The King's Hunt is up

Original Text: 
Ernest W. Dormer, Gray of Reading: a 16th-century controversialist and ballad writer (Reading, 1923). PR 2279 G86 1923 Robarts Library
2And it is well nigh day;
3And Harry our king is gone hunting,
4To bring his deer to bay.
5The east is bright with morning light,
6And darkness it is fled;
7And the merry horn wakes up the morn
8To leave his idle bed.
9Behold the skies with golden dyes
10Are glowing all around;
11The grass is green, and so are the treen,
12All laughing with the sound.
13The horses snort to be at the sport,
14The dogs are running free;
15The woods rejoice at the merry noise
16Of hey taranta tee ree.
17The sun is glad to see us clad
18All in our lusty green,
19And smiles in the sky as he riseth high
20To see and to be seen.
21Awake all men, I say again,
22Be merry as you may;
23For Harry our king is gone hunting
24To bring his deer to bay.


1] This ballad, by one of the most popular professional ballad writers of the reign of Henry VIII, is referred to in The Art of English Poesy (1589): "And one Gray, what good estimation did he grow unto with the same king Henry ... for making certain merry ballads, whereof one chiefly was The Hunt is up." The abbreviation "Hunt's up" was at first used of the song sung or played on the horn to awaken huntsmen in the morning, and then extended (as in Shakespeare) to mean any song intended to arouse in the morning. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
2RP.1.241; RPO 1996-2000.