Robin Hood and the Ranger
No: 131; variant: 131A
- WHEN Ph’qbus had melted the sickles of ice,
With a hey down, &c.
And likewise the mountains of snow,
Bold Robin Hood he would ramble to see,
To frolick abroad with his bow.
- He left all his merry men waiting behind,
Whilst through the green vallies he passd;
There did he behold a forester bold,
Who cry’d out, Friend, whither so fast?
- ‘I’m going,’ quoth Robin, ‘To kill a fat buck,
For me and my merry men all;
Besides, eer I go, I’ll have a fat doe,
Or else it shall cost me a fall.’
- ‘You’d best have a care,’ said the forester then,
‘For these are his majesty’s deer;
Before you shall shoot, the thing I’ll dispute,
For I am head-forester here.’
- ‘These thirteen long summers,’ quoth Robin, ‘I’m sure,
My arrows I here have let fly,
Where freely I range; methinks it is strange,
You should have more power than I.
- ‘This forest,’ quoth Robin, ‘I think is my own,
And so are the nimble deer too;
Therefore I declare, and solemnly swear,
I wont be affronted by you.’
- The forester he had a long quarter-staff,
Likewise a broad sword by his side;
Without more ado, he presently drew,
Declaring the truth should be try’d.
- Bold Robin Hood had a sword of the best,
Thus, eer he would take any wrong,
His courage was flush, he’d venture a brush,
And thus they fell to it ding dong.
- The very first blow that the forester gave,
He made his broad weapon cry twang;
‘Twas over the head, he fell down for dead,
O that was a damnable bang!
- But Robin soon did recover himself,
And bravely fell to it again;
The very next stroke their weapons were broke,
Yet never a man there was slain.
- At quarter-staff then they resolved to play,
Because they would have t’other bout;
And brave Robin Hood right valiantly stood,
Unwilling he was to give out.
- Bold Robin he gave him very hard blows,
The other returnd them as fast;
At every stroke their jackets did smoke,
Three hours the combat did last.
- At length in a rage the bold forester grew
And cudgeld bold Robin so sore
That he could not stand, so shaking his hand,
He said, Let us freely give oer.
- Thou art a brave fellow, I needs must confess
I never knew any so good;
Thou’rt fitting to be a yeoman for me,
And range in the merry green wood.
- I’ll give thee this ring as a token of love,
For bravely thou’st acted thy part;
That man that can fight, in him I delight,
And love him with all my whole heart.
- Then Robin Hood setting his horn to his mouth,
A blast he merrily blows;
His yeomen did hear, and strait did appear,
A hundred, with trusty long bows.
- Now Little John came at the head of them all,
Cloathd in a rich mantle of green;
And likewise the rest were gloriously drest,
A delicate sight to be seen.
- ‘Lo, these are my yeomen,’ said Robin Hood,
‘And thou shalt be one of the train;
A mantle and bow, a quiver also,
I give them whom I entertain.’
- The forester willingly enterd the list,
They were such a beautiful sight;
Then with a long bow they shot a fat doe,
And made a rich supper that night.
- What singing and dancing was in the green wood,
For joy of another new mate!
With mirth and delight they spent the long night,
And liv’d at a plentiful rate.
- The forester neer was so merry before
As then he was with these brave souls,
Who never would fail, in wine, beer, or ale,
To take off their cherishing bowls.
- Then Robin Hood gave him a mantle of green,
Broad arrows, and a curious long bow;
This done, the next day, so gallant and gay,
He marched them all on a row.
- Quoth he, My brave yeomen, be true to your trust,
And then we may range the woods wide:
They all did declare, and solemnly swear,
They’d conquer, or die by his side.