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1. Tally-ho! A shout of triumph
Rings across the valley.
Mounted red-coats spur their horses -
They’ve no time to tarry.
The hunt is up, the blood-lust’s high,
Excitement fills the air.
The pack of hounds race on ahead,
To find the fox’s lair.

2. Tally-ho! The vixen hears it!
Gripp’d with fear and dread,
Her cover breaks from woodland safe.
She chases off ahead
Of baying dogs and sweating horses
Thundering behind.
With failing strength, and wild with fear,
Escape she cannot find.

3. Tally-ho! From tortured lungs
Is wrenched each gasping breath;
With bursting heart her blood pumps fast;
This chase will end in death.
There’s no escape, but run she must
From horses, dogs and men,
Across these fields she knows so well,
For safety in the den.

4. Tally-ho! The gap has closed,
The mad pursuit is over,
And forty dogs launch an attack
From which she won’t recover.
For chunks of flesh they snap and bite,
They tear her limb from limb.
Her life blood spurts and drains away;
In death, her eyes grow dim.

5. Tally-ho! The Master smiles,
And holds aloft with glee
A tiny, battered, blood-soak’d corpse
For everyone to see.
He watched her die in that
green field
In agony and pain;
No pity touched him, no regret
As gentle fell the rain.

6. Tally-ho! He hummed a tune
And then his knife he took
To mutilate her, claim her tail
Then boast of his good luck.
What kind of man enacts such wrong,
Takes part in such a sport?
Inflicts such bloody cruelty
To say a fox he’s caught?

Margaret Marshall

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