Robin Hood's Delight

There's some will talk of lords and knights,
Doun, a doun, a doun,
And some of yeomen good;
But I will tell you of Will Scarlòck,
Little John, and Robin Hood.
Doun, a doun, a doun, a doun.

They were outlaws, 'tis well known,
And men of a noble blood;
And many a time was their valour shown
In the forest of merry Sheerwood.

Upon a time it chanced so,
As Robin would have it be,
They all three would a walking go,
The pastime for to see.

And as they walked the forest along,
Upon a Midsummer day,
There was they aware of three keepèrs,
Clad all in green aray.

With brave long faucheons by their sides
And forrest-bills in hand,
They call'd aloud to those bold outlàws,
And charged them to stand.

Why, who are you, cry'd bold Robìn,
That ‘speak’ so boldly here?
“We three belong to King Henry,
And are keepers of his deer.”

The devil ‘you are!’ sayes Robin Hood,
I am sure that it is not so;
We be the keepers of this forrèst,
And that you soon shall know.

Come, your coats of green lay on the ground,
And so will we all three,
And take your swords and bucklers round,
And try the victory.

We be content, the keepers said,
We be three, and you no less,
Then why should we be of you afraid,
‘As’ we never did transgress?

“Why, if you be three keepers in this forrèst,
Then we be three rangers good,
And will make you know before you do go,
You meet with bold Robin Hood.”

“We be content, thou bold outlàw,
Our valour here to try,
And will make you know, before we do go,
We will fight before we will fly.

Then, come draw your swords, you bold outlàws,
No longer stand to prate,
But let us try it out with blows,
For cowards we do hate.

Here is one of us for Will Scarlòck,
And another for Little John,
And I myself for Robin Hood,
Because he is stout and strong.”

So they fell to it hard and sore,
It was on a Midsummers day;
From eight of the clock till two and past,
They all shewed gallant play.

There Robin, and Will, and Little John,
They fought most manfully,
Till all their winde was spent and gone,
Then Robin aloud did cry:

O hold, O hold, cries bold Robìn,
I see you be stout men;
Let me blow one blast on my bugle-horn,
Then Ile fight with you again.

“That bargain's to make, bold Robin Hood,
Therefore we it deny;
Thy blast upon the bugle-horn
Cannot make us fight or fly.

Therefore fall on, or else be gone,
And yield to us the day:
It never shall be said that we are afraid
Of thee, nor thy yeomen gay.”

If that be so, cries bold Robìn,
Let me but know your names,
And in the forrest of merry Sheerwood,
I shall extol your fames.

And with our names, one of them said,
What hast thou here to do?
Except that you wilt fight it out,
Our names thou shalt not know.

We will fight no more, sayes bold Robìn,
You be men of valour stout;
Come and go with me to Nottingham,
And there we will fight it out.

With a but of sack we will bang it ‘about,’
To see who wins the day;
And for the cost make you no doubt,
I have gold ‘enough’ to pay.

And ever hereafter so long as we live,
We all will brethren be;
For I love these men with heart and hand,
That will fight and never flee.

So, away they went to Nottinghàm,
With sack to make amends;
For three days they the wine did chase,
And drank themselves good friends.
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