[Notes by LKG]
This story is part of the Robin Hood unit. Story source: The English and Scottish Popular Ballads by Francis James Child (1882-1898).
Robin Hood’s Progress to Nottingham
Derry derry down!
And fifteen winters old,
And Robin Hood he was a proper young man,
Of courage stout and bold.
Hey down derry derry down!
Robin Hood he would and to fair Nottingham,
With the general for to dine;
There was he ware of fifteen forresters,
And a drinking bear, ale, and wine.
‘What news? What news?’ said bold Robin Hood.
‘What news, fain wouldest thou know?
Our king hath provided a shooting-match.’
‘And I’m ready with my bow.’
‘We hold it in scorn,’ then said the forresters,
‘That ever a boy so young
Should bear a bow before our king,
That’s not able to draw one string.’
‘I’le hold you twenty marks,’ said bold Robin Hood,
‘By the leave of Our Lady,
That I’le hit a mark a hundred rod,
And I’le cause a hart to dye.’
‘We’l hold you twenty mark,’ then said the forresters,
‘By the leave of Our Lady,
Thou hitst not the marke a hundred rod,
Nor causest a hart to dye.’
Robin Hood he bent up a noble bow,
And a broad arrow he let flye,
He hit the mark a hundred rod,
And he caused a hart to dy.
Some said hee brake ribs one or two,
And some said hee brake three;
The arrow within the hart would not abide,
But it glanced in two or three.
The hart did skip, and the hart did leap,
And the hart lay on the ground;
‘The wager is mine,’ said bold Robin Hood,
‘If ’twere for a thousand pound.’
‘The wager’s none of thine,’ then said the forresters,
‘Although thou beest in haste;
Take up thy bow, and get thee hence,
Lest wee thy sides do baste.’
Robin Hood hee took up his noble bow,
And his broad arrows all amain,
And Robin Hood he laught and begun to smile,
As hee went over the plain.
Then Robin Hood hee bent his noble bow,
And his broad arrows he let flye,
Till fourteen of these fifteen forresters
Vpon the ground did lye.
He that did this quarrel first begin
Went tripping over the plain;
But Robin Hood he bent his noble bow,
And hee fetcht him back again.
‘You said I was no archer,’ said Robin Hood,
‘But say so now again.’
With that he sent another arrow
That split his head in twain.
‘You have found mee an archer,’ saith Robin Hood,
‘Which will make your wives for to wring,
And wish that you had never spoke the word,
That I could not draw one string.’
The people that lived in fair Nottingham
Came runing out amain,
Supposing to have taken bold Robin Hood,
With the forresters that were slain.
Some lost legs, and some lost arms,
And some did lose their blood,
But Robin Hood hee took up his noble bow,
And is gone to the merry green wood.
They carryed these forresters into fair Nottingham,
As many there did know;
They digd them graves in their church-yard,
And they buried them all a row.
Next: Little John