Sidor som bilder

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;
And itt were not for bursting of my bowe,

John, I thy head wold breake.

As often wordes they breeden bale,
So they parted Robin and John;
And John is gone to Barnesdale :
The gates* he knoweth eche one.

But when he came to Barnesdale,

Great heavinesse there hee hadd,

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i. e. ways, passes, paths, ridings. Gate is a common word in the North for way.

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One shoote now I will shoote, quoth John,
With Christ his might and mayne;
Ile make yond fellow that flyes soe fast,
To stopp he shall be fayne.

Then John bent up his long bende-bowe,
And fetteled him to shoote:
The bow was made of a tender boughe,

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,
Yet flewe not the arrowe in vaine,
For itt mett one of the sherriffes men,
Good William a Trent was slaine.


It had bene better of William a Trent
To have bene abed with sorrowe,

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
Fyve can doe more than three,
The sheriffe hath taken little John,

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,
How he is gone to the wight yeoman,

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
Than fortye pound soe good.

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,
For he clave the good pricke wande.

A blessing upon thy heart, he sayd;
Good fellowe, thy shooting is goode;
For an thy hart be as good as thy hand,
Thou wert better then Robin Hoode.

Now tell me thy name, good fellowe, sayd he,
Under the leaves of lyne.

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
Might have seene a full fayre sight,

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

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