Legends & Sagas
134A: Robin Hood and the Beggar, II
134A.1 LYTH and listen, gentlemen,
Thats come of high born blood;
Ill tell you of a brave booting
That befel Robin Hood.
134A.2 Robin Hood upon a day,
He went forth him alone,
And as he came from Barnesdale
Into a fair evening,
134A.3 He met a beggar on the way,
That sturdily could gang;
He had a pike-staff in his hand,
That was baith stark and strang.
134A.4 A clouted cloak about him was,
That held him from the cold;
The thinnest bit of it, I guess,
Was more than twenty fold.
134A.5 His meal-pock hang about his neck,
Into a leathern fang,
Well fasteneg with a broad buckle,
That was both stark and strang.
134A.6 He had three hats upon his head,
Together sticked fast;
He cared neither for wind nor weet,
In lands wherever he past.
134A.7 Good Robin coost him in his way,
To see what he might be;
If any beggar had money,
He thought some part had he.
134A.8 Tarry, tarry, good Robin says,
Tarry, and speak with me;
He heard him as he heard [him] not,
And fast his way can hie.
134A.9 It bes not so, says good Robin,
Nay, thou must tarry still;
By my troth, says the bold beggar,
Of that I have no will.
134A.10 RRrrit is far to my lodging-house,
And it is growing late;
If they have supt ere I come in,
I will look wondrous blate.
134A.11 Now, by my troth, says good Robin,
I see well by thy fare,
If thou chear well to thy supper,
Of mine thou takes no care;
134A.12 Who wants my dinner all the day,
And wots not where to lie,
And should I to the tavern go,
I want money to buy.
134A.13 Sir, thou must lend me some money,
Till we two meet again:
The beggar answerd cankerdly,
I have no money to lend.
134A.14 Thou art as young a man as I,
And seems to be as sweer;
If thou fast till thou get from me,
Thou shalt eat none this year.
134A.15 Now, by my troth, says good Robin,
Since we are sembled so,
If thou have but a small farthing,
Ill have it ere thou go.
134A.16 Therefore, lay down thy clouted cloak,
And do no longer stand,
And loose the strings of all thy pocks:
Ill ripe them with my hand.
134A.17 And now to thee I make a vow,
If thou make any din,
I shall see if a broad arrow
Can pierce a beggars skin.
134A.18 The beggar smild, and answer made:
Far better let me be;
Think not that I will be afraid
For thy nip crooked tree.
134A.19 Or that I fear thee any whit
For thy curn nips of sticks;
I know no use for them so meet
As to be pudding-pricks.
134A.20 Here I defy thee to do me ill,
For all thy boistrous fare;
Thous get nothing from me but ill,
Would thou seek it evermair.
134A.21 Good Robin bent his noble bow-+--+-
He was an angry man-+--+-
And in it set a broad arrow;
Yet er twas drawn a span,
134A.22 The beggar, with his noble tree,
Reacht him so round a rout
That his bow and his broad arrow
In flinders flew about.
134A.23 Good Robin bound him to his brand,
But that provd likewise vain;
The beggar lighted on his hand
With his pike-staff again.
134A.24 I wot he might not draw a sword
For forty days and more;
Good Robin could not speak a word,
His heart was never so sore.
134A.25 He could not fight, he could not flee,
He wist not what to do;
The beggar, with his noble tree,
Laid lusty flaps him to.
134A.26 He paid good Robin back and side,
And beft him up and down,
And with his pike-staff still on laid
Till he fell in a swoon.
134A.27 Fy! stand up, man, the beggar said,
Tis shame to go to rest;
Stay still till thou get thy mony [told],
I think it were the best.
134A.28 And syne go to the tavern-house,
And buy both wine and ale;
Hereat thy friends will crack full crouse,
Thou has been at a dale.
134A.29 Good Robin answerd never a word,
But lay still as a stane;
His cheeks were white as any clay,
And closed were his eyne.
134A.30 The beggar thought him dead but fail,
And boldly bownd away;
I would you had been at the dale,
And gotten part of the play.
134A.31 Now three of Robins men, by chance,
Came walking on the way,
And found their master in a trance,
On ground where he did lie.
134A.32 Up have they taken good Robin,
Making a piteous bier,
Yet saw they no man there at whom
They might the matter spear.
134A.33 They looked him all round about,
But wounds on him saw none,
Yet at his mouth came bocking out
The blood of a good vein.
134A.34 Cold water they have taken syne,
And cast into his face;
Then he began to lift his eyne,
And spake within short space.
134A.35 Tell us, dear master, says his men,
How with you stands the case?
Good Robin sighd ere he began
To tell of his disgrace.
134A.36 I have been watchman in this wood
Near hand this forty year,
Yet I was never so hard bestead
As you have found me here.
134A.37 A beggar with a clouted cloak,
In whom I feard no ill,
Hath with a pike-staff clawed my back;
I fear t shall never be well.
134A.38 See, where he goes out oer yon hill,
With hat upon his head;
If ever you lovd your master well,
Go now revenge this deed.
134A.39 And bring him back again to me,
If it lie in your might,
That I may see, before I die,
Him punisht in my sight.
134A.40 And if you may not bring him back,
Let him not go loose on;
For to us all it were great shame
If he escapt again.
134A.41 One of us shall with you remain,
Because youre ill at ease;
The other two shall bring him back,
To use him as you please.
134A.42 Now, by my troth, says good Robin,
I trow theres enough said;
If he get scouth to weild his tree,
I fear youll both be paid.
134A.43 Be ye not feard, our good master,
That we two can be dung
With any blutter base beggar,
That hath nought but a rung.
134A.44 His staff shall stand him in no stead;
That you shall shortly see;
But back again he shall be led,
And fast bound shall he be,
To see if you will have him slain,
Or hanged on a tree.
134A.45 But cast you slily in his way,
Before he be aware,
And on his pike-staff first lay hands;
Youll speed the better far.
134A.46 Now leave we Robin with his man,
Again to play the child,
And learn himself to stand and gang
By haulds, for all his eild.
134A.47 Now pass we to the bold beggar,
That raked oer the hill,
Who never mended his pace no more
Nor he had done no ill.
134A.48 The young men knew the country well,
So soon where he would be,
And they have taken another way,
Was nearer by miles three.
134A.49 They rudely ran with all their might,
Spard neither dub nor mire,
They stirred neither at laigh nor hight,
No travel made them tire,
134A.50 Till they before the beggar wan,
And coost them in his way;
A little wood lay in a glen,
And there they both did stay.
134A.51 They stood up closely by a tree,
In ilk side of the gate,
Until the beggar came them to,
That thought not of such fate.
134A.52 And as he was betwixt them past,
They leapt upon him baith;
The one his pike-staff gripped fast,
They feared for its scaith.
134A.53 The other he held in his sight
A drawn dirk to his breast,
And said, False carl, quit thy staff,
Or I shall be thy priest.
134A.54 His pike-staff they have taken him frae,
And stuck it in the green;
He was full leath to let [it] gae,
If better might have been.
134A.55 The beggar was the feardest man
Of one that ever might be;
To win away no way he can,
Nor help him with his tree.
134A.56 He wist not wherefore he was tane,
Nor how many was there;
He thought his life-days had been gone,
And grew into despair.
134A.57 Grant me my life, the beggar said,
For him that died on tree,
And take away that ugly knife,
Or then for fear Ill die.
134A.58 I grievd you never in all my life,
By late nor yet by ayre;
Ye have great sin,if ye should slay
A silly poor beggar.
134A.59 Thou lies, false lown, they said again,
By all that may be sworn;
Thou hast near slain the gentlest man
That ever yet was born.
134A.60 And back again thou shalt be led,
And fast bound shalt thou be,
To see if he will have thee slain,
Or hanged on a tree.
134A.61 The beggar then thought all was wrong;
They were set for his wrack;
He saw nothing appearing then
But ill upon worse back.
134A.62 Were he out of their hands, he thought,
And had again his tree,
He should not be had back for nought,
With such as he did see.
134A.63 Then he bethought him on a wile,
If it could take effect,
How he the young men might beguile,
And give them a begeck.
134A.64 Thus for to do them shame or ill
His beastly breast was bent;
He found the wind grew something shril,
To further his intent.
134A.65 He said, Brave gentlemen, be good,
And let the poor man be;
When ye have taken a beggars blood,
It helps you not a flee.
134A.66 It was but in my own defence,
If he hath gotten skaith;
But I will make a recompence,
Much better for you baith.
134A.67 If ye will set me safe and free,
And do me no danger,
An hundred pounds I will you give,
And much more good silver,
134A.68 That I have gathered these many years,
Under this clouted cloak,
And hid up wonder privately,
In bottom of my pock.
134A.69 The young men to a council yeed,
And let the beggar gae;
They wist how well he had no speed
From them to run away.
134A.70 They thought they would the money take,
Come after what so may,
And then they would not bring him back,
But in that part him slay.
134A.71 By that good Robin would not know
That they had gotten coin;
It would content him for to show
That there they had him slain.
134A.72 They said, False carl, soon have done
And tell forth that money;
For the ill turn thou hast done
Tis but a simple fee.
134A.73 And yet we will not have thee back,
Come after what so may,
If thou will do that which thou spake,
And make us present pay.
134A.74 O then loosd his clouted cloak,
And spread it on the ground,
And thereon he laid many a pock,
Betwixt them and the wind.
134A.75 He took a great bag from his hase;
It was near full of meal;
Two pecks in it at least there was,
And more, I wot full well.
134A.76 Upon his cloak he laid it down,
The mouth he opend wide,
To turn the same he made him bown,
The young men ready spyd.
134A.77 In every hand he took a nook
Of that great leathern meal,
And with a fling the meal he shook
Into their faces hail.
134A.78 Wherewith he blinded them so close
A stime they could not see;
And then in heart he did rejoice,
And clapt his lusty tree.
134A.79 He thought, if he had done them wrong
In mealing of their cloaths,
For to strike off the meal again
With his pike-staff he goes.
134A.80 Or any one of them could red their eyne,
Or yet a glimmering could see,
Ilk ane of them a dozen had,
Well laid on with the tree.
134A.81 The young men were right swift of foot,
And boldly ran away;
The beggar could them no more hit,
For all the haste he may.
134A.82 What ails this haste? the beggar said,
May ye not tarry still,
Until your money be receivd?
Ill pay you with good will.
134A.83 The shaking of my pocks, I fear,
Hath blown into your eyne;
But I have a good pike-staff here
Will ripe them out full clean.
134A.84 The young men answerd neer a word,
They were dumb as a stane;
In the thick wood the beggar fled,
Eer they riped their eyne.
134A.85 And syne the night became so late,
To seek him was but vain:
But judge ye, if they looked blate
When they came home again.
134A.86 Good Robin speard how they had sped;
They answerd him, Full ill;
That cannot be, good Robin says;
Ye have been at the mill.
134A.87 The mill is a meatrif place,
They may lick what they please;
Most like ye have been at that art,
Who would look to your cloaths.
134A.88 They hangd their heads, and droped down,
A word they could not speak:
Robin said, Because I fell a-swoon,
I think youll do the like.
134A.89 Tell on the matter, less and more,
And tell me what and how
Ye have done with the bold beggar
I sent you for right now.
134A.90 And then they told him to an end,
As I have said before,
How that the beggar did them blind,
What misters process more.
134A.91 And how he lind their shoulders broad
With his great trenchen tree,
And how in the thick wood he fled,
Eer they a stime could see.
134A.92 And how they scarcely could win home,
Their bones were beft so sore:
Good Robin cryd, Fy! out, for shame!
Were shamd for evermore.
134A.93 Altho good Robin would full fain
Of his wrong revenged be,
He smild to see his merry young men
Had gotten a taste of the tree.
Next: 135. Robin Hood and the Shepherd