Robin Hood and the Beggar, I
No: 133; variant: 133A
- COME light and listen, you gentlemen all,
Hey down, down, and a down
That mirth do love for to hear,
And a story true I’le tell unto you,
If that you will but draw near.
- In elder times, when merriment was,
And archery was holden good,
There was an outlaw, as many did know,
Which men called Robin Hood.
- Vpon a time it chanced so
Bold Robin was merry disposed,
His time to spend he did intend,
Either with friends or foes.
- Then he got vp on a gallant brave steed,
The which was worth angels ten;
With a mantle of green, most brave to be seen,
He left all his merry men.
- And riding towards fair Nottingham,
Some pastime for to spy,
There was he aware of a jolly beggar
As ere he beheld with his eye.
- An old patcht coat the beggar had on,
Which he daily did vse for to wear;
And many a bag about him did wag,
Which made Robin Hood to him repair.
- ‘God speed, God speed,’ said Robin Hood,
‘What countryman? tell to me:’
‘I am Yorkeshire, sir; but, ere you go far,
Some charity give vnto me.’
- ‘Why, what wouldst thou have?’ said Robin Hood,
‘I pray thee tell vnto me:’
‘No lands nor livings,’ the beggar he said,
‘But a penny for charitie.’
- ‘I have no money,’ said Robin Hood then,
‘But, a ranger within the wood,
I am an outlaw, as many do know,
My name it is Robin Hood.
- ‘But yet I must tell thee, bonny beggar,
That a bout with [thee] I must try;
Thy coat of gray, lay down I say,
And my mantle of green shall lye by.’
- ‘Content, content,’ the beggar he cry’d,
‘Thy part it will be the worse;
For I hope this to give thee the rout,
And the have at thy purse.’
- The beggar he had a mickle long staffe,
And Robin had a nut-brown sword;
So the beggar drew nigh, and at Robin let fly,
But gave him never a word.
- ‘Fight on, fight on,’ said Robin Hood then,
‘This game well pleaseth me;’
For every blow that Robin did give,
The beggar gave buffets three.
- And fighting there full hard and sore,
Not far from Nottingham town,
They never fled, till from Robin[’s] head
The blood came trickling down.
- ‘O hold thy hand,’ said Robin Hood then,
‘And thou and I will agree;’
‘If that be true,’ the beggar he said,
‘Thy mantle come give vnto me.’
- ‘Nay a change, a change,’ cri’d Robin Hood;
‘Thy bags and coat give me,
And this mantle of mine I’le to thee resign,
My horse and my braverie.’
- When Robin Hood had got the beggars clothes,
He looked round about;
‘Methinks,’ said he, ‘I seem to be
A beggar brave and stout.
- ‘For now I have a bag for my bread,
So have I another for corn;
I have one for salt, and another for malt,
And one for my little horn.
- ‘And now I will a begging goe,
Some charitie for to find:’
And if any more of Robin you’l know,
In this second part it’s behind.
- Now Robin he is to Nottingham bound,
With his bags hanging down to his knee,
His staff, and his coat, scarce worth a groat,
Yet merrilie passed he.
- As Robin he passed the streets along,
He heard a pittifull cry;
Three brethren deer, as he did hear,
Condemned were to dye.
- Then Robin he highed to the sheriffs [house],
Some reliefe for to seek;
He skipt, and leapt, and capored full high,
As he went along the street.
- But when to the sheriffs doore he came,
There a gentleman fine and brave,
‘Thou beggar,’ said he, ‘Come tell vnto me
What is it that thou wouldest have?’
- ‘No meat, nor drink,’ said Robin Hood then,
‘That I come here to crave;
But to beg the lives of yeomen three,
And that I fain would have.’
- ‘That cannot be, thou bold beggar,
Their fact it is so cleer;
I tell to thee, hanged they must be,
For stealing of our kings deer.’
- But when to the gallows they did come,
There was many a weeping eye:
‘O hold your peace,’ said Robin then,
‘For certainly they shall not dye.’
- Then Robin he set his horn to his mouth,
And he blew but blastes three,
Till a hundred bold archers brave
Came kneeling down to his knee.
- ‘What is your will, master?’ they said,
‘We are here at your command:’
‘Shoot east, shoot west,’ said Robin Hood then,
‘And look that you spare no man.’
- Then they shot east, and they shot west;
Their arrows were so keen
The sheriffe he, and his companie,
No longer must be seen.
- Then he stept to these brethren three,
And away he had them tane;
But the sheriff was crost, and many a man lost,
That dead lay on the plain.
- And away they went into the merry green wood,
And sung with a merry glee,
And Robin took these brethren good
To be of his yeomandrie.