Little John a Begging
No: 142; variant: 142B
- ALL you that delight to spend some time
With a hey down down a down down
A merry song for to sing,
Vnto me draw neer, and you shall hear
How Little John went a begging.
- As Robin Hood walked the forrest along,
And all his yeomandree,
Sayes Robin, Some of you must a begging go,
And, Little John, it must be thee.
- Sayes John, If I must a begging go,
I will have a palmers weed,
With a staff and coat, and bags of all sort,
The better then I shall speed.
- Come, give me now a bag for my bread,
And another for my cheese,
And one for a peny, when as I get any,
That nothing I may leese.
- Now Little John he is a begging gone,
Seeking for some relief;
But of all the beggers he met on the way,
Little John he was the chief.
- But as he was walking himself alone,
Four beggers he chanced to spy,
Some deaf, and some blind, and some came behind;
Says John, Here’s brave company!
- ‘Good-morrow,’ said John, ‘My brethren dear,
Good fortune I had you to see;
Which way do you go? pray let me know,
For I want some company.
- ‘O what is here to do?’ then said Little John,
‘Why rings all these bells?’ said he;
‘What dog is a hanging? come, let us be ganging,
That we the truth may see.’
- ‘Here is no dog a hanging,’ then one of them said,
‘Good fellow, we tell unto thee;
But here is one dead wil give us cheese and bred,
And it may be one single peny.’
- ‘We have brethren in London,’ another he said,
‘So have we in Coventry,
In Barwick and Dover, and all the world over,
But nere a crookt carril like thee.
- ‘Therefore stand thee back, thou crooked carel,
And take that knock on the crown;’
‘Nay,’ said Little John, ‘I’le not yet be gone,
For a bout will I have with you round.
- ‘Now have at you all,’ then said Little John,
‘If you be so full of your blows;
Fight on, all four, and nere give ore,
Whether you be friends or foes.’
- John nipped the dumb, and made him to rore,
And the blind that could not see,
And he that a cripple had been seven years,
He made him run faster then he.
- And flinging them all against the wall,
With many a sturdie bang,
It made John sing, to hear the gold ring,
Which against the walls cryed twang.
- Then he got out of the beggers cloak
Three hundred pound in gold;
‘Good fortune had I,’ then said Little John,
‘Such a good sight to behold.’
- But what found he in a beggers bag,
But three hundred pound and three?
‘If I drink water while this doth last,
Then an ill death may I dye!
- ‘And my begging-trade I will now give ore,
My fortune hath bin so good;
Therefore I’le not stay, but I will away
To the forrest of merry Sherwood.’
- And when to the forrest of Sherwood he came,
He quickly there did see
His master good, bold Robin Hood,
And all his company.
- ‘What news? What news?’ then said Robin Hood,
‘Come, Little John, tell unto me;
How hast thou sped with thy beggers trade?
For that I fain would see.’
- ‘No news but good,’ then said Little John,
‘With begging ful wel I have sped;
Six hundred and three I have here for thee,
In silver and gold so red.’
- Then Robin took Little John by the hand,
And danced about the oak-tree:
‘If we drink water while this doth last,
Then an il death may we die!’
- So to conclude my merry new song,
All you that delight it to sing,
‘Tis of Robin Hood, that archer good,
And how Little John went a begging.