The Oxford Book of Ballads - online book

A Selection Of The Best English Lyric Ballads Chosen & Edited by Arthur Quiller-Couch

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' Shalt thou never eat nor drink,' said the steward,
' Till my lord be come to town.'
'  I make mine avow to God,' said Little John,
' I had liefer to crack thy crown.'
The butler was full uncouiteous,
There he stood on floor, He started to the buttery,
And shut fast the door.
Little John gave the butler such a rap,
His back yede nigh in two : Tho' he lived an hundred winter,
The worse he should go.
He spurn'd the door with his foot,
It went up well and fine, And there he made a large livery
Both of ale and wine.
' Sith ye will not dine,' said Little John,
' I shall give you to drink, And though ye live an hundred winter,
On Little John ye shall think.'
Little John ate, and Little John drank,
The while that he wolde. The Sheriff had in his kitchen a cook,
A stout man and a bold.
e] went.         liver)-] allowance of food.        Sith] since.
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