"I am content, thou shepherd swain, Fling them down on the ground; But it will breed thee mickle pain, 35 To win my twenty pound."
"Come draw thy sword, thou proud fellow, Thou standest too long to prate; This hook of mine shall let thee know, A coward I do hate." 40
So they fell to it, full hard and sore; It was on a summers day; From ten till four in the afternoon The shepherd held him play.
Robin's buckler proved his chiefest defence, 45 And saved him many a bang, For every blow the shepherd gave Made Robins sword cry twang.
Many a sturdie blow the shepherd gave, And that bold Robin found, 50 Till the blood ran trickling from his head, Then he fell to the ground.
"Arise, arise, thou proud fellow, And thou shalt have fair play, If thou wilt yield, before thou go, 55 That I have won the day."
"A boon, a boon," cry'd bold Robin, "If that a man thou be, Then let me take my beugle horn, And blow out blasts three." 60
Then said the shepherd to bold Robin, "To that will I agree; For if thou shouldst blow till to-morrow morn, I scorn one foot to flee."
Then Robin he set his horn to his mouth, 65 And he blew with mickle main, Until he espied Little John Come tripping over the plain.
"O who is yonder, thou proud fellow, That comes down yonder hill?" 70 "Yonder is John, bold Robin Hoods man, Shall fight with thee thy fill."
"What is the matter?" saies Little John, "Master, come tell unto me:"
"My case is bad," cries Robin Hood, 75 "For the shepherd hath conquered me."
"I am glad of that," cries Little John, "Shepherd turn thou to me; For a bout with thee I mean to have, Either come fight or flee." 80
"With all my heart, thou proud fellw, For it never shall be said That a shepherds hook at thy sturdy look Will one jot be dismaied."
So they fell to it, full hardy and sore, 85 Striving for victorie; "I will know," says John, "ere we give o'er, Whether thou wilt fight or flee."
The shepherd gave John a sturdie blow, With his hook under the chin; 90 "Beshrew thy heart," said Little John, "Thou basely dost begin."
"Nay, that is nothing," said the shepherd; "Either yield to me the daie, Or I will bang thy back and sides, 95 Before thou goest thy way.
"What, dost thou think, thou proud fellow, That thou canst conquer me?
Nay, thou shalt know, before thou go, I'll fight before I'le flee." 100
Again the shepherd laid on him, 'Just as he first begun;'
"Hold thy hand," cry'd bold Robin, "I will yield the wager won."
"With all my heart," said Little John, 105 "To that I will agree; For he is the flower of shepherd swains, The like I did never see."
Thus have you heard of Robin Hood, Also of Little John, 110 How a shepherd swain did conquer them; The like was never known.
ROBIN HOOD AND THE PEDDLERS.
Communicated to Gutch by Mr. Payne Collier, and first published in Gutch's _Robin Hood_, ii. 351.
Will you heare a tale of Robin Hood, Will Scarlett, and Little John?
Now listen awhile, it will make you smile, As before it hath many a one.
They were archers three, of hie degree, 5 As good as ever drewe bowe; Their arrowes were long and their armes were strong, As most had cause to knowe.
But one sommers day, as they toke their way Through the forrest of greene Sherwood, 10 To kill the kings deare, you shall presently heare What befell these archers good.
They were ware on the roade of three peddlers with loade, For each one had his packe, Full of all wares for countrie faires, 15 Trust up upon his backe.
A good oke staffe, a yard and a halfe, Each one had in his hande; And they were all boune to Nottingham toune, As you shall understand. 20
"Yonder I see bolde peddlers three,"
Said Robin to Scarlett and John; "Wele search their packes upon their backes Before that they be gone.
"Holla, good fellowes!" quod Robin Hood, 25 "Whether is it ye doe goe?
Now stay and rest, for that is the best, 'Tis well you should doe so."
"Noe rest we neede, on our roade we speede, Till to Nottingham we get:" 30 "Thou tellst a lowde lye," said Robin, "for I Can see that ye swinke and swet."
The peddlers three crosst over the lee, They did not list to fight: "I charge ye tarrie," quod Robin, "for marry, 35 This is my owne land by right.
"This is my mannor and this is my parke, I would have ye for to knowe; Ye are bolde outlawes, I see by cause Ye are so prest to goe. 40
The peddlers three turned round to see, Who it might be they herd; Then again went on as they list to be gone, And never answered word.
Then tooke Robin Hood an arrow so good, 45 Which he did never lacke, And drewe his bowe, and the swift arrowe Went through the last peddlers packe.
For him it was well on the packe it fell, Or his life had found an end; 50 And it pierct the skin of his backe within, Though the packe did stand his friend.
Then downe they flung their packes each one, And stayde till Robin came.
Quod Robin, "I saide ye had better stayde; 55 Good sooth, ye were to blame."
"And who art thou? by S. Crispin, I vowe, Ile quickly cracke thy head!"
Cried Robin, "Come on, all three, or one; It is not so soone done as said. 60
"My name, by the roode, is Robin Hood, And this is Scarlett and John; It is three to three, ye may plainelie see, Soe now, brave fellowes, laye on."
The first peddlers blowe brake Robins bowe, 65 That he had in his hand; And Scarlett and John, they eche had one That they unneath could stand.
"Now holde your handes," cried Robin Hood, "For ye have oken staves; 70 But tarie till wee can get but three, And a fig for all your braves."
Of the peddlers the first, his name Kit o Thirske, Said, "We are well content;"
So eche tooke a stake for his weapon, to make 75 The peddlers to repent.
Soe to it they fell, and their blowes did ring well Uppon the others backes; And gave the peddlers cause to wish They had not cast their packes. 80
Yet the peddlers three of their blowes were so free, That Robin began for to rue; And Scarlett, and John, had such loade laide on, It made the sunne looke blue.