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123A: Robin Hood and the Curtal Friar

123A.1	 BUT how many merry monthes be in the yeere?
	 There are thirteen, I say;
	 The midsummer moone is the merryest of all,
	 Next to the merry month of May.
123A.2	 In May, when mayds beene fast weepand,
	 Young men their hands done wringe,
	 * * * * *
123A.3	 ‘I’le  . pe  . . .
	 Over may noe man for villanie:’
	 ‘I’le never eate nor drinke,’ Robin Hood sa[id],
	 ‘Till I that cutted friar see.’
123A.4	 He builded his men in a brake of fearne,
	 A litle from that nunery;
	 Sayes, If you heare my litle horne blow,
	 Then looke you come to me.
123A.5	 When Robin came to Fontaines Abey,
	 Wheras that fryer lay,
	 He was ware of the fryer where he stood,
	 And to him thus can he say.
123A.6	 A payre of blacke breeches the yeoman had on,
	 His coppe all shone of steele,
	 A fayre sword and  a broad buckeler
	 Beseemed him very weell.
123A.7	 ‘I am a wet weary man,’ said Robin Hood,
	 ‘Good fellow, as thou may see;
	 Wilt beare [me] over this wild water,
	 Ffor sweete Saint Charity?’
123A.8	 The fryer bethought him of a good deed;
	 He had done none of long before;
	 He hent up Robin Hood on his backe,
	 And over he did him beare.
123A.9	 But when he came over that wild water,
	 A longe sword there he drew:
	 ‘Beare me backe againe, bold outlawe,
	 Or of this thou shalt have enoughe.’
123A.10	 Then Robin Hood hent the fryar on his back,
	 And neither sayd good nor ill;
	 Till he came ore that wild water,
	 The yeoman he walked still.
123A.11	 Then Robin Hood wett his fayre greene hoze,
	 A span aboue his knee;
	 S[ay]s, Beare me ore againe, thou cutted f[ryer]
	 * * * * *
123A.12	 . . . .
	 . . . .
	 . . .  good bowmen
	 [C]ame raking all on a rowe.
123A.13	 ‘I beshrew thy head,’ said the cutted friar,
	 ‘Thou thinkes I shall be shente;
	 I thought thou had but a man or two,
	 And thou hast [a] whole conuent.
123A.14	 ‘I lett thee haue a blast on thy horne,
	 Now giue me leaue to whistle another;
	 I cold not bidd thee noe better play
	 And thou wert my owne borne brother.’
123A.15	 ‘Now fute on, fute on, thou cutted fryar,
	 I pray God thou neere be still;
	 It is not the futing in a fryers fist
That	can doe me any ill.’
123A.16	 The fryar sett his neave to his mouth,
	 A loud blast he did blow;
	 Then halfe a hundred good bandoggs
	 Came raking all on a rowe.
123A.17	 . . . .
	 . . . .
	 ‘Euery dogg to a man,’ said the cutted fryar,
	 ‘And I my selfe to Robin Hood.’
123A.18	 ‘Over God’s forbott,’ said Robin Hood,
	 ‘That euer that soe shold bee;
	 I had rather be mached with three of the tikes
	 Ere I wold be matched on thee.
123A.19	 ‘But stay thy tikes, thou fryar,’ he said,
	 ‘And freindshipp I’le haue with thee;
	 But stay thy tikes, thou fryar,’ he said,
	 ‘And saue good yeomanry.’
123A.20	 The fryar he sett his neave to his mouth,
	 A lowd blast he did blow;
	 The doggs the coucht downe eiery one,
	 They couched downe on a rowe.
123A.21	 ‘What is thy will, thou yeoman?’ he said,
	 ‘Haue done and tell it me;’
	 ‘If that thou will goe to merry greenwood,
	 * * * * *

123B: Robin Hood and the Curtal Friar

123B.1	 IN summer time, when leaves grow green,
 And flowers are fresh and gay,
	 Robin Hood and his merry men
	 Were disposed to play.
123B.2	 Then some would leap, and some would run,
	 And some would use artillery:
	 ‘Which of you can a good bow draw,
	 A good archer to be?
123B.3	 ‘Which of you can kill a buck?
	 Or who can kill a do?
	 Or who can kill a hart of greece,
	 Five hundred foot him fro?’
123B.4	 Will Scadlock he killd a buck,
	 And midge he killd a do,
	 And Little John killd a hart of greece,
	 Five hundred foot him fro.
123B.5	 ‘God’s blessing on thy heart,’ said Robin Hood,
	 ‘That hath [shot] such a shot for me;
	 I would ride my horse an hundred miles,
	 To finde one could match with thee.’
123B.6	 That causd Will Scadlock to laugh,
	 He laughed full heartily:
	 ‘There lives a curtal frier in Fountains Abby
	 Will beat both him and thee.
123B.7	 ‘That curtal frier in Fountains Abby
	 Well can a strong bow draw;
	 He will beat you and your yeomen,
	 Set them all on a row.’
123B.8	 Robin Hood took a solemn oath,
	 It was by Mary free,
	 That he would neither eat nor drink
	 Till the frier he did see.
123B.9	 Robin Hood put on his harness good,
	 And on his head a cap of steel,
	 Broad sword and buckler by his side,
	 And they became him weel.
123B.10	 He took his bow into his hand,
	 It was made of a trusty tree,
	 With a sheaf of arrows at his belt,
	 To the Fountains Dale went he.
123B.11	 And comming unto Fountain[s] Dale,
	 No further would he ride;
	 There was he aware of a curtal frier,
	 Walking by the water-side.
123B.12	 The fryer had on a harniss good,
	 And on his head a cap of steel,
	 Broad sword and buckler by his side,
	 And they became him weel.
123B.13	 Robin Hood lighted off his horse,
	 And tied him to a thorn:
	 ‘Carry me over the water, thou curtal frier,
	 Or else thy life’s forlorn.’
123B.14	 The frier took Robin Hood on his back,
	 Deep water he did bestride,
	 And spake neither good word nor bad,
	 Till he came at the other side.
123B.15	 Lightly leapt Robin Hood off the friers back;
	 The frier said to him again,
	 Carry me over this water, fine fellow,
	 Or it shall breed thy pain.
123B.16	 Robin Hood took the frier on’s back,
	 Deep water he did bestride,
	 And spake neither good word nor bad,
	 Till he came at the other side.
123B.17	 Lightly leapt the fryer off Robin Hoods back;
	 Robin Hood said to him again,
	 Carry me over this water, thou curtal frier,
	 Or it shall breed thy pain.
123B.18	 The frier took Robin Hood on’s back again,
	 And stept up to the knee;
	 Till he came at the middle stream,
	 Neither good nor bad spake he.
123B.19	 And coming to the middle stream,
	 There he threw Robin in:
	 ‘And chuse thee, chuse thee, fine fellow,
	 Whether thou wilt sink or swim.’
123B.20	 Robin Hood swam to a bush of broom,
	 The frier to a wicker wand;
	 Bold Robin Hood is gone to shore,
	 And took his bow in hand.
123B.21	 One of his best arrows under his belt
	 To the frier he let flye;
	 The curtal frier, with his steel buckler,
	 He put that arrow by.
123B.22	 ‘Shoot on, shoot on, thou fine fellow,
	 Shoot on as thou hast begun;
	 If thou shoot here a summers day,
	 Thy mark I will not shun.’
123B.23	 Robin Hood shot passing well,
	 Till his arrows all were gone;
	 They took their swords and steel bucklers,
	 And fought with might and maine;
123B.24	 From ten oth’ clock that day,
	 Till four ith’ afternoon;
	 Then Robin Hood came to his knees,
	 Of the frier to beg a boon.
123B.25	 ‘A boon, a boon, thou curtal frier,
	 I beg it on my knee;
	 Give me leave to set my horn to my mouth,
	 And to blow blasts three.’
123B.26	 ‘That will I do,’ said the curtal frier,
	 ‘Of thy blasts I have no doubt;
	 I hope thou’lt blow so passing well
	 Till both thy eyes fall out.’
123B.27	 Robin Hood set his horn to his mouth,
	 He blew but blasts three;
	 Half a hundred yeomen, with bows bent,
	 Came raking over the lee.
123B.28	 ‘Whose men are these,’ said the frier,
	 ‘That come so hastily?’
	 ‘These men are mine,’ said Robin Hood;
	 ‘Frier, what is that to thee?’
123B.29	 ‘A boon, a boon,’ said the curtal frier,
	 ‘The like I gave to thee;
	 Give me leave to set my fist to my mouth,
	 And to whute whutes three.’
123B.30	 ‘That will I do,’ said Robin Hood,
	 ‘Or else I were to blame;
	 Three whutes in a friers fist
	 Would make me glad and fain.’
123B.31	 The frier he set his fist to his mouth,
	 And whuted whutes three;
	 Half a hundred good ban-dogs
	 Came running the frier unto.
123B.32	 ‘Here’s for every man of thine a dog,
	 And I my self for thee:’
	 ‘Nay, by my faith,’ quoth Robin Hood,
	 ‘Frier, that may not be.’
123B.33	 Two dogs at once to Robin Hood did go,
	 The one behind, the other before;
	 Robin Hoods mantle of Lincoln green
	 Off from his back they tore.
123B.34	 And whether his men shot east or west,
	 Or they shot north or south,
	 The curtal dogs, so taught they were,
	 They kept their arrows in their mouth.
123B.35	 ‘Take up thy dogs,’ said Little John,
	 ‘Frier, at my bidding be;’
	 ‘Whose man art thou,’ said the curtal frier,
	 ‘Comes here to prate with me?’
123B.36	 ‘I am Little John, Robin Hoods man,
	 Frier, I will not lie;
	 If thou take not up thy dogs soon,
	 I’le take up them and thee.’
123B.37	 Little John had a bow in his hand,
	 He shot with might and main;
	 Soon half a score of the friers dogs
	 Lay dead upon the plain.
123B.38	 ‘Hold thy hand, good fellow,’ said the curtal frier,
	 ‘Thy master and I will agree;
	 And we will have new orders taken,
	 With all the haste that may be.’
123B.39	 ‘If thou wilt forsake fair Fountains Dale,
	 And Fountains Abby free,
	 Every Sunday throughout the year,
	 A noble shall be thy fee.
123B.40	 ‘And every holy day throughout the year,
	 Changed shall thy garment be,
	 If thou wilt go to fair Nottingham,
	 And there remain with me.’
123B.41	 This curtal frier had kept Fountains Dale
	 Seven long years or more;
	 There was neither knight, lord, nor earl
	 Could make him yield before.

Next: 124. The Jolly Pindar of Wakefield