> A.L. Lloyd > Songs > Robin Hood and the Bold Pedlar
> Steeleye Span > Songs > Gamble Gold (Robin Hood)

Robin Hood and the (Bold) Pedlar / Gamble Gold

[ Roud 333 ; Child 132 ; Ballad Index C132 ; Bodleian Roud 333 ; trad.]

Robin Hood and the Pedlar is a ballad from Ralph Vaughan Williams' and A.L. Lloyd's Penguin Book of English Folk Songs.

Geordie Robertson sang The Bold Pedlar in August 1954 to Hamish Henderson in Aberdeen. This recording was included in 1975 on the Tangent album The Muckle Sangs (Scottish Tradition Vol. 5).

A.L. Lloyd sang Robin Hood and the Bold Pedlar on his and Ewan MacColl's 1956 anthology on the Riverside Label The English and Scottish Popular Ballads (The Child Ballads) Volume II, All of his tracks from this series were reissued in 2011 on the Fellside album Bramble Briars and Beams of the Sun.

Denny Smith sang Robin Hood and the Pedlar to Peter Shepheard in the Tabard Bar, North Street, Gloucester, on April 27, 1966. This track was included in 2000 on the Musical Traditions anthology of the Smith family, Band of Gold. Peter Shepheard himself sang Robin Hood and the Pedlar at the Fife Traditional Singing Festival in Collessie, Fife, in May 2007. This recording was published a year later on the festival's anthology Nick-Knack on the Waa (Old Songs & Bothy Ballads Vol. 4). The latter album's note commented:

A rare ballad […] that has, never-the-less, been found in the living tradition both in England and in Scotland in the last decades. This version is from the singing of Denny Smith, a Romany traveller from Gloucester, and recorded by Pete from Denny in the Tabard Bar, North Street, Gloucester in April 1966. This is one of a large cycle of Robin Hood ballads that excited enormous public interest after they were first compiled together from early broadsheets and manuscript collections and published in two small volumes by Joseph Ritson in 1795.

Barry Dransfield sang Robin Hood and the Pedlar in 1972 on his eponymous Polydor album, Barry Dransfield.

Steeleye Span recorded this ballad in a shortened version that they called Gamble Gold (Robin Hood) in 1975 on their best-selling album, All Around My Hat.

Benji Kirkpatrick sang The Bold Pedlar in 1999 on his WildGoose CD Dance in the Shadow.

Emily & Hazel Askew sang Robin Hood and the Pedlar in 2005 on their first WildGoose CD, Six By Two.

Kate Locksley sang Robin Hood and the Pedlar in 2016 on The Night Watch's eponymous EP The Night Watch. They commented on their website:

Robin Hood & the Pedlar (Child 132) is similar to a modern tale of a Friday night punch up. Robin Hood & Little John decide to rob a pedlar, and have a bit of a scrap before determining that the pedlar is Gamble Gold, Robin's cousin. Clearly this makes everything that has passed perfectly alright, because they then all head for the nearest pub. We've paired it with Laridé à Six Temps, a Breton dance tune.

Lyrics

Peter Shepheard sings Robin Hood and the Pedlar Steeleye Span sing Gamble Gold

Oh its of of a pedlar and a pedlar bold,
Some fine pedlar he seemed for to be;
He had a pack all at his back,
And away went whistling right over the lea.

There chanced to be a pedlar bold,
A pedlar bold he chanced to be;
He rolled his pack all on his back
And he came tripping o'er the lea.

Now the first two men that he met,
Two quarrelsome men they seemed for to be,
There was one of them called Bold Robin Hood,
And the other called Little John so free.

By chance he met two troublesome blades,
Troublesome blades they chanced to be,
One of them was Robin Hood
The other was little John so free.

Chorus (after every other verse):
Gentlemen on highborn blood,
Gamble Gold and Robin Hood

“Now what brings you there all in your pack?” cried Little John,
“Come tell to me right speedily!”
“I have three yards of the gay green cloth,
And silken bowstrings by two and three.”

“Oh pedlar, pedlar what's in the pack?
Come speedily and tell to me!”
“I've several suits of the gay green silk
And silken bowstrings two or three.”

“Now if you have three yards of the gay green cloth,
And silken bowstrings by two and three;
Then by my life,” cried Little John,
“It's your pack and all shall go along with me!”

“If you have suits of the gay green silk
And silken bowstrings two or three,
Then, by my body,” cries Robin Hood,
“Half your pack belongs to me!”

“Oh no, oh no,” said the pedlar bold,
“Oh no, oh no, that never could be;
For there's never a man from fair Nottingham town,
Could take one half of my pack from me!”

“Oh no, oh no,” says the pedlar bold,
“No that can never be.
There's never a man in Nottingham
Can take one half my pack from me!”

Then the pedlar he set down his pack,
He lowered it right a-past his knee,
Saying, “If you can make me fly three yards from this,
Then my pack and all shall go along with thee.”

Then Little John, oh, he drew his sword,
And the pedlar by his pack did stand;
They fought until they both did sweat,
When Little John cried, “Pedlar, you're too good a man!”
They fought until they both did sweat,
When Little John cried, “Pedlar, oh you're too good a man!”

Then Bold Robin Hood he drew his sword,
And the pedlar by his pack did stand;
They fought until the blood did run,
When Bold Robin Hood said, “Pedlar, you're too good a man!”

Then Robin Hood he drew his sword
And the pedlar by his pack did stand;
They fought till the blood in streams did flow
And he cried, “Pedlar, hold your hand!”

“Now what is your name?” cried Bold Robin Hood,
“Come tell to me right speedily!”
“Oh no, oh no,” said the pedlar bold,
“But it's your name you will tell unto me.”

“Oh pedlar, pedlar what's thy name?
Come speedily and tell to me!”
“I'm Gamble Gold of the gay green woods,
I've travelled far beyond the sea.”

“Oh the one of us is called Bold Robin Hood,
And the other's called Little John so free.”
“Then by my life,” said the pedlar bold,
“It's my name I will tell unto thee.”

“Now my name is Bill Scarlet from a foreign part,
From a many's a long mile beyond the sea;
For killing a man on my own father's land,
My own native country I was forced to flee.”

“Now if your name is Bill Scarlet from a foreign part,
From a many's a long mile beyond the sea;
Then it's you and I's two sister's sons;
And what nigh first cousins, oh could we be?”

“If you're Gamble Gold of the gay green woods
Then my cousin you must be!
Let us away to a tavern near
And bottles crack most merrily.”

Then they sheathed their swords with friendly words,
And at the joke they laughed quite free;
They went in an alehouse that was close by,
And they cracked bottles by two and three;
They went in an alehouse that was close by,
And they drank bottles by two and three.