Thomas Spence passing through Barnsdale,
Making his way through a wood,
When there stepped out from the shadows
The figure of Robin Hood.
“I have no gold,” said Thomas Spence,
“No jewels or property,
For the only things I value
Is the gem of liberty.”
“It’s a shame you’re not a rich man,”
Replied Robin with a curse,
“As I can’t use your liberty
To fill up a poor man’s purse.”
“I know you rob,” said Thomas Spence,
“Only for the poor man’s sake.
I can salute your endeavour,
But then condemn your mistake.
“Whatever you redistribute
From rich to poor, you must know
While the wealthy hold the power
Then, through taxes and the law,
Through rent, through credit and through debt,
Through low-waged labour, it’s plain,
No matter what you liberate
The rich take it back again.”
Downcast, Robin Hood stood aside,
Sadly unstringing his bow,
While Thomas Spence went on his way,
A path hard and long and slow.
There’d be judges to pass sentence,
But, any cell that he sat in
Was his hive of liberty.