Sidor som bilder
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

That were great pitye, then sayd the quene,
If any grace myght be.

My lorde, whan I came fyrst into this lande
To be your wedded wyfe,
The fyrst boone that I wold aske,
Ye would graunt it me belyfe :1

And I asked you never none tyll now;
Therefore good lorde, graunt it me,
Now aske it, madam, sayd the kynge,
And graunted it shal be.

Then, good my lord, I you beseche,
These yemen graunt ye me.
Madame, ye myght have asked a boone,
That shuld have been worth them all thre.

Ye myght have asked towres, and townes,
Parkes and forestes plentè.

None soe pleasant to my pay,' shee sayd;
Nor none so lefe3 to me.

[blocks in formation]

But good my lord, speke som mery word,
That comfort they may se.

I graunt you grace, then sayd our king;
Washe, felos, and to meate go ye.

Ver. 111, 119. sic. MS. bowne, PC.
[1 at once. 2 satisfaction.







V. 130. God a mercye, MS. 3 dear. ♦ I thank you.]

They had not setten but a whyle
Certayne without lesynge,1


There came messengers out of the north
With letters to our kyng.

And whan the came before the kynge,
They knelt downe on theyr kne;
And sayd, Lord, your officers grete you well,
Of Carleile in the north cuntrè.

How fareth my justice, sayd the kyng,
And my sherife also?

Syr, they be slayne without leasynge,
And many an officer mo.

Who hath them slayne, sayd the kyng;
Anone that thou tell me?

"Adam Bell, and Clime of the Clough, And Wyllyam of Cloudeslè.”

Alas for rewth !2 then sayd our kynge:
My hart is wonderous sore;
I had lever than a thousande pounde,
I had knowne of thys before;

For I have graunted them grace,

And that forthynketh' me:
But had I knowne all thys before,
They had been hanged all thre.

The kyng hee opened the letter anone,
Himselfe he red it thro,

And founde how these outlawes had slain
Thre hundred men and mo:

Fyrst the justice, and the sheryfe,
And the mayre of Carleile towne;

2 pity.

3 rather. 4 vexeth.]

[1 lying.







Of all the constables and catchipolles
Alyve were 'scant' left one:
The baylyes, and the bedyls both,
And the sergeauntes of the law,
And forty fosters of the fe,'
These outlawes had yslaw :"


And broke his parks, and slayne his dere;
Of all they chose the best;

So perelous out-lawes, as they were,
Walked not by easte nor west.

When the kynge this letter had red,
In hys harte he syghed sore:
Take up the tables anone he bad,
For I may eat no more.

The kyng called hys best archars
To the buttes wyth hym to go:
I wyll se these felowes shote, he sayd,
In the north have wrought this wo.

The kynges bowmen buske them blyve,
And the quenes archers also;
So dyd these thre wyghtye yemen;
With them they thought to go.

There twyse, or thryse they shote about
For to assay theyr hande;

There was no shote these yemen shot,
That any prycke* myght stand.

Then spake Wyllyam of Cloudeslè;
By him that for me dyed,


[1 foresters of the king's demesnes.

3 get them ready instantly.]


Ver. 168. left but one, MS. not one, PC. V. 185. blythe, MS.

* i.e. mark.

2 slain.






I hold hym never no good archar,
That shoteth at buttes so wyde.

'At what a butte now wold
I pray thee tell to me?
At suche a but, syr, he sayd,
As men use in my countree.

ye shote,'

Wyllyam wente into a fyeld,

And with him' his two brethren :
There they set up two hasell roddes1
Twenty score paces betwene.

I hold him an archar, said Cloudeslè,
That yonder wande cleveth in two.
Here is none suche, sayd the kyng,
Nor no man can so do.

I shall assaye, syr, sayd Cloudeslè,
Or that I farther go.

Cloudesly with a bearyng arowe
Clave the wand in two.

Thou art the best archer, then said the king,
Forsothe that ever I se.
yet for


your love, sayd Wyllyam,

I wyll do more maystery.


I have a sonne is seven yere olde,
He is to me full deare;

I wyll hym tye to a stake;
All shall se, that be here;

And lay an apple upon hys head,
And go syxe score paces hym fro,

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Ver. 202, 203, 212. to, PC. V. 204. i.e. 400 yards. V. 208.

sic MS. none that can, PC. V. 222. i.e. 120 yards.

[1 hazel rods.


an arrow that carries well * trial of skill.]

And I my selfe with a brode aròw
Shall cleve the apple in two.

Now haste the, then sayd the kyng,
By hym that dyed on a tre,
But yf thou do not, as thou hest sayde,
Hanged shalt thou be.

And thou touche his head or gowne,
In fyght that men may se,
By all the sayntes that be in heaven,
I shall hange you all thre.

That I have promised, said William,
That I wyll never forsake.
And there even before the kynge
In the earth he drove a stake:

And bound thereto his eldest sonne,

And bad hym stand styll thereat; And turned the childes face him fro, Because he should not start.

An apple upon his head he set,
And then his bowe he bent:
Syxe score paces they were meaten,
And thether Cloudeslè went.

There he drew out a fayr brode arrowe,
Hys bowe was great and longe,
He set that arrowe in his bowe,

That was both styffe and stronge

He prayed the people, that wer there,
That they'all still wold' stand,
For he that shoteth for such a wager,
Behoveth a stedfast hand.

Ver. 243. sic, MS. out met, PC. V. 252. steedye, MS.







« FöregåendeFortsätt »