At the Sign of the Blue Boar

Under the oak tree, long ago,
We lived with merry Robin Hood,
Who taught us how to bend the bow
And live aright in green Sherwood

Now let us part the leaves again,
And find that merry life, and bold.
We’ll roam again as we did then —
How came it that we all grew old?

Let us stroll to the Blue Boar Inn,
Quaff a mug of October ale
Nigh unto Sherwood and the fen,
And, laughing, tell a jolly tale

Old Gaffer Swanthold might rest there
Easing his bones in the summer sun
Chatting sweet Joan whose auburn hair
Reminds him of his youthful fun.

Stout of sinew and bold of heart,
Home from the wars i’the Holy Land,
A gallant knight now takes his part,
A hero and a brave, strong man:

Sir Richard o’ the Lea, a knight
A warrior’s heart, but mortgaged land,
Always first in a desperate fight
Poor, but we know no better man

O Alan-a-Dale, tune your lute
And sing how Midge the Miller’s son
Bullied by men (of ill repute),
With Robin’s aid fought them, and won.

O sing of good Saint Swithin whose
Feast day predicts the summer’s moods,
Forty days as the Saint doth choose,
Smiling on England’s grain-fat roods

Maid Marian, she’s just a girl
So lightly dancing through the wood
But she can outshoot any churl
And she is sweet on Robin Hood

Will Scarlet, too, and Little John,
Scathelock and Stutely, still
Ambushing fat bishops anon,
Not far from old Hanacker Mill

And we were with them there along
The London Road from Nottingham
Whistling a happy, wordless song,
For nothing rhymes with “Nottingham.”

Sing of Sherwood’s high-leaping deer
Falling to arrows swift and sure
Around the campfire, such good cheer
Venison and ale – the poor man’s cure

Far off in London, Henry, King,
And his Eleanor of Aquitaine
Too oft ignore their far-off shires
And their people’s sheriff-ridden pain

But with us always, happy Tuck
Ever hungry but never mean,
A Friar of faith, of joy, of pluck,
A child of blessed Mary, Queen

Telling his beads, sharpening his sword
Saying Masses for Robin’s band
Seated first at the groaning board
Oft poaching on the bishop’s land

O, merry robbers once we were
In green and sunny barefoot youth
“Stand and deliver, noble sir!
Your purse is too heavy, in God’s truth!”

Under the oak tree, long ago,
We lived with merry Robin Hood,
Who taught us how to bend the bow
And live aright in green Sherwood

By Mack Hall

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