[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 Rescuing Three Squires
BOLD Robin Hood ranging the forest all round,
The forest all round ranged he;
O there did he meet with a gay lady,
She came weeping along the highway.
‘Why weep you, why weep you?’ bold Robin he said,
‘What, weep you for gold or fee?
Or do you weep for your maidenhead,
That is taken from your body?’
‘I weep not for gold,’ the lady replyed,
‘Neither do I weep for fee,
Nor do I weep for my maidenhead,
That is taken from my body.’
‘What weep you for then?’ said jolly Robin,
‘I prithee come tell unto me.’
‘Oh! I do weep for my three sons,
For they are all condemned to die.’
‘What church have they robbed?’ said jolly Robin,
‘Or parish-priest have they slain?
What maids have they forced against their will?
Or with other men’s wives have lain?’
‘No church have they robbd,’ this lady replied,
‘Nor parish-priest have they slain;
No maids have they forc’d against their will,
Nor with other men’s wives have lain.’
‘What have they done then?’ said jolly Robin,
‘Come tell me most speedily.’
‘Oh! It is for killing the king’s fallow deer,
And they are all condemned to die.’
‘Get you home, get you home,’ said jolly Robin,
‘Get you home most speedily,
And I will unto fair Nottingham go,
For the sake of the squires all three.’
Then bold Robin Hood for Nottingham goes,
For Nottingham town goes he,
O there did he meet with a poor beggar-man,
He came creeping along the highway.
‘What news, what news, thou old beggar-man?
What news, come tell unto me.’
‘O there is weeping and wailing in fair Nottingham,
For the death of the squires all three.’
This beggar-man had a coat on his back,
’Twas neither green, yellow, nor red;
Bold Robin Hood thought ’twas no disgrace
To be in a beggar-man’s stead.
‘Come, pull off thy coat, you old beggar-man,
And you shall put on mine,
And forty good shillings I’ll give thee to boot,
Besides brandy, good beer, ale and wine.’
Bold Robin Hood then unto Nottingham came,
Unto Nottingham town came he;
O there did he meet with great master sheriff,
And likewise the squires all three.
‘One boon, one boon,’ says jolly Robin,
‘One boon I beg on my knee:
That, as for the deaths of these three squires,
Their hangman I may be.’
‘Soon granted, soon granted,’ says great master sheriff,
‘Soon granted unto thee,
And you shall have all their gay cloathing,
Aye, and all their white money.’
‘O I will have none of their gay cloathing,
Nor none of their white money,
But I’ll have three blasts on my bugle-horn,
That their souls to heaven may flee.’
Then Robin Hood mounted the gallows so high,
Where he blew loud and shrill,
Till an hundred and ten of Robin Hood’s men
They came marching all down the green hill.
‘Whose men are they all these?’ says great master sheriff,
‘Whose men are they? Tell unto me.’
‘O they are mine, but none of thine,
And they’re come for the squires all three.’
‘O take them, O take them,’ says great master sheriff,
‘O take them along with thee;
For there’s never a man in all Nottingham
Can do the like of thee.’
Next: The Bishop of Hereford