Then Robin Hood he unbuckled his belt, 45 And laid down his bow so long; He took up a staff of another oke graff, That was both stiff and strong.
"I'le yield to thy weapon," said jolly Robin, "Since thou wilt not yield to mine; 50 For I have a staff of another oke graff, Not half a foot longer then thine.
"But let me measure," said jolly Robin, "Before we begin our fray; For I'le not have mine to be longer than thine, 55 For that will be counted foul play."
"I pass not for length," bold Arthur reply'd, "My staff is of oke so free; Eight foot and a half, it will knock down a calf, And I hope it will knock down thee." 60
Then Robin could no longer forbear; He gave him such a knock, Quickly and soon the blood came down, Before it was ten a clock.
Then Arthur he soon recovered himself, 65 And gave him such a knock on the crown, That from every side of bold Robin Hoods head, The blood came trickling down.
Then Robin raged like a wild boar, As soon as he saw his own blood; 70 Then Bland was in hast, he laid on so fast, As though he had been cleaving of wood.
And about, and about, and about they went, Like two wild bores in a chase; Striving to aim each other to maim, 75 Leg, arm, or any other place.
And knock for knock they lustily dealt, Which held for two hours and more; That all the wood rang at every bang, They ply'd their work so sore. 80
"Hold thy hand, hold thy hand," said Robin Hood, "And let thy quarrel fall; For here we may thrash our bones all to mesh, And get no coyn at all.
"And in the forrest of merry Sherwood 85 Hereafter thou shalt be free:"
"God-a-mercy for nought, my freedom I bought; I may thank my staff, and not thee."
"What tradesman art thou?" said jolly Robn, "Good fellow, I prethee me show: 90 And also me tell in what place thou dost dwell, For both of these fain would I know."
"I am a tanner," bold Arthur reply'd, "In Nottingham long have I wrought; And if thou'lt come there, I vow and swear, 95 I will tan thy hide for nought."
"God-a-mercy, good fellow," said jolly Robin, "Since thou art so kind and free; And if thou wilt tan my hide for nought, I will do as much for thee. 100
"And if thou'lt forsake thy tanners trade, And live in the green wood with me, My name's Robin Hood, I swear by the rood, I will give thee both gold and fee."
"If thou be Robin Hood," bold Arthur reply'd, 105 "As I think well thou art, Then here's my hand, my name's Arthur-a-Bland, We two will never depart.
"But tell me, O tell me, where is Little John?
Of him fain would I hear; 110 For we are alide by the mothers side, And he is my kinsman dear."
Then Robin Hood blew on the beaugle horn, He blew full lowd and shrill, And quickly anon appear'd Little John, 115 Come tripping down a green hill.
"O what is the matter?" then said Little John, "Master, I pray you tell; "Why do you stand with your staff in your hand?
I fear all is not well." 120
"O man I do stand, and he makes me stand, The tanner that stands thee beside; He is a bonny blade, and master of his trade, For soundly he hath tan'd my hide."
"He is to be commended," then said Little John, "If such a feat he can do; 125 If he be so stout, we will have a bout, And he shall tan my hide too."
"Hold thy hand, hold thy hand," said Robin Hood, "For as I do understand, 130 He's a yeoman good of thine own blood, For his name is Arthur-a-Bland."
Then Little John threw his staff away, As far as he could it fling, And ran out of hand to Arthur-a-Bland, 135 And about his neck did cling.
With loving respect, there was no neglect, They were neither nice nor coy, Each other did face with a lovely grace, And both did weep for joy. 140
Then Robin Hood took them both by the hands, And danc'd round about the oke tree; "For three merry men, and three merry men, And three merry men we be.
"And ever hereafter as long as we live, 145 We three will be as one; The wood it shall ring, and the old wife sing, Of Robin Hood, Arthur, and John.
13, did him.
35. I get. RITSON.
ROBIN HOOD AND THE TINKER.
Ritson's _Robin Hood_, ii. 41.
From an old black-letter copy in the library of Anthony a Wood. The full title is,
A new song to drive away cold winter, Between Robin Hood and the jovial tinker:
How Robin by a wile The Tinker he did cheat; But at the length, as you shall hear, The Tinker did him beat, Whereby the same they did then so agree, They after liv'd in love and unity.
To the tune of, _In Summer time_.
In summer time, when leaves grow green, _ Down, a down, a down_, And birds singing on every tree, _Hey down, a down, a down_, Robin Hood went to Nottingham, _Down, a down, a down_, As fast as hee could dree.
_Hey down, a down, a down._
And as hee came to Nottingham, 5 A tinker he did meet, And seeing him a lusty blade, He did him kindly greet.
"Where dost thou live?" quoth Robin Hood, "I pray thee now mee tell: 10 Sad news I hear there is abroad, I fear all is not well."
"What is that news?" the tinker said; "Tell mee without delay; I am a tinker by my trade, 15 And do live in Banbura."
"As for the news," quoth Robin Hood, "It is but as I hear, Two tinkers were set i'th' stocks, For drinking ale and beer." 20
"If that be all," the tinker said, "As I may say to you, Your news is not worth a f--t, Since that they all bee true.
"For drinking of good ale and beer, 25 You will not lose your part:"
"No, by my faith," quoth Robin Hood, "I love it with all my heart.
"What news abroad?" quoth Robin Hood, "Tell me what thou dost hear: 30 Seeing thou goest from town to town, Some news thou need not fear."
"All the news I have," the tinker said, "I hear it is for good, It is to seek a bold outlaw, 35 Which they call Robin Hood.
"I have a warrant from the king, To take him where I can; If you can tell me where hee is, I will make you a man. 40
"The king would give a hundred pound That he could but him see; And if wee can but now him get, It will serve thee and mee."