The Sixth Fytte


Lithe and listen, gentle men,
And hearken unto your song;
How the proud sheriff of Nottingham,
And men of armes strong,
Full fast came to the high sheriff,
The country up to rout,
And they beset the knight's castell,
The walles all about.
The proud sheriff loude gan cry,
And said, " Thou traitor knight,
Thou keepest here the king's enemy,
Against the laws and right! "

" Sir, I will avow that I have done,
The deeds that here be dight,
Upon all the landes that I have,
As I am a true knight.
Wende forth, sirs, on your way,
And doth no more to me,
Till ye wite our kinges will
What he will say to thee. "

The sheriff thus had his answer,
Without any leasing,
Forth he yode to London town,
All for to tell our king.
There he told him of that knight,
And eke of Robin Hood,
And also of the bold archers,
That noble were and good.
" He would avow that he had done,
To maintain the outlaws strong;
He would be lord, and set you at nought,
In all the north lond. "

" I will be at Nottingham, " said the king,
" Within this fortnight,
And take I will Robin Hood,
And so I will that knight.
Go home, thou proud sheriff,
And do as I bid thee,
And ordain good archers enow,
Of all the wide countree. "

The sheriff had his leave i-take,
And went him on his way;
And Robin Hood to green wood
Upon a certain day;
And Little John was whole of the arrow,
That shot was in his knee,
And did him straight to Robin Hood,
Under the green wood tree.
Robin Hood walked in the forest,
Under the leaves green,
The proud sheriff of Nottingham,
Therefore he had great teen.

The sheriff there failed of Robin Hood,
He might not have his prey,
Then he awaited that gentle knight,
Both by night and by day.
Ever he awaited that gentle knight,
Sir Richard at the Lee.
As he went on hawking by the river side,
And let his hawkes flee,
Took he there this gentle knight,
With men of armes strong,
And led him home to Nottingham ward,
I-bound both foot and hond.

The sheriff swore a full great oath,
By him that died on a tree,
He had liever than an hundred pound,
That Robin Hood had he

Then the lady, the knightes wife,
A fair lady and free,
She set her on a good palfrey,
To green wood anon rode she.
When she came to the forest,
Under the green wood tree,
Founde she there Robin Hood,
And all his fair meyne.

" God thee save, good Robin Hood,
And all thy company;
For our deare Ladyes love,
A boon grant thou to me.
Let thou never my wedded lord
Shamefully slain to be;
He is fast i-bounde to Nottingham ward,
For the love of thee. "

Anon then said good Robin,
To that ladye free,
" What man hath your lord i-take? "
" The proud sheriff, " then said she.
" Forsooth as I thee say;
He is not yet three miles
Passed on your way. "

Up then sterte good Robin,
As a man that had be wode:
" Busk you, my merry young men,
For him that died on a rode;
And he that this sorrow forsaketh,
By him that died on a tree,
Shall he never in green wood be,
Nor longer dwell with me. "

Soon there were good bows i-bent,
More than seven score,
Hedge ne ditch spared they none,
That was them before.

" I make mine avow, " said Robin,
" The knight would I fain see,
And if I maÿè him take,
Iquit then shall he be. "

And when they came to Nottingham,
They walked in the street,
And with the proud sheriff, i-wis,
Soone gan they meet.

" Abide, thou proud sheriff, " he said,
" Abide and speak with me,
Of some tidings of our king.
I would fain hear of thee.
This seven year, by dere-worthy God,
Ne yede I so fast on foot,
I make mine avow, thou proud sheriff,
Is not for thy good. "

Robin bent a good bowe,
An arrow he drew at his will,
He hit so the proud sheriff,
On the ground he lay full still;

And ere he might up arise;
On his feet to stand,
He smote off the sheriff's head,
With his bright brand.

" Lie thou there, thou proud sheriff,
Evil more thou thrive;
There might no man to thee trust,
The whiles thou were alive. "

His men drew out their bright swords
That were so sharp and keen,
And laid on the sheriffis men,
And drived them down bidene.
Robin stert to that knight,
And cut atwo his band,
And took him in his hand a bow,
And bade him by him stand
" Leave thy horse thee behind,
And learn for to ren;
Thou shalt with me to green wood,
Through mire, moss, and fen;
Thou shalt with me to green wood,
Without any leasing,
Till that I have get us grace,
Of Edward our comely king.
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