To the Wood We Go

“This is my take on the classic hunter and hind trope, which we all know to be really about ladies, love and mystical experiences (and in some songs, more earthly experiences too.) In this song, the king’s man and the king’s Lady find themselves in the realm that passes through the King’s forest, which may be ultimately to their salvation.”

The king’s man took into the wood
to catch some coneys, fleet and good
with his dogs a-running o’re the ground
so swiftly that there was no sound.

The king’s man saw from out his eye
a flash of gold a-bounding by.
It was a stag with antlers tall,
surely the lord of wood stags all.

He left his hounds in thicket green
to catch this creature he had seen
to lay at his belov’d queen’s feet
its golden pelt and fragrant meat.

With a hey ho
to the wood we go
for to catch him with the bolt and bow.
With a hey hei
watch him fly
as the lord of the wood we follow.

The king’s Lady on her palfrey white
went a-riding in the sunshine bright.
Through the flowers and past the bees,
o’re the path between great trees.

Gently on she softly tread,
wandering where her fancy lead,
when came a sound upon the trail
as doe of silver past did sail.

To see the doe made her heart bloom
and so she took off through the broom
to touch with her own gentle hand
this hind most lovely in the land.

With a hey ho
to the wood we go
to see the hart in the summer’s glow.
With a hey hei
watch them fly
as through the wood we follow.

Into a clearing verdant green
the golden stag ran, clearly seen.
The silver doe, she met his stride
as the Lady and king’s man did ride.

The king’s man poised to bring them down
as gift to serve before the crown.
The Lady saw his bolt on high
and ran ‘ere he could let it fly.

Though swift, he fumbled and it flew,
and met its mark as it would do.
The lady’s hands rushed to her breast
where now the bolt did redly rest.

With a hey ho
to the wood we go
though the hunt we now forgo.
With a hey hei
watch them fly
as into the wood we follow.

The man looked where the Lady fell
amid the leaves of mossy dell,
her hair as auburn as the pine
her blood as red as ruby wine.

The the golden hind lifted her head,
and then his sliver lady lead
the king’s good man unto her side
to pull the bolt before she died.

He winced to cause her any pain,
but bowed to the great creatures’ reign.
He tore the wounding arrow through,
and breaking, broke his heart in two.

With a hey ho
to the wood we go
to find them in a thicket low.
With a hey hei
watch them fly
as into the wood we follow.

The silver one did kiss the wound
as the Lady weakly swooned.
The golden lord did nudge the man
to listen as her breath began.

With his queen, living, in his arms,
the king’s man fled the clearing’s charms.
At the palfrey’s side his charger ran
from this kingdom not of man.

The mighty stag walked with his mate
deep through the woods with steady gait.
The royal forest quiet lay
in the glowing of the day.

With a hey ho
to the wood we go
to the realm of stag and merry doe.
With a hey hei
watch them fly
as into the wood we follow.