Until they all assembled were Under the green-wood shade, Where they report, in pleasant sport, What brave pastime they made. 100
Says Robin Hood, "All my care is, How that yon sheriff may Know certainly that it was I That bore his arrow away."
Says Little John, "My counsel good 105 Did take effect before, So therefore now, if you'll allow, I will advise once more."
"Speak on, speak on," said Robin Hood, "Thy wit's both quick and sound, 110 I know no man among us can[L111]
For wit like thee be found."[L112]
"This I advise," said Little John; "That a letter shall be penn'd, And when it is done, to Nottingham 115 You to the sheriff shall send."
"That is well advised," said Robin Hood, "But how must it be sent?"
"Pugh! when you please, 'tis done with ease; Master, be you content. 120
"I'll stick it on my arrows head, And shoot it into the town; The mark will show where it must go, Whenever it lights down."
The project it was well perform'd; 125 The sheriff that letter had, Which when he read, he scratch'd his head, And rav'd like one that's mad.
So we'll leave him chafing in his grease, Which will do him no good; 130 Now, my friends, attend, and hear the end[L131]
Of honest Robin Hood.[L132]
27, on the day. Ritson.
111, 112. Wanting in Ritson; supplied by Gutch, from a York edition.
ROBIN HOOD AND THE VALIANT KNIGHT:
Together with an account of his death and burial, &c. Tune of _Robin Hood and the fifteen foresters_.
"From the common garland of Aldermary-churchyard; corrected by the York copy." RITSON'S _Robin Hood_, ii. 182.
When Robin Hood and his merry men all, _Derry down, down_, Had reigned many years, The king was then told that they had been bold To his bishops and noble peers.
_Hey down, derry, derry down_.
Therefore they called a council of state, 5 To know what was best to be done For to quell their pride, or else they reply'd The land would be over-run.
Having consulted a whole summers day, At length it was agreed 10 That one should be sent to try the event, And fetch him away with speed.
Therefore a trusty and most worthy knight The king was pleas'd to call, Sir William by name; when to him he came, 15 He told him his pleasure all.
"Go you from hence to bold Robin Hood, And bid him, without more ado, Surrender himself, or else the proud elf Shall suffer with all his crew. 20
"Take here a hundred bowmen brave, All chosen men of great might, Of excellent art to take thy part, In glittering armour most bright."
Then said the knight, "My sovereign liege, 25 By me they shall be led; I'll venture my blood against bold Robin Hood, And bring him alive or dead."
One hundred men were chosen straight, As proper as e'er men saw: 30 On Midsummer-day they march'd away, To conquer that brave outlaw.
With long yew bows and shining spears, They marched with mickle pride, And never delay'd, nor halted, nor stay'd, 35 Till they came to the green-wood side.
Said he to his archers, "Tarry here; Your bows make ready all, That, if need should be, you may follow me; And see you observe my call. 40
"I'll go first in person," he cry'd, "With the letters of my good king, Well sign'd and seal'd, and if he will yield, "We need not to draw one string."
He wander'd about till at length he came 45 To the tent of Robin Hood; The letter he shows; bold Robin arose, And there on his guard he stood.
"They'd have me surrender," quoth bold Robin Hood, "And lie at their mercy then; 50 But tell them from me, that never shall be, While I have full seven score men."
Sir William the knight, both hardy and bold, He offer'd to seize him there, Which William Locksley by fortune did see, 55 And bid him that trick to forbear.
Then Robin Hood set his horn to his mouth, And blew a blast or twain, And so did the knight, at which there in sight The archers came all amain. 60
Sir William with care he drew up his men, And plac'd them in battle array; Bold Robin, we find, he was not behind; Now this was a bloody fray.
The archers on both sides bent their bows, 65 And the clouds of arrows flew; The very first flight, that honour'd knight Did there bid the world adieu.
Yet nevertheless their fight did last From morning till almost noon; 70 Both parties were stout and loth to give out, This was on the last day of June.
At length they left off; one party they went To London with right good will; And Robin Hood he to the green-wood tree, 75 And there he was taken ill.
He sent for a monk, to let him blood, Who took his life away: Now this being done, his archers they run, It was not a time to stay. 80
Some got on board, and cross'd the seas To Flanders, France, and Spain, And others to Rome, for fear of their doom, But soon return'd again.
131, 132. These lines, like the last two of the preceding ballad, refer to _Robin Hood and the Valiant Knight_.
THE BIRTH OF ROBIN HOOD. See p. 170.
From Buchan's _Ballads of the North of Scotland_, ii. 1.
Mony ane talks o' the grass, the grass, And mony ane o' the corn, And mony ane talks o' gude Robin Hood, Kens little whar he was born.
He was gotten in a earl's ha', 5 And in a lady's bower, And born into gude greenwood, Thro' mony cauld winter's shower.
His father was the earl's own steward, Sprung frae sma' pedigree; 10 His mother, Earl Huntingdon's ae daughter, For he had nane else but she.
When nine months were near an end, And eight months they were gone; The lady's cheeks wi' tears were wet, 15 And thus she made her moan:--
"What shall I say, my love, Archibald, This day for you and me?
I will be laid in cauld irons, And ye'll be hanged on tree." 20
"What aileth my love Clementina?