Robin Hood and the Bishop
No: 143; variant: 143A
- COME, gentlemen all, and listen a while,
Hey down down an a down
And a story I’le to you unfold;
I’le tell you how Robin Hood served the Bishop,
When he robbed him of his gold.
- As it fell out on a sun-shining day,
When Phebus was in his prime,
Then Robin Hood, that archer good,
In mirth would spend some time.
- And as he walked the forrest along,
Some pastime for to spy,
There was he aware of a proud bishop,
And all his company.
- ‘O what shall I do?’ said Robin Hood then,
‘If the Bishop he doth take me,
No mercy he’l show unto me, I know,
But hanged I shall be.’
- Then Robin was stout, and turnd him about,
And a little house there he did spy;
And to an old wife, for to save his life,
He loud began for to cry.
- ‘Why, who art thou?’ said the old woman,
‘Come tell it to me for good:’
‘I am an out-law, as many do know,
My name it is Robin Hood.
- ‘And yonder’s the Bishop and all his men,
And if that I taken be,
Then day and night he’l work me spight,
And hanged I shall be.’
- ‘If thou be Robin Hood,’ said the old wife,
‘As thou dost seem to be,
I’le for thee provide, and thee I will hide
From the Bishop and his company.
- ‘For I well remember, one Saturday night
Thou bought me both shoos and hose;
Therefore I’le provide thy person to hide,
And keep thee from thy foes.’
- ‘Then give me soon thy coat of gray,
And take thou my mantle of green;
Thy spindle and twine to me resign,
And take thou my arrows so keen.’
- And when that Robin Hood was so araid,
He went straight to his company;
With his spindle and twine, he oft lookt behind
For the Bishop and his company.
- ‘O who is yonder,’ quoth Little John,
‘That now comes over the lee?
An arrow I will at her let flie,
So like an old witch looks she.’
- ‘O hold thy hand, hold thy hand,’ said Robin then,
‘And shoot not thy arrows so keen;
I am Robin Hood, thy master good,
And quickly it shall be seen,’
- The Bishop he came to the old womans house,
And he called with furious mood,
‘Come let me soon see, and bring unto me,
That traitor Robin Hood.’
- The old woman he set on a milk-white steed,
Himselfe on a dapple-gray,
And for joy he had got Robin Hood,
He went laughing all the way.
- But as they were riding the forrest along,
The Bishop he chanc’d for to see
A hundred brave bow-men bold
Stand under the green-wood tree.
- ‘O who is yonder,’ the Bishop then said,
‘That’s ranging within yonder wood?’
‘Marry,’ says the old woman, ‘I think it to be
A man calld Robin Hood.’
- ‘Why, who art thou,’ the Bishop he said,
‘Which I have here with me?’
‘Why, I am an old woman, thou cuckoldly bishop;
Lift up my leg and see.’
- ‘Then woe is me,’ the Bishop he said,
‘That ever I saw this day!’
He turnd hum about, but Robin so stout
Calld him, and bid him stay.
- Then Robin took hold of the Bishops horse,
And ty’d him fast to a tree;
Then Little John smil’d his master upon,
For joy of that company.
- Robin Hood took his mantle from ‘s back,
And spread it upon the ground,
And out of the Bishops portmantle he
Soon told five hundred pound.
- ‘So now let him go,’ said Robin Hood;
Said Little John, That may not be;
For I vow and protest he shall sing us a mass
Before that he goe from me.
- Then Robin Hood took the Bishop by the hand,
And bound him fast to a tree,
And made him sing a mass, God wot,
To him and his yeomandree.
- And then they brought him through the wood,
And set him on his dapple-gray,
And gave the tail within his hand,
And bade him for Robin Hood pray.