A Little Gest of Robin Hood


STC 13689 [Child's "B" (=B)]
Brown and Robbins 1915 (see esp. Suppl.). Ringler 13689 and TP 1052.3. Rpt. Joseph Ritson, _Robin Hood_, 1 (1795), 1-80; Laing, _Knightly Tale of Golagros_, 1827; Stevenson, _STS_ LXV. 267-90; Gutch, _Robin Hood_, 1847, I. 145-219; Child, _Ballads_, 1864, 1878, V. 44-123; and _Pop. Ballads_, no. 117, III. 56-78; Sargent and Kittredge, _Pop. Ballads_, pp. 256-78; Gummere, _OE Ballads_, pp. 1-68; Pollard, _XV C. Prose and Verse_, pp. 35-80; Morley, _Shorter Eng. Poems_, pp. 82-101; ed. Ewald Flu"gel, _Neuenglisches Lesebuch_ (Halle, 1895), 171-86. Child _Ballads_ no. 117b; ed. R. B. Dobson and J. Taylor, _Rymes of Robyn Hood: an Introduction to the English Outlaw_ (London, 1976), pp. 79-112. No MS. extant (BR). Child's ed. is in _The English and Scottish Popular Ballads_, ed. F.J. Child, 5 vols. (1884-98), III, 39-89. UMI microfilm reel 49. Order no. 1331

Here begynneth a lytell geste of Robyn hode
London: W. de Worde,1506?.

Composition Date: c. 1500 [Ringler].

vp] open A, vp F, ope Gthat] B omits, that A, F
sig: [A1]
Here begynneth a lytell geste of Robyn_hode

sig: [A1v]

¶Here begynneth a lytell geste of Robyn_hode. and his meyne And of the proude Sheryfe of Notyngham.

LIthe and lysten gentylmen
That be of fre-bore blode
I shall you tell of a good yeman
His name was Robyn_hode

5 Robyn was a proude outlawe
Whyles he walked on grounde
So curteyse an outlawe as he was one
Was neuer none y_founde

Robyn stode in bernysdale
10 And lened hym to a tree
And by hym stode lytell_Iohan
A good yeman was he

And also dyde good Scathelock
And Much the myllers sone
15 There was no ynche of his body
But it was worthe a grome

Then bespake hym lytell_Iohan
All vnto Robyn_hode
Mayster yf ye wolde dyne betyme
20 It wolde do you moch good

Then be_spake good Robyn
sig: A2
To dyne I haue no lust
Tyll I haue some bolde baron
Or some vnketh gest

25 [..........................] this line is wanting in all texts; Dobson and Taylor suggest: "Till that I have som bolde baron"
That may paye for the best
Or some knyg[h]t or some squyere knyght] knygot B
That dwelleth here by west

A good maner than had Robyn
30 In londe where that he were
Euery daye or he wolde dyne
Thre messes wolde he here

The one in the worshyp of the fader
The other of the holy-goost
35 The thyrde was of our dere lady
That he loued [allther] moste allther] all other B, allther A

Robyn loued our dere lady
For doute of dedely synne
Wolde he neuer do company harme
40 That ony woman was ynne

Mayster than sayd lytell_Iohan
And we our borde shall sprede
Tell vs whether we shall gone
And what lyfe we shall lede

45 Where we shall take where we shall leue
Where we shall abyde behynde
Where we shall robbe where we shall reue
Where we shall bete and bynde

Ther-of no fors sayd Robyn
50 We shall do well y_nough
But loke ye do no housbonde harme
That tylleth with his plough

sig: [A2v]
No more ye shall no good yeman
That walketh by grene-wode shawe
55 Ne no knyght ne no squyer
That wolde be a good felawe

These bysshoppes and thyse archebysshoppes
Ye shall them bete and bynde
The hye sheryfe of notynghame
60 Hym holde in your mynde

This worde shall be holde sayd lytyll_I[oh]an Iohan] Ihoan B
And this lesson shall we lere
It is ferre dayes god sende vs a gest
That we were at our dynere

65 Take thy good bowe in thy hande sayd Robyn
Lete moche wende with the
And so shall Wyllyam_Scathelocke
And no man abyde with me

And walke vp to the sayles
70 And so to watlynge_strete
And wayte after some vnketh gest
Up chaunce ye mowe them mete

Be he Erle or ony baron
Abbot or ony knyght
75 Brynge hym to lodge to me
His dyner shall be dyght

They wente vnto the sayles
These yemen all thre
They loked est they loked west
80 They myght no man see

But as they loked in Barnysdale
By a derne strete
sig: A3
Then came there a knyght rydynge
Full sone they gan hym mete

85 All drery then was all his semblaunte all] A omits
And lytell was his pryde
His one fote in the sterope stode
That other waued besyde

His hode hangynge ouer his eyen two
90 He rode in symple a_ray
A soryer man than he was one
Rode neuer in somers day

Lytell_Iohan was curteyse
And set hym on his kne
95 Welcome be ye gentyll knyght
Welcome are you to me

Welcome be thou to grene-wode
Hende knyght and fre
My mayster hath a_byden you fastynge
100 Syr all these oures thre

Who is your mayster sayd the knyght
Iohan sayd R[o]byn_hode Robyn] Rabyn B
He is a good yeman sayd the knyght
Of hym I haue herde moch good

105 I graunte he sayd with you to wende
My brethern all thre
My purpose was to haue dyned to_day dyned] deyned B, dyned A
At blythe or dankastere

Forthe than went that gentyll knyght
110 With a care_full chere
The teres out of his eyen ran
And fell downe by his lere

sig: [A3v]
They brought hym vnto the lodge-dore
Whan Robyn gan hym se
115 Full curteysly dyde of his hode
And set hym on his kne

Welcome syr knyght then sayd Robyn
Welcome thou arte to me
I haue abyde[n] you fastynge syr abyden] abyde B, abyden A
120 All these houres thre

Then answered the gentyll knyght
With wordes fayre and fre
God the saue good Robyn
And all thy fayre meyne

125 They wasshed togyder and wyped bothe
And set tyll theyr dynere
Brede and wyne they had ynough
And nombles of the dere

Swannes and fesauntes they had full good
130 And foules of the reuere
There fayled neuer so lytell a byrde
That euer was bred on brere

Do gladly syr knyght sayd Robyn
Gramercy syr sayd he
135 Suche a dyner had I not
Of all these wekes thre

If I come agayne Robyn
Here by this countre
As good a dyner I shall the make
140 As thou hast made to me

Gramercy knyght sayd Robyn
My dyner whan I haue
sig: [A4]
I was neuer so gredy by dere-worthy god
My dyner for to craue

145 But pay or ye wende sayd Robyn
Me-thynketh it is good ryght
It was neuer the maner by dere-worthy god
A yeman pay for a knyght

I haue nought in my cofers sayd the knyght
150 That I may profer for shame
Lytell_Iohan go loke sayd Robyn_hode
Ne let not for no blame

Tell me trouth sayd Robyn
So god haue parte of the
155 I haue no more but .x. s. sayd the knyght
So god haue parte of me

Yf thou haue no more sayd Robyn
I wyll not one peny
And yf thou haue nede of ony more
160 More shall I len the

Go now forth lytell_Iohan
The trouthe tell thou me
Yf there be no more but .x. s.
Not one peny that I se

165 Lytell_Iohan spred downe his mantell
Full fayre vp-on the grounde
And there he founde in the knyghtes cofer
But euen halfe a pounde

Lytyll_Iohan lete it lye full styll
170 And went to his mayster full lowe
What tydynge Iohan sayd Robyn
Syr the knyght is trewe I_nough

sig: [A4v]
Fyll of the best wyne sayd Robyn
The knyght shall begynne
175 Moch wonder thynketh me
Thy clothynge is so thynne

Tell me one worde sayd Robyn
And counsell shall it be
I trowe thou were made a knyght of forse
180 Or elles of yemanry

Or elles thou hast ben a sory housband
And leued in stroke and stryfe
[An] okerer or elles a lechoure sayd Robyn An] And B, An F
With wronge hast thou lede thy lyfe

185 I am none of them sayd the knyght
By god that made me
An .C. wynter here-be_fore
My aunsetters knyghtes haue be

But ofte it hath befal Robyn
190 A man hath be dysgrate
But god that syt[t]eth in heuen aboue sytteth] syteth B, sitteth A
May a_mend his state

Within two or thre yere Robyn he sayd
My neyghbores well it knowe
195 Foure hondreth pounde of good money
Full wel than myght I spende

Now haue I no good sayd the knyght
[God hath shapen such an ende
But my chyldren and my wyfe] This and the previous line are transposed in all texts
200 Tyll god it may a_mende

In what maner sayd Robyn
Hast thou lore thy ryches
sig: [A5]
For my grete foly he sayd
And for my kyndenesse

205 I had a sone for-soth Robyn
That sholde haue ben my eyre
When he was twenty wynter olde
In felde wolde Iuste full feyre

He slewe a knyght on lancastshyre on] of A
210 And a squyre bolde
For to saue hym in his ryght
My goodes both sette and solde

My londes beth sette to wedde Robyn
Untyll a certayne daye
215 To a ryche abbot here-besyde
Of saynt_Mary abbay

What is the somme sayd Robyn
Trouthe than tell thou me
Syr he sayd foure hondred pounde
220 The abbot tolde it to me

Now and thou lese thy londe sayd Robyn
What shall fall of the
Hastely I wyll me buske sayd the knyght
Ouer the salte see

225 And se where cryst was quycke and deed
On the mounte of caluare
Fare-well frende and haue good-daye
It may not better be

Teeres fell out of his eyen two
230 He wolde haue gone his waye
Fare-well frendes and haue good-day
I ne haue more to pay

sig: [A5v]
Where be thy frendes sayd Robyn
Syr neuer one wyll [me knowe] me knowe] knowe me B, me knowe A
235 Whyle I was ryche I_now a[t] home at] a B, at A
Grete bost then wolde they blowe

And now th[e]y renne a_waye fro me they] thy B, they A
As bestes on a rowe
They take no more hede of me
240 Then they me neuer sawe

For ruthe then wepte lytell_Iohan
Scathelocke and Much also
Fyll of the best wyne sayd Robyn
For here is a symple chere

245 Hast thou ony frendes sayd robyn
The borowes that wyll be The] Thy A
I haue none then sayd the knyght
But god that dyed on a tree

Do waye thy Iapes sayd Robyn
250 Therof wyll I right none
Wenest thou I wyll haue god to borowe wyll] wolde A
Peter Poule or Iohan

Nay by hym that me made
And shope both sonne and mone
255 Fynde a better borowe sayd Robyn
Or mony getest thou none

I haue none other sayd the knyght
The sothe for to say
But yf it be our dere lady
260 She fayled me neuer or this day

By dere-worthy god sayd Robyn
To seche all Englond thorowe
sig: [A6]
Yet founde I neuer to my pay
A moch better borowe

265 Come now forthe lytell_Iohan
And goo to my tresoure
And brynge me foure hondred pounde
And loke that it well tolde be

Forthe then wente lytell_Iohan
270 And Scathelocke went before
He tolde out foure houndred pounde
By [eyght and twenty] score eyght and twenty] eyghtene B, .xxviij. A

Is this well tolde sayd lytell Much
Iohan sayd what greueth the
275 It is almes to helpe a gentyll knyght
That is fall in pouerte

Mayster than sayd lytell_Iohan
His clothynge is full thynne
Ye must gyue the knyght a lyueray
280 To helpe his body ther-in

For ye haue scarlet and grene mayster
And many a ryche aray
There is no marchaunt in mery Englonde
So ryche I dare well saye

285 Take hym thre yerdes of euery coloure
And loke [that] well mete it be that] it B, that A
Lytell_Iohan toke none other mesure
But his bowe-tre

And of euery handfull that he met
290 He lept ouer fotes thre
What deuylkyns draper sayd lytell Much
Thynkyst thou to be

sig: [A6v]
Scathelocke stoode full styll and lough
And sayd by god all-myght
295 Iohan may gyue hym the better mesure
By god it cost hym but lyght

Mayster sayd lytell_Iohan
All vnto Robyn_hode
Ye must gyue the knight an hors
300 To lede home al this good B runs this line onto the preceding line

Take hym a gray courser sayd Robyn
And a sadell newe
He is our ladyes messengere
God leue that he be trewe

305 And a good pallfraye sayd lytell Moch
To mayntayne hym in his ryght
And a payre of botes sayd Scathelocke
For he is a gentyll knyght

What shalt thou gy[u]e hym lytel_Iohan sayd Robyn
310 Syr a payre of gylte spores cle[n]e clene] clere B, A, clene F, G
To praye for all this company
God brynge hym out of tene

Whan shall my daye be sayd the knyght
Syr and your wyll be
315 This daye twelue moneth sayd Robyn
Under this grene-wode tree

It were grete shame sayd Robyn
A knyght a_lone to ryde
Without squyer yeman or page
320 To walke by his syde

I shall the lene lytyll_Iohan my man
For he shall be thy knaue
In a yemans steed he may the stonde
sig: B1
Yf thou grete nede haue

¶The seconde fytte.

325 NOwe is the knyght went on his way
This game he thought full good
When he loked on bernysdale
He blyssed Robyn_hode

And whan he be_thought on bernysdale
330 On Scathelock Much and Iohan
He blyssed them for the best company
That euer he in come

Then spake that gentyll knyght
To lytel_Iohan gan he saye
335 To_morowe I must to yorke toune
To saynt_mary abbay

And to the abbot of that place
Foure hondred pounde I must pay
And but I be there vpon this nyght
340 My londe is lost for ay

The abbot sayd to his couent
There he stode on grounde
This day twelfe moneth came there a knyght
And borowed foure hondred pounde

345 [He borowed foure hondred pounde] this line is wanting in all texts; reading supplied from Child
Upon all his londe fre
But he come this ylke day
Dysheryte shall he be

It is full erely sayd the pryoure
350 The daye is not yet ferre gone
sig: [B1v]
I had leuer to pay an hondr[e]d pound hondred] hondrde B
And lay [it] downe a_none it] B omits, it G

The knyght is ferre be_yonde the see
In Englonde [is his] ryght is his] he is B, is his F, G
355 And suffreth honger and colde
And many a sory nyght

It were grete pyte sayd the pryoure
So to haue his londe
And ye be so lyght of your consyence
360 Ye do to hym moch wronge

Thou arte euer in my berde sayd the abbot
By god and saynt Rycharde
With that cam in a fat heded monke
The heygh selerer

365 He is dede or hanged sayd the monke
By god that bought me dere
And we shall haue to spende in this place
Foure hondred pounde by yere

The abbot and the hy selerer
370 Sterte forthe full bolde
The [hye] Iustyce of Englonde hye] B omits, highe F, high G
The abbot there dyde holde

The hye Iustyce and many mo
Had take in-to they[r] honde theyr] they B, theyr Child
375 Holy all the knyghtes det
To put that knyght to wronge

They demed the knyght wonder sore
The abbot and his meyne
But he come this ylke day
380 Dysheryte shall he be

sig: B2
He wyll not come yet sayd the Iustyce
I dare well vnder_take
But in sorowe-tyme for them all
The knyght came to the gate

385 Than be_spake that gentyll knyght
Untyll his meyne
Now put on your symple wedes
That ye brought fro the see

[They put on theyr symple wedes] this line is wanting in all texts; reading supplied from Child
390 They came to the gates anone
The porter was redy hym-selfe
And welcomed them euerychone

Welcome syr knyght sayd the porter
My lorde to mete is he
395 And so is many a gentyll-man
For the loue of the

The porter swore a full grete othe
By god that made me
Here be the best-coresed hors
400 That euer yet sawe I me

Lede them in-to the stable he sayd
That eased myght they be
They shall not come therin sayd the knyght
By god that dyed on a tre

405 Lordes were to mete I_sette
In that abbotes hall
The knyght went forth and kneled downe
And salued them grete and small

Do gladly syr abbot sayd the knyght
410 I am come to holde my day
sig: [B2v]
The fyrst word the abbot spake
Hast thou brought my pay

Not one peny sayd the knyght
By god that maked me
415 Thou art a shrewed dettour sayd the abbot
Syr Iustyce drynke to me

What doost thou here sayd the abbot
But thou haddest brought thy pay
For god than sayd the knyght
420 To pray of a lenger daye

Thy daye is broke sayd the Iustyce
Londe getest thou none
Now good syr Iustyce be my frende
And fende me of my fone

425 I am holde with the abbot sayd the Iustyce
Both with cloth and fee
Now good syr sheryf be my frende
Nay for god sayd he

Now good syr abbot be my frende
430 For thy curteyse
And holde my londes in thy honde
Tyll I haue made the gree

And I wyll be thy true seruaunte
And trewely serue the
435 Tyl ye haue foure hondred pounde
Of money good and free

The abbot sware a full grete othe
By god that dyed on a tree
Get the londe where thou may
440 For thou getest none of me

sig: B3
By dere-worthy god then sayd the knyght
That all this worlde wrought
But I haue my londe agayne
Full dere it shall be bought

445 God that was of a mayden borne
Leue vs well to spede
For it is good to assay a frende
Or that a man haue nede

The abbot lothely on hym gan loke
450 And vylaynesly hym gan [call] call] loke B, call Child
Out he sayd thou false knyght
Spede the out of my hall
Thou lyest then sayd the gentyll knyght
Abbot in thy hal
455 False knyght was I neuer
By god that made vs all

Up then stode that gentyll knyght
To the abbot sayd he
To suffre a knyght to knele so longe
460 Thou canst no curteysye

In Ioustes and in tournement
Full ferre than haue I be
And put my-selfe as ferre in prees
As ony that euer I se

465 What wyll ye gyue more sayd the Iustyce
And the knyght shall make a releyse
And elles I dare safly swere
Ye holde neuer your londe in pees

An hondred pounde sayd the abbot
470 The Iustyce sayd gyue hym two
sig: [B3v]
Nay be god sayd the knyght
Yet [gete] ye it not soo gete] grete B, gete A, get F, G

Though ye wolde gyue a thousande more
Yet were thou neuer the nere
475 Shall there neuer be myn eyre
Abbot Iustyse ne frere

He sterte hym to a borde a_none
Tyll a table rounde
And there he shoke out of a bagge
480 Euen foure hondred pounde

Haue here thy golde syr abbot sayd the knyght
Which that thou lentest me
Haddest thou ben curteys at my comynge
Rewarde sholdest thou haue be

485 The abbot sat styll and ete no more
For all his ryall chere
He cast his hede on his sholder
And fast began to stare

Take me my golde agayne sayd the abbot
490 Syr Iustyce that I toke the
Not a peny sayd the Iustyce
By god that dyed on a tree

Syr abbot and ye men of lawe
Now haue I holde my daye
495 Now shall I haue my londe a_gayne
For ought that you can saye

The knyght stert out of the dore
A_waye was all his care
And on he put his good clothynge
500 The other he lefte there

sig: [B4]
He wente hym forth full mery syngynge
As men haue tolde in tale
His lady met hym at the gate
And home i[n] verysdale

505 Welcome my lorde sayd his lady
Syr lost is all your good
Be mery dame sayd the knyght
And praye for Robyn_hode

That euer his soule be in blysse
510 He holpe me out of my tene
Ne had not be his kyndenesse
Beggers had we ben

The abbot and I acordyd ben
He is serued of his pay
515 The good yeman lent it me
As I came by the way

This knyght than dwelled fayre at home
The soth for to say
Tyll he had got foure hondreth pounde
520 All-redy for too paye

He purueyed hym an hondred bowes
The strenges welle dyght
An hondred shefe of arowes good
The hedes burnyshed full bryght

525 And euery arowe an elle longe
With pecocke well y_dyght
I_nocked all with whyte syluer
It was a semly syght

He purueyed hym an hondreth men
530 Well harneysed in that stede
sig: [B4v]
And hym-selfe in that same sete
And clothed in whyte and rede

He bare a launsgay in his honde
And a man ledde his male
535 And [rode] with a lyght songe rode] reden B, rode F, G
Unto bernysdale

But as he went at a brydge ther was a wrastelyng
And there taryed was he
And there was all the best yemen
540 Of all the west-countree

A full fayre game there was vp_set
A whyte bulle [vp I]_pyght vp I_pyght] I vp pyght B, vp ypyght F
A grete courser with sadle and brydil
With golde burneyshed full bryght

545 A payre of gloues a rede-golde rynge
A pype of wyne in good fay
What man bereth hym best I_wys
The pryce shall bere a_way

There was a yeman in that place
550 And best worthy was he
And for he was ferre and fre[m]d bestad fremd] frend B, frembde A, frend F, friend G
I_slayne he sholde haue be

The knyght had reuthe of this yeman
In place where that he stode
555 He sayd that yoman sholde haue no harme
For loue of Robyn_hode

The knyght presed into the place
An hondred folowed hym f[ree] free] fere B, A omits, in fere F, in feare G, free Child
With bowes bent and arowes sharpe
560 For to shende that company

sig: [B5]
They sholdred all and made hym rome
To wete what he wolde say
He toke the yeman by the honde
And gaue hym all the playe

565 He gaue hym fyue marke for his wyne
There it laye on the molde
And bad it sholde be sette a_broche
Drynke who-so wolde

Thus longe taryed this gentyll knyght
570 Tyll that playe was done
So longe a_bode Robyn fastynge
Thre houres after the none

The thyrde fytte

LYth and lysten gentyll-men
All that now be here
575 Of lytell_Iohan that was the knyghtes man
Good myrthe ye shall here

It was vpon a mery day
That yonge men wolde go sh[e]te shete] shote B, shete A, shute F
Lytell_Iohan fet his bowe a_none
580 And sayd he wolde them mete

Thre tymes lytell_Iohan shot a_bout
And alway he sleste the wande
The proude sheryf of Notyngham
By the markes gan stande

585 The sheryf swore a full grete othe
By hym that dyed on a tree
This man is the best archere
sig: [B5v]
That [euer] yet sawe I me euer] B omits, euer A

Say me now wyght yonge man
590 What is now thy name
In what countre were thou born
And where is thy wonnynge-wan[e] wane] wan B, wane A

In holdernesse I was bore
I_wys all of my dame
595 Men call me Reynolde_grenelefe
Whan I am at hame

Saye me Reynaud_grenelefe
Wolte thou dwell with me
And euery yere I wyll the gyue
600 Twenty marke to thy fee

I haue a mayster sayd lytell_Iohan
A curteys knyght is he
May ye gete leue of hym:
The better may it bee B runs this line onto the preceding line

605 The sheryfe gate lytell_Iohan
Twelue monethes of the knyght
Therfore he gaue hym ryght a_none
A good hors and a wyght

Now is lytel_Iohan the sheryffes man
610 G[od] gyue vs well to spede God] Ge B, God A, He F, G
But all-way thought lytell_Iohan
To quyte hym well his mede

Now so god me helpe sayd lytell_Iohan
And be my trewe lewte
615 I shall be the worste seruaunte to hym
That euer yet had he

It befell vpon a wednesday
The sheryfe on hontynge was gone
sig: [B6]
and lytel_Iohan lay in his bed
620 and was for_yete at home B runs this line onto the preceding line

Therfore he was fastynge
Tyl it was past the none B runs this line onto the preceding line
Good syr stuarde I praye the
Gyue me to dyne sayd lytell_Iohan

625 It is longe for grene_lefe.
Fastynge so longe to be B runs this line onto the preceding line
Therfore I pray the stuarde
My dyner gyue thou me B runs this line onto the preceding line

Shalt thou neuer ete ne drynke sayd the st[u]arde
630 Tyll my lorde be come to towne
I make myn a_vowe to god sayd lytell_Iohan
I had leuer to cracke thy crowne

The butler was full vncurteys
There he stode on flore
635 He sterte to [the] buttery the] B omits, the A
And shet fast the dore B runs this line onto the preceding line

Lytell_Iohan gaue the buteler such a rap
His backe yede nygh on two
Tho he lyued an .c. wynter
640 The wors he sholde go B runs this line onto the preceding line

He sporned the dore with his fote
It went vp wel and fyne B runs this line onto the preceding linevp] open A, vp F, ope G

And there he made a large lyueray
Both of ale and wyne

645 Syth y[e] wyll not dyne sayd lytell_Iohan ye] yr B
I shall gyue you to drynke
And though ye lyue an hondred wynter
On lytell_Iohan ye shall thynk

Lytell_Iohan ete and lytell[_Iohan] dronke lytell_Iohan] lytell B, Litel_Iohn A
650 Ye whyle [that] he wolde B runs this line onto the preceding linethat] B omits, that A, F

The sheryfe had in his kechyn a coke
A stoute man and a bolde

I make myn a_vowe to god sayd the coke
Thou arte a shrewde hynde
655 In an housholde to dwel.
For to ask thus to dyne B runs this line onto the preceding line

And there he lent lytell_Iohan
sig: [B6v]
Good strokes thre [to tell] to tell] all texts omit
I make myn a_vowe sayd lytell_Iohan
660 These strokes lyketh well

Thou arte a bolde man and an hardy
And so thynketh me
And or I passe fro this place
Asayed better shalt thou be

665 Lytell_Iohan drewe a good swerde
The coke toke a nother in honde
They thought nothynge for to fle
But styfly for to stonde

There they fought sore to_gyder
670 Two myle way and more
Myght neyther other harme done
The mountenaunce of an houre

I make myn a_vowe to god sayd lytell_Iohan
And be my trewe lewte
675 Thou art one of the best swerde-men
That euer yet sawe I me

Cowdest thou shote as well in a bowe
To grene-wode thou sholdest with me
And two tymes in the yere thy clothynge
680 I_chaunged sholde be

And euery yere of Robyn_hode
Twenty marke to thy fee
Put vp thy swerde sayd the coke
And felowes wyll we be

685 Then he fette to lytell_Iohan
The numbles of a doo
Good brede and full good wyne
sig: C1
They ete and dranke therto

And whan they had dronken well
690 Ther trouthes to_gyder they plyght
That they wolde be with Robyn
That ylke same [nyght] nyght] day B, A, day at nyght F, G

They dyde them to the tresure-hous
As fast as they myght gone
695 The lockes that were good stele
They brake them euery_chone

They toke a_waye the syluer vessell
And all that they myght get
Peces masars and spones
700 Wolde they none for_gete

Also they toke the good pence
Thre hondred pounde and more
And dyde hym strayt to Robyn_hode hym] them A, F, G
Under the grene-wode tre

705 God the saue my dere mayster
And cryst the saue and se
And than sayd Robyn to lytell_Iohan
Welcome myght thou be

And also be that fayre yeman
710 Thou bryngest there with the
What tydynges fro notyngham
Lytell_Iohan tell thou me

Well the greteth the proude sheryfe
And sende the here by me
715 His coke and his syluer vessell
And thre hondred pounde and thre

I make myn a_vowe to god sayd Robyn
sig: [C1v]
And to the trenyte
It was neuer by his good-wyll
720 This good is co[m]e to me come] cone B

Lytell_Iohan hym there be_thought
On a shrewed whyle
Fyue myle in the forest he ran B runs this line onto the preceding line
Hym happed at his wyll at] all A, at F, G

725 Than he met the proud sheryf
Huntynge with hounde and horne
Lytell_Iohan coud his curteysye
And kneled hym beforne

God the saue my dere mayster
730 And cryst the saue and see
Raynolde_grenelefe sayd the sheryfe
Where hast thou nowe be

I haue be in this forest
A fayre syght can I se
735 It was one of the fayrest syght[es] syghtes] syght B, syghtes A, F, G
That euer yet sawe I me

Yonder I se a ryght fayre hart
His coloure is of grene
Seuen score of dere vpon an herde
740 Be with hym all be_dene

His tynde are so sharp mayster
Of sexty and well mo
That I durst not shote for drede
Lest they wolde me sloo

745 I make myn a_vowe to god sayd the sheryf
That syght wolde I fayn se
Buske you thyderwarde my dere mayster
A_none and wende with me

sig: C2
The sheryfe rode and lytell_Iohan
750 Of fote he was full smarte
And whan they came afore Robyn
Lo here is the mayster-hart

Styll stode the proude sheryf
A sory man was he
755 Wo the worthe Raynolde_grenelefe
Thou hast now be_trayed me

I make myn a_vowe to god sayd lytell_Iohan
Mayster ye be to blame
I was mysserued of my dynere
760 Whan I was with you at hame

Soone he was to super sette
And serued with syluer whyte
And whan the sheryf se his vessell
For sorowe he myght not ete

765 Make good chere sayd Robyn_hode
Sheryfe for charyte
And for the loue of lytell_Iohan
Thy lyfe is graunted to the

Whan they had supped well
770 The day was all a_gone
Robyn commaunded lytell_Iohan
To drawe of his hosen and his shone

His kyrtell and his cote_a_pye
That was furred well [and] fyne and] B omits, and A, F, G
775 And toke hym a grene mantell
To lappe his body therin

Robyn commaunded his wyght yong men
Under the grene-wode tre
sig: [C2v]
They shall lay in that same so[r]te sorte] sote B, sute A, sorte F, G
780 That the sheryf myght them se

All nyght laye that proud sheryf
In his breche and [i]n his sherte in] n B
No wonder it was in grene-wode
Tho his sydes do smerte

785 Make glad chere sayd Robyn_hode
Sheryfe for charyte
For this is our order I_wys
Under the grene-wode tre

This is harder order sayd the sheryfe
790 Than ony anker or frere
For all the golde in mery E[n]glonde Englonde] Eeglonde B
I wolde not longe dwell here

All these twelue monethes sayd Robyn
Thou shalte dwell with me
795 I shall the teche proud sheryfe
An out_lawe for to be

Or I [be] here a nother nyght sayd the sheryfe be] B omits, be A
Robyn nowe I praye the
Smyte of my hede rather to_morne
800 And I for_gyue it the

Lete me go then sayd the sheryf
For saynt charyte
And I wyll be thy best frende
That yet had the

805 Thou shalte swere me an othe sayd Robyn
On my bryght bronde
Thou shalt neuer a_wayte me scathe
By water ne by londe

sig: C3
And yf thou fynde ony of my men
810 By nyght or by day
Upon thyne othe thou shalt swere
To helpe them that thou may

Now haue the sheryf I_swore his othe
And home he be_gan to gone
815 He was as full of grene-wode
As euer was hepe of stone

¶The fourth fytte

THe sheryf dwelled in notynghame
He was fayne that he was gone
And Robyn [and] his mery men and] had B, and A
820 Went to wode anone

Go we to dyner sayd lytell_Iohan
Robyn_hode sayd nay
For I drede our lady be wroth with me
For she sent me not my pay

825 Haue no dout mayster sayd lytell_Iohan
Yet is not the sonne at rest sonne] sonne not B] sonne A
For I dare saye and saufly swere
The knyght is trewe and trust[e] truste] trusty B, truste A

Take thy bowe in thy hande sayd Robyn
830 Let Moch wende with the
And so shall Wyllyam_Scathelock
And no man a_byde with me

And walke vp vnder the sayles
And to watlynge_strete
835 And wayte after such vnketh gest
sig: [C3v]
Up chaunce ye may them mete

Whether he be messengere
Or a man that myrthes can
Or yf he be a pore man
840 Of my good he shall haue some

Forth then stert lytel_Iohan
Half in tray and tene
And gyrde hym with a full good swerde
Under a mantel of grene

845 They went vp to the sayles
These yemen all thre
They loked est they loked west
They myght no man se

But as [they] loked in bernysdale they] he B, they G, Child
850 By the hye-waye
Than were they ware of two blacke monkes
Eche on a good palferay

Then be_spake lytell_Iohan
To Much he gan say
855 I dare lay my lyfe to wedde
That [these] monkes haue brought our pay these] B omits, these F, G

Make glad chere sayd lytell_Iohan
And frese our bowes of ewe frese] bende we F, bend we G
And loke your hertes be seker and sad
860 Your strynges trusty and trewe

The monke hath .lii. [men] men] B omits, men F, man G
And seuen somers full stronge
There rydeth no bysshop in this londe
So ryally I vnderstond

865 Brethern sayd lytell_Iohan
sig: [C4]
Here are no more but we thre
But we brynge them to dyner
Our mayster dare we not se

Bende your bowes sayd lytell_Iohan
870 Make all you prese to stonde
The formost monke his lyfe and his deth
Is closed in my honde

A_byde chorle monke sayd lytell_Iohan
No ferther that thou gone
875 Yf thou doost by dere-worthy god
Thy deth is in my honde

[An] euyll thryfte on thy hede sayd lytell_Iohan An] And B, An F, G
Ryght vnder thy hattes bonde
For thou hast made our mayster wroth
880 He is fastynge so longe

Who is your mayster sayd the monke
Lytell_Iohan sayd Robyn_hode
He is a stronge thefe sayd the monke
Of hym herde I neuer good

885 Thou lyest than sayd lytell_Iohan
And that shall rewe the
He is a yeman of the forest
To dyne he hath bode the

Much was redy with a bolte
890 Redly and a_none
He set the monke to_fore the brest
To the grounde that he can gone

Of .lii. wyght yonge yemen
There a_bode not one
895 Saf a lytell page and a grome
sig: [C4v]
To lede the somers with lytel_Iohan

They brought the monke to the lodge-dore
Whether he were loth or lefe
For to speke with Robyn_hode
900 Maugre in theyr tethe

Robyn dyde a_downe his hode
The monke whan that he se
The monke was not so curteyse
His hode then let he be

905 He is a chorle mayster by dere-worthy god
Than sayd lytell_Iohan
There-of no force sayd Robyn
For curteysy can he none

How many men sayd Robyn
910 Had this monke Iohan
Fyfty and two whan that we met
But many of them be gone

Let blowe a horne sayd Robyn
That felaushyp may vs knowe
915 Seuen score of wyght yemen
Came pryckynge on a rowe

And euerych of them a good mantell [wore] wore] all texts omit
Of scarlet and of raye
All they came to good Robyn
920 To wyte what he wolde say

They made the monke to wasshe and wype
And syt at his denere
Robyn_hode and lytell_Iohan
They serued them both in fere

925 Do gladly monke sayd Robyn
sig: [C5]
Gramercy syr sayd he
Where is your abbay whan ye are at home
And who is your a_vowe

Saynt_Mary abbay sayd the monke
930 Though I be symple here
In what offyce sayd Robyn
Syr the hye selerer

Ye be the more welcome sayd Robyn
So euer mote I the
935 Fyll of the best wyne sayd Robyn
This monke shall drynke to me

But I haue grete meruayle sayd Robyn
Of all this longe day
I drede our lady be wroth with me
940 She sent me not my pay

Haue no doute mayster sayd lytell_Iohan
Ye haue no nede I saye
This monke it hath brought I dare well swere
For he is of her abbay

945 And she was a borowe sayd Robyn
Betwene a knyght and me
Of a lytell money that I hym lent
Under the grene-wode tree

And yf thou hast that syluer I_brought
950 I praye the let me se
And I shall helpe the eftsones
Yf thou haue nede to me

The monke swore a full grete othe
With a sory chere
955 Of the borowehode thou spekest to me
sig: [C5v]
Herde I neuer ere

I make myn avowe to god sayd Robyn
Monke thou arte to blame
For god is holde a ryghtwys man
960 And so is his [d]ame dame] name B, dame A, F, G

Thou toldest with thyn owne tonge
Thou may not say nay
How thou arte her seruaunt
And seruest her euery day

965 And thou art [m]ade her messengere made] nade B
My money for to pay
Therfore I cun the more thanke
Thou arte come at thy day

What is in your cofers sayd Robyn
970 Trewe than tell thou me
Syr he sayd twenty marke
Also mote I the

Yf there be no more sayd Robyn
I wyll not one peny
975 Yf thou hast myster of ony more
Syr more I shall lende to the

And yf I fynde [more sayd] Robyn more sayd] B omits, more sayd F, more said G
I_wys thou shalte it for_gone
For of thy spendynge-syluer monke
980 Therof wyll I ryght none

Go nowe forthe lytell_Iohan
And the trouth tell thou me
If there be no more but twenty marke
No peny that I se

985 Lytell_Iohan spred his mantell downe
sig: [C6]
As he had done be_fore
And he tolde out of the monkes male
Eyght [hondred] pounde and more hondred] B omits, hundreth F, G

Lytell_Iohan let it lye full styll
990 And went to his mayster in hast
Syr he sayd the monke is trewe ynowe
Our lady hath doubled your cast

I make myn avowe to god sayd Robyn
Monke what tolde I the
995 Our lady is the trewest woman
That euer yet founde I me

By dere-worthy god sayd Robyn
To seche all englond thorowe
Yet founde I neuer to my pay
1000 A moche better borowe

Fyll of the best wyne and do hym drynke sayd Robyn
And grete well thy lady hende
And yf she haue nede to Robyn_hode
A frende she shall hym fynde

1005 And yf she nedeth ony more syluer
Come thou agayne to me
And by this token she hath me sent
She shall haue such thre

The monke was goynge to London-ward
1010 There to holde grete mote
The knyght that rode so hye on hors
To brynge hym vnder-fote

Whether be ye away sayd Robyn
Syr to maners in this londe
1015 Too reken with our reues
sig: [C6v]
That haue done moch wronge

Come now forth lytell_Iohan
And harken to my tale
A better yeman I knowe none
1020 To seke a monkes male

How moch is in yonder other corser sayd Robyn
The soth must we see
By our lady than sayd the monke
That were no curteysye

1025 To bydde a man to dyner
And syth hym bete and bynde
It is our olde maner sayd Robyn
To leue but lytell be_hynde

The monke toke the hors with spore
1030 No lenger wolde he a_byde
Aske to drynke than sayd Robyn
Or that ye forther ryde

Nay for god than sayd the monke
Me reweth I cam so nere
1035 For better chepe I myght haue dyned
In blythe or in dankestere

Grete well your abbot sayd Robyn
And your pryour I you pray
And byd hym send me such a monke
1040 To dyner euery day

Now lete we that monke be styll
And speke we of that knyght
Yet he came to holde his day
Whyle that it was lyght

1045 He dyde hym streyt to bernysdale
sig: D1
Under the grene-wode tre
And he founde ther Robyn_hode
And all [his] mery meyne his] thy all texts, his Child

The knyght lyght doune of his good palfray
1050 Robyn whan he gan see
So curteysly he dyde adoune his hode
And set hym on his knee

God the saue Robyn_hode
And all this company
1055 Welcome be thou gentyll knyght
And ryght welcome to me

Then bespake hym Robyn_hode
To that knyght so fre
What nede dryueth the to grenewode
1060 I praye the syr knyght tell me

And welcome be thou ge[n]tyll knyght gentyll] getyll B
Why hast thou be so longe
For the abbot and the hye Iustyce
Wolde haue had my londe

1065 Hast thou thy londe [a]gayne sayd Robyn agayne] gayne B, agayne F
Treuth than tell thou me
Ye for god sayd the knyght
And that thanke I god and the

But take not a_grefe sayd the knyght that I haue be so longe This line is printed as two lines in B, F
1070 I came by a wrastelynge
And there I holpe a pore yeman
With wronge was put be_hynde

Nay for god sayd Robyn
Syr knyght that thanke I the
sig: [D1v]
1075 What man that helpeth a good yeman
His frende than wyll I be

Haue here foure hondred pounde than sayd the knyght
The whiche ye lent to me
And here is also twenty marke
1080 For your curteysy B runs this line onto preceding line

Nay for god than sayd Robyn
Thou broke it well for ay
For our lady by her selerer
Hath sent to me my pay

1085 And yf I toke it twyse twyse] I twyse B, twyse F, twice G
A shame it were to me
But trewely gentyll knyght
Welcom arte thou to me

Whan Robyn had tolde his tale
1090 He leugh and had good chere
By my trouthe then sayd the knyght
Your money is redy here

Broke it well sayd Robyn
Thou gentyll knyght so fre
1095 And welcome be thou ge[n]tyll knyght gentyll] getyll B
Under my trystell-tre

But what shall these bowes do sayd Robyn
And these arowes I_fedred fre
By god than sayd the knyght
1100 A pore present to the

Come now forth lytell_Iohan
And go to my treasure
And brynge me there foure hondred pounde
The monke ouer_tolde it me

1105 Haue here foure hondred pounde
sig: [D2]
Thou gentyll knyght and trewe
And bye hors and harnes good
And gylte thy spores all newe

And yf thou fayle ony spendynge
1110 Come to Robyn_hode
And by my trouth thou shalt none fayle
The whyles I haue any good

And broke well thy .cccc. li.
Whiche I lent to the
1115 And make thy-selfe no more so bare
By the counsell of me

Thus than holpe hym good Robyn
The knyght all of this care all of this] of all his F, G
God that syt in heuen hye
1120 Graunte vs well to fare

The fyfth fytte

NOw hath the knyght his leue I_take
And went hym o[n] his way
Robyn_hode and his mery men
Dwelled styll full many a day

1125 Lyth and lysten gentil-men
And herken what I shall say
How the proud sheryfe of Notyngham
Dyde crye a full fayre play

That all the best archers of the north
1130 Sholde come vpon a day
And [he] that shoteth allther best he] B omits, they F, G, he Child; allther] all ther B, all thee D
The game shall bere a_way

sig: [D2v]
He that shoteth all[ther] best allther] all theyre B, all there D, al of the F, all of the G
Furthest fayre and lowe
1135 At a payre of fynly buttes
Under the grene-wode shawe

A ryght good arowe he shall haue
The shaft of syluer whyte
The hede and the feders of ryche rede Golde
1140 In Englond is none lyke

This than herde good Robyn
Under his trystell-tre
Make you redy ye wyght yonge men
That shotynge wyll I se

1145 Buske you my mery yonge men
Ye shall go with me
And I wyll wete the shryues fayth
Trewe and yf he be

Whan they had theyr bowes I_bent
1150 Theyr takles fedred fre
Seuen score of wyght yonge men
Stode by Robyns kne

Whan they cam to Notyngham
The buttes were fayre and longe
1155 Many was the bolde archere
That shoted with bowes stronge

There shall but syx shote with me
The other shal kepe my hede
And stande with good bowes bent
1160 That I be not desceyued

The fourth out_lawe his bowe gan bende
And that was Robyn_hode
sig: D3
And that be_helde the proud sheryfe
All by the but he stode

1165 Thryes Robyn shot a_bout
And alway they slist the wand they] he A, F, G, they D
And so dyde good gylberte
Wyth the whyte hande

Lytell_Iohan and good Scatheloke
1170 Were archers good and fre
Lytell Much and good Reynolde
The worst wolde they not be

Whan they had shot aboute
These archours fayre and good
1175 Euer-more was the best
For-soth Robyn_hode

Hym was delyuered the good arowe
For best worthy was he
He toke the yeft so curteysly
1180 To grene-wode wolde he

They cryed out on Robyn_hode
And grete hornes gan they blowe
Wo worth the treason sayd Robyn
Full euyll thou art to knowe

1185 And wo be thou: thou proude sheryf
Thus gladdynge thy gest
Other-wyse thou behote me
In yonder wylde forest

But had I the in grene-wode
1190 Under my trystell-tre
Thou sholdest leue me a better wedde
Than thy trewe lewte

sig: [D3v]
Full many a bowe there was bent
And arowes let they glyde
1195 Many a kyrtell there was rent
And hurt many a syde

The outlawes shot was so stronge
That no man myght them dryue
And the proud sheryfes men
1200 They fled a_way full blyue

Robyn sawe the busshement to broke
In grene-wode he wolde haue be
Many an arowe there was shot
A_monge that company

1205 Lytell_Iohan was hurte full sore
With an arowe in his kne
That he myght neyther go nor ryde
It was full grete pyte

Mayster then sayd lytell_Iohan
1210 If euer thou louest me
And for that ylke lordes loue
That dyed vpon a tre

And for the medes of my seruyce
That I haue serued the
1215 Lete neuer the proude sheryf
Alyue now fynde me

But take out thy browne swerde
And smyte all of my hede
And gyue me woundes de[p]e and wyde depe] dede B, depe D
1220 No lyfe on me be lefte

I wolde not that sayd Robyn
Iohan that thou were slawe
sig: [D4]
For all the golde in mery Englonde
Though it lay now on a rawe

1225 God for_bede sayd lytell Much
That dyed on a tre
That thou sholdest lytell_Iohan
Parte our company

Up he toke hym on his backe
1230 And bare hym well a myle
Many a tyme he layd hym downe
And shot a nother whyle

Then was there a fayre castell
A lytell with-in the wode
1235 Double-dyched it was a_bout
And walled by the rode

And there dwelled that gentyll knyght
Syr Rychard_at_the_lee
That Robyn had lent his good
1240 Under the grene-wode tree

In he toke good Robyn
And all his company
Welcome be thou Robyn_hode
Welcome arte thou to me

1245 And moche [I] thanke the of thy confort I] B omits, I F, G
And of thy curteysye
And of thy grete kyndenesse
Under the grene-wode tre

I loue no man in all this worlde
1250 So moch as I do the
For all the proud sheryf of Notyngham
Ryght here shalt thou be

sig: [D4v]
Shyt the gates and drawe the brydge
And let no man com in
1255 And arme you well and make you redy
And to the walle ye wynne

For one thynge Robyn I the be_hote
I swere by saynt Quyntyn
These twelue dayes thou wonest with me
1260 To suppe ete and dyne

Bordes were layed and clothes spred
Reddely and a_none
Robyn_hode and his mery men
To mete gan they gone

¶The .vi. fytte

1265 LYthe and lysten gentylmen
And herken vnto your songe your] the F, G
How the proud sheryf of Notyngham
And men of armes stronge

Full faste came to the hye sheryfe
1270 The countre vp to rout
And they beset the knyghtes castell
The walles all about

The proude sheryf loud gan crye
And sayd thou traytour knyght
1275 Thou kepeste here the kynges enemye
Agayne the lawes and ryght

Syr I wyll a_vowe that I haue done
The dedes th[at] here be dyght that] thou B, [t]hou D, that A, F, G
Up_on all the londes that I haue
sig: [D5]
1280 As I am a trewe knyght

Wende forthe syrs on your waye
And doth no more to me
Tyll ye wytte our kynges wyll
What he woll say to the

1285 The sheref thus had his answere
With-out ony leasynge
Forthe he yode to London toune
All for to tel our kynge

There he tolde hem of that knyght
1290 And eke of Robyn_hode
And also of the bolde archeres
That noble were and good

He wolde a_vowe that he had done
To mayntayne the outlawes stronge
1295 He wolde be lorde and set you at nought
In all the north-londe

I woll be at Notyngham sayd the kynge
Within this fourtynyght
And take I wyll Robyn_hode
1300 And so I wyll that knyght

Go home thou proud sheryf
And do as I [bydde the] bydde the] the bydde B, D, F, byd the A, you bid G
And ordayne good archeres I_nowe
Of all the wyde countree

1305 The sheryf had his leue I_take
And went hym on his way
And Robyn_hode [went] to grene-wode went] B omits, wente P
Upon a certayn day

And lytell_Iohan was hole of the arowe
sig: [D5v]
1310 That shote was in his kne
And dyde hym strayte to Robyn_hode
Under the grene-wode tre

Robyn_hode walked in the foreste
Under the leues grene
1315 The proud sheryfe of Notyngham
Therfore he had grete tene

The sheryf there fayled of Robyn_hode
He myght not haue his pray
Then he a_wayted this gentyll knyght
1320 Bothe by nyght and by daye

Euer he a_wayted that gentyll knyght
Syr Rychard_at_the_lee
As he went on_haukynge by the ryuer-syde
And let his haukes flee

1325 Toke he there this gentyll knyght
With men_of_armes stronge
And lad hym home to Notyngham-warde
I_bonde both [fote and honde] fote and honde] honde and fote B, fote and hande A

The sheryf swore a full grete othe
1330 By hym that dyed on a tre
He had leuer than an hondred pounde
That he had Robyn_hode

This lady the knyghtes wyfe
A fayre lady and fre
1335 She set her on a good palfray
To grene-wode a_non rode she

Whan she came to the forest
Under the grene-wode tre tre] tre tre B
Founde she there Robyn_hode
sig: [D6]
1340 And all his fayre meyne

God the [saue] good Robyn saue] B omits, saue A
And all thy company
For our dere lady loue
A bone graunte thou me

1345 Late thou neuer my wedded lorde
Shamly I_slayne be
He is fast I_bounde to Notyngham-warde
For the loue of the

A_none then sayd good Robyn
1350 To that lady fre
What man hath your lorde I_take
[The proude shirife than sayd she] line wanting in B; reading supplied from F (cf. G)

[..........................] line wanting in B
For-soth as I the say
1355 He is not yet thre myles
Passed on your waye your] his A, [y]our D

Up then sterte good Robyn
As a man that had be wode
Buske you my mery yo[n]ge men
1360 For hym that dyed on a rode

And he that this sorowe forsaketh
By hym that dyed on a tre
Shall he neuer in grene-wode be
Nor lenger dwell with me

1365 Sone there were good bowes I_bent
Mo than seuen score
Hedge ne dyche spare they none
That was them before

I make myn a_vowe to god sayd Robyn
1370 The knyght wolde I fayn se
And yf I may hym take
sig: [D6v]
I_quyt than shall it be

And whan they came to Notyngham
They walked in the strete
1375 And with the proud sheryf I_wys
Sone gan they mete

A_byde thou proud sheryf he sayd
A_byde and speke with me
Of some tydynges of our kynge
1380 I wolde fayne here of the

This seuen yere by dere-worthy god
Ne yede I so fast on fote
I make myne a_vowe to god thou proud sheryfe
[I]t is not for thy good It] At B, It A, D, That F

1385 Robyn bent a good bowe
An arowe he drewe at his wyll
He hyt so the proud sheryf
Upon the grounde he lay full styll

And or he myght vp_aryse
1390 On his fete to stonde
He smote of the sheryffes hede
With his bryght bronde

Lye thou there thou proud sheryf
Euyll mote thou thryue
1395 There myght no man to the trust
The whyles thou were a_lyue

His men drewe out theyr bryght swerdes
That were so sharpe and kene
And layde on the sheryues men
1400 And dryued them downe by_dene

Robyn stert to that knyght
sig: E1
And cut a_two his hoode
And toke hym in his hand a bowe
And bad hym by hym stonde

1405 Leue thy hors the be_hynde
And lerne for to renne
Thou shalt with me to grene-wode
Through myre mosse and fenne

Thou shalt with me to grene-wode
1410 With-out ony leasynge
Tyll that I haue gete vs grace
Of Edwarde our comly kynge

¶The .vii. fytte

THe kynge came to Notynghame
With knyghtes in grete araye
1415 For to take that gentyll knyght
And Robyn_hode and yf he may

He asked men of that countre
After Robyn_hode
And after that gentyll knyght
1420 That was so bolde and stout

Whan they had tolde hym the case
Our kynge vnder_stonde ther tale
And seased in his honde
The knyghtes londes all

1425 All the [com]passe of lancasshyre compasse] passe B, compasse F, G
He went both ferre and nere
Tyll he came to plomton_parke
He faylyd many of his dere

sig: [E1v]
There our kynge was wont to se
1430 Herdes many one
He coud vnneth fynde one dere
That bare ony good horne

The kynge was wonder wroth with-all
And swore by the trynyte
1435 I wolde I had Robyn_hode
With eyen I myght hym se

And he that wolde smyte of the knyghtes hede
And brynge it to me
He shall haue the knyghtes londes
1440 Syr Rycharde_at_the_le

I gyue it hym with my charter
And sele it [with] my honde with] B omits, with F, G
To haue and holde for euer-more
In all mery Englonde

1445 Than bespake a fayre olde knyght
That was treue in his fay
A my leege-lorde the kynge
One worde I shall you say

There is no man in this countre
1450 May ha[u]e the knyghtes londes
Whyle Robyn_hode may ryde or gone
And bere a bowe in his hondes

That he ne shall lese his hede
That is the best ball in his hode
1455 Gyue it to no man my lorde the kynge
That ye wyll any good

Half a yere dwelled our comly kynge
In Notyngham and well more
sig: [E2]
Coude he not here of Robyn_hode
1460 In what countre that he were

But alway went good Robyn
By halke and eke by hyll
And alway slewe the kynges dere
And welt them at his wyll

1465 Than be_spake a proude fostere
That stode by our kynges kne
Yf ye wyll se good R[o]byn Robyn] Rabyn B
Ye must do after me

Take fyue of the best knyghtes
1470 That be in your lede
And walke downe by your abbay walke] walked B, F
And gete you monkes wede

And I wyll be your ledes-man
And lede you the way
1475 And or ye come to Notyngham
Myn hede then dare I lay

That ye shall mete with good Robyn
On_lyue yf that he be
Or ye come to Notyngham
1480 With eyen ye shall hym se

Full hastly our kynge was dyght
So were his knyghtes fyue
Euerych of them in monkes wede
And hasted them thyder blyth

1485 Our kynge was grete a_boue his cole
A brode hat on his crowne
Ryght as he were abbot lyke
They rode vp in-to the towne

sig: [E2v]
Styf botes our kynge had on
1490 Forsoth as I you say
He rode syngynge to grene-wode
The couent was clothed in graye

His male-hors and his grete somers
Folowed our kynge be_hynde
1495 Tyll they came to grene-wode
A myle vnder the lynde

There they met with good Robyn
Stondynge on the waye
And so dyde many a bolde archere
1500 For-soth as I you say

Robyn toke the kynges hors
Hastely in that stede
And sayd syr abbot by your leue
A whyle ye must abyde

1505 We be yemen of this foreste
Under the grene-wode tre
We lyue by our kynges dere
[Other shyft haue not we] Other shyft haue not we] Under the grene wode tre B, Other shyft haue not we F, Other shift haue not wee G

And ye haue chyrches and rentes both
1510 And gold full grete plente
Gyue vs some of your spendynge
For saynt charyte

Than be_spake our cumly kynge
A_none than sayd he
1515 I brought no more to grene-wode
But forty pounde with me

I haue layne at Notyngham
This fourtynyght with our kynge
sig: E3
And spent I haue full moche good
1520 On many a grete lordynge

And I haue but forty pounde
No more than haue I me
But yf I had an hondred pounde
I vouch it halfe on the

1525 Robyn toke the forty pounde
And departed it in two partye
Half_endell he gaue his mery men
And bad them mery to be

Full curteysly Robyn gan say
1530 Syr haue this for your spendyng
We shall mete a nother day
Gramercy than sayd our kynge

But well the greteth Edwarde our kynge
And sent to the his seale
1535 And byddeth the com to Notyngham
Both to mete and mele

He toke out the brode tar[g]e targe] tarpe B, seale F, G, targe Child
And sone he lete hym se
Robyn coud his courteysy
1540 And set hym on his kne

I loue no man in all the worlde
So well as I do my kynge
Welcome is my lordes seale
And monke for thy tydynge

1545 Syr abbot for thy tydynges
To_day thou shalt dyne with me
For the loue of my kynge
Under my trystell-tre

sig: [E3v]
Forth he lad our comly kynge
1550 Full fayre by the honde
Many a dere there was slayne
And full fast dyghtande

Robyn toke a full grete horne
And loude he gan blowe
1555 Seuen score of wyght yonge men
Came redy on a rowe

All they kneled on theyr kne
Full fayre be_fore Robyn
The kynge sayd hym-selfe vntyll
1560 And swore by saynt Austyn

Here is a wonder semely syght
Me-thynketh by goddes pyne
His men are more at his byddynge
Then my men be at myn

1565 Full hastly was theyr dyner I_dyght
And therto gan they gone
They serued our kynge with al theyr myght
Both Robyn and lytell_Iohan

A_none before our kynge was set
1570 The fatte venyson
The good whyte brede the good rede wyne
And therto the fyne ale and browne

Make good chere sayd Robyn
Abbot for charyte
1575 And for this ylke tydynge
Blyssed mote thou be

Now shalte thou se what lyfe we lede
Or thou hens wende
sig: E4
Than thou may enfourme our kynge
1580 Whan ye to_gyder lende

Up they sterte all in hast
Theyr bowes were smartly bent
Our kynge was neuer so sore a_gast
He wende to haue be shent

1585 Two yerdes there were vp_set
There-to gan they gange
By fyfty pase our kynge sayd
The merkes were to longe

On euery syde a rose-garlonde
1590 They shot vnder the lyne
Who-so fayleth of the rose-garlonde sayd Robyn
His takyll he shall tyne

And yelde it to his mayster
Be it neuer so fyne
1595 For no man wyll I spare
So drynke I ale or wyne

And bere a buffet on his hede
[I_]wys ryght all bare I_wys] A wys B, I_wys Child
And all that fell in Robyns lote
1600 He smote them wonder sare

Twyse Robyn shot a_boute
And euer he cleued the wande
And so dyde good Gylberte
With the good whyte hande

1605 Lytell_Iohan and good Scathelocke
For nothynge wolde they spare
Whan they fayled of the garlonde
Robyn smote them full sore

sig: [E4v]
At the last shot / that Robyn shot
1610 For all his frendes fare
Yet he fayled of the garlonde
Thre fyngers and mare

Than be_spake good Gylberte
And thus he gan say
1615 Mayster he sayd your takyll is lost
Stande forth and take your pay

If it be so sayd Robyn
That may no better be
Syr abbot I delyuer the myn arowe
1620 I pray the syr serue thou me

It falleth not for myn ordre sayd our kynge
Robyn by thy leue
For to smyte no good yeman
For doute I sholde hym greue

1625 Smyte on boldely sayd Robyn
I gyue the large leue
A_none our kynge with that worde
He folde vp his sleue

And sych a buffet he gaue Robyn
1630 To grounde he yede full nere
I make myn a_vowe to god sayd Robyn
Thou arte a stalworthe frere

There is pith in thyn arme sayd Robyn
I trowe thou canst well shote
1635 Thus our kynge and Robyn_hode
To_geder than they met

Robyn behelde our comly kynge
Wystly in the face
sig: [E5]
So dyde syr Rycharde_at_the_le
1640 And kneled downe in that place

And so dyde all the wylde outlawes
Whan they se them knele
My lorde the kynge of Englonde
Now I knowe you well

1645 Mercy then Robyn sayd our kynge
Under your trystyll-tre
Of thy goodnesse and thy grace
For my men and me

Yes for god sayd Robyn
1650 And also god me saue
I aske mercy my lorde the kynge
And for my men I craue

Yes for god than sayd our kynge
And therto sent I me
1655 With that thou leue the grene-wode
And all thy company

And come home syr to my courte
And there dwell with me
I make myn a_vowe to god sayd Robyn
1660 And ryght so shall it be

I wyll come to your courte
Your seruyse for to se
And brynge with me of my men
Seuen score and thre

1665 But me lyke well your seruyse
I [wyll] come a_gayne full soone wyll] B omits, wyll F, will G
And shote at the donne dere
As I am wonte to done

sig: [E5v]< /l

¶The .viii. fytte

1670 HAste thou ony grene cloth sayd our kynge
That thou wylte sell nowe to me
Ye for god sayd Robyn
Thyrty yerdes and thre

Robyn / sayd our kynge
1675 Now pray I the
Sell me some of that cloth
To me and my meyne

Yes for god then sayd Robyn
Or elles I were a fole
1680 A nother day ye wyll me clothe
I trowe ayenst the yole

The kynge kest of his cole then
A grene garment he dyde on
And euery knyght [also] I_wys also] had so all texts, also Child
1685 A nother had full sone

Whan they were clothed in Lyncolne-grene
They keste a_way theyr graye
Now we shall to Notyngham
All thus our kynge gan say

1690 Theyr bowes bente and forth they went
Shotynge all in fere
Towarde the towne of Notyngham
Out_lawes as they were

Our kynge and Robyn rode to_gyder
1695 For-soth as I you say
And they shote plucke-buffet
As they went by the way

sig: [E6]
And many a buffet our kynge wan
of Robyn_hode that day
1700 And nothynge spared good Robyn
Our kynge in his pay

So god me helpe sayd our kynge
Thy game is nought to lere
I sholde not get a shote of the
1705 Though I shote all this yere

All the people of Notyngham
They stode and be_helde
They sawe nothynge but mantels of grene
That couered all the felde

1710 Than euery man to other gan say
I drede our kynge be slone
Come Robyn_hode to the towne I_wys
On_lyue he lefte neuer one

Full hastly they be_gan to fle
1715 Both yemen and knaues
And olde wyues that myght euyll goo
They hypped on theyr staues

The kynge l[o]ughe full fast loughe] lughe B, loughe Child
And commaunded theym a_gayne
1720 When they se our comly kynge
I_wys they were full fayne

They ete and dranke and made them glad
And sange with notes hye
Than be_spake our comly kynge
1725 To syr Rycharde_at_the_lee

He gaue hym there his londe a_gayne
A good-man he bad hym be
sig: [E6v]
Robyn thanked our comly kynge
And set hym on his kne

1730 Had Robyn dwelled in the kynges courte
But .xii. monethes and thre
That [he had] spent an hondred pounde he had] B omits, he had F, G
And all his mennes fe

In euery place where Robyn came
1735 Euer-more he layde downe
Both for knyghtes and for squyres
To gete hym grete renowne

By than the yere was all a_gone
He had no man but twayne
1740 Lytell_Iohan and good Scathelocke
With hym all for to gone

Robyn sawe yonge men shote
Full ferre vpon a day ferre] fayre F, faire G
Alas than sayd good Robyn
1745 My welthe is went a_way

Somtyme I was an archere good
A styffe and eke a stronge
I was [compted] the best archere compted] commytted B, commended for F, G, committed P, compted Child
That was in mery Englonde

1750 Alas then sayd good Robyn
Alas and well_a_woo
Yf I dwele lenger with the kynge
Sorowe wyll me sloo

Forth than went Robyn_hode
1755 Tyll he came to our kynge
My lorde the kynge of Englonde
Graunte me myn askynge

sig: [F1]
I made a chapell in bernysda[l]e bernysdale] bernysdade B
That semely is to se
1760 It is of mary_Magdaleyne
And there-to wolde I be

I myght neuer in this seuen-nyght
No tyme to slepe ne wynke
Nother all these seuen dayes
1765 Nother ete ne drynke

Me longeth sore to bernysdale
I may not be therfro
Bare-fote and wolwarde I haue hyght
Thyder for to go

1770 Yf it be so than sayd our kynge be so] be he so B
It may no better be
Seuen-nyght I gyue the leue
No lengre to dwell fro me

Gramercy lorde then sayd Robyn
1775 And set hym on his kne
He toke his leue full courteysly
To grene-wode then went he

Whan he came to grene-wode
In a mery mornynge
1780 There he herde the notes small
Of byrdes mery syngynge

It is ferre gone sayd Robyn
That I was last here
Me lyste a lytell for to shote
1785 At the donne dere

Robyn slewe a full grete harte
His horne than gan he blow
sig: [F1v]
That all the outlawes of that forest
That horne coud they knowe

1790 And gadred them to_gyder
In a lytell throwe
Seuen score of wyght yonge men
Came redy on a rowe

And fayre dyde of theyr hodes
1795 And set them on theyr kne
Welcome they sayd our [dere] mayster dere] B omits, dere P
Under this grene-wode tre

Robyn dwelled in grene-wode
Twenty yere and two
1800 For all drede of Edwarde our kynge
Agayne wolde he not goo

Yet he was begyled I_wys
Through a wycked woman
The pryoresse of kyrkesly
1805 That nye was of his kynne was] was was B

For the loue of a knyght
Syr Roger of donkesly
That was her owne speciall
Full euyll mote they the

1810 They toke to_gyder theyr counsell
Robyn_hode for to sle
And how they myght best do that dede
His banis for to be

Than be_spake good Robyn
1815 In place where-as he stode place] places B, place Child
To_morow I muste to kyrke[s]ley kyrkesley] kyrkeley B
Craftely to be leten blode

sig: [F2]
Syr Roger of donkestere
By the pryoresse he lay
1820 And there they be_trayed good Robyn_hode
Through theyr false playe

Cryst haue mercy on his soule
That dyed on the rode
For he was a good out_lawe
1825 And dyde pore men moch god
Explycit. Kynge Edwarde and Robyn_hode and Lytell_Iohan Enprented at London in Fletestrete at the sygne of the sone By Wynken_de_Worde
sig: [F2v]