Fine Arts Friday: A Bombadilian Song

The Gamekeeper, Richard Ansdell


February’s folk song is the fun and lively “The Keeper Did A-Hunting Go.”  Ambleside Online* suggests several options, but this is by far my favorite. Try not to sing along, I dare you.

It reminds me very strongly of Tom Bombadil’s song,

Hey dol! merry dol! ring a dong dillo!
Ring a dong! hop along! fal lal the willow!
Tom Bom, jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo!

Now compare this version to the Vienna Boys Choir version for a completely different experience.

Here are the lyrics so you can sing along:

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
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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

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

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

Now the fifth doe she went over the brook
The keeper fetched her back with his crook
Where she is now you must not look
Among the leaves so green-o

*Ambleside Online is an excellent resource. You don’t have to be a Charlotte Mason homeschooler or homeschooler of any style or even have kids to benefit from the book lists, music, art, and other wisdom there. Go browse. It’ll be fun.

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