Robin Hood’s Golden Prize
No: 147; variant: 147A
- I HAVE heard talk of bold Robin Hood,
Derry derry down
And of brave Little John,
Of Fryer Tuck, and Will Scarlet,
Loxley, and Maid Marion.
Hey down derry derry down
- But such a tale as this before
I think there was never none;
For Robin Hood disguised himself,
And to the wood is gone.
- Like to a fryer, bold Robin Hood
Was accoutered in his array;
With hood, gown, beads and cricifix,
He past upon the way.
- He had not gone [past] miles two or three,
But it was his chance to spy
Two lusty priests, clad all in black,
Come riding gallantly.
- ‘Benedicete,’ then said Robin Hood,
‘Some pitty on me take;
Cross you my hand with a silver groat,
For Our dear Ladies sake.
- ‘For I have been wandring all this day,
And nothing could I get;
Not so much as one poor cup of drink,
Nor bit of bread to eat.’
- ‘Now, by my holydame,’ the priests repli’d,
‘We never a peny have;
For we this morning have been robd,
And could no mony save.’
- ‘I am much afraid,’ said bold Robin Hood,
‘That you both do tell a lye;
And now before that you go hence,
I am resolvd to try.’
- When as the priests heard him say so,
Then they rode away amain;
But Robin Hood betook him to his heels,
And soon overtook them again.
- Then Robin Hood laid hold of them both,
And pulld them down from their horse:
‘O spare us, fryer!’ the priests cry’d out,
‘On us have remorse!’
- ‘You said you had no mony,’ quoth he,
‘Wherefore, without delay,
We three will fall down on our knees,
And for mony we will pray.’
- The priests they could not him gainsay,
But down they kneeled with speed;
‘Send us, O send us,’ then quoth they,
‘Some mony to serve our need.’
- The priests did pray with mournful chear,
Sometimes their hands did wring,
Sometimes they wept and cried aloud,
Whilst Robin did merrily sing.
- When they had been praying an hours space,
The priests did still lament;
Then quoth bold Robin, Now let’s see
What mony heaven hath us sent.
- We will be sharers now all alike
Of the mony that we have;
And there is never a one of us
That his fellows shall deceive.
- The priests their hands in their pockets put,
But mony would find none:
‘We’l search our selves,’ said Robin Hood,
‘Each other, one by one.’
- Then Robin took pains to search them both,
And he found good store of gold;
Five hundred peeces presently
Vpon the grass was told.
- ‘Here is a brave show,’ said Robin Hood,
‘Such store of gold to see,
And you shall each one have a part,
Cause you prayed so heartily.’
- He gave them fifty pound a-peece,
And the rest for himself did keep;
The priests durst not speak one word,
Bur they sighed wondrous deep.
- With that the priests rose up from their knees,
Thinking to have parted so;
‘Nay, stay,’ said Robin Hood, ‘one thing more
I have to say ere you go.
- ‘You shall be sworn,’ said bold Robin Hood,
‘Vpon this holy grass,
That you will never tell lies again,
Which way soever you pass.
- ‘The second oath that you here must take,
All the days of your lives
You never shall tempt maids to sin,
Nor lye with other mens wives.
- ‘The last oath you shall take, it is this,
Be charitable to the poor;
Say you have met with a holy fryer,
And I desire no more.’
- He set them upon their horses again,
And away then they did ride;
And hee returnd to the merry green-wood,
With great joy, mirth and pride.