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With the Chiddingfolds


From Songs of Action (1898).



The horse is bedded down
Where the straw lies deep.
The hound is in the kennel;
Let the poor hound sleep!
And the fox is in the spinney
By the run which he is haunting,
And I'll lay an even guinea
That a goose or two is wanting
When the farmer comes to count them in the morning.

The horse is up and saddled;
Girth the old horse tight!
The hounds are out and drawing
In the morning light.
Now it's 'Yoick!' among the heather,
And it's 'Yoick!' across the clover,
And it's 'To him, all together!'
'Hyke a Bertha! Hyke a Rover!'
And the woodlands smell so sweetly in the morning.

'There's Termagant a-whimpering;
She whimpers so.'
'There's a young hound yapping!'
Let the young hound go!
But the old hound is cunning,
And it's him we mean to follow,
'They are running! They are running!
And it's 'Forrard to the hollo!'
For the scent is lying strongly in the morning.

'Who's the fool that heads him?'
Hold hard, and let him pass!
He's out among the oziers
He's clear upon the grass.
You grip his flanks and settle,
For the horse is stretched and straining,
Here's a game to test your mettle,
And a sport to try your training,
When the Chiddingfolds are running in the morning.

We're up by the Coppice
And we're down by the Mill,
We're out upon the Common,
And the hounds are running still.
You must tighten on the leather,
For we blunder through the bracken;
Though you're over hocks in heather
Still the pace must never slacken
As we race through Thursley Common in the morning.

We are breaking from the tangle
We are out upon the green,
There's a bank and a hurdle
With a quickset between.
You must steady him and try it,
You are over with a scramble.
Here's a wattle! You must fly it,
And you land among the bramble,
For it's roughish, toughish going in the morning.

'Ware the bog by the Grove
As you pound through the slush.
See the whip! See the huntsman!
We are close upon his brush.
'Ware the root that lies before you!
It will trip you if you blunder.
'Ware the branch that's drooping o'er you!
You must dip and swerve from under
As you gallop through the woodland in the morning.

There were fifty at the find,
There were forty at the mill,
There were twenty on the heath,
And ten are going still.
Some are pounded, some are shirking,
And they dwindle and diminish
Till a weary pair are working,
Spent and blowing, to the finish,
And we hear the shrill whoo-ooping in the morning.

The horse is bedded down
Where the straw lies deep,
The hound is in the kennel,
He is yapping in his sleep.
But the fox is in the spinney
Lying snug in earth and burrow.
And I'll lay an even guinea
We could find again to-morrow,
If we chose to go a-hunting in the morning.

Arthur Conan Doyle