Robin Hood and the Prince of Aragon

Now Robin Hood, Will Scadlock, and Little John,
Are walking over the plain,
With a good fat buck, which Will Scadlòck
With his strong bow had slain.

Then bold Robin Hood to the north he would go,
With valour and mickle might,
With sword by his side, which oft had been tri'd,
To fight and recover his right.

The first that he met was a bonny bold Scot,
His servant he said he would be.
No, quoth Robin Hood, it cannot be good,
For thou wilt prove false unto me;

Thou hast not been true to sire nor cuz.
Nay, marry, the Scot he said,
As true as your heart, Ile never part,
Gude master, be not afraid.

Jog on, jog on, cries Robin Hood,
The day it runs full fast;
For tho' my nephew me a breakfast gave,
I have not yet broke my fast.

Then to yonder lodge let us take our way,
I think it wondrous good,
Where my nephew by my bold yeomèn
Shall be welcom'd unto the green-wood.

With that he took ‘his’ bugle-horn,
Full well he could it blow;
Streight from the woods came marching down
One hundred tall fellows and mo.

Stand, stand to your arms, says Will Scadlòck,
Lo! the enemies are within ken.
With that Robin Hood he laugh'd aloud,
Crying, They are my bold yeomèn.

Who, when they arriv'd, and Robin espy'd,
Cry'd, Master, what is your will?
We thought you had in danger been,
Your horn did sound so shrill.

Nay nay, now nay, quoth Robin Hood,
The danger is past and gone;
I would have you welcome my nephew here,
That has paid me two for one.

In feasting and sporting they passed the day,
Till Phœbus sunk into the deep;
Then each one to his quarters hy'd,
His guard there for to keep.

Long had they not walked within the green-wood,
But Robin he soon espy'd,
A beautiful damsel all alone,
That on a black palfrey did ride.

Her riding-suit was of a sable hew black,
Cypress over her face,
Through which her rose-like cheeks did blush,
All with a comely grace.

Come tell me the cause, thou pretty one;
Quoth Robin, and tell me aright,
From whence thou comest, and whither thou goest,
All in this mournful plight?

From London I came, the damsel reply'd,
From London upon the Thames,
Which circled is, O grief to tell!
Besieg'd with foreign arms,

By the proud prince of Arragon,
Who swears by his martial hand
To have the princess to his spouse,
Or else to waste this land;

Except such champions can be found,
That dare fight three to three,
Against the prince, and giants twain,
Most horrid for to see;

Whose grisly looks, and eyes like brands,
Strike terrour where they come,
With serpents hissing on their helms,
Instead of feathered plume.

The princess shall be the victor's prize,
The king hath vow'd and said,
And he that shall the conquest win,
Shall have her to his bride.

Now we are four damsels sent abroad,
To the east, west, north, and south,
To try whose fortune is so good
To find these champions ‘out.’

But all in vain we have sought about,
For none so bold there are
That dare adventure life and blood,
To free a lady fair.

When is the day? quoth Robin Hood,
Tell me this and no more.
On Midsummer next, the dam'sel said,
Which is June the twenty-four.

With that the tears trickled down her cheeks,
And silent was her tongue;
With sighs and sobs she took her leave,
Away her palfrey sprung.

The news struck Robin to the heart,
He fell down on the grass,
His actions and his troubled mind
Shew'd he perplexed was.

Where lies your grief? quoth Will ‘Scadlòck,’
O, master, tell to me:
If the damsels eyes have pierc'd your heart,
I'll fetch her back to thee.

Now nay, now nay, quoth Robin Hood,
She doth not cause my smart;
But 'tis the poor distressed princèss,
That wounds me to the heart;

I'll go fight the [prince and] giants all,
To set the lady free,
The devil take my soul, quoth Little John,
If I part with thy company.

Must I stay behind? quoth Will Scadlòck,
No, no, that must not be;
I'le make the third man in the fight,
So we shall be three to three.

These words cheer'd Robin to the heart,
Joy shone within his face,
Within his arms he hugg'd them both,
And kindly did imbrace.

Quoth he, We'll put on mothley grey,
And long staves in our hands,
A scrip and bottle by our sides,
As come from the holy land.

So may we pass along the high-way,
None will ask us from whence we came,
But take us pilgrims for to be,
Or else some holy men.

Now they are on their journey gone,
As fast as they may speed,
Yet for all their haste, ere they arriv'd,
The princess forth was led,

To be deliver'd to the prince,
Who in the list did stand,
Prepar'd to fight, or else receive
His lady by the hand.

With that he walk'd about the lists,
With giants by his side:
Bring forth, said he, your champions,
Bring me forth my bride.

This is the four and twentieth day,
The day prefixt upon:
Bring forth my bride, or London burns,
I swear by ‘Alcaron.’

Then cries the king, and queen likewise,
Both weeping as they ‘spake,’
Lo! we have brought our daughter dear,
Whom we are forc'd to forsake.

With that stept out bold Robin Hood,
Crys, My liege, it must not be so:
Such beauty as the fair princèss
Is not for a tyrants mow.

The prince he then began to storm,
Cries, Fool, fanatick, baboon!
How dare thou stop my valours prize?
I'll kill thee with a frown.

Thou tyrant Turk, thou infidel,
Thus Robin began to reply,
Thy frowns I scorn; lo! here's my gage,
And thus I thee defie.

And for those two Goliahs there,
That stand on either side.
Here are two little Davids by,
That soon can tame their pride.

Then the king did for armour send,
For lances, swords, and shields;
And thus all three in armour bright,
Came marching to the field.

The trumpets began to sound a charge,
Each singled out his man;
Their arms in pieces soon were hew'd,
Blood sprang from every vain.

The prince he reacht Robin Hood a blow,
He struck with might and main,
Which forc'd him to reel about the field,
As though he had been slain.

God-a-mercy, quoth Robin, for that blow!
The quarrel shall soon be try'd;
This stroke shall shew a full divorce
Betwixt thee and thy bride.

So from his shoulders he's cut his head,
Which on the ground did fall,
And grumbling sore at Robin Hood,
To be so dealt withal.

The giants then began to rage
To see their prince lie dead:
Thou's be the next, quoth Little John,
Unless thou well guard thy head.

With that his faulchion he wherl'd about,
It was both keen and sharp;
He clave the giant to the belt,
And cut in twain his heart.

Will Scadlock well had play'd his part,
The giant he had brought to his knee;
Quoth Will, The devil cannot break his fast,
Unless he have you all three.

So with his faulchion he run him through,
A deep and ‘ghastly’ wound;
Who dam'd and foam'd, curst and blasphem'd,
And then fell to the ground.

Now all the lists with shouts were fill'd,
The skies they did resound,
Which brought the princess to herself,
Who had fal'n in a swound.

The king and queen, and princess fair,
Came walking to the place,
And gave the champions many thanks,
And did them further grace.

Tell me, quoth the king, whence you are,
That thus disguised came,
Whose valour speaks that noble blood
Doth run through every vain.

A boon, a boon, quoth Robin Hood,
On my knees I beg and crave.
By my crown, quoth the king, I grant,
Ask what, and thou shalt have.

Then pardon I beg for my merry men,
Which are in the green-wood,
For Little John and Will Scadlock,
And for me, bold Robin Hood.

Art thou Robin Hood? quoth the king;
For the valour thou hast shewn,
Your pardons I do freely grant,
And welcome every one,

The princess I promise the victor's prize,
She cannot have you all three.
She shall chuse, quoth Robin. Said Little John,
Then little share falls to me.

Then did the princess view all three,
With a comely lovely grace,
And took Will Scadlock by the hand,
Saying, Here I make my choice.

With that a noble lord stept forth,
Of Maxfield earl was he,
Who look'd Will Scadlock in the face,
And wept most bitterly.

Quoth he, I had a son like thee,
Whom I lov'd wondrous well,
But he is gone, or rather dead,
His name it is young Gamwell.

Then did Will Scadlock fall on his knees,
Cries, Father! father! here,
Here kneels your son, your young Gamwèll,
You said you lov'd so dear.

But, lord! what imbracing and kissing was there,
When all these friends were met!
They are gone to the wedding, and so to [the] bedding:
And so I bid you good night.
Rate this poem: 


No reviews yet.