A-Hunting We Will Go

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A variant of the melody

A-Hunting We Will Go is a popular folk song and nursery rhyme by English composer Thomas Arne.[1]

The a- is an archaic intensifying prefix; compare Here We Come A-wassailing/Here We Come A-caroling and lyrics to The Twelve Days of Christmas (e.g., “Six geese a-laying”).


A-hunting we will go,
A-hunting we will go
Heigh-ho, the derry-o,
A-hunting we will go.

A-hunting we will go,
A-hunting we will go
We'll catch a fox and put him in a box
And never let him go

(Modern versions often change the last line to “And then we’ll let him go”.)

Each consequent verse gets modified by putting in a different animal:

"...a fish and put him on a dish..."
"...a bear and cut his hair..."
"...a pig and dance a little jig..."
"...a giraffe and make him laugh..."
"...a mouse and put him in a house..."

Earlier versions of the song switch the words "a-hunting" with "a-roving", dating back to old roving drinking songs from the 16th century.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ian Kelly (2012). "Mr Foote's Other Leg: Comedy, Tragedy and Murder in Georgian London". p. 15. Pan Macmillan