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Robin Hood and the Potter

No: 121; variant: 121A

  1. IN schomer, when the leves spryng, The bloschoms on euery bowe, So merey doyt the berdys syng Yn wodys merey now.
  2. Herkens, god yemen, Comley, corteys, and god, On of the best that yeuer bare bowe, Hes name was Roben Hode.
  3. Roben Hood was the yeman's name, That was boyt corteys and ffre; Ffor the loffe of owre ladey, All wemen werschepyd he.
  4. Bot as the god yeman stod on a day, Among hes mery maney, He was ware of a prowd potter, Cam dryfyng owyr the ley.
  5. 'Yonder comet a prod potter,' seyde Roben, 'That long hayt hantyd this wey; He was neuer so corteys a man On peney of pawage to pay.'
  6. 'Y met hem bot at Went-breg,' seyde Lytyll John, 'And therefore yeffell mot he the! Seche thre strokes he me gafe, Yet by my seydys cleffe they.
  7. 'Y ley forty shillings,' seyde Lytyll John, 'To pay het thes same day, Ther ys nat a man among hus all A wed schall make hem ley.'
  8. 'Here ys forty shillings,' seyde Roben, 'More, and thow dar say, that y schall make that prowde potter, A wed to me schall he ley.'
  9. There thes money they leyde, They toke het a yeman to kepe; Roben beffore the potter he breyde, A[nd] bad hem stond stell.
  10. Handys apon hes hors he leyde, And bad the potter stonde foll stell; The potter schorteley to hem seyde, Ffelow, what ys they well?
  11. 'All thes thre yer, and more, potter,' he seyde, 'Thow hast hantyd thes wey, Yet were tow neuer so cortys a man On peney of pauage to pay.'
  12. 'What ys they name,' seyde the potter, 'Ffor pauage thow aske of me?' 'Roben Hod ys mey name, A wed schall thow leffe me.'
  13. 'Wed well y non leffe,' seyde the potter, 'Nor pavag well y non pay; Awey they honde ffro mey hors! Y well the tene eyls, be mey ffay.'
  14. The potter to hes cart he went, He was not to seke; A god to-hande staffe therowt he hent, Beffore Roben he leppyd.
  15. Roben howt with a swerd bent, A bokeler en hes honde; The potter to Roben he went, And seyde, Ffelow, let mey hors go.
  16. Togeder then went thes to yemen, Het was a god seyt to se; Thereof low Robyn hes men, There they stod onder a tre.
  17. Leytell John to hes ffelowhe[s] seyde, 'Yend potter well steffeley stonde:' The potter, with a acward stroke, Smot the bokeler owt of hes honde.
  18. A[nd] ar Roben meyt get het agen Hes bokeler at hes ffette, The potter yn the neke hem toke, To the gronde sone he yede.
  19. That saw Roben hes men, As thay stod onder a bow; 'Let vs helpe owre master,' seyde Lytell John, 'Yonder potter,' seyde he, e:ls well hem slo.'
  20. Thes yemen went with a breyde, To ther mast[er] they cam. Leytell John to hes mast[er] seyde, He haet the wager won?
  21. 'Schall y haffe yowre forty shillings,' seyde Lytl John, 'Or ye, master, schall haffe myne?' 'Yeff they were a hundred,' seyde Roben, 'Y ffeythe, they ben all theyne.'
  22. 'Het ys fol leytell cortesey,' seyde the potter, 'As y haffe harde weyse men saye, Yeffe a pore yeman com drywyng on the wey, To let hem of hes gorney.'
  23. 'Be mey trowet, thow seys soyt,' seyde Roben, 'Thow seys god yeme[n]rey; And thow dreyffe fforthe yeuery day, Thow schalt neuer be let ffor me.
  24. 'Y well prey the, god potter, A ffelischepe well thow haffe? Geffe me they clothyng, and thow schalt hafe myne; Y well go to Notynggam.'
  25. 'Y gra[n]t thereto,' seyde the potter, 'Thow schalt ffeynde me a ffelow gode; Bot thow can sell mey pottys well, Com ayen as thow yode.'
  26. 'Nay, be mey trowt,' seyde Roben, 'And then y bescro mey hede, Yeffe y bryng eny pottys ayen, And eney weyffe well hem chepe.'
  27. Than spake Leytell John, And all hes ffelowhes heynd, 'Master, be well ware of the screffe of Notynggam, Ffor he ys leytell howr ffrende.'
  28. 'Heyt war howte!' seyde Roben, Ffelowhes, let me a lone; Thorow the helpe of Howr Ladey, To Notynggam well y gon.'
  29. Robyn went to Notynggam, Thes pottys ffor to sell; The potter abode with Robens men, There he ffered not eylle.
  30. Tho Roben droffe on hes wey, So merey ower the londe: Her es more, and affter ys to saye, The best ys beheynde.
  31. When Roben cam to Notynggam, The soyt yef y scholde saye, He set op hes hors anon, And gaffe hem hotys and haye.
  32. Yn the medys of the towne, There he schowed hes ware; 'Pottys! pottys!' he gan crey foll sone, 'Haffe hansell ffor the mare!'
  33. Ffoll effen agenest the screffeys gate Schowed he hes chaffare; Weyffes and wedowes abowt hem drow, And chepyd ffast of hes ware.
  34. Yet, 'Pottys, gret chepe!' creyed Robyn, 'Y loffe yeffell thes to stonde;' And all that say hem sell Seyde he had be no potter long.
  35. The pottys that were werthe pens ffeyffe, He solde tham ffor pens thre; Preveley seyde man and weyffe, 'Ywnder potter schall neuer the.'
  36. Thos Roben solde ffoll ffast, Tell he had pottys bot ffeyffe; Op he hem toke of hes care, And sende hem to the screffeys weyffe.
  37. Thereof sche was ffoll ffayne, 'Gereamarsey, SER,' than seyde sche; 'When ye com to thes contre ayen, Y schall bey of the[y] pottys, so mot y the.'
  38. 'Ye schall haffe of the best,' seyde Roben, And sware be the Treneyte:; Ffoll corteysley [sc]he gan hem call, 'Com deyne with the screfe and me.'
  39. 'God amarsey,' seyde Roben, 'Yowre bedyng schall be doyn;' A mayden yn the pottys gan bere, Roben and the screffe weyffe ffolowed anon.
  40. Whan Roben yn to the hall cam, The screffe: sone he met; The potter cowed of corteysey, And sone the screffe he gret.
  41. 'Lo, ser, what thes potter hayt geffe yow and me; Ffeyffe pottys smalle and grete!' 'He ys ffoll wellcom,' seyd the screffe; 'Let os was, and go to mete.'
  42. As they sat at her methe, With a nobell chere, To of the screffes men gan speke Off a gret wager;
  43. Off a schotyng, was god and ffeyne, Was made the thother daye, Off forty shillings, the soyt to saye, Who scholde thes wager wen.
  44. Styll than sat thes prowde potter, Thos than thowt he; As y am a trow cerstyn man, Thes schotyng well y se.
  45. Whan they had ffared of the best, With bred and ale and weyne, To the bottys the made them prest, With bowes and boltys ffoll ffeyne.
  46. The screffes men schot ffoll ffast, As archares that weren godde; There cam non ner ney the marke Bey halffe a god archares bowe.
  47. Stell then stod the prowde potter, Thos than seyde he; And y had a bow, be the rode, On schot scholde yow se.
  48. 'Thow schall haffe a bow,' seyde the screffe, 'The best that thow well cheys of thre; Thou semyst a stalward and a stronge, Asay schall thow be.'
  49. The screffe commandyd a yeman that stod hem bey Affter bowhes to weynde; The best bow that the yeman browthe Roben set on a stryng.
  50. 'Now schall y wet and thow be god, And polle het op to they nere;' 'So god me helpe,' seyde the prowde potter, 'THys ys bot rygyot weke gere.'
  51. To a quequer Roben went, A god bolt owthe he toke; So ney on to the marke he went, He ffayled not a fothe.
  52. All they schot abowthe agen, The screffes men and he; Off the marke he welde not ffayle, He cleffed the preke on thre.
  53. The screffes men thowt gret schame The potter the mastry wan; The screffe: lowe and made god game, And seyde, Potter, thow art a man.
  54. . . . . . . . . Thow art worthey to bere a bowe Yn what plas that thow goe.
  55. 'Yn mey cart y haffe a bowe, Ffor soyt,' he seyde, aend that a godde; Yn mey cart ys the bow That gaffe me Robyn Hode.'
  56. 'Knowest thow Robyn Hode?' seyde the screffe, 'Potter, y prey the tell thow me;' 'A hundred torne y haffe schot with hem, Vnder hes tortyll-tre.'
  57. 'Y had leuer nar a hundred ponde,' seyde the screffe, 'And sware be the Trenite:, . . . . that the ffals outelawe stod be me.'
  58. 'And ye well do afftyr mey red,' seyde the potter, 'And boldeley go with me, And to morow, or we het bred, Roben Hode well we se.'
  59. 'Y wel queyt the,' kod the screffe, 'Y swere be God of meythe;' Schetyng thay left, and hom they went, Her soper was reddy deythe.
  60. Vpon the morow, when het was day, He boskyd hem fforthe to reyde; The potter hes cart fforthe gan ray, And wolde not leffe beheynde.
  61. He toke leffe of the screffys wyffe, And thankyd her of all thyng: 'Dam, ffor mey loffe and ye well thys were, Y geffe yow here a golde ryng.'
  62. 'Gramarsey,' seyde the weyffe, 'Ser, god eylde het the; The screffes hart was neuer so leythe, The ffeyre fforeyst to se.
  63. And when he cam yn to the fforeyst, Yonder the leffes grene, Berdys there sange on bowhes prest, Het was gret goy to se.
  64. 'Here het ys merey to be,' seyde Roben, 'Ffor a man that had hawt to spende; Be mey horne I schall awet Yeff Roben Hode be here.'
  65. Roben set hes horne to hes mowthe, And blow a blast that was ffoll god; that herde hes men that there stode, Ffer downe yn the wodde.
  66. 'I her mey master blow,' seyde Leytell John, . . . . . . . . They ran as thay were wode.
  67. Whan thay to thar master cam, Leytell John wold not spare; 'Master, how haffe yow ffare yn Notynggam? How haffe yow solde yowre ware?'
  68. 'Ye, be mey trowthe, Leyty[ll] John, Loke thow take no care; Y haffe browt the screffe of Notynggam, Ffor all howre chaffare.'
  69. 'He ys ffoll wellcom,' seyde Lytyll John, 'Thes tydyng ys ffoll godde; The screffe had leuer nar a hundred ponde He had [neuer sene Roben Hode.]
  70. '[Had I] west that befforen, At Notynggam when we were, Thow scholde not com yn ffeyre fforest Of all thes thowsande eyre.'
  71. 'That wot y well,' seyde Roben, 'Y thanke God that ye be here; Thereffore schall ye leffe yowre hors with hos, And all yowre hother gere.'
  72. 'That ffend I Godys fforbod,' kod the screffe, 'So to lese mey godde; . . . . . . .
  73. 'Hether ye cam on hors ffoll hey, And hom schall ye go on ffote; And gret well they weyffe at home, The woman ys ffoll godde.
  74. 'Y schall her sende a wheyt palffrey, Het ambellet be mey ffey, . . . . . . .
  75. 'Y schall her sende a wheyt palffrey, Het hambellet as the weynde; Nere ffor the loffe of yowre weyffe, Off more sorow scholde yow seyng.'
  76. Thes parted Robyn Hode and the screffe; To Notynggam he toke the waye; Hes weyffe ffeyre welcomed hem hom, And to hem gan sche saye:
  77. Seyr, how haffe yow ffared yn grene fforeyst? Haffe ye browt Roben hom? 'Dam, the deyell spede hem, bothe bodey and bon; Y haffe hade a ffoll gret skorne.
  78. 'Of all the god that y haffe lade to grene wod, He hayt take het ffro me; All bot thes ffeyre palffrey, That he hayt sende to the.'
  79. With that sche toke op a lowde lawhyng, And swhare be hem that deyed on tre, 'Now haffe yow payed ffor all the pottys That Roben gaffe to me.
  80. 'Noe ye be com hom to Notynggam, Ye schall haffe god ynowe;' Now speke we of Roben Hode, And of the pottyr ondyr the grene bowhe.
  81. 'Potter, what was they pottys worthe To Notynggam that y ledde with me?' 'They wer worthe to nobellys,' seyde he, 'So mot y treyffe or the; So cowde y [haffe] had ffor tham, And y had there be.'
  82. 'Thow schalt hafe ten ponde,' seyde Roben, 'Of money ffeyre and ffre; And yeuer whan thow comest to grene wod, Wellcom, potter, to me.'
  83. Thes partyd Robyn, the screffe, and the potter, Ondernethe the grene-wod tre; God haffe mersey on Roben Hodys solle, And saffe all god yemanrey!