Poetry and Song

Mangold Hurling has always been celebrated in words and music. Handed down from generation to generation through the oral folk tradition, many of these fine songs and poems are still performed enthusiastically at the celebrations which follow each year’s contests. We present below some of the most popular pieces which are often accompanied on traditional instruments.

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    Ode to a Mangold Hurl (Trad.)

    Each year when Autumn comes to pass
    And tawny owls do hoot
    We take ourselves out to the grass
    To hurl our sacred root

    The maids do come to hope and pray
    They'll be the one who's chosen
    By the champion hurler of this day
    In smock or lederhosen

    Village folk from far and wide
    Meet at the chosen field
    To watch their men with bursting pride
    Take aim with this year's yield

    The willow's cut, the Norman's set
    The pitching basket's ready
    The Watcher gets himself all wet*
    The atmosphere turns heady

    Each hurler in his turn does stand
    Before the expectant crowd
    Who watch for where his mangold lands
    And roar with cheers out loud

    And when the last root's hit the soil
    The crowd begin to sing
    The end of this year's sweat and toil
    We have our Mangold King

    * The meaning of this is obscure.

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    A Mangold Song (Trad.)

    As I set out one October morn
    To take the morning air
    A chanting did I hear afar
    That brought me to its lair

    The calling was from folk all set
    To watch the roots be laid
    By men who each desired to be
    The one who chose the maid

    I saw the Norman set in turf
    The crowd roared in delight
    The pitchers got themselves all set
    To champion this year's fight

    The mangold cart was piled high
    With roots all topped with green
    The hurlers chose their favoured one
    The first then set the scene

    And each in turn did pitch his beet
    With all his might and guile
    The mantle of the winning hurl
    Did call them all the while

    When all the roots were from the cart
    The winner none could see
    A roar went up from one and all
    They called out, "Willow 'e!"

    The willow came and took his branch
    A silence fell so swift
    He had to chose from equal throws
    And heal a village rift

    The Burtle boys were sure they'd won
    And dancing they did start
    But then at once the Willow called
    "Ye hear, it's won by Hart"

    The crowd were hushed, the feud was set
    The Burtles 'gainst the Harts
    Another year just like the last
    Bad times in these 'ere parts

    But as the tempers rose in step
    Their fears all were laid
    A Burtle girl was chosen as
    This year's Mangold Maid