The Robin Hood Mummers Play
By Ralph Scotese
ROBIN HOOD AND WILL SCARLET
(Enters the space and delivers lines while moving about in generally counter-clockwise movement. Perhaps he can be strumming upon a guitar/psaltery.)
Come, listen a while, you gentlefolk all, that are in this bower within;
For a story of gallant, bold, Robin Hood I purpose now to begin.
As Robin Hood walked along the wood, it was in the heat of day,
There did he meet as neat a young man as ever walked on the way.
(Robin enters into the space. Will steps out of the center. Robin continues the clockwise movement, staying basically to the center of the space.)
Stranger, since thou hast a bow, and yonder stands some deer,
It be my will you show your skill and shoot a buck from here.
I'll shoot a buck and quickly too, watch as I draw my bow.
My skill now as an archer I will be most pleased to show.
(Troop member takes arrow, says "Twang," carries the arrow to other members acting as deer, and impales deer saying "THWUNK.")
There now like the largest buck shot from these forty yard.
Not bad aim for one who makes his living as a bard.
Well shot! Well shot! Thou shootest well, with aim near good as mine.
Go fetch to me the buck you shot, which I'll have for to dine.
Go play the coward, if thou thinkst that this buck I'll give o'er.
Or with my fist, be sure of this, I'll give thee blows a score.
Yet I have those who take my part if I but blow my horn.
Thou hadst best not blow it, be thou never is much haste.
For I can soot my arrow good and quickly cut the blast.
Hold thy hand, I tell thee now, to shoot would be in vain.
For if we shoot each other, then we both must needs be slain.
Instead let us now take to swords and fight 'neath yonder tree.
Thou must think me foolish. Nay, not one foot will I flee.
Methinks perhaps this blow might cause thy addled pat to split!
(Robin hits Will on the had with sword, making him dizzy.)
Thou never dealt out such a blow that I can't better it!
(Will hits Robin on head with even better results. They fight. Robin loses.)
Have mercy, stranger! Stay thy hand! This blow has struck me well.
Tell me, good fellow, who art thou? And whither dost thou dwell?
For killing my father's steward I am forced to this English wood,
And for to seek an uncle of mine. Some call him Robin Hood.
So thou art a nephew of Robin Hood, then? Or art thou having fun?
They know you that I am that uncle of thine. An uncle thou almost didst slay.
Thou foughtest so valiant and foughtest so well, I near met my Maker this day.
(Enter Little John and the merry men.)
O, master, master, where have you been? And tarried so long away?
For hours long we search for you, so did we spend the day.
I met with this bold stranger here, he had beaten me full sore.
Then he must need now fight with me, to even up the score!
Oh no!, oh no!, good Little John, let that young fellow free!
For he's my own dear sister's son, and nephew unto me.
Now he shall be a bold yeoman of mine, my chief man next to thee.
And I, Robin Hood, and thou, Little John, and Scarlet he shall be.
And we'll be three of the bravest outlaws that are in the North Country!
ROBIN HOOD AND FRIAR TUCK
In summer time, when leaves grow green, and flowers are fresh and gay,
Robin Hood and his merry men, were disposed for to play.
In comes I, bold Robin Hood, so known throughout the land!
Dressed am I in Kendall green, with longbow in my hand.
Beneath the merry Greenwood tree in Sherwood dwelleth I.
When I bold friar, dressed in brown, I did perchance espy.
Now unto me, my good men all, and list what I do say.
Into the wood you must now go, and there in silence stay.
If I do have some need of you, then you must needs this know,
That thricely on this horn of gold I heartily shall blow.
No scatter hence, the friar comes unto this very place.
In sooth, he be a scurvy knave, with most unpleasant face.
(Robin and men hide in "woods" as Friar Tuck enter into center.)
No fear have I of any man, but they much fear my wrath!
For no one has fought me and won, all have been by me beaten.
Alas, I wish I had more food, for all I had I've eaten.
God save thee, friar known as Tuck! How fairs thee this fine morn?
Carry me over the water now, or else thy life's forlorn.
Carry you over the water shall I, so mount my back most strong.
I fear now that now we are mid-way, thou are not there for long!
For as I carried thee o'er the stream I had a passing whim,
To see if such a wretch as thee would'st either sink or swim.
(Tuck drops Robin in to the stream.)
I drown! I drown! The curtail friar has thrown me in the muck!
Oh cursed be thee, thou wretched knave known now as Friar Tuck!
Come take thy staff, thou foolish man, and say no more to me.
Defend thyself, or thou shalt pay an even harsher fee.
I'll strike thee with this staff of oak, I'll split thy head in two.
If this were sword instead of staff, I'd quickly run thee through!
(They fight. Robin loses.)
A boon! A boon! Thou curtail friar, I beg it on my knee.
Give me leave to take my horn and on it blow blasts three.
That will I do, thou foolish man, of thy blast I have no doubt.
I hope thou will blow so passing well, that both thine eyes fall out.
(Robin blows three blasts, and his merry men appear from all sides.)
So meet you now my merry men all, they come now to mine aid.
Now on thy knees, good Friar Tuck! I will now be obeyed!
A boon! A boon! I beg thee now, the like I gave to thee.
Just let me place my fist to mouth and blow out whistles three.
That will I do, thou curtail friar, or else I were to blame.
Since thou didst let me blow mine horn, I will allow the same.
Friar Tuck whistles 3 times, and in rush actors/patrons acting as his dogs.)
These be my dogs, and they be trained in all the arts of war.
Against thy men they shall prevail, and you shall fall before.
(A battle betwixt men and beasts ensues, with many a twang and thwunk. The dogs are winning until Little John enters. -- Alternately, a morris dance is performed betwixt "dogs" and "merry men".)
Although I have arrived last, far from least be I.
Restrain thy dogs, good Friar Tuck, lest thou wouldst see them die.
Hold your bows, you men in green, and listen to my plea.
For your master will I now serve, if you set my dogs free.
I would be glad to have thee as one of my merry men.
Come take my hand and we shall vow to never fight again.
For Robin Hood my men call me, so well contented be;
As from the rich we wealth divide amongst us equally.
Of thy name I have heard much, and what I heard pleased me.
And proud am I to be one of thy gallant company.
Long into night they feasted, drinking bottle by the score,
'til even Friar Tuck swore he could eat nor drink no more.
ROBIN HOOD AND THE RANGER
When Phoebus had melted the sickles of ice, and likewise the mountains of snow,
Bold Robin Hood he would ramble to see, to frolic abroad with his bow.
He left all his merry men waiting behind, as through the green valleys he passed.
There did he behold a forester bold, who cried out,
Friend, whither so fast?
Methinks that I'm going to kill a fat buck for me and my merry men all.
Besides e'er I go, I'll have a fat doe, or else it shall cost me a fall.
You'd best have a care, for these deer be not thine, they be his Majesty's deer.
Before thou shalt shoot, the think I'll dispute, for I am the head forester here.
These thirteen long summers, thou knowest, I'm sure, mine arrows I here have let fly
Where freely I range, methinks it is strange, thou shouldst have more power than I.
This forest of Sherwood I take as mine own, that includes all the deer running free.
Therefore I declare and I solemnly swear that I will not be thwarted by thee.
RANGER: Then draw out thy sword, and I shall draw mine, and together we shall both now fight
To see if this forest belongs to the king or if thou hast truly the right.
I be not afraid of thee, or thy bright sword, and will fight thee honest and fair.
So stand at thy guard, my blows shall fall hard, and thy head will be needing repair.
Take this, thou knave, I hope my blade will make a fetching lump.
And if thou tryest now to flee, thou'lt have it on thy rump!
Thy manners are too bold my friend. (In sooth my rump be sore.)
So take this blow upon thy head and bother me no more.
(They fight some more, ending in breaking each other's sword.)
Thou brokest my blade - the finest made in all this north country.
As thou didst mine, and I shall have a recompense of thee!
Nay, hold thy rage, my brave fellow, let us not fight again.
A new sword shall be thine if you but join my merry men.
I'll give thee this ring as a token of love, for bravely thou acted thy part.
A man that can fight, in him I delight, and live him with all of my heart.
(Blows three horn blasts. The merry men enter.)
I thank thee, Good Robin, I will be thy man and range with thee in the woods wide.
And so I declare and most solemnly swear to thine service, and will die by thy side.
ROBIN HOOD AND MAID MARIAN
A bonny fine maid of noble degree, Maid Marian called by name,
Did live in the North, of excellent worth, for she was a gallant dame.
For favour and face, and beauty most rare, Queen Helen she did excel;
For Marian then was praised of all men that in the country did dwell.
The Earl of Huntington, nobly born, to the wilds of Sherwood hath fled.
He has taken the outlaw name Robin Hood there, but in sooth I do fear he be dead.
With kisses sweet did our red lips meet, for I and the Earl did agree;
In every place, we did kindly embrace, with love and with sweet unity.
But the Sheriff of Nottingham bore us some spite, and did force my lover to part
To the merry green wood went my good Robin Hood, with a sad and sorrowful heart.
In order to soothe this great fear in my mind, I shall dress myself up as a page,
And range through the forest to find Robin Hood, the bravest of men in this age.
Who dares enter Sherwood, so brazen and bold?
Why you be but a lad, nary sixteen years old.
I may be but a youth, but twixt us, thou art weakest.
Thou hadst best clear the way, lest a fight's what thou seekest.
A boy I'll not fight, for I would be called fool to fight with a babe who has scarce ceased to drool.
(Marian strikes Robin Hood.)
How now? I'm a babe? Thou aging old sot!
If my blows be so weak, they thou wilt feel them not!
So this blow right here, nor this blow right there,
Should cause thee no pain, though they leave thy skin rare.
By my troth, thou are stronger than thy frame doth show,
So I'll feel no remorse in returning the blow.
(Robin strikes Marian.)
If thou thinkest I'll falter and cower in fear, or that I will turn coward and run,
Thou hast made a grave error, thou foolish old man, for I have just barely begun.
(They fight. Robin loses.)
Hold thy hand, hold thy hand, my most persistent youth, for I would have thee one of my string,
To range the wild forest with bold Robin Hood, and to hear the sweet nightingales sing.
I know the good man who has claim to that voice, 'tis the voice of my very true lover!
There's no need to hide 'neath these rage anymore. Behold what I now shall uncover!
Oh Marian, live, it was thee that I fought? That rouge with the strong tongue and arm?
To think I could mistake thee for a boy. I hope I did cause thee no harm.
The pain of our parting was much worse by far. All pain ceases now I have found thee.
Forever in Sherwood I now will reside, with oaths of our love I have bound thee.
In solid content together they lived, with all their yeomen gay;
They lived by their hands, without any lands, and so they did many a day.