS: Master
B: Sing you well? G: Very well
ALL: Hey down Ho down Derry derry down
Among the leaves so green-o

The first does she did cross the brook
The keeper brought her back with his hook
Where she is now you may go and look
Among the leaves so green-o. CHORUS

The second doe she did cross the plain
The keeper brought her back again
Where she is now she may remain
Among the leaves so green-o. CHORUS

B: To my hey down down
G: To my ho down down
B: Hey down
G: Ho down
ALL: Derry derry down
Among the leaves so green-o.
-----------------------------------------------------------------
THE KEEPER DID A-HUNTING GO
(Trad) (As sung by The Ian Campbell Folk Group)

Jackie Boy - Master
Sing you well - Very well
Heigh down-ho down, derry derry down
Among the leaves so green-o
To my hey down down- To my ho down down
Heigh down-ho down, derry derry down
Among the leaves so green-o

The keeper did a-shooting go
And under his cloak he carried a bow
All for to shoot at the merry little doe
Among the leaves so green-o

The first doe he shot at he missed
The second doe he trimly kissed
The third doe went where nobody whist
Among the leaves so green-o

The fourth doe she did cross the plain
The keeper fetched her back again
Where she is now she may remain
Among the leaves so green-o

The fifth doe she went over the brook
The keeper fetched her back with his hook
Where she is now you may go and look
Among the leaves so green-o
-----------------------------------------------------------------
THE KEEPER
Traditional

"The Keeper" is performed by A Chorus of Two
from the album "Our Cups Runneth Over"

The keeper did a hunting go
And under his cloak he carried a bow
All for to shoot a merry little doe
Among the leaves so green-o.

CHORUS: Jackie boy (Master) Sing ye well (Very well)
Hey down (Ho down) Derry derry down
Among the leaves so green-o
To my hey down down (To my ho down down)
Hey down (Ho down) Derry derry down
Among the leaves so green-o

The first doe she did cross the plain,
The keeper fetched her back again.
Where she is now, she may remain,
Among the leaves so green-o. CHORUS

The next doe she did cross the brook.
The keeper fetched her back with his hook.
Where she is now you may go and look
Among the leaves so green-o. CHORUS

The keeper did a hunting go.
In the woods he caught a doe.
She looked so sad that he let her go.
Among the leaves so green-o.
-----------------------------------------------------------------
(Additional verses transcribed from MP3 at www.cantaria.com)

The next doe she did cross the hollow
And where she went he soon did follow
What he's done today, he'll do tomorrow
Among the leaves so green-o

The last doe was a fallow doe
As great with young as she may go
She looked so big that he let her go
Among the leaves so green-o
-----------------------------------------------------------------
THE KEEPER

The Keeper would a-hunting go
And under his arm he carried a bow
All for to shoot at the merry little doe
Among the leaves so green-o

CHORUS: A: Jackie boy! B: Master?
A: Sing ye well? B: Very well!
A: Hey down! B: Ho down!
BOTH: Derry, derry down
Among the leaves so green-o.
A: To my hey down, down!
B: To my ho down, down!
A: Hey down! Ho down!
BOTH: Derry, derry down
Among the leaves so green-o.

The first doe he shot at he missed
The second doe he trimmed and kissed
The third doe went where nobody whist.
Among the leaves so green-o. CHORUS

The fourth doe she did cross the plain
The keeper fetched her back again
Where she is now she may remain
Among the leaves so green-o. CHORUS

The fifth doe she did cross the brook,
The keeper fetched her back with his crook
where she is now you must go and look
Among the leaves so green-o. CHORUS

The sixth doe she ran o'er the plain
But he with his hound did turn her again
And it's there he did hunt in a merry, merry vein
Among the leaves so green-o. CHORUS

The seventh doe did run to the East
The unfortunate keeper lost the beast
Now she is a part of a poacher's feast
Among the leaves so green-o. CHORUS
-----------------------------------------------------------------
THE KEEPER

The Keeper would a-hunting go
And under his arm he carried a bow
All for to shoot at the merry little doe
Among the leaves so green-o

CHORUS: A: Jackie boy! B: Master?
A: Sing ye well? B: Very well!
A: Hey down! B: Ho down!
BOTH: Derry, derry down
Among the leaves so green-o.
A: To my hey down, down!
B: To my ho down, down!
A: Hey down! Ho down!
BOTH: Derry, derry down
Among the leaves so green-o.

The first doe he shot at he missed
The second doe he trimmed and kissed
The third doe went where nobody whist.
Among the leaves so green-o. CHORUS

The fourth doe she did cross the plain
The keeper fetched her back again
Where she is now she may remain
Among the leaves so green-o. CHORUS

The fifth doe she did cross the brook,
The keeper fetched her back with his crook
where she is now you must go and look
Among the leaves so green-o. CHORUS

The sixth doe she ran o'er the plain
But he with his hound did turn her again
And it's there he did hunt in a merry, merry vein
Among the leaves so green-o. CHORUS

The seventh doe did run to the East
The unfortunate keeper lost the beast
Now she is a part of a poacher's feast
Among the leaves so green-o. CHORUS

The eighth doe served upon a plate
To grace our feast she reined in state
Now give thanks for all you ate
Among the leaves so green-o. CHORUS
-----------------------------------------------------------------
THE KEEPER

The keeper did a hunting go
And under his cloak he carried a bow
All for to shoot a merry little doe
Among the leaves so green-o.

Jackie boy (Master) Sing ye well (Very well)
Hey down (Ho down) Derry derry down
Among the leaves so green-o
To my hey down down (To my ho down down )
Hey down (Ho down) Derry derry down
Among the leaves so green-o

The first doe she did cross the plain,
The keeper fetched her back again.
Where she is now, she may remain,
Among the leaves so green-o. CHORUS

The next doe she did cross the brook.
The keeper fetched her back with his hook.
Where she is now you may go and look
Among the leaves so green-o. CHORUS

The keeper did a hunting go.
In the woods he caught a doe.
She looked so sad that he let her go.
Among the leaves so green-o.
-----------------------------------------------------------------
THE HUNTER
(This version by the Weavers.)

The hunter, he did cross the plain
And then he ventured home again.
The merry, merry feast will soon begin
Among the leaves so green-o.

CHORUS: Jackie boy, sing ye well. Very well.
Hey down, hoe down, derry, derry down.
Among the leaves so green-o.
To my hey, down, down. Hoe down, down.
Hey down, hoe down, derry, derry down.
Among the leaves so green-o.

The hunter is a cheerful sight.
His hearth is warm, his fire bright.
His songs, they fill the winter night
Among the leaves so green-o. CHORUS

'Tis merry we are and merry we'll stay.
We'll sing a toast 'till the break of day
And start again upon our way
Among the leaves so green-o. CHORUS X2

Hey down, hoe down, derry, derry down.
Hey down, hoe down, derry, derry down.
Hey down, hoe down, derry, derry down.

(LOTS of line breaks added by a Joeclone)


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Subject: Lyr Add:THE KEEPER
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 12 Aug 02 - 10:06 AM

The DT file THE KEEPER is described as "This version by the Weavers"; no traditional source is named. It is a "condensed" arrangement, with a new final verse added, of the set published by Cecil Sharp which I refer to below.

The eight(?) texts Kevin has found (including the Weavers' set again) all derive from a single source; the version of the song noted by Cecil Sharp from Robert Kinchin at Ilmington, Warwickshire, on the 23rd. August, 1909. Sharp published it in Novello's School Songs (1909); English Folk Songs, Selected Edition vol.II (1921) and One Hundred English Folk Songs (1916): this is the song that so many of us remember from Primary School. Sharp edited the text, partly because Kinchin's was a little muddled, and partly because the sexual sub-text of the original was still obvious enough to make it, in those days, unsuitable for children, and undesirable to publishers. Kinchin's text can be found in a number of more recent publications.

The Hunter (above) is a modern re-write by one Jack Splittard: © 1959 Atzal Music, Inc., New York. It was recorded by The Kingston Trio.

The verses above beginning The seventh doe did run to the east and The eighth doe served upon a plate are modern additions of the "Ren Fair" type, made by people who have taken the song literally. The verse ending She looked so sad that he let her go is modern, too.

Oddly enough, the second of the MP3 verses at the Cantaria site is actually (loosely) based on a genuine (broadside) verse (see the final link in this post).

With due respect to Kevin, many websites will put any old stuff up, usually without any attempt at crediting any source or providing reliable information; and with no distinction made between traditional versions of a song and modern recordings. This is certainly the case with some of the material above. It might be best to re-post the Sharp set here, first as originally published:

THE KEEPER

(Noted by Cecil Sharp from Robert Kinchin at Ilmington, Warwickshire, 1909. Edited text.)

The keeper did a shooting go;
And under his coat he carried a bow,
All for to shoot at a merry little doe.
Among the leaves so green, O.

Chorus:

[1] Jackie boy! [2] Master!
[1] Sing ye well! [2] Very well!
[1] Hey down, [2] Ho down,
[1] Derry derry down,
[1&2] Among the leaves so green, O!
[1] To my hey down down, [2] To my ho down down,
[1] Hey down, [2] Ho down, [1] derry derry down,
[1&2] Among the leaves so green, O.

The first doe he shot at he miss'd,
The second doe he trimm'd he kiss'd,
The third doe went where nobody wist.
Among the leaves so green, O.

The fourth doe she did cross the plain,
The keeper fetch'd her back again.
Where she is now she may remain,
Among the leaves so green, O.

The fifth doe she did cross the brook;
The keeper fetch'd her back with his crook;
Where she is now you must go and look
Among the leaves so green, O.

The sixth doe she ran over the plain;
But he with his hounds did turn her again;
And it's there he did hunt in a merry, merry vein
Among the leaves so green, O.

From One Hundred English Folk Songs, Cecil Sharp, 1916.

Now, as originally noted from tradition:

THE KEEPER

(Noted by Cecil Sharp from Robert Kinchin at Ilmington, Warwickshire, 1909. Original text.)

O the keeper he a-shooting goes
And all amongst his bucks and does,
And O for to shoot at the barren doe
She's amongst the leaves of the green O.

Chorus:

Jackie boy, Master,
Sing 'ee well? Very well.
Hey down, Ho down,
Derry derry down.
She's amongst the leaves of the green O.
To my hey down down, To my ho down down,
Hey down, Ho down, derry derry down,
She's amongst the leaves of the green O.

The first doe that he shot at he missed,
And the second doe he trimmed he kissed,
And the third ran away in a young man's breast, *
She's amongst the leaves of the green O.

The fourth doe then she crossed the plain,
The keeper fetched her back again.
O and he tickled her in a merry vein,
She's amongst the leaves of the green O.

The fifth doe she crossed the brook,
The keeper fetched her back with his long hook,
And what he done at her you must go and look,
For she's amongst the leaves of the green O.

The sixth doe she ran over the plain;
But he with his hounds did turn her again;
And it's there he did hunt in a merry, merry vein
Among the leaves so green, O.

Roud Folk Song Index number 1519.

From Cecil Sharp's Collection of English Folk Songs, vol.II, ed. Maud Karpeles, 1974.

* It should be noted that James Reeves (The Idiom of the People, 1958) quotes this line from Sharp's MS as And the third ran away in a young man's heart.

Other collectors found similar versions of the song, but due to its content (mild enough to us, but considered gross by many in those days) these were not published at the time; except for a set which appeared in Sabine Baring Gould's Songs of the West. This text was re-written to make it "safe", but makes it clear, as the Sharp re-write does not, that the "does" are actually women. Commenting on another set, this time noted by Ralph Vaughan Williams in Cambridgeshire, Roy Palmer (Bushes and Briars, 1999) notes:

"The earliest known version is a black-letter ballad of fifteen verses, written by one Joseph Martin, and published in the mid-1680s under the title of The Huntsman's Delight; or the Forester's Pleasure. In the eighteenth century a slightly less elaborate version was issued, this time in white-letter, with only six verses, and entitled The Frolicksome Keeper. A New Song. Unlike its predecessor, it has the dialogue chorus which is common to versions which have turned up in oral tradition during this century."

A copy of the second broadside alluded to can be seen at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads:

The frolicksome keeper. A new song.  Harding B 22(100): printer and date unknown. The real meaning of the song is rather more apparent in the broadside text than in those we have here.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE FROLICKSOME KEEPER (from Bodleian)
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 12 Aug 02 - 12:52 PM

I neglected to mention that Reeves' transcription from Sharp's MS also differs from Karpeles' reading in giving Martin instead of Master. Here is the text of the broadside copy mentioned above:

THE FROLICKSOME KEEPER: A NEW SONG

(Broadside text: Bodleian Library, Harding B 22(100): printer and date unknown.)

There was a Keeper, a Keeper I know,
Under his coat he carried a bow,
For to shoot at a barren doe,
Amongst the leaves so green O.

Jockey, master, sing you well, very well,
With a hey down, ho down, derry down,
Among the leaves so green O.

The first doe he shot at he mist,
The second doe he shot at he kist,
And the third ran over the Heath,
Among &c.

The fourth doe leap'd over the brook,
The Keeper catch'd her fast with his Hook,
And what he did there you may go look,
Among &c.

The fifth doe ran over the plain,
The Keeper fetch'd them back again,
And tickled her in a merry vein,
Among &c.

The sixth doe leap'd over the stile,
The Keeper catch'd her fast by the heel,
And there he did both tickle and feel,
Among &c.

The seventh doe she prov'd with fawn,
And to the Keeper she made great moan,
Wishing he had but let her alone,
Among the leaves so green O.
Jockey, master, &c.

A copy of the older broadside referred to by Palmer can also be seen at the Bodleian Library.

The huntsman's delight: or, The forresetrs [sic] pleasant pastime Printed between 1689 and 1709 for W. Onley, London.

This will take time to transcribe properly.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Keeper
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 12 Aug 02 - 02:21 PM

Gee, I never realized all the sexual connotations of this song when I learned it in grade school, Oh, so long ago.


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Subject: Lyr/Tune Add: HUNTSMAN'S DELIGHT
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 12 Aug 02 - 03:37 PM

The earlier broadside version is more frank. The following is a transcription of Douce Ballads 1(97b) (see link above); the print is indistinct in a few places, and in those cases I've used the readings from Bruce Olson's transcription of an issue printed for W. Thackeray and T. Passinger (1686-1688), which can be seen at his website: The Huntsmans Delight, Or, The Foresters Pleasure. That doesn't include the two-verse preamble shown below (which I have italicised to avoid confusion), where I can't be sure of the first word or two.

THE HUNTSMAN'S DELIGHT Or, THE FORRESTER'S PLEASANT PASTIME

To the Tune of, Amongst the Leaves so Green a &c.

F r wh , 'twas thought that some ther woes withawn.
The Deer are wounded, but they are not slain,
Yet so they're wounded, that they are or'etain;
And in their taking, pitty it is shown:

The Keepers swore great Oaths, upon their lives,
They'd be as kind to them as Men are to their Wives.
The pleasant Sport this Ditty doth declare,
Of the kind Huntsmen, and the Fallow-deer.


Come all you young Maidens and lend an ear,
Come listen a while, and you shall hear
How the Keepers did sport with the fallow-deer,
Amongst the leaves so green a:
Hey down, derry derry down,
Hey down down, ho down down,
Hey down, ho down, derry derry down,
Amongst the leaves so green a.

The Keepers they wouldan a hunting go,
And under their coats each carried his bow,
All for to shoot the bonny bonny Doe,
Amongst the leaves so green a:
Hey down, derry derry down,
Hey down down, ho down down,
Hey down, ho down, derry derry down,
Amongst the leaves so green a.

They spyed five Does upon a hill,
And to shoot at them was their good will,
But none of them they ment for to kill,
Amongst the leaves so green a.
Hey down, &c.

At the first Doe they shot, and they mist,
The second Doe they clipt, and they kist;
And they laid them down where no Man wist,
Amongst the leaves so green a.
Hey down, &c.

The one cryed out unto the other,
I'm serv'd as my Father serv'd my Mother;
But yet these joys we cannot smother,
Amongst the leaves so green a:
Hey down, &c.

The third Doe she made great moan,
Because that she was big with Fawn,
Which made her to go weeping home,
From mmongst the leaves so green a:
Hey down, &c.

The fourth Doe could no longer stay,
But she must be gone her way,
For fear that the Keepers should her lay
Amongst the leaves so green a:
Hey down, &c.

The fifth Doe leapt over the stile,
But the Keeper he got her by the heel,
And there he did both kiss and feel,
Amongst the leaves so green a.
Hey down, &c.

They drew forth their arrows once again,
And they shot at another across the plain;
She sigh'd, but it was with a pleasing pain,
Amongst the leaves so green a.
Hey down, &c.

He pricked her straightways with his dart
But she cryed out she felt no smart,
And herein lay the Keeper's art,
Amongst the leaves so green a.
Hey down, &c.

These fair Does, they leapt, and they skipt
Till leaving along, at length they were tript
No sooner they fell, but the Keepers them clipt
Amongst the leaves so green a:
Hey down, &c.

The Keepers did tumble them o're and o're,
Though often they shot, they requir'd more
They never had met with such sport before,
Amongst the leaves so green a:
Hey down, &c.

These bold Huntsmen were all agreed,
And by consent these fair Does did bleed;
But after that they came often to feed
Amongst the leaves so green a.
Hey down, &c.

Great Crowds came running over the Plain,
Expecting to see these fair Does slain;
But like Fools as they came, they return'd again
From amongst the leaves so green a:
Hey down, &c.

If it be true as old Wives say,
Take a Doe in the Month of May,
And a Forrester's courage she soon will ally,
Amongst the leaves so green a.
Hey down, &c.

These Huntsmen were so gently inclin'd,
They let them rise their courage to find;
But away they tript so swift as the wind,
From amongst the leaves so green a:
Hey down derry derry down;
Hey down down, ho down down,
Hey down, ho down, derry derry down,
Amongst the leaves so green a.

There doesn't seem to be an extant example of the tune prior to 1788; Bruce Olson quotes the following:

X:104
T:LVSGREN2- Amongst the Leaves So Green, O
S:O'Keeffe/ Arnold's tune, from Calliope, 1788
Q:1/4=100
L:1/8
M:C
K:F
A B|c c c c c2 c c|d c B cd2d d|c B A B c2c c|B A G AB2B B|\
A A A A A2A A|B G G AB2A G|F2c2 {e/}d2c B|A2G2F4|:\
"Chorus"A B c2A B c2|A Bc2A Bc2|f2c2f2c2|B G G A {c/}B2A G|\
F2c2{e/}d2c B|A2G2F4:|]

The tune noted by Sharp, though rather changed, is clearly related. The midi with the DT file was presumably made by ear from the Weavers' arrangement, but is still very close to their source, the tune noted by Sharp from Robert Kinchin.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Keeper
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Nov 04 - 03:16 AM

Not too many U.S. versions of this song. Here's the entry from the Traditional Ballad Index:

Keeper, The

DESCRIPTION: Keeper goes hunting for a doe. In some versions he chases several unsuccessfully.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1916
KEYWORDS: hunting animal dialog
FOUND IN: Britain(England)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Sharp-100E 79, "The Keeper" (1 text, 1 tune)
PSeeger-AFB, p. 59, "The Keeper" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 338, "The Keeper" (1 text)
DT, KEEPERGO*

Roud #1519
RECORDINGS:
Pete Seeger, "The Keeper and the Doe" (on PeteSeeger09, PeteSeegerCD02) (on PeteSeeger18)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
The Keeper Would A-Hunting Go
Notes: Most of the song consists of back-and-forth singing of the chorus between two singers. B.J. Orton thinks there is a sexual or magical subtext to this song. I doubt it, myself. -PJS
I have to disagree with Paul; at least one text refers to the Keeper kissing a doe, and another doe "[running] away in a young man's heart." There is surely some sort of hidden meaning. The real question is, how far did Sharp bowdlerize what he found?- RBW
File: ShH79

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2004 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


Here's the entry from Folktrax.org;

KEEPER, THE - "did a shooting go" "First doe he shot the missed" - ROUD#1519 - Black-letter broadside (15v) in 1680's called "The Huntsman's Delight" - Broadside (6v) 18th Cent "The Frolicsome Keeper"- ROXBURGHE 1871 vii p557 - BARING GOULD SOW 1905 #113 (a) Peter Sandry, St Ervans, Cornwall (b) James Ellis, Lamerton (c) Miss Temple from a local harvester 1834 (Rev Ed only) words re-written ("original is very gross") from Garland text & tune adapted - GRAINGER #305 Mr Bennett, Winchcombe, Gloucestershire 1908? "Among the leaves of the Green-O" - SHARP EFS Sel Ed 2 1921 pp68-9 - Novello School Ser - SHARP-KARPELES CSC 1974 #271 pp232-3 Robert Kinchin, Ilmington, Warwicksh 1909/ James Church, Chew Mendip, Somerset 1906 1v/m/ Charles Workey, Nether Stowey, Som 1907 1v/m - REEVES IOP 1958 #52 pp138-9 Sharp: Robert Kinchin, Ilmington, Warwicksh 1909 (w/o) - REEVES EC 1960 App 2 pp289-290 Hammond: Mrs Gulliver 1905/ BM Chapbook #11621.c.2 (w/o) - PALMER RVW 1983 #6 p9 Jim Austin, Little Shelford, Cambridgesh 1906 (text from Firth Coll b33 Bodl Lib) - Tune Cf HUGH THE GRAEME -- Sam BENNETT rec by PK, Ilmington, Warwicksh 1950 098 - Shirley COLLINS with John HASTED (banjo), Ralph RINZLER (gtr), Guy Carawan (gtr) rec by PK 1958 (ARGO): SEE FOR MILES SEE-212 1987 - LIVERPOOL SPINNERS on Radio prog 9/11/82: CASS-0407 -- KINGSTON TRIO: "Sold Out" EMI T-1352 1960 "The Hunter" (with new words)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Keeper
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 17 Nov 04 - 03:42 AM

Are there any traditional versions at all from the US? The list above would suggest not (there are modern revival recordings, of course). The questions raised at the Traditional Ballad Index are probably all answered by the material I posted here a couple of years ago. There is certainly a very obvious sexual sub-text; and, equally certainly, not the slightest trace of a magical one.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Keeper
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Nov 04 - 01:25 PM

Hi, Malcolm-
The Traditional Ballad Index covers most of the significant U.S. songbooks (and I've checked a few others), so it looks to me like this one wasn't sung in the U.S. until the 20th-century folk revival. It doesn't really fit into an American context because we haven't had that style of hunting.
The version in the Digital Tradition is a nearly-exact transcription of the text from the Weavers' Song Book (1960), with additional words and music arranged by Ronnie Gilbert, Lee Hays, Fred Hellerman, and Pete Seeger. Here are the background notes:
    This one started out in the days of Robin Hood, probably, and has been sung at many a campfire since then. In the original the keeper hunted down the deer and killed her; in our version we felt sorry for the poor doe and in our last verse we arranged to let her go.
In American Favorite Ballads (1961), Pete Seeger uses the same lyrics as the first three verses in the DT, but does not include the fourth verse added by the Weavers. All that Seeger says about the song is that it is "a song from our British cousins, lots of fun as an answer-back song."
As you can see in Folkindex, all the U.S. versions are from nontraditional sources - Song Fest, Songs for Swinging Housemothers, Leisy's Songs for Pickin' and Singin', and the Weavers books and one from Florida Methodist Youth Fellowship.
It would be a real triumph to find a traditional U.S. version, but I don't think we can do it. I wish Bruce Olson were here to help.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: The Keeper
From: Bernard
Date: 17 Nov 04 - 05:12 PM

A verse nobody seems to have mentioned yet...

The sixth doe was a fallow doe
And great with young she could not go
What he did today, he'll do again tomorrow
Among the leaves (etc).

The third line does scan after a fashion, if you take the trouble to work it out!!


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: The Keeper
From: Mr Happy
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 09:51 PM

Me & 'Supergoup': 'Senior Moments'are ebgaged presently in making latest cd. Thistle b 1 of tracks.

We've done it a number of times in various venues & the audient's participation bit's always gone right well!


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: The Keeper
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 10:26 PM

Where did you get that other verse, Bernard? I can't place it offhand.

I wish that Bruce was still around, too; but there probably wouldn't be much he could add beyond what we have here and the material on his website (which is currently offline, but will be back in time). One thing: James Reeves (The Everlasting Circle, London: Heinemann, 1960, 289-290) quotes a chapbook text (Number 3 in The Ewie wi' the crooked Horn's Garland containing four excellent new songs (BM 11621.c.2, n.d.)) which is very close to the best-known traditional set.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: The Keeper
From: Dead Horse
Date: 19 Nov 04 - 04:43 AM

I have always thought this song was connected with Henry VIII & his wives, the last verse we sing :-

The Six doe was the best by far
She outlived her bold master
Her name was Good Queen Catherine Parr
Among the leaves so green-o
......the Keeper being the old bugger himself!


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: The Keeper
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 19 Nov 04 - 04:55 AM

The Keeper is Robin Hood, hence " under his cloak he carried a bow "

eric


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: The Keeper
From: Dead Horse
Date: 19 Nov 04 - 11:24 AM

So Robin Hood was the only bowman in Merrie England?


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: The Keeper
From: nutty
Date: 19 Nov 04 - 12:42 PM

I think it most likely that the bow that the keeper had under his cloak was nothing to do with Robin Hood or Henry the Eighth but was referring (in a sexual context) to what a man has between his legs.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: The Keeper
From: Dead Horse
Date: 20 Nov 04 - 02:47 AM

Mine needs re-stringing.
I understood that the verses related to the demise of 'Enery's wives, and was a hit with the travelling madrigal singers that played all the open air raves in't middle ages, along with Greensleeves & Bold Sir John, Ladies of Spain & other accordion favourites.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: The Keeper
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 20 Nov 04 - 04:46 AM

No Dead Horse not the only one but the only famous one, and a Yorkshireman to boot.

eric


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: The Keeper
From: Snuffy
Date: 20 Nov 04 - 09:49 AM

And you can never have enough Yorkshiremen to boot.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: The Keeper
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 21 Nov 04 - 04:30 AM

WE know where you live Snuffy.

eric


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: The Keeper
From: Bernard
Date: 21 Nov 04 - 08:11 PM

Malcolm... it looks as if I combined two verses somewhere along the way... I've been singing the song that way for so long I can't remember why or when it happened!

I can't remember where I got these words (though I do remember seeing them in print), but the complete version goes thusly:


1. The Keeper would a-hunting go,
   And under his cloak he carried a bow
   All for to shoot at a pretty little doe
   Among the leaves so green-oh.

Chorus:
   Jackie boy!                  Master?
   Sing ye well?                Very well!
   Hey down!                    Ho down!
   Derry, derry down,
   Among the leaves so green-oh.
   To me hey down, down.        To me ho down, down.
   Hey down!                    Ho down!
   Derry, derry down,
   Among the leaves so green-oh.

2. The first doe he shot at, he missed
   The second doe, he trimmed, he kissed
   The third doe went where nobody wist
   Among the leaves so green-oh.

3. The fourth doe, she did cross the plain,
   The Keeper fetched her back again,
   Where she is now, she may well remain
   Among the leaves so green-oh.

4. The fifth doe, she did cross the brook,
   The Keeper fetched her back with his hook
   Where she is now, you must go and look
   Among the leaves so green-oh.

5. The sixth doe, she did cross the plain,
   But he, with his hounds, did turn her again
   And there they did hunt in a merry, merry vein
   Among the leaves so green-oh.

6. The seventh doe she did cross the hollow
   And where she went, he soon did follow,
   What he did today, he'll do again tomorrow
   Among the leaves so green-oh.

7. The last doe was a fallow doe,
   So great with young she could not go,
   She looked so big he let her go
   Among the leaves so green-oh.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: The Keeper
From: GUEST,Clare Heuston
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 02:31 AM

that was most instructive... Henry the VIIIth eh? Don't even want to think about the strange kissing ones... Here was me thinking it would make sense for a huntsman and his sidekick to have a call and response sequence that they used to make sure the sidekick didn't get shot! I figured the calls were standard ones back and forward as the Keeper and his boy looked out for the animals in the woods, just formed up into a nice ditty...


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: The Keeper
From: GUEST,Sandi
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 11:55 PM

I was taught that the verse
The first doe he shot at he mist
The 2nd doe, he trimmed he kist
The 3rd ran away where nobody wist

refers to terms used in archery. Anyone know anything about that?


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: The Keeper
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Nov 09 - 04:12 PM

Sandi,
Not quite sure which are the terms you want out of this verse. I presume 'trimmed' would have the same meaning as in any shooting, 'adjusted aim', 'kist' as in his arrow gave a glancing touch as in snooker/billiards/pool, but with the extra loose sexual connotation.
And 'wist' is just 17thc for 'perceived/knew/was aware of'. Don't think there's anything here specific to archery.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: The Keeper
From: Penny S.
Date: 14 Nov 09 - 09:31 AM

I have a faint memory that "trimmed" was a word used for grabbing a woman round the waist, or similar behaviour. I can't find anything online, and my dictionary is in transit, so I can't check, but I note that a synonym for "trim" is "clip", which I am sure has been used for kissing. I think the meaning is in that low level sexual behaviour context.

Penny


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: The Keeper
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Nov 09 - 03:11 PM

Penny,
That would certainly fit in with the rest of the song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: The Keeper
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Feb 10 - 01:17 PM


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: The Keeper
From: GUEST,Mary
Date: 15 Feb 10 - 01:22 PM

I learned this at primary school in the 1950s. I hadn't heard it again until a few weeks back when they used it on BBC's Larkrise as a mowing song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: The Keeper
From: GUEST,BartTheAnorak
Date: 19 Feb 10 - 05:57 PM

I'm sure when I learnt it we were singing "over his shoulder he carried a bow". Someone had been sharp enough to eliminate the tell-tale innuendo...


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: The Keeper
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Sep 12 - 11:09 PM

Originally, before I knew anything about the sexual connotations, I thought the "kiss'd" was the arrow glancing off the side of the deer, but "trimming" the deer before he had even hit her seemed very strange.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: The Keeper
From: GUEST,Kline Boy
Date: 18 May 15 - 10:22 PM

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the song was originally full of sexual innuendo, but I learned it from my mother in the mid 1970's in America. She learned it as a child in the 1950's as such:

The Hunter went a shooting go
Under his cloak he carried a bow
Off to shoot a merry little doe
Among the leaves o green-oh

Jackie Boy (Master) Sing ye well (very well) Hey down! (Ho down!) derry derry down, among the leaves o green-oh.

The first doe he shot at he missed
The second doe he trimmed he kissed
The third doe went were nobody wished
Among the leaves o green-oh.

To my hey down-down
(to my ho down-down)
Hey down! (Ho down!) Derry derry down
Among the leaves O green-oh

I kind of enjoy all versions presented. Thanks for this discussion.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: The Keeper
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 19 May 15 - 05:47 AM

I recorded a fragment of this song from Walter Pardon, but cannot now remember if Walter had learned it at school, or from his family and friends. Somthing tells me that it was the latter, though I may be wrong.


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Subject: RE: Lyr/Origins: The Keeper
From: Bugsy
Date: 19 May 15 - 10:16 PM

And to think that tis was my introduction to folk music at the age of 5. "Singing together."

CHeers

Bugsy


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