Saturday, 3 September 2011

Red Red Robin

Little John and Robin Hood, by Frank Godwin (undated, before 1912) - via Thuresson at Wikimedia Commons - public domain
One from the musical sock drawer.

Red Red Robin

Old Robin Hood did a power of good
to the starving and the poor:
Shared out lords' gold with the sick and the old,
and that was against the law.
Now Robin Hood was a great Earl's son,
a man of high degree -
But he hated the wrong and the greed of the strong,
so off to the woods ran he!
He hated the wrong and the greed of the strong,
so off to the woods ran he!


Big Little John was a man of his hands,
he was six foot six in his socks.
But to mighty men of wealth and lands,
he was scarce the worth of an ox.
The Squire caught him a-poaching,
and swore he would stretch his neck -
John knocked the Squire into Hellfire choir,
and off to the woods, by heck!
John knocked the Squire into Hellfire choir,
and off to the woods, by heck!


*

Old King Dick with the wild beast's heart
Was roaring in the South,
His glory fed with the poor boy's bread,
And the mite from the widow's mouth,
Poor paynim boys to slaughter,
And exalt the Holy Rood -
Rob took his taxes back to the land,
And God knows, that was good!


*

Fat Friar Tuck, he lived by his luck,
and he pushed it good and hard,
With wine and women and meat and song,
for Tuck was a Goliard.
To make him wear an hair-shirt,
and preach to the poor's annoy,
The Abbot and the Pope, they never had an hope,
so off to the woods with joy!
The Abbot and the Pope, they never had an hope,
so off to the woods with joy!


Lady Marianne was to wed a nobleman,
and his name was Gisborne Guy,
But she got a hot tip he was kinky for the whip,
and the housemaids on the sly.
And he liked his droit de seigneur,
and the screams in the long cornstalks -
So she off with his balls, and quits his halls,
and off to the woods she walks!
She off with his balls, and quits his halls,
and off to the woods she walks!


*

Old King Dick was a bit of a prick,
And Saladin stuffed him well,
So he took it on the wing, till a German king
Locked him up in a dungeon cell.
Young Prince John put the big squeeze on,
Till the bloody red ransom came.
It was nicked by the Hood, but it weren't no good -
Dick come back just the same!


*

The freest folk in England
then flocked to the greenwood hall,
To the Green Man and the Lady,
to fight for their rights and all.
The Sheriff's men would have undone them,
but found they could not prevail -
They got shot at by Scarlett, sat on by Tuck,
and satired by Allan-a-Dale.
They got shot at by Scarlett, sat on by Tuck,
and satired by Allan-a-Dale.*


Then the spears and swords of the knights and lords
come out for Robin Hood,
And he took it on the run, till a no-good nun
let out his dear heart's blood.
He shoots an arrow in the air,
we bury him where it flies -
The Church left the poor folk all in the lurch,
sing ho for a big surprise!
The Church left the poor folk all in the lurch,
sing ho for a big surprise!


*

Rob was slain: so soon was the maniac
By the Church anoint.
The arrow that smote the Lionheart's throat
Was his kingship's brightest point.
But the Green Man and the Lady
Will return when the need is most,
With a hey for the jolly fosters,
And a health to Robin's ghost!


(Mine's a pint!)

* Their fates don't improve when the song is sung quickly.

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