Robin Hood and Guy of Gisbourne



When Shawes beene sheene and shradds full fayre,
And leeves both large and longe,
It is merry,walking in the fayre forrest,
To heare the small birds songe
.
The Woodweele** sang, and wold not cease,
Amongst the leaves a lyne***:
And it is by two wight**** yeomen,
By deare god that I meane.
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[missing section of text]
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Me thought they did me beate and binde,
And took my bow mee froe;
If I be Robin a-live in this lande,
I'le be wrocken on both them towe."
.
"Sweavens are swift***** master",quoth John,
"As the wind that blows ore a hill;
For if itt be never soe lowde this night,
To-morrow it may be still."
.
"Buske yee, bowne yee, my merry men all,
For John shall, goe with mee;
For I'le goe seeke yond wight yeomen
In greenwood where they bee."
.
The(y) cast on their gowne of greene,
a shooting gone are they,
Untill they came to the merry greenwood,
Where they had gladdest bee;
.
They were the ware of [a] wight yeoman,
His body leaned to a tree.
.
A sword and a dagger he wore by his side,
Had beene many a mans bane,
And he was clad in his capull-hyde,
******
Topp, and tayle and mayne.
.
"Stand you still, master,"quoth Litle John,
"Under this trusty tree,
And I will goe to yond wight yeoman,
To know his meaning trulye"
.
"A, John, by me thou sets noe store,
And thats a Farley thinge;
How offt send I my men beforre
And tarry my-selfe behinde?
.
"It is noe cunning a knave to ken,
And a man but heare him speake;
And itt were not for bursting of my bowe,
John, I wold thy head breake"
.
But often words they breeden bale,
That parted Robin and John;
John is gone to Barnesdale,
The gates he knows eche one.
.
And when hee came to Barnesdale,
Great heavinesse there hee hadd;
He found two of his fellowes
were slaine both in a slade,
.
And Scarlett a foote flyinge was,
Over stockes and stone,
For the sheriffe with seven score men
Fast after him is gone.
.
"Yett one shot, I'le shoote, says Litle John,
"With Crist his might and mayne;
I'le make yon fellow that flyes soe fast
To be both glad and faine."
.
John bent up a good yiewe bow
And fettled him to shoote;
The bow was made of a tender boughe,
And fell downe to his foote.
.
"Woe worth thee wicked wood",sayd Litle John,
That ere thou grew on a tree!
For this day thou art my bale,
My boote when thou shold bee!"
.
This shoote it was but looselye shot,
The arrowe flew in vaine,
And it hit one of the sheriffes men;
Good William a Trent was slaine.
.
It had beene better for William a Trent
To hange upon a gallowe
Then for to lye in the greenwoode,
There slaine with an arrowe.
.
And it is sayd when men be mett,
Six can doe more than three:
And they have tane Litle John,
And bound him fast to a tree.
.
"Thou shalt be drawen by dale and downe," quote the sheriffe,
"And hanged hye on a hill:"
"But thou may fayle,"quoth Litle John,
"If itt be Christs owne will."
.
Let us leave talking of Litle John,
For hee is bound fast to a tree,
And talke of Guy and Robin Hood,
In the green woode where they bee.
.
How these two yeomen together they mett,
Under the leaves of lyne,
To see what merchandise they made
Even at that same time.
.
"Good morrow, good fellow," quoth Sir Guy:
"Good morrow, good fellow,"quoth hee;
"Me thinkes by this bow thou beares in thy hand,
A good archer thou seems to bee."
.
"I am wilful of my way,"quoth Sir Guye,
"And of my morning tyde:"
"I'le lead thee through the wood,"quoth Robin,
"Good fellow, I'le be thy guide."
.
I seeke an outlaw,"quoth Sir Guye,
"Men call him Robin Hood;
I had rather meet with him upon a day
Than forty pound of golde."
.
"If you tow mett it wold be seene whether were better
Afore yee did part awaye;
Let us some other pastime find,
Good fellow,I thee pray.
.
"Let us some other masteryes make,
And wee will walk in the woods even;
Wee may chance meet with Robin Hoode
At some unsett steven."
.
They cut them down the summer shroggs
Which grew both under a bryar,
And sett them three score rood in twinn,
To shoot the prickes full neare.
.
"Leade on good fellow," sayd Sir Guye,
"Lead on, I doe bidd thee:"
"Nay by my faith,"quoth Robin Hood,
The leader thou shalt bee."
.
The first good shoot that Robin ledd
Did not shoot an inch the pricke froe;
Guy was an archer good enoughe,
But he cold never shoote soe.
.
The seconde shoote Sir Guy shott,
He shott within the garlande;
But Robin Hoode shott itt better than hee,
For he clove the good pricke-wande,
.
"Gods blessing on thy heart!" sayes Guye,
"Goode fellow, thy shooting is goode;
For an thy hart be as good as thy hands,
Thou were better than Robin Hood
.
"Tell me thy name, good fellow,"quoth Guy,
Under the leaves of lyne:"
"Nay, by my faith,"quoth good Robin,
"Till thou have told me thine."
.
"I dwell by dale and downe," quoth Guye,
"And I have done many a curst turne;
And he that calls me by my right name
Calls me Guy of good Gysbourne."
.
"My dwelling is in the wood,"sayes Robin;
"By thee I set right nought;
My name is Robin Hood of Barnesdale,
A fellow thou has long sought."
.
He that had neither beene a kithe nor kin
Might have seen a full fayre sight,
To see how together these yeomen went,
With blades both browne and bright
.
To have seene how these yeomen together fought,
Two howers of a summers day;
Itt was neither Guy nor Robin Hood
That fettled them to flye away.
.
Robin was reacheles on a roote,
And stumbled at that tyde,
And Guy was quicke and nimble withall,
And hitt him ore the left side.
.
"Ah, deere Lady!" sayd Robin Hoode,
"Thou art both mother and may!
I thinke it was never mans destinye
To dye before his day."
.
Robin thought on Our Lady deere,
And soone leapt up againe,
And thus he came with an awkwarde
******* stroke;
Good Sir Guy hee has slayne.
.
He tooke Sir Guys head by the hayre,
And sticked itt on his bowes end:
"Thou hast beene traytor all thy liffe,
Which thing must have an ende."
.
Robin pulled forth an Irish kniffe,
And nicked Sir Guy in the face,
That he was never on a woman borne
Cold tell who Sir Guy was.
.
Saies, "Lye there, lye there, good Sir Guye,
And with me be not wrothe;
If thou have had the worse strokes at my hand,
Thou shalt have the better cloathe."
.
Robin did off his gowne of greene,
Sir Guye he did it throwe;
And he put on that capull-hyde,
That clad him toppe to toe.
.
"The bowe, the arrowes, and litle horne,
And with me now I'll beare;
For now I go to Barnesdale,
To see how my men do fare."
.
Robin sett Guyes horne to his mouth,
A lowd blast in it he did blow;
That beheard the sheriffe of Nottingham,
As he leaed under a lowe.
.
"Hearken! hearken! sayd the sheriffe
"I heard noe tydings but good;
For yonder I heare Sir Guyes horne blow,
For he hath slaine Robin Hoode.
.
"For yonder I heare Sir Guyes horne blow,
Itt blowes soe well in tyde,
For yonder comes that wighty yeoman,
Cladd in his capull-hyde.
.
Come hither, thou good Sir Guye,
Aske of me what thou wilt have:"
"I'le none of thy gold sayes Robin Hood,
Nor I'll none of it have.
.
But now I have slaine the master," he sayd,
"Let me goe strike the knave;
This is all the reward I aske,
Nor noe other will I have."
.
"Thou art a madman,"said the shiriffe,
"Thou sholdest have had a knights fee;
Seeing thy asking [hath] been soe badd,
Well granted it shall be."
.
But Litle John heard his master speake,
Well he knew that was his steven;
Now shall I be loset," quoth litle John,
With Christs might in heaven"
.
But Robin hee hyed him towards Litle John,
Hee thought hee wold loose him believe;
The sheriffe and all his companye
fast after him did drive.
.
"Stand abacke! strand abacke!" sayd Robin;
"Why draw you mee soe neere?
Itt was never the use in our countrye
One's shrift another shoul heere.
.
But Robin pulled forth an Iryshe kniffe,
And losed John hand and foote,
And gave him Sir Guyes bow in his hand,
And bade it be his boote
.
But John tooke Sir Guyes bow in his hand-
His arrowes were rawstye buy the roote-,
The sheriffe saw Litle John draw a bow
And fettle him to shoote.
.
Towards his house in Nottingham
He fled full fast away,
And so did all his companye,
Not one behind did stay.
.
But he could neither soe fast goe,
Noraway soe fast runn,
But Litle John, with an arrow broade,
Did cleave his heart in twinn.
.
**woodweele = green woodpecker [3] - Lincoln green plumage and a red crest. The university of Rochester page (link below) translates "Woodweele" as Golden Oriole (a summer migrant)[back]

***Lyne = Linden or Lime, this tree is traditionally associated with midsummer [2]. The mother of Cheiron the centaur (half man, half horse) was called Philyra, which means "lime tree". She was apparently transformed into a lime tree by Zeus. In upland areas, the "tree" of midsummer was heather (ling?)[back]

****wight = strong, fast, courageous, skilled in arms, vigourous. Also applied (as a noun) to supernatural or unearthly beings. [3][back]

*****John seems to be saying that dreams are fleeting and should not be taken too seriously. Presumably, in the missing section of the ballad, Robin talks about a disturbing dream which he has had. Perhaps, like The Sorrowful God, Robin knows what awaits him[back]

******capull-hyde = horse hide, head and all! [2] click here for picture[back]

*******Awkwarde = backhand or left-handed [back]



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