Hunting the Wren

Dave & Laura McKinstry dalm at
Thu Sep 7 19:39:00 PDT 1995

>Greetings all,
>I'm looking for a period source for the song "Hunting the Wren".  I've 
>heard rumor that this song which was popularized by Hart and Prior (on 
>the album "Songs of Old England" I think) is actually period.  I've 
>haven't been able to verify this - though the practice of hunting the 
>wren is to mentioned in the Red Book of Hergest (see also: Tradition 
>and Folk Life: A Welsh View, by Iorwerth C. Peate (London: Faber and 
>Faber, 1972),  or  'The Wren in Welsh Folklore', MAN, 1936, same 
>author).  Anyone got a source for this?
>- Liam Mac Mhuire

Is this the same song as is on the Chieftains "Bells of Dublin" tape/CD
called "The Wren"? If so, I believe I picked up the lyrics at Digital
Tradition, but if not I can get them to you, and possibly a postscript sheet
music file in time if you really need it. Here's the test; see if the
following lyrics are a match:

        The wren, oh the wren, he's the king of all birds
        St. stevens day was caught in the firs
        Although he was little his honor was great
        won't you give me a _____ (I forget this word) 
        for to bury the wren

        Rolly, rolly, where is your nest?
        It's in the bush that I love best
        It's in the tree the holly tree
        That's where the boys do follow me

And there's more, but I don't have it in my brain at the moment and can't
find it on my hard drive.  I can get it if you're interested - let me know.

Lark of Cire Freunlaven

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