Robin Hood and the Bishop of Hereford

No: 144; variant: 144A

  1. SOME they will talk of bold Robin Hood, And some of barons bold, But I’ll tell you how he servd the Bishop of Hereford, When he robbed him of his gold.
  2. As it befel in merry Barnsdale, And under the green-wood tree, The Bishop of Hereford was to come by, With all his company.
  3. ‘Come, kill a venson,’ said bold Robin Hood, ‘Come, kill me a good fat deer; The Bishop of Hereford is to dine with me to-day, And he shall pay well for his cheer.
  4. ‘We’ll kill a fat venson,’ said bold Robin Hood, ‘And dress it by the highway-side; And we will watch the Bishop narrowly, Lest some other way he should ride.’
  5. Robin Hood dressd himself in shepherd’s attire, With six of his men also; And, when the Bishop of Hereford came by, They about the fire did go.
  6. ‘O what is the matter?’ then said the Bishop, ‘Or for whom do you make this a-do? Or why do you kill the king’s venson, When your company is so few?’
  7. ‘We are shepherds,’ said bold Robin Hood, ‘And we keep sheep all the year, And we are disposed to be merry this day, And to kill of the king’s fat deer.’
  8. ‘You are brave fellows!’ said the Bishop, ‘And the king of your doings shall know; Therefore make haste and come along with me, For before the king you shall go.’
  9. ‘O pardon, O pardon,’ said bold Robin Hood, ‘O pardon, I thee pray! For it becomes not your lordship’s coat To take so many lives away.’
  10. ‘No pardon, no pardon,’ says the Bishop, ‘No pardon I thee owe; Therefore make haste, and come along with me, For before the king you shall go.’
  11. Then Robin set his back against a tree, And his foot against a thorn, And from underneath his shepherd’s coat He pulld out a bugle-horn.
  12. He put the little end to his mouth, And a loud blast did he blow, Till threescore and ten of bold Robin’s men Came running all on a row;
  13. All making obeysance to bold Robin Hood; ‘Twas a comely sight for to see: ‘What is the matter, master,’ said Little John, ‘That you blow so hastily?’
  14. ‘O here is the Bishop of Hereford, And no pardon we shall have:’ ‘Cut off his head, master,’ said Little John, ‘And throw him into his grave.’
  15. ‘O pardon, O pardon,’ said the Bishop, ‘O pardon, I thee pray! For if I had known it had been you, I’d have gone some other way.’
  16. ‘No pardon, no pardon,’ said Robin Hood, ‘No pardon I thee owe; Therefore make haste and come along with me, For to merry Barnsdale you shall go.’
  17. Then Robin he took the Bishop by the hand, And led him to merry Barnsdale; He made him to stay and sup with him that night, And to drink wine, beer, and ale.
  18. ‘Call in the reckoning,’ said the Bishop, ‘For methinks it grows wondrous high:’ ‘Lend me your purse, Bishop,’ said Little John, ‘And I’ll tell you bye and bye.’
  19. Then Little John took the bishop’s cloak, And spread it upon the ground, And out of the bishop’s portmantua He told three hundred pound.
  20. ‘Here’s money enough, master,’ said Little John, ‘And a comely sight ‘tis to see; It makes me in charity with the Bishop, Tho he heartily loveth not me.’
  21. Robin Hood took the Bishop by the hand, And he caused the music to play, And he made the Bishop to dance in his boots, And glad he could so get away.