A-Hunting We Will Go

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"A-Hunting We Will Go"
Composer(s)Thomas Augustine Arne
A variant of the melody

"A-Hunting We Will Go" is a popular folk song and nursery rhyme composed in 1777 by English composer Thomas Arne.[1] Arne had composed the song for a 1777 production of The Beggar's Opera in London.[2]

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. ^ Kelly, Ian (2012). Mr Foote's Other Leg: Comedy, Tragedy and Murder in Georgian London. Pan Macmillan. p. 15.
  2. ^ Sexuality in Eighteenth-century Britain. Manchester University Press. 1982. p. 250.