|It's of a bold tanner in fair Devonshire,
His name it was Arthur O Brann;
There wasn't a man in all Devonshire,
Could make this bold Arthur to stand,
Ay, could make this bold Arthur to stand.
Bold Arthur walked out on a fine summer's morn,
For to view the merry green wood;
In search of a deer that runs here and there,
And there he spied bold Robin Hood,
Ay, and there he spied bold Robin Hood.
"Good morning bold fellow," says bold Robin Hood,
"How camest thou here?"
"I will tell thee in brief thou looks like some thief,
Thou art come for to steal the king's deer,
Ay, thou art come for to steal the king's deer."
"I will have a fat doe afore I do go,
Although it may cause me a fall;
For I have a staff made out of green graff, [graff = sapling
And I think he would do for you all,
Ay, and I think he would do for you all."
"And I have another," then says Robin Hood,
"Made out of the bonny oak tree;
Three feet and a half he would knock down a calf,
And I think he would knock down thee,
Ay, and I think he would knock down thee."
"Let's measure our sticks," then says Robin Hood,
"Before we commence our fray;
And if mine be half a foot longer than thine,
Well that shall be counted fair play,
Ay, and that shall be counted fair play."
They measures their sticks and at it they went,
For the space of an hour or more;
And every blow made the groves for to ring,
They played their game so sure,
Ay, they played their game so sure.
|"Hold on, hold on," then cried Robin Hood,
"I pray that your courage to fall;
Before that we break or our bones for to smash,
And gain no coin at all, [coin = corner, advantage
Ay, and gain no coin at all."
Bold Robin pulled out his long bugle horn,
He blowed it so loud and so shrill;
And then thereupon he spied Little John,
Come a-trippling down over the hill,
Ay, come trippling down over the hill.
"Oh what is the matter," then says Little John,
"Bold Robin, I pray me tell;
There is something amiss, I see that there is,
For I see thee doesn't look well,
Ay, I see that thee doesn't look well."
"Oh here I do stand with my staff in my hand,
Bold Tanner he stands by my side;
He's a bonny brisk man, just fit for our gang,
And so well he has tanned my hide,
Ay, and so well he has tanned my hide.
"Oh if he's a tanner," then says Little John,
"The tanner that tans so true;
There's not the least doubt he'll have one more bout,
And so well he shall tan my hide too,
Ay, and so well he shall tan my hide too."
"Oh no, oh no," then says Robin Hood,
"For he is a hero so bold;
He's a bonny brisk blade and master of his trade,
And by no man he won't be controlled,
Ay, and by no man he won't be controlled."