ROBIN HOOD RESCUING THE THREE SQUIRES PROM NOTTINGHAM GALLOWS.
"This song, and its tune, as the editor is informed by his ingenious friend, Edward Williams, the Welsh bard, are well known in South Wales, by the name of _Marchog Glas_, _i.e._ Green Knight. Though apparently ancient, it is not known to exist in black letter, nor has any better authority been met with than the common collection of Aldermary-churchyard." RITSON'S _Robin Hood_, ii. 216.
Bold Robin Hood ranging the forrest all round, The forrest all round ranged he, O there did he meet with a gay lady, She came weeping along the highway.
"Why weep you, why weep you?" bold Robin he said, 5 "What, weep you for gold or fee?
Or do you weep for your maidenhead, That is taken from your body?"
"I weep not for gold," the lady reply'd, "Neither do I weep for fee; 10 Nor do I weep for my maidenhead, That is taken from my body."
"What weep you for then?" said jolly Robn, "I prithee come tell unto me;"
"Oh! I do weep for my three sons, 15 For they are all condemned to die."
"What church have they robbed?" said jolly Robn, "Or parish-priest have they slain?
What maids have they forced against their will?
Or with other mens wives have lain?" 20
"No church have they robbed," this lady reply'd, "Nor parish-priest have they slain; No maids have they forced against their will, Nor with other mens wives have lain."
"What have they done then?" said jolly Robn, 25 "Come tell me most speedily:"
"Oh! it is for killing the kings fallow deer, That they are all condemned to die."[L28]
"Get you home, get you home," said jolly Robn, "Get you home most speedily, 30 And I will unto fair Nottingham go, For the sake of the squires all three."
Then bold Robin Hood for Nottingham goes, For Nottingham town goes he, O there did he meet with a poor beggar-man, 35 He came creeping along the highway.
"What news, what news, thou old beggar-man?
What news, come tell unto me:"
"O there's weeping and wailing in Nottingham, For the death of the squires all three." 40
This beggar-man had a coat on his back, 'Twas neither green, yellow, nor red; Bold Robin Hood thought 'twas no disgrace To be in the beggar-mans stead.
"Come, pull off thy coat, thou old beggar-man, 45 And thou shalt put on mine; And forty good shillings I'll give thee to boot, Besides brandy, good beer, ale and wine."
Bold Robin Hood then unto Nottingham came, Unto Nottingham town came he; 50 O there did he meet with great master sheriff, And likewise the squires all three.
"One boon, one boon," says jolly Robin, "One boon I beg on my knee; That, as for the death of these three squires, 55 Their hangman I may be."
"Soon granted, soon granted," says master sheriff, "Soon granted unto thee; And you shalt have all their gay cloathng, Aye, and all their white money." 60
"O I will have none of their gay cloathng, Nor none of their white money, But I'll have three blasts on my bugle-horn, That their souls to heaven may flee."
Then Robin Hood mounted the gallows so high,[L65] 65 Where he blew loud and shrill, Till an hundred and ten of Robin Hoods men Came marching down the green hill.
"Whose men are these?" says master sherff, "Whose men are they? come tell unto me:" 70 "O they are mine, but none of thine, And are come for the squires all three."
"O take them, O take them," says great master sheriff, "O take them along with thee; For there's never a man in fair Nottingham 75 Can do the like of thee.
ROBIN HOOD AND THE CURTALL FRYER.
Ritson's _Robin Hood_, ii. 61.
"From an old black-letter copy in the collection of Anthony a Wood: corrected by a much earlier one in the Pepysian library, printed by H.
Gosson, about the year 1610; compared with a later one in the same collection. The full title is: _The famous battell betweene Robin Hood and the Curtall Fryer_. _To a new Northern tune._"
In summer time, when leaves grow green, And flowers are fresh and gay, Robin Hood and his merry men Were disposed to play.
Then some would leape, and some would runne, 5 And some would use artillery; "Which of you can a good bow draw, A good archer for to be?
"Which of you can kill a bucke, Or who can kill a doe? 10 Or who can kill a hart of greece Five hundreth foot him fro?"
Will Scadlocke he kild a bucke, And Midge he kild a doe, And Little John kild a hart of greece, 15 Five hundreth foot him fro.
"Gods blessing on thy heart," said Robin Hood, "That hath such a shot for me; I would ride my horse a hundred miles, To find one could match thee." 20
This caused Will Scadlocke to laugh, He laught full heartily: "There lives a curtall fryer in Fountaines Abbey Will beate both him and thee.
"The curtall fryer in Fountaines Abbey 25 Well can a strong bow draw; He will beat you and your yeomen, Set them all on a row."
Robin Hood he tooke a solemne oath, It was by Mary free, 30 That he would neither eate nor drinke Till the fryer he did see.
Robin Hood put on his harnesse good, On his head a cap of steel, Broad sword and buckler by his side, 35 And they became him weele.
He tooke his bow into his hand, It was made of a trusty tree, With a sheafe of arrowes at his belt, And to Fountaine Dale went he. 40
And comming unto Fountaine Dale, No farther would he ride; There he was aware of the curtall fryer, Walking by the water side.
The fryer had on a harnesse good, 45 On his head a cap of steel, Broad sword and buckler by his side, And they became him weele.
Robin Hood lighted off his horse, And tyed him to a thorne: 50 "Carry me over the water, thou curtall fryer, Or else thy life's forlorne."
The fryer tooke Robin Hood on his backe, Deepe water he did bestride, And spake neither good word nor bad, 55 Till he came at the other side.
Lightly leapt Robin offe the fryers backe; The fryer said to him againe, "Carry me over this water, [thou] fine fellow, Or it shall breed thy paine." 60