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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Little John is gone to merry Kirkleys,
As fast as he can dree ; And when he came to merry Kirkleys,
He broke locks two or three :
Until he came bold Robin to see,
Then he fell on his knee ; 'A boon, a boon ! ' cries Little John,
' Master, I beg of thee ! '
i What is that boon,' said Robin Hood, ' Little John, thou begs of me ?'
' It is to burn fair Kirkleys-hall, And all their nunnerye.'
' Now nay, now nay,' quoth Robin Hood, ' That boon I'll not grant thee ;
I never hurt woman in all my life, Nor men in their company.
' I never hurt maid in all my time,
Nor at mine end shall it be; But give me my bent bow in my hand,
And a broad arrow I'll let flee ; And where this arrow is taken up
There shall my grave digg'd be. 638
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