And then they brought him through the wood, And set him on his dapple gray, And gave him the tail within his hand, 95 And bade him for Robin Hood pray.
22, tell to me. RITSON.
75. Robin, RITSON.
ROBIN HOODS GOLDEN PRIZE.
He met two priests upon the way, And forced them with him to pray; For gold they prayed, and gold they had, Enough to make bold Robin glad.
His share came to four hundred pound, That then was told upon the ground; Now mark, and you shall hear the jest, You never heard the like exprest.
Tune is, _Robin Hood was a tall young man, &c._
"This ballad (given from an old black-letter copy in the collection of Anthony a Wood) was entered, amongst others, in the Stationers' book, by Francis Coule, 13th June, 1631, and by Francis Grove, 2nd June, 1656." RITSON'S _Robin Hood_, ii. 101.
This piece is printed in _A Collection of Old Ballads_, ii. 121, with some variations.
I have heard talk of bold Robin Hood, _Derry, derry down_, And of brave Little John, Of Fryer Tuck, and Will Scarlet, Loxley, and maid Marin.
But such a tale as this before 5 I think was never knone; For Robin Hood disguised himself, And from the wood is gone.[L8]
Like to a fryer, bold Robin Hood Was accoutered in his array; 10 With hood, gown, bedes, and crucifix, He past upon the way.
He had not gone miles two or three, But it was his chance to spy Two lusty priests, clad all in black, 15 Come riding gallantly.
"Benedicite," then said Robin Hood, "Some pitty on me take; Cross you my hand with a silver groat, For our dear ladies sake. 20
"For I have been wandring all this day, And nothing could I get; Not so much as one poor cup of drink, Nor bit of bread to eat."
"Now, by our dame," the priests repli'd, 25 We never a penny have; For we this morning have been rob'd, And could no money save."
"I am much afraid," said bold Robin Hood, That you both do tell a lie; 30 And now before you do go hence, I am resolv'd to try."
When as the priests heard him say so, Then they rode away amain; But Robin Hood betook to his heels, 35 And soon overtook them again.
Then Robin Hood laid hold of them both, And pull'd them down from their horse: "O spare us, fryer!" the priests cry'd out, "On us have some remorse!" 40
"You said you had no mony," quoth he, "Wherefore, without delay, We three will fall down on our knees, And for mony we will pray."
The priests they could not him gainsay, 45 But down they kneeled with speed; "Send us, O send us," then quoth they, "Some money to serve our need."
The priests did pray with a mournful chear, Sometimes their hands did wring; 50 Sometimes they wept, and cried aloud, Whilst Robin did merrily sing.
When they had been praying an hours space, The priests did still lament; Then quoth bold Robin, "Now let's see 55 What mony heaven hath us sent.
"We will be sharers all alike Of mony that we have; And there is never a one of us That his fellow shall deceive." 60
The priests their hands in their pockets put, But mony would find none: "We'l search ourselves," said Robin Hood, "Each other, one by one."
Then Robin Hood took pains to search them both, 65 And he found good store of gold, Five hundred peeces presently Upon the grass was told.
"Here is a brave show," said Robin Hood, "Such store of gold to see, 70 And you shall each one have a part, Cause you prayed so heartily."
He gave them fifty pounds a-peece, And the rest for himself did keep: The priests durst not speak one word, 75 But they sighed wondrous deep.
With that the priests rose up from their knees, Thinking to have parted so: "Nay, stay," says Robin Hood, "one thing more I have to say ere you do go. 80
"You shall be sworn," said bold Robin Hood, "Upon this holy grass, That you will never tell lies again, Which way soever you pass.
"The second oath that you here must take, 85 That all the days of your lives, You shall never tempt maids to sin, Nor lye with other mens wives.
"The last oath you shall take, it is this, Be charitable to the poor; 90 Say, you have met with a holy fryar, And I desire no more."
He set them on their horses again, And away then they did ride; And he return'd to the merry green-wood, 95 With great joy, mirth, and pride.
ROBIN HOODS DEATH AND BURIAL:
Shewing how he was taken ill, and how he went to his cousin at Kirkley-hall, who let him blood, which was the cause of his death.
Tune of _Robin Hood's last farewel, &c._
"This very old (?) and curious piece is preserved solely in the editions of _Robin Hood's Garland_ printed at York, (or such as have been taken from them,) where it is made to conclude with some foolish lines, (adopted from the London copy of _Robin Hood and the Valiant Knight_,) in order to introduce the epitaph. It is here given from a collation of two different copies, containing numerous variations, a few of which are retained in the margin." RITSON'S _Robin Hood_, ii.
When Robin Hood and Little John, _Down a down, a down, a down_.
Went o'er yon bank of broom, Said Robin Hood to Little John, "We have shot for many a pound: _Hey down, a down, a down_.
"But I am not able to shoot one shot more, My arrows will not flee; But I have a cousin lives down below, Please God, she will bleed me."
Now Robin is to fair Kirkley gone, As fast as he can win; 10 But before he came there, as we do hear, He was taken very ill.
And when that he came to fair Kirkley-hall, He knock'd all at the ring, But none was so ready as his cousin herself 15 For to let bold Robin in.
"Will you please to sit down, cousin Robin," she said, "And drink some beer with me?"
"No, I will neither eat nor drink, Till I am blooded by thee."[L20] 20
"Well, I have a room, cousin Robin," she said, "Which you did never see, And if you please to walk therein, You blooded by me shall be."[L24]
She took him by the lilly-white hand, 25 And led him to a private room,[L26]
And there she blooded bold Robin Hood, Whilst one drop of blood would run.