Robin Hood Rescuing Will Stutly
No: 141; variant: 141A
- WHEN Robin Hood in the green-wood livd,
Derry derry down
Vnder the green-wood tree,
Tidings there came to him with speed,
Tidings for certainty,
Hey down derry derry down
- That Will Stutly surprized was,
And eke in prison lay;
Three varlets that the sheriff had hired
Did likely him betray.
- I, and to-morrow hanged must be,
To-morrow as soon as it is day;
But before they could this victory get,
Two of them did Stutly slay.
- When Robin Hood he heard this news,
Lord! he was grieved sore,
I, and unto his merry men [said],
Who altogether swore,
- That Will Stutly should rescued be,
And be brought safe again;
Or elde should many a gallant wight
For his sake there be slain.
- He cloathed himself in scarlet then,
His men were all in green;
A finer show, throughout the world,
In no place could be seen.
- Good lord! it was a gallant sight
To see them all on a row;
With every man a good broad sword,
And eke a good yew bow.
- Forth of the green wood are they gone,
Yea, all couragiously,
Resolving to bring Stutly home,
Or every man to die.
- And when they came the castle neer,
Whereas Will Stutly lay,
‘I hold it good,’ saith Robin Hood,
‘Wee here in ambush stay,
- ‘And send one forth some news to hear,
To yonder palmer fair,
That stands under the castle-wall;
Some news he may declare.’
- With that steps forth a brave young man,
Which was of courage bold;
Thus hee did say to the old man:
I pray thee, palmer old,
- Tell me, if that thou rightly ken,
When must Will Stutly die,
Who is one of bold Robins men,
And here doth prisoner lie?
- ‘Alack, alass,’ the palmer said,
‘And for ever wo is me!
Will Stutly hanged must be this day,
On yonder gallows-tree.
- ‘O had his noble master known,
Hee would some succour send;
A few of his bold yeomandree
Full soon would fetch him hence.’
- ‘I, that is true,’ the young man said;
‘I, that is true,’ said hee;
‘Or, if they were neer to this place,
They soon would set him free.
- ‘But fare thou well, thou good old man,
Farewell, and thanks to thee;
If Stutly hanged be this day,
Revengd his death will be.’
- He was no sooner from the palmer gone,
But the gates was opened wide,
And out of the castle Will Stutly came,
Guarded on every side.
- When hee was forth from the castle come,
And saw no help was nigh,
Thus he did say unto the sheriff,
Thus he said gallantly:
- Now seeing that I needs must die,
Grant me one boon, says he;
For my noble master nere had man
That yet was hangd on the tree.
- Give me a sword all in my hand,
And let mee be unbound,
And with thee and thy men I’le fight,
Vntill I lie dead on the ground.
- But his desire he would not grant,
His wishes were in vain;
For the sheriff had sworn he hanged should be,
And not by the sword be slain.
- ‘Do but unbind my hands,’ he saies,
‘I will no weapons crave,
And if I hanged be this day,
Damnation let me have.’
- ‘O no, O no,’ the sheriff he said,
‘Thou shalt on the gallows die,
I, and so shall thy master too,
If ever in me it lie.’
- ‘O dastard coward!’ Stutly cries,
‘Thou faint-heart pesant slave!
If ever my master do thee meet,
Thou shalt thy paiment have.
- ‘My noble master thee doth scorn,
And all thy cowardly crew;
Such silly imps unable are
Bold Robin to subdue.’
- But when he was to the gallows come,
And ready to bid adiew,
Out of a bush leaps Little John,
And steps Will Stutly to.
- ‘I pray thee, Will, before thou die,
Of thy dear friends take leave;
I needs must borrow him a while,
How say you, master sheriff?’
- ‘Now, as I live,’ the sheriff he said,
‘That varlet will I know;
Some sturdy rebell is that same,
Therefore let him not go.’
- With that Little John so hastily
Away cut Stutly’s bands,
And from one of the sheriff his men,
A sword twicht from his hands.
- ‘Here, Will, here, take thou this same,
Thou canst it better sway;
And here defend thy self a while,
For aid will come straight way.’
- And there they turnd them back to back,
In the middle of them that day,
Till Robin Hood approached neer,
With many an archer gay.
- With that an arrow by them flew,
I wist from Robin Hood;
‘Make haste, make haste,’ the sheriff he said,
‘Make haste, for it is good.’
- The sheriff is gone; his doughty men
Thought it no boot to stay,
But, as their master had them taught,
They run full fast away.
- ‘O stay, O stay,’ Will Stutly said,
‘Take leave ere you depart;
You nere will catch bold Robin Hood
Vnless you dare him meet.’
- ‘O ill betide you,’ quoth Robin Hood,
‘That you so soon are gone;
My sword may in the scabbord rest,
For here our work is done.’
- ‘I little thought when I came here,
When I came to this place,
For to have met with Little John,
Or seen my masters face.’
- Thus Stutly was at liberty set,
And safe brought from his foe;
‘O thanks, O thanks to my master,
Since here it was not so.’
- ‘And once again, my fellows,
We shall in the green woods meet,
Where we will make our bow-strings twang,
Musick for us most sweet.’