126 : Robin Hood and the Tanner [Ballad] 1663

F.J.Child (1888) pp.209-213


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Context:
Location: [Unlocated], England
Year: Publ. 1663
Time of Occurrence: [Not given]
Collective Name: [Not given]

Source:

F.J.Child
The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, Vol.III, Pt.V
Houghton, Miflin & Co, 1888, pp.137-140


Cast: (Click on any name for the character name index.)
Text:

[Narrator]

{1} In Nottingham there lives a jolly tanner,
With a hey down down a down down
His name is Arthur a Bland;
There is nere a squire in Nottinghamshire
Dare bid bold Arthur stand.
{2} With a long pikestaff upon his shoulder,
So well he can clear his way;
By two and by three he makes them to flee,
For he hath no list to stay.
{3} And as he went forth, in a summer's morning,
Into the forrest of merry Sherwood,
To view the red deer, that range here and there,
There met he with bold Robin Hood.
{4} As soon as bold Robin Hood did him espy,
He thought some sport he would make;
Therefore out of hand he bid him to stand,
And thus to him he spake:

[Robin Hood]

{5} Why, what art thou, thou bold fellow,
That ranges so boldly here?
In sooth, to be brief, thou lookst like a thief,
That comes to steal our king's deer.
{6} For I am a keeper in this forrest;
The king puts me in trust
To look to his deer, that range here and there,
Therefore stay thee I must.

[Tanner]

{7} 'If thou beest a keeper in this forrest,
And hast such a great command,
Yet thou must have more partakers in store,
Before thou make me to stand.'

[Robin Hood]

{8} 'Nay, I have no more partakers in store,
Or any that I do need;
But I have a staff of another oke graff,
I know it will do the deed.'

[Tanner]

{9} 'For thy sword and thy bow I care not a straw,
Nor all shine arrows to boot;
If I get a knop upon thy bare scop,
Thou canst as well shite as shoote.'

[Robin Hood]

{10} 'Speak cleanly, good fellow,' said jolly Robin,
And give better terms to me;
Else I'll thee correct for thy neglect,
And make thee more mannerly'.

[Tanner]

{11} 'Marry gep with a wenion!' quoth Arthur a Bland
'Art thou such a goodly man?
I care not a fig for thou looking so big;
Mend thou thyself where thou can.'

[Narrator]

{12} Then Robin Hood he unbuckled his belt,
He laid down his bow so long;
He took up a staff of another oke graff,
That was both stiff and strong.

[Robin Hood]

{13} 'I'le yield to thy weapno,' said jolly Robin,
'Since thou wilt not yield to mine;
For I have a staff of another oke graff,
Not half a foot longer then thine.
{14} 'But let me measure,' said jolly Robin,
'Before we begin our fray;
For I'le not have mine to be longer then thine,
For that will be called fould play.'

[Tanner]

{15} 'I pass not for length,' bold Arthur reply'd,
'My staff is of oke so free;
Eight foot and a half, it will knock: down a calf,
And I hope it will knock down thee.'

[Narrator]

{16} Then Robin Hood could no longer forbear;
He gave him such a knock,
Quickly and soon the blood came down,
Before it was ten a clock
{17} The Arthur he soon recovered himself,
And gave him such a knock on the crown,
That on every hair of bold Robin Hoods head,
The blood came trickling down.
{18} Then Robin Hood raged like a wild bore,
As soon as he saw his own blood;
Then Bland was in hast, he laid on so fast,
As though he had been staking of wood.
{19} And about, and about, and about they went,
Like two wild bores in a chase;
Striving to aim each other to maim,
Leg, arm, or any other place.
{20} And knock for knock they lustily dealt,
Which held for two hours and more;
That al the wood rang at every bang,
They ply'd theire work so sore.

[Robin Hood]

{21} 'Hold thy hand, hold thy hand,' said Robin Hood,
'And let out quarrel fall;
For here we may thresh our bones into mesh,
And get no coyn at all.
{22} 'And in the forrest of merry Sherwood
Hereafter thou shalt be free:'

[Tanner]

'God-a-mercy for naught, my freedom I bought,
I may thank my good staff, and not thee.'

[Robin Hood]

{23} 'What tradesman art thou?' said jolly Robin,
'Good fellow, I prethee me show:
And also me tell in what place thou dost dwel,
For both these fain would I know.'

[Tanner]

{24} 'I am a tanner,' bold Arthur reply'd,
'In Nottingham long have I wrought;
And if thou 'lt come there, I vow and do swear
I will tan thy hide for naught'.

[Robin Hood]

{25} 'God a mercy, good fellow,' said jolly Robin,
'Since thou art so kind to me;
And if thou wilt tan my hide for naught,
I will do as much for thee.
{26} 'But if thou 'lt forsake hty tanners trade,
And live in green wood with me,
My name 's Robin Hood, I swear by the rood
I will give thee both gold and fee.'

[Tanner]

{27} 'If thou be Robin Hood,' bold Arthur reply'd,
'As I think well thou art,
Then here's my hand, my name 's Arthur a Bland,
We two will never depart.
{28} 'But tell me, O tell me, where is Little John?
Of him fain would I hear;
For we are alide by the mothers side,
And he is my kinsman near.'

[Narrator]

{29} Then Robin Hood blew on the beaugle horn,
He blew full lowd and shrill,
But quickly anon appeard Little John,
Come tripping down a green hill.

[Little John]

{30} 'O what is the matter?' then said Little John,
'Master, I pray you tell;
Why do you stand with your staff in your hand?
I fear all is not well'.

[Robin Hood]

{31} 'O man, I do stand, and he makes me to stand,
The tanner that stands thee beside;
He is a bonny blade, and master of his trade,
For soundly he hath tand my hide'

[Little John]

{32} 'He is to be commended,' then said Little John,
'If such a feat he can do;
If he be so stout, we will have a bout,
And he shall tan my hide too.'

[Robin Hood]

{33} 'Hold thy hand, hold thy hand,' said Robin Hood,
'For as I do understand,
He's a yeoman good, and of thine own blood,
For his name is Arthur a Bland.'

[Narrator]

{34} Then Little John threw his staff away,
As far as he could it fling,
And ran out of hand to Arthur a Bland,
And about his neck did cling.
{35} With loving respect, there was no neglect,
They were neither nice nor coy,
Each other did face, with a lovely grace,
And both did weep for joy.
{36} Then Robin Hood took them both by the hand,
And danc'd round about the oke tree;

[Robin Hood]

'For three merry men, and three merry men,
And three merry men we be.
{37} 'And ever herafter, as long as I live,
We three will be all one;
The wood shall ring, and the old wife sing,
Of Robin Hood, Arthur, and John.'


Notes:

Quoted by R.J.E.Tiddy (1923, pp.209-213) as a source for part of the text of the play from Shipton-under-Wychwood, Oxfordshire, and also found in other Robin Hood plays.

The earliest source for this ballad, given by Child, is "Garland of 1663, No.10"

Character designations added by PTM.


File History:
13/06/1999 - Encoded by Peter Millington

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