The Hunters of Kentucky

Something for the weekend.  Written in 1821 by Samuel Woodworth, the song proved immensely popular and Jackson used it as a theme song in his 1828 campaign for the presidency.

Ye gentlemen and ladies fair

Who grace this famous city,

Just listen, if you’ve time to spare,

While I rehearse a ditty

; And for the opportunity

Conceive yourselves quite lucky,

For ‘tis not often that you see

A hunter from Kentucky.

REFRAIN:

Oh Kentucky, the hunters of Kentucky!

Oh Kentucky, the hunters of Kentucky!

Alligators We are a hardy, free-born race,

Each man to fear a stranger;

Whate’er the game, we join in chase,

Despising toil and danger.

And if a daring foe annoys,

Whate’er his strength and forces,

We’ll show him that Kentucky boys

Are alligator horses.

REFRAIN

I s’pose you’ve read it in the prints,

How Packenham attempted

To make old Hickory Jackson wince,

But soon his scheme repented;

For we, with rifles ready cock’d,

Thought such occasion lucky,

And soon around the gen’ral flock’d,

The hunters of Kentucky.

REFRAIN

You’ve heard, I s’pose,

how New-Orleans Is fam’d

for wealth and beauty—

There’s girls of ev’ry hue, it seems,

From snowy white to sooty.

So Packenham he made his brags,

If he in fight was lucky,

He’d have their girls and cotton bags,

In spite of old Kentucky.

REFRAIN 

But Jackson he was wide awake,

And was not scar’d at trifles,

For well he knew what aim we take,

With our Kentucky rifles:

So he led us down by Cypress swamp,

The ground was low and mucky;

There stood John Bull in martial pomp,

And here was old Kentucky.

REFRAIN

A bank was rais’d to hide our breasts,

Not that we thought of dying,

But that we always like to rest,

Unless the game is flying.

Behind it stood our little force,

None wished it to be greater,

For ev’ry man was half a horse,

And half an alligator.

REFRAIN

They did not let our patience tire,

Before they show’d their faces;

We did not choose to waste our fire,

So snugly kept our places.

But when so near we saw them wink,

We thought it time to stop ’em,

And ’twould have done you good,

I think, To see Kentuckians drop ’em.

REFRAIN 

They found, at last,

’twas vain to fight,

Where lead was all their booty,

And so they wisely took to flight,

And left us all the beauty.

And now, if danger e’er annoys,

Remember what our trade is;

Just send for us Kentucky boys,

And we’ll protect ye, ladies.

REFRAIN

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