> Folk Music > Songs > Robin Hood's Progress to Nottingham / Robin Hood and the Fifteen Foresters

Robin Hood's Progress to Nottingham / Robin Hood and the Fifteen Foresters

[ Roud 1790 ; Child 139 ; Ballad Index C139 ; Bodleian Roud 1790 ; trad.]

Ed McCurdy sang Robin Hood and the Fifteen Foresters on his 1962 Riverside album The Legend of Robin Hood. Narration by Michael Kane:

John Goodluck sang Robin Hood and the Fifteen Foresters on his 1974 Traditional Sound Recordings album The Suffolk Miracle. He learned it from Paddy Butcher who got it from the Dransfields. Brian Horsfall commented in the album's sleeve notes:

While learned historians continue to debate whether Robin Hood ever really existed, his position as the most popular English folk hero remains unchallenged. This is the story of Robin's answer to one of the many traps set for him by ‘the baddie’—the High Sheriff of Nottingham.

Lyrics

John Goodluck sings Robin Hood and the Fifteen Foresters

Robin Hood said he would go to fair Nottingham
With the General for to dine;
There he was aware of the Fifteen Foresters
All a drinking of ale and of wine.

“What news, what news?” said the bold Robin Hood,
“What news fain woulds't thou know?
Our King has arranged of a shooting match
And I'm ready all with my bow.”

“Well we hold it in scorn,” said the Fifteen Foresters,
“That ever a boy so young
Should own him a bow before our King
Not able to pull on the string.”

“Well I'll wager twenty marks,” said the bold Robin Hood,
“By the leave of Our Lady
That I hit the mark at one hundred rod
And cause the hart to die.”

“Well we all lay twenty marks,” said the Fifteen Foresters,
“By the leave of Our Lady
That thou hittest not the mark at one hundred rod
Nor cause the hart to bleed.”

So Robin then he turned and he took up his bow,
With his broad arrows he let fly.
He hit the mark at one hundred rod
And caused the hart for to die

Well the hart did skip and the hart did leap
And the hart fell to the ground.
“That wager it is mine,”said the bold Robin Hood,
“How I wish it were a thousand pounds.”

“Well the wager is not thine,“ said the Fifteen Foresters,
“Thou appealest all in haste.
Take up thy bow and get thee gone
Lest we thy side abase.”

So Robin then he took up his noble good bow
With his broad arrows all amain,
And Robin he has stalled and began to laugh
As he wandered across the plain.

Then he turned him about and he took up his bow,
With his broad arrows he let fly.
Till fourteen of those Fifteen Foresters
All on the cold ground they did lie.

Now the one who did the quarrel fist begin,
He went running all over the plain.
So Robin he has taken up his noble good bow
And he's fetched him back again.

“Well you said I was no archer,”said the bold Robin Hood,
“So say so now again.”
With that he's sent another arrow forth
Which split his head in twain.

“Well you found me an archer,” said the bold Robin Hood,
“Who will make your lives to ring.
And you wish you had not spoken the word
That I would not pull the string.”

And all the people in fair Nottingham
Came running out amain,
Supposing to have taken the bold Robin Hood
With the Foresters who were slain.

Well some lost arms and some lost legs
And some did lose their blood,
Robin he has taken his noble good bow
And he's gone to the merry green wood.

They've taken those Foresters to fair Nottingham
Where many there did'st know.
They've taken them to their own church yard
Where they've buried them all in a row.

Links

I found John Goodluck's lyrics in the the Mudcat Café thread Lyr Req: Robin Hood and the Fifteen Foresters