No: 8; variant: 8C
- AS Robin Hood sat by a tree,
He espied a prettie may,
And when she chanced him to see,
She turnd her head away.
- ‘O feare me not, thou prettie mayde,
And doe not flie from mee;
I am the kindest man,’ he said,
‘That ever eye did see.’
- Then to her he did doffe his cap,
And to her lowted low;
‘To meete with thee I hold it good hap,
If thou wilt not say noe.’
- Then he put his hand around her waste,
Soe small, so tight, and trim,
And after sought her lip to taste,
And she to kissed him.
- ‘Where dost thou dwell, my prettie maide?
I prithee tell to me;’
‘I am a tanner’s daughter,’ she said,
‘John Hobbes of Barneslee.’
- ‘And whither goest thou, pretty maide?
Shall I be thy true love?’
‘If thou art not afeard,’ she said,
‘My true love thou shalt prove.’
- ‘What should I feare?’ then he replied;
‘I am thy true love now;’
‘I have two brethren, and their pride
Would scorn such one as thou.’
- ‘That will we try,’ quoth Robin Hood;
‘I was not made their scorne;
Ile shed my blood to doe the[e] good,
As sure as they were borne.’
- ‘My brothers are proude and fierce and strong;’
‘I am,’ said he, ‘The same,
And if they offer thee to wrong,
Theyle finde Ile play their game.
- ‘Through the free forrest I can run,
The king may not controll;
They are but barking tanners’ sons,
To me they shall pay toll.
- ‘And if not mine be sheepe and kine,
I have cattle on my land;
On venison eche day I may dine,
Whiles they have none in hand.’
- These wordes had Robin Hood scarce spoke,
When they two men did see,
Come riding till their horses smoke:
‘My brothers both,’ cried shee.
- Each had a good sword by his side,
And furiouslie they rode
To where they Robin Hood espied,
That with the maiden stood.
- ‘Flee hence, flee hence, away with speede!’
Cried she to Robin Hood,
‘For if thou stay, thoult surely bleede;
I could not see thy blood.’
- ‘With us, false maiden, come away,
And leave that outlawe bolde;
Why fledst thou from thy home this day,
And left thy father olde?’
- Robin stept backe but paces five,
Unto a sturdie tree;
‘Ile fight whiles I am left alive;
Stay thou, sweete maide, with mee.’
- He stood before, she stoode behinde,
The brothers two drewe nie;
‘Our sister now to us resign,
Or thou full sure shalt die.’
- Then cried the maide, ‘My brethren deare,
With ye Ile freely wend,
But harm not this young forrester,
Noe ill doth he pretend.’
- ‘Stande up, sweete maide, I plight my troth;
Fall thou not on thy knee;
Ile force thy cruell brothers both
To bend the knee to thee.
- ‘Stand thou behinde this sturdie oke,
I soone will quell their pride;
Thoult see my sword with furie smoke,
And in their hearts’ blood died.’
- He set his backe against a tree,
His foote against a stone;
The first blow that he gave so free
Cleft one man to the bone.
- The tanners bold they fought right well,
And it was one to two;
But Robin did them both refell,
All in the damsell’s viewe.
- The red blood ran from Robins brow,
All downe unto his knee;
‘O holde your handes, my brethren now,
I will goe backe with yee.’
- ‘Stand backe, stand backe, my pretty maide,
Stand backe and let me fight;
By sweete St. James be no[t] afraide
But I will it requite.’
- Then Robin did his sword uplift,
And let it fall againe;
The oldest brothers head it cleft,
Right through unto his braine.
- ‘O hold thy hand, bolde forrester,
Or ill may thee betide;
Slay not my youngest brother here,
He is my father’s pride.’
- ‘Away, for I would scorne to owe,
My life to the[e], false maide!’
The youngest cried, and aimd a blow
That lit on Robin’s head.
- Then Robin leand against the tree,
His life nie gone did seeme;
His eyes did swim, he could not see
The maiden start betweene.
- It was not long ere Robin Hood
Could welde his sword so bright;
Upon his feete he firmly stood,
And did renew the fight.
- Untill the tanner scarce could heave
His weapon in the aire;
But Robin would not him bereave
Of life, and left him there.
- Then to the greenewood did he fly,
And with him went the maide;
For him she vowd that she would dye,
He’d live for her, he said.