Ballads Of Robin Hood
Robin Hood's Chase (Child Ballad 146)
Robin Hood flees across country to escape King Henry, but he is spared on the insistence of the queen
COME you gallants all, to you I do call,
With a hey down down a down down
That now is within this place,
For a song I will sing of Henry the king,
How he did Robin Hood chase.
Queen Katherine she a match then did make,
As plainly doth appear,
For three hundred tun of good red wine,
And three hundred tun of beer.
But yet her archers she had to seek,
With their bows and arrows so good;
But her mind it was bent, with a good intent,
To send for bold Robin Hood.
But when bold Robin Hood he came there,
Queen Katherine she did say,
Thou art welcome, Locksley, said the queen,
And all thy yeomen gay.
For a match at shooting I have made,
And thou my part must be:
‘If I miss the mark, be it light or dark,
Then hanged I will be.’
But when the game came to be playd,
Bold Robin he then drew nigh;
With his mantle of green, most brave to be seen,
He let his arrows fly.
And when the game it ended was,
Bold Robin wan it with a grace,
But after, the king was angry with him,
And vowed he would him chase.
What though his pardon granted was
While he with them did stay,
But yet the king was vexed at him
When as he was gone his way.
Soon after the king from the court did hie,
In a furious angry mood,
And often enquire, both far and near,
After bold Robin Hood.
But when the king to Nottingham came,
Bold Robin was then in the wood;
‘O come now,’ said he, and let me see
Who can find me bold Robin Hood.’
But when that Robin Hood he did hear
The king had him in chase,
Then said Little John, Tis time to be gone,
And go to some other place.
Then away they went from merry Sherwood,
And into Yorkshire he did hie,
And the king did follow, with a hoop and a hallow,
But could not come him nigh.
Yet jolly Robin he passed along,
He went straight to Newcastle town,
And there stayed he hours two or three,
And then he for Berwick was gone.
When the king he did see how Robin did flee,
He was vexed wondrous sore;
With a hoop and a hallow he vowed to follow,
And take him, or never give ore.
‘Come now, let’s away,’ then cries Little John,
‘Let any man follow that dare;
To Carlile wee’l hie with our company,
And so then to Lancaster.’
From Lancaster then to Chester they went,
And so did king Henery;
But Robin away, for he durst not stay,
For fear of some treachery.
Saies Robin, Come, let us to London go,
To see our noble queens face;
It may be she wants our company,
Which makes the king so us chase.
When Robin he came Queen Katherine before,
He fell upon his knee:
‘If it please your Grace, I am come to this place,
To speak with king Henery.’
Queen Katherine she answered bold Robin again,
The king is gone to merry Sherwood;
And when he went he to me did say
He would go seek Robin Hood.
‘Then fare you well, my gracious queen,
For to sherwood I will hie apace;
For fain would I see what he would with me,
If I could but meet his Grace.’
But when King Henery he came home,
Full weary, and vexed in mind,
When he did hear Robin had been there,
He blamed Dame Fortune unkind.
‘You are welcome home,’ Queen Katherine cried,
‘Henry, my soveraign liege;
Bold Robin Hood that archer good,
Your person hath been to seek.’
But when King Henry he did hear
That Robin had been there him to seek,
This answer he gave, He’s a cunning knave,
For I have sought him this whole three weeks.
‘A boon! a boon!’ Queen Katherine cried,
‘I beg it here on your Grace,
To pardon his life, and seek no more strife:’
And so endeth Robin Hoods chase.