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The Run of the Downs

[words Rudyard Kipling, tune trad.]

The Run of the Downs is a poem from Rudyard Kipling's book Rewards and Fairies. Peter Bellamy sang it on his second album of songs set to Kipling's poems, Merlin's Isle of Gramarye. He commented in the album's sleeve notes:

The Run of the Downs is a lyric tour of Sussex, in the manner of such traditional pieces as A Tour of the Dales. The tune is taken from the English country dance Morris On, which also lent itself to the Cornish Floral Dance.


The Weald is good, the Downs are best—
I'll give you the run of 'em, East to West.
Beachy Head and Winddoor Hill,
They were once and they are still.
Firle, Mount Caburn and Mount Harry
Go back as far as sums'll carry.
Ditchling Beacon and Chanctonbury Ring,
They have looked on many a thing;
And what those two have missed between 'em
I reckon Truleigh Hill has seen 'em.
Highden, Bignor and Duncton Down
Knew Old England before the Crown.
Linch Down, Treyford and Sunwood
Knew Old England before the Flood.
And when you end on the Hampshire side—
Butser's old as Time and Tide.
The Downs are sheep, the Weald is corn,
You be glad you are Sussex born!