Performed by GentleFolk 18/10/2014
ROBIN HOOD & THE PEDLAR
It’s of a pedlar, pedlar bold
A pedlar bold there chanced to be.
He took his pack all on his back,
& Merrily trudged o’er the lea.
By chance he met two troublesome men,
Two troublesome men they chanced to be;
Then one of them was bold Robin Hood
& The other was Little John so free.
‘Oh pedlar, pedlar, what’s in thy pack?
Come speedily & tell to me.’
‘I’ve several suits of the gay green cloth,
& Silken bowstrings by two or three.’
‘If you’ve several suits of then gay green cloth,
& Silken bowstrings two or three,
Then by my body’ cries Little John,
‘One half your pack shall belong to me.’
‘Oh no, oh no,’ says the pedlar bold,
‘Oh no,oh no, that never can be,
For there’s never a man in fair Nottingham
Can take one half my pack from me.’
Then the pedlar he pulled off his pack,
& put it a little below his knee,
Saying: ‘If you do move me one perch from this,
My pack & all shall go with thee.’
Then Little John he drew his sword,
The pedlar by his pack did stand,
They fought until they both did sweat,
& John cried: ‘Pedlar, pray hold your hand.’
Then Robin Hood he was standing by,
& He did laugh most heartily,
‘I could find a man of shorter scale,
Could thrash the pedlar & also thee.’
‘Go you try master,’ says Little John,
‘& Go you try most speedily,
For by my body,’ says Little John,
‘I’m sure this night you will know me.’
Then Robin Hood he drew his sword,
& The pedlar by his pack did stand;
They fought until the blood in streams did flow,
Till he cried: ‘Pedlar, pray hold your hand.’
‘Oh pedlar, pedlar, what is thy name?
Come speedily & tell to me.’
‘Well now, my name I never will tell
Till both your names you have told me.’
‘The one of us is bold Robin Hood
& The other one is Little John so free.’
‘Now,’ says the pedlar, ‘it lays to my good will
Whether my name I choose to tell thee.
‘I’m Gamble Gold of the gay green woods,
& Travelled far beyond the sea.
For killing a man in my father’s land,
Far from my country I was forced to flee.’
‘If you’re Gamble Gold of the gay green woods,
& Travelled far beyond the sea,
You are my mother’s own sister’s son,
What nearer cousins can we be?’
They sheathed their swords with friendly words,
So merrily they did agree.
They went to a tavern & there they dined,
& Crackèd bottles most merrily.
This ballad can be found in the A.L.Lloyd/Ralph Vaughan Williams Penguin book of English folk songs.
Collected by Lucy Broadwood in 1906 from Mr Verrall, Horsham, Sussex. Broadsides of this ballad were printed in the 19th century. In earlier forms the pedlar is a gentleman in silks by the name of Gamwell. Gamwell & Gamble Gold may be corruptions of Gamelyn.
The ballad may be a fragment from the Tale Of Gamelyn, one of the outlaw legends of medieval times, one of the tales of the greenwood (which probably only survived because of it’s inclusion into one of the versions of the Canterbury Tales).
In The Tale Of Gamelyn the youngest of three brothers is deprived of his inheritance by his greedy elder brother. Once of age, Gamelyn realizes that he has been wronged and begins to exert himself, deploying his immense strength and the loyalty of his father’s steward, Adam. Gamelyn’s evil brother gets him outlawed and he goes into the forest. Here he battles with the mysterious king of the outlaws and wins his welcome. (There is speculation that this king of the outlaws is Robin; The Tale Of Gamelyn is thought to predate the Robin Hood legend so who knows)
Gamelyn’s second brother tries to help through court channels, but evil brother wants to destroy them both. In a typical medieval happy ending, Gamelyn bursts into the court, seizes the judge’s place and has the judge, evil brother and the jury who outlawed him executed, before being pardoned by the king and living happily ever after.
We recorded this track last night in the upstairs “studio”. Note the cunning use of mattress as sound absorber. We recorded the instrumental track live as a band, and then recorded the four voices together over that. We used 2 Neumann km 184 on guitar and whistle, Neumann tlm 103 on violin and an AKG 414 on shruti. Then used the tlm 103 to record Elizabeth and I singing and the AKG 414 to record Sarah and Ian.
Naturally Smudge the cat was present for recording duties. The recording process was helped along by home made ginger beer, and a wonderful cheese, ham and vegetable pie with egg pastry. More recordings coming soon