“The Keeper”

Alternate titles: “The Keeper Would A-Hunting Go”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1916
Keywords: hunting animal dialog
Found in: Britain(England)


Keeper goes hunting for a doe. In some versions he chases several unsuccessfully.


Most of the song consists of back-and-forth singing of the chorus between two singers. B.J. Orton thinks there is a sexual or magical subtext to this song. I doubt it, myself. -PJS

I have to disagree with Paul; at least one text refers to the Keeper kissing a doe, and another doe "[running] away in a young man's heart." There is surely some sort of hidden meaning. The real question is, how far did Sharp bowdlerize what he found?- RBW

Cross references



  1. Sharp-100E 79, "The Keeper" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. PSeeger-AFB, p. 59, "The Keeper" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Silber-FSWB, p. 338, "The Keeper" (1 text)
  5. Roud #1519
  6. BI, ShH79