The song was sung by Little John at a private celebration honoring Robin Hood and Maid Marian's engagement, with a lot of Robin's friends dancing along to it. They are also entertained with a puppet show set by Friar Tuck and Otto.
The subject matter of the song centers on the singers' disapproval of Prince John's taxation, hails Robin Hood as a hero and swears that with Robin's help, they will overcome their financial crisis.
Later, the song apparently catches on so much, even Sir Hiss and the Sheriff of Nottingham start humming it. When Prince John overhears them, he is furious and increases the villagers' taxes when the Sheriff tells him that all of Nottingham's singing it, or if they lack the amount of money expected to be paid, gives them a jail sentence.
Oh the world will sing of an English King
A thousand years from now
And not because he passed some laws
Or had that lofty brow
While bonny good King Richard leads
The great crusade he's on
We'll all have to slave away
For that good-for-nothin' John
Incredible as he is inept
Whenever the history books are kept
They'll call him the phony king of England!
A pox on the phony king of England!
He sits alone on a giant throne
Pretendin' he's the king
A little tyke who's rather like
A puppet on a string
And he throws an angry tantrum
If he cannot have his way
And then he calls for his Mum
While he's suckin' his thumb
You see, he doesn't want to play
Too late to be known as John the First
He's sure to be known as John the worst
A pox on that phony king of England!
While he taxes us to pieces
And he robs us of our bread
King Richard's crown keeps slippin' down
Around that pointed head
Ah! But while there is a merry man
In Robin's wily pack
We'll find a way to make him pay
And steal our money back
A minute before he knows we're there
Ol' Rob'll snatch his underwear!
The breezy and uneasy king of England!
The snivellin' grovellin',
Prince John, that phony King of England!