> A.L. Lloyd > Songs > Three Drunken Huntsmen
> Cyril Tawney > Songs > The Three Huntsmen
> Wood—Wilson—Carthy > Songs > Six Jovial Welshmen

Three Drunken Huntsmen / Three Men Went A-Hunting / Six Jovial Welshmen

[ Roud 283 ; G/D 2:283 ; Ballad Index R077 ; Wiltshire Roud 283 ; trad.]

A.L. Lloyd sang Three Drunken Huntsmen in 1956 on the Riverside album English Drinking Songs, which was reissued on CD on the Topic label in 1998. He commented in the liner notes:

Many a happy farmhand with a belly full of beer and a head full of bees has listened to this song with something near quiet ecstasy. A snatch of the song appears in a play called The Rivals (1668), which Shakespeare may have had a hand in. Later it moved to America where, in the 1840s, it was in the repertory of the Hutcheson Family of travelling singers. Nowadays it seems to be the exclusive property of children and drunks.

Hywel Wood of Bala, Merioneth, sang Three Men Went A-Huntin' in a recording made by Peter Kennedy on the anthology Songs of Animals and Other Marvels (The Folk Songs of Britain Volume 10; Caedmon 1961, Topic 1970).

The Elliotts Family sang The Three Jovial Welshmen in a recording that was made in 1961 by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger and was released on the Folkways album The Elliotts of Birtley: A Musical Portrait of a Durham Mining Family.

Cyril Tawney sang The Three Huntsmen at a concert presented by the English Folk, Dance and Song Society at the Royal Festival Hall, London on June 4, 1965 which was released in the same year on the LP Folksound of Britain. He also sang it on his 1970 Argo LP Children's Songs from Devon and Cornwall. He commented in the latter album's sleeve notes:

The Endacott family version of a song which has numerous verses and an ancient pedigree. Recorded by Peter Kennedy in the Chagford area of Devon.

Charlie Hill sang Three Men Went A-Hunting in between 1974 and 1976 on the Topic album Devon Tradition: An Anthology from Traditional Singers.

Bob Davenport sang Three Men Went A-Hunting on his Topic album 1977.

Martin Carthy sang Six Jovial Welshmen in 1998 on the album Wood—Wilson—Carthy. He commented in the record's sleeve notes:

Six Jovial Welshmen (the first and last verses that is) is supposed to be a bit of a St David's Day carol and if nothing else you can tell which side the singer was on in the Wars of the Roses. The three verses in the middle are from a totally unrelated song which just happens to have Welshmen in it as well.

Lyrics

A.L. Lloyd sings Three Drunken Huntsmen

It was three drunken huntsmen and nothing could they find
Until they came to a signpost and that we left behind.
The Englishman said, signpost, the Scotsman he said, nay,
My dad said, Pat it's a plum-pudding tree and the pudding's has blown away.

Chorus (after each verse):
Tally ho, hawk away, my boys, hawk away

It was three drunken huntsmen and nothing could they find
But a frog in a well, my boys, that they left behind.
Frog, says the Englishman, the Scotsman he said, nay,
My dad said, Pat, a canary bird and the feather’s has washed away.

Well all night they hunted and nothing could they find
But a dead man in the road, boys, and him they left behind.
A man, says the Englishman, the Scotsman he said, nay,
A monkey, says the Irishman, and his tail has cut away.

Well the next day they hunted and nothing could they find
But a ship in full sail and that they left behind.
Barquentine, says the Englishman, the Scotsman he said, nay,
My dad said, Pat it’s a washing tub and the clothes hung up to dry.

Well all that night they hunted and nothing could they find
But an owl in an ivy bush and that they left behind.
An owl, says the Englishman, the Scotsman he said, nay.
It’s the devil, said the Irishman and they all of ‘em run away.

Cyril Tawney sings The Three Huntsmen

We hunted all the day, my boys, but nothing could we find
But a great big haystack in a field, my boys, and him we left behind.
The Englishman said, a haystack, the Scotsman he said, nay,
Poor Paddy said, it's an elephant with the trunk all blown away.

Chorus (after each verse):
And it's hunting we will go, will go, will go,
And it's hunting we will go.

We hunted all the day, my boys, but nothing could we find
But a great big hedgehog in a field, my boys, and him we left behind.
The Englishman said, a hedgehog, the Scotsman he said, nay,
Poor Paddy said, it's a pincushion with the pins stuck in the wrong way.

We hunted all the day, my boys, but nothing could we find
But a great black pig in a field, my boys, and him we left behind.
The Englishman said, a black pig, the Scotsman he said, nay,
Poor Paddy said, it's the devil himself, so all three ran away..

Martin Carthy sings Six Jovial Welshmen

It is of six jovial Welshmen, six jovial men were they,
And they would all a-hunting ride all on St David's Day.

Chorus (after each verse):
Then fill each glass and let it pass
No sign of care betray
We will drink and sing while the bells do ring
All on St David's Day

Oh they rode along a bit further and nothing could they find
But a hedgehog in an open field, and that they left behind.
One of them said, it's a hedgehog, another one he said, nay,
But the others all said, it's a pin cushion with the pins stuck in the wrong way.

Oh they rode along a bit further and nothing could they find
But a natterjack toad in an open field and that they left behind.
One of them said, it's a toad, sir, another one he said, nay,
But the others all said, it's grandma's duck with the feathers all blown away.

Oh they rode along a bit further and nothing could they find
But a haystack in an open field and that they left behind.
One of them said, it's a haystack, another one he said nay,
But the others all said, it's Patrick Moore, and they all ran away.

When crookback Richard wore the crown as ruler of the land
No policy could bring him down, nor his foul law withstand.
A tribute from them he did seek which they refused to pay
Now in their hat they wear the leek, all on St David's Day.

Acknowledgements

See also the Mudcat Café thread Origins: Three Jovial Huntsmen (and related songs).

Martin Carthy's lyrics are from the record's sleeve notes.