Robin Hood and the Valiant Knight
No: 153; variant: 153A
- WHEN Robin Hood, and his merry men all,
Had reigned many years,
The king was then told they had been too bold
To his bishops and noble peers.
- Therefore they called a council of state,
To know what was best to be done
For to quell their pride, or else, they reply’d,
The land would be over-run.
- Having consulted a whole summers day,
At length it was agreed
That one should be sent to try the event,
And fetch him away with speed.
- Therefore a trusty and worthy knight
The king was pleasd to call,
Sir William by name; when to him he came,
He told him his pleasure all.
- ‘Go you from hence to bold Robin Hood,
And bid him, without more a-do,
Surrender himself, or else the proud elf
Shall suffer with all his crew.
- ‘Take here a hundred bowmen brave,
All chosen men of might,
Of excellent art for to take thy part,
In glittering armour bright.’
- Then said the knight, My sovereign liege,
By me they shall be led;
I’ll venture my blood against bold Robin Hood,
And bring him alive or dead.
- One hundred men were chosen straight,
As proper as eer men saw;
On Midsummer-day the marched away,
To conquer that brave outlaw.
- With long yew bows and shining spears,
They marchd in mickle pride,
And never delayd, or halted, or stayd,
Till they came to the greenwood-side.
- Said he to his archers, Tarry here;
Your bows make ready all,
That, if need should be, you may follow me;
And see you observe my call.
- ‘I’ll go in person first,’ he cry’d,
‘With the letters of my good king,
Both signd and seald, and if he will yield,
We need not draw one string.’
- He wanderd about till at length he came
To the tent of Robin Hood;
The letter he shews; bold Robin arose,
And there on his guard he stood.
- ‘They’d have me surrender,’ quoth bold Robin Hood,
‘And lie at their mercy then;
But tell them from me, that never shall be,
While I have full seven-score men.’
- Sir William the knight, both hardy and bold,
Did offer to seize him there,
Which William Locksly by fortune did see,
And bid him that trick forbear.
- Then Robin Hood set his horn to his mouth,
And blew a blast or twain,
And so did the knight, at which there in sight
The archers came all amain.
- Sir William with care he drew up his men,
And plac’d them in battle array;
Bold Robin, we find, he was not behind;
Now this was a bloody fray.
- The archers on both sides bent their bows,
And the clouds of arrows flew;
The very first flight, that honoured knight
Did there bid the world adieu.
- Yet nevertheless their fight did last
From morning till almost noon;
Both parties were stout, and loath to give out;
This was on the last [day] of June.
- At length they went off; one part they went
To London with right good will;
And Robin Hood he to the green-wood tree,
And there he was taken ill.
- He sent for a monk, who let him blood,
And took his life away;
Now this being done, his archers they run,
It was not a time to stay.
- Some got on board and crossd the seas,
To Flanders, France, and Spain,
And others to Rome, for fear of their doom,
But soon returnd again.
- Thus he that never feard bow nor spear
Was murderd by letting of blood;
And so, loving friends, the story doth end
Of valiant bold Robin Hood.
- There’s nothing remains but his epitaph now,
Which, reader, here you have;
To this very day, and read it you may,
As it was upon his grave.
- Robin, Earl of Huntington,
Lies under this little stone.
No archer was like him so good;
His wildness nam’d him Robin Hood.
Full thirteen years, and something more,
These northern parts he vexed sore.
Such outlaws as he and his men
May England never know again!