Robin Hood and the Butcher
No: 122; variant: 122B
- COME, all you brave gallants, and listen a while,
With hey down, down, an a down
That are in the bowers within;
For of Robin Hood, that archer good,
A song I intend for to sing.
- Upon a time it chance:d so
Bold Robin in forrest did spy
A jolly butcher, with a bonny fine mare,
With his flesh to the market did hye.
- ‘Good morrow, good fellow,’ said jolly Robin,
‘What food hast? tell unto me;
And thy trade to me tell, and where thou dost dwell,
For I like well thy company.’
- The butcher he answered jolly Robin:
No matter where I dwell;
For a butcher I am, and to Notingham
I am going, my flesh to sell.
- ‘What is [the] price of thy flesh?’ said jolly Robin,
‘Come, tell it soon unto me;
And the price of thy mare, be she never so dear,
For a butcher fain would I be.’
- ‘The price of my flesh,’ the butcher repli’d,
‘I soon will tell unto thee;
With my bonny mare, and they are not dear,
Four mark thou must give unto me.’
- ‘Four mark I will give thee,’ saith jolly Robin,
‘Four mark it shall be thy fee;
Thy mony come count, and let me mount,
For a butcher I fain would be.’
- Now Robin is to Notingham gone,
His butcher’s trade for to begin;
With good intent, to the sheriff he went,
And there he took up his inn.
- When other butchers they opened their meat,
Bold Robin he then begun;
But how for to sell he knew not well,
For a butcher he was but young.
- When other butchers no meat could sell,
Robin got both gold and fee;
For he sold more meat for one peny
Than others could do for three.
- But when he sold his meat so fast,
No butcher by him could thrive;
For he sold more meat for one peny
Than others could do for five.
- Which made the butchers of Notingham
To study as they did stand,
Saying, surely he was some prodigal,
That had sold his father’s land.
- The butchers they stepped to jolly Robin,
Acquainted with him for to be;
‘Come, brother,’ one said, ‘we be all of one trade,
Come, will you go dine with me?’
- ‘Accurst of his heart,’ said jolly Robin,
‘That a butcher doth deny;
I will go with you, my brethren true,
And as fast as I can hie.’
- But when to the sheriff’s house they came,
To dinner they hied apace,
And Robin he the man must be
Before them all to say grace.
- ‘Pray God bless us all,’ said jolly Robin,
‘And our meat within this place;
A cup of sack so good will nourish our blood,
And so do I end my grace.
- ‘Come fill us more wine,’ said jolly Robin,
‘Let us merry be while we do stay;
For wine and good cheer, be it never so dear,
I vow I the reckning will pay.
- ‘Come, brother[s], be merry,’ said jolly Robin,
‘Let us drink, and never give ore;
For the shot I will pay, ere I go my way,
If it cost me five pounds and more.’
- ‘This is a mad blade,’ the butchers then said;
Saies the sheriff, He is some prodigal,
That some land has sold, for silver and gold,
And now he doth mean to spend all.
- ‘Hast thou any horn-beasts,’ the sheriff repli’d,
‘Good fellow, to sell unto me?’
‘Yes, that I have, good Master Sheriff,
I have hundreds two or three.
- ‘And a hundred aker of good free land,
If you please it to see;
And I’le make you as good assurance of it
As ever my father made me.’
- The sheriff he saddled a good palfrey,
With three hundred pound in gold,
And away he went with bold Robin Hood,
His horned beasts to behold.
- Away then the sheriff and Robin did ride,
To the forrest of merry Sherwood;
Then the sheriff did say, God bless us this day
From a man they call Robin Hood!
- But when that a little further they came,
Bold Robin he chance:d to spy
A hundred head of good red deer,
Come tripping the sheriff full nigh.
- ‘How like you my hornd beasts, good Master Sheriff;
They be fat and fair for to see;’
‘I tell thee, good fellow, I would I were gone,
For I like not thy company.’
- Then Robin he set his horn to his mouth,
And blew but blasts three;
Then quickly anon there came Little John,
And all his company.
- ‘What is your will?’ then said Little John,
‘Good master come tell it to me;’
‘I have brought hither the sheriff of Notingham,
This day to dine with thee.’
- ‘He is welcome to me,’ then said Little John,
‘I hope he will honestly pay;
I know he has gold, if it be but well told,
Will serve us to drink a whole day.’
- Then Robin took his mantle from his back,
And laid it upon the ground,
And out of the sheriffe[’s] portmantle
He told three hundred pound.
- Then Robin he brought him thorow the wood,
And set him on his dapple gray:
‘O have me commended to your wife at home;’
So Robin went laughing away.