The Hunted Hare

Bi a forrest as I gan fare,
    Walkyng al myselven a-lone,
I hard a mornyng of an haare,
    Rouffully schew mad here mone.

Dere-worth god, how schal I leve
    And leyd my lyve in lond?
ffrov dale to doune I am I-drevfe;
    I not where I may syte or stond!

I may nožer rest nor slepe
    By no wallay žat is so derne,
Nor no couert may me kepe,
    But euer I rene fro herne to herne.

hontteris wyll not heyre žer mase
    In hope of hunttyng for to wend;
They cowpully3t per howndes more & lase,
    And bryngyth theme to že feldys ende.

Rochis rennyn on euery syde
    In forrovs žat hoppe me to fynd;
honteris takythe žer horse and ryde,
    And cast the conttray to pe wynd.

Anone as žey commyth me be-hynde,
    I loke and syt ful style and love;
The furst mane žat me doth fynde
    Anon he cryit: 'so howe! so hoowe!'

'Lo,' he sayth, 'where syttyt an haare--
    Aryse vpe, Watte, & go forth blyue!'
With sorroe and with mych care
    I schape a-way with my lyve.

Att wyntter in že depe snove
    Men wyl me seche for to trace,
And by my steyppes I ame I-knowe;
    And fllowy3t me fro place to place.

And yf I to že toune come or torne,
    Be hit in worttes or in leyke,
Then wyl že wyffys al-so 3eorne
    flece me with here dogis heyke.

And yf I syt and crope že kovle,
    And že wyfe be in pe waye,
A-none schowe wyll swere, 'by cokkes sovle!
    There is an haare in my haye!

Anone sche wyle clepe, 'forth, cure, knave!'
    And loke ry3t weel wer I syte;
By-hynd sche wyl with a stave
    fful wel porpos me to hette.

'Go forthe, Wate, Wit crystus curse,
    And yf I leve, žou schalt be take;
I have an hare-pype in my purce,
    hit schal be set al for ži sauke!'

Ten hath žis wyffys ij dogges grete,
    On me sche byddyt heme goe;
And as a scrowe sche wyll me žret,
    And euer sche cryit, 'go, dooge, gooe!'

But all way žis most I goo,
    By no banke I may a-byde;
lord god, žat me is woo!
    Many a hape hath me bytyde.

There is no best in že word, I wene,
    hert, hynd, buke ne dowe,
That suffuris halfe so myche tene
    As doth že sylly wat--go where he go.

3eyfe a genttylmane wyl have any game,
    And fynd me in forme where I syte,
ffor dred of lossynge of his name
    I wot wele he wyle not me hyte.

ffor an acuris bred he wyll me leue,
    Or he wyll let his hondes rene;
Of all že men pat beth a-lyue
    I am most be-hold to genttyl-men!

As sone as I can ren to že laye,
    A-non že grey-hondys wyl me have;
My bowels beth I-žrowe a-waye,
    And I ame bore home on a stavfe.

Als son as I am come home,
    I ame I-honge hye vp-on a pyne,
With leke-worttes I am eette a-none,
    And whelpes play with my skyne!

Source: Robbins

| Translated Poem |

| Main Page | Table of Contents |