Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne

Whan shaws beene sheene, and shraddes full fayre,
And leaves both large and longe,
Itt's merrye walkyng in the fayre forrèst
To heare the small birdes songe.

The woodweele sang, and wold not cease,
Sitting upon the spraye,
Soe lowde, he wakened Robin Hood,
In the greenwood where he lay.

Now, by my faye, sayd jollye Robìn,
A sweaven I had this night;
I dreamt me of tow wighty yemèn,
That fast with me can fight.

Methought they did me beate and binde,
And tooke my bowe me froe;
Iff I be Robin alive in this lande,
Ile be wroken on them towe.

Sweavens are swift, master, quoth John,
As the wind that blowes ore a hill;
For iff itt be never so loude this night,
To-morrow it may be still.

“Buske yee, bowne yee, my merry men all,
And John shall goe with mee,
For Ile goe seeke yond wighty yeomèn,
In greenwood where they bee.”

Then they cast on theyr gownes of grene,
And tooke theyr bowes each one;
And they away to the greene forrèst
A shooting forth are gone;

Untill they came to the merry greenwood,
Where they had gladdest to bee,
There they were ware of a wight yeomàn,
His body leaned to a tree.

A sword and a dagger he wore by his side,
Of manye a man the bane;
And he was clad in his capull hyde,
Topp and tayll and mayne.

Stand you still, master, quoth Little John,
Under this tree so grene,
And I will go to yond wight yeomàn,
To know what he doth meane.

“Ah! John, by me thou settest noe store,
And that I farley finde:
How offt send I my men before,
And tarry my selfe behinde?

It is no cunning a knave to ken,
And a man but heare him speake;
And it were not for bursting of my bowe,
John, I thy head wold breake.”

As often wordes they breeden bale,
So they parted Robin and John:
And John is gone to Barnesdale;
The gates he knoweth eche one.

But when he came to Barnesdale,
Great heavinesse there he hadd,
For he found tow of his own fellòwes,
Were slaine both in a slade.

And Scarlette he was flying a-foote
Fast over stocke and stone,
For the proud sheriffe with seven score men
Fast after him is gone.

One shoote now I will shoote, quoth John,
With Christ his might and mayne;
He make yond sheriffe that flyes soe fast,
To stopp he shall be fayne.

Then John bent up his long bende-bowe,
And fetteled him to shoote:
The bow was made of tender boughe,
And fell downe at his foote.

“Woe worth, woe worth thee, wicked wood,
That ever thou grew on a tree!
For now this day thou art my bale,
My boote when thou shold bee.”

His shoote it was but loosely shott,
Yet flewe not the arrowe in vaine,
For itt mett one of the sheriffes men,
Good William a Trent was slaine.

It had bene better of William a Trent
To have bene abed with sorrowe,
Than to be that day in the greenwood slade
To meet with Little Johns arrowe.

But as it is said, when men be mett
Fyve can doe more than three,
The sheriffe hath taken Little John,
And bound him fast to a tree.

“Thou shalt be drawen by dale and downe,
And hanged hye on a hill.”
But thou mayst fayle of thy purpose, quoth John,
If it be Christ his will.

Lett us leave talking of Little John,
And thinke of Robin Hood,
How he is gone to the wight yeomàn,
Where under the leaves he stood.

Good morrowe, good fellowe, sayd Robin so fayre,
Good morrowe, good fellow, quo' he:
Methinkes by this bowe thou beares in thy hande,
A good archere thou sholdst bee.

I am wilfulle of my waye, quo' the yemàn,
And of my morning tyde.
He lead thee through the wood, sayd Robìn;
Good fellow, He be thy guide.

I seeke an outlawe, the straunger sayd,
Men call him Robin Hood;
Rather Ild meet with that proud outlàwe
Than fortye pound soe good.

“Now come with me, thou wighty yemàn
And Robin thou soone shalt see;
But first let us some pastime find
Under the greenwood tree.

First let us some masterye make
Among the woods so even,
We may chance to meet with Robin Hood
Here at some unsett steven.”

They cutt them down two summer shroggs,
That grew both under a breere,
And sett them threescore rood in twaine,
To shoote the prickes y-fere.

Leade on, good fellowe, quoth Robin Hood,
Leade on, I do bidd thee.
Nay, by my faith, good fellowe, hee sayd,
My leader thou shalt bee.

The first time Robin shot at the pricke,
He mist but an inch it fro:
The yeoman he was an archer good,
But he cold never shoote soe.

The second shoote had the wightye yemàn,
He shot within the garlànd:
But Robin he shott far better than hee,
For he clave the good pricke-wande.

A blessing upon thy heart, he sayd;
Good fellowe, thy shooting is goode;
For an thy hart be as good as thy hand,
Thou wert better than Robin Hoode.

Now tell me thy name, good fellowe, sayd he,
Under the leaves of lyne.
Nay, by my faith, quoth bold Robin,
Till thou have told me thine.

I dwell by dale and downe, quoth hee,
And Robin to take Ime sworne;
And when I am called by my right name
I am Guy of good Gisbòrne.

My dwelling is in this wood, sayes Robin,
By thee I set right nought:
I am Robin Hood of Barnèsdale,
Whom thou so long hast sought.

He that had neyther beene kythe nor kin,
Might have seen a full fayre fight,
To see how together these yeomen went
With blades both browne and bright.

To see how these yeomen together they fought
Two howres of a summers day:
Yett neither Robin Hood nor sir Guy
Them fettled to flye away.

Robin was reachles on a roote
And stumbled at that tyde;
And Guy was quicke and nimble withall,
And hitt him ore the left syde.

Ah, deere ladye, sayd Robin Hood tho,
Thou art both mother and may,
I think it was never mans destinye
To dye before his day.

Robin thought on our ladye deere,
And soone leapt up againe,
And strait he came with a[n] awkwarde stroke,
And he sir Guy hath slayne.

He took sir Guys head by the hayre,
And sticked itt upon his bowes end:
“Thou hast beene a traytor all thy life,
Which thing must have an end.”

Robin pulled forth an Irish knife,
And nicked sir Guy in the face,
That he was never on woman born
Cold tell whose head it was.

Sayes, Lye there, lye there, now sir Guye,
And with me be not wrothe;
Iff thou have had the worst strokes at my hand,
Thou shalt have the better clothe.

Robin did off his gown of greene,
And on sir Guy did it throwe,
And he put on that capull hyde,
That cladd him topp to toe.

“The bowe, the arrowes, and little horne,
Now with me I will beare;
For I will away to Barnèsdale,
To see how my men doe fare.”

Robin Hood sett Guyes horne to his mouth,
And a loude blast in it did blow:
That beheard the sheriffe of Nottingham,
As he leaned under a lowe.

Hearken, hearken, sayd the sheriffe,
I heare nowe tydings good,
For yonder I heare sir Guyes horne blow,
And he hath slaine Robin Hoode.

Yonder I heare sir Guyes horne blowe,
Itt blowes soe well in tyde,
And yonder comes that wightye yeomàn,
Cladd in his capull hyde.

Come hyther, come hyther, thou good sir Guy,
Aske what thou wilt of mee.
O I will none of thy gold, sayd Robin,
Nor I will none of thy fee:

But now I have slaine the master, he sayes,
Let me goe strike the knave;
For this is all the meede I aske;
Nor no other will I have.

Thou art a madman, sayd the sheriffe,
Thou sholdst have had a knightes fee:
But seeing thy asking hath beene soe bad,
Well granted it shal bee.

When Little John heard his master speake,
Well knewe he it was his steven:
Now shall I be looset, quoth Little John,
With Christ his might in heaven.

Fast Robin hee hyed him to Little John,
He thought to loose him belive;
The sheriffe and all his companye
Fast after him did drive.

Stand abacke, stand abacke, sayd Robìn;
Why draw you mee so neere?
It was never the use in our countryè,
Ones shrift another shold heere.

But Robin pulled forth an Irish knife,
And losed John hand and foote,
And gave him sir Guyes bow into his hand,
And bade it be his boote.

Then John he took Guyes bow in his hand,
His boltes and arrowes eche one:
When the sheriffe saw Little John bend his bow,
He fettled him to be gone.

Towards his house in Nottingham towne,
He fled full fast away;
And soe did all the companye:
Not one behind wold stay.

But he cold neither runne soe fast,
Nor away soe fast cold ryde,
But Little John with an arrowe soe broad,
He shott him into the ‘backe’-syde.
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