Robin Hood and the Prince of Aragon
No: 129; variant: 129A
- NOW Robin Hood, Will Scadlock and Little John
Are walking over the plain,
With a good fat buck which Will Scadlock
With his strong bow had slain.
- ‘Jog on, jog on,’ cries Robin Hood,
‘The day it runs full fast;
For though my nephew me a breakfast gave,
I have not yet broke my fast.
- ‘Then to yonder lodge let us take our way,
I think it wondrous good,
Where my nephew by my bold yeomen
Shall be welcomd unto the green wood.’
- With that he took the bugle-horn,
Full well he could it blow;
Streight from the woods came marching down
One hundred tall fellows and mo.
- ‘Stand, stand to your arms!’ crys Will Scadlock,
‘Lo! the enemies are within ken:’
With that Robin Hood he laughd aloud,
Crys, They are my bold yeomen.
- Who, when they arriv’d and Robin espy’d,
Cry’d, Master, what is your will?
We thought you had in danger been,
Your horn did sound so shrill.
- ‘Now nay, now nay,’ quoth Robin Hood,
‘The danger is past and gone;
I would have you to welcome my nephew here,
That hath paid me two for one.’
- In feasting and sporting they passed the day,
Till Phoebus sunk into the deep;
Then each one to his quarters hy’d,
His guard there for to keep.
- Long had they not walked within the green wood,
But Robin he was espy’d
Of a beautiful damsel all alone,
That on a black palfrey did ride.
- Her riding-suit was of sable hew black,
Sypress over her face,
Through which her rose-like cheeks did blush,
All with a comely grace.
- ‘Come, tell me the cause, thou pritty one,’
Quoth Robin, aend tell me aright,
From whence thou comest, and whither thou goest,
All in this mournful plight?’
- ‘From London I came,’ the damsel reply’d,
‘From London upon the thames,
Which circled is, O grief to tell!
Besieg’d with forraign arms.
- ‘By the proud Prince of Aragon,
Who swears by his martial hand
To have the princess for his spouse,
Or else to waste this land:
- ‘Except that champions can be found
That dare fight three to three,
Against the prince and giants twain,
Most horrid for to see:
- ‘Whose grisly looks, and eyes like brands,
Strike terrour where they come,
With serpents hissing on their helms,
Instead of feathered plume.
- ‘The princess shall be the victors prize,
The king hath vowd and said,
And he that shall the conquest win
Shall have her to his bride.
- ‘Now we are four damsels sent abroad,
To the east, west, north, and south,
To try whose fortune is so good
To find these champions forth.
- ‘But all in vaine we have sought about;
Yet none so bold there are
That dare adventure life and blood,
To free a lady fair.’
- ‘When is the day?’ quoth Robin Hood,
‘Tell me this and no more:’
‘On Midsummer next,’ the damsel said,
‘Which is June the twenty-four.’
- With that the teares trickled down her cheeks,
And silent was her tongue;
With sighs and sobs she took her leave,
Away her palfrey sprung.
- This news struck Robin to the heart,
He fell down on the grass;
His actions and his troubled mind
Shewd he perplexed was.
- ‘Where lies your grief?’ quoth Will Scadlock,
‘O master, tell to me;
If the damsels eyes have piercd your heart,
I’ll fetch her back to thee.’
- ‘Now nay, now nay,’ quoth Robin Hood,
‘She doth not cause my smart;
But it is the poor distressed princess
That wounds me to the heart.
- ‘I will go fight the giants all
To set the lady free:’
‘The devil take my soul,’ quoth Little John,
‘If I part with thy company.’
- ‘Must I stay behind?’ quoth Will Scadlock;
‘No, no, that must not be;
I’le make the third man in the fight,
So we shall be three to three.’
- These words cheerd Robin at the heart,
Joy shone within his face;
Within his arms he huggd them both,
And kindly did imbrace.
- Quoth he, We’ll put on mothly gray,
With long staves in our hands,
A scrip and bottle by our sides,
As come from the Holy Land.
- So may we pass along the high-way;
None will ask from whence we came,
But take us pilgrims for to be,
Or else some holy men.
- Now they are on their journey gone,
As fast as they may speed,
Yet for all haste, ere they arriv’d,
The princess forth was led:
- To be deliverd to the prince,
Who in the list did stand,
Prepar’d to fight, or else receive
His lady by the hand.
- With that he walkt about the lists,
With giants by his side:
‘Bring forth,’ said he, ‘your champions,
Or bring me forth my bride.
- ‘This is the four and twentieth day,
The day prefixt upon;
Bring forth my bride, or London burns,
I swear by Acaron.’
- Then cries the king, and queen likewise,
Both weeping as they speak,
Lo! we have brought our daughter dear,
Whom we are forcd to forsake.
- With that stept out bold Robin Hood,
Crys, My liege, it must not be so;
Such beauty as the fair princess
Is not for a tyrants mow.
- The prince he then began to storm;
Crys, Fool, fanatick, baboon!
How dares thou stop my valours prize?
I’ll kill thee with a frown.
- ‘Thou tyrant Turk, thou infidel,’
Thus Robin began to reply,
‘Thy frowns I scorn; lo! here’s my gage,
And thus I thee defie.
- ‘And for these two Goliahs there,
That stand on either side,
Here are two little Davids by,
That soon can tame their pride.’
- Then did the king for armour send,
For lances, swords, and shields:
And thus all three in armour bright
Came marching to the field.
- The trumpets began to sound a charge,
Each singled out his man;
Their arms in pieces soon were hewd,
Blood sprang from every vain.
- The prince he reacht Robin a blow—-
He struck with might and main—-
Which forcd him to reel about the field,
As though he had been slain.
- ‘God-a-mercy,’ quoth Robin, ‘For that blow!
The quarrel shall soon be try’d;
This stroke shall shew a full divorce
Betwixt thee and thy bride.’
- So from his shoulders he’s cut his head,
Which on the ground did fall,
And grumbling sore at Robin Hood,
To be so dealt withal.
- The giants then began to rage,
To see their prince lie dead:
‘Thou’s be the next,’ quoth Little John,
‘Unless thou well guard thy head.’
- With that his faulchion he whirld about—-
It was both keen and sharp—-
He clove the giant to the belt,
And cut in twain his heart.
- Will Scadlock well had playd his part,
The giant he had brought to his knee;
Quoth he, The devil cannot break his fast,
Unless he have you all three.
- So with his faulchion he run him through,
A deep and gashly wound;
Who damd and foamd, cursd and blasphemd,
And then fell to the ground.
- Now all the lists with cheers were filld,
The skies they did resound,
Which brought the princess to herself,
Who was faln in a swound.
- The king and queen and princess fair
Came walking to the place,
And gave the champions many thanks,
And did them further grace.
- ‘Tell me,’ quoth the king, ‘whence you are,
That thus disguised came,
Whose valour speaks that noble blood
Doth run through every vain.’
- ‘A boon, a boon,’ quoth Robin Hood,
‘On my knees I beg and crave:’
‘By my crown,’ quoth the king, ‘I grant;
Ask what, and thou shalt have.’
- ‘Then pardon I beg for my merry men,
Which are within the green wood,
For Little John, and Will Scadlock,
And for me, bold Robin Hood.’
- ‘Art thou Robin Hood?’ then quoth the king;
‘For the valour you have shewn,
Your pardons I doe freely grant,
And welcome every one.
- ‘The princess I promised the victors prize;
She cannot have you all three:;
‘She shall chuse,’ quoth Robin; saith Little John,
Then little share falls to me.
- Then did the princess view all three,
With a comely lovely grace,
Who took Will Scadlock by the hand,
Quoth, Here I make my choice.
- With that a noble lord stept forth,
Of Maxfield earl was he,
Who lookt Will Scadlock in the face,
Then wept most bitterly.
- Quoth he, I had a son like thee,
Whom I lovd wondrous well;
But he is gone, or rather dead;
His name is Young Gamwell.
- Then did Will Scadlock fall on his knees,
Cries, Father! father! here,
Here kneels your son, your Young Gamwell
You said you lovd so dear.
- But, lord! what imbracing and kissing was there,
When all these friends were met!
They are gone to the wedding, and so to bedding,
And so I bid you good night.