ROBIN HOODS DELIGHT:
Or, a merry combat fought between Robin Hood, Little John, and Will Scarelock, and three stout keepers in Sheerwood Forrest.
Robin was valiant and stout, So was Scarelock and John in the field, But these keepers stout did give them rout, And make them all for to yield.
But after the battel ended was, Bold Robin did make them amends, For claret and sack they did not lack, So drank themselves good friends.
To the tune of Robin Hood and Queen Katherine; or, Robin Hood and the Shepheard.
"From an old black-letter copy in the collection of Anthony a Wood."
RITSON'S _Robin Hood_, ii. 120.
There's some will talk of lords and knights, _Doun, a doun, a doun_, And some of yeomen good, But I will tell you of Will Scarlock, Little John, and Robin Hood.
_Doun, a doun, a doun, a doun._
They were outlaws, 'tis well known, 5 And men of a noble blood; And many a time was their valour shown In the forrest of merry Sheerwood.
Upon a time it chanced so, As Robin Hood would have it be, 10 They all three would a walking go, The pastime for to see.
And as they walked the forest along, Upon a Midsummer day, There was they aware of three keepers, 15 Clad all in green aray.
With brave long faucheons by their sides, And forrest-bills in hand, They call'd aloud to those bold outlaws, And charged them to stand. 20
"Why, who are you," cry'd bold Robn, "That speak so boldly here?"
"We three belong to King Henry, And are keepers of his deer."
"The devil you are!" sayes Robin Hood, 25 "I am sure that it is not so; We be the keepers of this forrest, And that you soon shall know.
"Come, your coats of green lay on the ground, And so will we all three, 30 And take your swords and bucklers round, And try the victory."
"We be content," the keepers said, "We be three, and you no less, Then why should we be of you afraid, 35 As we never did transgress?"
"Why, if you be three keepers in this forrest, Then we be three rangers good, And will make you know before you do go, You meet with bold Robin Hood." 40
"We be content, thou bold outlaw, Our valour here to try, And will make you know, before we do go, We will fight before we will fly.
"Then, come draw your swords, you bold outlaws, 45 No longer stand to prate, But let us try it out with blows, For cowards we do hate.
"Here is one of us for Will Scarlock, And another for Little John, 50 And I myself for Robin Hood, Because he is stout and strong."
So they fell to it hard and sore, It was on a Midsummers day; From eight of the clock till two and past, 55 They all shewed gallant play.
There Robin, and Will, and Little John, They fought most manfully, Till all their winde was spent and gone, Then Robin aloud did cry: 60
"O hold, O hold," cries bold Robin, "I see you be stout men; Let me blow one blast on my bugle horn, Then Ile fight with you again."
"That bargain's to make, bold Robin Hood, 65 Therefore we it deny; Thy blast upon the bugle horn Cannot make us fight or fly.
"Therefore fall on, or else be gone, And yield to us the day: 70 It never shall be said that we are afraid Of thee, nor thy yeomen gay."
"If that be so," cries bold Robin, "Let me but know your names, And in the forrest of merry Sheerwood, 75 I shall extol your fames."
"And with our names," one of them said, "What hast thou here to do?
Except that thou wilt fight it out, Our names thou shalt not know." 80
"We will fight no more," sayes bold Robin, "You be men of valour stout; Come and go with me to Nottingham, And there we will fight it out.
"With a but of sack we will bang it about, 85 To see who wins the day; And for the cost, make you no doubt I have gold enough to pay.
"And ever hereafter, so long as we live, We all will brethren be; 90 For I love these men with heart and hand, That will fight and never flee."
So away they went to Nottingham, With sack to make amends; For three days they the wine did chase, 95 And drank themselves good friends.
ROBIN HOOD AND LITTLE JOHN.
Being an account of their first meeting, their fierce encounter, and conquest. To which is added, their friendly agreement; and how he came to be called Little John. To the tune of _Arthur a Bland_.
From _A Collection of Old Ballads_, i. 75. The same in RITSON'S _Robin Hood_, ii. 142.
"This ballad is named in a schedule of such things under an agreement between W. Thackeray and others, in 1689 (Coll. Pepys, vol. v.)."
When Robin Hood was about twenty years old, _With a hey down, down, and a down_, He happen'd to meet Little John, A jolly brisk blade, right fit for the trade, For he was a lusty young man.
Tho' he was call'd Little, his limbs they were large, 5 And his stature was seven foot high; Where-ever he came, they quak'd at his name, For soon he would make them to fly.
How they came acquainted, I'll tell you in brief, If you will but listen awhile; 10 For this very jest, amongst all the rest, I think it may cause you to smile.
Bold Robin Hood said to his jolly bowmen, "Pray tarry you here in this grove; And see that you all observe well my call, 15 While thorough the forest I rove.
"We have had no sport for these fourteen long days, Therefore now abroad will I go; Now should I be beat, and cannot retreat, My horn I will presently blow." 20
Then did he shake hands with his merry men all, And bid them at present good b'w'ye; Then, as near a brook his journey he took, A stranger he chanc'd to espy.
They happen'd to meet on a long narrow bridge, 25 And neither of them would give way; Quoth bold Robin Hood, and sturdily stood, "I'll show you right Nottingham play."
With that from his quiver an arrow he drew, A broad arrow with a goose-wing. 30 The stranger reply'd, "I'll liquor thy hide, If thou offer'st to touch the string."
Quoth bold Robin Hood, "Thou dost prate like an ass, For were I to bend but my bow, I could send a dart quite thro' thy proud heart, 35 Before thou couldst strike me one blow."
"Thou talk'st like a coward," the stranger reply'd; "Well arm'd with a long bow you stand, To shoot at my breast, while I, I protest, Have nought but a staff in my hand." 40
"The name of a coward," quoth Robin, "I scorn, Wherefore my long bow I'll lay by; And now, for thy sake, a staff will I take, The truth of thy manhood to try."