"For a clergyman was first my bane, Which makes me hate them all; But if you will be so kind to me, 115 Love them again I shall."
The king no longer could forbear, For he was mov'd with ruth, "Robin," said he, "I'll now tell thee[L119]
The very naked truth.[L120] 120
"I am the king, thy sovereign king, That appears before you all:"
When Robin saw that it was he, Strait then he down did fall.
"Stand up again," then said the king, 125 "I'll thee thy pardon give; Stand up, my friend; who can contend, When I give leave to live?"
So they are all gone to Nottingham, All shouting as they came: 130 But when the people them did see, They thought the king was slain;
And for that cause th' outlaws were come, To rule all as they list; And for to shun, which way to run, 135 The people did not wist.
The plowman left the plow in the field, The smith ran from his shop; Old folks also, that scarce could go, Over their sticks did hop. 140
The king did soon let them understand He had been in the green-wood, And from that day, for evermore, He'd forgiven Robin Hood.
Then [when] the people they did hear, 145 And [that] the truth was known, They all did sing, "God save the king!
Hang care, the town's our own!"
"What's that Robin Hood?" then said the sheriff, "That varlet I do hate; 150 Both me and mine he caus'd to dine, And serv'd us all with one plate."
"Ho, ho," said Robin Hood, "I know what you mean; Come, take your gold again; Be friends with me, and I with thee, 155 And so with every man.
"Now, master sheriff, you are paid, And since you are beginner, As well as you give me my due, For you ne'er paid for that dinner. 160
"But if that it should please the king So much your house to grace, To sup with you, for, to speak true, [I] know you ne'er was base."
The sheriff could not that gainsay, 165 For a trick was put upon him; A supper was drest, the king was a guest, But he thought 'twould have outdone him.
They are all gone to London court, Robin Hood, with all his train; 170 He once was there a noble peer, And now he's there again.
Many such pranks brave Robin play'd, While he liv'd in the green-wood: Now, my friend, attend, and hear an end[L175] 175 Of honest Robin Hood.[L176]
119, 120. Wanting in Ritson; supplied by Gutch.
175, 176. The two concluding lines refer to _Robin Hood and the Valiant Knight_, (see p. 888,) which ballad in some collections follows the present.
ROBIN HOOD AND THE GOLDEN ARROW.
RITSON'S _Robin Hood_, ii. 175. From an Aldermary-Churchyard Garland.
Perhaps by the same feeble and vulgar hand as the preceding, and, like that, founded on the _Lytell Geste_.
When as the sheriff of Nottingham Was come with mickle grief, He talk'd no good of Robin Hood, That strong and sturdy thief.
_Fal la dal de_.
So unto London road he past, 5 His losses to unfold To king Richard, who did regard The tale that he had told.
"Why," quoth the king, "what shall I do?
Art thou not sheriff for me" 10 The law is in force, to take thy course Of them that injure thee.
"Go get thee gone, and by thyself Devise some tricking game For to enthral yon rebels all; 15 Go take thy course with them."
So away the sheriff he return'd, And by the way he thought Of th' words of the king, and how the thing To pass might well be brought. 20
For within his mind he imagined, That when such matches were, Those outlaws stout, without all doubt, Would be the bowmen there.
So an arrow with a golden head 25 And shaft of silver-white, Who won the day should bear away[L27]
For his own proper right.
Tidings came to bold Robin Hood, Under the green-wood tree: 30 "Come prepare you then, my merry men, We'll go yon sport to see."
With that stept forth a brave young man, David of Doncaster: "Master," said he, "be rul'd by me, 35 From the green-wood we'll not stir.
"To tell the truth, I'm well inform'd Yon match it is a wile; The sheriff, i-wiss, devises this Us archers to beguile." 40
"Thou smells of a coward," said Robin Hood, "Thy words do not please me; Come on't what will, I'll try my skill, At yon brave archery."
O then bespoke brave Little John, 45 "Come let us thither gang; Come, listen to me, how it shall be That we need not be ken'd.
"Our mantles, all of Lincoln-green, Behind us we will leave; 50 We'll dress us all so several, They shall not us perceive.
"One shall wear white, another red, One yellow, another blue; Thus in disguise, to the exercise 55 We'll gang, whate'er ensue."
Forth from the green-wood they are gone, With hearts all firm and stout, Resolving [then] with the sheriffs men To have a hearty bout. 60
So themselves they mixed with the rest, To prevent all suspicion; For if they should together hold They thought it no discretion.
So the sheriff looked round about, 65 Amongst eight hundred men, But could not see the sight that he Had long suspected then.
Some said, "If Robin Hood was here, And all his men to boot, 70 Sure none of them could pass these men, So bravely they do shoot."
"Ay," quoth the sheriff, and scratch'd his head, "I thought he would have been here; I thought he would, but tho' he's bold, 75 He durst not now appear."
O that word griev'd Robin Hood to the heart; He vexed in his blood; Ere long, thought he, thou shalt well see That here was Robin Hood. 80
Some cried "Blue jacket!" another cried "Brown!"
And a third cried "Brave Yellow!"
But the fourth man said, "Yon man in red In this place has no fellow."
For that was Robin Hood himself, 85 For he was cloath'd in red; At every shot the prize he got, For he was both sure and dead.
So the arrow with the golden head And shaft of silver-white, 90 Brave Robin Hood won, and bore with him For his own proper right.
These outlaws there, that very day, To shun all kinds of doubt, By three or four, no less nor more, 95 As they went in came out;