Today the fox must die

A Hunting Song
The cock awakes the rosy dawn
  And tells approaching day
While Reynard sneaks along the lawn
  Belated with his prey
—O never think to find thy home
  But for thy safety fly
The sportman's long proclaim'd thy doom—
  “Today a Fox shall die”

The bugle blows the sporting train
  Swift mount the snorting steed
Each fence defiance bids in vain
  Their progress to impede—
The cover broke they drive along
  And Raise a jovial cry
Each dog barks chorus to my song
  “Today a fox shall die”

Like lightning o’er the hills they sweep
  All readiest roads they go
The Five-barr'd gate with ease they leap:
  Hark forward tally ho!
The mist hangs on, and scents him strong
  The moisture makes it lie
The woods re-echo to my song
  “This day the Fox must die”

Old Reynard finding shifts in vain
  While hounds and horns pursue
Now leaves the woods to try the plain
  —The bugle sounds a view
Old Threadbrake gaily leads the throng
  His bold unerring cry
Confirms the burthen of my song
  “This day the fox shall die”

His funeral knell the bugle blows
  His end approaches near
He reels & staggers as he goes
  And drops his brush with fear
More eager now they press along
  And louder still the cry—
All join in chorus to my song
  “Today the fox must die”

John Clare, Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery (1820)
[Image: Carry Akroyd]

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