Prince John
by
G.H. Goodwin
Some years ago there lived a lad 
By the name of Robin 'Ood 
'Oo'd strum on 'is guitar all day 
Instead of workin' as lads should

'Is father 'oo was an Earl 
Said "I've stood enough by far 
Either thy leaves t'ancestral 'ome 
Or get rid of that guitar"

Robin didn't like these 'arsh words 
Comin' from 'is old dad 
"I can't do that" 'e said 
Without it I'll go mad"

"Me an' t'lads in t'village
Like to sing a Madrigal
If I can't accompany 'em on me guitar
They won't want me for a pal"

"An' that's another thing" said t'Earl 
"I've 'eard you lot sing 
If anything they're worse than thee 
I've 'ad complaints from t'King"

"Up in Sherwood Forest 
'E reckons you're frightening deer 
If things go on 'e'll 'ave nowt to shoot 
'Cos there'll be no deer - 'ere"

"You can tell that feller wot to do" 
Said Robin '"E makes me sick... 
Besides, 'e's not a proper king at all 
By rights it's 'is brother Dick"

"When 'e comes back from t'Crusades 
'E'll put Prince John where 'e belongs 
An' until 'e does me an' t'lads 
Will live in t'woods singin' songs"

Robin went to tell 'is mates 
'Oo'd been 'avin' words with their Dads 
It seemed that crafty Prince John 
'Ad told 'em to warn their lads

"I'm off to live in Sherwood Forest"
Said Robin "Are you lot comin'?"
"We are at that" they all replied
And followed 'im singin' an' strummin'.

"I've just thought of summat" said Little John 
So called 'cos 'e was tall 
'Wot will we do for money now? 
We can't borrow from our Dads at all"

"Now we've lost means of support 
I suppose we'll 'ave to work" 
"Don't say that 'orrible word" cried Robin 
"I think thy's gone berserk"

"We'll -'ave to rob t'rich" said Robin
'"Cos robbin' t 'poor 'll get us nowhere
But just to make things proper like... 
We'll give the poor a share"

So off they went to live in t 'woods
Dressed in green like outsize elves
An' all got rich robbin' Prince John's pals
An' properly enjoyed themselves.

Prince John 'eard of these going's on 
An' said "I'll end this life of crime" 
Off 'e went with all 'is serfs 
To see t'man 'oo was Sheriff at the time

Sheriff of Nottingham told 'is wife
That Prince John was on 'is way 
"And trouble is" 'e said to 'er 
"They'll live 'ere for weeks an' not pay"

"It's all that Robin 'Ood's fault 
With 'is gang of merry men 
Now we'll 'ave Prince John up 'ere 
Runnin' round like a wet 'en"

"Thee get off an' get summat done" 
Said Sheriff's missus with angry 'eat 
"There'll be that lot 'ere before long 
Muckin' me 'ouse with their feet"

Sheriff went to 'ave words with Robin's men
To tell 'im that 'Prince was due 
An' if they didn't be'ave themselves 
'Is missus would chuck 'im out too

"Don't thee worry" they answered
"An' tell thy missus not to fuss 
We'll be as good as gold when t'Prince arrives 
We don't want thee joinin' us!"

When t'Prince arrived with all 'is serfs 
Which is them as do all the work 
'E said "Now where is this Sherwood Forest 
Let's get down there an' lurk"

"E went to spy on t'merry men 
'Oo just then were 'avin' a party 
An' Prince's serfs were annoyed to see 
All Robin's men so 'ale an' 'earty

"Look at that lot" said one of t'serfs 
I can't say they're doin' owt wrong 
We'd be better off joinin' them 
Than workin' for nowt for Prince John

Without more ado they joined Robin's men
Leavi' t'Prince sittin' there all alone 
"That's a nasty thing to do" 'e said 
An' rang up Sheriff on the phone

"Thee 'urry up an' fetch me" 'e said
"I'm all alone so don't thee lag
Me men 'ave joined Robin's lot
An' wot's more they've pinched me nag"

Sheriff set off in a 'urry 
With a 'orse for 'is royal guest 
As 'e passed 'is wife she shouted, 
"That Prince John is nowt but a pest"

"It's just like !im to send for thee 
When 'e's got 'imself into bother 
It's time yon King Richard came 'ome 
An' took over from 'is brother"

"I reckon nowt to 'is gallivantin' 
Tellin' 'eathens 'ow to be'ave 
'E wants to come 'ome with t'Crusaders 
There's a few round 'ere 'e could save"

"I'm not one to preach" she went on 
Which were a lie as t'Sheriff well knew 
In fact, William Shakespeare got 'is idea 
From 'er, for Tamin' of the Shrew.

Sheriff went off, 'is ears burnin' 
Reflecting on 'is way of life.
Wot with Prince John natterin' at one end 
And at the other the tongue of 'is wife.

"I've 'ad enough of this" 'e thought
Bein' Sheriff is not trouble it's worth 
Wot with Robin 'Ood, Prince John an' me wife 
I'd be better off as a serf"

So t'Sheriff made 'is decision
An' decided to call it a day
And instead of collectin' Prince John
Turned round an' went t'other way.

Prince John never went back to Sherwood 
Sheriff never went back to 'is wife 
Robin 'Ood never went back 'ome either 
'Cos 'e were 'avin' the time of 'is life. 
The end