Robin Hood and the Tinker
No: 127; variant: 127A
- IN summer time, when leaves grow green,
Down a down a down
And birds sing on every tree,
Hey down a down a down
Robin Hood went to Nottingham,
Down a down a down
As fast as hee could dree.
Hey down a down a down
- And as hee came to Nottingham
A Tinker he did meet,
And seeing him a lusty blade,
He did him kindly greet.
- ‘Where dost thou live?’ quoth Robin Hood,
‘I pray thee now mee tell;
Sad news I hear there is abroad,
I fear all is not well.’
- ‘What is that news?’ the Tinker said;
‘Tell mee without delay;
I am a tinker by my trade,
And do live at Banbura.’
- ‘As for the news,’ quoth Robin Hood,
‘It is but as I hear;
Two tinkers they were set ith’ stocks,
For drinking ale and bear.’
- ‘If that be all,’ the Tinker said,
‘As I may say to you,
Your news it is not worth a fart,
Since that they all bee true.
- ‘For drinking of good ale and bear,
You wil not lose your part:’
‘No, by my faith,’ quoth Robin Hood,
‘I love it with all my heart.
- ‘What news abroad?’ quoth Robin Hood;
‘Tell mee what thou dost hear;
Being thou goest from town to town,
Some news thou need not fear.’
- ‘All the news,’ the Tinker said,
‘I hear, it is for good;
It is to seek a bold outlaw,
Which they call Robin Hood.
- ‘I have a warrant from the king,
To take him where I can;
If you can tell me where hee is,
I will make you a man.
- ‘The king will give a hundred pound
That hee could but him see;
And if wee can but now him get,
It will serve you and mee.’
- ‘Let me see that warrant,’ said Robin Hood;
‘I’le see if it bee right;
And I will do the best I can
For to take him this night.’
- ‘That will I not,’ the Tinker said;
‘None with it I will trust;
And where hee is if you’l not tell,
Take him by force I must.’
- But Robin Hood perceiving well
How then the game would go,
‘If you will go to Nottingham,
Wee shall find him I know.’
- The Tinker had a crab-tree staff,
Which was both good and strong;
Robin hee had a good strong blade,
So they went both along.
- And when they came to Nottingham,
There they both tooke one inn;
And they calld for ale and wine,
To drink it was no sin.
- But ale and wine they drank so fast
That the Tinker hee forgot
What thing he was about to do;
It fell so to his lot
- That while the Tinker fell asleep,
Hee made then haste away,
And left the Tinker in the lurch,
For the great shot to pay.
- But when the Tinker wakened,
And saw that he was gone,
He calld then even for his host,
And thus hee made his moan.
- ‘I had a warrant from the king,
Which might have done me good,
That is to take a bold outlaw,
Some call him Robin Hood.
- ‘But now my warrant and mony’s gone,
Nothing I have to pay;
And he that promised to be my friend,
He is gone and fled away.’
- ‘That friend you tell on,’ said the host,
‘They call him Robin Hood;
And when that first hee met with you,
He ment you little good.’
- ‘Had I known it had been hee,
When that I had him here,
Th’ one of us should have tri’d our strength
Which should have paid full dear.
- ‘In the mean time I must away;
No longer here I’le bide;
But I will go and seek him out,
What ever do me betide.
- ‘But one thing I would gladly know,
What here I have to pay;’
‘Ten shillings just,’ then said the host;
‘I’le pay without delay.
- ‘Or elce take here my working-bag,
And my good hammer too;
And if that I light but on the knave,
I will then soon pay you.’
- ‘The onely way,’ then said the host,
‘And not to stand in fear,
Is to seek him among the parks,
Killing of the kings deer.’
- The Tinker hee then went with speed,
And made then no delay,
Till he had found then Robin Hood,
That they might have a fray.
- At last hee spy’d him in a park,
Hunting then of the deer;
‘What knave is that,’ quoth Robin Hood,
‘That doth come mee so near?’
- ‘No knave, no knave,’ the Tinker said,
‘And that you soon shall know;
Whether of us hath done most wrong,
My crab-tree staff shall show.’
- Then Robin drew his gallant blade,
Made then of trusty steel;
But the Tinker laid on him so fast
That he made Robin reel.
- Then Robins anger did arise;
He fought full manfully,
Vntil hee made the Tinker
Almost then fit to fly.
- With that they had a bout again,
They ply’d their weapons fast;
The Tinker threshed his bones so sore
He made him yeeld at last.
- ‘A boon, a boon,’ Robin hee cryes,
‘If thou wilt grant it mee;’
‘Before I do it,’ the Tinker said,
‘I’le hang thee on this tree.’
- But the Tinker looking him about,
Robin his horn did blow;
Then came unto him Little John,
And William Scadlock too.
- ‘What is the matter,’ quoth Little John,
‘You sit in th’ highway side?’
‘Here is a Tinker that stands by,
That hath paid well my hide.’
- ‘That Tinker,’ then said Little John,
‘Fain that blade I would see,
And I would try what I could do,
If hee’l do as much for mee.’
- But Robin hee then wishd them both
They should the quarrel cease,
‘That henceforth wee may bee as one,
And ever live in peace.
- ‘And for the jovial Tinker’s part,
A hundred pound I’le give,
In th’ year to maintain him on,
As long as he doth live.
- ‘In manhood hee is a mettle man,
And a mettle man by trade;
I never thought that any man
Should have made me so fraid.
- ‘And if hee will bee one of us,
Wee will take all one fare,
And whatsoever wee do get,
He shall have his full share.’
- So the Tinker was content
With them to go along,
And with them a part to take,
And so I end my song.