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The Furze Field

[ Roud 1037 ; Ballad Index ReCi047 ; trad.]

George Dunn sang a fragment of I've Got a Warren on June 5, 1971 to Roy Palmer. Ths recording was included in 2002 on his Musical Traditions anthology Chainmaker. Roy Palmer and Rod Stradling commented in the album's booklet:

With its imagery of warrens, fishponds and deer parks, this extended sexual metaphor has a strong eighteenth century flavour, though no text from that period has so far come to light. George Dunn remembered snatches of other verses: “Unbuckle the hound close to the hole”, “Fish close to the bottom and then you'll be right / Fish close to the bottom and then fish'll bite”, and a reference to a pheasant with “there the cock lies … dies”. Apart from this fragment, only two other versions are known: The Furze Field, like the present one, seems to take a woman's standpoint; The Old Sportsman, a man's. (See respectively Frank Purslow (ed.), Marrow Bones (1965), p.34, and English Dance and Song (Autumn, 1993), pp.15-16).

Mike Waterson and Martin Carthy sang The Furze Field on the Watersons' album Green Fields. This track was included in 2004 on the Watersons' 4CD anthology Mighty River of Song. A.L. Lloyd commented in the original album's sleeve notes:

This now widely-known bit of amorous symbology was collected by George B. Gardiner from Moses Mills, Preston Candover, Alresford, Hants, in 1907. Apparently most of the generous invitations come from the lady (which doesn't mean it wasn't a man who first made the song). Colin Cater added a bit at the end of the song.

June Tabor sang The Furze Field in a BBC session on July 23, 1978. This recording was included in 1998 on her CD On Air.

Lyrics

George Dunn sings I've Got a Warren

I've got a warren, my dearest warren,
And in it there's a barren doe;
You may go a-hunting when hunting's in season,
You may go a-hunting thereto.
Shoot plump in the middle for there the doe lies,
Shoot plump in the middle and then the doe lies.
Sing fal the dal airol aye ay.

Unbuckle the hound close to the hole

Fish close to the bottom and then you'll be right
Fish close to the bottom and then fish'll bite
Sing fal the dal airol aye day.

Shoot plump in the middle for there the cock lies,
Shoot plump in the middle and then the cock lies.
Sing fal the dal airol aye day.
Sing fal the dal airol aye day.

Mike Waterson and Martin Carthy sing The Furze Field

I have got a furze field, me own dearest jewel
Where all me fine pheasants do fly
And if you come a-shooting when shooting's in season
I'll tell you love how to proceed
You bring your dog with you, your gun in your hand
All loaded and primed and all at your command
When the pheasants take flight, you must take sight
You shoot the next moment, you're sure to be right

I have got a fish pond, me own dearest jewel
Where all me fine fishes do swim
And if you come a-fishing when fishing's in season
I'll tell you love how to begin
You bring your rod with you, your line in your hand
Your hooks and your angles all at your command
When you throws in all, the fishes will play
And it's down to the bottom, love, that's the right way

I have got a warren, me own dearest jewel
Where all me fine rabbits do run
And if you come a-ferreting when ferreting's in season
I'll tell you love how to begin
You bring your dog with you, your ferret in your hand
Your nets and your shovels all at your command
And the ferrets will bolt and the rabbits will play
And it's down to the bottom, love, that's the right way

And I have got a deer park, me own dearest jewel
Where all me fine deer I do keep
And if you come a-hunting when hunting's in season
I'll tell you love how to proceed
You bring your dog with you, your nag in your hand
All saddled and bridled, all at your command
And the deer they will prowl and the dogs they will brawl
And it's then, gee-up dobbin, and back they will fall

Now some do like hunting and some do like game
And shooting the pheasant is gentleman's game
But fishing in a fishpond is all my delight
You shoot the next moment, you're sure to be right

Acknowledgements

Thanks to Greer Gilman for the transcription.