All this beheard three wighty yeomen,[L9]
'Twas Robin Hood, Scarlet and John; 10 With that they espy'd the jolly pinder, As he sat under a thorn.
"Now turn again, turn again," said the pinder, "For a wrong way you have gone; For you have forsaken the kings highway, 15 And made a path over the corn."
"O that were a shame," said jolly Robn, "We being three, and thou but one:"
The pinder leapt back then thirty good foot, 'Twas thirty good foot and one. 20
He leaned his back fast unto a thorn, And his foot against a stone, And there he fought a long summers day, A summers day so long, Till that their swords on their broad bucklers, 25 Were broke fast into their hands.
"Hold thy hand, hold thy hand," said bold Robin Hood, "And my merry men stand aside; For this is one of the best pinders,[L29]
That with sword ever I tryed.[L30] 30
"And wilt thou forsake thy pinders craft, And go to the greenwood with me?
Thou shalt have a livery twice in the year,[L33]
Th' one greene, 'tither brown shall be."[L34]
"At Michaelmas next my cov'nant comes out, 35 When every man gathers his fee, Then I'le take my blew blade all in my hand, And plod to the green-wood with thee."
"Hast thou either meat or drink," said Robin Hood, "For my merry men and me?" 40
"I have both bread and beef," said the pinder, "And good ale of the best:"
"And that is meat good enough," said Robin Hood, For such unbidden 'guest.'
"O wilt thou forsake the pinder his craft, 45 And go to the green-wood with me?
Thou shalt have a livery twice in the year, The one green, the other brown [shall be]."
"If Michaelmas day was come and gone, And my master had paid me my fee, 50 Then would I set as little by him, As my master doth by me."
9, witty young men. RITSON
29, 30. This is the reading in one black-letter copy that has come under the Editor's notice, instead of
"For this is one of the best pinders That ever I tried with sword."--GUTCH.
33, 34. From the same.
ROBIN HOOD AND THE RANGER;
OR, TRUE FRIENDSHIP AFTER A FIERCE FIGHT.
"No ancient copy of this ballad having been met with, it is given from an edition of _Robin Hood's Garland_, printed some years since at York. The tune is _Arthur a Bland_." RITSON'S _Robin Hood_, ii. 137.
When Ph[oe]bus had melted the 'sickles' of ice, _With a hey down, &c._ And likewise the mountains of snow, Bold Robin Hood he would ramble away, To frolick abroad with his bow.
He left all his merry men waiting behind, 5 Whilst through the green vallies he pass'd, Where he did behold a forester bold, Who cry'd out, "Friend, whither so fast?"
"I am going," quoth Robin, "to kill a fat buck, For me and my merry men all; 10 Besides, ere I go, I'll have a fat doe, Or else it shall cost me a fall."
"You'd best have a care," said the forester then, "For these are his majesty's deer; Before you shall shoot, the thing I'll dispute, 15 For I am head forester here."
"These thirteen long summers," quoth Robin, "I'm sure, My arrows I here have let fly, Where freely I range; methinks it is strange, You should have more power than I. 20
"This forest," quoth Robin, "I think is my own, And so are the nimble deer too; Therefore I declare, and solemnly swear, I'll not be affronted by you."
The forester he had a long quarter staff, 25 Likewise a broad sword by his side; Without more ado, he presently drew, Declaring the truth should be try'd.
Bold Robin Hood had a sword of the best, Thus, ere he would take any wrong, 30 His courage was flush, he'd venture a brush, And thus they fell to it ding dong.
The very first blow that the forester gave, He made his broad weapon cry twang; 'Twas over the head, he fell down for dead, 35 O that was a damnable bang!
But Robin he soon recovered himself, And bravely fell to it again; The very next stroke their weapons they broke.
Yet never a man there was slain. 40
At quarter staff then they resolved to play, Because they would have the other bout; And brave Robin Hood right valiantly stood, Unwilling he was to give out.
Bold Robin he gave him very hard blows, 45 The other return'd them as fast; At every stroke their jackets did smoke, Three hours the combat did last.
At length in a rage the forester grew, And cudgell'd bold Robin so sore, 50 That he could not stand, so shaking his hand, He cry'd, "Let us freely give o'er.
"Thou art a brave fellow; I needs must confess, I never knew any so good; Thou art fitting to be a yeoman for me, 55 And range in the merry green-wood.
"Ill give thee this ring as a token of love, For bravely thou hast acted thy part; That man that can fight, in him I delight, And love him with all my whole heart. 60
Robin Hood set his bugle-horn to his mouth, A blast then he merrily blows; His yeomen did hear, and strait did appear, A hundred with trusty long bows.
Now Little John came at the head of them all, 65 Cloath'd in a rich mantle of green; And likewise the rest were gloriously drest, A delicate sight to be seen.
"Lo, these are my yeomen," said bold Robin Hood, "And thou shalt be one of the train; 70 A mantle and bow, and quiver also, I give them whom I entertain."
The forester willingly enter'd the list, They were such a beautiful sight; Then with a long bow they shot a fat doe, 75 And made a rich supper that night.
What singing and dancing was in the green wood, For joy of another new mate!
With might and delight they spent all the night, And liv'd at a plentiful rate. 80
The forester ne'er was so merry before, As then he was with these brave souls, Who never would fail, in wine, beer, or ale, To take off their cherishing bowls.
Then Robin Hood gave him a mantle of green, 85 Broad arrows, and curious long bow: This done, the next day, so gallant and gay, He marched them all on a row.
Quoth he, "My brave yeomen, be true to your trust, And then we may range the woods wide:" 90 They all did declare, and solemnly swear, They would conquer, or die by his side.