The Keeper

Album: English Folk Songs (1670)


  • "The Keeper" is a folk song that is fairly consistent lyrically with only minor variations, and was at one time popular with the primary school repertoire in the English curriculum.

    Beginning with the words "The keeper did a-hunting go" or "The keeper did a-shooting go," it is performed in 4/4 or sometimes 2/4 time.

    The song was collected by Cecil Sharp from Robert Kinchin at Ilmington, Warwickshire, 1909, and appears in the 1974 edition of Cecil Sharp's Collection Of English Folk Songs, Volume II, which was edited by Maud Karpeles. It is also number 1519 in the Roud Folk Song Index.
  • In spite of its use in primary schools, "The Keeper" has not always been considered suitable material for the young. The earliest known version is a black-letter ballad of fifteen verses. The British Library holds a copy; dated 1670? and published at London, the catalogue entry reads: The Huntsman's Delight; or, the Forresters Pleasure. [A song.] By Joseph Martin. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2


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