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EBBA 31444

British Library - Roxburghe
Ballad XSLT Template
Robin Hood and Little John,
Being an Account of their first Meeting, and fierce Encounter. Likewise
their Friendly Agreement, and how he came to be calld Little John.

WHen Robin Hood was about twenty Years old,
With a hey down, down, and a down.
he happend to meet Little John.
A jolly brisk Blade, right fit for his Trade,
for he was a lusty Young-Man.

Tho he was calld Little, his Limbs were large,
and his Stature was seven Feet high;
Where-ever he came, they quakd at his Name,
for soon he would make them to fly.

How they came acquainted Ill tell you in brief,
if you will but listen awhile;
For this single Jest among all the rest,
Im sure it will make you to smile.

For Robin Hood said to his jolly Bowmen,
Pray tarry you here in the Grove;
And see that you all observe well my Call,
whilst thro the Forest I do rove.

We have had no Sport these fourteen long Days,
therefore now abroad I will go.
But should I be beat and cannot retreat,
my Horn I will presently blow.

Then did he shake hands with his merry Men,
and bid them at present Good-by;
Then as near to a Brook his Journey he took,
a St[r]anger he happend to spy.

They happend to meet on a long narrow Bridge,
and neither of them would give Way.

Quoth bold Robin Hood, and sturdily stood,
Ill show you right Nottingham Play.

With that from his Quiver an Arrow he drew,
a broad Arrow with a Goose Wing:
The Stranger replyd, Ill liquor thy Hide,
if you offer to draw but a string.

Quoth bold Robin Hood, thou dost prate like an Ass,
for were I to bend but my Bow;
I could send a Dart quite thro thy proud Heart,
before thou couldst strike me one Blow.

Thou talkst like a Coward the Stranger replyd;
well armd with a long Bow you stand;
To shoot at my Breast, whilst I do protest,
I have nought but a Staff in my hand.

The Name of a Coward quoth, Robin I scorn,
wherefore my long Bow Ill lay by:
And now for thy sake a Staff I will take,
the Truth of thy Manhood to try.

Then Robin Hood stept to a thicket of Trees,
and ch[o]se him a Staff of Ground Oak.
Now this being done, to the Stranger he run,
and thus to him merrily spoke.

Lo! here, see my St[a]ff it is lusty and tough;
now here on this Bridge we will play.
Whoever falls in the [o]th[e]r shall win
the Battle, and so well away.

With all my whole Heart the Sranger replyd,
I scorn in the least to give out;
This said, they fell tot without more Dispute,
and their Staffs they did flourish about.

And first Robin gave the Stranger a Bang,
so hard thot he made his Bones ring:
The Stranger he said, this must be repaid,
Ill give you as good as you bring.

So long as Im able to handle my Staff:
to die in your Debt Friend I scorn;
Then to it both goes, and follow their Blows,
as tho they were thrashing of Corn.

The Stranger gave Robin a Crack on the Crown,
which caused the Blood to appear:
Then Robin enraged more fiercely engaged,
and followd his Blows more sincere.

So thick and so fast he did lay it on him
with a passionate Fury and Ire:
At every stroke he made him to smoke
as though he had been all on Fire.

O then in a Fury the Stranger he grew;
and gave him a damnable Look,
And with it a Blow which laid him full low,
and tumbled him into the Brook.

I prithee good Fellow where art thou now?
the Stranger in Laughter he cryd,
Quoth bold Robin Hood, good faith in the Flood,
and floating along with the Tide.

I needs must acknowledge thou art a brave Soul,
with thee Ill no longer contend:
For needs must I say thou hast got the Day;
our Battle shall be at an End.

Then strait to the Bank he did presently Wade,
and pulld himself out by a Thorn;
Which done at the last he blew a loud Blast,
straitway on his fine Bugle Horn.

The Eccho of which through the Vallies did ring,
at which his stout Bowmen appeard;
All cloathed in Green, most gay to be seen;
then up to their Master they steerd.

O what is the Matter quoth William Stutely?
good Master you are wet to the Skin;
No Matter said he, the Lad that you see
in Fighting hath tumbled me in.

He shall not go Scot-free the others replyd,
so strait they were seizing him there;
To duck him likewise, but Robin Hood cries
he is a good Fellow, forbear.

There is no one shall wrong thee, so be not afraid
these Bowmen upon me do wait.
Theres Threescore and nine, if thou wilt be mine,
thou shalt have my Livery strait.

And other Accoutrements fitting also:
speak up Jolly Blade never fear:
I shall teach thee also the Use of the Bow
to shoot at the fair Fallow Deer.

O here is my Hand, the Stranger replyd,
Ill serve you with all my Heart:
My Name is John Little, a Man of much Mettle;
never doubt me but I shall play my Part.

His Name shall be alterd quoth William Stutely:
and I will his Godfather be:
Prepare then a Feast, and none of the least;
for we will be merry quoth he.

They soon did fetch in a Brace of fat Does:
with humming strong Liquor likewise:
They lovd that was good; so in the Green Wood
this lovely sweet Babe they Babtize.

He was I must tell you but seven Feet high,
and may be an Ell in the Waist
A pretty sweet Lad: much Feasting they had:
bold Robin the Christening gracd

With all his Bowmen that stood in a Ring,
and were of the Nottingham Breed:
Brave Stately came then with seven Yeomen,
and did in this Manner proceed.

This Infant was called Little John quoth he:
which Name shall be changed anon:
The Words well transpose, where-ever he goes,
hi[s] Name shall be calld Little John

They all with a shout made the Elements ring:
so soon as the Office was oer:
To Feasting they went in great Merriment:
and tipled strong Liquor golore.
Then Robin Hood took the pretty fine Babe,
and cloathd him from Top to the Toe:
In Garments of Green so gay to be seen:
and gives him a curious long Bow.

Thou shalt be an Archer as well as the best:
and range in the Green Woods with us:
Where well not want Gold, nor Silver behold;
whilst Bishops have ought in their Purse.

We live here like Squires or Lords of Renown,
without ever a Foot of Free Land:
We feast on good Cheer; with Ale, Wine or Beers:
and every Thing at Command.

Then Musick and Dancing did finish the Day:
at length when the Sun waxed low:
Then all the whole train the Grove did refrain,
and unto their Caves they did go;

And thus ever after as long as he livd,
altho he was proper and tall;
Yet nevertheless the Truth to express,
still Little John they do him call.


Printed and Sold in Bow-Church-Yard, LONDON.

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