The Gest of Robyn Hode
No: 117; variant: 117A
- LYTHE and listin, gentilmen,
That be of frebore blode;
I shall you tel of a gode yeman,
His name was Robyn Hode.
- Robyn was a prude outlaw,
[Whyles he walked on grounde;
So curteyse an outlawe] as he was one
Was never non founde.
- Robyn stode in Bernesdale,
And lenyd hym to a tre;
And bi hym stode Litell Johnn,
A gode yeman was he.
- And alsoo dyd gode Scarlok,
And Much, the miller’s son;
There was none ynch of his bodi
But it was worth a grome.
- Than bespake Lytell Johnn
All vntoo Robyn Hode:
Maister, and ye wolde dyne betyme
It wolde doo you moche gode.
- Than bespake hym gode Robyn:
To dyne haue I noo lust,
Till that I haue som bolde baron,
Or som vnkouth gest.
- . . . . . . .
That may pay for the best,
Or som knyght or [som] squyer,
That dwelleth here bi west.
- A gode maner than had Robyn;
In londe where that he were,
Euery day or he wold dyne
Thre messis wolde he here.
- The one in the worship of the Fader,
And another of the Holy Gost,
The thirde of Our dere: Lady,
That he loued allther moste.
- Robyn loued Oure dere: Lady;
For dout of dydly synne,
Wolde he neuer do compani harme
That any woman was in.
- ‘Maistar,’ than sayde Lytil Johnn,
‘And we our borde shal sprede,
Tell vs wheder that we shal go,
And what life that we shall lede.
- ‘Where we shall take, where we shall leue,
Where we shall abide behynde;
Where we shall robbe, where we shal reue,
Where we shal bete and bynde.’
- ‘Therof no force,’ than sayde Robyn;
‘We shall do well inowe;
But loke ye do no husbonde harme,
That tilleth with his ploughe.
- ‘No more ye shall no gode yeman
That walketh by grene:-wode shawe;
Ne no knyght ne no squyer
That wol be a gode felawe.
- ‘These bisshoppes and these archebishoppes,
Ye shall them bete and bynde;
The hye: sherif of Notyingham,
Hym holde ye in your mynde.’
- ‘This worde shalbe holde,’ sayde Lytell Johnn,
‘And this lesson we shall lere;
It is fer dayes ; God sende vs a gest,
That we were at oure dynere!’
- ‘Take thy gode bowe in thy honde,’ sayde Rob[yn];
‘Late Much wende with the;
And so shal Willyam Scarlo[k],
And no man abyde with me.
- ‘And walke vp to the Saylis,
And so to Watlingr Stret[e],
And wayte after some vnkuth gest,
Vp chaunce ye may them mete.
- ‘Be he erle, or ani baron,
Abbot, or ani knyght,
Bringhe hym to lodge to me;
His dyner shall be dight.’
- They wente vp to the Saylis,
These yeman all thre;
They loked est, they loke[d] weest;
They myght no man see.
- But as they loked in to Bernysdale,
Bi a derne: strete,
Than came a knyght ridinghe;
Full sone they gan hym mete.
- All dreri was his semblaunce,
And lytell was his pryde;
His one fote in the styrop stode,
That othere wauyd beside.
- His hode hanged in his iyn two;
He rode in symple aray;
A soriar man than he was one
Rode neuer in somer day.
- Litell Johnn was full curteyes,
And sette hym on his kne:
‘Welcom be ye, gentyll knyght,
Welcom ar ye to me.
- ‘Welcom be thou to grene: wode,
Hende: knyght and fre;
My maister hath abiden you fastinge,
Syr, al these oure:s thre.’
- ‘Who is thy maister?’ sayde the knyght;
Johnn sayde, Robyn Hode;
‘He is [a] gode yoman,’ sayde the knyght,
‘Of hym haue I herde moche gode.
- ‘I graunte,’ he sayde, ‘with you to wende,
My bretherne, all in fere;
My purpos was to haue dyned to day
At Blith or Dancastere.’
- Furth than went this gentyl knight,
With a carefull chere;
The teris oute of his iyen ran,
And fell downe by his lere.
- They brought hym to the lodge:-dore;
Whan Robyn hym gan see,
Full curtesly dyd of his hode
And sette hym on his knee.
- ‘Welcome, sir knight,’ than sayde Robyn,
‘Welcome art thou to me;
I haue abyden you fastinge, sir,
All these ouris thre.’
- Than answered the gentyll knight,
With worde:s fayre and fre;
God the saue, goode Robyn,
And all thy fayre meyne:.
- They wasshed togeder and wyped bothe,
And sette to theyr dynere;
Brede and wyne they had right ynoughe,
And noumbles of the dere.
- Swannes and fessauntes they had full gode,
And foules of the ryuere;
There fayled none so litell a birde
That euer was bred on bryre.
- ‘Do gladly, sir knight,’ sayde Robyn;
‘Gramarcy, sir,’ sayde he;
‘Suche a dinere had I nat
Of all these wekys thre.
- ‘If I come ageyne, Robyn,
Here by thys contre:,
As gode a dyner I shall the make
As that thou haest made to me.’
- ‘Gramarcy, knyght,’ sayde Robyn;
‘My dyner whan that I it haue,
I was neuer so gredy, bi dere worthy God,
My dyner for to craue.
- ‘But pay or ye wende,’ sayde Robyn;
‘Me thynketh it is gode ryght;
It was neuer the maner, by dere worthi God,
A yoman to pay for a knyhht.’
- ‘I haue nought in my coffers,’ saide the knyght,
‘That I may profer for shame:’
‘Litell Johnn, go loke,’ sayde Robyn,
‘Ne let nat for no blame.
- ‘Tel me truth,’ than saide Robyn,
‘So God haue parte of the:’
‘I haue no more but ten shelynges,’ sayde the knyght,
‘So God haue parte of me.’
- If thou hast no more,’ sayde Robyn,
‘I woll nat one peny;
And yf thou haue nede of any more,
More shall I lend the.
- ‘Go nowe furth, Littell Johnn,
The truth tell thou me;
If there be no more but ten shelinges,
No peny that I se.’
- Lyttell Johnn sprede downe hys mantell
Full fayre vpon the grounde,
And there he fonde in the knyghte:s cofer
But euen halfe [a] pounde.
- Littell Johnn let it lye full styll,
And went to hys maysteer [full] lowe;
‘What tidynge:s, Johnn?’ sayde Robyn;
‘Sir, the knyght is true inowe.’
- ‘Fyll of the best wine,’ sayde Robyn,
‘The knyght shall begynne;
Moche wonder thinketh me
Thy clot[h]ynge is so thin[n]e.
- ‘Tell me [one] worde,’ sayde Robyn,
‘And counsel shal it be;
I trowe thou warte made a knyght of force,
Or ellys of yemanry.
- ‘Or ellys thou hast bene a sori husbande,
And lyued in stroke and stryfe;
An okerer, or ellis a lechoure,’ sayde Robyn,
‘Wyth wronge hast led thy lyfe.’
- ‘I am none of those,’ sayde the knyght,
‘By God that made: me;
An hundred wynter here before
Myn auncetres knyghtes haue be.
- ‘But oft it hath befal, Robyn,
A man hath be disgrate;
But God that sitteth in heuen aboue
May amende his state.
- ‘Withyn this two yere, Robyne,’ he sayde,
‘My neghbours well it knowe,
Foure hundred pounde of gode money
Ful well than myght I spende.
- ‘Nowe haue I no gode,’ saide the knyght,
‘God hath shaped such an ende,
But my chyldren and my wyfe,
Tyll God yt may amende.’
- ‘In what maner,’ than sayde Robyn,
‘Hast thou lorne thy rychesse?’
‘For my greate: foly,’ he sayde,
‘And for my kynd[e:]nesse.
- ‘I hade a sone, forsoth, Robyn,
That shulde hau[e] ben myn ayre,
Whanne he was twenty wynter olde,
In felde wolde iust full fayre.
- ‘He slewe a knyght of Lancaster,
And a squyer bolde;
For to saue hym in his ryght
My godes both sette and solde.
- ‘My londes both sette to wedde, Robyn,
Vntyll a certayn day,
To a ryche abbot here besyde
Of Seynt Mari Abbey.’
- ‘What is the som?’ sayde Robyn;
‘Trouth than tell thou me;’
‘Sir,’ he sayde, ‘Foure hundred pounde;
The abbot told it to me.’
- ‘Nowe and thou lese thy lond,’ sayde Robyn,
‘What woll fall of the?’
‘Hastely I wol me buske,’ sayd the knyght,
‘Ouer the salte: see,
- ‘And se w[h]ere Criste was quyke and dede,
On the mount of Caluere:;
Fare wel, frende, and haue gode day;
It may no better be.’
- Teris fell out of hys iyen two;
He wolde haue gone hys way:
‘Farewel, frende, and haue gode day;
I ne haue no more to pay.’
- ‘Where be thy frende:s?’ sayde Robyn:
‘Syr, neuer one wol me knowe;
While I was ryche ynowe at home
Great boste than wolde they blowe.
- ‘And nowe they renne away fro me,
As bestis on a rowe;
They take no more hede of me
Thanne they had me neuer sawe.’
- For ruthe thanne wept Litell Johnn,
Scarlok and Muche in fere;
‘Fyl of the best wyne,’ sayde Robyn,
‘For here is a symple chere.
- ‘Hast thou any frende,’ sayde Robyn,
‘Thy borowe that wolde: be?’
‘I haue none,’ than sayde the knyght,
‘But God that dyed on tree.’
- ‘Do away thy iapis,’ than sayde Robyn,
‘Thereof wol I right none;
Wenest thou I wolde haue God to borowe,
Peter, Poule, or Johnn?
- ‘Nay, by hym that me made,
And shope both sonne and mone,
Fynde me a better borowe,’ sayde Robyn,
‘Or money getest thou none.’
- ‘I haue none other,’ sayde the knyght,
‘The sothe for to say,
But yf yt be Our dere: Lady;
She fayled me neuer or thys day.’
- ‘By dere worthy God,’ sayde Robyn,
‘To seche all Englonde thorowe,
Yet fonde I neuer to my pay
A moche better borowe.
- ‘Come nowe furth, Litell Johnn,
And go to my tresoure:,
And bringe me foure hundered pound,
And loke well tolde it be.’
- Furth than went Litell Johnn,
And Scarlok went before;
He tolde oute foure hundred pounde
By eight and twenty score.
- ‘Is thys well tolde?’ sayde [litell] Much;
Johnn sayde, ‘What gre[ue]th the?
It is almus to helpe a gentyll knyght,
That is fal in pouerte:.
- ‘Master,’ than sayde Lityll John,
‘His clothinge is full thynne;
Ye must gyue the knight a lyueray,
To lappe his body therin.
- ‘For ye haue scarlet and grene, mayster,
And man[y] a riche aray;
Ther is no marchaunt in mery Englond
So ryche, I dare well say.’
- ‘Take hym thre yerdes of euery colour,
And loke well mete that it be;’
Lytell Johnn toke none other mesure
But his bowe:-tree.
- And at euery handfull that he met
He lepe:d foote:s three;
‘What deuylle:s drapar,’ sayid litell Muche,
‘Thynkest thou for to be?’
- Scarlok stode full stil and loughe,
And sayd, By God Almyght,
Johnn may gyue hym gode mesure,
For it costeth hym but lyght.
- ‘Mayster,’ than said Litell Johnn
To gentill Robyn Hode,
‘Ye must giue the knig[h]t a hors,
To lede home this gode.’
- ‘Take hym a gray coursar,’ sayde Robyn,
‘And a saydle newe;
He is Oure Ladye’s messangere;
God graunt that he be true.’
- ‘And a gode palfray,’ sayde lytell Much,
‘To mayntene hym in his right;’
‘And a peyre of bote:s,’ sayde Scarlock,
‘For he is a gentyll knight.’
- ‘What shalt thou gyue hym, Litell John?’ said Robyn;
‘Sir, a peyre of gilt sporis clene,
To pray for all this company;
God bringe hym out of tene.’
- ‘Whan shal mi day be,’ said the knight,
‘Sir, and your wyll be?’
‘This day twelue moneth,’ saide Robyn,
‘Vnder this grene:-wode tre.
- ‘It were greate shame:,’ sayde Robyn,
‘A knight alone to ryde,
Withoute: squyre, yoman, or page,
To walke: by his syde.
- ‘I shall the lende Litell John, my man,
For he shalbe thy knaue;
In a yema[n]’s stede he may the stande,
If thou greate nede: haue.’
- Now is the knight gone on his way;
This game hym thought full gode;
Whanne he loked on Bernesdale
He blessyd Robyn Hode.
- And whanne he thought on Bernysdale,
On Scarlok, Much, and Johnn,
He blyssyd them for the best company
That euer he in come.
- Then spake that gentyll knyght,
To Lytel Johan gan he saye,
To-morrowe I must to Yorke toune,
To Saynt Mary abbay.
- And to the abbot of that place
Foure hondred pounde I must pay;
And but I be there vpon this nyght
My londe is lost for ay.
- The abbot sayd to his couent,
There he stode on grounde,
This day twelfe moneth came there a knyght
And borowed foure hondred pounde.
- [He borowed foure hondred pounde,]
Upon all his londe: fre;
But he come this ylke: day
Dysheryte shall he be.
- ‘It is full erely,’ sayd the pryoure,
‘The day is not yet ferre gone;
I had leuer to pay an hondred pounde,
And lay downe anone.
- ‘The knyght is ferre beyonde the see,
In Englonde is his ryght,
And suffreth honger and colde,
And many a sory nyght.
- ‘It were grete pyte:,’ said the pryoure,
‘So to haue his londe;
And ye be so lyght of your consyence,
Ye do to hym moch wronge.’
- ‘Thou arte euer in my berde,’ sayd the abbot,
‘By God and Saynt Rycharde;’
With that cam in a fat-heded monke,
The heygh selerer.
- ‘He is dede or hanged,’ sayd the monke,
‘By God that bought me dere,
And we shall haue to spende in this place
Foure hondred pounde by yere.’
- The abbot and the hy selerer
Sterte: forthe full bolde,
The [hye] iustyce of Englonde
The abbot there dyde holde.
- The hye: iustyce and many mo
Had take in to they[r] honde
Holy all the knyghte:s det,
To put that knyght to wronge.
- They demed the knyght wonder sore,
The abbot and his meyne::
‘But he come this ylke: day
Dysheryte shall he be.’
- ‘He wyll not come yet,’ sayd the iustyce,
‘Idare well vndertake;’
But in sorowe tyme: for them all
The knyght came to the gate.
- Than bespake that gentyll knyght
Untyll his meyne::
Now put on your symple wedes
That ye brought fro the see.
- [They put on their symple wedes,]
They came to the gates anone;
The porter was redy hymselfe,
And welcomed them euerychone.
- ‘Welcome, syr knyght,’ sayd the porter;
‘My lorde to mete is he,
And so is many a gentyll man,
For the loue of the.’
- The porter swore a full grete othe,
‘By God that made: me,
Here be the best coresed hors
That euer yet sawe I me.
- ‘Lede them in to the stable,’ he sayd,
‘That eased myght they be;’
‘They shall not come therin,’ sayd the knyght,
‘By God that dyed on a tre.’
- Lorde:s were to mete isette
In that abbotes hall;
The knyght went forth and kneled downe,
And salued them grete and small.
- ‘Do gladly, syr abbot,’ sayd the knyght,
‘I am come to holde my day:’
The fyrst word the abbot spake,
‘Hast thou brought my pay?’
- ‘Not one peny,’ sayd the knyght,
‘By God that maked me;’
‘Thou art a shrewed dettour,’ sayd the abbot;
‘Syr iustyce, drynke to me.
- ‘What doost thou here,’ sayd the abbot,
‘But thou haddest brought thy pay?’
‘For God,’ than sayd the knyght,
‘To pray of a lenger daye.’
- ‘Thy daye is broke,’ sayd the iustyce,
‘Londe getest thou none:’
‘Now, good syr iustyce, be my frende,
And fende me of my fone!’
- ‘I am holde with the abbot,’ sayd the iustyce,
‘Both with cloth and fee :’
‘Now, good syr sheryf, be my frende!’
‘Nay, for God,’ sayd he.
- ‘Now, good syr abbot, be my frende,
For thy curteyse:,
And holde my londe:s in thy honde
Tyll I haue made the gree!
- ‘And I wyll be thy true seruaunte,
And trewely serue: the,
Tyl ye haue foure hondred pounde
Of money good and free.’
- The abbot sware a full grete othe,
‘By God that dyed on a tree,
Get the londe where thou may,
For thou getest none of me.’
- ‘By dere worthy God,’ then sayd the knyght,
‘That all this worlde: wrought,
But I haue my londe agayne,
Full dere it shall be bought.
- ‘God, that was of a mayden borne,
Leue vs well to spede!
For it is good to assay a frende
Or that a man haue nede.’
- The abbot lothely on hym gan loke,
And vylaynesly hym gan call;
‘Out,’ he sayd, ‘Thou false: knyght,
Spede the out of my hall!’
- ‘Thou lyest,’ then sayd the gentyll knyght,
‘Abbot, in thy hal;
False knyght was I neuer,
By God that made vs all.’
- Vp then stode that gentyll knyght,
To the abbot sayd he,
To suffre a knyght to knele so longe,
Thou canst no curteysye.
- In iouste:s and in tournement
Full ferre than haue I be,
And put my selfe as ferre in prees
As ony that euer I se.
- ‘What wyll ye gyue more,’ sayd the iustice,
‘And the knyght shall make a releyse?
And elles dare I safly swere
Ye holde neuer your londe in pees.’
- ‘An hondred pounde,’ sayd the abbot;
The justice sayd, Gyue hym two;
‘Nay, be God,’ sayd the knyght,
‘Yit gete ye it not so.
- ‘Though ye wolde gyue a thousand more,
Yet were ye neuer the nere;
Shall there neuer be myn heyre
Abbot, iustice, ne frere.’
- He stert hym to a borde anone,
Tyll a table rounde,
And there he shoke oute of a bagge
Euen four hundred pound.
- ‘Haue here thi golde, sir abbot,’ saide the knight,
‘Which that thou lentest me;
Had thou ben curtes at my comynge,
Rewarded shuldest thou haue be.’
- The abbot sat styll, and ete no more,
For all his ryall fare;
He cast his hede on his shulder,
And fast began to stare.
- ‘Take me my golde agayne,’ saide the abbot,
‘Sir iustice, that I toke the:’
‘Not a peni,’ said the iustice,
‘Bi Go[d, that dy]ed on tree.’
- ‘Sir [abbot, and ye me]n of lawe,
Now haue I holde my daye;
Now shall I haue my londe agayne,
For ought that you can saye.’
- The knyght stert out of the dore,
Awaye was all his care,
And on he put his good clothynge,
The other he lefte there.
- He wente hym forth full mery syngynge,
As men haue tolde in tale;
His lady met hym at the gate,
At home in Verysdale.
- ‘Welcome, my lorde,’ sayd his lady;
‘Syr, lost is all your good?’
‘Be mery, dame,’ sayd the knyght,
‘And pray for Robyn Hode,
- ‘That euer his soule: be in blysse:
He holpe me out of tene;
Ne had be his kynde:nesse,
Beggers had we bene.
- ‘The abbot and I accorded ben,
He is serued of his pay;
The god yoman lent it me,
As I cam by the way.’
- This knight than dwelled fayre at home,
The sothe for to saye,
Tyll he had gete four hundred pound,
Al redy for to pay.
- He purueyed him an hundred bowes,
The strynge:s well ydyght,
An hundred shefe of arowe:s gode,
The hedys burneshed full bryght;
- And euery arowe an elle: longe,
With pecok wel idyght,
Inocked all with whyte siluer;
It was a semely syght.
- He purueyed hym an [hondreth men],
Well harness[ed in that stede],
And hym selfe in that same sete,
And clothed in whyte and rede.
- He bare a launsgay in his honde,
And a man ledde his male,
And reden with a lyght songe
- But as he went at a brydge ther was a wrastelyng,
And there taryed was he,
And there was all the best yemen
Of all the west countree.
- A full fayre game there was vp set,
A whyte bulle vp i-pyght,
A grete courser, with sadle and brydil,
With golde burnyssht full bryght.
- A payre of gloues, a rede golde rynge,
A pype of wyne, in fay;
What man that bereth hym best i-wys
The pryce shall bere away.
- There was a yoman in that place,
And best worthy was he,
And for he was ferre and frembde bested,
Slayne he shulde haue be.
- The knight had ruthe of this yoman,
In place: where he stode;
He sayde that yoman shulde haue no harme,
For loue of Robyn Hode.
- The knyght presed in to the place,
An hundreth folowed hym [free],
With bowe:s bent and arowe:s sharpe,
For to shende that companye.
- They shulderd all and made hym rome,
To wete what he wolde say;
He toke the yeman bi the hande,
And gaue hym al the play .
- He gaue hym fyue marke for his wyne,
There it lay on the molde,
And bad it shulde be set a broche,
Drynke: who so wolde.
- Thus longe taried this gentyll knyght,
Tyll that play was done;
So longe abode Robyn fastinge,
Thre houre:s after the none.
- Lyth and lystyn, gentilmen,
All that nowe be here;
Of Litell Johnn, that was the knighte:s man,
Goode myrth ye shall here.
- It was vpon a mery day
That yonge men wolde go shete;
Lytell Johnn fet his bowe anone,
And sayde he wolde them mete.
- Thre tymes Litell Johnn shet aboute,
And alway he slet the wande;
The proude: sherif of Notingham
By the marke:s can stande.
- The sherif swore a full greate othe:
‘By hym that dyede on a tre,
This man is the best arsche:re
That euer yet sawe I [me.]
- ‘Say me nowe, wight yonge man,
What is nowe thy name?
In what countre were thou borne,
And where is thy wonynge wane?’
- ‘In Holdernes, sir, I was borne,
I-wys al of my dame;
Men cal me Reynolde Grene:lef
Whan I am at home.’
- ‘Sey me, Reyno[l]de Grene:lefe,
Wolde thou dwell with me?
And euery yere I woll the gyue
Twenty marke to thy fee.’
- ‘I haue a maister,’ sayde Litell Johnn,
‘A curteys knight is he;
May ye leue: gete of hym,
The better may it be.’
- The sherif gate Litell John
Twelue monethe:s of the knight;
Therfore he gaue him right anone
A gode hors and a wight.
- Nowe is Litell John the sherife:s man,
God lende vs well to spede!
But alwey thought Lytell John
To quyte hym wele his mede.
- ‘Nowe so God me helpe:,’ sayde Litell John,
‘And by my true leutye,
I shall be the worst seruaunt to hym
That euer yet had he.’
- It fell vpon a Wednesday
The sherif on huntynge was gone,
And Litel Iohn lay in his bed,
And was foriete at home.
- Therfore he was fastinge
Til it was past the none;
‘Gode sir stuarde, I pray to the,
Gyue me my dynere,’ saide Litell John.
- ‘It is longe for Grene:lefe
Fastinge thus for to be;
Therfor I pray the, sir stuarde,
Mi dyner gif me.’
- ‘Shalt thou neuer ete ne drynke,’ saide the stuarde,
‘Tyll my lorde be come to towne:’
‘I make myn auowe to God,’ saide Litell John,
‘I had leuer to crake thy crowne.’
- The boteler was full vncurteys,
There he stode on flore;
He start to the botery
And shet fast the dore.
- Lytell Johnn gaue the boteler suche a tap
His backe went nere in two;
Though he liued an hundred ier,
The wors shuld he go.
- He sporned the dore with his fote;
It went open wel and fyne;
And there he made large lyueray,
Bothe of ale and of wyne.
- ‘Sith ye wol nat dyne,’ sayde Litell John,
‘I shall gyue you to drinke;
And though ye lyue an hundred wynter,
On Lytel Johnn ye shall thinke.’
- Litell John ete, and Litel John drank,
The while: that he wolde;
The sherife had in his kechyn a coke,
A stoute man and a bolde.
- ‘I make myn auowe to God,’ saide the coke,
‘Thou arte a shrewde hynde
In ani hous for to dwel,
For to aske: thus to dyne.’
- And there he lent Litell John
God[e:] strokis thre;
‘I make myn auowe to God,’ sayde Lytell John,
‘These strokis lyked well me.
- ‘Thou arte a bolde man and hardy,
And so thinketh me;
And or I pas fro this place
Assayed better shalt thou be.’
- Lytell Johnn drew a ful gode sworde,
The coke toke another in hande;
They thought no thynge for to fle,
But stifly for to stande.
- There they faught sore togedere
Two myle: way and well more;
Myght neyther other harme done,
The mountnaunce of an owre.
- ‘I make myn auowe to God,’ sayde Litell Johnn,
And by my true lewte:,
Thou art one of the best sworde-men
That euer yit sawe I [me.]
- ‘Cowdest thou shote as well in a bowe,
To grene: wode thou shuldest with me,
And two times in the yere thy clothinge
Chaunged shulde: be;
- ‘And euery yere of Robyn Hode
Twenty merke to thy fe:’
‘Put vp thy swerde,’ saide the coke,
‘And felowe:s woll we be.’
- Thanne he fet to Lytell Johnn
The nowmbles of a do,
Gode brede, and full gode wyne;
They ete and drank theretoo.
- And when they had dronkyn well,
Theyre trouthe:s togeder they plight
That they wo[l]de be with Robyn
That ylke: same: nyght.
- They dyd them to the tresoure-hows,
As fast as they myght gone;
The lokke:s, that were of full gode stele,
They brake them euerichone.
- They toke away the siluer vessell,
And all that they mig[h]t get;
Pecis, masars, ne sponis,
Wolde thei not forget.
- Also [they] toke the gode: pens,
Thre hundred pounde and more,
And did them st[r]eyte to Robyn Hode,
Under the grene: wode hore.
- ‘God the saue, my dere: mayster,
And Criste the saue and se!’
And thanne sayde Robyn to Litell Johnn,
Welcome myght thou be.
- ‘Also be that fayre yeman
Thou bryngest there with the;
What tydynge:s fro Noty[n]gham?
Lytill Johnn, tell thou me.’
- ‘Well the gretith the proude: sheryf,
And sende[th] the here by me
His coke and his siluer vessell,
And thre hundred pounde and thre.’
- ‘I make myne avowe to God,’ sayde Robyn,
‘And to the Trenyte:,
It was neuer by his gode wyll
This gode is come to me.’
- Lytyll Johnn there hym bethought
On a shrewde wyle;
Fyue myle in the forest he ran,
Hym happed all his wyll.
- Than he met the proude: sheref,
Huntynge with houndes and horne;
Lytell Johnn coude of curtesye,
And knelyd hym beforne.
- ‘God the saue, my dere: mayster,
And Criste the saue and se!’
‘Reynolde Grene:lefe,’ sayde the shryef,
‘Where hast thou nowe be?’
- ‘I haue be in this forest;
A fayre syght can I se;
It was one of the fayrest syghtes
That euer yet sawe I me.
- ‘Yonder I sawe a ryght fayre harte,
His coloure is of grene;
Seuen score of dere vpon a herde
Be with hym all bydene.
- ‘Their tynde:s are so sharpe, maister,
Of sexty, and well mo,
That I durst not shote for drede,
Lest they wolde me slo.’
- ‘I make myn auowe to God,’ sayde the shyref,
‘That syght wolde I fayne se:’
‘Buske you thyderwarde, mi dere: mayster,
Anone, and wende with me.’
- The sherif rode, and Litell Johnn
Of fote he was smerte,
And whane they came before Robyn,
‘Lo, sir, here is the mayster-herte.’
- Still stode the proude: sherief,
A sory man was he;
‘Wo the worthe, Raynolde Grene:lefe,
Thou hast betrayed nowe me.’
- ‘I make myn auowe to God,’ sayde Litell Johnn,
‘Mayster, ye be to blame;
I was mysserued of my dynere
Whan I was with you at home.’
- Sone he was to souper sette,
And serued well with siluer white,
And whan the sherif sawe his vessell,
For sorowe he myght nat ete.
- ‘Make glad chere,’ sayde Robyn Hode,
‘Sherif, for charite:,
And for the loue of Litill Johnn
Thy lufe I graunt to the.’
- Whan they had souped well,
The day was al gone;
Robyn commaunde[d] Litell Johnn
To drawe of his hosen and his shone;
- His kirtell, and his cote of pie,
That was fured well and fine,
And to[ke] hym a grene mantel,
To lap his body therin.
- Robyn commaundyd his wight yonge men,
Vnder the grene:-wode tree,
They shulde lye in that same sute,
That the sherif myght them see.
- All nyght lay the proude: sherif
In his breche and in his [s]chert;
No wonder it was, in grene: wode,
Though his syde:s gan to smerte.
- ‘Make glade chere,’ sayde Robyn Hode,
‘Sheref, for charite:;
For this is our ordre i-wys,
Vnder the grene:-wode tree.’
- ‘This is harder order,’ sayde the sherief,
‘Than any ankir or frere;
For all the golde in mery Englonde
I wolde nat longe dwell her.’
- ‘All this twelue monthes,’ sayde Robin,
‘Thou shalt dwell with me;
I shall the teche:, proude: sherif,
An outlawe: for to be.’
- ‘Or I be here another nyght,’ sayde the sherif,
‘Robyn, nowe pray I the,
Smyte of mijn hede rather to-morowe,
And I forgyue it the.
- ‘Lat me go,’ than sayde the sherif,
‘For saynte: charite:,
And I woll be the best[e:] frende
That euer yet had ye.’
- ‘Thou shalt swere me an othe,’ sayde Robyn,
‘On my bright bronde;
Shalt thou neuer awayte me scathe,
By water ne by lande.
- ‘And if thou fynde any of my men,
By nyght or [by] day,
Vpon thyn othe: thou shalt swere
To helpe them tha[t] thou may.’
- Nowe hathe the sherif sworne his othe,
And home he began to gone;
He was as full of grene: wode
As euer was hepe of stone.
- The sherif dwelled in Notingham;
He was fayne he was agone;
And Robyn and his mery men
Went to wode anone.
- ‘Go we to dyner,’ sayde Littell Johnn;
Robyn Hode sayde, Nay;
For I drede Our Lady be wroth with me,
Foe she sent me nat my pay.
- ‘Haue no doute, maister,’ sayde Litell Johnn;
‘Yet is nat the sonne at rest;
For I dare say, and sauely swere,
The knight is true and truste.’
- ‘Take thy bowe in thy hande,’ sayde Robyn,
‘Late Much wende with the,
And so shal Wyllyam Scarlok,
And no man abyde with me.
- ‘And walke vp vnder the Sayles,
And to Watlynge-strete,
And wayte after some vnketh gest;
Vp-chaunce ye may them mete.
- ‘Whether he be messengere,
Or a man that myrthe:s can,
Of my good he shall haue some,
Yf he be a pore: man.’
- Forth then stert Lytel Johan,
Half in tray and tene,
And gyrde hym with a full good swerde,
Under a mantel of grene.
- They went vp to the Sayles,
These yemen all thre;
They loked est, they loked west,
They myght no man se.
- But as [t]he[y] loked in Bernysdale,
By the hye: waye,
Than were they ware of two blacke monkes,
Eche on a good palferay.
- Then bespake Lytell Johan,
To Much he gan say,
I dare lay my lyfe to wedde,
That [these] monkes haue brought our pay.
- ‘Make glad chere,’ sayd Lytell Johan,
‘And frese your bowes of ewe,
And loke your herte:s be seker and sad,
Your strynge:s trusty and trewe.
- ‘The monke hath two and fifty [men,]
And seuen somers full stronge;
There rydeth no bysshop in this londe
So ryally, I vnderstond.
- ‘Brethern,’ sayd Lytell Johan,
‘Here are no more but we thre;
But we brynge: them to dyner,
Our mayster dare we not se.
- ‘Bende your bowes,’ sayd Lytell Johan,
‘Make all yon prese to stonde;
The formost monke, his lyfe and his deth
Is closed in my honde.
- ‘Abyde, chorle monke,’ sayd Lytell Johan,
‘No ferther that thou gone;
Yf thou doost, by dere worthy God,
Thy deth is in my honde.
- ‘And euyll thryfte on thy hede,’ sayd Lytell Johan,
‘Ryght vnder thy hatte:s bonde;
For thou hast made our mayster wroth,
He is fastynge so longe.’
- ‘Who is your mayster?’ sayd the monke;
Lytell Johan sayd, Robyn Hode;
‘He is a stronge thefe,’ sayd the monke,
‘Of hym herd I neuer good.’
- ‘Thou lyest,’ than sayd Lytell Johan,
‘And that shall rewe: the;
He is a yeman of the forest,
To dyne he hath bode: the.’
- Much was redy with a bolte,
Redly and anone,
He set the monke to-fore the brest,
To the grounde that he can gone.
- Of two and fyfty wyght yonge yemen
There abode not one,
Saf a lytell page and a grome,
To lede the somers with Lytel Johan.
- They brought the monke to the lodge:-dore,
Whether he were loth or lefe,
For to speke with Robyn Hode,
Maugre in theyr tethe.
- Robyn dyde adowne his hode,
The monke whan that he se;
The monke was not so curte:yse,
His hode then let he be.
- ‘He is a chorle, mayster, by dere worthy God,’
Than sayd Lytell Johan:
‘Thereof no force,’ sayd Robyn,
‘For curteysy can he none.
- ‘How many men,’ sayd Robyn,
‘Had this monke, Johan?’
‘Fyfty and two whan that we met,
But many of them be gone.’
- ‘Let blowe a horne,’ sayd Robyn,
‘That felaushyp may vs knowe;’
Seuen score of wyght yemen
Came pryckynge on a rowe.
- And euerych of them a good mantell
Of scarlet and of raye;
All they came to good Robyn,
To wyte what he wolde say.
- They made the monke to wasshe and wype,
And syt at his denere,
Robyn Hode and Lytell Johan
They serued him both in-fere.
- ‘Do gladly, monke,’ sayd Robyn.
‘Gramercy, syr,’ sayd he.
‘Where is your abbay, whan ye are at home,
And who is your avowe:?’
- ‘Saynt Mary abbay,’ sayd the monke,
‘Though I be symple here.’
‘In what offyce?’ sayd Robyn:
‘Syr, the hye: selerer.’
- ‘Ye be the more welcome,’ sayd Robyn,
‘So euer mote I the;
Fyll of the best wyne,’ sayd Robyn,
‘This monke shall drynke to me.
- ‘But I haue grete meruayle,’ sayd Robyn,
‘Of all this longe: day;
I drede Our Lady be wroth with me,
She sent me not my pay.’
- ‘Haue no doute, mayster,’ sayd Lytell Johan,
‘Ye haue no nede, I saye;
This monke it hath brought, I dare well swere,
For he is of her abbay.’
- ‘And she was a borowe,’ sayd Robyn,
‘Betwene a knyght and me,
Of a lytell money that I hym lent,
Under the g’Rene-wode tree.
- ‘And yf thou hast that syluer ibrought,
I pray the let me se;
And I shall helpe: the eftsones,
Yf thou haue nede to me.’
- The monke swore a full grete othe,
With a sory chere,
‘Of the borowehode thou spekest to me,
Herde I neuer ere.’
- ‘I make myn avowe to God,’ sayd Robyn,
‘Monke, thou art to blame;
For God is holde a ryghtwys man,
And so is his dame.
- ‘Thou toldest with thyn owne: tonge,
Thou may not say nay,
How thou arte her seruaunt,
And seruest her euery day.
- ‘And thou art made her messengere,
My money for to pay;
Therfore I cun the more: thanke
Thou arte come at thy day.
- ‘What is in your cofers?’ sayd Robyn,
‘Trewe than tell thou me:’
‘Syr,’ he sayd, ‘Twenty marke,
Al so mote I the.’
- ‘Yf there be no more,’ sayd Robyn,
‘I wyll not one peny;
Yf thou hast myster of ony more,
Syr, more I shall lende to the.
- ‘And yf I fynde: [more,’ sayd] Robyn,
‘I-wys thou shalte it for gone;
For of thy spendynge-syluer, monke,
Thereof wyll I ryght none.
- ‘Go nowe forthe, Lytell Johan,
And the trouth tell thou me;
If there be no more but twenty marke,
No peny that I se.’
- Lytell Johan spred his mantell downe,
As he had done before,
And he tolde out of the monke:s male
Eyght [hondred] pounde and more.
- Lytell Johan let it lye full styll,
And went to his mayster in hast;
‘Syr,’ he sayd, ‘The monke is trewe ynowe,
Our Lady hath doubled your cast.’
- ‘I make myn avowe to God,’ sayd Robyn—-
‘Monke, what tolde I the?—-
Our Lady is the trewest woman
That euer yet founde I me.
- ‘By dere worthy God,’ sayd Robyn,
‘To seche all Englond thorowe,
Yet founde I neuer to my pay
A moche better borowe.
- ‘Fyll of the best wyne, and do hym drynke,’ sayd Robyn,
‘And grete well thy lady hende,
And yf she haue nede to Robyn Hode,
A frende she shall hym fynde.
- ‘And yf she nedeth ony more syluer,
Come thou agayne to me,
And, by this token she hath me sent,
She shall haue such thre.’
- The monke was goynge to London ward,
There to holde grete mote,
The knyght that rode so hye on hors,
To brynge hym vnder fote.
- ‘Whether be ye away?’ sayd Robyn:
‘Syr, to maners in this londe,
Too reken with our reues,
That haue done moch wronge.’
- ‘Come now forth, Lytell Johan,
And harken to my tale;
A better yemen I knowe none,
To seke a monke:s male.’
- ‘How moch is in yonder other corser?’ sayd Robyn,
‘The soth must we see:’
‘By Our Lady,’ than sayd the monke,
‘That were no curteysye,
- ‘To bydde a man to dyner,
And syth hym bete and bynde.’
‘It is our olde: maner,’ sayd Robyn,
‘To leue but lytell behynde.’
- The monke toke the hors with spore,
No lenger wolde he abyde:
‘Aske: to drynke:,’ than sayd Robyn,
‘Or that ye forther ryde.’
- ‘Nay, for God,’ than sayd the monke,
‘Me reweth I cam so nere;
For better chepe I myght haue dyned
In Blythe or in Dankestere.’
- ‘Grete well your abbot,’ sayd Robyn,
‘And your pryour, I you pray,
And byd hym send me such a monke
To dyner euery day.’
- Now lete we that monke be styll,
And speke we of that knyght:
Yet he came to holde his day,
Whyle that it was lyght.
- He dyde him streyt to Bernysdale,
Under the grene:-wode tre,
And he founde there Robyn Hode,
And all his mery meyne:.
- The knyght lyght doune of his good palfray;
Robyn whan he gan see,
So curteysly he dyde adoune his hode,
And set hym on his knee.
- ‘God the saue:, Robyn Hode,
And all this company:’
‘Welcome be thou, gentyll knyght,
And ryght welcome to me.’
- Than bespake hym Robyn Hode,
To that knyght so fre:
What nede: dryueth the to grene: wode?
I praye the, syr knyght, tell me.
- ‘And welcome be thou, ge[n]tyll knyght,
Why hast thou be so longe?’
‘For the abbot and the hye: iustyce
Wolde haue had my londe.’
- ‘Hast thou thy londe [a]gayne?’ sayd Robyn;
‘Treuth than tell thou me:’
‘Ye, for God,’ sayd the knyght,
‘And that thanke I God and the.
- ‘But take not a grefe,’ sayd the knyght, ‘That I haue be so longe;
I came by a wrastelynge,
And there I holpe a pore: yeman,
With wronge was put behynde.’
- ‘Nay, for God,’ sayd Robyn,
‘Syr knyght, that thanke I the;
What man that helpeth a good yeman,
His frende than wyll I be.’
- ‘Haue here foure hondred pounde,’ than sayd the knyght,
‘The whiche ye lent to me;
And here is also twenty marke
For your curteysy.’
- ‘Nay, for God,’ than sayd Robyn,
‘Thou broke it well for ay;
For Our Lady, by her [hye:] selerer,
Hath sent to me my pay.
- ‘And yf I toke it i-twyse,
A shame it were to me;
But trewely, gentyll knyght,
Welcom arte thou to me.’
- Whan Robyn had tolde his tale,
He leugh and had good chere:
‘By my trouthe,’ then sayd the knyght,
‘Your money is redy here.’
- ‘Broke it well,’ sayd Robyn,
‘Thou gentyll knyght so fre;
And welcome be thou, ge[n]tyll knyght,
Under my trystell-tre.
- ‘But what shall these bowe:s do?’ sayd Robyn,
‘And these arowe:s ifedred fre?’
‘By God,’ than sayd the knyght,
‘A pore: present to the.’
- ‘Come now forth, Lytell Johan,
And go to my treasure:,
And brynge me there foure hondred pounde;
The monke ouer-tolde it me.
- ‘Haue here foure hondred pounde,
Thou gentyll knyght and trewe,
And bye hors and harnes good,
And gylte thy spores all newe.
- ‘And yf thou fayle ony spendynge,
Com to Robyn Hode,
And by my trouth thou shalt none fayle,
The whyles I haue any good.
- ‘And broke well thy foure hondred pound,
Whiche I lent to the,
And make thy selfe no more so bare,
By the counsell of me.’
- Thus than holpe hym good Robyn,
The knyght all of his care:
God, that syt in heuen hye,
Graunte vs well to fare!
- Now hath the knyght his leue i-take,
And wente hym on his way;
Robyn Hode and his mery men
Dwelled styll full many a day.
- Lyth and lysten, gentil men,
And herken what I shall say,
How the proud[e:] sheryfe of Notyngham
Dyde crye a full fayre play;
- That all the best archers of the north
Sholde come vpon a day,
And [he] that shoteth allther best
The game shall bere a way.
- He that shoteth allther best,
Furthest fayre and lowe,
At a payre of fynly buttes,
Under the grene:-wode shawe,
- A ryght good arowe he shall haue,
The shaft of syluer whyte,
The hede and the feders of ryche red golde,
In Englond is none lyke.
- This than herde good Robyn,
Under his trystell-tre:
‘Make you redy, ye wyght yonge men;
That shotynge wyll I se.
- ‘Buske you, my mery yonge men,
Ye shall go with me;
And I wyll wete the shryue:s fayth,
Trewe and yf he be.’
- Whan they had theyr bowes i-bent,
Theyr takles fedred fre,
Seuen score of wyght yonge men
Stode by Robyns kne.
- Whan they cam to Notyngham,
The buttes were fayre and longe;
Many was the bolde archere
That shoted with bowe:s stronge.
- ‘There shall but syx shote with me;
The other shal kepe my he[ue]de,
And stande: with good bowe:s bent,
That I be not desceyued.’
- The fourth outlawe his bowe gan bende,
And that was Robyn Hode,
And that behelde the proud[e:] sheryfe,
All by the but [as] he stode.
- Thrye:s Robyn shot about,
And alway he slist the wand,
And so dyde good Gylberte
Wyth the whyte: hande.
- Lytell Johan and good Scatheloke
Were archers good and fre;
Lytell Much and good Reynolde,
The worste wolde they not be.
- Whan they had shot aboute,
These archours fayre and good,
Euermore was the best,
For soth, Robyn Hode.
- Hym was delyuered the good arowe,
For best worthy was he;
He toke the yeft so curteysly,
To grene: wode wolde he.
- They cryed out on Robyn Hode,
And grete horne:s gan they blowe:
‘Wo worth the, treason!’ sayd Robyn,
‘Full euyl thou art to knowe.
- ‘And wo be thou! thou proude: sheryf,
Thus gladdynge thy gest;
Other wyse thou behote: me
In yonder wylde forest.
- ‘But had I the in grene: wode,
Under my trystell-tre,
Thou sholdest leue me a better wedde
Than thy trewe lewte:.’
- Full many a bowe: there was bent,
And arowe:s let they glyde;
Many a kyrtell there was rent,
And hurt many a syde.
- The outlawes shot was so stronge
That no man myght them dryue,
And the proud[e:] sheryfe:s men,
They fled away full blyue.
- Robyn sawe the busshement to-broke,
In grene: wode he wolde haue be;
Many an arowe there was shot
Amonge that company.
- Lytell Johan was hurte full sore,
With an arowe in his kne,
That he myght neyther go nor ryde;
It was full grete pyte:.
- ‘Mayster,’ then sayd Lytell Johan,
‘If euer thou loue[d]st me,
And for that ylke: lorde:s loue
That dyed vpon a tre,
- ‘And for the medes of my seruyce,
That I haue serued the,
Lete neuer the proude: sheryf
Alyue now fynde: me.
- ‘But take out thy browne: swerde,
And smyte all of my hede,
And gyue me wounde:s depe and wyde;
No lyfe on me be lefte.’
- ‘I wolde not that,’ sayd Robyn,
‘Johan, that thou were slawe,
For all the golde in mery Englonde,
Though it lay now on a rawe.’
- ‘God forbede,’ sayd Lytell Much,
‘That dyed on a tre,
That thou sholdest, Lytell Johan,
Parte our company.’
- Up he toke hym on his backe,
And bare hym well a myle;
Many a tyme he layd hym downe,
And shot another whyle.
- Then was there a fayre castell,
A lytell within the wode;
Double-dyched it was about,
And walled, by the rode.
- And there dwelled that gentyll knyght,
Syr Rychard at the Lee,
That Robyn had lent his good,
Under the grene:-wode tree.
- In he toke good Robyn,
And all his company:
‘Welcome be thou, Robyn Hode,
Welcome arte thou to me;
- ‘And moche [I] thanke the of thy confort,
And of thy curteysye,
And of thy grete: kynde:nesse,
Under the grene:-wode tre.
- ‘I loue no man in all this worlde
So much as I do the;
For all the proud[e:] sheryf of Notyngham,
Ryght here shalt thou be.
- ‘Shyt the gates, and drawe the brydge,
And let no man come in,
And arme you well, and make you redy,
And to the walles ye wynne.
- ‘For one thynge, Robyn, I the behote;
Iswere by Saynt Quyntyne,
These forty dayes thou wonnest with me,
To soupe, ete, and dyne.’
- Bordes were layde, and clothes were spredde,
Redely and anone;
Robyn Hode and his mery men
To mete: can they gone.
- Lythe and lysten, gentylmen,
And herkyn to your songe;
Howe the proude: shyref of Notyngham,
And men of armys stronge,
- Full fast cam to the hye: shyref,
The contre: vp to route,
And they besette the knyghte:s castell,
The walle:s all aboute.
- The proude: shyref loude gan crye,
And sayde, Thou traytour knight,
Thou kepest here the kynges enemys,
Agaynst the lawe and right.
- ‘Syr, I wyll auowe that I haue done,
The dedys that here be dyght,
Vpon all the lande:s that I haue,
As I am a trewe: knyght.
- ‘Wende furth, sirs, on your way,
And do no more to me
Tyll ye wyt oure kynge:s wille,
What he wyll say to the.’
- The shyref thus had his answere,
Without any lesynge;
[Fu]rth he yede to London towne,
All for to tel our kinge.
- Ther he telde him of that knight,
And eke of Robyn Hode,
And also of the bolde archars,
That were soo noble and gode.
- ‘He wyll auowe that he hath done,
To mayntene the outlawes stronge;
He wyll be lorde, and set you at nought,
In all the northe londe.’
- ‘I wil be at Notyngham,’ saide our kynge,
‘Within this fourteenyght,
And take I wyll Robyn Hode,
And so I wyll that knight.
- ‘Go nowe home, shyref,’ sayde our kynge,
‘And do as I byd the;
And ordeyn gode archers ynowe,
Of all the wyde: contre:.’
- The shyref had his leue i-take,
And went hym on his way,
And Robyn Hode to grene: wode,
Vpon a certen day.
- And Lytel John was hole of the arowe
That shot was in his kne,
And dyd hym streyght to Robyn Hode,
Vnder the grene-wode: tree.
- Robyn Hode walked in the forest,
Vnder the leuys grene;
The proude: shyref of Notyngham
Thereof he had grete tene.
- The shyref there fayled of Robyn Hode,
He myght not haue his pray;
Than he awayted this gentyll knyght,
Bothe by nyght and day.
- Euer he wayted the gentyll knyght,
Syr Richarde at the Lee,
As he went on haukynge by the ryuer-syde,
And let [his] hauke:s flee.
- Toke he there this gentyll knight,
With men of armys stronge,
And led hym to Notyngham warde,
Bounde bothe fote and hande.
- The sheref sware a full grete othe,
Bi hym that dyed on rode,
He had leuer than an hundred pound
That he had Robyn Hode.
- This harde the knyghte:s wyfe,
A fayr lady and a free;
She set hir on a gode palfrey,
To gre’Ne wode anone rode she.
- Whanne she cam in the forest,
Vnder the grene:-wode tree,
Fonde she there Robyn Hode,
And al his fayre mene:.
- ‘God the saue:, gode: Robyn,
And all thy company;
For Our dere: Ladyes sake,
A bone: graunte thou me.
- ‘Late neuer my wedded lorde
Shamefully slayne be;
He is fast bowne to Notingham warde,
For the loue of the.’
- Anone than saide goode Robyn
To that lady so fre,
What man hath your lorde [i-]take?
. . . . . .
- . . . . . .
‘For soth as I the say;
He is nat yet thre myle:s
Passed on his way.’
- Vp than sterte gode Robyn,
As man that had ben wode:
‘Buske you, my mery men,
For hym that dyed on rode.
- ‘And he that this sorowe forsaketh,
By hym that dyed on tre,
Shall he neuer in grene: wode
No lenger dwel with me.’
- Sone there were gode bowe:s bent,
Mo than seuen score;
Hedge ne dyche spared they none
That was them before.
- ‘I make myn auowe to God,’ sayde Robyn,
‘The sherif wolde I fayne see;
And if I may hym take,
I-quyte shall it be.’
- And whan they came to Notingham,
They walked in the strete;
And with the proude: sherif i-wys
Sone: can they mete.
- ‘Abyde, thou proude: sherif,’ he sayde,
‘Abyde, and speke with me;
Of some tidinges of oure kinge
I wolde fayne here of the.
- ‘This seuen yere, by dere worthy God,
Ne yede I this fast on fote;
I make myn auowe to God, thou proude: sherif,
It is nat for thy gode.’
- Robyn bent a full goode bowe,
An arrowe he drowe at wyll;
He hit so the proude: sherife
Vpon the grounde he lay full still.
- And or he myght vp aryse,
On his fete to stonde,
He smote of the sherifs hede
With his bright[e:] bronde.
- ‘Lye thou there, thou proude: sherife,
Euyll mote thou cheue!
There myght no man to the truste
The whyles thou were a lyue.’
- His men drewe out theyr bryght swerdes,
That were so sharpe and kene,
And layde on the sheryues men,
And dryued them downe bydene.
- Robyn stert to that knyght,
And cut a two his bonde,
And toke hym in his hand a bowe,
And bad hym by hym stonde.
- ‘Leue thy hors the behynde,
And lerne for to renne;
Thou shalt with me to grene: wode,
Through myre:, mosse, and fenne.
- ‘Thou shalt with me to grene: wode,
Without ony leasynge,
Tyll that I haue gete vs grace
Of Edwarde, our comly kynge.’
- The kynge came to Notynghame,
With knyghte:s in grete araye,
For to take that gentyll knyght
And Robyn Hode, and yf he may.
- He asked men of that countre:
After Robyn Hode,
And after that gentyll knyght,
That was so bolde and stout.
- Whan they had tolde hym the case
Our kynge vnderstode ther tale,
And seased in his honde
The knyghte:s londe:s all.
- All the passe of Lancasshyre
He went both ferre and nere,
Tyll he came to Plomton Parke;
He faylyd many of his dere.
- There our kynge was wont to se
Herde:s many one,
He coud vnneth fynde one dere,
That bare ony good horne.
- The kynge was wonder wroth withall,
And swore by the Trynyte:,
‘I wolde I had Robyn Hode,
With eyen I myght hym se.
- ‘And he that wolde smyte of the knyghte:s hede,
And brynge it to me,
He shall haue the knyghte:s londes,
Syr Rycharde at the Le.
- ‘I gyue it hym with my charter,
And sele it [with] my honde,
To haue and holde for euer more,
In all mery Englonde.’
- Than bespake a fayre olde knyght,
That was treue in his fay:
A, my leege: lorde the kynge,
One worde I shall you say.
- There is no man in this countre:
May haue the knyghte:s londes,
Whyle Robyn Hode may ryde of gone,
And bere a bowe in his hondes,
- That he ne shall lese his hede,
That is the best ball in his hode:
Giue it no man, my lorde the kynge,
That ye wyll any good.
- Half a yere dwelled our comly kynge
In Notyngham, and well more;
Coude he not here of Robyn Hode,
In what countre: that he were.
- But alway went good Robyn
By halke and eke by hyll,
And alway slewe the kynge:s dere,
And welt them at his wyll.
- Than bespake a proude fostere,
That stode by our kynge:s kne;
Yf ye wyll se good Robyn,
Ye must do after me.
- Take fyue of the best knyghte:s
That be in your lede,
And walke downe by yon abbay,
And gete you monke:s wede.
- And I wyll be your lede:s-man,
And lede you the way,
And or ye come to Notyngham,
Myn hede then dare I lay,
- That ye shall mete with good Robyn,
On lyue yf that he be;
Or ye come to Notyngham,
With eyen ye shall hym se.
- Full hast[e:]ly our kynge was dyght,
So were his knyghte:s fyue,
Euerych of them in monke:s wede,
And hasted them thyder blyve.
- Our kynge was grete aboue his cole,
A brode hat on his crowne,
Ryght as he were abbot-lyke,
They rode up in-to the towne.
- Styf bote:s our kynge had on,
Forsoth as I you say;
He rode syngynge to grene: wode,
The couent was clothed in graye.
- His male-hors and his grete: somers
Folowed our kynge behynde,
Tyll they came to grene: wode,
A myle vnder the lynde.
- There they met with good Robyn,
Stondynge on the waye,
And so dyde many a bolde archere,
For soth as I you say.
- Robyn toke the kynge:s hors,
Haste:ly in that stede,
And sayd, Syr abbot, by your leue,
A whyle ye must abyde.
- ‘We be yemen of this foreste,
Vnder the grene:-wode tre;
We lyue by our kynge:s dere,
[Other shyft haue not wee.]
- ‘And ye haue chyrches and rente:s both,
And gold full grete plente:;
Gyue vs some of your spendynge,
For saynt[e:] charyte:.’
- Than bespake our cumly kynge,
Anone than sayd he;
I brought no more to grene: wode
But forty pounde with me.
- I haue layne at Notyngham
This fourtynyght with our kynge,
And spent I haue full moche good,
On many a grete lordynge.
- And I haue but forty pounde,
No more than haue I me;
But yf I had an hondred pounde,
I wolde vouch it safe on the.
- Robyn toke the forty pounde,
And departed it in two partye;
Halfendell he gaue his mery men,
And bad them mery to be.
- Full curteysly Robyn gan say;
Syr, haue this for your spendyng;
We shall mete another day;
‘Gramercy,’ than sayd our kynge.
- ‘But well the greteth Edwarde, our kynge,
And sent to the his seale,
And byddeth the com to Notyngham,
Both to mete and mele’
- He toke out the brode: targe,
And sone he lete hym se;
Robyn coud his courteysy,
And set hym on his kne.
- ‘I loue no man in all the worlde
So well as I do my kynge;
Welcome is my lorde:s seale;
And, monke, for thy tydynge,
- ‘Syr abbot, for thy tydynges,
To day thou shalt dyne with me,
For the loue of my kynge,
Under my trystell-tre.’
- Forth he lad our comly kynge,
Full fayre by the honde;
Many a dere there was slayne,
And full fast dyghtande.
- Robyn toke a full grete horne,
And loude he gan blowe;
Seuen score of wyght yonge men
Came redy on a rowe.
- All they kneled on theyr kne,
Full fayre before Robyn:
The kynge sayd hym selfe vntyll,
And swore by Saynt Austyn,
- ‘Here is a wonder semely syght;
Me thynketh, by Godde:s pyne,
His men are more at his byddynge
Then my men be at myn.’
- Full hast[e:]ly was theyr dyner idyght,
And therto gan they gone;
They serued our kynge with al theyr myght,
Both Robyn and Lytell Johan.
- Anone before our kynge was set
The fatte: venyson,
The good whyte brede, the good rede wyne,
And therto the fyne ale and browne.
- ‘Make good chere,’ said Robyn,
‘Abbot, for charyte:;
And for this ylke: tydynge,
Blyssed mote thou be.
- ‘Now shalte thou se what lyfe we lede,
Or thou hens wende;
Than thou may enfourme our kynge,
Whan ye togyder lende.’
- Up they sterte: all in hast,
Theyr bowe:s were smartly bent;
Our kynge was neuer so sore agast,
He wende to haue be shente.
- Two yerde:s there were vp set,
Thereto gan they gange;
By fyfty pase, our kynge sayd,
The merke:s were to longe.
- On euery syde a rose-garlonde,
They shot vnder the lyne:
‘Who so fayleth of the rose-garlonde,’ sayd Robyn,
‘His takyll he shall tyne,
- ‘And yelde it to his mayster,
Be it neuer so fyne;
For no man wyll I spare,
So drynke I ale or wyne:
- ‘And bere a buffet on his hede,
I-wys ryght all bare:’
And all that fell in Robyns lote,
He smote them wonder sare.
- Twyse Robyn shot aboute,
And euer he cleued the wande,
And so dyde good Gylberte
With the Whyte: Hande.
- Lytell Johan and good Scathelocke,
For nothynge wolde they spare;
When they fayled of the garlonde,
Robyn smote them full sore.
- At the last shot that Robyn shot,
For all his frende:s fare,
Yet he fayled of the garlonde
Thre fyngers and mare.
- Than bespake good Gylberte,
And thus he gan say;
‘Mayster,’ he sayd, ‘your takyll is lost,
Stande forth and take your pay.’
- ‘If it be so,’ sayd Robyn,
‘That may no better be,
Syr abbot, I delyuer the myn arowe,
I pray the, syr, serue thou me.’
- ‘It falleth not for myn ordre,’ sayd our kynge,
‘Robyn, by thy leue,
For to smyte no good yeman,
For doute I sholde hym greue.’
- ‘Smyte on boldely,’ sayd Robyn,
‘I giue the large: leue:’
Anone our kynge, with that worde,
He folde vp his sleue,
- And sych a buffet he gaue Robyn,
To grounde he yede full nere:
‘I make myn avowe to God,’ sayd Robyn,
‘Thou arte a stalworthe frere.
- ‘There is pith in thyn arme,’ sayd Robyn,
‘I trowe thou canst well shete:’
Thus our kynge and Robyn Hode
Togeder gan they mete.
- Robyn beheld our comly kynge
Wystly in the face,
So dyde Syr Rycharde at the Le,
And kneled downe in that place.
- And so dyde all the wylde outlawes,
Whan they se them knele:
‘My lorde the kynge of Englonde,
Now I knowe you well.
- ‘Mercy then, Robyn,’ sayd our kynge,
‘Vnder your trystyll-tre,
Of thy goodnesse and thy grace,
For my men and me!’
- ‘Yes, for God,’ sayd Robyn,
‘And also God me saue,
I aske: mersy, my lorde the kynge,
And for my men I craue.’
- ‘Yes, for God,’ than sayd our kynge,
‘And therto sent I me,
With that thou leue the grene: wode,
And all thy company;
- ‘And come home, syr, to my courte,
And there dwell with me.’
‘I make myn avowe to God,’ sayd Robyn,
‘And ryght so shall it be.
- ‘I wyll come to your courte,
Your seruyse for to se,
And brynge with me of my men
Seuen score and thre.
- ‘But me lyke: well your seruyse,
I [wyll] come agayne full soone,
And shote at the donne: dere,
As I am wonte to done.’
- ‘Haste thou ony grene: cloth,’ sayd our kynge,
‘That thou wylte sell nowe to me?’
‘Ye, for God,’ sayd Robyn,
‘Thyrty yerde:s and thre.’
- ‘Robyn,’ sayd our kynge,
‘Now pray I the,
Sell me some of that cloth,
To me and my meyne:.’
- ‘Yes, for God,’ then sayd Robyn,
‘Or elles I were a fole;
Another day ye wyll me clothe,
I trowe, ayenst the Yole.’
- The kynge kest of his cole: then,
A grene garment he dyde on,
And euery knyght also, i-wys,
Another had full sone.
- Whan they were clothed in Lyncolne grene,
They keste away theyr graye;
‘Now we shall to Notyngham,’
All thus our kynge gan say.
- They bente theyr bowes, and forth they went,
Shotynge all in-fere,
Towarde the towne of Notyngham,
Outlawes as they were.
- Our kynge and Robyn rode togyder,
For soth as I you say,
And they shote plucke-buffet,
As they went by the way.
- And many a buffet our kynge wan
Of Robyn Hode that day,
And nothynge spared good Robyn
Our kynge in his pay.
- ‘So God me helpe:,’ sayd our kynge,
‘Thy game is nought to lere;
I sholde not get a shote of the,
Though I shote all this yere.’
- All the people of Notyngham
They stode and behelde;
They sawe nothynge but mantels of grene
That couered all the felde.
- Than euery man to other gan say,
I drede our kynge be slone;
Come: Robyn Hode to the towne, i-wys
On lyue he lefte neuer one.’
- Full hast[e:]ly they began to fle,
Both yemen and knaues,
And olde wyues that myght euyll goo,
They hypped on theyr staues.
- The kynge l[o]ughe full fast,
And commaunded them agayne;
When they se our comly kynge,
I-wys they were full fayne.
- They ete and dranke, and made them glad,
And sange with note:s hye;
Than bespake our comly kynge
To Syr Rycharde at the Lee.
- He gaue hym there his londe agayne,
A good man he bad hym be;
Robyn thanked our comly kynge,
And set hym on his kne.
- Had robyn dwelled in the kynge:s courte
But twelue monethes and thre,
That [he had] spent an hondred pounde,
And all his mennes fe.
- In euery place where Robyn came
Euer more he layde downe,
Both for knyghte:s and for squyres,
To gete hym grete renowne.
- By than the yere was all agone
He had no man but twayne,
Lytell Johan and good Scathlocke,
With hym all for to gone.
- Robyn sawe yonge men shote
Full fayre vpon a day;
‘Alas!’ than sayd good Robyn,
‘My welthe is went away.
- ‘Somtyme I was an archere good,
A styffe and eke a stronge;
I was compted the best archere
That was in mery Englonde.
- ‘Alas!’ then sayd good Robyn,
‘Alas and well a woo!
Yf I dwele lenger with the kynge,
Sorowe wyll me sloo.’
- Forth than went Robyn Hode
Tyll he came to our kynge:
‘My lorde the kynge of Englonde,
Graunte me myn askynge.
- ‘I made a chapell in Bernysdale,
That semely is to se,
It is of Mary Magdaleyne,
And thereto wolde I be.
- ‘I myght neuer in this seuen nyght
No tyme to slepe ne wynke,
Nother all these seuen dayes
Nother ete ne drynke.
- ‘Me longeth sore to Bernysdale,
I may not be therfro;
Barefote and wolwarde I haue hyght
Thyder for to go.’
- ‘Yf it be so,’ than sayd our kynge,
‘It may no better be,
Seuen nyght I gyue the leue,
No lengre, to dwell fro me.’
- ‘Gramercy, lorde,’ then sayd Robyn,
And set hym on his kne;
He toke his leue: full courteysly.
To grene: wode then went he.
- Whan he came to grene: wode,
In a mery mornynge,
There he herde the note:s small
Of byrde:s mery syngynge.
- ‘It is ferre gone,’ sayd Robyn,
‘That I was last here;
Me lyste a lytell for to shote
At the donne: dere.’
- Robyn slewe a full grete harte;
His horne than gan he blow,
That all the outlawes of that forest
That horne coud they knowe,
- And gadred them togyder,
In a lytell throwe.
Seuen score of wyght yonge men
Came redy on a rowe,
- And fayre dyde of theyr hodes,
And set them on theyr kne:
‘Welcome,’ they sayd, ‘our [dere:] mayster,
Under this grene:-wode tre.
- Robyn dwelled in grene: wode
Twenty yere and two;
For all drede of Edwarde our kynge,
Agayne wolde he not goo.
- Yet he was begyled, i-wys,
Through a wycked woman,
The pryoresse of Kyrke:sly,
That nye was of hys kynne:
- For the loue of a knyght,
Syr Roger of Donkesly,
That was her owne: speciall;
Full euyll mote: they the!
- They toke togyder theyr counsell
Robyn Hode for to sle,
And how they myght best do that dede,
His banis for to be.
- Than bespake good Robyn,
In place where as he stode,
‘To morow I muste to Kyrke[s]ly,
Craftely to be leten blode.’
- Syr Roger of Donkestere,
By the pryoresse he lay,
And there they betrayed good Robyn Hode,
Through theyr false: playe.
- Cryst haue mercy on his soule,
That dyed on the rode!
For he was a good outlawe,
And dyde pore men moch god.