And there they turn'd them back to back, In the midst of them that day, Till Robin Hood approached near, With many an archer gay.
With that an arrow from them flew, 125 I-wis from Robin Hood;[L126]
"Make haste, make haste," the sheriff he said, "Make haste, for it is not good."
The sheriff is gone; his doughty men Thought it no boot to stay, 130 But, as their master had them taught, They run full fast away.
"O stay, O stay," Will Stutly said, "Take leave ere you depart; You ne'er will catch bold Robin Hood, 135 Unless you dare him meet."
"O ill betide you," said Robin Hood, That you so soon are gone; My sword may in the scabbard rest, For here our work is done." 140
"I little thought," Will Stutly said, "When I came to this place, For to have met with Little John, Or seen my master's face."
Thus Stutly he was at liberty set, 145 And safe brought from his foe: "O thanks, O thanks to my master, Since here it was not so.
"And once again, my fellows dear, _Derry, derry down_, We shall in the green woods meet, 150 Where we will make our bow-strings twang, Musick for us most sweet."
_Hey down, derry, derry down_.
126, I wist.
ROBIN HOODS PROGRESS TO NOTTINGHAM.
Ritson's _Robin Hood_, ii. 13.
"From an old black-letter copy in the collection of Anthony a Wood. It is there said to go 'To the tune of Bold Robin Hood;' and the chorus is repeated in every stanza. To the above title are added the following doggerel lines:--
Where hee met with fifteen forresters all on a row, And hee desired of them some news for to know, But with crosse-grain'd words they did him thwart, For which at last hee made them smart."
One or two corrections made by Gutch from copies in the Roxburghe collection have been admitted.
Robin Hood he was a tall young man,[L1]
_Derry, derry down_, And fifteen winters old; And Robin Hood he was a proper young man, Of courage stout and bold.
_Hey down, derry, derry down_.
Robin Hood hee would unto fair Nottingham,[L5] 5 With the general for to dine; There was hee aware of fifteen forresters, And a drinking beer, ale, and wine.[L8]
"What news?" "What news?" said bold Robin Hood, "What news fain wouldest thou know? 10 Our king hath provided a shooting match, And I'm ready with my bow."
"We hold it in scorn," said the forresters, "That ever a boy so young Should bear a bow before our king, 15 That's not able to draw one string."
"I'le hold you twenty marks," said bold Robin Hood, "By the leave of our lad[y'], That I'le hit a mark a hundred rod, And I'le cause a hart to dye." 20
"We'l hold you twenty mark," then said the forresters, "By the leave of our lady, Thou hit'st not the marke a hundred rod, Nor causest a hart to dye."
Robin Hood he bent up a noble bow, 25 And a broad arrow he let flye, He hit the mark a hundred rod, And he caused a hart to dye.
Some say hee brake ribs one or two, And some say hee brake three; 30 The arrow within the hart would not abide, But it glanced in two or three.
The hart did skip, and the hart did leap, And the hart lay on the ground; "The wager is mine," said bold Robin Hood, 35 "If't were for a thousand pound."
"The wager's none of thine," then said the forresters, "Although thou beest in haste; Take up thy bow, and get thee hence, Lest wee thy sides do baste." 40
Robin Hood he took up his noble bow, And his broad arrows all amain; And Robin Hood he laught, and begun to smile, As hee went over the plain.
Then Robin Hood he bent his noble bow, 45 And his broad arrowes he let flye, Till fourteen of these fifteen forresters Upon the ground did lye.
He that did this quarrel first begin Went tripping over the plain; 50 But Robin Hood he bent his noble bow, And hee fetcht him back again.
"You said I was no archer," said Robin Hood, "But say so now again;"
With that he sent another arrow, 55 That split his head in twain.
"You have found mee an archer," said Robin Hood,[L57]
"Which will make your wives for to wring, And wish that you had never spoke the word, That I could not draw one string." 60
The people that lived in fair Nottingham Came running out amain, Supposing to have taken bold Robin Hood, With the forresters that were slain.
Some lost legs, and some lost arms, 65 And some did lose their blood; But Robin hee took up his noble bow, And is gone to the merry green wood.
They carried these forresters into fair Nottingham, As many there did know; 70 They dig'd them graves in their church-yard, And they buried them all a-row.
1, and he;
5, and to, Ritson.
57, saith. RITSON.
ROBIN HOOD AND THE BISHOP OF HEREFORD.
"This excellent ballad, given from the common edition of Aldermary church-yard (compared with the York copy), is supposed to be modern; the story, however, seems alluded to in the ballad of _Renowned Robin Hood_. The full title is _The Bishop of Herefords entertainment by Robin Hood and Little John, &c., in merry Barnsdale_." RITSON'S _Robin Hood_, ii. 150.
Some they will talk of bold Robin Hood, And some of barons bold; But I'll tell you how he serv'd the bishop of Hereford, When he robb'd him of his gold.
As it befel in merry Barnsdale, 5 All under the green-wood tree, The bishop of Hereford was to come by, With all his company.
"Come, kill [me] a ven'son," said bold Robin Hood, "Come, kill me a good fat deer; 10 The bishop of Hereford is to dine with me to-day, And he shall pay well for his cheer.
"We'll kill a fat ven'son," said bold Robin Hood, And dress it by the highway side; And we will watch the bishop narrowly, 15 Lest some other way he should ride."
Robin Hood dress'd himself in shepherds attire, With six of his men als; And, when the bishop of Hereford came by, They about the fire did go. 20