Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne
No: 118; variant: 118A
- WHEN shawes beene sheene, and shradds full fayre,
And leeues both large and longe,
Itt is merrry, walking in the fayre fforrest,
To heare the small birds songe.
- The woodweele sang, and wold not cease,
Amongst the leaues a lyne:
And it is by two wight yeomen,
By deare God, that I meane.
- ‘Me thought they did mee beate and binde,
And tooke my bow mee froe;
If I bee Robin a-liue in this lande,
I’le be wrocken on both them towe.’
- ‘Sweauens are swift, master,’ quoth Iohn,
‘As the wind that blowes ore a hill;
Ffor if itt be neuer soe lowde this night,
To-morrow it may be still.’
- ‘Buske yee, bowne yee, my merry men all,
Ffor Iohn shall goe with mee;
For I’le goe seeke yond wight yeomen
In greenwood where the bee.’
- The: cast on their gowne of greene,
A shooting gone are they,
Vntill they came to the merry greenwood,
Where they had gladdest bee;
There were the ware of [a] wight yeoman,
His body leaned to a tree.
- A sword and a dagger he wore by his side,
Had beene many a mans bane,
And he was cladd in his capull-hyde,
Topp, and tayle, and mayne.
- ‘Stand you still, master,’ quoth Litle Iohn,
‘Vnder this trusty tree,
And I will goe to yond wight yeoman,
To know his meaning trulye.’
- ‘A Iohn, by me thou setts noe store,
And that’s a ffarley thinge;
How offt send I my men beffore,
And tarry my-selfe behinde?
- ‘It is noe cunning a knaue to ken,
And a man but heare him speake;
And itt were not for bursting of my bowe,
Iohn, I wolde thy head breake.’
- But often words they breeden bale,
That parted Robin and Iohn;
Iohn is gone to Barn[e]sdale,
The gates he knowes eche one.
- And when hee came to Barnesdale,
Great heauinesse there hee hadd;
He ffound two of his fellowes
Were slaine both in a slade,
- And Scarlett a ffoote flyinge was,
Ouer stockes and stone,
For the sheriffe with seuen score men
Fast after him is gone.
- ‘Yett one shoote I’le shoote,’ sayes Litle Iohn,
‘With Crist his might and mayne;
I’le make yond fellow that flyes so fast
To be both glad and ffaine.
- Iohn bent vp a good veiwe bow,
And ffetteled him to shoote;
The bow was made of a tender boughe,
And fell downe to his foote.
- ‘Woe worth thee, wicked wood,’ sayd Litle Iohn,
‘That ere thou grew on a tree!
Ffor this day thou art my bale,
My boote when thou shold bee!’
- This shoote it was but loosely shott,
The arrowe flew in vaine,
And it mett one of tne sheriffes men;
Good William a Trent was slaine.
- It had beene better for William a Trent
To hange vpon a gallowe
Then for to lye in the greenwoode,
There slaine with an arrowe.
- And it is sayd, when men be mett,
Six can doe more then three:
And they haue tane Litle Iohn,
And bound him ffast to a tree.
- ‘Thou shalt be drawen by dale and downe,’ quoth the sheriffe,
‘And hanged hye on a hill:’
‘But thou may ffayle,’ quoth Litle Iohn,
‘If itt be Christs owne will.’
- Let vs leaue talking of Litle Iohn,
For hee is bound fast to a tree,
And talke of Guy and Robin Hood,
In the green woode where they bee.
- How these two yeomen together they mett,
Vnder the leaues of lyne,
To see what marchandise they made
Euen at that same time.
- ‘Good morrow, good fellow,’ quoth Sir Guy;
‘Good morrow, good ffellow,’ quoth hee;
‘Methinkes by this bow thou beares in thy hand,
A good archer thou seems to bee.’
- ‘I am wilfull of my way,’ quoth Sir Guye,
‘And of my morning tyde:’
‘I’le lead thee through the wood,’ quoth Robin,
‘Good ffellow, I’le be thy guide.’
- ‘I seeke an outlaw,’ quoth Sir Guye,
‘Men call him Robin Hood;
I had rather meet with him vpon a day
Then forty pound of golde.’
- ‘If you tow mett, itt wold be seene whether were better
Afore yee did part awaye;
Let vs some other pastime find,
Good ffellow, I thee pray.
- Let vs some other masteryes make,
And wee will walke in the woods euen;
Wee may chance mee[t] with Robin Hoode
Att some vnsett steven.’
- They cutt them downe the summer shroggs
Which grew both vnder a bryar,
And sett them three score rood on twinn,
To shoote the prickes full neare.
- ‘Leade on, good ffellow,’ sayd Sir Guye,
‘Lead on, I doe bidd thee:’
‘Nay, by my faith,’ quoth Robin Hood,
‘The leader thou shalt bee.’
- The first good shoot that Robin ledd
Did not shoote an inch the pricke ffroe;
Guy was an archer good enoughe,
But he cold neere shoote soe.
- The second shoote Sir Guy shott,
He shott within the garlande;
But Robin Hoode shott it better then hee,
For he cloue the good pricke-wande.
- ‘Gods blessing on thy heart!’ sayes Guye,
‘Goode ffellow, thy shooting is goode;
For an thy hart be as good as thy hands,
Thou were better then Robin Hood.
- ‘Tell me thy name, good ffellow,’ quoth Guy,
‘vnder the leaues of lyne:’
‘Nay, by my faith,’ quoth good Robin,
‘Till thou haue told me thine.’
- ‘I dwell by dale and downe,’ quoth Guye,
‘And I haue done many a curst turne;
And he that calles me by my right name
Calles me Guye of good Gysborne.’
- ‘My dwelling is in the wood,’ sayes Robin;
‘By thee I set right nought;
My name is Robin Hood of Barnesdale,
A ffellow thou has long sought.’
- He that had neither beene a kithe nor kin
Might haue seene a full fayre sight,
To see how together these yeomen went,
With blades both browne and bright.
- To haue seene how these yeomen together foug[ht],
Two howers of a summers day;
Itt was neither Guy nor Robin Hood
That ffettled them to flye away.
- Robin was reacheles on a roote,
And stumbled at that tyde,
And Guy was quicke and nimble with-all,
And hitt him ore the left side.
- ‘Ah, deere Lady!’ sayd Robin Hoode,
‘Thou art both mother and may!
I thinke it was neuer mans destinye
To dye before his day.’
- Robin thought on Our Lady deere,
And soone leapt vp againe,
And thus he came with an awkwarde stroke;
Good Sir Guy hee has slayne.
- He tooke Sir Guys head by the hayre,
And sticked itt on his bowes end;
‘Thou hast beene traytor all thy liffe,
Which thing must haue an ende.’
- Robin pulled forth an Irish kniffe,
And nicked Sir Guy in the fface,
That hee was neuer on a woman borne
Cold tell who Sir Guy was.
- Saies, Lye there, lye there, good Sir Guye,
And with me be not wrothe;
If thou haue had the worse stroakes at my hand,
Thou shalt haue the better cloathe.
- Robin did off his gowne of greene,
Sir Guye hee did it throwe;
And hee put on that capull-hyde,
That cladd him topp to toe.
- ‘The bowe, the arrowes, and litle horne,
And with me now I’le beare;
Ffor now I will goe to Barn[e]sdale,
To see how my men doe ffare.’
- Robin sett Guyes horne to his mouth,
A lowd blast in it he did blow;
That beheard the sheriffe of Nottingham,
As he leaned vnder a lowe.
- ‘Hearken! hearken!’ sayd the sheriffe,
‘I heard noe tydings but good;
For yonder I heare Sir Guyes horne blowe,
For he hath slaine Robin Hoode.
- ‘For yonder I heare Sir Guyes horne blow,
Itt blowes soe well in tyde,
For yonder comes that wighty yeoman,
Cladd in his capull-hyde.
- ‘Come hither, thou good Sir Guy,
Aske of mee what thou wilt haue:’
‘I’le none of thy gold,’ sayes Robin Hood,
‘Nor I’le none of itt haue.
- ‘But now I haue slaine the master,’ he sayd,
‘Let me goe strike the knaue;
This is all the reward I aske,
Nor noe other will I haue.’
- ‘Thou art a madman,’ said the shiriffe,
‘Thou sholdest haue had a knights ffee;
Seeing thy asking [hath] beene soe badd,
Well granted it shall be.’
- But Litle Iohn heard his master speake,
Well he knew that was his steuen;
‘Now shall I be loset,’ quoth Litle Iohn,
‘With Christs might in heauen.’
- But Robin hee hyed him towards Litle Iohn,
Hee thought hee wold loose him beliue;
The sheriffe and all his companye
Fast after him did driue.
- ‘Stand abacke! stand abacke!’ sayd Robin;
‘Why draw you mee soe neere?
Itt was neuer the vse in our countrye
One’s shrift another shold heere.’
- But Robin pulled forth an Irysh kniffe,
And losed Iohn hand and ffoote,
And gaue him Sir Guyes bow in his hand,
And bade it be his boote.
- But Iohn tooke Guyes bow in his hand—-
His arrowes were rawstye by the roote—-;
The sherriffe saw Litle Iohn draw a bow
And ffettle him to shoote.
- Towards his house in Nottingam
He ffled full fast away,
And soe did all his companye,
Not one behind did stay.
- But he cold neither soe fast goe,
Nor away soe fast runn,
But Litle Iohn, with an arrow broade,
Did cleaue his heart in twinn.