Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Ballads
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CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. (1863–1944).  The Oxford Book of Ballads.  1910.
 
113. The Birth of Robin Hood
 
 
I

O WILLIE’s large o’ limb and lith,
  And come o’ high degree,
And he is gane to Earl Richard,
  To serve for meat and fee.
 
II

Earl Richard had but ae daughter,
        5
  Fair as a lily-flower,
And they made up their love-contract
  Like proper paramour.
 
III

It fell upon a simmer’s nicht,
  Whan the leaves were fair and green,        10
That Willie met his gay ladie
  Intil the wood alane.
 
IV

‘O narrow is my gown, Willie,
  That wont to be sae wide;
And gane is a’ my fair colour,        15
  That wont to be my pride.
 
V

‘But gin my father should get word
  What’s past between us twa,
Before that he should eat or drink,
  He’d hang you o’er that wa’.        20
 
VI

‘But ye’ll come to my bower, Willie,
  Just as the sun gaes down,
And kep me in your arms twa,
  And latna me fa’ down.’
 
VII

O whan the sun was now gane down,
        25
  He’s doen him till her bower,
And there, by the lee licht o’ the moon,
  Her window she lookit o’er.
 
VIII

Intill a robe o’ red scarlèt
  She lap, fearless o’ harm;        30
And Willie was large o’ lith and limb,
  And keppit her in his arm.
 
IX

And they’ve gane to the gude green-wood,
  And, ere the night was deen,
She’s born to him a bonny young son,        35
  Amang the leaves sae green.
 
X

Whan night was gane, and day was come,
  And the sun began to peep,
Up and raise the Earl Richard
  Out o’ his drowsy sleep.        40
 
XI

He’s ca’d upon his merry young men,
  By ane, by twa, and by three:
‘O what’s come o’ my daughter dear,
  That she’s nae come to me?
 
XII

‘I dreamt a dreary dream last night,
        45
  God grant it come to gude!
I dreamt I saw my daughter dear
  Drown in the saut sea flood.
 
XIII

‘But gin my daughter be dead or sick,
  Or yet be stown awa’,        50
I mak a vow, and I’ll keep it true,
  I’ll hang ye ane and a’!’
 
XIV

They sought her back, they sought her fore,
  They sought her up and down;
They got her in the gude green-wood,        55
  Nursing her bonny young son.
 
XV

He took the bonny boy in his arms,
  And kist him tenderlie;
Says, ‘Though I would your father hang,
  Your mother’s dear to me.’        60
 
XVI

He kist him o’er and o’er again:
  ‘My grandson I thee claim,
And Robin Hood in gude green-wood,
  And that shall be your name.’
 
XVII

And mony ane sings o’ grass, o’ grass,
        65
  And mony ane sings o’ corn,
And mony ane sings o’ Robin Hood
  Kens little whare he was born.
 
XVIII

It wasna in the ha’, the ha’,
  Nor in the painted bower;        70
But it was in the gude green-wood,
  Amang the lily-flower.
 
GLOSS:  yelpe] brag.  lith] joint.  kep] catch.
 

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