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A sword and a dagger he wore by his side,
Of manye a man the bane;
And he was clad in his capull hyde
Topp and tayll and mayne.
Stand you still, master, quoth Litle John,
Under this tree so grene,
And I will go to yond wight yeoman
To know what he doth meane.
Ah! John, by me thou settest noe store,
And that I farley finde :
How offt send I my men beffore,
And tarry my selfe behinde ?
It is no cunning a knave to ken,
And a man but heare him speake;
John, I thy head wold breake.
As often wordes they breeden bale,
But when he came to Barnesdale,
Great heavinesse there hee hadd,
i. e. ways, passes, paths, ridings. Gate is a common word in the North for way.
One shoote now I will shoote, quoth John,
Then John bent up his long bende-bowe,
And fell downe to his foote.
Woe worth, woe worth thee, wicked wood,
That ere thou grew on a tree; For now this day thou art my bale, My boote when thou shold bee.
His shoote it was but loosely shott,
It had bene better of William a Trent
Than to be that day in the green wood slade
To meet with Little Johns arrowe.
But as it is said, when men be mett
And bound him fast to a tree.
Thou shalt be drawen by dale and downe,
And hanged hye on a hill.
But thou mayst fayle of thy purpose, quoth John, If itt be Christ his will.
Let us leave talking of Litle John,
And thinke of Robin Hood,
Where under the leaves he stood.
Good morrowe, good fellowe, sayd Robin so fayre, "Good morrowe, good fellow," quoth he: Methinkes by this bowe thou beares in thy hande A good archere thou sholdst bee.
I am wilfull of my waye, quo' the yeman,
And of my morning tyde.
Ile lead thee through the wood, sayd Robin;
Good fellow, Ile be thy guide.
I seeke an outlawe, the straunger sayd,
Men call him Robin Hood;
Rather Ild meet with that proud outlawe
Now come with me, thou wighty yeman,
And Robin thou soone shalt see: But first let us some pastime find Under the greenwood tree.
First let us some masterye make
Among the woods so even,
may chance to meet with Robin Hood Here att some unsett steven.
They cutt them downe two summer shroggs,
That grew both under a breere,
And sett them threescore rood in twaine 115
To shoot the prickes y-fere.
Leade on, good fellowe, quoth Robin Hood,
Leade on, I doe bidd thee.
Nay by my faith, good fellowe, hee sayd,
My leader thou shalt bee.
The first time Robin shot at the pricke,
He mist but an inch it froe:
The yeoman he was an archer good,
But he cold never shoote soe.
The second shoote had the wightye yeman, 125 He shote within the garlande:
But Robin he shott far better than hee,
A blessing upon thy heart, he sayd;
Now tell me thy name, good fellowe, sayd he,
Nay by my faith, quoth bolde Robin,
Till thou have told me thine.
I dwell by dale and downe, quoth hee,
And Robin to take Ime sworne;
And when I am called by my right name
I am Guye of good Gisborne.
My dwelling is in this wood, sayes Robin,
By thee I set right nought:
I am Robin Hood of Barnesdale,
Whom thou so long hast sought.
He that had neither beene kithe nor kin, 145
To see how together these yeomen went
With blades both browne* and bright.
• The common epithet for a sword or other offensive wea pon, in the old metrical romances, is BROWN. As "brown brand," or "brown sword: brown bill," &c. and sometimes