[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 Death
Down a down a down a down
Went oer yon bank of broom,
Said Robin Hood bold to Little John,
‘We have shot for many a pound.
‘But I am not able to shoot one shot more,
My broad arrows will not flee;
But I have a cousin lives down below,
Please God, she will bleed me.’
Now Robin he is to fair Kirkly gone,
As fast as he can win;
But before he came there, as we do hear,
He was taken very ill.
And when he came to fair Kirkly-hall,
He knockd all at the ring,
But none was so ready as his cousin herself
For to let bold Robin in.
‘Will you please to sit down, cousin Robin,’ she said,
‘And drink some beer with me?’
‘No, I will neither eat nor drink,
Till I am blooded by thee.’
‘Well, I have a room, cousin Robin,’ she said,
‘Which you did never see,
And if you please to walk therein,
You blooded by me shall be.’
She took him by the lily-white hand,
And led him to a private room,
And there she blooded bold Robin Hood,
While one drop of blood would run down.
She blooded him in a vein of the arm,
And locked him up in the room;
Then did he bleed all the live-long day,
Until the next day at noon.
He then bethought him of a casement there,
Thinking for to get down,
But was so weak he could not leap,
He could not get him down.
He then bethought him of his bugle-horn,
Which hung low down to his knee.
He set his horn unto his mouth,
And blew out weak blasts three.
Then Little John, when hearing him,
As he sat under a tree,
‘I fear my master is now near dead,
He blows so wearily.’
Then Little John to fair Kirkly is gone,
As fast as he can dree;
But when he came to Kirkly-hall,
He broke locks two or three,
Until he came bold Robin to see,
Then he fell on his knee.
‘A boon, a boon,’ cries Little John,
‘Master, I beg of thee.’
‘What is that boon,’ said Robin Hood,
‘Little John, [thou] begs of me?’
‘It is to burn fair Kirkly-hall,
And all their nonnery.’
‘Now nay, now nay,’ quoth Robin Hood,
‘That boon I’ll not grant thee;
I never hurt woman in all my life,
Nor men in woman’s company.
‘I never hurt fair maid in all my time,
Nor at mine end shall it be;
But give me my bent bow in my hand,
And a broad arrow I’ll let flee;
And where this arrow is taken up,
There shall my grave digged be.
‘Lay me a green sod under my head,
And another at my feet;
And lay my bent bow by my side,
Which was my music sweet;
And make my grave of gravel and green,
Which is most right and meet.
‘Let me have length and breadth enough,
With a green sod under my head;
That they may say, when I am dead
Here lies bold Robin Hood.’
These words they readily granted him,
Which did bold Robin please:
And there they buried bold Robin Hood,
Within the fair Kirkleys.