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The Fabled Hare

This is a song cycle from Maddy Prior's album Year. A live recording from the Lionhearts tour at Castle Hall, Liverpool on May 8, 2003 was included in her anthology Collections: A Very Best of 1995 to 2005. She returned to this song cycle in 2017 on her CD with Hannah James and Giles Lewin, Shortwinger.

Maddy Prior commented in the original album's sleeve notes:

I've always recognised that hares are different from rabbits, but it was only when I was invited to write some music for a television wild life programme about them, that I realised their true individuality and rangey wildness.

They do not burrow, but live precariously on the surface in “forms” with strong hind legs as their main asset, in that speed is their best defense against foxes and dogs. The very speed and agility of the hare has prompted man to breed a hound equal to the challenge, but the hare can dodge quicker than all but the nimblest dogs and its stamina is superior after a short distance, so may survive even the handicapped situation of “coursing”.

Their mad courting behaviour is related to March because that is when they are most visible although they continue their mating activities through most of the year, hidden by darkness or long grass. Mainly the “boxing” they indulge in is between male and female. She is keeping them in order.

The hare has deep mythological significance and is known in Chinese, American Indian as wall as European stories. It was the symbol of Aestre, the pagan goddess of rebirth, before Christianity became prevalent in these islands, and as the old religion was overturned so its gods and symbols became associated with the devil and hares were thought to be witches “familiars”. This piece of music opens with a spell reputed to be used by Scottish witches to change into hares to travel undetected.

The Easter bunny is a mutated descendant of the fabled hare.

I Sall Go Intil a Hare

[Maddy Prior]

Lyrics

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Ruled By the Moon

[Maddy Prior]

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Scent of Dog

[Maddy Prior]

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Winter Wakeneth

[M. Kiszko]

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The Hare Said

[Maddy Prior]

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I Shall Run and Run

[Maddy Prior]

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