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The Hunting Priest / Tally Ho the Hounds / Doctor Mack

[ Roud 1861 ; Henry H222 ; Ballad Index HHH222 ; Bodleian Roud 1861 ; trad.]

Michael McCloskey uf Cluntygeragh, Co Londonderry, sang The Hunting Priest to Sam Henry on February 11, 1928. This was published in 1990 in Sam Henry's Songs of the People.

Derek and Dorothy Elliott sang Tally Ho the Hounds in 1972 on their eponymous Leader album Derek & Dorothy Elliott.

Leslie Garside of the Holme Valley Beagles sang Doctor Mack at the Village Hall, Upperthong, Yorkshire, on March 24, 1973. This track was included in 1975 on the Leader album A Fine Hunting Day.

Will Noble sang Doctor Mack on his 2017 album It's Gritstone for Me. Brian Peters and John Howson commented in the sleeve notes:

Another song from the Holme Valley Beagles. The Reg Hall collection in the British Library online sound archive includes a 1973 recording of Leslie Garside singing it at one of their meets, but Will heard it sung regularly at the sessions by Stuart Kaye. “I always liked the humour in it.”

Lyrics

Will Noble sings Doctor Mack

Here Doctor Mack no more employs the burden of my song, sir,
I'll give you the toast, the priest enjoys his constitution strong, sir.
It's his delight to drink all night, his cares in punch to drown, sir,
And in the morn to join the horn to tally ho the hounds, sir.

Chorus (after each verse):
To tally ho and tally ho and tally ho the hounds, sir,
(repeat last line of the verse)

It's every day he can afford to dine on boil and roast, sir,
And then as great as any Lord he drinks his favourite toast, sir.
He laughs and winks at those that drinks and those that are not bound, sir,
He takes his glass and lets it pass to tally ho the hounds, sir.

It's every day he goes to mass the priest put on his boots, sir,
And if a fox that way should pass he follows in pursuit, sir.
He nimbly leaps o'er hedge and ditch to him there are no bounds, sir,
And if he can he leads the van to tally ho the hounds, sir.

It happened on St Herod's day as he was going to mass, sir,
He heard the music of the hounds and saw bold Reynard pass, sir.
He shut his book, his flock forsook, and threw aside his gown, sir,
Mounted his horse to hunt the fox to tally ho the hounds, sir.

It happened he had a pair to wed, bold Reynard came in view, sir,
He drew the surplice o'er his head and bid the pair adieu, sir.
They both did pray that he might stay for they were not half bound, sir,
He said that night to bed they might to tally ho the hounds, sir.

The priest he had an honest heart, he'd neither hurt nor harm, sir,
The echoing horn both night and morn his senses did him charm, sir.
He ne'er oppressed nor poor possessed, his fame I will renown, sir,
He thinks no crime at any time to tally ho the hounds, sir.