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Little John a Begging

No: 142; variant: 142A

  1. . . . . . . . . . . beggar,’ he sayes, ‘With none such fellows as thee.’
  2. ‘I am not in iest,’ said Litle Iohn, ‘I sweare all by the roode; Change with mee,’ said Little Iohn, ‘And I will giue thee some boote.’
  3. But he has gotten on this old mans gowne, It reacht not to his wrist; ‘Christ’s curse on’s hart,’ said Litle Iohn, ‘That thinkes my gowne amisse.’
  4. But he has gotten on this old mans shoes, Are clouted nine fold about; ‘Beshrew his hart,’ said Litle Iohn, ‘That bryer or thorne does doubt.
  5. ‘Wilt teach me some phrase of thy begging?’ says Iohn; ‘I pray thee, tell it mee, How I may be as beggar-like As any in my companie.’
  6. ‘Thou must goe two foote on a staffe, The third upon a tree; Full loud that thou must cry and fare, When nothing ayleth thee.’
  7. But Iohn he walket the hills soe high, Soe did [he] the hills soe browne; The ready way that he could take Was towards Nottingham towne.
  8. But as he was on the hills soe high, He mett with palmers three; Sayes, God you saue, my brethren all, Now God you saue and see!
  9. This seuen yeere I haue you sought; Before I cold neuer you see! Said they, Wee had leuer such a cankred carle Were neuer in our companie.
  10. But one of them tooke Litle Iohn on his head, The blood ran over his eye; Little Iohn turned him twise about . . . .
  11. ‘If I . . . . As I haue beene but one day, I shold haue purcchased three of the best churches That stands by any highway.’