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Mildred S. Bronson 

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In this our spacious isle I think there is not one, 
But he ' of Robin Hood hath heard' and Little John ; 
And to the end of time the tales shall ne'er be done 
Of Scarlock, George a Green, and Much the miller's son, 
Of Tuck, the merry friar, which many a sermon made 
In praise of Robin Hood, his outlaws, and their trade. 








©noflisl) (2^utlato? 







J.M'Crcery, Printer, 
Black-IIorse-Court, London. 



a:>ttfte of iSttccleucI) antr (aueensberrp, 

«Sfc. <5fc. 8^c. 



HIS grace's most obliged, 




J- HE late eminent antiquary, Mr, Joseph Ritson^ 
collected, with much labour and care, all the histo- 
rical and poetical remains he could discover relating 
to that celebrated character, Robin Hood, which he 
published in the year '[795, in two smallSvo. volumes. 
The present Publication is a reprint of that Work, 
ivhich is now become exceedingly scarce and expen- 
sive. It being, however, the aim of the present Edi- 
tor to produce a book which could ivilh propriety be 
put into the hands of young persons, he has retained 
only a portion of Mr, Ritson*s notes. The rest have 
been omitted as either irrelevant or inadmissible in a 
work designed for this class of readers. The Editor 
conceives, and confidently anticipates, that this little 
volume will prove peculiarly acceptable at the present 
moment, in consequence of the hero, and Jiis merry 
companions, having been recently pourtrayed in the 
most lively colours by the masterly h^nd of the author 

March, 1830. 


The singular circumstance, that the name of an 
outlawed individual of the twelfth or thirteenth 
century should continue traditionally popular, be 
chanted in ballads, and, as one may say. 

Familiar in our mouth as household vrords, 

at the end of the eighteenth, excited the editor's 
curiosity to retrieve all the historical or poetical 
remains concerning him that could be met with : 
an object which he has occasionally pursued for 
many years ; and of which pursuit he now pub- 
lishes the result. He cannot, indeed, pretend 
that his researches, extensive as they must appear, 
have been attended with all the success he could 
have wished; but, at the same time, it ought to 
be acknowledged that many poetical pieces, of 
great antiquity and some merit, are deservedly 
rescued from oblivion. 

The materials collected for "the life" ofthi* 
celebrated character, which are either preserved 


. at large, or carefully referred to, in the " notes 
and illustrations/' are not, it must be confessed, 
in every instance, so innportant, so ancient, or, 
"perhaps, so authentic, as the subject seems to de- 
mand ; although the compiler may be permitted 
to say, in humble second-hand imitation of the 
poet Martial : 

Some there are good, some middling, and some bad ; 
But yet they were the best that could be had. 

Desirous to omit nothing that he could find upon 
the subject, he has everywhere faithfully vouched 
and exhibited his authorities, such as they are : it 
would, therefore, seem altogether uncandid or un- 
just to make him responsible for the want of au- 
thenticity of such of them as may appear liable 
to that imputation. 


The Life of Robin Hood .....* iii 

T^otes and Illustrations xv 


I. A Lytell Geste ofRobyn Bode l 

TI. Robin Hood and the Potter , 60 

III. Robin Hood and the Beggar 71 

IV. Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne 83 

V. A true tale of Robin Hood ....,, 91 


I. Robin Hoods birth, breeding, Sfc 107 

II. Robin Hoods Progress to Nottingham .... 115 
HI. The Jolly Pinder of Wakefield, with Robin 

Hood, Scarlet, and John 117 

IV. Robin Hood and the Bishop 1 19 

V. Robin Hood and the Butcher 122 

VI. Robin Hood and the Tanner 137 

VII. Robin Hood and the Tinker 132 

VIII. Robin Hood and Allen a Dale 138 

IX. Robin Hood and the Shepherd 142 

X. Robin Hood and the Curtail Fryer 146 




XI. Robin Hood and the Stranger 152 

XII. Robin Hood and Queen Katherine 163 

XIII. Robin Hoods Chase 170 

XIV. Robin Hoods Golden Prize 174 

XV. Robin Hood rescuing Will Stuily 178 

XVI. The noble Fisherman ; or^ Robin Hoods pre- 

ferment 183 

XVII. Uobin Hoods Delight 187 

XVIII. Robin Hood and the Beggar (2) 191 

XIX. Little John and the four Beggars 195 

XX. Robin Hood and the Ranger 198 

XXI. Robin Hood and Little John 202 

XXII. Robin Hood and the Bishop of Hereford. ... 207 

XXIII. Robin Hood rescuing the Widows three Sons 210 

XXIV. Robin Hood and maid Marian 214 

XXV. The King's disguise and friendship with 

Robin Hood 217 

XXVI. Robin Hood and the Golden Arrow 223 

XXVII. Robin Hood and the taliant Knight 228 

XXVIII, Robin Hoods death and burial 231 

Glossary 234 

*^* TAe Vignette in the Title is designed from the 
ballad of Robin Hood and the Tanner, 




It will scarcely be expected that one should be 
able to offer an authentic narrative of the life and 
transactions of this extraordinary personage. The 
times in which he lived, the mode of life he 
adopted, and the silence or loss of contemporary 
writers, are circumstances sufficiently favorable, 
indeed, to romance, but altogether inimical to 
historical truth. The reader must, therefor, be 
contented with such a detail, however scanty or 
imperfect, as a zealous pursuit of the subject en- 
ables one to give ; and which, though it may fail 
to satisfy, may possibly serve to amuse. 

No assistance has been derived from the la- 
bours of his professed biographers (a) ; and even 
the industrious Sir John Hawkins, from whom 
the public might have expected ample gratifica- 
tion upon the subject, acknowleges that " the 
history of this popular hero is but little known, 
and all the scattered fragments concerning him^ 


could tliey be brought together, would fall far 
short of satisfying such an enquirer as none but 
real and authenticated facts will content. We 
must," he says, " take his story as we find it." 
He accordingly gives us nothing but two or three 
trite and trivial extracts, with which every one, 
at all curious about the subject, was as well ac- 
quainted as himself. It is not, at the same tinne, 
pretended, that the present attempt promises 
more than to bring together the scattered frag- 
ments to which the learned historian alludes. 
This, however, has been done, according to the 
best of the compilers information and abilities ; 
and the result is, with a due sense of the defici- 
ency of both, submitted to the readers candour. 

Robin Hood was born at Locksley, in the 
county of Nottingham, (A) in the reign of king 
Henry the second, and about the year of Christ 
IJGO (B). His extraction was noble, and his true 
name Robeut Fitzooth, which vulgar pronuncia- 
tion easyiy corrupted into Robin Hood (C). He 
is frequently stiled, and commonly reputed to 
have been earl of Huntingdon ; a title to which, 
in the latter part of his life, at least, he actually 
appears to have had some sort of pretension (D). 
In his youth he is reported to have been of a wild 
and extravagant disposition ; insomuch that, his 
inheritance being consumeci or forfeited by his 
excesses, and his person outlawed for debt, either 
from necessity or choice, he sought an asylum ia 
the woods and forests, with which immense tracts, 
especially in the northern parts of the kingdom, 
were at that time covered (E). Of these he 
chiefly affected Barnsdale, in Yorkshire, Sher- 


wood, in Nottini^bamshire, and, according- to 
some, Plompton-park, in Cumberland (F). Here 
he either found, or was afterward joined by, a 
number of persons in similar circumstances; 

** Such as the fury of ungoverri'd youth 
Thrust from the company of lawful men ;" (*F) 

who appear to have considered ai>d obeyed him 
as their chief or leader, and of whom his prin- 
cipal favourites, or those in whose courage and 
fidelity he most confided, vvere Little John, 
(whose surname is said to have been Nailor)y Wil- 
liam ScADLocK (Scathelock or Scarlet), George 
A Green, pinder (or pound-keeper) of Wakefield, 
Much, a millers son, and a certain monk or frier 
named Tuck (G). He is likewise said to have 
been accompanyed in his retreat by a female, of 
whom he was enamoured, and whose real or 
adopted name was Marian (H). 

His company, in process of time, consisted of a 
hundred archers ; men, says Major, most skilful 
in battle, whom four times that number of the 
boldest fellows durst not attack (I). His manner 
of recruiting was somewhat singular; for, in the 
words of an old writer, " whersoever he hard of 
any that were of unusual strength and * hardi- 
nes,' he would desgyse himself, and, rather then 
fayle, go lyke a begger to become acquaynted 
with theni ; and, after he had tryed them with 
fyghting, never give them over tyl he had used 
means to drawe [them] to lyve after his fashion'* 
(J): a practice of which numerous instances are 
recorded in the more common and popijar songs, 
where, indeed, he seldom fails to receive a sound 
beating. In shooting with the long bow, which 


they chiefly practised, " they excelled all the 
men of the land ; though, as occation requiredj, 
they had also other weapons" (K). 

In these forests, and with this company, he for 
many years reigned like an independant sove^ 
reign ; at perpetual war, indeed, with the king 
of England, and all his subjects, with an excep- 
tion, however, of the poor and needy, and such 
as were *' desolate and oppressed," or stood in 
need of his protection. When molested, by a 
superior force, in one place, he retifed to ano- 
ther, still defying the power of what was called 
law and government, and making his enemies pay 
dearly, as well for their open attacks, as for their 
clandestine treachery. It is not, at the same 
time, to be concluded that he must, in this op- 
position, have been guilty of manifest treason or 
rebellion ; as he most certainly can be justly 
charged with neither. An outlaw, in those times, 
being deprived of protection, owed no allegiance : 
^' his hand 'was' against every man, and every 
mans hand against him." These forests, in short, 
were his territories ; those who accompanyed 
and adhered to him his subjects : 

The world was not his frien^, nor the worlds law : 

and what better title king Richard could pretend 
to the territory and people of England than 
Robin Hood had to the dominion of Barnsdale or 
Sherwood is a question humbly submitted to the 
consideration of the political philosopher. 

The deer with which the royal forests then 
abounded (every Norman tyrant being, like Nim- 
rod, " a mighty hunter before the lord") would 


afford our hero and his companions an ampk 
supply of food throughout the year; and of fuel, 
for dressing their venison, or for the other pur- 
poses of life, they could evidently be in no want. 
The rest of their necessaries would be easyly pro- 
cured, partly by taking what they had occasion 
for from the wealthy passenger, who traversed or 
approached their territories, and partly by com- 
merce with the neighbouring villages or great 

It may be readyly imagined that such a hfe, 
during great part of the year at least, and while 
it continued free from the alarms or apprehen- 
sions to which our foresters, one would suppose, 
must have been too frequently subject, might be 
sufficiently pleasant and desirable, and eve;) de? 
serve the compliment which is payed to it by 
Shakspeare, in his comedy of As you like il, (Act 
1. scene 1.) where, on Olivers asking, '' where 
will the old duke live ?'' Charles answers, " They 
say he is already in the forest of Arden, and a 
many merry men with him; and there they live 
like the old Robin Hood of England ; . . . and 
fleet the time carelessly as they did in the golden 
world." Their gallant chief, indeed, may be pre- 
sumed to have frequently exclaimed with the 
banished Valentine, in another play of the same 
author (Two Gentlemen of Verona) : — 

<* How use doth breed a habit in a man ! 
Tiiis shadowy desert, unfrequented woods, 
I better brook than Nourishing peopled towns : 
Here can I sit alone, unseen of any, 
And, to the nightingale's complaining notes, 
Tune my distresses, and record my woes." 
b 3 


He would, doubtless, too often find occasion to 
^dd : 

" What hallooing and what stir is this to-day? 
These are my mates, that make their wills their law, 
Have some unhappy passenger in chace ; 
They love me well ; yet I have much to do, 
To keep them from uncivil outrages." 

But, on the other hand, it will be at once diffi- 
cult and painful to conceive, 

- When they did hear 

The rain and vvind beat dark December, how, 
In that their pinching cave, they could discourse 
The freezing hours away ! 

Their mode of life, in short, and doniestic oeco- 
nomy, of which no authentic particulars have 
been even traditionally preserved, are more easyly 
to be guessed at than described. They have, ne- 
vertheless, been tlegantly sketched by the ani- 
mating pencil of an excellent, though neglected 
poet. — [Drayton s Polyolbion, Song xxvi.) 

" The merry pranks he play'd, would ask an age to tell, 
And the adventures strange that Robin Hood befell, 
When Mansfield many a time for Robin hath been laid. 
How he hath cousen'd them, that him would have betray'd; 
How often he hath come to Nottingham disguis'd, 
And cunningly escaped, being set to be surpriz'd. 
In this our spacious isle, I think there is not one, 
But he hath heard some talk of him and little John; 
And to the end of time, the tales shall ne'er be done^ 
Of Scarlock, Gfjorge a Green, ai)d Much the miller's son, 
Of Tuck the merry friar, which many a sermon made 
In praise of Robin Hood, his out-laws, and their trade. 
An hundred valiant men had this brave Robin Hood, 
Still ready at his call, that bow-ujcn were right good, 


All clad in Lincoln green, (L) with caps of red and blue, 
His fellow's winded horn not one of them but knew, 
Wlien setting to their lips their little beugles shrill, 
The warbling ecchos ^ak'd from every dale and hill. 
Their bauldricks set with studs, athwart their shoulders 

To which under their arms their sheafs were buckled fast, 
A short sword at their belt, a buckler scarce a span. 
Who struck below the knee, not counted then a man : 
All made of Spanish yew, their bows were wondrous strong: 
They not an arrow drew, but was a cloth-yard long. 
Of archery they had the very perfect craft, 
With broad-arrow, or but, or prick, or roving shaft, 
At marks full forty score, they us'd to prick, and rove, 
Yet higher than the breast, for compass never strove ; 
Yet at the farthest mark a foot could hardly win : 
At long-outs, short, and hoyles, each one could cleave the 

Their arrows finely pair'd, for timber, and for feather. 
With birch and brazil piec'd to fly in any weather ; 
And shot they with the round, the square, or forked pile, 
The loose gave such a twang, as might be heard a mile» 
And of these aix^hers brave, there was not any one, 
But he could kill a deer his swiftest speed upon, 
Which they did boil and roast, in many a mighty wood, 
Sharp hunger the fine sauce to their more kingly food. 
Then taking them to rest, his merry men and he 
Slept many a summer's night under the greenwood tree. 
From wealtiiy abbots chests, and churls abundant store, 
What oftentimes he took, he shar'd amongst the poor; 
No lordly bishop came in lusty Robin's way, 
. To him before he went, but for his pass must pay : 
The widow in distress he graciously reliev'd. 
And remedied the wrongs of many ^ virgin griev'd : 
He from the husband's bed no married woman wan, 
But to his mistress dear, his loved Marian, 
Was ever constant known, which wheresoe'er she came, 
Was sovereign of the woods ; chief lady of the game : 
Her clothes tuck'd to the knee, and dainty braided hair, 
With bow and quiver arm'd, she wander'd here and there. 
Amongst the forests wild ; Diana never knew 
Such pleasures, nor such harts as Mariana slew." 


That our hero and his companions, while they 
. lived in the woods, had recourse to robbery tor 
their better support is neither to be concealed nor 
to be denyed. Testimonies to this purpose, in- 
deed, would be equally endless and unnecessary. 
Fordun, in the fourteenth century, calls him, 
*^ ille famosissimus siccarius,*' that most celebrated 
robber, and Major terms him and Little John, 
** famatissimi latrones.*' But it is to be remem- 
bered, according to the confession of the latter 
historian, that, in these exertions of power, he 
took aWay the goods of rich men only ; never 
killing any person, unless he was attacked or re- 
sisted : that he would not suffer a woman to be 
maltreated ; nor ever took any thing from the 
poor, but charitably fed them with the wealth he 
drew from the abbots. I disapprove, says he, of 
the rapine of the man ; but he was the most hu- 
mane, and the priiice of all robbers. In al- 
lusion, no doubt, to this irregular and predatory 
course of life, he has had the honour to be com- 
pared to the illustrious Wallace, the champion 
and deliverer of his country ; and that, it is not 
a little remarkable, in the latters own time (M). 

Our hero, indeed, seems to have held bishops, 
abbots, priests, and monks, in a word, all the 
clergy, regular or secuiar, in decided aversion. 

" These byshoppes and thyse archebyshoppes, 
Ye shall them bete and bynde," 

was an injunction carefully impressed upon hi? 
fpllowers : and, in this part of his conduct, per- 
haps, the pride, avarice, uncharitablcness, and 
ypocrisy of the clergy of that age, will afford 


him ample justification. The abbot of Saiot 
Marys, in York (N), from some unknown cause,, 
appears to have been distinguished by particular 
animosity ; and the sherif of Nottinghamshire, 
(O) who may have been too active and officious 
in his endeavours to apprehend him, was the un- 
remitted object of his vengeance. 

Notwithstanding, however, the aversion in 
which he appears to have held the clergy of every 
denomination, he was a man of exemplary piety, 
according to the notions of that age, and retained 
a domestic chaplain (frier Tuck no doubt.) for the 
diurnal celebration of the divine mysteries. This 
we learn from an anecdote preserved by Fordun, 
as an instance of those actions which the histo- 
rian allows to deserve commendation. One day, 
as he heard mass, which he was most devoutly 
accustomed to do, (nor would he, in whatever ne- 
cessity, suffer the office to be interrupted,) he 
was espyed by a certain sherif and officers be- 
longing to the king, who had frequently before 
molested him, in that most secret recess of the 
wood where he was at mass. Some of his people, 
who perceived what was going forward, advised 
him to fly with all speed, which, out of reverence 
to the sacrament, which he was then most de- 
voutly worshiping, he absolutely refused to do, 
But the rest of his men having fled for fear of 
death, Robin, confiding solely in him whom he 
reverently worshiped, with a very few, who by- 
chance were present, set upon his enemies, whom 
he easyly vanquished ; and, being enriched with 
their spoils and ransom, he always held the mi- 
nisters of the church and masses in greater venera- 
tion ever after, mindful of ^hat is vulgarly said ; 


Him god does surely hear 
Who oft to th' mass gives ear. 

I'hey who deride the miracles of Moses or Ma- 
homet are at full liberty, no doubt, to reject those 
wrought in favour of Robin Hood. But, as a 
certain admirable author expresses himself, *' an 
honest man and of good judgment believeth still 
what is told him, and that which he finds writ- 

Having, for a long series of years, maintained 
a sort of independant sovereignty, and set kings, 
judges, and magistrates at defiance, a proclama- 
tion was published, offering a considerable reward 
for bringing him in either dead or ahve ; which, 
however, seems to have been productive of no 
greater success than former attempts for that pur- 
pose (P). At length, the infirmities of old age 
increasing upon him, and desirous to be relieved, 
in a fit of sickness, by being let blood, he applyed 
for that purpose to the prioress of Kirkleys-nun- 
nery in Yorkshire, his relation, (women, and par- 
ticularly religious women, being, in those times, 
somewhat better skilled in surgery than the sex 
is at present), by whom he was treacherously 
suffered to bleed to death. This event happened 
on the 18th of November, 1247, being the 31st 
year of king Henry III. and (if the date assigned 
to his birth be correct) about the 87th of his age. 
(Q) He was intered under some trees, at a short 
distance from the house ; a stone being placed 
over his grave, with an inscription to his me- 
mory (R), 

Such was the end of Robin Hood: a man who, 
in a barbarous age, and under a complicated ty- 
ranny, displayed a spirit of freedom ai)d inde?* 


pendence, which has endeared him to the com- 
mon people, whose cause he maintained, (tor all 
opposition to tyranny is the cause of the people,) 
and, in spite of the malicious endeavours of piti- 
ful monks, by whom history was consecrated to 
the crimes and follies of titled ruffians and sainted 
idiots, to suppress all record of his patriotic exer- 
tions and virtuous acts, will render his name im- 

" Dumjuga montis aper,fluvios dum piscisamabit, 
Dumque thy mo pascentur apes, dum rare cicadcB, 
Semper honos, nomenque tuum, laudesque manebuntj* 

With respect to his personal character : it is 
sufficiently evident that he was active, brave, pru- 
dent, patient ; possessed of uncommon bodyly 
strength, and considerable military skill ; just, 
generous, benevolent, faithful, and beloved or re- 
vered by his followers or adherents for his excel- 
lent and amiable qualities. Fordun, a priest, ex- 
tols his piety ; Major (as we have seen) pro- 
nounces him the most humane and the prince of 
all robbers ; and Camden, whose testimony is of 
some weight, calls him, *' prctdonem mitissimum,^^ 
the gentlest of thieves. As proofs of his universal 
and singular popularity : his story and exploits 
have been made the subject as well of various dra- 
matic exhibitions (S), as of innumerable poems, 
rimes, songs, and ballads (T) : he has given rise 
to divers proverbs (U) ; and to swear by him, or 
some of his companions, appears to have been a 
usual practice : he may be regarded as the 
patron of archery (Y) : and, though not actually- 
canonized, (a situation to which the miracles 
wrought in his favour, as well in his hfetime as 


after his death, and the supernatural powers he 
is, in some parts> supposed to have possessed (Z), 
give him an indisputable claim,) he obtained the 
principal distinction of sainthood, in having a 
festival allotted to him, and solemn games insti- 
tuted in honour of his memory, which were cele- 
brated till the latter end of the sixteenth century; 
not by the populace only, but by kings or princes 
and grave magistrates ; and that as well in Scot- 
land as in England ; being considered, in the for- 
mer country, of the highest political importance, 
and essential to the civil and religious liberties of 
the people, tlie efforts of government to suppress 
them frequently producing tumult and insurrec- 
tion (AA) : his bow, and one of his arrows, his 
chair, his cap, and one of his slippers, were pre- 
served, with peculiar veneration, till within the 
present century (BB) ; and not only places which 
afforded him security or amusement, but even the 
well at which he quenched his thirst, still retain 
his name (CC) : a name which, in the middle of 
the present century, was conferred as an honor- 
able distinction upon the prime minister to the 
king of Madagascar (DD). 

After his death his company was dispersed 
(EE). History is silent in particulars : all that 
we can, therefor, learn is, that the honour of Little 
Johns death and burial is contended for by rival 
nations (FF) ; that his grave continued long " ce- 
lebrous for the yielding of excellent whetstones;** 
and that some of his descendants, of the name of 
Nailor, which he himself bore, and they from 
him, were in being so late as the last century 




(a) " Former biographers, ^c."] Such, that is, 
as have already appeared in print, since a sort of 
manuscript life in the Sloane library will appear 
to have been of some service. The first of these 
respectable personages is the author, or rather 
compiler, of " The noble birth and gallant at- 
chievements of that remarkable outlaw Robin 
Hood ; together with a true account, of the many 
merry extravagant exploits he played ; in twelve 
several stories : newly collected by an ingenious 
antiquary. London, printed by W. O.^' [Wil- 
liam Onley.] 4to. black letter, no date. These 
" several stories," in fact, are only so many of 
the songs in the common Garland transprosed ; 
and the " ingenious antiquary," who strung 
them together, has known so little of his trade, 
that he sets out with informing us of his heros ba- 
nishment by king Henry the eighth. The above 
is supposed to be the " small merry book" called 
Robin Hood, mentioned in a list of ^' books, 
ballads, and histories, printed for and sold by 
William Thackeray at the Angel in Duck-lane", 
(about 1680,) preserved in one of the volumes of 
old ballads (part of Bagfords collection) in the 
British museum. 

Another piece of biography, from which much 


will not be expected, is, " The lives and heroick 
atchievements of the renowned Robin Hood, and 
James Hind, two noted robbers and highwaymen. 
London, 1752/^ 8vo. This, however, is probably 
nothing more than an extract from Johnsons 
Lives of the highwaymen, in which, as a specimen 
of the authors historical authenticity, we have 
the life and actions of that noted robber, sir John 

The principal if not sole reason why our hero 
is never once mentioned by Matthew Paris, Bene^ 
dictus abbas, or any other ancient English his- 
torian, was most probably his avowed enmity to 
churchmen ; and history, in former times, was 
written by none but monks. From the same 
motives that Josephus is pretended to have sup- 
pressed all mention of Jesus Christ, they were 
unwilling to praise the actions which they durst 
neither misrepresent nor deny. Fordun and 
Major, however, being foreigners, have not been 
deterred by this professional spirit from render- 
ing homage to his virtues. 

(A) " — was born at Locksley in the county of 
Nottingham."] " Robin Hood," says a MS. in 
the British Muieum, {Bib. Sloan, 715.) written, as 
it seems, towards the end of the sixteenth century, 
" was borne at Lockesley in Yorkshyre, or after 
others in Nottinghamshire." The writer here la- 
bours under manifest ignorance and confusion, 
but the first row of the rubric will set him right : 

<* In Locksly towHy in merry Nottinghamshire^ 

In merry sweet Locksly town, 
There bold Rol?in Hood was burn and was bred, 

Bold Robin of famous renown."* 

* See part II. ballad L 


Dr. Fuller {Worthies of England, 1662, p. 320.) is 
doubtful as to the place of his nativity. Speakings 
of the " Memorable Persons" of Nottingham- 
shire, " Robert Hood," says he, " (if not by . 
birth) by his c\\\v^ abode this country-man." 

The name of such a town as Locksley, or Lor- 
ley (for so, we sometimes find it spelled), in the 
county of Nottingham or of York, does not, it 
must be confessed, occur either in sir Henry 
Spelmans Villare Anglicum, in Adams's Index vil^ 
laris, in Whatleys Englands gazetteer,"^ in Tho- 
rotons History of Nottinghamshire, or in the No^ 
mina villarum Eboraeensium (York, 1768, 8vo). 
The silence of these authorities is not, however, 
to be regarded as a conclusive proof that such a 
place never existed. The names of towns and 
villages, of which no ti*ace is now to be found 
but in ancient writings, would fill a volume. 

(B) — " in the reign of king Henry the second, 
and about the year of Christ 1 160.] " Robin Hood," 
according to the Sloane MS. " was borne ... in 
the dayes of Henry the 2nd, about the yeare 
1160." This was the 6th year of that monarch ; 
at whose death {anno 1189) he would, of course, 
be about 29 years of age. Those writers are 
therefor pretty correct who represent him asp/ay- 
ing his pranks (Dr. Fullers phrase) in the reign of 
king Richard the first, and, according to the last 
named author, " about the year of our lord 1200." 
Thus Major (who is followed by Stowe, Annales 
1592, p. 227.) " Circa hcec tempora [sci. Ricardi 
7.] ut auguror, &c." A MS. note in the Museum 

* All three mention a Loxley iu "Warwickshire, and 
another in Staffordshire (** near Needwood forest; the 
manor and seat of the Kinardsleys"). 
c 2 


{Bib, Har, 1233.) not, in Mr. Wanleys opinion, 
to be relied on, places him in the same period, 
'' Temp, Rich. \,'* Nor is Fordun altogether 
out of his reckoning in bringing him down to 
the time of Henry III. as we shall hereafter see ; 
and with him agrees that " noble clerke maister 
Hector Boece,'' who in the nineteenth chapter of 
his " threttene buke/' says, " About this tyme 
was that waithman Robert Hode with his fallow 
litil Johne, ^fC-" {History of Scotland, Edin. 
1541. fo.) A modern writer, {Histojy of Whitby, 
by Lionel Charlton, York, 1779, 4to.) though of 
no authority in this point, has done well enough 
to speak of him as living " in the days of abbot 
Richard and Peter his successor ;" th^t is, be- 
tween the years li76 and 1211. The author of 
the two plays upon the story of our hero, of which 
a particular account will be hereafter given, makes 
him contemporary with king Richard, who, as 
well as his brother prince John, is introduced 
upon the scene ; which is confirmed by another 
play, quoted in note (D). Warner, also, in his 
Albions England, 1602. p. 132. refers his existence 
to " better daies, first Richards daies/' This, 
to be sure, may not be such evidence as would 
be sufficient to decide the point in a court of 
justice; but neither judge nor counsel will dis- 
pute the authority of that oracle of the law sir 
Edward Coke, v/ho pronounces that '* This Ro- 
bert Hood lived in the reign of king R. I.** (3 
Institute, 197.) 

(C) " His extraction was noble, and his true 
name Ropert Fitzooth".] In *' an olde and 
auncient pamphlet," which Grafton the chro- 
nicler had seen, it was written that '' This ma>^ 


•discended of a noble parentage/* The Sloane 
MS. says " He was of ... . parentage ;" and 
though the material word is illegible, the sense 
evidently requires noble. So, likewise, the Har- 
leian note : *' It is said that he was of noble blood.'* 
Leland also has expressly termed him " nobilis.** 
{Collectanea, I. 54.) The following account of his 
family will be found sufficiently particular. Ralph 
Fitzothes or Fitzooth, a Norman, who had come 
over to England with William Rufus, marryed 
Maud or Matilda, daughter of Gilbert de Gaunt 
earl of Kyme and Lindsey, by whom he had two 
sons : Philip, afterward earl of Kyme, that earldom 
being part of his mothers dowry, and William. 
Philip the elder, dyed without issue ; William 
was a ward to Robert de Vere earl of Oxford^ in 
whose household he received his education, and 
who, by the kings express command, gave him 
in marriage to his own niece, the youngest of the 
three daughters of the celebrated lady Roisia de 
Vere, daughter of Aubrey de Vere, earl of 
Guiines in Normandy, and lord high chamber- 
lain of England under Henry I. and of Adehza, 
daughter to Richard de Clare, earl of Clarence 
and Hertford, by Payn de Beauchamp baron of 
Bedford her second husband. The offspring of 
this marriage was, our hero, Robert Fitzooth, 
commonly called Robin Hood. (See Stukeleys 
FalcBographia Britannica, No. I. passim.) 

(D) '* He is frequently stiled . . earl of Hunt- 
ingdon, a title to which, for the latter part of 
his life at least, he actually appears to have had 
some sort of pretension."] In Graftons " olde 
and auncient pamphlet,*' though the author had, 
as already noticed, said " thiii man discended of 
c 3 


a noble parentage," he adds, " or rather beyng 
of a base stocke and linage, was for his manhood 
and chivalry advaunced to the noble dignitie of 
an erle/' 

In the MS. note {Bib. Har. 1233) is the follow- 
ing passage : " It is said that he was of noble 
blood no lesse then an earle/^ Warner, in his 
Alhions England, already cited, calls him "a 
county." The titles of Mundys two plays arc: 
" The downfall," and " The death of Robert 
EARLE OF Huntington." He is likewise intro- 
duced in that character in the same authors Mc- 
tropolis coronata, hereafter cited. In his epitaph 
we shall find him expressly stiled *' Robert earl 


In *' A pleasant commodie cialled Look about 
7/ou," printed in 1600, our hero is introduced, 
and performs a principal character. He is repre- 
sented as the young earl of Huntington, and in 
ward to prince Richard, though his brother 
Henry, the young king, compiains of his having 
" had wrong about his wardship." He is de- 
scribed as 

" A gallant youth, a proper gentleman ;" 
and is sometimes called '^ pretty earle," and '^ lit- 
tle wag." 

" Fan, But welcome, welcome, and young HuntingtoNi 
Sweet RoBYN Hude, bouors best flowing bloome." 

« an honourable youth, 

Vertuous and modest, Huntingtons right heyre." 

And it is said that 

" His father Gilbert was the smoothst fac't lord 
" That ere bare amies in England or in Fraunce." 

In one scene, ** Enter Richard and Robert with 



" Rich, Richard the Piince of England, with his ward, 
The noble Robert Hood, earle Huntington, 
Present their service to your majesties* 

Dr. Percys objection, that the most ancient 
poems Uiake no mention of this earldom, but 
only call him a yeoman, will be considered in 
another place. How he founded his pretensions 
to this title will be seen in his pedigree. Here 
it 16. 

The Pedigree of Robin Hood, Marl of Huntingdon, 

"Waltheof earl of = Judith countess 

Richard Fitxgilbert de: 
Ciaie eail of Brien 

and Huntington* 

of Huniingdun, 
the conqueror's 


Alice;isRobert Fitzgilbert 

IT. 1 2 ni. 

Simon de S. = Maud =David T. king 

lis I. earl of 
and Hunting- 

of Scots, earl 
of Hunting, 



Henry earl of=sAda daughter 
Northumber- I of William 
landandHun- earlofWar- 
tiugdon. reu. 

Simons, lis IT. =Isabel dar. of 
earl of North- Robert Bossu 
amptou and «»rl of I^^i" 
Huntington. cester. 


Malcolm IV. king 
of Scots, earl of 
and HuntingdoQ. 


Gilbert de Gaant=Roisia 
earl of Kyme and 1 
Lyndsey came in 1 
■with the conquer- I , 
or. I 

Walter de Giunt 

I earl of Lind« 

Gilbert de Gaunt=rAvis dau. 

earl of Lincoln, and heir of 
"William de 
Romara e. 
of Lincoln. 

William earl of Huntingdon. I i 

Simon S. lis ITT. earl of Hun-=:Alice heiress, 
tinsdon and Northton, ob. s. 
p. 1184.. 
^ IX. 

David earl of * Carricl<' and Hunting- 
don, sou of Henry IV. (above) earl 
and of AHa. ob. I219. 

John sirnamed Scot his son, earl of 
Angus and Huntington, 06. s. p. 

Ralf Fitzooth a = Maud 
Norman, lord of 

Philip Fitzooth, 
lord of Kyme, 
ob. s. p. 

William Fitzooth == a daughter of 
brought up by Ro- 
bert ear lof Oxford . 

Robert Fitzooth, commonly called Robin Hood, pretencled earl 
of Huntington, ob. i274 [l247]."* 

* Stukoleys Pal(EO^raphia Britannic^, No, II. p. 115. 

Payn Beau- 
champ and 
lady Roisia 
de Vere, 


In an interleaved copy of Robin Hoods garland formerly belonging 
to Dr. Stukeley, and now in the possession of Francis Douce, esquire, 
opposite the 2nd page of the 1st song, is the following note in his 
own hand. 

" Guy earl of Warwick. 

George Gamwell Joanna ^ 

of Gamwell Hall magna I y^, Qdoth 


Robin Fitz Odoth 

Gamwell the kint;s forester in Yorkshire, 
mentioned in Camden. 

See my answer No. 11. of lady Roisia, 
■where is Robin Hoods True Pedigree.'* 

(E) " In his youth he is reported to have been 
of a wild and extravagant disposition, ^c."] 
Graftons pamphlet, after supposing him to have 
" advaunced to the noble dignitie of an erle,'* 
continued thus : " But afterwardes he so prodi- 
gally exceeded in charges and expences, that he 
fell into great debt, by reason whereof, so many 
actions and sutes were commenced against him 
whereunto he answered not, that by order of lawe 
he was outlawed."* Leland must undoubtedly 
have had good authority for calling him ^' nohilis 
ilk exlexT^ Fordun supposes him in the number 
of those deprived of their estates by K. Hen. III. 
*' Hoc in tempore,'' says he, *' de exheredatis sur- 
. rexii Sf caput erexit ille famosissirnus siccarius Ro- 
bertus Hode ^ littill Johanne cum eorum com- 
plicibus." (p. 774.) The Sloane MS. says he was 
" so ryotous that he lost or sould his patrimony 
& for debt became an outlawe ;" and the Harleian 
note mentions his " having wasted hii estate in 

* Graftons chronicle, p. 85. t CoMec, I. 54. 


riotous courses." The former authority, however, 
gives a different, though, it may be, less credible, 
account of his being obliged to abscond. It is as 
follows : " One of his first exployts was the going 
abrode into a foirest & bearing with him a 
bowe of exceeding great strength he fell into 
company with ccrtayne rangers or woodmen, 
who fell to quarrel with him, as making showe 
to use such a bowe as no man was able to shoote 
withall. Wherto Robin replyed that he had two 
better then that at Lockesley, only he bare that 
with him nowe as a byrding bowe. At length 
the ' contention' grewe so bote that there was a 
wager layd about the kyllyng of a deere a great© 
distance of, for performance whereof Robin of- 
fered to lay his head to a certayne some of money, 
the advantage of which rash speach the others 
presently tooke. So the marke being found out, 
one of them, both to make his hart faynt and 
hand unsteady, as he was about to shoote urged 
him with the losse of head if he rayst the marke. 
Notwithstanding Robyn kyld the deare, and gave 
every man his money agayne, save to him which 
at the poynt of shooting so upbraided him with 
danger to loose his bed for that wager ; & he 
sayd they would drinke togeyther: whereupon 
the others stomached the matter and from quar- 
elling they grewe to fighting with him. But 
Robin, getting him somewhat of, with shooting 
dispatch them, and so fled away ; and then be- 
taking himselfe to lyve in the woods, ^c."* 

That he lurked or infested the woods is agreed 
by all. " Circa hctc tempora,'' says Major, " i?o- 

* See Robin Hood$ progress to Nottingham, part lU 
ballad 9, 


hertus Hudus Anglus 4r parvus Joannes, lairones 
famatissimiy in nemorihus latuerunt." 

Br. Stukt'ley says that " Robin Hood took to 
this wild way of hfe, in imitation of his grand- 
father Geoffrey de Mandeville, who being a fa- 
vorer of Maud empress, K. Stephen took him 
prisoner at S. Albans, and made him give up the 
tower of London, Walden, Plessis, &c. upon 
which he lived on plunder." {MS, note in his 
copy of Robin Hoods garland.) 

(F) " Of these he chiefly tfFected Barnsdale, 
^c."] " Along on the lift bond/* says Leland, 
" a iii. miles of betwixt Milburne and Feribridge I 
saw the wooddi and famose forrest of Bamesdale, 
■wher thay say that Robyn Hudde lyvid like an 
owtlaw.*' Itinerary, V. 101. 

" They haunted about Barnsdale forrest, Comp. 
ton [r. Plomptoni parke,^ and such other places," 
MS, Sloane. 

" His principal residence," says Fuller, *' was 
in Shirewood forrest in this county [Notts], though 
he had another haunt (he is no fox that hath but 
one hole) near the sea in the North-riding in 
Yorkshire, where Robin Hoods bay still retaineth 
his name : not that he was any pirat, but a land- 
thief, who retreated to those unsuspected parts 
for his security." Worthies of England, p. 320. 

In Thorotons Nottinghamshire, p. 505. is some 
account of the ancient and present state of Sher- 
wood forest ; but one looks in vain, through that 
dry detail of land-owners, for any particulars re- 

• Plompton park, upon the banks of the PenteriU, in 
Cumberland, was formerly very large, and set apart by 
the kings of England for the keeping of deer. It was dis* 
afforested or disparked by Henry the 8th, 


lating to our hero. '* In anno domini 1194. king 
Richard the first, being a hunting in the forrest 
of Sherwood, did chase a hart out of the forrest 
of Sherwood into Barnesdale in Yorkshire, and 
because he could not there recover him, he made 
proclamation at Tickill in Yorkshire, and at 
divers other places there that no person should 
kill, hurt, or chase the said hart, but that he 
might safely retorne into forrest againe, which 
hart was afterwards called a hart-royall pro^ 
claimed, (Manhoods Forest laws, 1598, p. 25. 
from " an auncient recorde'^ found by him in the 
tower of Nottingham castle.)* 

(*^F) " Here he either found, ^c."] After 
being outlawed, Grafton tells us, " for a lewde 
shift, as his la§t refuge, [he] gathered together a 
companye of roysters and cutters, and practised 
robberyes and spoyling of the kinges subjects, and 
occupied and frequented the forestes or wild 
countries.'^ See also the following note. 

(G) '' Little John, William Scadlock, George 
A Green, pinder of Wakefield, Much a millers 
son, and a certain monk or friar named Tuck."] 
Of these the preeminence is incontestably due to 
Liitle John, whose name is almost constantly 
coupled with that of his gallant leader, *' Robertus 
Hode Si" httill Johanne," are mentioned together 

* Draytoi), {Polyolbiorif song 26.) iiitroduceR Sherwood 
ID the character of a nymph, who, out of disdain at the 
preference shewn by the poet to a sisier-forest, 

" All selfe-praise set apart, determ'ueth to sing 
That lusty Robin Hood, who long time like a king 
Within her compass hv*d, and when he list to rangey 
For some rich booty set, or else his air to change, 
To Sherwood still retired, his only standiDg court." 


by Fordun, as early as 1341 ; and later instances 
of the connexion would be almost endless. After 
the words, '* for debt became an outlaw," the 
Sloane MS. adds : " then joyninge to him many- 
stout fellowes of lyke disposition, amongst whom 
one called Little John was principal or next to 
him, they haunted about Barnsdale forrest, ^c." 
See notes (FF) (GG). 

With respect to frier Tuck, " Thogh some say 
he was an other kynd of religious man, for that 
the order of freyrs was not yet sprung up," {MS. 
Sloan.) yet as the Dominican friers (or friers 
preachers) came into England in the year 1221, 
upward of 20 years before the death of Robin 
Hood, and several orders of these religious had 
flourished abroad for some time, there does not 
seem much weight in that objection : nor in fact, 
can one pay much regard to the term frier, as it 
seems to have been the common title given by 
the vulgar (more especially after the reformation) 
to all the regular clergy, of which the friers were 
at once the lowest and most numerous. 1^ frier 
Tuck be the same person who, in one of the 
oldest songs, is called The curtal frier of Foun- 
tainsdale, he must necessaryly have been one of 
the monks of that abbey, which was of the Cis- 
tertian order. However this may be, frier Tuck 
is" frequently noticed, by old writers, as one of 
the companions of Robin Hood, and as such was 
an essential character in the morris-dance, (see 
note (H). He is thus mentioned by Skelton, 
laureat, in his " goodly interlude" of Magni- 
ficence, written about the year 1500, and with an 
evident allusion to some game or practice now 
totally forgotten and inexplicable, 


" Another bade shave halfe my berde, 
And boyes to the pylery gan me phicke, 
And wolde have made me freer Tucke, 
To preche oute of the pylery liole." 

In the year 1417, as Stow relates, " one by his 
counterfeite name, c^Wed frier Tucke, with mania 
other malefactors, committed many robberies in 
the counties of Surrey and Sussex, whereupon the 
king sent out his writs for their apprehension." 
{Annales, 1592.) 

George a Green is George o' the Green, meaning 
perhaps the town-green, in which the pound or 
pinfold i^tood of which he had the care. He has 
been particularly celebrated, and " as good as 
George a green" is still a common saying. Dray- 
ton, describing the progress of the river Calder, 
in the west-ridiug of Yorkshire, has the following 
lines : 

" It chancM she in her course on * Kirkley' cast her eye, 

Where merry Robin Hood, that honest thief, doth lie ; 

Beholding fitly too before how Wakefield stood, 

She doth not only think of lusty Robin Hood, 

But of his merry man, the pinder of the town 

Of Wakefield, George a Green, whose fames so far ar« 

For their so valiant fight, that every freemans song 
Can tell you of the same, quoth she, be talk'd on long, 
For ye were merry lads, and those were merry days." 

Besides the companions of our hero enume- 
rated in the text, and whose names are most ce- 
lebrated and familiar, we find those of William of 
Goldsborough, (mentioned by Grafton,) Right' 
hitting Brand, (by Mundy,) and Gilbert with the 
white hand, who is thrice named in the Lj/ttell 


geste of Rohya Hode, and is likewise noticed by- 
bishop Gawin 'Douglas, in bis Palice of Honour, 
printed at Edinburgh in 1579, but written before 

** Tlmir saw I Maitlaind upon auld Beird Gray, 
Robene Hude, and Gilbert with tlie quhite * handf 
How Hay of Nauchton slew, in Madin land."* 

As no niention is made of Adam Bell, Clim of 
the Clough and William of Cloudeslie, either in 
the ancient legend, or in more than one of the 
numerous songs of Robm Hood, nor does the 
name of the latter once occur in the old metrical 
history of those famous archers, reprinted in 
Percys Rcliques, and among Pieces of ancient po- 
pular poetry, it is to he concluded that they flou- 
rished at different periods, or at least had no 
connection with each other. In a poem, how- 
ever, intitled " Adam Bell, Clim of the Clough, 
and YOUNG William of X^IIoudesley, the second 
part,'' 1616. 4to. b. L {Bib. Bod, Art. L. 71. being 
a more modern copy than that m Sdden C. 39, 
which wants the title, but was probably printed 
with the first part, which it there accompanies, 
in 1605 ; difiering considerably therefrom in se- 
veral places; and containing many additional 
verses ;) are the following lines (not in the former 
copy) : 

* Scottish poems, i. 122. The last verse is undoubtedly 
sense as it now stands ; but a collation of MSS. woulct 
probably authorise us to read ; 

«* Quhom Hay of Nauchton slew in Madio land," 

d 2 


'* Now beare thy fathers heart, my boy, 

Said William of Cloudesley then, 
When i was young i car'd not for 

The brags of sturdiest men. 
The piuder of Wakefield, George a Green, 

I try'd a sonimers day, 
Yet he nor i were victors ncade 

Nor victor'd went away. 
Old Robin Hood, nor Little John, 

Amongst their merry men all, 
Nor fryer Tuck, so stout and young, 

My courage could appall." 

(H) " Marian/'] Who or whatever this lady 
was, it is observable that no mention of her oc- 
curs either in the Lytell geste of Robyn Hode, or 
in any other poem or song concerning him, ex- 
cept a comparatively modern one of no merit 
(see part II. song 24). She is an important cha- 
racter, however, in the two old plays of The death 
and downfall of Robert carle of Huntington, writ- 
ten before 1600, and is frequently mentioned by 
dramatic or other writers about that period. The 
morris dance, so famous of old time, was (as is 
elsewhere noticed) composed of the following 
constituent characters : Robin Hood, Little John, 
frier Tuck, and maid Marian. 

(I) " His company, &c.^'] " By such bootyes 
as he could get,'' says the writer of the Sloane 
MS. '' his company encreast to an hundred and 
a halfe." 

(J) '' the words of an old. writer."] The author 
of the Sloane manuscript ; which adds : " after 
such maner he procured the pynner of Wakefeyld 
to become one of his company, and a freyr called 
Muchel [r. Tuck] . . . Scarlock he induced upon 


this occasion : one day meeting him as he walket 
solitary & like to a man forlorne, because a mayd 
to whom he was afFyanced was taken from [him] 
by the violence of her frends, & given to another 
that was old & welthy, whereupon Robin, under- 
standing when the maryatre-day should be, came 
to the church as a be<rger, & having his own com- 
pany not far of, which came in so soone as they 
hard the sound of liis home, he tooke thebryde 
perforce from him that [bare] in hand to have 
marryed her, & caused the preist to wed her & 
Soarlocke togeyther." (See part II. song S.) 
This MS. of which great part is merely the old 
lege lid or Lytell geste of Robj/n Hode turned into 
prose, appears to have been written before the 
year 1600. 

(K) " In shooting, ^c."] MS. Sloan. Grafton 
also speaks of our heros " excellyng principally 
in archery or shooting, his rpanly courage agree- 
yng thereunto." 

Their archery, indeed, was qnparalleled, a^ 
both Robin Hood aqd Little John have frequently 
shot an arrow a measured mile, or 1760 yards, 
which, it is supposed, no one, either before or 
since, was ever able to do. " Tradition," says 
master Charlton, '* informs us that in one of ' Ro- 
bin Hoods* peregrinations, he, attended by his 
trusty mate Little John, went to dine [at Whitby- 
abbey] with the abbot Richard, who, having 
heard them often famed for their great dexterity 
in shooting with the long bow, begged them after 
dinner to shew him a specimen thereof; when, 
to oblige the abbot, they went up to the top of 
the abbey, whence each of them shot an arrow, 
which feil not far from Whitby-laths, but on the 

d 3 


contrary side of the lane ; and in memorial there- 
of, a pillar was set up by the abbot in the place 
where each of the arrows was found, which are 
yet standing in these our days ; that field where 
the pillar for Robin Hood's arrow stands being 
still called Robin Hood's field, and the other 
where the pillar for Little John's arrow is placed, 
still preserving the name o^ John's field. Their 
distance from Whitby abbey is more than a 
MEASURED MILE, which sccms very far for the 
flight of an arrow, and is a circumstance that will 
stagger the faith of many ; but as to the credi- 
bility of the story, every reader may judge there- 
of as he thinks proper; only I must here beg 
leave to observe that these very pillars are men- 
tioned, and the fields called by the aforesaid 
names, in the old deeds for that ground, now in 
the possession of Mr. Thomas Watson/' {His- 
tory of Whitby, York, 1779. p. 146.) 

Dr. Meredith Hanmer, in his Chronicle of Ire- 
land, (p. 179.) speakinng of Little John, says, 
** There are memorable acts reported of him, 
which I hold not for truth, that he would shoot 
an arrow a mile off, and a great deale more I 
but them," adds he, " I leave among the lyes of 
the land.'' 

It has been conjectured that, in the winter- 
season, our hero and his companions severally 
quartered themselves in villages or country-houses 
more or less remote, with persons of whose fide- 
lity they were assured. It is not improbable, at 
the same time, that they might have tolerably 
comfortable habitations erected in the woods. 

Archery, which our hero and his companions 
appear to have carryed to a state of perfection. 


continued to be cultivated for some a^es after 
their time, down, indeed, to that of Henry VllL 
or about the year 1540, when, owing to the in- 
troduction of artillery and matchlock-guns, it be- 
came neglected, and the bowmen of Cressy and 
Agincourt utterly extinct : though it may be still 
a question whether a body of expert archers 
would not, even at this day be superior to an 
equal number armed with muskets. 

(L) ** All clad in Lincolh green — "] 

This species of cloth is mentioned by Spenser 
{Faerie queene, VL ii. 5.) 

** AH in a woodmans jacket he was clad 
Of Lincolne greene, belay'd with silver lace ; 
And on his head an hood with aglets sprad, 
And by his side his hunters home he banging had." 

It is likewise noticed by our poet himself, in 
another place : 

" Swains in shepherds gray, and gyrles in Lincolne greeneJ* 

See Polyolhiouy «ong XXV. where the marginal 
note says, " Lincolne anciently dyed the best green 
in England.'^ Thus Coventry had formerly the 
reputation of dying the best blue. See Rays Pro- 
verbs, p. 178. Kendal green is equally famous, 
and appears to have been cloth of a similar qua- 
lity. Tliis colour was adopted by forester.* to 
prevent their being too readyly discovered by 
the deer. See Sir John Wynnes History of the 
Guedir family, (Barringtons Miscellanies,) p. 419. 
Thus the Scotish highlanders used to wear brown 
plaids to prevent iheir being distinguished among 


the heath. It is needless to observe that greek 
has ever been the favourite dress of an archer, 
hunter, &c. See note (Y). We now call it a 
Saxon or grass green : 

** His coat is of a Saxon green, his waistcoat's of a plaid.'* 

0» song, 

(M) " has had the honour to be compared to 
the ilhistrious Wallace, S^c] In the first volume 
of Pecks intended supplement to the Monasticon, 
consisting of collections for the history of Prse- 
monstratensian monasteries, now in the British 
Museum, is a very curious riming Latin poem, 
with the following title : " Prioris Alnxvicensis de 
hello Scotico apud Dumharr, tempore rigis Edxvardi 
I. dictamen sive rithmus Latinus, quo de Willielmo 
Wallace, Scotico illo Robin Whood^ plura sed 
iwoidiose canit :*' and in the margin are the follow- 
ing date and reference : 22. Julii 1304. 32. E. 1. 
Eegist. Prem. foL 59. a.'' This, it may be ob- 
served, is the first known instance of our heros 
name being mentioned by any writer whatever ; 
and affords a strong and respectable proof of his 
early popularity. 

(N) " the abbot of St. Marys in York."] '^ In 
the year lOSS Alan earl of Richmond founded 
here a stately abbey for black monks to the ho- 
nour of St. Olave ; but it was afterwards dedicated 
to the blessed virgin by the command of king 
William Rufus. Its yearly revenues at the sup- 
pression amounted to 1550/. 75. 9d, Dugd. 2850/. 
]s. 5d, Speed:' Willis's Mitred abbeys, i. 214. The 
gibbots in our heros time were — 

Robert de Harpsham (el. 1184) ob. 1198. 
Robert de Longo Campo. ob. 1239. 


William Rondele. oh, 1244. 
Tho, de Wharterhille. oh. 125S. 
(O) " the sberif of Nottinghamshire.^'] Ralph 
Murdach was sherif of Derby and Nottmgham- 
shires in the 1st year of king Richard I. and for 
the 7 years preceding, and William Brewerre 
in his 6th year, between which and the 1st no 
' name appears on the roll. See Fullers Worthies, 

(P) '' a proclamation wag published, S^c''^ 
" The king att last," says the Harleian MS. *' sett 
furth a proclamation to have him apprehended, 
^c.^' Grafton, after having told us that he " prac- 
tised robberyes, ^c." adds, " The which beyn^ 
certefyed to the king, and he beyng greatly of- 
fended therewith, caused his proclamation to be^ 
made that whosoever would bryng him quicke or 
dead, the king would geve him a great summe of 
money, as by the recordes in the Exchequer is to 
be scene : But of this promise no man enjoy'ed 
any benefite. For the sayd Robert Hood, being 
afterwardes troubled with sicknesse, ^c." (p. 

(Q) *' At length, the infirmities of old age in- 
creasing upon him, ^c.''] Thus Grafton : ** The 
sayd Robert Hood, beyng troubled with sick- 
nesse, came to a certain nonry in Yorkshire called 
Birckhes [r. Kircklies], where desiryng to be let 
blood, he was betrayed and bled to death," The 
Sloane MS. says that '' [Being] dystempered 
with could and age, he had great payne in his 
lymmes, his bloud being corrupted, therfore, to 
be eased of his payne by letting bloud, he repayr- 
ed to the priores of Kyrkesly, which some say 
was his aunt, a woman very skylful in physique 


& surgery ; who, perceyving him to be Robyn 
Hood, & wayi44g hgvve fel an enimy he was to re- 
ligious persons, toke reveng of him for her owne 
howse and all others by letting him bleed to 
deaih. It is also sayd that one sir Roger of Don- 
caster, bearing grudge to Robyn for some injury, 
incyted the priores, with whome he was very fa- 
miliar, in such a maner to dispatch him/' See 
the Lytell geste of Rohyn Hode, ad finem. The 
Harleian MS. after mentioning the proclamation 
*' sett furth to have him apprehended" adds, *' at 
which time it happened he fell sick at a nun- 
nery in Yorkshire called Birkleys [r. Kirkleys] ; 
& desiring there to be let blood, hee was beytray- 
ed & made bleed to death." 

Kirkleys, Kirklees or Kirkleghes, formerly 
Kuthale, in the deanry of Pontefract, and arch- 
deaconry of the west riding of Yorkshire, was a 
Cistercian, or, as some say, a Benedictine nun- 
nery, founded, in honour of the virgin Mary and 
St. James, by Reynerus Flandrensis in the reign 
of king Henry H. 

" One may wonder," says Dr. Fuller, " how 
he escaped the hand of justice, dying' in his bed, 
ibr ought is found to the contrary : but it was 
because he was rather a jnerrj/ than a mischievous 
thief (complementing passengers out of their 
purses) never murdering any but deer, and .... 
' feasting' the vicinage with his venison," {Wor- 
ihiesy p. 320.) See the following note. 

(R) " He was intered under some trees at a 
short distance from the house ; a stone being 
placed over his grave with an inscription to his 
memory. " Kirkley monasterium monialium, ubi 
Ro : Hood nobilis ille exlex sepultus." Lelands 


Collectanea, i. 51. " Kirkleys Nunnery, in the 
woods whereof Robin Hoods grave is, is between 
Halifax and Wakefield upon Calder." Letter 
from Jo. Savile to W. Camden, Illus. viro epis. 

■ as Caldor conies along, 

It chanc'd she in her course on * Kirkiey' cast her eye, 

Where meiry Robin Hood, that honest thief, doth lie." 

(Poly-Oibion, Song 28.) 

See also Camden s Britannia, 1695, p. 709. 

In the second volume of Dr. Stukeleys Itinera* 
riwn curiosum is an engraving of " The prospect 
of Kirkiey's abby, where Robin Hood dyed, from 
the footway leading to Heartishead church, at a 
quarter of a mile distance. A. The New Hall. 
B. The Gatehouse of the Nunnery. C. The trees 
among which Robin Hood was buried. D. The 
way up the Hill v/here this was drawn. E. Brad- 
ley wood. F. Almondbury hill. G. Castle field. 
Drawn by Dr. Johnston among his Yorkshire 
antiquitys. p. 54. of the drawing?. E. Kirkall, 
sculp.^' It makes plate 99 of the above work, but 
is unnoticed in the letter press. 

According to the Sloane MS. the prioress, after 
" letting him bleed to death, buryed him under a 
great stone by the by wayes syde :'* which is agree- 
able to the account in Graftons chronicle, where 
it is said that, after his death, " the prioresse of 
the same place caused him to be buried by the 
highway-side, where he had used to rob and 
spoyle those that passed that way. And vpon his 
grave the sayde prioresse did lay a very fay re 
stone, wherein the n?imes of Robert Hood, William 
of Goldesborough, and others were graven. And 


the cause why she buryed him there was, for that 
the common passengers and travailers, knowyng 
and seeyng him there buryed, might more safely 
and without feare take their jorneys that way, 
which they durst not do in the life of the sayd 
outlawes. And at cyther ende of the sayde tombe 
was erected a crosse of stone, which is to be seene 
there at this present." 

" Near unto ' Kirkkes' the noted Robin Hood 
lies buried under a grave-stone that yet remains 
near the park, but the inscription scarce legible/' 
Thoresbys Ducatus Leodiensis, p. 91. In the Ap- 
pendix, p. 576. is the following note, with a refer- 
ence to " page 91 :" 

" Amongst the papers of the learned Dr. Gale, 
late dean of Yorke, was found this epitaph of 
Robin Hood : 

Jiear unDcrneaD tiij^ laitl ^ttan 
lai^ rofaert earl of iifimtingtun 
near arcir tier a^ i)\t $a oeud 
an pipll^aulD im robin Send 
^ticft utfato? a? ])i an i> men 
till englanD ni^r ^i agen* 

obiit 24 [r, 14] fiaf tiefeembri^ 1247. 

The genuineness of this epitaph has been ques- 
tioned. Dr. Percy, in the first edition of his 
** Reliques of aiicient English poetry/' (1765,) 
says, " It must be confessed this epitaph is sus- 
picious, because in the most ancient poems of 
Robin Hood, there is no mention of this imagi- 
nary earldom." This reason, however, is by no 
means conclusive, the most ancient poem now 
extaut having no pretension to the antiquity- 
claimed by the epitaph : and indeed the doctor 


himself should seem to have afterward had less 
confidence in it, as, in hoth the subsequent edi- 
tions, those words are omitted, and the learned 
critic merely obaerves that the epitaph appearsio 
him suspicious. It will be admitted that the bare 
suspicion of this ingenious writer, whose know- 
ledge and judgment of ancient poetry are so con- 
spicuous and eminent, ought to have considerable 
weight. As for the present editors part, though 
he does not pretend to say that the language of 
this epitaph is that of Henry the thirds time, nor 
indeed to determine of what age it is, he can per- 
ceive nothing in it from whence one should be 
led to pronounce it spurious, i, e. that it was 
never inscribed on the grave-stone of Robin 
Hood. That there actually was some inscription 
upon it in Mr. Thoresbys time, though then 
scarce legible, is evident from his own words : and 
it should be remembered, as well that the last cen- 
tury was not the sera of imposition, as that Dr. 
Gale was both too good and too learned a man 
either to be capable of it himself or to be liable to 
it from others. 

That industrious chronologist and topographer, 
as well as respectable artist and citizen, master 
Thomas Gent, of York, in his '^ List of religious^ 
houses,'' annexed to " The ancient and modern 
state of that famous city, 1730, 12mo. p. 234, 
informs us that he had been told, '' That his 
[Robin Hoods] tombstone, having his effigy there^ 
on, was ordered, not many years ago, by a cer- 
tain knight to be placed as a harth-stone in his 
great hall. When it was laid over-night, the 
next morning it was ' surprizingly* removed [on 
or to] one side ; and so three times it was laid, 


and as successively turned aside. The knight^ 
thinking he had done wrong to have brought it 
thither, order'd it should be drawn back again ; 
which was performed by a pair of oxen and four 
horses, when twice the number could scarce do it 
before. But as this/' adds the sagacious writer, 
*' is a story only, it is left to the reader, to judge 
at pleasure." N. B. This is the second instance 
of a miracle wrought in favor of our hero 1 

In Goughs Sepulchral monuments, p. cviii. is 
*' the figure of the stone over the grave of Robin 
Hood [in Kirldess park, being a plain stone with 
a sort of cross fleuree thereon] now broken and 
much defaced, the inscription illegible. That 
printed in Thoresby Ducat, Lcod, 576, from Dr. 
Gale's papers, was never on it. The late sir 
Samuel x\rmitage, owner of the premises, caused 
the ground under it to be dug a yard deep, and 
found it had never been disturbed ; so that it was 
probably brought from some other place, and by 
vulgar tradition ascribed to Robin Hood" (refers 
to "Mr. Watsons letter in Antiquary society 
minutes"). This is probably the tomb-stone of 
Elisabeth de Staynton, mentioned in the preced- 
ing note. 

The old epitaph is, by some anonymous hand, 
in a work entitled " Sepulchrorum inscriptiones : or 
a curious collection of 900 of the most remark- 
able epitaphs," Westminster, 1727, (vol. ii. p. 
73.) thus not inelegantly paraphrased : 

" Here, underneath this little stone, 

Thro' Death's assaults, now lieth one, 

Known by the name of Robin Hood, 

Who was a thief, and archer good ; 

Full thirteen (r. thirty) years, and something more, 

He robb'd the rich to feed the poor : 


Therefore, his grave bedew with tears. 
And offer for his soul your prayers." 

(S.) '* Various dramatic exhibitions.^'] The 
earlyest of these performances now extant is, 
" The playe of Robyn Hode, very proper to be 
played in Maye games/' which may probably be 
as old as the 15th century. That a different 
play, however, on the sanie subject has formerly 
existed, seems pretty certain from a somewhat 
curious passage in "The famous chronicle of 
king Edward the first, surnamed Edward Long- 
shankes, ^c," by George Feele, printed in 159S. 

" Lluellen weele get tlie next dale from Breck- 

iiocke the booke of Robin Hood, the frier he shall in- 
struct us in his cause, and weele even here . . . wander 
like irregulars up and down the wildernessc, ile be maister 
of misrule^ ile be Robin Hood that once, cousin * Rice,* 
thou shalt be little John, and hers frier David, as fit as a 
die for frier Tucke. Now, my sweet Nel, if you will 
make up the messe with a good heart for maide Marian, 
and doe well with LUiellen under the greeri-woode frees 
with as good a will as in the good townes, why plena e$^^ 
curia. Exeunt, 

Enter Mortimor, sokis. 

Mortimor . . . .Maisters, have after gentle Robin Hood, 
You are not so well accompanied I hope, 
But if a potter come to plaie his part, 
Youle give him stripes or welcome good or worse. Exit, 

Enter Lluellen, Meredith, frier, Elinor, and their 
traine. They are all clad in greene, &c. sing, 
&c. Blyth and bonny, the song ended, Lluellen 

Luellen, Why so, I see, my mates of olde. 
All were not lies that Bedlams [beldams] told ; 
Of Robin Hood and little John, 
Frier Tucke and maide Marian." 


Mortimer, as a potter, afterwards fights the 
frier with "flailes." 

2. " The downfall of Robert earle of flutiting- 
ton, afterward called Robin Hoodof merrie Sher- 
wodde : with his love to chaste Matilda, the lord 
Fitzwaters daughter, afterwardes his faire maide 
Marian. Acted by the right honourable, the 
earle of Notingham, lord high admirall of Eng- 
land, his servants, ^ Imprinted at London, for 
William Leake, 1601.'^ 4to. b. 1. 

3. " The death of Robert, earle of Hunting- 
ton, otherwise called Robin Hood of merrie Sher- 
wodde : with the lamentable tragedie of chaste 
Matilda, his faire maid Marian, poysoned at 
Dunmowe, by king John. Acted, ^c. % Im- 
printed, <^c. [as above] 1601.^' 4to. b. 1. 

These two plays, usually called the first and 
second part of Robin Hood, were always, on the 
authority of Kirkman, falsely ascribed to Thomas 
Hey wood, till Mr. Malone fortunately retrieved 
the names of the true authors, Anthony Mundy 
and Henry Chettle. As they seem partly found- 
ed on traditions long since forgotten, and refer 
occasionally to documents not now to be found, at 
any rate, as they are much older than most of 
the common ballads upon the subject, and con- 
tain some curious and possibly authentic particu- 
lars not elsewhere to be met with, the reader will 
excuse the particularity of the account and length 
of the extracts here given. 

The first part, or dowiifall of Robert earle of 
Huntington, is supposed to be performed at the 
court and command of Henry the 8th ; the poet 
Skelton being the dramatist, and acting the part 
of chorus. The introductory scene commences 
thus : 


" Enter sir John Eltani, and knocke at Skcltons 

Sir John. Howe, maister Skelton! what, at studie 

opens the doore, 

Skelt, Welcome and wisht for, honest sir John 
*Tvvill trouble you after your great affairs, 

(i. e. the surveying of certain 7naps which his majesty 
had employed hi?n in ;) 

To take the paine that I intended to intreate you io^ 
About rehearsall of your promis'd play. 

Elt. Nay, master Skelton ; for the king himselfe. 
As wee were parting, bid mee take great heede 
Wee faile not of our day : therefore I pray 
Sende for the rest, that now we may rehearse, 

Skel. O they are readie all, and drest to play. 
What part play you ? 

Elt, Why, I play little John, 
And came of purpose with this greene sute. 

SkeL Holla, my masters, little John is come. 

At etery doore all the players runne out ; sojne 
crying where ? where ? others Welcome, sir John : 
among other the boyes and clowne. 

Skel, Faith, little Tracy, you are somewhat forward. 
What, our maid Marian leaping like a lad! 
If you remember, Robin is your love, 
Sir Thomas Mantle yonder, not sir John. 

Clow, But, master, sir John is my fellowe, for I am 
Much the millers sonne. Am I not ? 

Skel, I know yee are sir: — 
And, gentlemen, since you are thus prepar'd, 
Goe in, and bring your dumbe scene on the stage. 
And I, as prologue, purpose to expresse 
The ground whereon our historic is laied. 

Exeunt, manet Skellon, 

Trumpets sounde, [1] enter first king Richard 
ivith drum and auncient, giving Ely a purse and 


sceptre, his mother and brother John, Chester, Lester, 
Lacie, others at the kings appointment, doing re- 
verence. The king goes in : presently Ely ascends 
the chaire, Chester, John, and the queene part dis- 
pleasantly, [2] Enter Hoblrt, earle of Hunt- 
ington, leading Marian; folloivts him Warman, 
and after Warman, the prior ; Warman ever flatter- 
ing and making curtsie, taking gifts of the prior be- 
hinde and his master before. Prince John enters, 
offereth to take Marian ; Queen Elinor enters, offer- 
ing to pull Robin from her ; but they infolde each 
other, and sit downe within the curteines, [3] 
Warman with the prior, sir Hugh Lacy, lord Sentloe, 
and Sir Gilbert Broghtonfolde hands, and drawing 
the curteins, all Chut the prior) enter, and are 
kindly received by Robin Hoode/^ 

During the exhibition of the second part of 
the dumbshevv, Skelton instructs the audience as 
follows : 

** This youth that leads yon virgin by the hand 
Is our earle Robert, or your Robin Honde, 
That in those daies, was earle of Huntington ; 
The ill-fac't miser, brib'd in eith< r liand, 
Is Warman, once the steward of his honse, 
Wiio, Judas like, betraies his liberall lord, 
* Into the hands of that relentlesse prior, 

Calde Gilbert Hoode, uncle to Huntinjijton. 
Those two that seeke to part these lovely friends, 
Are Elenor the queene, and John the prince, 
Slie loves earle Robert, lie maide Marian, 
But vainely ; for tlieir deare affect is such, 
As only death can sunder their true loves. 
Long had they lov'd, and now it is agreed. 
This day they must be troth-plight, after wed : 
At Hnntingtons faire house a feste is helde, 
But envie turnes it to a house of teaies. 
For those false guestes, conspirinjsj with the prior ; 
To whom earle Robert greatly is in debt, 
Meane at the banquet to betray the earle^ 


Unto a lieavie writ of outlawiy : 

The manner and escape you all shall see. 

Locke to your entrance, get you in, sir John. 
My shift is long, for I play frier Tucke ; 
Wherein, if Skelton hath but any lucke, 
Heele thanke his hearers oft with many a ducke. 
For many talk of Robin Hood that never shot in hisbowc. 
But Skelton writes of Robiu Hood what he doth truly 

After some Skeltonical rimes, and a scene be- 
twixt the prior, the sherif, and justice Warman, 
concerning the outlawry, which appears to be 
proclaimed, and the taking of earl Huntington 
at dinner, ** Enter Robin Hoode, little John folloiv- 
ing him ; Robin having his napkin on his shoulder, 
as if hee were sodainly raised from dinner,^* He 
is in a violent rage at being outlawed, and Little 
John endeavours to pacify him, Marian being 
distressed at his apparent disorder, he dissembles 
with her. After she is gone, John thus addresses 
him : 

" Now must your honour leave these mourning tunes, 

And thus by my areede you shall provide,: 

Your plate and jewels ile straight packe up, 

And toward Notingliam convey them hence. 

At Rowlbrd, Sowthani, Wortley, Hothersfipld, * 

Of all your cattell money shall be made, 

And I at Mansfield will attend your coming : 

Where weele determine which waie's best to take, 

Rob, Well, be it so, a god's name, let it be ; 
And if I can, Marian shall come with mee. 

John, Else care will kill her ; therefore if you please, 
At th* utmost corner of the garden wall, 
Soone in the evening waite for Marian, 
And as I goe ile tell her of the place. 
Your horses at the Bell shall readie bee, 
I meane Belsavage, whence, as citizens 
That * meane' to ride for pleasure some small way, 
You shall set foorth.'* 


The company now enters, and Robin charges 
them with the conspiracy, and rates their trea- 
cherous proceeding. Little John in attempting 
to remove the goods is set upon by Warman and 
the sherif; and during the fray ^' Enter prince 
John, Ely and the prior, and others'* Little John 
tells the prince, he but defends the box contain- 
ing his own gettings ; upon which his royal high- 
ness observes, 

*' You do the fellow wrong ; his goods are his : 
You only must extend upon the earles. - 

Prior* That was, my lord, hut nowe is Robert Hood , 
A simple yeoman as his servants were." 

Ely gives the prior his commission, with direc- 
tions to make speed, lest '^in his country-houses 
all his beards be solde;'^ and gives Warman a 
patent " for the high sherifFewick of Notting- 
ham." After this, ''Enter Robin like a citizen;" 
and then the queen and Marian disguised for 
each other. Robin takes Marian, and leaves the 
queen to prince John, who is so much enraged at 
the deception that he breaks the head of Elys 
messenger. Sir Hugh, brother to lord Lacy, and 
steward to Ely, who had been deeply concerned 
jn Huntingtons ruin, is killed in a brawl, by 
prince John, whom Ely orders to be arrested ; 
but the prince, producing letters from the king, 
revoking Elys appointment, " lifts up his drawne 
sworde" and " Exit, cum Lester and Lacy/* in 
triumph. Then, " Enter Rohin Hoode, Matilda, 
at one door, little John, and Much the millers sonne 
at another doore,'* After mutual congratulations, 
Robin asks if it be 

" possible that Warmans spite 

Should stretch so farre, that he doth hunt the lives 
Of bomiie Scarlet^ and his brother Scathlock. 


Much, O, I, sir. Warnian came but yesterday to 
take charge of the jaile at Notingbam, and this daie, he 
sales, he will hang the two outlawes. . . . 
Rob, Now, by my honours hope, ... 
He is too blame : say, John, where must they die ? 

John. Yonder's their mothers house, and here the tree, 
Whereon, poore men, they must forgoe their lives: 
And yonder comes a lazy lozell frier, 
That is appointed for their confessor, 
Who, when we brought your monie to their mothers, 
Was wishing her to patience for their death.'* 

Here " Enter frier Tucke;" some conversation 
passes, and the frier skeltonizes ; after which he 
departs, saying, 

■ let us goe our way. 

Unto this hanging businesse ; would for mee 
Some rescue or repreeve might set them free. 

Rob. Heardst thou not, little John, the friers speach ? 

John. He seemes like a good fellow, my good lord. 

Rob, He's a good fellowe, John, upon my word. 
Lend me thy home, and get thee in to Much, 
And when I blowe this home, come both and helpe mee. 

John. Take heed, my lord : the villane Warman knows 
And ten to one, he hath a writ against you. [you, 

Rob, Fear not: below the bridge a poor blind man doth 
With him I will change my habit, and disguise, [dwell, 
Only be readie when l call for yee, 
For I will save their lives, if it may bee. . . 

Enter Warman, Scarlet and Scathlocke bound, frier 
Tuck as their confessor, officers with halherts. 

War, Master frier, be briefe, delay no time. 
Scarlet and Scathlock, never hope for life ; 
Here is the place of execution, 
And you must answer lawe for what is done, 

Scar, Well, if there be no remedie, we must: 
Though it ill seemeth, Warman, thou shouldst bee, 
f^o bloodie to pursue our lives thus cruellie. 

Scat, Our mother sav'd thee from the gallows, Warman, 
His father did preferre thee to thy lord : 
One mother had wee both, and both our fathers 


To thee and to thy father were kind friends. ... 

fVar. Ye were first outlaws, then ye prooved theeves , . 
Both of your fathers were good honest men ; 
Your mother lives their widowe in good fame : 
But yon are scapethrifts, unthrifts, villaues, knaves, 
And as ye liv'd by shifts, shall die with shame." 

To them enters Ralph, the sherifs man, to ac- 
quaint him that the carnifex, or executor of the 
law, had fallen off his " curtail" and was *' crip- 
plefied'' and rendered incapable of performing 
his office ; so that the sherif was to become his 
deputy. The sherif insists that Ralph shall serve 
the turn, which he refuses. In the midst of the 
altercation, " Enter Robin Hood, like an old man/' 
who tells the sherif that the two outlaws had 
murdered his young son, and undone himself; 
so that for revenge sake he desires they may be 
delivered to him. They denying the charge, 
" Robin whispers with them," and with the 
sherifs leave, and his mans help, unbinds them : 
then, sounds his horn ; and " Enter little John, 
Much . . . Fight ; the frier, making as if he lielpt 
the sheriffe, knockes down his men, crying, Keepe 
the kings peace. Sheriffe [perceiving that it is 
" the outlawed earle of Huntington"] runnes away, 
and his men^ (See the ballad of '' Robin Hood 
rescuing the widows sons," part II. num. xxiii.) 

** Tvi, Farewell, earle Robert, as I am a true frier, 
I had rather be thy clarke, then serve the prior. 

Rob, A jolly fellowe! Scarlet, knowest thou him ? 

Scar, He is of Yorke, and of Saint Maries cloister j 
There where your greedie uncle is lord prior. . . . 

Rob, Here is no biding, masters ; get yee in. . , . 
John, on a sodaine thus I am resolv'd. 
To keepe in Sherewoode tille the kings returne, 
And being outlawed, lead an outlawes life. . . . 

John, I like your honours purpose exceeding well. 


Rob. Nay, no more honour, I pray thee, little John ; 
Henceforth 1 will be called Robin Hoode, 
Matilda shall be my maid Marian." 

Then follows a scene betwixt old Fitzwater and 
prince John, in the course of which the prince, 
as a reason to induce Fitzwater to recall his 
daughter Matilda, tells him that she is hving in 
an adulterous state, for that 

" — Huntington is excommunicate, 

And till his debts be paid, by Romes decree, 

It is agreed, absolved he cannot be ; 

And that can never be. — So never wise, SfcJ* 

Fitzwater, on this, flies into a passion, and ac- 
cuses the prince of being already marryed to 
" earle Chepstowes daughter.^' They *' fight ; 
John falles." Then enter the queen, S^c. and 
John sentences Fitzwater to banishment : after 
which, '* Enter Scathlocke and Scarlet, winding 
their homes, at severall doores. To them enter 
Robin Hoode, Matilda, all in greene, . . . Much, 
little John ; all the men with howes and airowes. 

Some cordial expressions pass between Robin 
and Matilda. He commands all the yeomen to 
be cheerful ; and orders little John to read the 

" Jo/t. First, no man must presume to call our master, 
By name of earle, lorde, baron, knight, or squire : 
But simply by the name of Robin Hoode. — 

That faire Matilda henceforth change her name, 
* And' by maid Marians name, be only cald. 

Thirdly, no yeoman following Robin Hoode 
In Sherevirood, shall use widowe, wife, or maid, 
But by true labour, lustfull thoughts expell. 

Fourthly, no passenger with whom ye meete, 
Shall yee let passe till hee with Robin feaste : 
Except a poast, a carrier, or suche folke. 
As use with foode to serve the market townes. 

Fifthly, you never shall the poore man wrong. 
Nor spare a priest, a usurer, or a clarke. 


Lastly, you shall defend with all yonr power 
Maids, widowes, orphants, and distressed men. 

AIL All these we vowe to keepe, as we are men. 

Rob, Then wend ye to the greenewood merrily, 
And let the light roes bootlesse from yee runne, 
Marian and I, as soveraigns of your toyles, 
Will wait, within our bower, yonr bent bowes spoiles. 
Exeunt winding their homes" 

In the next scene, we find frier Tucke feign - 
edly entering into a conspiracy with the prior 
and sir Doncaster, to serve an execution on Robin, 
in disguise. Jinny, the widow Scarlets daughter, 
coming in, on her way to Sherwood, is per- 
suaded by the frier to accompany him, "dis- 
guised in habit like a pedlers mort/' Fitzvvater 
enters like an old man : — sees Robin sleeping on 
a green bank, Marian strewing flowers on him ; 
pretends to be blind and hungry, and is regaled 
by them. In answer to a question why the fair 
Matilda (Fitzwaters daughter) had changed her 
name, Robin tells him it is 

'^ Because she lives a spotlesse maiden life : 
And shall, till Robins outlawe life have eude. 
That he may lawfully take her to wife ; 
Which, if king Richard come, will not be long." 

*' Enter frier Tucke and Jinny like pedler* 
singing," and afterward *' Sir Doncaster and 
others weaponed." — The frier discovers the plot, 
and a fray ensues. The scene then changes to 
the court, where the prior is informed of six of 
his barns being destroyed by fire, and of the dif- 
ferent execrations of all ranks upon him, as the 
undoer of " the good lord Robert, earle of Hunt- 
ington ;" that the con vest of St. Marys had 
elected " Olde father Jerome" prior in his place ; 
and lastly a herald brings his sentence of banish- 
ment, which is confirmed by the entrance of the 


prior. Lester brings an account of the imprison- 
ment of his gallant sovereign, king Richard, by 
the duke of Austria, and requires his ransom to 
be sent. He then introduces a description of his 
matchless valour in the holy land. John not only 
refuses the ransom money> but usurps the stile of 
king : upon which Lester grows furious, and rates 
the whole company. The following is part of 
the dialogue : 

" Joh, (to Lester) Darest thou attempt thus proudly in 

[our sight? 
Lest, "What is't a subject dares, that I dare not ? 
Sals, Dare subjects dare, their soveraigne being by ? 
Lest, O god, that my true soveraigne were ny ! 
Qu, Lester, he is. 
Lest. Madam, by god, you ly. 
Chest, Unnianner'd man. 
Lest, A plague of reverence 1" 

After this, and more on the same subject, the 
scene returns to the forest ; where Ely, being 
taken by Much, <' like a countryman with a 
basket," is examined and detected by Robin, who 
promises him protection and service. On their 
departure : 

" Joh, Skelton, a worde or two beside the play. 

Fri, Now, sir John Eltam, what ist you would say. 

John, Me thinks I see no j easts of Robin Hode, 
No merry morices of frier Tuck, 
No pleasant shippings up and downe the wodde, 
No hunting songs, no coursing of the bucke : 
Pray god this play of ours may have good lucke, 
And the king's majestic mislike it not! 

Fri, And if he doe, what can we doe to that? 
I promis'd him a play of Robin Hoode, 
His honorable life, in merry Sherewod ; 
His majestie himselfe survaid the plot. 
And bad me boldly write it, it was good. 
For merry j easts y they have bene showne before : 


As how the frier fell into the well, 
For love of Jinny , that f aire bonny bell : 
How Greeneleafe roVd the shrieve of Notingham, 
And other mirthful matter, full of game" 

The second part, or death of Robert earle of 
Huntington, is a pursuit of the same story. The 
scene, so far as our hero is concerned, lyes in 

The next quotation may be of service to Dr. 
Percy, who has been pleased to question our 
heros nobility, because '' the most ancient poems 
make no mention of this earldom," and the old 
legend expressly asserts him " to have been a 
yeoman!^ It is very true ; and we shall here not 
only find his title established, but also discover the 
secret of his not being usually distinguished or 
designed by it. 

Bnter Roben Hoode, 

King, How now, earle Robert ! 

Fri, A forfet, a forfet, my liege lord, 
My masters lawes are on record, 
Tlie court-roll here yonr grace may see. 

King. I pray thee, frier, read them mee. 

Fri. One shall suffice, and this is hee. 
No man that commeth in this wod, 
To feast or dwell with Robin Hood, 
Shall call him earle, lord, knight, or squire, 
He no such titles doth desire, 
But Robin Hood, plain Robin Hoode, 
That honest yeoman, stout and goody 
On paine of forfeiting a marke, 
That must be paid to mee his clarke. 
My liege, my liege, this lawe you broke, 
Almost in the last word you spoke ; 
That crime may not acquitted bee, 
Till frier Tuck receive his fee." 

Now, the reason that '' the most ancient poems 
make no mention of this earldom/' and the old 


legend expressly asserts him " to have been a 
yeoman/' appears, plainly enough, to be, that as, 
pursuant to his own injunction, he was never 
called, either by his followers, or in the vicinity, 
by any other name than Robin Hood, so parti- 
cularly the minstrels, who were always, no doubt, 
welcome to Sherwood, and liberally entertained 
by him and his yeomanry, would take special 
care never to offend against the above law : which 
puts an end to the dispute. S. E, D. 

Our hero is, at length, poisoned by a drink 
which Doncaster and the prior, his uncle, had 
prepared for him to give to the king. His de- 
parting scene, and last dying speech are beauti- 
ful and pathetic. 

*' Rob, Inougli, inougli, Fitzwater, take your child. 
My dying frost, which no sunnes heat can thawe, 
Closes the powers of all my outward parts ; 
My freezing blood runnes back unto my heart, 
Where it assists death, which it would resist : 
Only my love a little hinders death, 
For he beholds her eyes, and cannot smite. 

Mat, O let mee looke for ever in thy eyes, 
And lay my warme breath to thy bloodlesse lips, 
If my sight can restraine deaths tyrannies, 
Or keep lives breath within thy bosome lockt,'* 

He desires to be buryed 

<* At Wakefield, underneath the abbey-wall f 
directs the manner of his funeral ; and bids his 

" For holy dirges, sing * him* wodmens songs." 

The king, upon the earls death, expresses his 
•orrow for the tragical event ; ratifies the will ; 
repeats the directions for the funeral j and says,< 
f 5 


** Fall to your wod-songs, therefore, yeomen bold. 
And deck his herse with flowers, that lov'd you deere.** 

The whole concludes with the following solemne 
dirge : 

" Weepe, weepe, ye wod-men waile. 
Your hands with sorrow wring ; 
Your master Robin Hood lies deade. 
Therefore sigh as you sing. 

Here lies bis primer, and his beades, 
His bent bowe, and his arrowes keene, 
His good sworde and his holy crosse : 
Now cast on flowers fresh and greene. 

And, as they fall, shed teares and say. 
Well a, well a day, well a, well a day ! 
Thus cast yee flowers and sing, 
And on to Wakefield take your way," 

4. '' Robin Hood's penn'orths, by Wm. Haugh- 

5. " Metropolis coronata, the triumphs of an- 
cient drapery : or, rich cloathing of England^ in 
a second yeeres performance. In honour of the 
advancement of sir John Jolles, knight, to the 
high office of lord maior of London, and taking 
his oath for the same authoritie, on Monday, be- 
ing the 30. day of October, 1615. Performed in 
heartie affection to him, and at the bountiful! 
charges of his worthy brethren the truly honour- 
able society of drapers, the first that received 
such dignitie, in this citie. Devised and written 
by A. M. [Anthony Mundy] citizen and draper 
of London." 1615. 4to. 

This is one of the pageants formerly usual on 
Lord-mayors-day, and of which several are ex- 
tant, written as well by our author Mundy, as by 
Middleton, Dekker, Heywood, ancl other hackney 
dramatists of that period. They were thought of 
such consequence that the city had for some time 


(though probably not till after the restoration) a 
professed lanreat for their composition ; an office 
which expired with Elkanah Settle in 1723-4. 
They consisted chiefly of machinery, allegorical 
or historical personages, songs and speeches. 

6. ''Robin Hood and his pastoral May games." 

7. " Robin Hood and his crew of soldiers." 

8. " The sad shepherd, or a tale of Robin 

9. " Robin Hood and his crew of souldiers, a 
comedy acted at Nottingham on the day of his 
saCRed majesties corronation. Vivat rex. The 
actors names : Robin Hood, commander ; Little 
John, William Scadlocke, souldiers ; messenger 
from the sherifFe. London, printed for James 
Davis, 166L" 4to. 

This is an interlude, of a few pages and no 
merit; alluding to the late rebellion, and the 
subject of the day. The outlaws, convinced by 
the reasoning of the sherifs messenger, become 
loyal subjects. 

10. " Robin Hood. An opera, as it is per- 
form'd at Lee^s and Harpers great theatrical booth 
in Bartholomew-fair." 1730. 8vo. 

11. "Robin Hood." 1751. Svo. 

This was a ballad-farce, acted at Drury-lane 

12. " Robin Hood ; or, Sherwood forest : a 
comic opera. As " performed at the theatre- 
royal in Covent-garden. By Leonard Mac NaU 
ly, esq." 1784. Svo. 

This otherwise insignificant performance was 
embellished with some fine music by Mr. Shield. 
The melody of one song, beginning:, 


" I've travers'd Judah's barren sands,'* 

is singularly beautiful. It has been since re- 
duced to, and is still frequently acted as, an after- 

(T) — " innumerable poems, rimes, songs and 
ballads.""] The ori2:inal and most ancient pieces 
of this nature have all perished in the lapse of 
time, during a period of between five and six 
hundred years continuance ; and all we now know 
of them is, that such things once existed. In the 
Vision of Pierce Plowman, an allegorical poem, 
thought to have been composed soon after the 
year 1360, and generally ascribed to Robert 
Langeland, the author introduces an ignorant, 
idle, and drunken secular priest, the representa- 
tive, no doubt, of the parochial clergy of that age, 
in the character of Sloth, who makes the follow- 
ing confession : 

" I cannot par6tli mi paternoster, as the priest it singeth, 
But I can ryms of Roben Hode, and * Randolf erl of 

But of our lorde or our lady I lerne nothyng at all." 

Fordun, the Scotish historian, who wrote about 
1340, speaking of Robin Hood and Little John, 
and their accomplices, says, " of whom the foolish 
vulgar in comedies and tragedies make lewd en- 
tertainment, and are delighted to hear the jesters 
and minstrels sing them above all other ballads :" 
and Mair (or Major), whose history was pub- 
lished by himself in 1521, observes that " The 
exploits of this Robert are celebrated in songs 
throughout all Britain."' So, likewise, Hector 
Bois (or Boethius), who wrote about the same 
period, having mentioned, " that waithman Ro- 
bert Hode with his fallow litil Johne/" adds, " of 


quliom ar mony fabillis and mery sportis soung 
amang the vulgar pepyll." Whatever may have 
been the nature of the compositions alluded to 
by the above writers, several of the pieces printed 
in the present collection are unquestionably of 
great antiquity ; not less, that is, than between 
three and four hundred years old. The Lytell 
geste, which is first inserted, is probably the oldest 
thing upon the subject we now possess ; but a le- 
gend, apparently of the same species, was once 
extant^ of, perhaps, a still earlyer date, of which 
it is some little satisfaction to be able to give even 
the following fragment, from a single leaf, for- 
tunately preserved in one of the volumes of old 
printed ballads in the British museum, in a hand- 
writing as old as Henry the 6ths time. Jt ex- 
hibits the characters of our hero and his Jidus 
Achates in the noblest point of view. 

" He sayd Robyn Hod .... yne the preson, 
And owglit oflf hit was gow. 
The porter rose a-non certeyn, 

As sone as he hard Johan call ; 
Lytyll Johan was redy with a sword, 

And bare hym throw to the wall. 

Now will I be jayler, sayd lytyll Johan, 

And toke the keys in bond ; 
He toke the way to Robyn Hod, 

And sone he hyme unbond. 

He gaffe hym a good swerd in his hond, 
His bed ther-with for to kepe ; 
/ And ther as the wallis wer lowest, 
Anon down ther they lepc. 

To Robyn sayd : 

I have done the a god tome for an , 
Quit me when thow may ; 


I have done the a gode tome, sayd lytyll [JohanJ 

Forsothe as I the saye ; 
I have broughte the under the gren wod . . . 

Farevj^ell & have gode daye. 

Nay, be my trouthe, sayd Robyn, 

So schall it never bee ; 
I -make the master, sayd Robyn, 

Off all my men & me. 
Nay, be my trowthe, said lytyll Johan, 

So schall it never bee." 

(U) — *' has given rise to divers proverbs:"] 
Proverbs, in all countries, are, generally speaking, 
of very great antiquity ; and therefore it will not 
be contended that those concerning our hero are 
the oldest we have. It is highly probable, how- 
ever, that they originated in or near his own time, 
and of course have existed for upwards of 500 
years, which is no modern date. They are here 
arranged, not, perhaps, according to their exact 
chronological order, but by the age of the autho- 
rities they are taken from. 

1. Good even, good Robin Hood, 

The allusion is to civility extorted by fear. It 
is preserved by Skelton, in that most biting sa- 
tire against cardinal Wolsey, Whi/ come j/e not to 
court? (Works, 1736, p. 147.) 

2. Many men talk of Robin Hood that never shot 
in his boio. 

'' That is, many discourse (or prate rather) of 
matters wherein they have no skill or experience." 
Ray gives it thus : 

" Many talk of Robin Hood, that never shot in his bow, 
And many talk of little John that never did him know." 

3. To overshoot Robin Hood. 

" And lastly and chiefly, they cry out with 
open mouth as if they had overshot Robin Hood, 


that Plato banished them [i. e. poets] out of his 
commonwealth/' Sir P. Sidneys Defence ofpoesie. 

4. Tales of Robin Hood are good lenough'] for 

This proverb is inserted in Camdens Remains^ 
printed originally in 1605; but the word in brack- 
ets is supplyed from Ray. 

5. To sell Robin Hoods penn^ivorths, 

" It is spoken of things sold under half their 
value; or if you will, half sold half given*' 

6. Come, turn about, Robin Hood, 
Implying that to challenge or defy our hero 

must have been the ne plus ultra of courage. It 
occurs in Wit and drollery, 166L 

7. As crooked as Robin Hoods bow. 

That is, we are to conceive, when bent by 

— " I came once myselfe," seys bishop La- 
timer, (in his sixth sermon before king Edward 
VL) " to a place, riding on a journey homeward 
from London, and I sent word over night into the 
town that I would preach there in the morning, 
because it was a holy day, and methought it was 
an holidayes worke ; the churche stode in my way; 
and I toke my horsse and mycompanye and went 
thither; I thought I should have found a great 
companye in the churche, and when I came there 
the churche dore was faste locked. I tarried there 
half an houre and more, and at last the keye was 
founde ; and one of the parishe commes to me, 
and sayes, Syr, thy« ys a busye day with us, we 
cannot heare you; it is Robyn Hoodes daye. 
The parishe are gone abroad to gather for Robyn 
HooDE, I pray you let them not. I was fayne 
there to geve place to Robyn Hoode. I thought 
my rochet should have been regarded, thoughe I 


were not; but it woiilde not serve, it was fayne 
to give place to Robyn Hoodes men. 

" It is no laughying matter, my friendes, it is 
a wepynge matter, a heavy matter, under the pre- . 
tence for gatherynge for Robyn Hoode, a tray- 
toure and a thefe, to put out a preacher, to have 
his office lesse estemed, to prefer Robyn Hod be- 
fore the mynystration of gods word ; and all thys 
hath come of unpreachynge prelates. Thys realme 
hath been il provided, for that it hath had suche 
corrupte judgementes in it, to prefer Robyn Hode 
to goddes worde. Yf the bysshoppes had bene 
preachers, there sholde never have been any such 
thynge, kcJ' 

(Y) — " may be called the patron of archery. ^^] 
The bow and arrow makers, in particular, have 
always held his memory in the utmost reverence. 
Thus> in the old ballad of Londons ordinary : 

" The hosiers will dine at the Leg:, 
The drapers at the sign of the Brush, 

The Jletchers to Robin Hood will go, 
And the spendthrift to Beggars-bush. 

The picture of our hero is yet a common sign 
in the country, and, before hanging-signs were 
abolished in London, must have been still more 
so in the city ; there being at present no less 
than a dozen alleys, courts, lanes, &c. to which 
he or it has given a name. The Robin- Hood-so- 
ciety, a club or assembly for public debate, or 
school for oratory, is well known. It was held at 
a public house, which had once born the sign, 
and still retained the name of this great man, in 
Butcher-row, near Temple-bar. 

It is very usual, in the north of England, for a 
publican, whose name fortunately happens to be 
John Little, to have the sign of Robin Hood and 


his constant attendant, with this quibbling sub- 
scription : 

You gentlemen, and yeomen good, 
Come in and drink with Robin Hood; 
If Robin Hood be not at home, 
Come in and drink with Little John,* 

An honest countryman, admiring the conceit, 
adopted the lines, with a slight, but, as bethought, 
necessary alteration, viz. 

If Robin Hood be not at home, 

Come in and drink witli — Simon fVehster. 

Drayton, describing the various ensigns or de- 
vices of the English counties, at the battle of Agin - 
court, gives to 

** Old Nottingham, an archer clad in green. 
Under a tree with his drawn bow that stood, 
Which in a chequer'd flag far off was seen; 
It was the picture of old Robin Hood." 

(Z) — "the supernatural powers he is, in some 
parts, supposed to have possessed/^] " In the 
parish of Halifax is an immense stone or rock, 
supposed to be a druidical monument, there called 
Robin Hood's penny-stone, which he is said to have 
used to pitch with at a mark for his amusement. 
There is likewise another of these stones, of seve- 
ral tons weight, which the country people will tell 
you he threw off an adjoining hill with a spade as 
he was digging. Every thing of the marvellous 
kind being here attributed to Robin Hood, as it 

* In Arnolds Essex harmony, (ii. 98.) he gives the in- 
scription, as a catch for three voices, of his own compo* 
sition, thus : 

** My beer is stout, my ale is good, 
Pray stay and drink with Robin Hood ; 
If Robin Hood abroad is gone, 
Pray stay and drink with little John." 


is in Cornwall to K.Arthur/* {Watson's History 
of Halifax. ^,21.) 

At Bitchover, six miles south of Bakewell, and 
four from Haddon, in Derbyshire, among several 
singular groupes of rocks, are some stones called 
Robin Hoods stride, being two of the highest and 
most remarkable. The people say Robin Hood 
lived here. 

(AA) — " having a festival allotted to him, and 
solemn games instituted in honour of his memory, 
&c/*] These games, which were of great anti- 
quity, and different kinds, appear to have been 
solemnized on the first and succeeding days of 
May ; and to owe their original establishment to 
the cultivation and improvement of the manly ex- 
ercise of archery, which was not, in former times, 
practised merely for the sake of amusement. 

'' I find," says Stow, "that in the moneth of May, 
the citizens of London, of all estates, lighllie in 
every parish, or sometimes two or three parishes 
joyning together, had their severall mayinges, and 
did fetch in May-poles, with dwtrs warlike shewes. 
with good archers, morrice-dancers, and other de- 
vices for pastime all the day long: and towards 
the evening they had stage -playes and bonefires 

in the streetes These greate Mayinges 

and Maygames, made by the governors and mas- 
ters of this citie, with the triumphant setting up 
of the greate shafte, (a principal Maypole in 
Cornhill, before the parish church of S. Andrew, 
therefore called Undershafte) by meane of an in- 
«urrection of youthes against alianes on Mayday, 
1517, the ninth of Henry the eight, have notbeene 
so freely used as afore." (Survay of London, 1598, 
p. 72.) 

The disuse of these ancient p^stimes> and the 


consequent " neglect of arcberie/^ are thus pathe- 
tically lamented by Richard Niccolls, in his Lon- 
dons artillery y 1616: 

" How is it that our London hath laid downe 
This worthy practise, which was once the crowne 
Of all her pastime, when her Robin Hood 
Had wont each yeare, when May did clad the wood, 
With Instie greene, to lead his yong men out, 
Whose brave demeanour, oft when they did shoot, 
Invited royall princes from their courts, 
Into the wilde woods to behold their sports ! 
Who thought it then a manly sight and trim, ^ 

To see a youth of cleane compacted lim, g . 

M^ho, with a comely grace, in his left hand *s I 

Holding his bow, did take his stedfast stand, g "^ 

Setting his left leg somewhat foorth before, %^ 

His arrow with his right hand nocking sure, 5 '% 

Not stooping, nor yet standing streight upright, « 2 
Then, with his left hand little 'bov€ his sight, <« 

Stretching his arm out, with an easie strength. 
To draw an arrow of a yard in length." 

The lines 

" Invited royall princes from their courts 
Into the wild woods to behold their sports," 

may be reasonably supposed to allude to Henry 
VIII. who appears to have been particularly at- 
tached, as well to the exercise of archery, as to the 
observance of May. Some short time after his 
coronation, says Hall, he " came to Westminster, 
with the quene, and all their traine : and on a 
lyme bemg there, his grace, therles of Essex, Wil- 
shir«, and other noble menne, to the numbre of 
twelve, came sodajnly in a mornyng into the 
queues chambre, all appareled in short cotes of 
Kentish Kendal, with hodes on their heddes, and 
hosen of the same, every one of them his bowe 
and arrowes, and a sworde and a bucklar, like 


outlawes, or ' Robyn' Hodes men ; whereof the 
quene, the ladies, and al other there, were abashed, 
aswell for the straunge sight, as also for their so- 
dain commyng : and after certayn daunces and 
pastime made thei departed." (Hen. VIIL fo. 6, 
b.J The same author gives the following curious 
account of " Amaiynge" in the 7th year of this 
monarch (1516) ; '* The kyng & the queue, ac- 
companied with many lordes and ladies, roade to 
the high grounde on Shoters hil to take the open 
ayre, and as they passed by the way they espied 
a company of tall yomen, clothed all in grene, with 
grene whodes & bowes & arrowes, to the number 
of ii. C. Then one of them whiche called hymselfe 
Rohyn Hood, came to the kyng, desyring hym to 
se his men shote, & the kyng was content. Then 
he whisteled, & all the ii. C, archers shot & losed 
at once ; & then he whisteled again, and they 
likewyse shot agayne ; their arrowes whisteled by 
craft of the head, so that the noyes was straunge 
and great, and muche pleased the kyng, the queue, 
and all the company. All these archers were of 
the kynges garde, and had thus appareled them- 
selves to make solace to the kynge. Then Rohyn 
Hood desyred the kyng and queue to come into 
the grene wood, and to se how the outlawes lyve. 
The kyng demaunded of the queue and her ladyes, 
if they durst adventure to go into the wood with 
so many outlawes. Then the queue said, if it 
pleased hym, she was content. Then the homes 
blewe tyll they came to the wood under Shoters - 
hill, and there was an arber made of bowes, with 
a hal, and a great chamber, and an inner cham- 
ber, very well made and covered with floures and 
swete herbes, whiche the kyng muche praised. 
Then sayd Robyn Hood, Sir, outlawes brekefaste* 


is venyson, and therefore you must be content 
with sucli fare as we use. Then the kyng and 
quene sate doune, and were served with venyson 
^nd vyne by Robyn Hood and his men, to their 
great contentacion. Then the kyng departed and 
his company, and Robyn Hood and his men them 
conduictfd; and as they were returnyng, there 
met with them two ladyes in a ryche chariot 
drawen wich v. horses, and every horse had his 
name on his head, and on every horse sat a lady 
with her name written .... and in the chayre 
sate the lady May, accompanied with lady Flora, 
richely appareled ; and they saluted the kynge 
with diverse goodly songs, and so brought hym to 
Grenewyche. At thismaiyng was a greate num- 
ber of people to beholde, to their great solace and 
confort." (fo.lvi, b.J 

That this sort of May-games was not peculiar 
to London, appears from a passage in Richard 
Robinsons '* Third assertion Englishe historicall, 
frendly in favour and furtherance of English 
archery :" 

" And, heare because of archery I do by penne explane 
The use, tlie proffet, and the praise, to England by the 

Myselfe remembreth of a childe in contreye native mine, 

A May game was of Robyn Hood, and of his traine that 

time, (7. E. 6.) 
To traine up younj^ men, stripplings and, eche other 

younger rhilde, 
In shooting, yearely this with solempne feast was by the 

Or brotherliood of townsmen done, with sport, with joy, 

and love, 
To proffet which in present tyme, and afterward dic| 




The games of Robin Hood seem to have been 
occasionally of a dramatic cast. Sir John Fasten, 
in the time of K. Edward IV. complaining of the 
ingratitude of his servants, mentions one who 
had promised never to desert him, " and ther 
uppon,^' says he, " I have kepyd hym thys iii 
yer to pleye seynt Jorge, and Rohyn Hod and the 
shryf off Notyngham, and now when I wolde have 
good horse he is goon into Bernysdale, and I with - 
owt a keeper." 

In some old accounts of the church-wardens of 
Saint Helens, at Abingdon, Berks, for the year 
1556, there is an entry For setting up Robins 
HooDEs BOWER ; I supposc, says Warton, for a 
parish interlude. (See History of English poetry, 
ii. 175.) 

In some places these games were nothing more 
than a morris-dance, in which Robin Hood, Little 
John, Maid Marian, and frier Tuck were the 
principal personages; the others being a clown or 
fool, the hobby-horse, (which appears, for some 
reason or other, to have been frequently forgot,) 
the taborer, and the dancers, who were more or 
less numerous. Thus Warner : 

" At Paske began our morrise, and ere penticost our May 
Tho Roben Hood, litell John, frier Tucke, and Marten deaftly 


And lerd and ladle gang till kirkc with lads and lassies 

In an old circular wood cut, preserved on the 
title of a penny-history, {Adam Bell, &c.) printed 
at Newcastle in 1772, is the apparent representa- 
tion of a morris-dance, consisting of the following 
personages: 1, A bishop, 2. Robin Hood. 3. 
The potter (or beggar). 4. Little John. 5. Frier 
Tuck 6. Maid Marian. Figures 2 and 4 are 


distinguished by their bows, and different size. 
The frier holds out a cross; and Marian has 
flowing hair, and wears a sort of coronet. But 
the execution of the whole is too rude to merit a 

In Scotland, " The game of Robin Hood was 
celebrated in the month of May. The populace 
assembled previous to the celebration of this fes- 
tival, and chose some respectable member of the 
corporation to officiate in the character of Rohin 
Hoodf and another in that of Little John his 
squire. Upon the day appointed, which was a Sun- 
day or holyday, the people assembled in military 
array, and went to some adjoining field, where, 
either as actors or spectators, the whole inhabi- 
tants of the respective towns were convened. In 
this field they probably aniused themselves with 
a representation of Robin Hood's predatory ex- 
ploits, or of his encounters with the officers of 
justice [rather, perhaps, in feats of archery or 
military exercises]. 

" As numerous meetings for disorderly mirth 
are apt to engender tumult, when the minds of 
the people came to be agitated with religious con- 
troversy, it was found necessary to repress the 
game of Robin Hood by public statute. The 
populace were by no means willing to relinquish 
their favourite amusement. Year after year the 
magistrates of Edinburgh were obliged to exert 
their authority in repressing this game ; often in- 
effectually. In the year 1561, the mob were so 
enraged at being disappointed in making a Robin 
Hood, that they rose in mutiny, seized on the 
city-gates, committed robberies upon strangers; 
and one of the ringleaders being condemned by 


the magistrates to be hanged, the mob forced 
open the jail, set at Hberty the criminal and all 
the prisoners, and broke in pieces the gibbet 
erected at the cross for executing the malefactor. 
They next assaulted the magistrates, who were 
sitting in the council-chamber, and who fled to 
the tolbooth for shelter, where the mob attacked 
them, battering the doors, and pouring stones 
thro' the windows. Application was made to the 
deacons of the corporation to appease the tumult. 
Remaining, however, unconcerned spectators, 
they made this answer : " They will be magis- 
trates alone ; let them rule the people alone.^' 
The magistrates were kept in confinement till 
they made proclamation be published, offering 
indemnity to the rioters upon laying down their 
arms. Still, however, so late as the year 1592, 
we find the general assembly complaining of the 
profanation of the sabbath, by making of Robin 
HoocCs playsJ* (Arnots History of Edinburgh, p. 

(BB) — " His bow, and one of his arrows, his 
chair, his cap, and one of his slippers were pre- 
served till within the present century.''] *' We 
omitted,'* says Ray, *y the sight of Fountain's 
abbey, where Robin Hood's bow is kept." {Iti- 
neraries, 1760, p. 161.) 

" Having pleased ourselves with the antiquities 
of ' Notingham,' we took horse and went to visit 
the well and ancient chair of Robin Hood, which 
is not far from hence, within the forest of Sher- 
wood. Being placed in the chair, we had a cap, 
which they say was his, very formally put upon 
our heads, and having performed the usual cere- 
ii>onies befitting so great a solemnity, we received 
the freedom of the chair, and were incorpoi ated 


into the society of that renowned brotherhood." 
(Broroes Travels over Emland, &c. 1700, p. 85.) 

" On one side of this forest [sci, of Sherwood] 
towards Nottine^bam," says the author of " The 
travels of Tom Thumb over England and Wales/' 
{i. €. Robert Dodsley,) " I was shewn a chair, 
a Bow^ and arrow, all said to have been his [Ro- 
bin Hoods] property/* (p. 82.) 

" 1 was pleased with a slipper, belonging to 
the famous Robin Hood, shewn me, fifty years 
ago, at St. Anns ivell, near Nottingham, a place 
upon the borders of Sherwood forest, to which he 
resorted." {Journey from Birminfrham to London, 
by !V, Button, Bir. 1785. p. 174^) 

(CC) — '' not only places which afforded him 
security or amusement, but even the well at 
which he quenched his thirst, still retain his 
name."] Rjobin- Hoods-hay is both a bay and a 
village, on the coast of Yorkshire, between Whitby 
and Scarborough. It is mentioned by Leland as 
*' a fischer tounlet of 20. bootes caullid Rohyn 
Huddes bay, a dok or bosom of a mile yn length.'' 
{Itinerary, i. 53.) *' When his robberies," says 
master Charlton, " became so numerous, and the 
outcries against him so loud, as almcst to alarm 
the whole nation, parlies of soldiers were sent 
do^vn from London to apprehend him : and then 
it was, that fearing for his safety, he found it 
necessary to desert his usual haunts, and, re- 
treating northward, to cross the moors that sur- 
rounded Whitby, [one side whereof happens, a 
little unfortunately, to lye open to the sea,] where, 
gaining the sea-coast, he always had in readiness 
near at hand some small fishing vessels, to which 
he could have refuge, if he found himself pur- 
sued; for, in these, putting off to sea, be looked 


upon himself as quite secure, and held the whole 
power of the English nation at defiance. The 
chief place of his resort at these times, where his 
boats were generally laid up, was about six miles 
from Whitby, to which he communicated his 
name, and which is still called Robin Hoods hay. 
There he frequently went a fishing in the summer 
season, even when no enemy appeared to annoy 
him, and not far from that place he had butts or 
marks set up, where he used to exercise his men 
in shooting with the long bow.'^ 

Near Gloucester is " a famous hill,*' called 
*' Robin Hoods hill;'' concerning which there is 
a very foolish modern song. Another hill of the 
same name exists in the neighbourhood of Castle- 
ton, Derbyshire. 

*' Over a spring calPd Robin Hoods well, (3 
or 4 miles [on] this side [i. e. north] of Don- 
caster, and but a quarter of a mile only from 2 
towns callM Skelbrough and Bourwallis) is a very 
handsome stone arch, erected by the lord Carlisle, 
where passengers from the coach frequently drink 
of the fair water, and give their charity to two 
people who attend there/' (Gents History of 
York. York, 1730, p. 234.) 

Though there is no attendance at present, nor 
is the water altogether so fair as it might and 
should be, the case was otherwise in the days of 
honest Barnaby. 

" Veni Doncastir, 8fc, 
Nescit situs art em modi, 
Piiteuni Roberti Hoodi, 
Veni, 5f liquente vena 
Vincio catino catena, 
Tollens sitim, parcum odiy 
biolvens obolum custodi, 

" Thence to Doncaster, &c. 


Tliirst knows neither mean nor measure, 
Robin Hood's well was my tresaure ; 
In a common dish enchained^ 
I my furious thirst restrained : 
And because I drank the deeper, 
I paid two farthings to the keeper.'* 

He mentions it again : 

** Nunc longinquos locos odif 
Vale fons Koberti Hoodi. 
" Now I hate all foreign places 
Robin Hoods welly and his chaces/* 

A different well, sacred either to Robin Hood, 
or to St. Ann, has been already mentioned. 

(DD) — " conferred as an honorable distinction 
upon the prime minister to the king of Mada- 
gascar "] The natives of this iland, who have 
dealings with our people, pride themselves, it 
seems, in English names, which are bestowed 
upon them at the discretion or caprice of the 
sailors : and thus a venerable minister of state, 
who should have been called sir Robert Walpole 
or cardinal Fleury, acquired the name of Robin 

(EE) "After his death his company was dis- 
persed."] They, and their successors, disciples 
or followers, are supposed to have been afterward 
distinguished, from the name of their gallant 
leader, by the title of Roberdsmcn, Lord Coke, 
who is somewhat singular in accusing him of 
living "by robbery, burning of houses, felony, 
waste and spoil, and principally by and with 
vagabonds, idle wanderers, night-walkers, and 
draw-latches," says that "albeit helived in York- 
shire, yet nien of his quality took their deno- 
mmation of him, and were called Roberdsmen 
throughout all England. Against these men," 
continues he, " was the statute of Winchester 


made in 13 E. 1. [c. 14.] for preventing of rob- 
bery, murders, burning of houses, &c. Also the 
statute of 5 E. 3. [c. l4.] which '^recites' the 
statute of Winchester, and that there had been 
divers manslaughters, felonies, and robberies done 
in times past, by people that be called Roberds' 
men, wasters and draw-latches ; and remedy [is] 
provided by that act for the arresting of them. 
At the parHament holden 50 E. 3," he adds, *' it 
was petitioned to the king that ribauds and sturdy 
beggars might be banished out of every town. 
The answer of the king in parliament was, touch- 
ing ribauds : The statute of Winchester and the 
declaration of the same with other statutes of jRo- 
herdsmen, and for such as make themselves gentle- 
men; and men of armes, and archers, if they 
cannot so prove theirselves, let them be driven to 
their occupation or service, or to the place from 
whence they came/^ He likewise notices the 
statute of 7 R. 2 [c. 5.] by which it is provided 
*' that the statutes oi roherdsmen and draw-latches, 
be firmly holden and kept:" (3 Inst, 197.) 

(FF) — " the honour of little Johns death and 
burial is contended for by rival nations."] I. By 
England. At the village of Hathersage, about 6 
miles from Castleton, in Derbyshire, is Little 
Johns grave. A few years ago some curious per- 
son caused it to be opened, when there were 
found several bones of an uncommon size, which 
he preserved ; but, meeting afterward with many 
unlucky accidents, he carefully replaced them ; 
partly at the intercession of the sexton, who had 
taken them up for him, and who had in like 
manner been visited with misfortunes: upon re- 
storing the bones all these troubles ceased. Such 
is the tradition at Castleton. E. Hargrove, in his^ 


" Anecdotes of archery/^ York, 1792, asserts, 
that "the grave is distinguishe i by a large stone 
placed at the head, and another at the feet; on 
each of which are yet some remains of the letters 
L L." (p. 26) IL By Scotland. " In Murray 
land'' according to that most veracious historian, 
maister Hector Boece, "is the kirke of Pette, 
quhare the banis of lytill Johne remanis in gret 
admiratioun of pepill. He hes bene fourtene fut 
of hycht with square membris efFering thairto. 
Vi. zeris,'' continues he, " afore the cumying of 
this werk to lycht we saw his hanche-bane, als 
mekill as the haill bane of ane man : for we schot 
our arme in the mouth thairof. Be quhilk appe- 
ris how Strang and square pepill grew in our re- 
gioun afore thay were efFeminat with lust and in- 
temperance of mouth.'' III. By Ireland. "There 
standeth," as Stanihurst relates, " in Ostman- 
towne-greene an hillocke, named little John his 
shot. The occasion," he says, " proceeded of 

" In the yeere one thousand one hundred foure 
score and nine, there ranged three robbers and 
outlaws in England, among which Robert Hood 
and little John weere cheefeteins, of all theeves 
doubtlesse the most courteous. Robert Hood 
being betrayed at a nunrie in Scotland called 
Bricklies, the remnant of the crue was scattered, 
and everie man forced to shift for himselfe. 
Whereupon little John was faine to flee the 
realme by sailing into Ireland, where he sojornied 
for a few daies at Dublin. The citizens being 
doone to understand the wandering outcast to be 
an excellent archer, requested him hartilie to trie 
how far he could shoot at randon ; who yeelding 
to their behest, stood oa the bridge of Dublin, 


and shot to that mole hill, leaving behind him a 
monument, rather by his posteritie to be woon- 
dered, than possiblie by anie man living to be 
counterscored. But as the repaire of so notori- 
ous a champion to anie countrie would soone be 
published, so his abode could not be long con- 
cealed : and therefore to eschew the danger of 
[the] lawes, he fled into Scotland, where he died 
at a tovvne or village called Moravie/' Thus 
Stanihurst, who is quoted by Dr. Hanmer in his 
Chronicle of Ireland, p. 179 ; but Mr. Walker, 
after observing that " poor Little John's great 
practical skill in archery could not save him from 
an ignominious fate,'* says, •' it appeared, from 
some records in the Southwell family, that he 
was publicly executed for robbery on Arbor-hill, 

(GG) — " some of his descendants, of the name 
of Nailor, ^c."] See the preface to the History 
of George a Green. As surnames were by no 
means in general use at the close of the twelfth 
century. Little John may have obtained that of 
Nailor from his original profession. 

(" Ye boasted worthies of the knuckle, 
To Maggs and to the Nailor truckle.") 

But however this, or the fact itself may be, a bow, 
said to have belonged to Little John, with the 
name of Naylor upon it, is now, as the editor is 
informed, in the possession of a gentleman in the 
west riding of Yorkshire. 

The quotation about whetstones is from the 
Sloan MS. Those, indeed, who recollect the 
equivocal meaning of the word may think that 
this production has not been altogether confmed 
to the grave of Little John. 





This ancient legend is printed from the copy of an edition^ 
in 4to. and black letter, by Wynken de Worde, preserved in 
the public library at Cambridge; compared with, and, in some 
places, corrected by, another impression (apparently from the 
former), likewise in 4to, and black letter, by William Cop- 
land; a copy of which is among the late Mr, Garrick's old 
plays, now in the British Museum, The full title of the first 
edition is as follows : ** Here beginneth a mery geste of Robyn 
Mode and his meyne, and of the proude sheryfe of Notyng- 
ham ; " and the printer's colophon runs thus : " Uxplycit, 
Kynge Edwarde and Robyn hode Sf Lytell Johan Enprented 
at London in Flete Strete at the sygne of the sone By Wynken 
de Worde.'* To Copland's edition is added ** a new playe 
for to be played in Maye games very plesaunte and full of 
pastyme ; " which will be found at large at the end of the vo- 

Lithe and lysten, gentylraen, 
That be of frebore blode : 

I sliall yon tell of a good yeitiau. 
His neime was Robyn Hode, 



Robyn was a proude outlawe, 
Whyles he walked on grounde, 

So curteyse an outlawe as he was one 
Was never none y founde. 

Robyn stode in Bernysdale, 
And lened hym to a tree, 

And by hym stode Lytell Johan, 
A good yeman was he ; 

And also dyde good Scathelock, 
And Much the millers soiie ; 

There was no ynche of his body, 
But it was worthe a grome. 

Then be spake him Lytell Johan 

All unto Robyn Hode, 
Mayster, yf ye wolde dyne betynie, 

It wolde do you moch good. * 

Then bespake good Robyn, 

To dyne I lust, 
Tyll I have some bold baron, 

Or some unketh gest, 
That may paye for the best ; 

Or some knyght or some squyere 
That dwelleth here by west. 

A good mauer than had Robyn, 
in londe where that he were, 

Every daye or he woulde dyne 
Three messes wolde he here : 

The one in the worshyp of the fader, 
The other of the holy goost, 

The thyrde was of our dere lady, 
That he loved of all other moste. 


Robyn loved our dere lady, 

For doute of dedely synne ; 
Wolde he never do company harme 

That ony woman was ynne. 

Mayster, than sayd Lytell Jphan, 

And we our borde shall sprede, 
Tell us whether we shall gone, 

And what lyfe we shall lede j 

Where we shall take, where we shallleve, 

Where we shall abide behynde, 
Where we shall robbe, where we shall reve, 

Where we shall bete and bynde, 

Ther of no fors, sayd Robyn > 

We shall do well ycough ; 
But loke ye do no bousbonde harm 

That tylleth with his plough j 

No more ye shall no good yenian, 
That walketh by grene wode shawe, 

Ne no knyght ne no squyer, 
That wolde be a good felawe. 

These byshoppes, and thyse archebyshoppes, 

Ye shall them bete and bynde ; . 
The hye sheryfe of Notynghame, 

Hym holde in your mynde. 

This worde shall be holde, sayd Lytell Jofaan, 

And this lesson shall we lere ; 
It is ferre dayes, god sende us a gest, 

That we were at our dynere. 

Take thy good bo we in thy haude, said Robyn, 

Let Moche wende with the, 
And so shall Wyllyam Scathelooke, 

And no man abyde with me. 
B ^ 


And walke up to the Sayles, 
And so to Watlynge strete, 

And wayte after some unketh gest, 
Up cliaunce ye mowe them mete. 

Be he erle or ony baron, 

Abbot or ony knyght, 
Brynge him to lodge to me, 

Hys dyner shall be dyght. 

They wente unto the Sayles, 

These yenien all thre, 
They loked est, they loked west, 

They myght no man see. 

But as they loked in Barnysdale, 

By a derne strete, 
Then came there a knyght rydynge, 

Full sone they gan hym mete. 

All dreri then was his semblaunte. 

And lytell was hys pryde, 
Hys one fete in the sterope stode, 

That other waved besyde. 

His hode hangynge over hys eyen two. 

He rode in symple aray ; 
A soryer man than he was one 

Kode never in soniers dav. 

Lytell Johan was curteyse. 

And set hym on his kne: 
Welcome be ye, gentyll knyght. 

Welcome are you to me, 

Welcome be thou to grene wood, 

Heude knyght and fre ; 
My mayster hath a byden you fastynge, 

Syr, all these oures thre. 


Who is your mayster? said the kuyght, 

Johan sayde, Robyn Hode. 
He is a good yeman, sayd the knyght, 

Of hym I have herde modi good. 

I graunte, he sayd, with you to wende, 

My brethren all in fere ; 
My purpose was to have deyned to day 

At Blythe or Dankastere. 

Fortlie than went this gentyll knyght, 

With a carefull chere, 
The teres out of his eyen ran, 

And fell downe by his lere. 

They brought hym unto the lodge dore. 

When Robyn gan hym se, 
Full curteysly dyde of his hode, 

And set hym on his kne. 

Welcome, syr knyght, then said Robyn, 

Welcome thou arte to mcj 
I haue abyde you fastynge, syr, 

All these houres thre. 

Then answered thfe geMyll knyght, 

With wordes fayre and fre, 
God the save, good Robyn, 

And all thy fayre meynd. 

They washed' togyder and wyped bothe, 

And set tyll theyr dynere ; 
Brede and wyne they had ynough. 

And norables of the dere ; 

Swannes and fesauntes they had full good, 

And foules of the revere ; 
There fayled never so lytell a byrde. 

That ever was bred on brere. 


Do gladly, syr knyght, said Robyn. 

Graiuercy, syr, sayd he, 
Suche a dyner bad I not 

Of all these vvekes thie : 

If I come agayne, Robyn, 

Here by this conntr^, 
As good a dyner I shall the make, 

As thou hast made to me. 

Gramercy, knyght, sayd Robyn, 

My dyner whan 1 have, 
I was never so gredy, by dere worthy god, 

My dyner for to crave. 

But pay or ye wende, sayd Robyn, 

Me thynketh it is good ryght ; 
It was never the maner, by dere worthy god, 

A yeman to pay for a knyght. 

I have nought in my cofers, sayd the knyght, 

That I may profer for shame. 
Lytell Johan, go loke, said Robyn, 

Ne let not for no blame. 

Tell me trouth, sayd Robyn, 

So god have parte of the. 
I have no more but ten shillings, said the knyght, 

So god have parte of me. 

Yf thou have ito more, sayd Robyn, 

I wyll not one peny ; 
And yf thou have nede of ony more, 

More shall I leu the. 

Go now forth, Lytell Johan, 

The trouthe tell thou me, 
Yf there be no more but ten shillings, 

Not one peny that I see. 


Lytell Jolian spred downe his mant^ll 

Full fayre upon the grouude, J 
And there he founde in the knyghtes cofer 

But even halfe a pounde. i 


Lytyll Johan let it lye full styll, \ 

And went to his mayster full lowe, \ 

Wliat tydynge Johan ? sayd Robyu. * 

" Syr, the knyght is trewe inough." j 


Fyll of the best wyne, sayd Robyn, . \ 

The knyght shall begynne : .| 

Moch wonder thynketh me \ 

Thy clothynge is so thinue. ; 

Tell mc one worde, sayd Robyn, 

And counsell shall it be ; i 

I trowe thou were made a knyght of fbrse, | 

Or elles of yemanry ; 


Or elles thou hast ben a sorry housband, ^ j 

And leved in stroke and stryfe ; i 

An okerer, or elles a lechoure, sayd Robyn, i 

With wronge hast thou lede thy lyfe. ^ 

I am none of them, sayd the knyght, ] 

By god that made me ; I 

An hondreth wynter here before, I 

Myne annsetters knyghtes have be. \ 

But ofte it hath befal, Robyn. | 

A man hath be dysgrale ; J 

But god that syteth in heven above '\ 

May amend his state. 'i 

Within two or thre yere, Robyn, he sayd, I 

My neyghbores vrell it * kende,' ^ 

Fonre hondreth pounde of good money I 

Full wel than royght I spende. | 


Now have I no good, sayd the kiiyglit, 
But my chyldren and my wyfe -, 

God hath shapen such an ende, 
Tyll god * may amende my lyfe.' 

In what maner^ sayd Robyn, 

Hast thou lore thy ryches ? 
For my grete foly, he sayd, 

And for my kindenesse. 

I had a sone, for soth, Robyn, 
That sholde have ben my eyre, 

When he was twenty wynter olde. 
In felde wold e juste full fey re : 

He slewe a knyght of Lancastshyre, 

And a squyre bolde; 
For to save hym in his ryght 

My goodes beth sette and solde.; 

My londes beth set to wedde, ;Robyn, 

Untyll a certayne daye. 
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. 
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, 

Over the salte see. 

And se where Cry^t was quycke and deed> 

On the mounte 6f Caluare. 
Fare well, frende, and have good daye, ' 

It may uoo better be 


Teeres fell out of his eyen two, 
He wolde haue gone his waye — 

Farewell, frendes, and have good day, 
I ne have more to pay. 

Where be thy frendes ? sayd Robyn. 

" Syr, never one wyll me know ; 
Whyle I was ryche inow at home 

Grete host then wolde they blowe, 

And now they renne awaye fro me, 

As bestes on a rowe ; 
They take no more heed of me 

Then they me never sawe." 

For ruthe then wepte Lytell Johan, 
Scathelocke and Much * in fere.' 

Fyll of the best wyne, sayd Robyn, 
For here is a symple chere. 

Hast thou ony frendes, sayd Robyn, 

Thy borowes that wyll be? 
I have none, then sayd tlie knyght, 

But god that dyed on a tree. 

Do waye thy japes, sayd Robyn, 

Therof wyll 1 right none ; 
Wenest thou I wyll have god to borowe? 

Peter, Poule or Johan ? 

Nay, by hym that me made. 
And shope both sonne and mone, 

Fynde a better borowe, sayd Robyn, 
Or mouy getest thou none, 

I have none other, sayd the knyght, 

The sothe for to say. 
But yf it be our dere lady, 

She fayled me never or this day. 


By dere worthy god, sayd Robyn, 
To seche all Englond thorowe, 

Yet founde I never to my pay, 
A moch better borowe. 

Come now forthCj Lytell Johan, 

And goo to my tresoure, 
And brynge me foure hoodred pounde. 

And loke that it well tolde be. 

Forthe then wente Lytell Johan, 
And Scathelocke went before, 

He tolde out foure hondred pounde, 
By eyghtene score. 

Is this well tolde ? sayd lytell Much. 

Johan sayd. What greveth the i 
It is almes to helpe a gentyll knyght 

That is fall in poverty. 

Mayster, than sayd Lytell Johan, 

His clothynge is full thynne, 
Ye must gyve the knyght a lyveray. 

To * lappe' his body ther in. 

For ye have scarlet and grene, mayster. 

And many a ryche aray, 
There is no marchaunt iti raery Englonde 

So ryche I dare well saye. 

Take hym thre yerdes of every coloure. 
And loke that well mete it be. 

Lytell Johan toke none other mesure 
But his bo we tre, 

And of every handfuU that he met 

He lept ouer fotes thre. 
What devilkyns draper, sayd litcU Much 

Thynkyst thou to be? 


Scatlielocke stoode full styll and lough, 

And sayd, By god allmyght, 
Johau may gyve hym the better mesure. 

By god, it cost him but lyght. 

Mayster, sayd Lytell Johan, 

All unto Robyn Hode, 
Ye must gyve that knight an hors, 

To lede home al this good. 

Take hym a gray courser, sayd Robyn, 

And a sadell newe; 
He is our ladyes messengere, 

God lene that he be true. 

And a good palfraye, sayd lytell Moch, 

To mayntayne hym in his ryght. 
And a payre of botes, sayd Scathelocke, 

For he is a gentyll knyght. 

What shall thou gyve him, Ly tel Johan ? sayd Robyn. 

Syr, a payre of gylte spores clene, 
To pray for all this company ; 

God brynge hym out of tene ! 

Whan shall my daye be, sayd the knyght, 

Syr, and your wyll be? 
This daye twelve moneth, sayd Robyn, 

Under this grene wode tre. 

It were grete shame, sjiyd Robyn, 

A knyght alone to ryde, 
Without squyer, yeman, or page, 

To walke by hys syde, 

I shall the lene Lytyjl Johan my man, 

For he shall be thy knave ; 
In a yemans steed he may the stonde, 

.Yf thou grete nede have. 



NoWE is the knyght went on this way, 
This game he thought full good, 

When he loked on Bernysdale, 
He blyssed Robyn Hode ; 

And whan he thought on Bernysdale, 
On Scathelock, Much, and Johan, 

He blyssed them for the best company 
That ever he in come. 

Then spake that gentyll knyght, 

To Lytel Johan gan he saye. 
To morrowe 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 upon this nyght 
My londe is lest for ay. 

The abbot sayd to his covent. 

There he stode on grounde. 
This day twelfe moneth came there a knyght 

And borowed foure hondred pounde. 

[He borowed foure hondred pounde,] 

Upon all his londe fre. 
But he come this ylke day 

Dysherytye shall he be. 

It is full erely, sayd the pryourc, 

The day is not yet ferre gone, 
I had lever to pay an hondred pounde, 

And lay it downe a none. 


The knyght is ferre be yonde the see, 

In Englonde is his ryght, 
And suffreth honger and colde 

And many a sory nyght : 

It were grete pyte, sayd the pryoure, 

So to have his londe, 
And ye be so lyght of your conseyence 

Ye do to him moch wronge. 

Tbon arte euer in my berde, sayd the abbot, 

By god and saynt Rycharde. 
With that cam in a fat heded monke^ 

The heygh selerer ; 

He is dede or hanged, sayd the monke, 

By god that bought me dere, 
And we shall have to spende in this place 

Foure hondred pounde by yere. 

The abbot and the by selerer, 

Sterte for the full bolde. 
The high justyce of Englonde 

The abbot there dyde holde. 

The hye justyce and many mo 

Had take into their honde 
Holy all the knyghtes det. 

To put that knyght to wronge. 

They demed the knyght wonder sore, 

The abbot and hys meynd : 
** But he come this ylke day 

Dysheryte shall he be." 

He wyll not come yet, sayd the justyce,^ 

I dare well under take. 
But in sorowe tyme for them all 

The knyi^ht came to the gate. 


Than be spake that gentyll knyght 

Untyll hys meyn^, 
Now put on your symple wedes 

That ye brought fro the see^ 

[They put on their symple wedes,] 

And came to the gates anone, 
The porter was redy hymselfe, 

And welcomed them everychone. 

Welcome, syr knyght, sayd the porter^ 

My lorde to mete is he, 
And so is many a gentyll man, 

For the love of the. 

The porter swore a full grete othe, 

By god that made me, 
Here be the best coresed hors 

That ever yet sawe I me. 

Lede them into the stable, he sayd. 

That eased myght they be. 
They shall not come therin, sayd the knyght, 

By god that dyed on a tre. 

Xordes were to mete isette 

In that abbotes hall. 
The knyght went forth and kneled downe 

And salved them grete and small. 

Do gladly, syr abbot, sayd the knyght, 

I am come to holde my day. 
The fyrst word the abbot spake, 

Hast thou brought my pay ? 

Not one peny, sayd the knyght. 

By god that maked me. 
Thou art a shrewed dettour, sayd the abbot ; 

Syr jusfyce, drynke to me. 


What doost thou here, sayd the abbot. 

But thou haddest brought thy pay? 
For god, than sayd the knyght, 

To pray of a lenger daye. 

Thy daye is broke, sayd the justyce, 

Londe getest thou none. 
** Now, good syr justyce, be my frende, 

And fende me of my fone." 

I am holde with the abbot, sayd the justyce, 

Bothe with cloth and fee. 
*' Now, good syr sheryf, be my frende." 

Nay for god, sayd he. 

" Now, good syr abbot, be my frende, 

For thy curteyse, 
And holde my londes in thy bonde 

Tyll I have made the gree ; 

And I wyll be thy true servaunte, 

And trewely serve the^ 
Tyl ye have 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, 

For thou getest none of me. 

By dere worthy god, then sayd the knyght, 

That all this worlds wrought^ 
But I have my londe agayne 

Full dere it shall be bought ; 

God that was of a mayden borne 

Lene us well to spede. 
For it is good to assay a frende 

Or that a man have nede. 

C !» 


The abbot lothely on hym gan loke 
And vylaynesly hym gan * call/ 

Out, he sayd, thou false knyght, 
Spede the out of my hall. 

Thon lyest, then sayd the gentyll knyght. 

Abbot in thy hal ; 
False knyght was I never. 

By god that made us all. 

Up then stode that gentyll knyght. 

To the abbot sayd he. 
To suffre a knyght to knele so longe, 

Thou canst no curteysye ; 

In joustes and in tonrnement 

Full ferre than have I be, 
And put myselfe as ferre in prees 

As ony that ever I se. 

What wyll ye gyve more ? sayd the justyce, 
And the knyght shall make a releyse ; 

And elles dare I safly swere 
Ye holde never your londe in pees. 

An hondred pounde, sayd the abbot. 

The justyce said. Gyve him two. 
Nay, be god, sayd the knyght, 

Yet gete ye it not soo : 

Though ye wolde gyve a thousande more. 
Yet were ' ye' never the nere ; 

Shall there never be myn eyre, 
Abbot, justyce, ne frere. 

He sterte him to a borde anone, 

Tyll a table rounde, 
And there he shoke out of a bagge 

Even foure hondred pounde. 


Have here thy golde, syr abbot, sayd the kuyght, 

Which that thou lentest me ; 
Haddest thou ben curteys at my comynge, 

Rewarde sholdest thou have be. 

The abbot sat styll, and ete no more, 

For all his ryall chere, 
He caste his hede on his sholder, 

And fast began to stare. 

Take me my golde agayne, sayd the abbot, 

Syr justyce, that I toke the. 
Not a peny, sayd the justyce, 

By god that dyed on a tre. 

*' Syr abbot, and ye men of lawe, 

Now have I holde my daye, 
Now shall I have my londe agayne, 

For ought that you can saye.'* 

The knyght stert out of the dore, 

Awaye was all his care, 
And on he put his good clothynge, 

The other he lefte there. 

He wente hym forthe full mery i^yngynge. 

As men have tolde in tale. 
His lady met hym at the gate, 

At home in Uterysdale. 

Welcome, my lor^e, sayd his lady ; 

Syr, lost is all your good ? 
Be mery, dame, sayd the knyght, 

And praye for Robyn Hode, 

Tliat ever his soule be in blysse. 
He holpe me out of my tene ; 

Ne had not be his kyndenesse, 
Beggers had we ben. 
c 3 


The abbot and I acordyd ben, 

He is served of his pay, 
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. 

All redy for too paye. 

He purveyed hym an houdred bowes, 
The strenges [were] welle dyght. 

An hondred shefe of arowes good, 
The hedes bumyshed full bryght. 

And every arowe an elle longe, 

With pecocke well y dyght, 
Inocked all with whyte sylver, 

It was a semly syght. 

He purveyed hym an hondreth men, 

Well hariieysed in that stede. 
And hymselfe in that same sete, 

And clothed in whyte and rede. 

He bare a launsgay in his lionde, 

And a man ledde his male, 
And reden with a lyght songe, 

Unto Bernysdale. 

As he went at a brydge ther was a wrastelyng, 

And there taryed was he, 
And there was all the best yemen. 

Of all the west countree. 

A full fayre game there was upset, 

A whyte bull up ipyght ; 
A grete courser with sadle and brydil, 

With golde burneyshed full bryght ; 


A payre of gloves, a rede golde rynge, 

A pype of wyne, in good fay : 
What man bereth him best I wys, 

The pryce shall here away. 

There was a yeman in that place, 

And best worthy was he, 
And for he was ferre and frend bestad, 

Islayne he sholde have be. 

The knyght had reuth of this yeman, 

In place where that he stode, 
He said that yoman sholde have no harme, 

For love of Robyn Hode. 

The knyght presed into the place. 

An hondred folowed hym * fre,* 
With bowes bent, and arowes sharpe, 

For to shende that company. 

They sholdred all, and made hym rome, 

To wete what he wolde say, 
He toke the yeman by the honde, 

And gave hym all the playe ; 

He gave hym fy ve 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, 

Tyll that playe was done, 
So longe abode Robyn fastynge, 

Tbre houres after the none. 



Lyth and lysten, gentyll men, 

All that now be here, 
Of Lytell Johan, that was the knyghtes man, 

Good myrthe ye shall here. 

It was upon a mery day, 

That yonge men wolde go shete, 

Lytell J<)Iian fet his bo we anoHe, 
And sayd he wolde them mete. 

Thre tymes Lytell Johan shot about, 

And alway deft the wande, 
The proude sheryf of Notyngham 

By the markes gan stande. 

The sheryf swore a full grete oihe, : , 

By hym that dyed on a tree, 
This man is the best archere 

That yet sawe I me. 

Say me now, wyght yonge man, 

What is now thy name? 
In what countre were thou born. 

And where is thy wounynge wan? 

" In Holdernesse I was bore, 

I wys all of my dame, 
Men call me Reynolde Greuelefe, ' . 

When I am at hame.'* . 

" Say me, Reynaud Grenelefe, 
AVolte tliou dwell v\ith me? 

And every yere I wyll the gyve 
Twenty marke to thy fee." 


I have a mayster, sayd Lytell Johair^ 

A cnrteys knyght is he, 
May ye gete leve of hym. 

The better may it bee. 

The sheryfe gate Lytell Johan 

Twelve monethes of the knyght, 
Therfore he gave him ryght anone 

A good hors and a wyght. 

Now is Lytel Johan the sheryffes man, 

He gyve us well to spede, 
But alway thought Lytell Johan 

To quyte hym well his mede. 

Now so god me helpe, sayd Lytel Johan, 

And be my trewe lewte, 
I shall be the worste servaunte to hym 

That ever yet had he. 

It befell upon a Wednesday, 

The sheryfe on hontynge was gone. 

And Lytel Johan lay in his bed, 
And was foryete at home. 

Tlierfore he was fastynge 

Tyl it was past the none. 
Good syr stuard, I pray the, 

Geve me to dyne, sayd Lytel Johan, 

It is to long for Grenelefe, 

Fastynge so long to be ; 
Therfore I pray the, stuarde. 

My dyner gyve thou me. 

Shalt thou never ete ne drynke, sayd the stnarde, 

Tyll my lord be come to towne, 
I make myn avowe to god, sayd Lytell Johan, 

I had lever to cracke thy crowue. 


The butler was ful uncurteys. 

There he stode on flore, 
He sterte to the buttery, 

And shet fast the dore, 

Lytell Johan gave the buteler such a rap, 

His backe yede nygh on two, 
Tho he lyved an hundreth wynter, 

The wors he sholde go. 

He sporned the dore with his fote, 

It went up wel and fyne, 
And there he made a large lyveray 

Both of ale and wyne. 

Sy th ye wyl not dyne, sayd Lytel Johan, 

I shall gyve you to drynke, 
And though ye lyve an hondred wynter, 

On Lytell Johan ye shall thynk. 

Lytell Johan ete, and Lytell [Johan] dronke, 

The whyle that he wolde. 
The sheryfe had in his kechyn a coke, 

A stoute man and a bolde. 

I make myn avowe to god, sayd the coke, 

Thou arte a shrewde hynde. 
In an housholde to dwel. 

For to ask thus to dyne. 

And there he lent Lytel Johan 

Good strokes thre. 
I make myn avowe, sayd Lytell Johan, 

These strokes iyketh well me. 

Thou arte a bolde man and an hardy, 

And so thynketh me ; 
And or I passe fro this place, 

Asayed better shalt thou be. 


Lytell Johan drewe a good swerde, 

The coke toke another in honde ; 
They thought nothynge for to fle, 

But styfly for to stonde. 

There they fought sore togyder, 

Two myle way and more, 
Myght neyther other harme done, 

The mountenaunce of an houre. 

I make myn avowe to god, sayd Lytell Johan, 

And be my trewe lewte, 
Thou art one of the best swerdemen, 

That ever yet sawe I me. 

Coowdest thou shote as well in a bowe, 
To grene wood thou sholdest with me. 

And two tymes in the yere thy clothynge 
Ichaunged sholde be -, 

And every yere of Robyn Hode 

Twenty marke to thy fee. 
Put up thy swerde, sayd the coke. 

And felowes wyll we be. 

Then he fette to Lytell Johan 

The numbles of a doo, 
Good brede and full good wyne, 

They ete and dranke therto. 

And whan they had dronken well, 
Ther trouthes logyder they plyght, 

That they wolde be with Robyn 
That ylke same day at nyght. 

They dyde them to the tresure hous, 

As fast as they myght gone, 
The lockes that were of good stele 

They brake them everychone ; 


They toke away the sylver vessell, 
And all thai they niyght get, 

Peces, masars, and spones, 
Wolde they non forgete ; 

Also they toke the good pence, 
Thre hondred pounde and three ; 

And dyde them strayt to Robyn Hode, 
Under the grene wode tre. 

"God the save, my dere mayst^r, 
And Cryst the save and se." 

And than sayd Robyn to Lytell Johan, 
Welcome myght thou be : 

And also be that fayre yeman 
Thou bryngest there with the. 

What tydynges fro Notyngham ? 
Lytell Johan tell thou me. 

** Well the greteth the proude sheryfe, 
And sende the here by me 

His coke and his sylver vessell, 
And thre hondred pounde and thre." 

I make myn avow to god, sayd Robyn, 

And to the trenyt^, 
It was never by his good wyll, 

This good is come to me, 

Lytell Johan hym there bethought, 

On a shrewed wyle, 
Fyve myle in the forest he ran, 

Hym happed at bis wyll ; 

Than he met the proud sheryf, 
Huntyuge with hounde and home, 

Lytell Johan coud his curteysye, 
And kpeled hym befprne : 


" God the save, my dear maystdr, 

And Cryst the save and see." 
Raynolde Grenelefe, sayd the sheryfe, 

Where hast thou nowe be? 

" I have be in this forest, 

A fayre syght can 1 se, 
It was one of the fay rest syghtes 

That ever yet sawe I rae ; 

Yonder I se a ryght fayre hart, 

His coloure is of grene, 
Seven score of dere upon an herde 

Be vi^ith hym all bedene ; 

His tynde are so sharp, maystdr, 

Of sexty and well mo, 
That I durst not shote for drede 

Lest they wolde me sloo." 

I make myn avowe to god, sayd the sheryf, 

That syght wolde 1 fayne se. 
" Buske you thyderwarde, my dere mayst^r 

Anone and wende with me." 

The sheryfe rode, and Lytell Johan 

Of fote he was full smarte. 
And whan they came afore Robyu : 

" Lo, here is the mayster harte ! " 

Styll stode the proude sheryf, 

A sory man was he : 
" Wo worthe the, Raynolde Grenelefe 

Thou hast now betrayed me.'* 

I make myn avowe to god, sayd Lytell Johan, 

Mayster, ye be to blame, 
I was mysserved of my dynere. 

When I was with you at hame. 


Soone he was to super sette, 
And served with sylver whyte ; 

And whan the sheryf so his vessell, 
For sorowe he myght not ete. 

Make good chere, sayd Robyn Hode, 

Sheryfe, for charyt^, 
And for the love ofLytell Johan, 

Thy lyfe is graunted to the. 

When they had supped well, 

The day was all agone, 
Robyn commaunded Lytell Johan 

To drawe of his hosen and his shone, 

His kyrtell and his cote a pye, 

That was furred well fyne, 
And take him a grene mantel!, 

To lappe his body therin. 

Robyn commaunded his wyght yong men, 

Under the grene wood tre, 
They shall lay in that same sorte ; 

That the sheryf myght them se. 

All nyght laye that proud sheryf, 
In his breche and in his sherte, 

No wonder it was in grene wode, 
Tho his sydes do smerte. 

Make glad chere, sayd Robyn Hode, 

Sheryfe, for chary td. 
For this is our order I wys, 

Under the grene wood tre. 

This is harder order, sayd the sheryfe, 

Than ony anker or frere ; 
For al the golde in mery Englonde 

I wolde not longe dwell here. 


All these twelve monethes, sayd Robyn, 

Thou shake dwell with me ; 
I shall the teclie, proud shei^fe, 

An outlawe fur lo be. 

Or I here another nyght lye, sayd the sheryfe, 

Robyn, now I praye the, 
Sinyte of my hede rather to morne, 

And I forgyve it the. 

Lete me go, then sayd the sheryf, 

For saynt Cliaryte, 
And I wyll be thy best frende 

That ever yet had the. 

Thou shake swere me an othe, sayd Robyii, 

On my bryght bronde, 
Thou shak never away te me scatlie, 

By water ne by londe j 

And if thou fynde ony of my men, 

By nyght or by day, 
Upon thyne othe thou slialt swere, 

To heipe them that thou may. 

Now have the sheryf iswore his othe, 

And home he began to gone, 
He was as full of grene wode 

As ever was hepe of stone. 


The Fheryf dwelled in Notynghame, 
He was fayne that he was gone, 

And Robyn and his mery men 
Went to wode anone. 
D 2 


Go we to dyner, sayd Lytell Jolian. 

Robyn Hode sayd, Nay ; 
For I drede our lady be wroth with me, 

For she sent me not my pay. 

Have no dout, mayster, sayd Lytell Johan, 

Yet is not the sonne at rest, 
For I dare saye, and sanfly swere, 

The knyght is trewe and trust. 

Take thy bowe in thy hande, sayd Robyn, 

Let Moch wende with the, 
And so shall Wyllyam Scathelock, 

And no man abyde with me, 

And walke np into the Sayles, 

And to Watlynge strete. 
And wayte after * some ' uuketh gest, 

Up chaunce ye may them mete. 

Whether he be messengere, 

Or a man that myrthes can, 
Or yf he be a pore man. 

Of my good he shall have some. 

Forth then stert Lytel Johan, 

Half in tray and tene, 
And gyrde hym with a full good swerde, 

Under a mantel of grene. 

They went up to the Sayles, 

These yemen all thre ; 
They loked est, they loked west, 

They myght no man se. 

But as * they ' loked in Bernysdale, 

By the hye waye, 
Than were they ware of two blacke monk&«, 

Eche on a good palferay. 


Then bespake Lytell Jolian, 

To Much he gan say, 
I dare lay my lyfe to wedde, 

That these monkes have brought our pay. 

Make glad cliere, sayd Lytell Johau, 

And frese our bowes of ewe, 
And loke your hertes be sekerand sad, 

Your strynges trusty and trewe. 

The monke hath fifty two men, 

And seven soiners full stronge, 
There rydeth no byshop in this londe, 

So ryally, I understond. 

Brethern, sayd Lytell Johan, 

Here are no more but we thre ; 
But we brynge them to dyner, 

Our mayster dare we not se. 

Bende your bowes, sayd Lytell Johan, 

Make all yon prese to stonde, 
The formost monke, his lyfe and his deth . 

Is closed in my honde. 

Abyde, chorle monke, sayd LytellJohan^ 

No ferther that thou gone ; 
Yf thou doost, by dere worthy god. 

Thy deth is in my honde. 

And evyll thryfte on thy hede, said Lytell Johan, 

Ryght under thy hattes boude, 
For thou hast made our mayster wroth. 

He is fastynge so longe. 

Who is your mayster ? sayd the monke» 

Lytell Johan sayd, Robyn Hode. 
Hd is a stronge thefe, sayd the monke, 

Of hym herd I never good. 
D 3 


Thou lyest, than sayd Lytell Johan, 

And that shall rewe the ; 
He is a yeman of the forest, 

To dyne he hath bode the. 

Much was redy with a bolte, 

Redly and a none, 
He sent the monke to fore the brest, 

To the grounde that he can gone. 

Of fifty two wyght yonge men, 

Tbere abode not one, 
Saf a lytell page, and a grome 

To lede the somers with Johan. 

They brought the monke to the lodge dore, 
Whether he were loth or lefe, 

For to speke with Robyn Hode, 
Maugre in theyr tethe. 

Robyn dyde adown his hode. 
The monke whan that he se ; 

The monke was not so curteyse, 
His hode then let he be. 

He is a chorle, mayster, by dere worthy god, 

Than said Lytell Johan. 
Thereof no force, sayd Robyn, 

For^urteysy can he none. 

How many men, sayd Robyn, 

Had this monke, Johan? 
" Fifty and two whan that we met, 

But many of them be gone." 

Let blowe a home, sayd Robin, 

That felaushyp may us knowe j 
Seven score of wyght yemen, 

Came pryckynge ou a rowe, 


And everych of them a good manl^ll. 

Of scarlet and of raye, 
All they came to j*ood Kobyn, 

To wyte what he wolde say. 

They made the monke to washe and wype, 

And syt at his denere, 
Robyn Hode and Lytel Johan 

They served * him ' bothe in fere. 

Do gladly, monke, sayd Robyn, 

Graraercy, syr, said he. 
'* Where is your abbay, when ye are at home, 

And who is your avow^ ?" 

Saynt Mary abbay, sayd the monke, 

Though I be symple here. 
In what ofFyce? sayd Robyn. 

" Syr, tlie hye selerer." 

Ye be the more welcome, sayd Robyn, 

So ever mote I the. 
Fyll of the best wyne, sayd Robyn, 

This monke shall drynke to me. 

But I have grete mervayle, sayd Robyn, 

Of all this longe day, 
Pdrede our lady be wroth with me, 
\^he sent me not my pay. 

Have no doute, mayster, said Lytell Johan, 

Ye have no need I saye, 
This monke it hath brought, I dare well swere, 

For he is of her abbay. 

And she was a borowe, sayd Robyn, 

Betwene a knyght and me, 
Of a lytell money that I hym lent, 

Under the gjrene wode tree ; 


And yf thou hast that sylver ibronght«, 

I praye the let me se, 
And I shall helpe the eft sones, 

Yf thou have nede of me. 

The monke swore a full grete othe, 

With a^sory eh ere, 
Of the borowehode thou spekest to me, 

Herde I never ere. 

I make myn avowe to god, sayd Robyn, 

Monke, thou arte to blame,* 
For god is holde a ryghtwys man, 

And so is his dame. 

Thou toldest with thyn owne tonge, 

Thou may not say nay. 
How thou arte her servaunt. 

And servest her every day. 

And thou art made her messengere, 

My money for to pay, 
Therfore I cun the more thanke, 

Thou arte come at thy day. 

What is in your cofers? sayd Robyn, 

Trewe than tell thou me. 
Syr, he sayd, twenty marke, 

Al so mote I the. '^ 

Yf there be no more, sayd Robyn, 

I wyll not one peny; 
Yf thou hast myster of ony more, 

Syr, more I shall lende to the ; 

And yf I fynde more, sayd Robyn, 
I wys thou shalte it forgone ; 

For of thy spendynge sylver, mouk| 
Therof wyll I ryght none. 


Go nowe fortbe, Lytell Johan, 

And the trouth tell thou me ; 
If there be no more but twenty marke, 

No peny that I se. 

Lytell Johan spred his mantell downe, 

As he had done before, 
And he tolde out of the monkes male, 

Eyght hundreth pounde and more, 

Lytell Johan let it lye full styll, 

And went to his mayster in hast ; 
Syr, he sayd, the monke is trewe ynowe, 

Our lady bath doubled your cost. 

I make myn avowe to god, sayd Robyn, 

Monke, what tolde I the ? 
Our lady is the trewest woman, 

That ever yet founde I me. 

By dere worthy god, sayd Robyn, 

To serhe all Englond thorowe, 
Yet founde I never to my pay 

A moche better borowe. 

Fyll of ye best wyne, do hym drynke, sayd Robyn, 

And grete well thy lady hende, 
And yf she have nede of Robyn Hode, 

A frende she shall hym fynde ; 

And yf she nedeth ony more sylver, 

Come thou agayne to me, 
And by this token she hath me sent, 

She shall have such thre. 

The monke was going to London ward, 

There to hold grete mote, 
The knyght that rode so hye on hors, 

'JTo brynge him under fote. 


Whether be ye away ? sayd Robyn. 

" Syr, to maners in this londe. 
Too reken with our reves, 

That have done moch wronge/' 

" Come now forth, Lytell Johan, 
And harken to my tale, 

A better yeman I knowe uone> 
To seke a monkes male," 

How moch is in yonder other * cofer?' sayd Robyn, 

The soth must we see. 
By our lady, than sayd the monke, 

That were no curteysye, 

To bydde a man to dyner, 

And syth hym bete and bynde. 
It is our olde maner, sayd Robyn, 

To leve but lytell behyude. 

The monke toke the hors with spore, 

No lenger wolde he abyde. 
Aske to di ynke, than sayd Robyn, 

Or that ye forther ryde. 

Nay, for god, than sayd the monke. 

Me rewetii I cam so nere, 
For better chepe I myght have dyned, 

In jjlylhe or in Daiikestere. 

Crete well your abbot, sayd Robyn, 

And your pryour, 1 you pray. 
And byd hym send me such a monke. 

To dyner every 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. 


He dyde hym streyt to Bernysdale, 

Under the grene wode tre, 
And he fonnde there Robyn Hodc, 

And all his mery meynd. 

The knyght lyght downe of his good palfray, 

Robyn whan he gan see, 
So curteysly he dyde adoune his hode, 

And set hym ou his knee. 

" God the save, good Robyn Hode, 

And al this company." 
" Welcome be thou, gentyll knyght, 

And ryght welcome to me." 

Than bespake hym Robyn Hode, 

To that knyght so fre, 
What nede dryveth the to grene wode? 

I pray the, syr knyght, tell me. 

And welcome be thou, gentyl knyght, 

Why hast thou be so I'onge ? 
" For the abbot and the hye justyce 

Wolde have had mylpnde." 

Hast thou thy lond agayne ? said Robyn, 

Treuth than tell thou me. 
Ye, for god, sdyd the knyght, 

And that thanke I god and the. 

But take not a grefe, I have be so longe ; 

I came by a wrastelynge, 
And there I dyd holpe a pore yeman. 

With wronge was put behynde. 

Nay, for god, sayd Robyn, 

Syr knyght, that thanke I the ; 
What man that helpeth a good yeman. 

His frende than wyll I be. 


Have herefoure hondred poiinde,thansayd theknjght, 

The whiche ye lent to me ; 
And here is also twenty maik« 

For your curteysy. 

Nay, for god, than sayd Robyn, 

Thou broke it well for ay, 
For our lady, by her selerer, 

Hath sent to me my pay -, 

And yf I toke it twyse, 

A shame it were to me : 
But trewely, gentyll knyght, 

Welcom arte thou to me. 

Whan Robyn had tolde his tale. 

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 ; 
And welcome be thnu, gentyll knyght, 

Under my trystell tre. 

But what shall these bowers do? sayd Robyn, 

And these arowes ifedered fre? 
By god, than sayd the knyght, 

A pore present to the. 

" Come now forth, Lytell Johan, 

And go to my treasure. 
And brynge me there foure hondred pounde, 

The monke over tolde it me. 

Have here foure hondred pounde. 
Thou gentyll knyght and trewe, 

And bye hors and harnes good, 
And gylte thy spores all newe : 


^iid yf thou fayle ony spendynge, 

Com to Robyn Hode, 
And by my tronth thou shalt none fayle 

The whyles I liav€ any good. 

And broke well thy four hundred pound, 

Whiche I lent to the, 
And make thy selfe no more so bare, 

By the counsell of me. 

Thus than holpe hym good Robyn, 

The kuyght all of his care. 
God, that sytteth in heveu hye, 

Graunte us well to fare. 



Now hath the knyght his leve itake, 
And wente hynr on his way ; 

Robyn Hode and his mery men 
Dwelled styll full many a day. 

Lyth and lysten, gentil men, 
And herken what I shall say. 

How the proud sheryfie of Notyngham 
Pyde crye a full fayre play : 

That all the best archers of the north 

Sholde come upon a day, 
And they that shoteth ' alder' best 

The game shall here away. 

" He that shoteth « alder' best 

Furthest fayre and lowe. 
At a payre of fynly buttes, 

Under the greue wode shawe, 



A ryght good arowe he shall have, 

The shaft of sylver whyte, 
The heade and the feders of i-yche rede golde, 

In Englond is none lyke." 

This then herde good Robyn, 

Under his trystell tre : 
^^ Make you redy, ye wyght yonge men, 

That shotynge wyll I se. 

Buske you, my mery yonge men. 

Ye shall go with me ; 
And I wyll wete the shryves fayth, 

Trewe and yf he be.'* 

When they had theyr bowes ibent, 

Theyr takles fedred fre, 
Seven score of wyght yonge men 

Stode by Robyns kne. 

Whan they cam to Notyngh^m, 
The buttes were fayre and longe, 

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 

That I be not desceyved." 

The fourth outlawe his bowe gan bende, 

And that was Robyn Hode, 
And that behelde the proude sheryfe, 

All by the but he stode. 

Thryes Robyn shot about, 

And alway he slit the wand. 
And so dyde good Gylberte, 

With the whyte hande^ 


Lytell Johaii and good Scatheloke 

Were archers good and fre ; 
Lytell Much and good Reynolde, 

The worste wolde they not be. 

Whan they had shot aboute, 

These archours fayre and good, 
Evermore was the best, 

Forsoth, RobynHode. 

Hym was delyvered the goode arow. 

For best worthy was he ; 
He toke the yeft so curteysly, 

To grene wode wolde he, 

They cryed out on Robyn Hode, 

And great homes gan they blowe, 
Wo worth the, treason ! sayd Robyn, 

Full evyl thou art to knowe. 

And wo be thou, thou proud sheryf^ 

Thus gladdynge thy gest, 
Other wyse thou behote me 

In yonder wylde forest ; 

But had I the in grene wode, 

Under my trystell tre, 
Thou sholdest leve me a better wedde 

Than thy trewe lewte. 

Full many a bo we there was bent, 

And arowes let they glyde. 
Many a kyrtell there was rent. 

And hurt many a syde. 

The outlawes shot was so stronge, 

That no man myght them dry ve, 
And the proud sheryfes men 

They tied away full blyve. 
E 2 


Robyn sawe the biishement to broke. 
In grene wode he wolde have be, 

Many an arowe there- was shot 
AuioDge that company. 

Lytell Johan 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 Johan^ 

If ever thou lovest ine, 
And for that ylke lordes love, 

That dyed upon a tre, 

And for the medes of my servyce, 

That I have served the, 
Lete never the proude sheryf 

Aly ve now fynde ine ; 

But take out thy browne swerde, 
And smy te all of my hede, 

And gyve me woundes dede and wyde. 
No lyfe on me be lefte. 

I wolde not that, sayd Robyn, 
Johan, that thou were slawe. 

For all the golde in mery Englond, 
Though it lay now on a rawe. 

God forbede, sayd lytell Much, 

That dyed on a tre. 
That thou sholdest, Lytell Johan, 

Parte our company. 

Up he toke him on his backe, 
And bare hym well a myle. 

Many a tyme he layd hym downe. 
And shot another whyle. 


Then was there a fayre castdll, 

A lytell within the wode, 
Double dyched it was about, 

And walled, by the rode ; 

And there dwelled that gentyll knyght, 

Syr Rychard at the Lee, 
That Robyn had lent his good, 

Under the grene wode tree. 

In he toke good Robyn, 

And all his company : 
" Welcome be thou, Robyn Hode, 

Welcome arte thou [to] me ; 

And moche [I] thanke the of thy comfort;, 

And of thy curteysye, 
And of thy grete kyndenesse, 

Under the grene wode tre ; 

I love no man in all this worlde 

So moch as I do the ; 
For all the proud sheryf of Notyngham, 

Ryght here shalt thou be. 

Shyt the gates, and drawe the bridge, 

And let no man com in ; 
And arme you well and make you redy, 

And to the walle ye wynne. 

For one thyng, Robyn, I the behote, 

I swere by saynt Quyntyn, 
These twelve dayes thou wonest with me, 

To suppe, ete, and dyne. 

Bordes were layed, and clothes spred, 

Reddely and anone ; 
Robyn Hode and his mery men 

To mete gan they gone. 
£ 3 



Lythe and lysten, gentylnien 
And herken unto your songe, 

How the proude sheryfe of Notyngham, 
And men of armes stronge. 

Full faste came to the hye sheryfe, 

The countre up to rout, 
And they beset the knyghts castell, 

The walles all about. 

The proude sheryf loude gan crye, 
And sayd, Thou traytour knyj^ht, 

Thou kepeste here the kynges enemye, 
Agayne the lawes and ryght. 

" Syr, I wyll avowe that I have done, 
The dedes that here be dyght, 

Upon all the londes that I have, 
As I am a trewe knyght. 

Wende forthe, syrs, on your waye, 

And doth no niore to me, 
Tyll ye wytte our kynges wyll 

What he woU say to the." 

The sheref thus had \\k answers, 

With out ony leasynge, 
Forthe he yode to London toune, 

All for to tel our kyrige. 

There he tolde him of that knyght, 

And eke of Robyn Hode, 
And also of the bolde archeres. 

That noble were and good. 


" He wolde avowe that he had done, 
To mayntayne the outlawes stronge, 

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, 

And so I wyll that knyght. 

Go home, thou proud sheryf, 

Aud do as I bydde the. 
And ordayne good archeres inowe. 

Of all the wyde countree. 

The sheryf had his leve itake, 

And went hym on his way ; 
And Robyn Hode to grene wode, 

Upon a certayn day : 

And Lytell Johan was hole of the arowe. 

That shote was in his kne, 
And dyde hym strayte to Robyn Hode, 

Under tlie grene wode tre. 

Robyn Hode walked in the foreste, 

Under the leves grene. 
The proud sheryfe of Notyngham 

Therfore he had grete tene. 

The sheryf there fayled of Robyn Hode, 

He myght not have his pray, 
Then he awayted that gentyll knyght, 

Bothe by nyght and by daye. 

Ever he awayted that gentyll knyght, 

Syr Rychard at the Lee ; 
As he went on haukynge by the ryver syde. 

And let his haukes flee, 


Toke he there tliis gentyll knyght, 
With men of armes stronge, 

And lad hym home to Notyngham warde, 
Ibonde both fote and bonde. 

The sheryf swore a full grete othe, 
By hym that dyed on a tre, 

He had lever than an hondrede pounde, 
That Robyn Hode had he ! 

Then the lady, the knyghtes wyfe, 

A fayre lady and fre, 
She set her on a gode palfray, 

To grene wode anon rode she. 

When she came to the for^t, 
Under the green wode tre, 

Founde she there Robyn Hode, 
And all his fayre meyn^. 

" God the save, good Robyn Hode, 

And all thy company ; 
For our dere ladyes love, 

A bone graunte thou me. 

Let thou never my wedded lorde 

Shamefully slayne to be ; 
He is fast ibounde to Notyngham warde, 

Por the love of the." 

Anone then sayd good Robyn, 

To that lady fre. 
What man hath your lorde itake ? 

The proud shirife, than sayd she. 

[The proude sheryfe hath hym itake] 

Forsoth as I the say ; 
He is not yet thre myles, 

Passed on * his' waye. 


Up then sterte good Robyn, 

As a man that had be wode : 
** Buske you, my mery younge men, 

For hym that dyed on a rode j 

And he that this sorowe forsaketh, 

By hym that dyed on a tre, 
And by him that al thinges maketh, 

No lenger shall dwell with me." 

Sone there were good bowes ibent, 

Mo than seven score, 
Hedge ne dyche spared they none, 

That was them before. 

I make myn avowe to god, sayd Robyn, 

The knyght wold I fayn se, 
And yf I may hym take, 

Iquyt then shall he bee. 

And whan they came to Notyngham, 

They walked in the strete. 
And with the proud sheryf, I wys, 

Sone gau they mete. 

Abyde, thou proud sheryf, he sayd, 

Abyde and speak with me, 
Of some tydynges of our kynge, 

I wolde fayne here of the. 

Tliis seven yere, by dere worthy god, 

N e yede T so fast on fote, 
I make myn avowe to god, thou proud sheryfe, 

* It' is not for thy good. 

Robyn bent a good bowe. 

An arrowe he drewe at his wyll. 
He hyt so the proud sheryf. 

Upon the giounde he lay full styll j 


And or he niyghl up aryse, 

On his fete to stonde, 
He smote of the sheiyves hede, 

With his bryght bronde. 

" Lye thou there, thou proud sheryf, 

Evyll mote thou thry ve ; 
There myght no man to the trust, 

The whyles thou were alyve." 

His men drewe out theyr bryght swerdes, 
That were so sharp and kene, 

And layde on the sheryves men, 
And dryved them downe by dene. 

Robyn stert to that kuyght, 

And cut a two his bonde, 
And toke him in his hand a bowe, 

And bade hym by hym stonde. 

" Leve thy hers the behynde, 

And lerne for to renne ; 
Thou shalt with me to grene wode, 

Through myre, mosse and fenne, 

Thou shalt with me to grene wode, 

Without ony leasynge, 
Tyll that I have gete us grace, 

Of Edwarde our conily kynge. 


The kynge came to Notynghame, 
With knyghtes in grete araye, 

Tor to take that fijentyll knyght, 
And Robyn Hode, yfhemay. 


He asked men of that country, 

After Robyn Hode, 
And after that gentyll knyght, 

That was so bolde and stout. 

Whan they had tolde hym the case, 

Our kynge understonde ther tale, 
And seased in his bonde 

The knyghtes londes all. 

All the pass of Lancashyre, 

He went both ferre, and ner*, 
Tyll he came to Piomton parke, 

He fay 1yd many of his dere. 

There our kynge was wont to se 

Herdes many one, 
He coud unneth fynde one dere, 

That bare ony good borne. 

The kynge was wonder wroth with all. 

And swore by the trynytd, 
" I wolde I had Robyn Hode, 

With eyen I myght hym se ; 

And he that wolde smyte of the knyghtes hedc, 

And brynge it to me, 
He shall have the knyghtes londes, 

Syr Rycharde at the Le ; 

I gyve it hym with my charter. 

And sele it with my honde, 
To have and bolde for ever more. 

In all mery Englonde," 

Than l)espake a fayre olde knyght, 

That was treue in his fay, 
A, my lege lorde the kynge. 

One worde 1 shall you say j 


There is no man in this countre 
Mav have the knyghtes londes, 

Whyle Robyn Hode may ryde or gone, 
And here a bowe in his hondes ; 

That he ne shall lese his hede, 
That is the best ball in his hode ; 

Give it no man, my lorde the kynge, 
That ye wyll any good. 

Haifa yere dwelled our comly kynge. 
In Notyngham, and well more, 

Coude he not here of Robyn Hode, 
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. 

Than bespake a proud fostere, 
That stode by our kynges kne, 

If ye wyll se good Robyn, 
Ye must do after me ; 

Take fyve of the best knyghtes 

That be in your lede, 
And walke downe by * yon' abbay, 

And gete you monkes wede. 

And I wyll be your ledes man. 

And lede you the way, 
And or ye come to Notyngham, 

Myn hede then dare 1 lay. 

That ye shall mete with good Robyn, 

On ly ve yf that he be, 
Or ye come to Notyngham, 

With eyen ye shall hym se. 


Full hastly our kynge was dyght, 

So were his knyghtes fyve, 
Everych of them in monkes wede, 

And hasted them thyder biyth. 

Our kynge was grete above his cole, 

A brode hat on his crowiie, 
Ryght as he were abbot lyke, 

They rode up iu to the towne. 

Styf botes our kynge had on, 

Foisoth as I you say, 
He rode syngynge to grene wode, 

The covent was clothed iu graye, 

His male hors, and his grete somers, 

Folowed our kyuge be hynde, 
Tyll they came to grene wode, 

A myle under the lynde, 

There they met with good Robyn, 

Stondynge on the waye. 
And so dyde many a bolde archere, 

For soth as I you say. 

Robyn toke the kynges hors, 

Hastely in that stede. 
And sayd, Sir abbot, by your leve, 

A whyle ye must abyde ; 

We be yemen of this foreste. 

Under the grene wode tre. 
We ly ve by our kynges dere, 

Other shyft have not we ; 

And ye have chyrches and rentes both, 

And gold full grete plentd ; 
Gyve us some of your spendynge, 

For saynt Charyte. 


Then bespake our cumly kynge, 

A none than sayd he, 
I brought no more to grene wode, 

But forty pounde with me ; 

I have layne at Notyngham, 
This fourtynyght with our kynge, 

And spent I have full moche good, 
On many a grete lordynge ; 

And I have but forty pounde, 

No more than have I me, 
But yf I had an hondred pounde, 

I would geve it to the, 

Robyn toke the forty pounde, 
And departed it in two partye, 

Halfendell he gave his mery men, 
And bad them mery to be. 

Full curteysly Robin gan say, 
Syr, have 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, 
And byddeth the com to Notyngham, 

Both to mete and mele. 

He toke out the brode tarpe. 

And sone he lete hym se ; 
Robyn coud his courteysy, 

And set hym on his kne : ^ 

« I love no man in all the worlde 
So well as I do my kynge, 

Welcome is my lordes seale ; 
And, monke, for thy tydynge, 


Syr abbot, for thy tydynges, 

To day thou shalt dyne with me 
For the love of my kynge 

Under my trystell tre." 

Forth he lad our comly kynge, 

Full fayre by the honde. 
Many a dere there was slayne, 

And full fast dyghtande. 

Robyn toke a full grete home, 

And loude he gan blowe, 
Seven score of wyght yonge men, 

Came redy on a rowe, 

All they kneeled on theyr kne, 

Full fayre before Robyn. 
The kynge sayd hymselfe untyll, 

And swore by saynt Austyn, 

Here is a wonder semely syght, 

Me thynketb, by goddes pyne ; 
His men are more at his byddynge. 

Then my men be at myn. 

Full hastly was theyr dyner idyght, 

And therto gan they gone, 
They served our kynge with al theyr myght, 

Both Robyn and Lytell Johan. 

Anone before our kynge was set 

The fatte venyson. 
The good whyte brede, the good red wyne, 

And therto the fyne ale browne. 

Make good chere, sayd Robyn, 

Abbot, for charyte : - 
And for this ylke tydynge, 

Blyssed mote thou be, 
F 3 


Now shalt thou se what lyfe we lede, 

Or thou hens wende, 
Than thou may enfourrae our kynge. 

Whan ye togyder lende. 

Up they sterte all in hast, 
Theyr bowes were smartly bent, 

Our kynge was never so sore agast, 
He wende to have be shente. 

Two yerdes there w^ere up set, 

There to gan they gauge ; 
By fifty pase, our kynge sayd, 

The merkes were to longe, 

On every syde a rose garlonde, 

They shot under the lyne. 
Who so fayleth of the rose garlonde, sayd Robyn, 

Uis takyll he shall tyue, 

And yelde it to his mayster, 

Be it never so fyne, 
For no man wyll I spare, 

So drynke I ale or wyne. 

And here a buffet on his hede, 

I wys ryght all bare. 
And all that fell in Robyns lote, 

He smote them wonder sare. 

Twyse Robyu shot aboute, 
And ever he cleved the wande, 

And so dyde good Gylberte, 
With the why te hand ; 

Lytell Johan and good Scathelocke, 
For nothyng wolde they spare, 

When they fayled of the garlonde, 
Robyn smote them full sare ; 


At the last shot that Robyn shot. 

For all hys frendes fare, 
Yet he fay led of the garlonde, 

Thre fyngers and mare. 

Then bespake good Gylberte, 

And thus he gan say, 
Mayster, he sayd, your takyll is lost, 

Stand forth and take your pay. 

If it be so, sayd Robyn, 

That may no better be ; 
Syr abbot, I delyver the niyn arowe, 

I pray the, syr, serve thou me. 

It falleth not for myn order, sayd our kyngf , 

Robyn, by tiiy leve. 
For to smyte no good yeman, 

For doute I sholde hym greve. 

Smyte on boldely, sayd Robyn, 

I give the large leve. 
Anone our kynge, with that worde, 

He folde up his sieve. 

And sych a buffet he gave Robyn, 

To grounde he yede full nere. 
I make myn avowe to god, sayd Robyn^ 

Thou arte a stalworthe frere ; 

There is pith in thyn arme, sayd Robyn, 

I trowe thou canst weU shote. 
Thus our kynge and Robyn Hode 

Togeder than they met. 

Robyn behelde our comly kynge 

Wystly in the face. 
So dyde syr Richarde at the Le, 

And kneeled downe in that plac«^ 
F 3 


And 80 dyde all the wylde outlawes. 
Whan they se them knele. 

" My lorde the kynge of Englonde, 
Now I knowe you well." 

Mercy, then Robyn sayd to our kynge, 

Under your trystyll tre, 
Of thy goodnesse and thy grace 

For niy men and me ! 

Yes, for god, sayd Robyn, 

And also god me save ; 
I aske mercy, my lorde the kynge, 

And for my men I crave. 

Yes, for god, than sayd our kynge 
Thy peticion I graunt the, 

With that thou leve the grene wode, 
And all thy company ; 

And come home, syr, to my courte, 

And there dwell with me. 
I make myn avowe to god, sayd Robyn, 

And ryght so shall it be ; 

I wyll come to your courte, 

Your servyse for to se, 
And brynge with me of my men 

Seven score and thre. 

But me lyke well your servyse, 
I come agayne luU soone. 

And shote at the donne dere, 
As I am woute to done. 



Haste tbou ony grene cloth ? sayd our kyiigc, 
That thou wylte sell nowe to me. 

Ye, for god, sayd Robyn, 
Thyrty yerdes and thre. 

Robyn, sayd our kynge, 

Now pray I the, 
To sell me some of that cloth, 

To me and meyne. 

Yes, for god, then sayd Robyn, 

Or elles I were a fole ; 
A nother day ye wyll me clothe, 

I trowe, ayenst the Yole. 

The kynge kest of his cote then, 

A grene garment he dyde on. 
And every knyght had so, I wys, 

They clothed them full soone. 

Whan they were clothed in Lyncolne grene, 

They kest away theyr graye. 
Now we shall to Notyngham, 

All thus our kynge gan say. 

Theyr bowes bente and forth they went, 

Shotynge all in fere, 
Towarde the towne of Notyngham, 

Outlawes as they were. 

Our kynge and Robyn rode togyder. 

For soth as I you say. 
And they shote plucke buffet, 

As they went by tbe wayj 


And many a buffet our kynge wan, 

Of Robyn Hode that day ; 
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, 
Though I shote all this yere. 

All the people of Notyngham 

They stode and behelde, 
They sawe nothynge but mantels of grene, 

That covered all the felde ; 

Than every man to other gan say, 

I drede our kynge be slone ; 
Come Robyn Hode to the towne, I wys, 

On lyve he leveth not one. 

Full hastly they began to fle, 

Both yemen and knaves, 
And olde wy ves that myght evyll goo, 

They hypped on theyr staves. 

The kynge loughe full fast, 

And commanded theym agayne ; 

When they se our comly kynge, 
I wys ihey were full fayne. 

They ete and dranke, and made them glad, 

And sange with notes hye. 
Than bespake our comly kynge 

To syr Rycharde at the Lee : 

He gave hym there his londe agayne, 

A good man he bad hym be. 
Robyn thanked our comly kynge. 

And set hym on his kise. 


Had Robyn dwelled in the kynges couite, 

But twelve monethes and Hire, 
That he had spent an hondred pounde, 

And all his menues se. 

In every place where Robyn came, 

Ever more he layde downe, 
Both for knyghtes and for squyres, 

1 o gete hym grete renowne, 

By than the yere was all agone, 

He had no man but twayne 
Lytell Johau and good Scathelocke, 

Wyth hym all for to gone. 

Robyn sawe yonge men shote, 

Full fayre upon a day, 
Alas ! than sayd good Robyn, 

My welthe is went away, 

Sometyme I was an archere good, 

A styffe and eke a stronge, 
I was commytted the best archere, 

That was in mery Englonde. 

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, 

Tyll he came to our kynge : 
" My lorde the kynge of Englonde, 

Graunte me myn askynge. 

I made a chapell in Bernysdale, 

That semely is to se, 
It is of Mary Blagdalene, 

And thereto wolde I be 5 « 


I myght never in this seven nyglit, 
No tyme to siepe ue wynke, 

Nother all these seven dayes, 
Nother ete ne drynke. 

Me longeth sore to Bernysdale^ 

I may not be therfro, 
Barefote and wolwarde I have hyght 

Thyder for to go.'* 

Yf it be so, than sayd our kynge, 

It may no better be ; 
Seven nyght I gyve the leve, 

No lengre, to dwell fro me. 

Gramercy, lorde, then sayd Robyn, 
And set hym on his kne ; 

He toke his leve full courteysly, 
To grene wode then went he. 

Whan he came to grene wode, 

In a mery mornynge, 
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, 

At the donne dere. 

Robyn slewe a full grete harte. 
His home than gan he blow, 

That all the outlawes of that forest, 
That home coud they knowe, 

And gadred them togyder, 

In a lytell throwe, 
Seven score of wight yonge men, 

Came redy on a rowe ; 


And fayre dyde of theyr hodes. 

And set them on theyr kne : 
Welcome, they sayd, our mayster, 

Under this greue wode tre. 

Robyn dwelled in grene wode, 

Twenty yere and two, 
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, 

That nye was of his kynne, 

For the love of a knyght, 

Syr Roger of Donkest^r, 
That was her own special!, 

Full evyll mote they *■ fare,' 

They toke togyder theyr couiisell 

Robyn Hode for to sle, 
And how they myght best do that dede, 

His bauis for to be. 

Thau bespake good Robyn, 

In place where as he stode, 
To morrow I muste to Kyrkesley, 

Craftely to be leten blode. 

Syr Roger of Donkestere, 

By the pryoresse he lay, 
And there they betrayed good Robyn Hode, 

Through theyr false playe. 

Cryst have mercy on his soule, 

That dyed on the rode ! 
For he was a good out lawe 

And dyde pore men mocU god» ^^ 



This curious^ and hitherto unpublished, and even unheard 
of old piece is given from a manuscript^ among bishop Mores 
collections, in the public library of the university of Cambridge 
(Ec. 4. 35). The writing, which is evidently that of a vulgar 
and illiterate person, appears to be of the age of Henry the 
seventh, that is about the year 1500 ; but the composition 
(which he has irremediably cotrupted) is probably of an earlyer 
period, and much older, no doubt, than " The play of Robyn 
Hode,'^ which seems allusive to the same story. At the end of 
the original is " Expleycyt Robyn HodeJ* 

In scliomer, when the leves spryng, 
The bloschems on every bowe, 

So merey doyt the berdys syng, 
Yn wodys merey now. 

Herkens, god yemen, 

Comley, cortessy, and god, 

Oo of the best that yever bar bou, 
Hes name was Roben Hode. 

Roben Hode was the yemans name. 

That was boyt corteys and fre ; 
For the loflfe of owr ladey, 
^^ All wemen werschep ' he,* 


liot as the god yeman stod on a day, 

Among hes mery maney. 
He was war of a prowd potter, 

Cam dryfting owyr the * ley.' 

Yonder comet a prod potter, seyde Roben, 

Tliat long hayt hantyd this wey, 
He was never so corteys a man 

On peney of pawage to pay. 

Y met hem bot at Wentbreg, seyde Lytyll Joha, 
And therfor yeffell mot he the, 

Seche thre strokes he me gafe. 
Yet they clefFe by my seydys. 

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. 

Her ys forty shillings, seyde Roben, 

Mor, and thow dar say, 
That y schall make that prowde potter, 

A wed to me schall he ley. 

Ther thes money they leyde. 

They toke het a yeman to kepe ; 
Roben befor the potter he breyde, 

* And up to hem can lepe,* 

Handys apon hes horse he leyde, 

And bad * hem' stonde foil stell. 
The potter schorteley to hem seyde, 

Felow, what ys they well ? 

All thes thre yer, and mor, potter, he seyde, 

Thow hast hantyd thes wey. 
Yet wer tow never so cortys a man 

One peney of pauage to pay. - ^L. 


"What ys they name ? seyde the potter ; 

For pauage thow aske of me. 
" Roben Hod ys mey name, 

A wed schall thow lefFe me." 

Wed well y non lefFe, seyde the potter, 
Nor pavag well y non pay ; 

Awey they honde fro mey horse, 
Y well the tene eyls, be mey fay. 

The potter to hes cart he went, 

He was not to seke, 
A god to-hande staife therowt he hent, 

Befor Roben he * lepe.' 

Roben howt with a swerd bent, 
A bokeler en hes honde [therto] ; 

The potter to Roben he went, 

And seyde, Felow, let mey horse go. 

Togeder then went thes two yemen, 
Het was a good sey t to se ; 

Therof low Robyn hes men, 
Ther they stod onder a tre. 

Leytell John to hes felow he seyde, 
Yend potter welle steffeley stonde. 

The potter, with a caward stroke, 
Smot the bokeler owt of hes honde ; 

And ar Roben meyt get het agen, 

Hes bokeler at hes fette, 
The potter yn the neke hem toke, 

To the gronde sone he yede. 

That saw Roben hes men, 

As they stode ender a bow : 
Let us helpe owr master, seyed Lytell JohD; 
g^ Yonder potter els well hem sclo. 


Thes yemen went with a breycTe, 

To ' ther' master they cam. 
Leytell John to hes master seyde, 

Ho haet the wager won? 

Schall y haff yowr forty shillings, seyde Lytel John, 

Or ye, master, schall hafFe myne? 
Yeff they wer a hundred, seyde Roben, 

Y feythe, they ben all theyne. 

Het ys fol leytell cortesey, seyde the potter, 

As y haffe harde weyse men saye, 
Yeff a por yeman com drywyng ower the wey, 

To let hem of hes gorney. 

Be mey tiowet, thow seys soyt, seyde Roben, 

Thow seys god yemenrey ; 
And thow dreyffe forthe yevery day, 

Thow schalt never be let for me. 

Y well prey the, god potter, 

A felischepe well thow hafFe ? 
GefFe me they clothyng, and thow schalt hafe myne ; 

Y well go to Notyuggam. 

Robyn went to Notynggam, 

Thes pottes for to sell ; 
The potter abode with Robens men, 

Ther he fered not eylle, 

Y grant therto, seyde the potter, 
Thow schalt feynde me a felow gode ; 

Bot thow can sell mey pottes well. 
Com ayen as thow yode. 

Nay, be mey trowt, seyde Roben, 

And then y bescro mey hede, 
YefFe y bryng eney pottes ayen, 

And euey weyfFe well hem chepe. gi 

G 2 


Than spake Leytell John, 

And all hes felowhes heynd, 
Master, be well war of the screfFe of Notynggam, 

For he ys leytell howr frende. 

Thorow the helpe of howr ladey, 

Felowhes, let me alone ; 
Heyt war howte, seyde Roben, 

To Notynggam well y gon. 

Tho Roben droife on hes wey, 

So merey ower the londe. 
Heres mor and affter ys to saye, 

The best ys beheynde. 


When Roben cam to Notynggam, 
The soy t yef y scholde saye, 

He set op hes horse anon, 
And gaffe hem hotys and haye. 

Yn the medys of the towne, 

Ther he schowed hes war, 
Pottys! pottys ! he gan crey foil sone, 

Haffe hansell for the mar. 

Foil effen agenest the screffeys gate, . 

Schowed he hes chatiar ; 
Weyffes and wedowes abowt hem drow, 

And chepyd fast of hes war. 

Yet, Pottys, gret chepe ! creyed Robyn, 

Y lotfe yefFel thes to stonde. 
And all that saw hem sell, 
1. Seyde he had be no potter long. 


The pottys that wer werthe pens feyflFe, 

He solde tham for pens thre : 
Preveley seyde man and weytfe, 

Ywnder potter schall never the. 

Thos Roben solde foil fast, 

Tell he had pottys bot feyfFe ; 
Oj) he hem toke of his car, 

And sende hem to the screfFeys weyffe. 

Therof sche was foil fayne, 

Gereamarsey, sir, than seyde sche. 
When ye com to thes centre ayen, 

Y schall bey of * they' pottys, so mot y the. 

Ye schall haffe of the best, seyde Roben, 

And swar be the treneyte. 
Foil corteysley * she' gan them call, 

Com deyne with the screfe and me. 

Godamarsey, seyde Roben, 

Yowr bedyng schall be doyn. 
A mayden yn the pottys gan ber, 

Roben and the screffe weyffe folowed anon. 

Whan Roben ynto the hall cam, 

The screffe sone he met, 
The potter cowed of corteysey, 

And sone the screffe he gret. 

« Loketh what thes potter hayt geffe yow and me, 

Feyffe pottys smalle and grete i" 
He ys fol wellcom, seyd the screffe, 

Let OS was, and ' go' to mete. 

As they sat at her methe. 

With a nobell cher. 
Two of the screffes men gan speke 

Offagret wag^r. 

o S 


Was made the thother daye, 

Off a schotyng was god and feyne, 

Off forty shillings, the soy t to saye, 
Who scholde thes wager wen. 

Styll than sat thes prowde potter, 

Thos than thowt he, 
As y am a trow Cerstyn man, 

Thes schotyng well y se. 

Whan they had fared of the best;, 

With bred and ale and weyne, 
To the * bottys they' made them prest, 

With bowes and boltys foil feyne. 

The screffes men schot foil fast, 

As archares that weren godde, 
Ther cam non ner ney the marke 

Bey halfe a god archares bowe. 

Stell then stod the prowde potter, 

Thos than seyde he, 
And y had a bow, be the rode, 

On schot scholde yow se. 

Thow schall haffe a bow, seyde the screffe, 
The best that thow well cheys of thre ; . 

Thow semyst a stalward and a stronge, 
Asay schall thow be. 

The screffe comandyd a yeman that stod hem bey 

Affter bowhes to wende ; 
The best bow that the yeman browthe 

Koben set on a stryug. 

** Now schall y wet and thow be god. 

And polle het op to they uer." 
So 8jod me helpe, seyde the prowde potter, 

Thys ys bot rygzt weke ger. 


To a queqiier Roben went, 

A god bolt owthe he toke, 
So iiey on to the niarke he went, 

He fayled not a fothe. 

All they schot abowthe agen, 

The screffes men and he, 
Off the marke he welde not fayle, 

He cleffed the preke on thre. 

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 ; 
Thow art worthey to ber a bowe, 

Yn what plas that thow * gang.' 

Yn mey cart y haffe a bowe, 

Forsoyt, he seyde, and that a godde ; 

Yn mey cart ys the bow 
That * I had of Robyn Hode.' 

Knowest thow Robyn Hode? seyde the screflfe, 

Potter, y prey the tell thou me. 
^* A hundred torne y hafFe schot with hem, 

-Under hes tortyll tre." 

Y had lever nar a hundred ponde, seyde the screffe, 
And swar be the trenitc, 

£Y had lever nar a hundred ponde, he seyde,] 
That the fals owtelawe stod be me. 

And ye well do afftyr mey red, seyde the potter^ 

And boldeley go with me, 
And to morow, or we het bred, 

Roben Hode wel we se. 

Y well queyt the, kod the screffe. 
And swer be god of mey the. 

Schetyng thay left, and horn they wentj^ 
Her scoper was redey deythe. 


Upon the morow, when het was day, 
He boskyd hem forthe to reyde ; 

The potter hes carte forthe gan ray, 
And wolde not [be] lefFe beheynde. 

He toke lefFe of the scrcftys wyffe, 
And thankyd her of ail thyng ; 

.*^ Dam, for mey loffe, and ye well thys wer, 
Y geffe yow her a golde ryng/' 

Gramarsey, seyde the weyffe, 

Sir, god eylde het the. 
The screffes hart was never so leythe, 

The feyr forest to se. 

And when he cam ynto the foreyst, 

Yonder the leflfes grene, 
Berdys ther sange on bowhes prest, 

Het was gret goy to sene. 

Her het ys merey to be, seyde Roben, 
For a man that had hawt to spende : 

Be mey borne * we ' schall awet 
Yetf Roben Hode be * ner hande.' 

Roben set hes home to hes mowthe, 
And blow a blast that was foil god, 

TJiat herde hes men that ther stode, 
Fer downe yn the wodde, 

I her mey master, seyde Leytyll John : 
They ran as thay wer wode. 

Whan thay to thar master cam, 

Ley tell John wold not spar : 
" Master, how haffe yow far yn Notynggam ? 

" Haffe yow solde yowr war ?'* 

" Ye, be mey trowthe, Leytyll John, 

Loke thow take no car ; 
Y haffe browt the screffe of Notynggam, 

For all howr chaffar." 


He ys foil welcom, seyde Lytell John, 

Thes tydyng ys foil godde. 
The screfFe had lever nar a hundred ponde 

[Fie had never sene Koben HodeJ. 

** Had I west that beforeii, 

At Notynggam when we wer, 
Thow scholde not com yn feyr forest 

Of all thes thowsande eyr. 

That wot y well, seyde Roben, 

Y thanke god that y be her; 

Therfor schall ye lefFe yowr horse with hos, 
And all your bother ger. 

That fend I godys forbode, kod the screffe, 

So to lese mey godde. 
" Hether ye cam on horse foil hey, 

And horn schall ye go on fote ; 
And gret well they weyfFe at home, 

The woman ys foil godde. 

Y schall her sende a wheyt palfFrey, 

Het hambeliet as the weynde ; 
Ner for the loffe of yowr weyfFe, 

Oflf mor sorow scholde yow seyng." 

Thes parted Robyn Hode and the screfFe^ 

To Notyngam he toke the waye ; 
Hes weyffe feyr welcomed hem horn. 

And to hem gau sche saye ; 

Seyr, how haflfe yow fared yn grene foreyst ? 

HafFe ye browt Roben horn ? 
** Dam, the deyell spede hem, bothe bodey and bon, 

Y hafFe hade a foil grete skorne. 

Of all the god that y haffe lade to grene wod^ 

He hayt take het fro me. 
All bot this feyr palffrey. 

That he hayt sende to the/' 


With that sche toke op a lowde lawhyng, 
Aud swhar be hem that deyed on tre, 

Now hafFe yow payed for all the pottys 
That Roben gaffe to me. 

Now ye be com horn to Notynggam, 

Ye schall haffe god ynowe." 
Nov/ speke we of 3R.oben Hode, 

And of the pottyr onder the grene bowhe. 

" Potter, what was they pottys worthe 
To Notynggam that y ledde with me?'* 

They wer worth two nobellys, seyd he, 
So mot y treyffe or the ; 

So cowde y had for tham, 
And y had ther be. 

Thou schalt hafe ten ponde, seyde Roben, 

Of money feyr and fre ; 
And yever whan thow comest to grene wod, 

Wellcom, potter, to me. 

Thes partyd Robyn, the screfFe, and the potter, 

Ondevnethe the grene wod tre. 
God haffe mersey on Roben Hodys solIe> 

And saffe all god yenianrey ! 



This poem, a north country (or^ pei^haps, Scotish) cotnpo- 
tition of some antiquity, is given from a modern copy printed 
at Newcastle, where the editor accidentally picked it up ; 710 
other having, to his knowledge, been ever seen or heard of, 
— The original title is, ^^ A pretty dialogue betwixt Robin 
Hood and a beggar" 

Lyth and listen, gentlemen, 
That be of high born blood, . 

rU tell yon of a brave booting 
That befell Robin Hood. 

Robin Hood upon a day. 
He went forth him alone, 

And as he came from Barnsdale 
Into fair evening, 

He met a beggar on the way, 
AVho sturdily could gang ; 

He had a pike-staff in his hand, 
That was both stark and Strang ; 

A clouted clock about him was, 
That held him frae the cold. 

The thinnest bit of it, I guess. 
Was more then twenty fold. 

His meal-poke hang about his neck. 

Into a leathern whang. 
Well fasten'd to a broad bucle, 

That was both stark and « Strang.' 


He had three hats upon his head, 

Together sticked fast, 
He car'd neither for wind nor wet, 

In lands where'er he past. 

Good Robin cast him in the way, 
To see what he might be, 

If any beggar had money, 
He thought some part had he. 

Tarry, tarry, good Robin says, 
Tarry, and speak with me. 

He heard him as he heard him not. 
And fast on his way can hy, 

Tis be not so, says [good] Robin, 
Nay, thou must tarry still. 

By my troth, said the bold beggar, 
Of that L have no will. 

It is far to my lodging house, 

And it is growing late, 
If they have supt e'er I come in 

I will look wondrous blate. 

Now, by my truth, says good Robin, 

I see well by thy fare, 
If thou shares well to thy supper. 

Of mine thou dost not care. 

Who wants my dinner all this day. 
And wots not where to ly, 

And would I to the tavern go, 
I want money to buy. 

Sir, you must lend me some money 

Till we meet again. > 
The beggar answer'd cankardly, 

I have no money to lend. 


Thou art a younir man as I, 

And seems to be as sweer ; 
If thou fast till thou get from me, 

Thou slialt eat none this year. 

Now, by my truth, says [§ood] Robin, 

Since we are asembled so, 
If thou has but a small farthing, 

I'll have it ere thou go. 

Come, lay down thy clouted cloak, 

And do no longer stand, 
And loose the strings of all thy pokes, 

I'll ripe them with my hand. 

And now to thee I make a vow, 

If * thou' make any din, 
I shall see a broad arrow. 

Can pierce a beggar's skin. 

The beggar smil'd, and answer made, 

Far better let me be ; 
Think not that I will be afraid. 

For thy nip crooked tree; 

Or that I fear thee any whit, 

For thy curn nips of sticks, 
1 know no use for them so meet 

As to be puding-pricks. 

Here I defy thee to do me ill, 

For all thy boisterous fair, 
Thou's get nothing from me but ill, 

Would'st thou seek evermair. 

Good Robin bent his noble bow, 

He was an angery man, 
And in it set a broad arrow; 

Lo ! e'er 'twas drawn a spj^n, 



The begsjar, with his noble tree^ 
Reach'd him so round a rout, 

That his bow and his broad arrow 
In flinders flew about. 

Good Robin bound him to his brand, 
But that prov'd likewise vain, 

The beggar lighted on his band 
With his pike-staff again : 

[I] wot he might not draw a sword 
For forty days and mair. 

Good Robin could not speak a word, 
His heart was ne'er so sair. 

He could not fight, be could not flec,<- 

He wist not what to do ; 
The beggar with his noble tree 

Laid lusty slaps him to. 

He paid good Robin back and side, 
And baist him up and down, 

And with his pike-statf la d on loud. 
Till he fell in a swoon. 

Stand np, man, the beggar said, 
'Tis shame to go to rest ; 

Stay till thou get thy money told, 
I think it were the best: 

And syne go to the tavern house. 
And buy both wine and ale; 

Hereat thy friends will crack full crousc, 
Thou hast been at the dale. 

Good Robin answer'd ne'er a word, 

But lay still as a stane ; 
His cheeks were pale as any clay, 

And closed were his een. 


The beggar thought him dead but fail, 

And boldly bound his way. — 
I would ye had been at the dale, 

And gotten part of the play. 


Now three of Robin's men, by chance, 

Came walking by the way, 
And found their master in a trance. 

On ground where that he lay. 

Up have they taken good Robin, 

Making a piteous bear, 
Yet saw they no man there at whom 

They might the matter spear. 

They looked him all round about. 
But wound on him saw * nane', 

Yet at his mouth came booking out 
The blood of a good vain. 

Cold water they have gotten syne. 

And cast unto his face ; 
Then he began to hitch his ear, 

And speak within short space. 

Tell us, dear master, said his men, 
How with you stands the case. 

Good Robin sighed ere he began 
To tell of his disgrace. 

** I have been watchman in this wood 
Near hand this twenty year, 

* Yet I was never so hard bestead 
As ye have found me here ; 
H 2 


A beggar with a clouted clock, 

Of whom I fear'd no ill 
Hath with his pyke-staff cla'd my back, 

I fear'twill never be well. 

See, where he goes o'er yon hill. 

With hat upon his head ; 
If e'er ye lov'd your master well. 

Go now revenge this deed; 

And bring him back again to me, 

If it lie in your might, 
That I may see, before I die, 

Him punish'd in my sight : 

And if you may not bring him back, 

Let him not go loose on ; 
For to us all it were great shame 

If he escape again." 

<' One of us shall with you remain, 
Because you're ill at ease, 

The other two shall bring him back, 
To use him as you please.'* 

Now, by my truth, says good Robin, 
I true there's enougl] said ; 

And he get scouth to wield his tree, 
I fear you'll both be paid. 

" Be not fear'd, our master, 
That we two can be dung 

With any bluter base beggar, 
That has nought but a rung. 

His staff shall stand him in no stead. 
That yon shall shortly see, 

But back again he shall be led, 
And fast bound shall he be, 

To see if ye will have him slain, 
Or hanged on a tree." 


<* But cast you sliely in his way, 

Before he be aware, 
And on his pyke-staff first hands lay, 

Ye'll speed the better far." 

Now leave we Robin \;vith his man, 

Again to play the child, 
And learn himself to stand and gang 

By lialds, for all his eild. 

Now pass we to the bold beggar, 

That raked o'er the hill, 
Wlio never mended his pace more, 

Then he had done no ill. 

And they have taken another way, 
Was nearer by miles three. 

They stoutly ran with all their might, 
Spared neither dub * nor' mire, 

They started at neither how nor height. 
No travel made them tire, 

Till they before the beggar wan, 

And cast them in his way ; 
A little wood lay in a glen, 

And there they both did stay ; 

They stood up closely by a tree. 

In each side of the gate, 
Untill the beggar came them nigh. 

That thought of no such late : 

And as he was betwixt them past. 
They leapt upon him baith ; 

The one his pyke-stafF gripped fast, 
They feared for its skaith. 


The other he held in his sigltt 
A diawen durk to hU breast, 

And said, False * carel,' quit thy staff, 
Or I shall be thy priest. 

His pyke-staff they have taken him frae, 
And stuck it in the green, 

He was full loath to let it gae, 
An better might it been. 

The beggar was the feardest man 
Of any that e'er might be, 

To win away no way he can, 
Nor help him with his tree. 

Nor wist he wherefore he was ta'en, 
Nor how many was there; 

He thought his life days had been gane, 
He grew into dispair. 

Grant me my life, the beggar said, 
For him that dy'd on the tree, 

And hold away that ugly knife, 
Or else for fear I'll die. 

I griev'd you never in all my life, 

Neither by late or air, 
You have great sin if you would slay 

A silly poor beggar, 

' Thou lies, false lown, they said again, 
For all that may be sworn ; 
Thou hast * near' slain the gentlest man 
Of one that e'er was born -, 

And back again thou shall be led, 
And fast bound shalt thou be, 

To see if he will have thee slain, 
Or hanged on a tree. 


The beggar then thought all was wrong, 

They were set for his wrack, 
He saw nothing appearing then, 

But ill upon warse back. 

Were he out of their hands, he thought, 

And had again his tree, 
He should not be let back for nought. 

With such as he did see. 

Then he bethought him on a wile, 

If it could tak^ effect, 
How he might the young men beguile. 

And give them a begeck. 

Thus to do them shame for ill 

His beastly breast was bent, 
He found the wind blew something shrill. 

To further his intent. 

He said, Brave gentlemen, be good, 

And let a poor man be ; 
When ye have taken a beggar's blood, 

It helps you not a flee. 

It was but in my own defence, 

If he has gotten skaith ; 
But I will make a recompence 

Is better for you baith. 

If ye will set me fair and free, 

And do me no more dear, 
An hundred pounds I will you give, 

And much more odd silver, 

That I have gathered this many years, 

Under this clouted cloak, 
And hid up wonder privately, 

In bottom of my poke. 


The young men to the council yeed, 

And let the beggar gae ; 
They wist full well he had no speed 

From them to run away. 

They thought they would the money take, 

Come after what so may ; 
And yet they would not take him back, 

But in that place him slay. 

By that good Robin would not know 

That they had gotten coin, 
It would content him [well] to show 

That there they had him slain. 

They said, False carel, soon have done, 

And tell forth thy mon^y, 
For the ill turn that thou hast done 

It's but a simple plee. 

And yet we will not have thee back, 

Come after what so may, 
If thou wilt do that which thou spak. 

And make us present pay. 

O then he loosed his clouted clock, 
And spread it on the ground. 

And thereon lay he many a poke, 
Betwixt them and the wind. 

He took a great bag from his hals, 

It was near fall of meal, 
Two pecks in it at least there was. 

And more, I wot full well. 

Upon this cloak he set it down. 
The mouth he opened wide, 

To turn the same he made him bown. 
The young men ready spy'd ; 


In every hand he took a nook 

Of that great leatliern * mail,' 
And with a flin^ the meal he shook 

Into their face all hail : 

Wherewith he blinded them so close, 

A stime they could not see ; 
And then in heart he did rejoice, 

And clap'd his lusty tree. 

He thought if he had done them wrong, 

In mealing of their cloaths, 
For to strike off the meal again 

With his pyke-staflF he goes. 

Ere any of them could red their een. 

Or a glimmring might see, 
like one of them a dozen had, 

AVell laid on with his tree. 

The young men were right swift of foot, 

And boldly bound away, 
The beggar could them no more hit, 

For all the haste he may. 

What's all this haste ? the beggar said, 

May not you tarry still, 
Untill your money be received? 
*rii pay you with good will. 

The shaking of my pokes, I fear. 

Hath blown into your een ; 
Biit I have a good pyke-staff here 

Can ripe them out full clean. 

The young men answered never a word, 

They were dum as a stane ; 
In the thick wood the beggar fled, 

Ere they riped their een : 


And syne the night became so late, 

To seek him was in vahi : 
But judge ye if they looked blate 

When they cam home again. 

Good Robin speer'd how they had sped. 

They answer'd him, Full ill. 
That can not be, good Robin says, 

Ye have been at the mill. 

The mill it is a meat rife part, 
They may lick what they please, 

Most like ye have been at the art. 
Who would look at your < claiths.' 

They hang'd their heads, they drooped down, 

A word they could not speak. 
Robin said. Because I fell a sound, 

I think ye'U do the like. 

Tell on the matter, less or more, 

And tell me what and how 
Ye have done with the bold beggar 

I sent you for right now. 

And when they told him to an end. 

As i have said before. 
How that the beggar did them blind, 

What misters presses more? 

And how in the thick woods he fled, 
Ere they a stime could see ; 

And how they scarcely could win home. 
Their bones were baste so sore ; 

Good Robin cried, Fy ! out ! for shame ! 
We're sham'd for evermore. 


Although good Robin would full fain 

Of his wrath revenged be, 
He smii'd to see his merry young men 

Had gotten a taste of the tree. 


Whan shaws beene sheene, and shraddes full fayre. 

And leaves both large and longe, 
Itt's merrye walkyng in the fayre forr^st 

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 Robin^ 

A sweaven I had this night ; 
I dreamt me of tow wighty yem^n, 

That fast with me can figlit. 

Methought they did me beate and binde, 

And tookfe my bowe me froe ; 
Iff I be Robin alive in this lande, 

He be wroken on them towe. 

Swcavens are swift, sayd Lyttle John, 
As the wind blowes over the 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 Jolm shall goe with niee, 
For He goe seeke yond wighty yeomen, 

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 forr^st 
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 yeoman, 
That leaned agaynst a tree. 

A sword and a dagger he wore by his side, 

Of manye a man the bane ; 
And he was clad in his capuU hyde 

Topp and tayll and mayne. 

Stand still, master, quoth Little John, 

Under this tree so grene, 
And I will go to yond wight yeoman, 

To know what he doth meane. 

" Ah ! John, by me thou settest noe store, 

And that I farley finde : 
How often send I my men before, 

And tarry my selfe behiude ? 

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 fellowes, 

Where 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 ; 
lie make yond sheriffe that wends 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 I 
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, 
Fot itt mett one of the sheriffes men, 

And 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 
Fy ve can doe more than three. 

The sheriffe hath taken Little John, 
And bound kim fast to a tree. 



^* Tliou shalt be drawen by dale and downe, 

Aud hanged bye on a bill." 
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 yeonisln, 
Where under the leaves he stood. 

Good morrowe, good fellowe, sayd Robin so fayre, 
Good morrowe, good fellow, quo' he : 

MeXhinkes by this bowe thou beares in thy hande, 
A good archere thou sholdst bee. 

I am wilfulle of my waye, quo' the yem^n, 

And of my morning tyde. 
He lead thee through the wood, said Robin ; 

Good fellow, He be thy guide. 

I seeke an outlawe, the straunger sayd, 

Men call him Robin Hood ; 
Rather lid meet with that proud outUwe 

Than fortye pound soe good. 

** Now come with me, thou wighty yeman, 

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 cut them down two summer sKroggs, 

That grew both under a breere. 
And seti 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 do soe. 

The second shoote had the wightye yemtln, 

He shot within the garland : 
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 Gisborne. 

My dwelling is in this wood, sayes Robin, 

By thee 1 set right nought : 
I am Robin Hood of Barn^sdale, 

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. » 
I 3 


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 upon the syde. 

Ah, deere ladye, sayd Robin Hood tho, 

That art but mother and may, 
I think it was never mans destiny e 

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 stuck it upon his bowes end : 

" Thou hast beene a tiaytor 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 know whose head it was. 

Sayes, Lye there, lye there, now syr 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 throwe, 
And he put on that capull hyde, 

That cladd him topp to toe. 


" Thy bowe, thy arrowes, and little home, 

Now with me 1 will beare ; 
For I will away to Barn^sdale, 

To see how my men doe fare." 

Kobin Hood sett Guyes home to his mouth, 

And a loude blast in it did blow : 
That beheard the shei ifFe of Nottingham, 

As he leaned under a lowe. 

Hearken, hearken, sayd the sheriffe, 

I heare nowe tydings good, 
For yonder I heare sir Guyes home blow, 

And he hath slaine Robin Hoode. 

Yonder T heare sir Guyes home blowe, 

Itt blowes soe well in tyde, 
And yonder comes that wightye yeomsLn, 

Cladd in his capull hyde. 

Come hyther, come Iiyther, 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 ; 

None other rewarde I'le have. 

Thou art a madman, sayd the sheriffe, 
Thou sholdst have had a knightes fee : 

But seeing thy asking hath bfeene 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, 
I 3 

90 ROBIN HOOD, &c. 

Fast Robin hee hyed him to Little John, 
He thought to loose him blive ; 

The sheriffe and all his companye 
Fast after him can drive. 

Stand abacke, stand abacke, sayd Robin ; 

Why draw you mee so neere ? 
It was never the use in our countrye, 

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 townc, 

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 iiim into the syde. 





A briefe touch of the life and death of that renowned outlaw 
Robert earl of Huntingdon, vulgarly called Robin Hood, 
who lived and dyed in A.D. 1198, being the 9th year of 
king Richard the first, commonly called Richard Cceur de 

Carefully collected out of the truest writers of our English 
Chronicles: and published for the satisfaction of those who 
desire truth from falsehood* 


Both gentlemen, and yeomen bold. 

Or whatsoever you are, 
To have a stately story told 

Attention now prepare : 

It is a tale of Robin Hood, 

AVhich i to you will tell. 
Which being rightly understood, 

I know will please you well. 

This Robin (so much talked on) 
Was once a man of fame, 

Instiled earl of Huntington, 
Lord Robin Hood by name. 

In courtship and magnificence 
His carriage won him praise. 

And greater favour with his prince 
Than any in onr days. 


In bounteous liberality 

He too much did excell, 
And loved men of quality 

More than exceeding well. 

His great revenues all he sold 
For wine and costly chear ; 

He kept three hundred bow-men bold, 
He shooting lov'd so dear. 

No archer living in his time 
With him might well compare ; 

He practis'd all his youthful prime 
That exercise most rare. 

At last, by his profuse expense, 
He had consum'd his wealth ; 

And, being outlaw'd by his prince, 
In wo^ds he liv'd by stealth. 

The abbot of Saint Maries rich, 
To whom he money ought, 

His hatred to the earl was such 
That he is downfal wrought. 

So being outlaw'd (as 'tis told) 
, He with a crew went forth 
^f lusty cutters stout and bold, 
M And robbed in the North. 

Among the rest one Little John, 

A yeoman bold and free, 
Who could (if it stood him upon) 

With ease encounter three. 

One hundred men in all he got, 
With whom (the story says) 

Three hundred common men durst not 
Hold combat any waies. 


They Yorkshire woods frequented much. 

And Lancashire also, 
Wherein their practices were such 

That they wrought muckle woe. 

None rich durst travel to and fro, 

Though ne'er so strongly arm'd, 
But by these thieves (so strong in show) 

They still were rob'd and harm'd. 

His chiefest spight to th' clergy was, 

That liv'd in monstrous pride : 
No one of them he would let pass 

Along the highway side, 

But first they must to dinner go, 

And afterwards to shrift : 
Full many a one he served so, 

Thus while he liv'd by theft. 

No monks nor fryers he would let go, 

Without paying their fees : 
If they thought much to be used so, 

[He would them greatly tease.] 

For such as they the country fill'd 

With bastards in those days ; 
[He never fail'd to make them yield, 

When they came in his ways.] 

But Robin Hood so gentle was, 

And bore so brave a mind, 
If any in distress did pass, 

To them he was so kind, 

That he would give and lend to them, 

To help them in their need ; 
This made all poor men pray for him, 

And wish he well might speed. 


The widow and the fatherless 
He would send means unto ; 

And those whom famine did oppress 
Found him a friendly foe. 

Nor would he do a woman wrong, 
But see her safe convey'd ; 

He would protect with power strong 
All those who crav'd his aid. 

The abbot of Saint Maries then, 

Who him undid before, 
Was riding with two hundred men, 

And gold and silver store : 

But Robin Hood upon him set, 
With his couragious sparks. 

And all the coyn perforce did get, 
Which was twelve thousand marks. 

He bound the abbot to a tree, 
And would not let him pass, 

Before that to his men and he 
His lordship had said mass : 

Which being done, upon his horse 

He set him fast astride, 
And with his face towards his tail 

He forced him to ride. 

His men were forced to be his guide, 
For he rode backward home : 

The abbot, being thus villify'd, 
Did sorely chafe and fume. 

Thus Robin Hood did vindicate 
His former wrongs receiv'd : 

For 'twas this covetous prelate 
That him of land bereav'd. 


The abbot he rode to the king, 

With all the haste he could ; 
And to his grace he every thing 

Exactly did unfold ; 

And said that if no course were ta'n, . 

By force or stratagem, 
To take this rebel and his train. 

No man should pass for them. 

The king protested by and by 

Unto the abbot then, 
That Robin Hood with speed should dye, 

With all his merry men. 

But ere the king did any send, 

He did another feat, 
Which did his grace much more offend, 

The fact indeed was great : 

For in a short time after that 

Tlie kings receivers went 
Towards London with the coyn they got, 

For's highness northern rent : 

Bold Robin Hood and Little John, 

With the rest of their train, 
Not dreading law, set them upon. 

And did their gold obtain. 

The king much moved at the same, 

And the abbots talk also, 
In this his anger did proclaim, 

And sent word to and fro, 

That whosoever alive or dead 
Could bring bold Robin Hood, 

Should have one thousand marks well paid 
Id gold and silver good. 


This promise of the king did make 

Full many yeomen bold 
Attempt stout Robin Hood to take 

With all the force they could. 

But still when any came to him 
Within the gay greue wood, 

He entertainment gave to them 
With venison fat and good ; 

And shew'd to them such martial sport 
With his long bow and arrow, 

That they of him did give report, 
How that it was great sorow 

That such a worthy man as he 
Should thus be put to shift, 

Being a late lord of high degree, 
Of living quite bereft. 

The king to take him more and more 
Sent men of mickle might ; 

But he and his still beat them sore, 
And conquered them in fight ; 

Or else with love and courtesie, 
To him he won their hearts. 

Thus still he liv'd by robbery 
Throughout the northern parts ; 

And all the country stood in dread 
Of Robin Hood and's men : 

For stouter lads ne'r liv'd by bread 
In those days, nor since then. 

The abbot, which before i nam'd, 
Sought all the means he could 

To have by force this rebel ta'u, 
And bis adherents bold. 


Therefore lie arm'd five hundred men, 

With furniture compleat ; 
But the outlaws slew half of them, 

And made the rest retreat. 

The long bow and the arrow keen 

They were so us'd unto 
That still he kept the forrest green 

In spight o' th' proudest foe. 

Twelve of the abbots men he took, 

Who came to have him ta'n, 
When all the rest the field forsook, 

These he did entertain 

With banqueting and merriment, 
And, having us'd them well, 

He to their lord them safely sent, 
And wiird them him to tell, 

That if he would be pleased at last 

To beg of our good king, 
That he might pardon what was past, 

And him to favour bring, 

He would surrender back again 

The money which before 
Was taken by him * and his' men 

From him and many more. 

Poor men might safely pass by him, 
And some that way would chuse, 

For well they knew that to help them 
He evermore did use. 

But where he knew a miser rich 
That did the poor oppress, 

To feel his coyn his hands did itch, 
He'd have it more or less : 



And sometimes, when the high-way fail'd, 

Then he his courage ronzes, 
He and his men have oft assail d 

Such rich men in their houses : 

So that, thronjih dread of Robin then, 
And his adventurous crew, 

The misers kept j^reat store of men, 
Which else niaintain'd but few. 

King Richard, of that name the first, 

Sirnamed Coeur de Lyon, 
Went to defeat the Pagans curst, 

Who kept the coasts of Sion. 

The bishop of Ely chancellor, 

Was left a vice-roy here, 
Who, hke a potent emperor, 

Did proudly domineer. 

Our chronicles of him report. 

That commonly he rode 
With a thousand horse from court to court, 

Where he would make abode. 

He, riding down towards the north. 

With his aforesaid train, 
Robin and his men did issue forth, 

Them all to entertain ; 

And with the gallant gray-goose wing 
They shew'd to them such play 

That made their horses kick and fling, 
And down their riders lay. 

Full glad and fain the bishop was, 

For all his thousand men. 
To seek what means he could to pass 

From out of Robins ken. 


Two hundred of his men were kill'd 

And fourscore iiorses good, 
Thirty, who <lid as captives yield, 

Were carried to the green wood ; 

Which afterwards were ransomed, 

For twenty marks a man : 
The rest set spurs to hoise and fled 

To th' town of Warrington. 

The bishop, sore inraged, then 

Did, in king Richards name, 
Muster up a power of northern men, 

These outlaws bold to tame. 

But Robin with his courtesie 
So won the meaner sort, 

That they were loath on him to try 
What rigor did import. 

So that bold Robin and his train 
Did live unhurt of them, 

Until king Richard came again 
From fair Jerusalem : 

And then the talk of Robin Hood 

His royal ears did fill ; 
His grace admir'd that i' th* green wood 

He was continued still. 

So that the country far and near 
Did give him great applause ; 

For none of them need stand in fear, 
But such as broke the laws. 

He wished well unto the king, 
And prayed still for his health, 

And never practised any thing 
Against the common-wealth, 
K 9 


Only, because he was unrlone 
By th' cruel clergy then, 

AH means that he could think upon 
To vex such kind of men, 

He enterpriz'd with hateful spleen ; 

For which he was to blame, 
For fault of some to wreak his teen 

On all that by him came. 

With wealth that he by roguery got 

Eight alms-houses he built, 
Thinking tliereby to purge the blot 

Of blood which he had spilt. 

Such was their blind devotion then, 
Depending on their works ; 

Which if 'twere true, we Christian men 
Inferiour were to Turks. 

But, to speak true of Robin Hood, 

And wrong him not a jot, 
He never would shed any mans blood 

That him invaded not. 

Nor would he injure husbandmen, 
That toil at cart and plough ; 

For well he knew wer't not for them 
To live no man knew how. 

The king in person, with some lords. 

To Nottingham did ride. 
To try what strength and skill afForda 

To crush this outlaws pride. 

And, as he once before had done. 

He did again proclaim, 
That whosoever would take upon 

To bring to Nottingham, 


Or any place within the land, 

Rebellious Robin Hood, 
Should be preferr'd in place to stand 

With those of noble blood. 

When Robin Hood heard of the same, 

Within a little space, 
Into the town of Nottingham 

A letter to his grace 

He shot upon an arrow head, 

One evening cunningly ; 
Which was brought to the king, and read 

Before his majesty. 

The tenour of this letter was 

That Robin would submit, 
And be true liegeman to his grace 

In any thing that's fit, 

So that his highness would forgive 

Him and his merry men all ; 
If not, he must i' th' green wood live. 

And take what chance did fall. 

The king would feign have pardoned him 

But that some lords did say, 
This president will much condemn 

Your grace another day. 

While that the king and lords did stay 

Debating on this thing, 
Some of these outlaws fled away 

Unto the Scottish king. 

For they suppos'd^ if he were ta'n 

Or to the king did yield, 
By th' commons all the rest of 's train 

Full quickly would be quell'd. 
R 3 


Of more than fall an hundred men, 

But forty tarried still, 
Who were resolved to stick to him 

Let Fortune work her will. 

If none had fled, all for his sake 
Had got their pardon free ; 

The king to favor meant to take 
His merry men and he. 

But ere the pardon to him came 
This famous archer dy'd : 

His death and manner of the same 
rie presently describe. 

For, being vext to think upon 

His followers revolt, 
In melancholy passion 

He did recount his fault. 

Perfidious traytors ! said he then, 
In all your dangers past 

Have i you guarded as my men, 
To leave me thus at last ! 

This sad perplexity did cause 

A fever, as some say, 
Which him unto confusion draws, 

Though by a stranger way. 

This deadly danger to prevent, 
He hie'd him with all speed 

Unto a nunnery, with intent 
For his healths-sake to bleed. 

A faithless fryer did pretend 

In love to let him blood, 
But he by falsehood wrought the end 

Of famous Robin Hood, 


The fryer, as some say, did this 

To vindicate the wrong 
Which to the clergy he and his 

Had done by power strong. . 

Thus dyed he by treachery, 

That could not die by force : 
Had he liv'd longer, certainly 

King Richard, in remorse, 

Had unto favour him receiv'd, 

* His' brave men elevated : 
'Tis pitty he was of life bereav'd 

By one which he so hated. 

A trecherous leach this fryer was, 

To let him bleed to death ; 
And Robin was, methinks, an ass , 

To trust him with his breath. 

His corps the prioress of the place, 

The next day that he dy'd, 
Caused to be buried, in mean case, 

Close by the high-way side. 

And over him she caused a stone 

To be fixt on the ground, 
An epitaph was set thereon, 

Wherein his name was found ; 

The date o* th* year and day also, 

She made to be set there : 
That all, who by the way did go. 

Might see it plain appear. 

That such a man as Robin Hood 

Was buried in that place ; 
And how he lived in the green wood 

And robbed for a space. 


It seems that though the clergy he 

Had put to mickle woe, 
He should not quite forgotten be, 

Although he was their foe. 

This woman, though she did him hate, 

Yet loved his memory ; 
And thought it wondrous pity that 

His fame should with him dye. 

This epitaph, as records tell, 
"Within this hundred years, 

By many was discerned well, 
But time all things out-weats. 

His followers, when he was dead. 
Were some repriev'd to grace ; 

The rest to foreign countries fled. 
And left their native place. 

Although his funeral was but mean, 
This woman had in mind, 
• Lest his fame should be buried clean 
From those that came behind. 

For certainly, before nor since 
No man ere understood. 

Under the reign of any prince. 
Of one like Robin Hood. 

Full thirteen years, and something more. 

These outlaws lived thus ; 
Feared of the rich, loved of the poor: 

A thing most marvellous. 

A thing impossible to us 

This story seems to be ; 
None dares be now so Tenturous, 

But times are chang'd we see. 


We that live in these later days 

Of civil governnjent, 
If need he, have an hundred ways 

Such outlaws to prevent. 

In those days men more barbarous were, 

And lived less in awe ; 
Now (god be thanked) people fear 

More to offend the law. 

No waring guns were then in use, 
They dreamt of no such thing ; 

Onr Englishmen in fight did use 
The gallant gray-goose wing : 

In which activity these men, 
Through practice, were so good, 

That in those days none equal'd them, 
Especially Robin Hood. 

So that, it seems, keeping in caves, 
In woods and forests thick. 

They'd beat a multitude with staves, 
Their arrows did so prick : 

And none durst neer unto them come, 

Unless in courtesie; 
All such he bravely would send home 

With mirth and jollity : 

Which courtesie won him such love. 

As i before have told, 
'Twas the chief cause that he did prove 

More prosperous than he could. 

Let us be thankful for these times 
Of plenty, truth, and peace; 

And leave out great and horrid crimes. 
Least they cause this to cease. 

106 A TRUE TALE, &c. 

I know there's many feigned tales 
Of Robin Hood and ^s crew; 

But chronicles, which seldome fails, 
Reports this to be true. 

Let none then think this is a lye, 
For, if 'twere put to th' worst, 

They may the truth of all descry 
I' th' reign of Richard the first. 

If any reader please to try, 

As i direction show, 
The truth of this brave history, 

He'l find it true I know* 

And i shall think my labour well 
Bestow'd to purpose good, 

When't shall be said that i did tell 
True tales of Robin Hood* 


PART 11. 


From a black letter copy in the large and valuable collec- 
tion of old ballads formerly belonging to Thomas PearsoHy 
esq. J and subsequently to the duke of Roxburgh, [This 
matchless collection, in three volumes folio ^ was sold at the 
sale of the Roxburgh library in 1812,/or 4771. , and is now in 
the possession of Bright, Esq, Manchester.] 

The full title of the original is: " A new ballad of bold 
Robin Hood: shewing his birth, breeding, valour, and mar- 
riage at Titbury Bull-running, Calculated fox the meridian 
of Staffordshire, but may serve for Derbyshire or Kent,'^ 

Kind gentlemen, will you be patient awhile? 

Ay, and then you shall hear anon 
A very good ballad of bold Robin Hood, 

And of his man brave Little John. 


In Locksly town, in merry Nottrnghauishire> 

In merry sweet Locksly town, 
There bold Kobin Hood he was born and was bred, 

Bold Robin of famous renown. 

The father of Robin a forester was, 
And he shot in a lusty strong bow 

Two north country miles and an inch at a shot, 
As the Piuder of Wakefield does know. 

For he brought Adam Bell, and Ciim of the Ciugh, 

And William of * Clowdesle', 
To shoot with our forrester for forty mark, 

And the forrester beat them all threie. 

His mother was neece to the Coventry knight. 
Which Warwickshire men call sir Guy ; 

For he slew the blue bore that hangs up at the gate. 
Or mine host of the Bull tells a lie. 

Her brother was Gamwel, of Great Gamwel-Hall, 

A noble house-keeper was he, 
Ay, as ever broke bread in sweet Nottinghamshire, 

And a 'squire of famous degree. 

The mother of Robin said to her husband, 

My honey, my love, and my dear, 
Let Robin and 1 ride this morning to Gamwel, 

To taste of ray brother's good cheer. 

And he said, I grant thee thy boon, geutle Joan, 

Take one of my horses, I pray; 
The sun is arising, and therefore make haste. 

For to-morrow is Christmas-day. 

Then Robin Hood's father's grey gelding was brought, 

And sadled and bridled was he ; 
God-wot a blue bonnet, his new suit of cloaths, 

And a cloak tliat did reach to his knee. 


She got on her holyday kirtle and gown, 

They were of a light Lincoln green; 
The cloath was homespun, but for colour and make 

It might have beseemed' oiiir qneen. 

And then Robin got on his basket-hilt sword, 

And his dagger on his tother side ; 
And said, My dear mother, let's haste to be gone, 

We have forty long miles to ride. 

When Robin had mounted his gelding so grey. 

His father, without any trouble, 
Set her up behind him, and bade her not fear, 

For his gelding Miad' oft carried double. 

And when she was settled, they rode to their neighbours, 
And drank and sliook hands with them all; 

And then Robin gallopt, and never gave o're, 
'Till they lighted at Gamwel-hall. 

And now you may tliink the right worshipful 'squire 

Was joyful his sister to see ; 
For he kist her, and kist her, and swore a great oath, 

Thou art welcome, kind sister, to me. 

To-morrow, when mass had been said at the chappel. 

Six tables were covered in the hall. 
And in comes the 'squire, and makes a short speech. 

It was. Neighbours, you're welcome all. 

But not a man here shall taste my March beer, 

'Till a Christmas carrol he does sing. 
Then all clapt their hands, and they shouted and sung, 

'Till the hall and the parlour did ring. 

Now mustard and brawn, roast beef and plumb pies. 

Were set upon every table ; 
And noble George Gamwel said, Eat and be merry, 

And drink too as long as you're able. 



AVhen dinner was ended, his chaplain said grace, 
And, Be merry, my friends, said the 'squire ; 

It rains and it blows, but call for more ale, 
And lay seme more wood on the fire. 

And now call ye Little John hither to me, 

For little Jolni is a fine lad, 
At gambols and juggUng, and twenty such tricks, 

As shall make you both merry and glad. 

When Little John came, to gambols they went. 
Both gentlemen, yeomen, and clown ; 

And what do you thiuk ? Why, as true as I live. 
Bold Robin Hood put them all down. 

And now you may think the right worshipful 'squire 

Was joyful this sight for to see ; 
For he said, Cousin Robin, thou'st go no more home, 

But tarry and dwell here with me : 

Thou shalt have my land when I die, and till then. 

Thou shalt be the staff of my age. 
Then grant me my boon, dear uncle, said Robin, 

That Little John may be my page. 

And he said, Kind cousin, I grant thee thy boon ; 

With all my heart, so let it be. 
Then come hither, Little John, said Robin Hood, 

Come hither my page unto me : 

Go fetch me my bow, my longest long bow. 
And broad arrows one, two, or three. 

For when 'tis fair weather we'll into Sherwood, 
Some merry pastime to see. 

When Robin Hood came into merry Sherwot)d, . 

He winded his bugle so clear; 
And twice five and twenty good yeomen and bold, 

Before Robin Hood did appear. 


Where are your companions all? said Robin Hood, 

For still I want forty and three. 
Then said a bold yeoman, Lo, yonder they stand, 

All nnder the green wood tree. 

As that word was spoke, Clorinda came by. 
The queen of the shepherds was she; 

And her gown was of velvet as green as the grass, 
And her buskin did reach to her knee. 

Her gait it was graceful, her body was straight, 
And her countenance free from pride ; 

A bow in her hand, and a quiver of arrows 
Hung dangling by her sweet side. 

Her eye-brows were black, ay, and so was her hair, 

And her skin was as smooth as glass ; 
Her visage spoke wisdom, and modesty too : 

Sets with Robin Hood such a lass I 

Said Robin Hood, Lady fair, whither away? 

whither, fair lady, away? 

And she made him answer. To kill a fat buck ; 
For to-morrow is Titbury day. 

Said RoDin Hood, Lady fair, wander with me 

A little to yonder green bower ; 
There set down to rest you, and you shall be sure 

Of a brace or a ' leash' in an hour. 

And as we were going towards the green bower, 

Two hundred good bucks we espy'd ; 
She chose out the fattest that was in the herd, 

And she shot him through side and side. 

By the faith of my body, said bold Robin Hood, 

1 never saw woman like thee ; 

And com'st thou from east, or com'st thou from west, 
Thou needst not beg venison of me. 
L 2 


However, along to my bower you shall go, 

And taste of a forrestei'^s meat: 
And when we came thither we found as good cheer 

As any man fieeds for to eat. 

For there was hot venison, and warden pies cold. 
Cream clouted, and honey combs plenty ; 

And the servitors they were, besides Little John» 
Good yeomen at least four and twenty. 

Clorinda said, Tell me your name, gentle sir : 

And. he said, 'Tis bold Robin Hood: 
'Squire Gamwel's my uncle, but all my delight 

Is to dwell in the merry Sherwood ; 

For 'tis a fine life, and 'tis void of all strife. 

So 'tis, sir, Clorinda reply'd. 
But oh ! said bold Robin, how sweet would it be, 

If Clorinda would be my bride ! 

S^ie blusht at the motion ; yet, after a pause. 
Said, Yes, sir, and with all my heart. 

Then let us send for a priest, said Robin Hood, 
And be married before we do part. 

But she said, it may not be so, gentle sir, 

For I must be at Titbury feast ; 
And if Robin Hood will go thither with me, 

I'll make him the most welcome guest. 

Said Robin Hood, Reach me that buck, Little John, 

For I'll go along with my dear ; 
And bid my yeomen kill six brace of bucks, 

And meet me to-morrow just here. 

Before he had ridden five Staffordshire miles, 

Eight yeomen, that were too bold. 
Bid Robin stand, and deliver his buck ; 

A truer tale never wfts told, 


I wilt not, faith, said bold Robin ; come, John, 

Stand by nie, and we'll beat 'em all. 
Then both drew their swords, and so cut 'em, and slasht 'em, 

That five ont of them did fall. 

The three that remain'd call'd to Robin for quarter, 

And pitiful John begg'd their lives : 
When John's boon was granted, he gave them good counsel, 

And sent them all home to their wives. 

This battle was fought near to Titbury town. 

When the ba«rpipes baited ihe bull; 
I'm the king of the fiddlers, and I swear 'tis truth. 

And I call him that doubls it a gull ; 

For I saw them fighting, and fiddled the while; 

And Clorinda sung ** Hey derry down! 
" The bumpkins are beaten, put up thy sword, Bob, 

'' And now let's dance into the town." 

Before we came in we heard a great shouting, 

And all that were in it look'd madly ; 
For some were on bull-back, some dancing a morris. 

And some singing Arthur-a-Bradley, 

And there we see Thomas, our justices clerk, 

And Mary, to whom he was kind ; 
For Tom rode before her, and call'd Mary madam, * 

And kiss'd her full sweetly behind; 

And so may your worships. But we went to dinner, 

With Thomas, and Mary, and Nan; 
They all drank a health to Clorinda, and told her. 

Bold Robin Hood was a fine man. 

When dinner was ended, sir Roger, the parson 

Of Dubbridge, was sent for in haste : 
He brought his mass-book, and he bade them take handi 

And joyn'd them in marriage full fast. 
L l 


And then, as bold Robin Hood and his sweet biidc 
Went hand in hand to the pireen bower, 

The birds sung with pleasure in merry Sherwood, 
And 'twas a most joyful hour. 

And when Robin came in sight of the bower, 

Where are my yeomen ? said he : 
And Little John answer'd, Lo, yonder they stand, 

All under the green wood tree. 

Then a garland they brought her by two and by two, 
And plac'd them all on the bride's head : 

The music struck up, and we all fell to dance, 
'Till the bride and bridegroom were a-bed. 

[The sweet vestal blush shall be counsel to me. 

The sun smiled upon them next day,] 
And I had haste home, but I got a good piece 

Of bride-cake, and so came away. 

Now out, alas ! I had forgotten to tell ye, 

That marry'd they were with a ring j 
And so will Nan Knight, or be buried a maiden. 

And now let us pray for the king ; 

That he may have children, and they may have more, 

To govern and do us some good : 
And then I'll make ballads in Robin Hood's bower, 

And sing 'em in merry Sherwood. 



Robin Hood he was and a tall young man, 
Derry derry down, 
And fifteen winters old ; 
And Robin Hood he was a proper young man. 
Of courage stout and bold. 

hey down, derry derry down. 

Robin Hood hee would and to fair Nottingham, 

With the general for to dine ; 
There was liee aware of fifteen forresters, 

And a drinking bear, ale, and wine. 

What news? What news? sai3 bold Robin Hood, 
What news fain wouldest thou know? 

Our kin«» hath provided a shooting match. 
And I'm ready with my bow. 

We hold it in scorn, said the forresters. 

That ever a boy so young 
Should bear a bow before our king, 

That's not able to draw one string. 

rie hold you twenty marks, said bold Robin Hood, 

By the leave of our lady, 
That rie hit a mark a hundred rod, 

And rie cause a hart to dye. 

We'l hold you twenty mark, then said the forresters, 

By the leave of our lady. 
Thou hit'st not the marke a hundred rod. 

Nor causes! a hart to dye. 


Robin Hood he bent up a noble bow. 

And a broad arrow he let flye, 
He hit the mark a hundred rod/ 

And he caused a hart to dye. 

Some say hee brake ribs one or two, 

And some say he brake three ; 
The arrow within the hart would not abide, 

But it glanced in two or three. 

The hart did skip, and the hart did leap, 

And the hart lay on the ground; 
The wager is mi^e, said bold Robin Hood, 

If 't were for a thousand pound. 

The wager's none of thine, then said the forrestdrs, 

Although thou beest in haste; 
Take up thy bow, and get thee hence. 

Lest wee thy sides do baste. 

Robin Hood hee took up his noble bow, 

And his broad arrows all amain ; 
And Robin Hood he laught, and begun [for] to smile, 

As hee went over the plain. 

Tlien Robin hee bent his noble bow. 

And his broad arrows he let flye. 
Till fourteen of these fifteen forresters 

Upon the ground did lye. 

He that did this quarrel first begin 

Went tripping over the plain; 
But Robin Hood he bent his noble bow, 

And hee fetcht him back again. 

You said I was no archer, said Robin Hood, 

But say so now again : 
With that he sent another arrow, 

That split his head in twain. 


Toil have found mee an archer, saith Robin Hood, 
Which will make yonr wives for to wring, 

And wish that you had never spoke the word, 
Thal^ I could not draw one string. 

The people that lived in fair Nottingham 

Came running out amain, 
Supposing to have taken bold Robin Hood> 

With the forresters that were slain. 

Some lost legs, and some lost arms, 

And some did lose their blood ; 
But Robin hee took up his noble bow. 

And is gone to the merry green wood. 

They carried these forresters into fair Nottingham, 

As many there did know ; 
They dig'd them graves in their church-yard, 

And they buried them all a row. 



From an old black letter copy, in A.d JVoods collection, 
compared with two other copies in the British Museam^ one 
in black letter. It should be sung '* To an excellent tunCf* 
which has not been recovered* 

In Wakefield tliere lives a jolly pinder, 

In Wakefield all on a green. 

In Wakefield all on a green : 
There is neither knight nor squire, said the pinder. 

Nor baron that is so bold, 

Nor baron that is so bold, 
Dare make a trespass to the town of Wakefield, 

But his pledge goes to the pinfold, &c. 


All this be heard three witty young men, 
'Twas Robin Hood, Scarlet, and John ; 

With that they espy'd the jolly pinder, 
As he sat under a thorn. 

Now turn again, turn again, said the pinder, 

For a wrong way you have gone ; 
For you have forsaken the kings highway, 

And made a path over the corn. 

that were a shame, said jolly Robin, 
We being three, and thou but one. 

The pinder leapt back then thirty good foot, 
Twas thirty good foot and one. 

He leaned his back fast unto a thorn. 

And his foot against a stone. 
And there he fought a long summers day, 

A summers day so long. 
Till that their swords on their broad bucklers 

Were broke fast into their hands. 

Hold thy hand, hold thy hand, said bold Robin Hood, 

And my merry men every one ; 
For this is one of the best pinddrs, 

That ever I tryed with sword. 

And wilt thou forsake thy pinders craft, 

And live in the green-wood with me? 
** At Michaelmas next my cov'nant comes out, 

When every man gathers his fee ; 

Then I'le take my blew blade all in my hand. 
And plod to the green-wood with thee." 

Hast thou either meat or drink, said Robin Hood, 
For my merry men and me ? 

1 have both bread and beef, said the pinder. 
And good ale of the best. 

And that is meat good enough, said Robin Hood, 
For such unbidden * guests.* 


" O wilt tlioii forsake the pinder his craft, 

And go to the green-wood with me? 
Tlioii shalt have a livery twice in the year, 

The one green, the other brown.'' 

" If Michaelmas day was come and gone, 

And my master had paid me my fee. 
Then would I set as little by him, 

As my master doth by me.'' 



" Shewing how Robin Hood went to an old womans house 
tmd changed cloaths with her to scape from the bishop ; and 
how he robbed the bishop of all his goldy and made him 
sing a m,ass. To the tune of Robin Hood and the Sirangei\^* 
From an old black letter copy in the collection of Anthony 
il Wood, 

Come, gentlemen all, and listen awhile. 
Hey down, down, an a down^ 

And a story ile to you unfold ; 
He tell you how Robin Hood served the bishop, 

When he robbed him of his gold. 

As it fell out on a sun-shining day, 
When Phcebus was in * his ' prime. 

Then Robin Hood, that archer good, 
In mirth would spend some time. 

And as he walk'd the forest along. 

Some pastime for to spy, 
There was he aware of a proud bishop, 

And all his company. 


what shall I do, said Robin Hood then, 
If the bishop he doth take me ? 

No mercy he'l show unto me, I know, 
But hanged I shall be. 

Then Robin was stout, and turned h5ra about, 
And a little house there he did spy ; 

And to an old wife, for to save his life. 
He loud began for to cry. 

Why, who art thou ? said the old woman, 

Come tell to me for ^ood. 
" I am an out-law, as many do know. 

My name it is Robin Hood ; 

And yonder's the bishop and all his men. 

And if that I taken be, 
Then day and night he'l work my spiglit. 

And hanged I shall be." 

If thou be Robin Hood, said the old wife, 

As thou * dost ' seem to be, 
rie for thee provide, and thee I will hide, 

From the bishop and his company. 

For I remember, ' one ' Saturday night, 
Thou brought me both shoos and hose ; 

Therefore I'le provide thy person to hide. 
And keep thee from thy foes. 

** Then give me soon thy coat of gray. 
And take thou my mantle of green ; 

1 hy spindle and twine unto me resign, 

And take thou my arrows so keen." 

And when Robin Hood was so araid. 
He went straight to his company. 

With his spindle and twine, he oft lookt behind 
For the bishop and his company. 


O ^ho is yonder, quoth little JohD, 

That now comes over the lee ? 
An arrow I will at her let flie, 

So like an old witch looks shee. 

hold thy hand, hold thy hand, said Robin Hood then, 
And shoot not thy arrows so keen ; 

1 am Robin Hood, thy master good, 
And quickly it shall be seen. 

The bishop he came to the old womans house, 

And called, with furious mood, 
Come let me soon see, and bring unto me 

That traitor Robin Hood. 

The old woman he set on a milk-white steed, 

Himselfe on a dapple gray ; 
And for joy he had got Robin Hood, 

He went laughing all the way. 

But as they were riding the forrest along, 

The bishop he * chanc'd * for to see 
A hundred brave bowmen bold, 

Stand under the green-wood tree, 

O who is yonder, the bishop then said, 

That's ranging within yonder wood ? 
Marry, says the old woman, I think it to be 

A man calFd Robin Hood. 

Why, who art thou, the bishop he said, 

Which I have here with me ? 
" Why, I am old woman, thou [haughty] bishop, 

[As presently thou shalt] see." 

Then woe is me, the bishop he said, 

That ever I saw this day ! 
He turn'd him about, but Robin stout 

Call'd him, and bid him stay. 


Then Robin took hold of the bishop's horse, 

And ty'd him fast to a tree ; 
Then Little John sniiFd his master upon. 

For joy of that company. 

Robin Hood took his mantle from 's back^ 

And spread it upon the ground, 
And out of the bishop's portmantle he 

Soon teld five hundred pound. 

Now let him go, said Robin Hood. 

Said little John, That may not be ; 
For I vow and protest he shall sing us a masSy 

Before that he goe from me. 

Then Robin Hood took the bishop by the hand, 

And bound him fast to a tree^ 
And made him sing a mass, God wot, 

To him and his yeomandree. 

And then they brought him through the wood, 

And set him on his dapple gray. 
And gave him the tail within his hand. 

And bade him for Robin Hood pray. 



From an old black letter copy in the collection of Anthony d, 
Wood, The tune is, " Robin Hood and the Begger,'^ 

Come, all you brave gallants, listen awhile, 
fVith hey down, doum, an a down. 

That are * this bower' within ; 
For of Robin Hood, that archer good 

A song I intend for to sing. 


Upon a time it chanced so, 

Bold Robin in [the] forrest did 'spy 
A jolly butcher, with a bonny fine mare, 

With his flesh to the market did hye. 

Good morrow, good fellow, said jolly Robin, 

What food hast [thou], tell unto me ? 
Thy trade to me tell, and where thou dost dwelj, 

For I like well thy company. 

The butcher he answer'd jolly Robin, 

No matter where I dwell; 
For a butcher I am, and to Notingham 

I am going, my flesh to sell. 

What is [the] price of thy flesh? said jolly Robin, 

Come tell it soon unto me ; 
And the price of thy mare, be she never so dear, 

Por a butcher fain would I be. 

The price of my flesh, the butcher repli'd, 

I soon will tell unto thee ; 
With my bonny mare, and they are not too dear, 

Four mark thou must give unto me. 

Four mark I will give thee, saith jolly Robin, 

Four mark it sliall be thy fee ; 
The mony come count, and let me mount, 

For a butcher I fain would be. 

Now Robin he is to Notingham gone. 

His butchers trade to begin ; 
With good intent to the sheriff he went, 

And there he took up his inn. 

When other butchers they opened their meat, 

Bold Robin he then begun ; 
But how for to sell he knew not well, 

For a butcher he was but young;. 


When other butchers no meat could sell, 
Robin got both gold and fee ; 

For he sold more meat for one peny 
Than others could do for three. 

But when he sold his meat so fast, 
No butcher by him could thrive ; 

For he sold more meat for one peny 
Than others could do for five. 

Which made the butchers of Notingham 

To study as they did stand, 
Saying, Surely he ' is' some prodigal, 

That hath sold his fathers land. 

The butchers stepped to jolly Robin, 

Acquainted with him for to be ; 
Come, brother, one said, we be all of one trade, 

Come, will you go dine with me? 

Accurst of his heart, said jolly Robin, 

That a butcher doth deny ; 
I will go with you, my brethren true, 

As fast as I can hie. 

But when to the sheriffs house they came, 

To dinner they hied apace. 
And Robin Hood he the man must be 

Before them all to say grace. 

Pray God bless us all, said jolly Robin, 

And our meat within this place ; 
A cup of sack so good will nourish our blood : 

And so I do end my grace. 

Come fill us more wine, said jolly Robin, 
Let us be merry while we do stay ; 

For wine and good cheer, be it never so dear, 
I vow I the reckning will pay. 


Come, ' brothers/ be merry, said jolly Robin, 

Let us drink, and never give ore ; 
For the shot I will pay, ere 1 go my way, 

If it cost me five pounds and more. 

This is a mad blade, the butchers then said. 

Sales the sheriff. He is some prodigal. 
That some land has sold for silver and gold. 

And now he doth mean to spend all. 

Hast thou any horn beasts, the sheriff repli'd, 

Good fellow, to sell unto me? 
" Yes, that I have, good master sheriff, 

I have hundreds two or three. 

And a hundred aker of good free land, 

If you please it to see : 
And He make you as good assurance of it. 

As ever my father made me." 

The sheriff he saddled his good palfrey. 
And, with three hundred pound in gold. 

Away he went with bold Robin Hood, 
His horned beasts to behold. 

Away then the sheriff and Robin did ride, 

To the forrest of merry Sherwood, 
Then the sheriff did say, God bless us this day, 

From a man they call Robin Hood ! 

But when a little farther they came, 

Bold Robin he chanced to spy 
A hundred head of good red deer, 

Come tripping the sheriff full ni^h. 

" How like you my horn'd beasts, good master sheriff? 

They be fat and fair for to see." 
<* I tell thee, good fellow, I would I were gone, 

For I like not thy company." 


Theu Robin set his horn to his month, 

And blew but blasts three ; 
Then quickly anon there came Little John, 

And all his company. 

What is your will, master ? then said Little John, 

Good master come tell unto me. 
" I have brought hither the sheriff of Nottingham 

This day to dine with thee." 

He is welcome to me, then said Little John, 

I hope he will honestly pay ; 
I know he has gold, if it be but well told, 

Will serve us to drink a whole day. 

Then Robin took his mantle from his back. 

And laid it upon the ground ; 
And out of the sheriffs portmantle 

He told three hundred pound. 

Then Robin he brought him thorow the wood. 

And set him on his dapple gray ; 
" O have me commended to your wife at home :" 

So Robin went laughing away. 




'* A merry and 'pleasant song relating the gallant and 
fierce comhate fought between Arthur Bland, a tanner of 
Nottingham and Robin Hood, the greatest and most noblest 
archer of England. Tune is, Robin Hood and the Stran- 
ger.^' From an old black letter copy in the collection of 
Anthony d Wood. 

In Nottingham there lives a jolly tanner, 

With a hey down, down, a down, down. 

His name is Arthur-a-Bland ; 
There is nere a squire in Nottinghamshire 

Dare bid bold Arthur stand. 

With a long pike-staflf upon his shoulder, 

So well he can clear his way ; 
By two and by three he makes them to flee, 

For he hath no list to stay. 

And as he went fottb, in a summers morning, 
Into the * forrest of merry' Sherwood, 

To view the red deer, that range here and there, 
There met he with bold Robin Hood. 

As soon as bold Robin * he did' espy, • 
He thought some sport he would make. 

Therefore out of hand he bid him to standi 
And thus to him *• he' spake : 

Why, what art thou, thou bold fellow, 

That ranges so boldly here ? 
In sooth, to be brief, thou lookst like a thief, 

That comes to steal our kings deer. 


For I am a keeper in this forrest, 
The king puts me in trust , 

To look to his deer, that range here and there; 
Therefore stay thee I must. 

" If thou beest a keeper in this forrest, 

And hast such a great command, 
^ Yet' thou must have more partakers in store, 

Before thou make me to stand." 

" Nay, I have no more partakers in store, 

Or any that I do not need ; 
But I have a staff of another oke graff, 

I know it will do the deed. 

For thy sword and thy bow I care not a straw, 

Nor all thine arrows to boot ; 
If I get a knop upon thy bare scop, 

Thou canst as well [spit] as shoot." 

Speak cleanly, good fellow, said jolly Robin,, 

And give better terms to me ; 
Else He thee correct for thy neglect. 

And make thee more mannerly. 

Marry gep with a wenion ! quod Arthur-a-Bland, 

Art thou such a goodly man ? 
I care not a fig for thy looking so big, 

Mend thou thyself where thou can. 

Then Robin Hood he unbuckled his belt, 

And laid down his bow so long ; 
He took up a staff of another oke graff. 

That was both stiff and strong. 

He yield to thy weapon, said jolly Robin, 

Since thou wilt not yield to mine; 
For I have a staff of another oke graff. 

Not half a foot longer then thine. 


But let me measure, said jolly Robin, 

Before we begin our fray ; 
For Tie not have mine to be longer then thine, 

For that will be counted foul play. 

I pass not for length, bold Arthur reply'd, 

My staff is of oke so free ; 
Eight foot and a half, it will knock down a calfi 

And I hope it will knock down thee. 

Then Robin could no longer forbear, 

He gave him such a knock, 
Quickly and soon the blood came down, 

Before it viras ten a clock. 

Then Arthur he soon recovered himself. 
And j^ave him such a knock on the crown, 

That from every side of bold Robin Hoods head, 
The blood came trickling down. 

Then Robin raged like a wild boar, 

As soon as he saw his own blood : 
Then Bland was in hast he laid on so fast, 

As though he had been cleaving of wood. 

And about, and about, and about they went^ 

Like two wild bores in a chase. 
Striving to aim each other to maim, 

Leg, arm, or any other place. 

And knock for knock they lustily dealt. 
Which held for two hours and more ; 

That all the wood rang at every bang, 
They ply'd their work so sore. 

Hold thy hand, hold thy hand, said Robin Hood, 

And let thy quarrel fall ; 
For here we may thrash our bones all to mesh. 

And get no coyn at all : 


And in the forrest of merry Sherwood 

Heareafter thou shall be free. 
^' God a mercy for * nought,' my freedom I bough t, 

I may thank my staff, and not thee." 

What tradesman art thou ? said jolly Robin, 

Good fellow, I prethee me show : 
And also me tell, in what place thou dost dwel? 

For both of these fain would i know. 

I am a tanner, bold Arthur reply'd. 
In Nottingham long have I wrought ; 

And if thou'lt come there, I vow and swear, 
I will tan thy hide for < nought.' 

God-a-mercy, good fellow, said jolly Robin, 

Since thou art so kind and free ; 
And if thou wilt tan my hide for * nought,' 

I will do as much for thee. 

And if thou'lt forsake thy tanners trade. 
And live in the green wood with me. 

My name's Robin Hood, I swear by the * rood,* 
I will give thee both gold and fee. 

If thou be Robin Hood, bold Arthur reply'd, 

As I think well thou art. 
Then here's my hand, my name's Arthur-a-Bland, 

We two will never depart. 

But tell me, O tell me, where is Little John ? 

Of him fain would I hear ; 
For we are alide by the mothers side. 

And he is my kinsman dear. 

Then Robin Hood blew on the beaugle horn, 

He blew full lowd and shrill ; 
But quickly anon appear'd Little John, 

Come tripping down a green hill 3 


O what is the matter ? then said Little John, 

Master, I pray you tell : 
Why do you stand with your staff in your hand, 

I fear all is not well. 

** O man I do stand, and he makes me to stand, 

The tanner that stands thee beside ; 
He is a bonny blade, and master of his trade, 

For soundly he hath tan'd my hide.'* 

He is to be commended^ then said Little John, 

If such a feat he can do ; 
If he be so stout, we will have a bout, 

And he shall tan my hide too. 

Hold thy hand, hold thy hand, said Robin Hood, 

For as I do understand, 
He's a yeoman good of thine own blood, 

For his name is Arthur-a-Bland. 

Then Little John threw his staff away. 

As far as he could it fling, 
And ran out of hand to Arthur-a-Bland, 

And about his neck did cling. 

With loving respect, there was no neglect, 

They were neither ' nice* nor coy, 
Each other did face with a lovely grace, 

And both did weep for joy. 

Then Robin Hood took * them both' by the hands, 

And danc'd round about the oke tree : 
" For three merry men, and three merry men, 

And three merry men we be : 

And ever hereafter as long as we live, 

We three will be * as* one ; 
The wood it shall ring, and the old wife sing, 

Of Robin Hood, Arthur, and John.*' 



From an old black letter copy in the library of Anthony 
4 ^ood. The full title is, 

" A new song to drive away cold winter y 
Between Robin Hood and the jovial tinker : 

How Robin by a wile 

The Tinker he did cheat ; 

But at the length as you shall hear 

The Tinker did him beat, 

Whereby the same they did then so agree 

They after livUl in love and unity. 

To the tune of In Summer time.** 

In summer time, when leaves grow green, 
Down, a down, a down, 
And birds sing on every tree, 
Hey down, a down, a down* 
Robin Hood went to Nottingham, 
Down, a down, a down. 
As fast as hee could dree. 

Hey downy a down, a down. 

And as hee came to Nottingham, 

A tinker he did meet, 
And seeing him a lusty blade, 

He did him kindly greet. 

Where dost thou live? quoth Robin Hood, 

I pray thee now mee tell : 
Sad news I hear there is abroad, 

X fear all is not welh 


What is that news? the tinker said, 

Tell niee without delay : 
I am a tinker by my trade, 

And do live at Banbury. 

As for the news, quoth Robin Hood, 

It is but as I hear. 
Two tinkers were set ith' stocks, 

For drinking ale and ' beer.' 

If that be all, the tinker he said, 

As I may say to you, 
Your news is not worth a [groat] 

Since that they all bee true. 

For drinking good ale and ' beer,* 

You will not lose your part. 
No, by my faith, quoth Robin Hood, 

I love it with all my heart. 

What news abroad? quoth Robin Hood, 
Tell me what thou dost hear : 

Seeing thou goest from town to town, 
Some news thou need not fear. 

All the hews I have, the tinker said, 

1 hear it is for good. 
It is to seek a bold outlaw, 

Which they call Robin Hood. 

I have a warrant from the king, 

To take him where I can ; 
If you can tell me where hee is, 

I will mak you a man. 

The king would give a hundred pound. 

That he could but him see ; 
And if wee can but now him get, 

It will serve thee and mee. 


Let me see that warrant, said Kobiu Hood, 

He see if it bee right ; 
And I will do the best I can 

For to take him this night. 

That will I not, the tinker said, 

None with it I will trust ; 
And where hee is if you'll not tell, 

Take him by force I must. 

But Robin Hood perceiving well 
How then the game would go, 

" If you would go to Nottingham, 
We shall find him I know.'* 

The tinker had a crab-tree staff, 
Which was both good and strong, 

Robin hee had a good strong blade ; 
So they went both along. 

And when they came to Nottingham, 
There they both tooke their inn ; 

And they called for ale and wine, 
To drink it was no sin. 

But ale and wine they drank so fast, 
That the tinker hee forgot 

What thing he was about to do ; 
It fell so to his lot. 

That, while the tinker fell asleep, 
* Robin ' made then haste away, 

And left the tinker in the lurch, 
For the great shot to pay. 

But when the tinker wakened, 
And saw that he was gone. 

He call'd then even for his host. 
And thus bee made bis moan : 


I had a warrant from the king, 

Which miyht have done nie good, 
That is to take a bold outlaw, 

Some call him Robin Hood : 

But now my warrant and mony's gone, 

Nothing I have to pay ; 
And he that promis d to be ray friend, 

He is gone and fled away. 

That friend you tell en, said the host, 

They call him Robin Hood ; 
And when that first hee met with you, 

He ment you little good. 

" Had I but known it had been hee, 

When that I had been here, 
Tli' one of us should have tri'd our might 

Which should have paid full dear. 

In the mean time I will away, 

No longer here He bide. 
But I will go and seek him out. 

Whatever do me betide. 

But one thing I would gladly know, 

What here I have to pay." 
Ten shillings just, then said the host. 

" lie pay without delay ; 

Or elce take here my working-bag, 

And my good hammer too ; 
And if that I light but on the knave, 

I wilLthen soon pay you." 

The onely way, then said the host, 

And not to stand in fear. 
Is to seek him among the parks, 

KiUing of the king's deer. 
N 3 


The tinker hee then went with speed, 

And made then no delay, 
Till he had found * bold ' Robin Hood, 

That they might have a fray. 

At last hee spy'd him in a parky 

Hunting then of the deer. 
What knave is that, quoth Robin Hood, 

That doth come mee so near? 

No knave, no knave, the tinker said. 
And that you soon shall know ; 

Whether of us hatli done any wrong, 
My crab-tree staff shall show. 

Then Robin drew his gallant blade, 
Made then of trusty steel : 

But the tinker he laid on so fast. 
That he made Robin reel. 

Then Robins anger did arise, 

He fought right manfully, 
Until he had made the tinker 

Almost then tit to fly. 

With that they had a bout a^ain. 
They ply'd their weapons fast : 

The tinker threshed his bones so sore, 
He made him yeeld at last. 

A boon, a boon, Robin hee cryes, 

If thou wilt grant it mee. 
Before I do it, the tinker said, 

He hang thee on this tree. 

But the tinker looking him about, 

Robin his horn did blow ; 
Then came unto him Little John, 

And William Scadlock too. 


What is the matter, quoth Little John, 

You sit ou th' highway side ? 
" Here is a tinker that stands by, 

That hath paid well my hide." 

That tinker then, said Little John, 

Fain tliat blade I would see, 
And I would try what I could do, 

If hee'l do as much for me. 

But Robin hee then wish'd them both 

Tliey should the quarrel cease, 
<* That henceforth wee may bee as one, 

And ever live in peace. 

And for the jovial tinker's part, 

A hundred pounds He give 
In th' year to maintain him on. 

As long as he doth live. 

In manhood he is a mettled man, 

And a mettle man by trade ; 
Never thought I that any man 

Should have made me so afraid. 

And if hee will bee one of us, 
Wee will take all one fare ; 

And whatsoever wee do get, 
He shall have his full share." 

So the tinker was content 
With them to go along, 

And with them a part to take ; 
And so I end my song. 

N 3 




** Or a pleasant relation how a young gentleman^ being in 
love with a young damsel, * she* was taken from him to be an 
old knights bride : and how Robin Hood, pittying the young 
mans case, took her from the old knight, v)hen they were 
going to be marry ed, and restored her to her own love again. 
To a pleasant northern tune, Robin Hood in the green-wood 

Bold Robin Hood he did the young man right 
And took the damsel from the doting knight" 

From an old black letter copy in major Pearson's collection. 

Come listen to me, you gallants so free, 
All yon that love mirth for to hear, 

And I will tell you ol a bold outlaw, 
That lived in Nottinghamshire. 

As Robin Hood in the forest stood, 
All under the green wood tree, 

There he was aware of a brave young man, 
As fine as fine might be. 

The youngster was clothed in scarlet red, 

In scarlet fine and gay ; 
And he did frisk it over the plain. 

And chanted a round-de-lay. 

As Robin Hood next morning stood 

Amongst the leaves so gay, 
There did [he] espy the same young man 

Come drooping along the way. 


The scarlet he wore the day before 

It was clean cast away ; 
And at every step lie tetcht a sigh, 

" Alack and a well a day !" 

Then stepped forth brave Little John, 

And ' Midge' the millers son, 
Which made the young man bend his bx)W, 

When as he see them come. 

Stand off, stand off, the young man said, 

What is your will with me? 
" You must come before our master straight, 

Under yon green wood tree." 

And when he came bold Robin before, 

Robin askt him courteously, 
O, hast thou any money to spare 

For my merry men and me ? 

I have no money, the young man said, 

But five shillings and a ring ; 
And that I have kept this seven long years, 

To have it at my wedding. 

Yesterday I should have married a maid, 

But she from me was tane. 
And chosen to be an old knights delight, 

Whereby my poor heart is slain. 

What is thy name? then said Robin Hood, 

Come tell me, without any fail. 
By the faith of my body, then said the young maify 

My name it is Allin a Dale. 

What will thou give me, said Robin Hood, 

In ready gold or fee. 
To help thee to thy true love again, 

And deliver her untp thee? * 


I have no money, then quoth the young man, 

No ready gold nor fee, 
But I will swear upon a book 

Thy true servant for to be. 

"How many miles is it to thy true love? 

Come tell me without guile." 
By the faith of my body, then said the young man, 

It is but five little mile. 

Then Robin he hasted over the plain, 

He did neither stint nor lin, 
Until he came unto the church, 

Where Allin should keep his wedding. 

Wliat hast thou here? the bishop then said, 

I prithee now tell unto me. 
I am a bold harper, quoth Robin Hood, 

And the best in the north country, 

O welcome, O welcome, the bishop he said, 

That music best pleaseth me ; 
You shall have no music, quoth Robin Hood, 

Till the bride and the bridegroom I see. 

With that came in a wealthy knight, 

Which was both grave and old. 
And after him a finikin lass, 

Did shine like the glistering gold. 

This is not a fit match, quoth bold Robin Hood, 

That you do seem to make here. 
For since we are come into the church. 

The bride shall chuse her own dear. 

Then Robin Hood put his horn to his mouth, 

And blew blasts two or three ; 
When four and twenty bowmen bold 

Came leaping over the lee. 


And when tliey came into the church-yard, 

Marching all on a row, 
Tlie first man was Allin a Dale, 

To give bold Robin his bow. 

This is thy true love, Robin he said, 

Young Allin, as I hear say, 
And you shall be married at ' this* same time, 

Before we depart away. 

That shall not be, the bishop he said, 

For thy word shall not stand ; 
They shall be three times askt in the church, 

As the law is of our land. 

Robin Hood pull'd off the bishops coat. 

And put it upon little John ; 
By the faith of my body, then Robin said, 

This * cloth' does make thee a man. 

When Little John went into the quire^ 

The people began to laugh ; 
He askt them seven times in the church. 

Lest three times should not be enough. 

Who gives me this maid ? said Little John. 

Quoth Robin Hood, that do I; 
And he that takes her from AUin a Dale, 

Full dearly he shall her buy. 

And thus having ended this merry wedding, 

The bride lookt like a queen ; 
And so they returned to the merry green wood 

Amojigst the leaves so green. 



^' Shewing how Robin Hood, Little John, and the Shep- 
herd/ought a sore combate. 

The Shepherd fougjit for twenty pound, and Robin for 

bottle and bag, 
But the shepherd stout, gave them the rout, so sore they 
^ could not wag. 

Tune is, Robin Hood and queen Katherine,** 

From two old black letter copies, one of them in the collect 

Hon of Anthony d Wood, the other in that of Thomas Pearson, 


All gentlemen, and yeomen good, 

Down, a doum, a down, a down, 
I wisli you to drew near ; 
For a story of gallant bold Robin Hood 
Unto you I will declare. 
Down a, ^c. 

As Robin Hood walkt the forrest along, 

Some pastime for to spie, 
There he was aware of a jolly shepherd, 

That on the ground did lie. 

Arise, arise, cried jolly Robin, 

And now come let me see 
What's in thy bag and bottle 3 I say, 

Come tell it unto me. 

<* What's that to thee ? thou proud fellow, 

Tell me as 1 do stand; 
What hast thou to do with my bag and bottle ? 

Let me see thy command*'' 


" My sword, which hangeth by my side, 

Is my command I know ; 
Come, and let me taste of thy bottle, 

Or it may breed thy woe." 

" The devil a drop, thou proud fellow, 

Of my bottle thou shalt see, 
Until thy valour here be tried, 

M^hether thou wilt fight or flee.'* 

What shall we fight for? cries Robin Hood, 

Come tell it soon to me ; 
Here is twenty pound in good red gold. 

Win it and take it thee. 

The shepherd stood all in a maze. 

And knew not what to say : 
*< I have no money, thou proud felldw, 

But bag and bottle ile lay." 

" I am content, thou shepherd swain, 

Fling them down on the ground ; 
But it will breed thee mickle pain, 

To win my twenty pound." 

" Come draw thy sword, thou proud fellow, 

Thou standest too long to prate j 
This hook of mine shall let thee know, 

A coward I do hate." 

So they fell to it, full hardy and sore, 

It was on a summers day, 
From ten till four in the afternoon 

The shepherd held him play. 

Robins buckler prov'd his * chief defence, 

And saved him many a bang, 
For every blow the shepherd gave 

Made Robins sword cry twang. 


Many a sturdie blow the shepherd gave, 
And that bold Robin found, 

Till the blood ran trickling from his head, 
Then he fell to the ground. 

" Arise, arise, thou proud fellow, 
And thou shalt have fair play, 

If thou wilt yield before thou go, 
Tliat I have won the day." 

A boon, a boon, cry*d bold Robin, 

If that a man thou be. 
Then let me have my beugle horn, 

And blow but blasts three. 

Then said the shepherd to bold Robin, 

To that I will agree ; 
* For' if thou shonldst blow till to-morrow morn, 

I scorn one foot to flee. 

Then Robin he set his horn to his mouth. 

And he blew with mickle main, 
Until he espied Little John 

Come tripping over the plain. 

" O who is yonder, thou proud fellow. 
That comes down yonder hill?" 

^' Yonder is John, bold Robin Hoods man, 
Shall fight with thee thy fill." 

What is the matter ? sales Little John, 

Master, come tell to me. 
My case is bad, cries Robin Hood. 

For the shepherd hath conquered me. 

I am glad of that, cries Little John : 

Shepherd, turn thou to me ; 
For a bout with thee I mean to have, 
Eith er come fight or flee« 


<* With all my heart, thou proud fellow, 

For it never shall be said 
That a shepherd's hook of thy sturdy look 

Will one jot be dismaied." 

So they fell to it, fall hardy and sore, 

Striving for victorie. 
He know, says John, ere we give o'er, 

Whether thou wilt fight or flee. 

The shepherd gave John a sturdie blow, 

With his hook under the chin. 
Beshrew thy heart, said Little John, 

Thou basely dost begin. 

Nay, that is nothing, said the shepherd, 

Either yield to me the dale, 
Or I will bang thy back and sides, 

Before thou goest thy way. 

What, dost thou think, thou proud fellow, 

That thou canst conquer me? 
Nay, thou shalt know, before thou go, 

He fight before ile flee. 

Again the shepherd laid on him, 

* Just as he first begun.' 
Hold thy hand, cry'd bold Robin, 

I will yield the wager won. 

With all my heart, said Little John, 

To that I will agree ; 
For he is the flower of shepherd swains, 

The like I did never see. 

Thus have you heard of Robin Hood, 

Also of Little John ; 
How a shepherd swain did conquer them, 

The like was never known. 




From an old black letter copy in the collection of Anthony 
ci Wood ; corrected by a much earlyer one in the Pepysian 
library^ 'printed by H, Gosson, about the year 1600 ; com-* 
pared with a later one in the same collection. The full title 
is : " The famous battell betweene Robin Hood and the cur^ 
tall fryer. To a New Northerne tune." 

" The curtail fryer .f'* dr. Stukeley says, " is cordelier 
from the cord or rope which they wore round their wast, to 
whip themselves with. They were," adds he, " of the 
Franciscan order.'* Our fryer, however, is undoubtedly so 
called from his *•' curtail dogs," or curs, as we now say, 
(Courtaiilt, F.J In fact, he is no fryer at all, hut a monk 
of Fountains abbey, which was of the Cistercian order. 

In summer time, when leaves grow green. 

And tiowers are fresh and gay, 
Robin Hood and his merry men 

Were disposed to play. 

Then some would leape, and some would runne, 

And some would use artillery ; 
** Which of you can a ^ood bow draw, 

A good archer for to be ? 

Which of you can kill a bucke, 

Or who can kill a doe ; 
Or who can kill a hart of Greece 

Five hundreth foot him fro?" 


Will Scadlocke he kild a bucke, 

And Midge he kild a doe ; 
And Little lohn kild a hart of Greece, 

Five hundretb foot him fro. 

Gods blessing on thy heart, said Robin Hood, 

That hath such a shot for me ; 
I would ride my horse a hundred miles, 

To find one could match thee. 

That caused Will Scadlocke to laugh. 

He laught full heartily : 
*' There lives a curtail fryer in Founlaines Abby 

Will beate both him and thee. 

The curtail fryer in Fouutaines Abbey 
Well can a strong bow draw, 

He will beat you and your yeoman, 
Set them all on a row." 

Kobin Hood he tooke a solemne oath. 

It was by Mary free. 
That he would neither eate nor drinke, 

'Till the fryer he did see. 

Robin Hood put on his harnesse good, 

On his head a cap of steel, 
Broad sword and buckler by his side, 

And they became him weele. 

He tooke his bow into his hand, 
It was made of a trusty tree, 

With a sheafe of arrowes at his belt, 
And to Fountaine Dale went he. 

And comming unto Fountaine Dale, 

No farther he would ride ; 
There he was aware of the curtail fryer, 

Walking by the water side. 
o S 


The fryer had on a harnesse good. 

On his head a cap of steel, 
Broad sword and buckler by his side, 

And they became him weele. 

Robin Hood lighted off his horse, 

And tyed him to a thorne : 
** Carry me over the water, thon curtail fryer,^ 

Or else thy life's forlorne." 

The fryer tooke Robin Hood on his backe, 

Ueepe water he did bestride, 
And spake neither good word nor bad. 

Till he came at the other side. 

Lightly leapt Robin offe the fryers backe ; 

The fryer said to him againe, 
Carry me over this water, [thou] fine felldw, 

Or it shall breed thy paiue. 

Robin Hood took the fryer on his backe, 

Deepe water he did bestride, 
And spake neither good word nor bad, 

Till he came at the other side. 

Lightly leapt the fryer off Robin Hoods backe, 

Robin Hood said to him againe, 
Carry me over this water, thou curtail fryer. 

Or it shall breede thy pain. 

The fryer tooke Robin on's back againe. 

And stept in to the knee, 
'Till he came at the middle streame. 

Neither good nor bad spake he, 

And comming to the middle streame, 

There he threw Robin in : 
" And clmse thee, chuse thee, fine felldw,^ 

Whether thou wilt sink or swim," 


Robin Hood swam to a bush of broome, 

The fryer to a wigger wand ; 
Bold Robin Hood is gone to shore, 

And look his bow in his hitnd. 

One of his best arrowes under his belt 

To the fryer he let fly ; 
The cur^al fryer with his Steele buckler t 

Did put that arrow by. 

" Shoot on, shoot on, thou fine fellow, 

Shoot as thou hast begun, 
If thou shoot here a summers day, 

Thy marke I will not shun." 

Robin Hood shot passing well, 

'Till his arrows all were gane ; 
They tooke their swords and steel bucklers, 

They fought with might and maine, 

From ten o'th' clock that [very] day, 

'Till four i' th' afternoon ; 
Then Robin Hood came to his knees, 

Of the fryer to beg a boone. 

" A boone, a boone, thou curtail fryer, 

I beg it on my knee ; 
Give me leave to set my home to my mouth, 

And to blow blasts three." 

That I will do, said the curtail fryer, 

Of thy blasts I have no doubt ; 
I hope thoult blow so passing well, 

'Till both thy eyes fall out. 

Robin Hood set his home to his mouth, 

He blew out blasts three ; 
Halfe a hundreth yeomen, with bowes bent, 

Came raking, over the lee. 
o 3 


Whose men are these, said the fryer, 

That come so hastily? 
Those are mine, said Robin Hood ; 

Fryer, what is that to thee ? 

A boone, a boone, said the curtail fryer, 

The like I gave to thee ; 
Give me leave to set my fist to ray mouth. 

And to whute whues three. 

That will I doe, said Robin Hood, 

Or else I were to blame ; 
Three whues in a fryers fist 

Would make me glad and faine. 

The fryer set his fist to his mouth, 

And whuted whues three : 
Haifa hundred good band-dogs 

Came running over the lee. 

" Here's for every man a dog, 

And I myselfe for thee." 
Nay, by my faith, said Robin Hood, 

Fryer, that may not be. 

Two dogs at once to Robin Hood did goe. 
The one behind, the other before, 

Robin Hoods mantle of Lincolne greene 
Off from his backe they tore. 

And whether his men shot east or west, 

Or they shot north or south. 
The curtail dogs, so taught they were, 

They kept * the ' arrows in their mouth. 

Take up thy dogs, said Little John, 

Fryer, at my bidding be. 
Whose man art thou, said the curtail fryer, 

Comes here to prate with me ? 


<' I am Little John, Robin Hoods man, 

Fryer, I will not lie ; 
If thou take not up thy dogs soone, 

I'le take up them and thee." 

Little John had a bow in his hand, 

He shot with might and main ; 
Soon halfe a score of the fryers dogs 

Lay dead upon the plain. 

Hold thy hand, good fellow, said the curtal fryer, 

Thy master and I will agree ; 
And we will have new orders taken, 

With all the hast may be. 

" If thou wilt forsake fair Fountaines dale, 

And Fountaines Abbey free, 
Every Sunday throwout the yeere, 

A noble shall be thy fee : 

And every hoUiday through the yeere. 

Changed shall thy garment be, 
If thou wilt goe to faire Nottingham, 

And there remaiue with me." 

This curtal fryer had kept Fountaines dale 

Seven long yeeres and more, 
There was neither knight, lord, nor earle, 

Could make him yeeld before. 



From an old black letter copy in the collection of Anthony 
d Wood. The title now given to this ballad is that which it 
seems to have originally borne ; having been foolishly altered 
to ** Robin Hood newly revived," 

Come listen awhile, you gentlemen all, 

With a hey down^ down, a down, dotvn^ 

That are this bower within, 
For a story of gallant bold Robin Hood, 

I purpose now to begin. 

What time of day ? quod Robin Hood then. 

Quoth Little John, 'tis in the prime. 
'^ Why then we will to the green wood gang. 

For we have no vittles to dine." 

As Robin Hood walkt the forrest along, 
It was in the mid of the day. 

There he was met of a deft young ma% 
As ever walkt on the way. 

His doublet was of silk, * 'tis* said. 
His stockings like scarlet shone ; 

And he walked on along the way. 
To Robin Hood then unknown. 

A herd of deer was in the bend, 

All feeding before his face : 
" Now the best of you ile have to my dinner, 

And that in a little space.'' 


Now the stranger he made no mickle adoe> 

But he bends and a right good bow, 
And th&best of all the herd he slew, 

Forty good yards him froe. 

Well shot, well shot, quod Robin Hood then, 

That shot it was shot in time ; 
And if thou wilt accept of the place, 

Thou sbalt be a bold yeoman of mine. 

Go play the chiven, the stranger said, 

Make haste and quickly go, 
Or with my fist, be sure of this, 

He give thee buffets sto'. 

Thou had'st not best buffet me, quod Robin Hood, 

For though I seem forlorn, 
Yet I have those will take my part, 

If I but blow my horn. 

Thou wast not best wind thy horn, the stranger said, 

Beest thou never so much in haste. 
For I can draw out a good broad sword, 

And quickly cut the blast. 

Then Robin Hood bent a very good bow, 

To shoot, and that he would fain ; 
The stranger he bent a very good bow. 

To shoot at bold Robin again. 

Hold thy hand, hold thy hand, quod Robin Hood, 

To shoot it would be in vain ; 
For if we should shoot the one at the other. 

The one of us may be slain. 

But let's take our swords and our broad bucklers, 

And gang under yonder tree. 
As I hope to be sav'd, the stranger he said, 

One foot I will not flee. 


Then Robin Hood leiit the stranger a blow, 

'Most scar'd him out of his wit : 
Thou never felt blow, the stranger he said, 

That shall be better quit. 

The stranger he drew out a good broad sword. 

And hit Robin on the crown, 
That from every haire of bold Robins head 

The blood ran trickling down, 

God a mercy, good fellow ! quod Robin Hood then, 

And for this that thou hast done, 
Tell me, good fellow, what thou art, 

Tell me where thou doest won. 

The stranger then answered bold Robin Hood, 

lie tell thee where I do dwell ; 
In Maxwell town I was bred and born, 

My name is young Gamwell, 

For killing of my own fathers steward, 

I am forc'd to this English wood, 
And for to seek an uncle of mine, 

Some call him Robin Hood. 

*' But * art thou' a cousin of Robin Hood then ? 

The sooner we should have done." 
As I hope to be sav'd, the stranger then said, 

I am his own sisters son. 

But, lord ! what kissing and courting was there. 
When these two cousins did greet ! 

And they went all that summers day. 
And Little John did [not] meet. 

But when they met with Little John, 

He • unto them' did say, 
O master, pray where have you been. 

You have tarried so long awayi 


I met with a stranger, quod Robin Hood, 

Full sore he hath beaten me. 
Then Tie have a bout with hina, quod Little John, 

And try if he can beat me. 

Oh [no], oh no, quoth Robin Hood then, 

Little John, it may [not] be so ; 
For he is my own dear sisters son. 

And cousins I have no mo. 

But he shall be a bold yeoman of mine, 

My chief man next to thee ; 
And T Robin Hood, and thou Little John, 

And ' Scadlock' he shall be. 

And weel be three of the bravest outlaws 

That live in the north country. 
If ' you wiir hear more of bold Robin Hood, 

In ' the' second part it will be. 


This (from an old black letter copy in major Pearson's col- 
lection) is evidently the genuine second part of the present 
ballad ; although constantly printed as an independent article, 
under the title of " Robin Hood, Will Scadlock, and Little 
John: Or, a narrative of their victories obtained against the 
prince of Aragon and the two giants; and how Will Scadlock 
married the princess. Tune of Robin Hood ; or, Hey down, 
down, a downj' 

Now Robin Hood, Will Scadlock, and Little John, 

Are walking over the plain, 
With a good fat buck, which Will Scadlock, 

With his strong bow had slain. 


Jog on, jog on, cries Robin Hood, 

The day it runs full fast ; 
For tho' my nephew me a breakfast gave, 

I have not yet broke my fast. 

Then to yonder lodge let us lake our way, 

I think it wondrous good, 
Where my nephew by my bold yeomen 

Shall be welcom'd unto the green-wood. 

With that he took * his' bugle-horn, 

Full well he could it blow ; 
Streight from the woods came marching down 

One hundred tall fellows and mo. 

Stand, stand to your arms, says Will Scadlock, 

Lo ! the enemies are within ken. 
With that Robin Hood he laugh'd aloud. 

Crying, They are my bold yeomdn. 

Who, when they arriv'd, and Robin espy'd, 
Cry'd, Master, what is your will? 

We thought you had in danger been, 
Your horn did sound so shrill. 

Now nay, now nay, quoth Robin Hood, 

The danger is past and gone ; 
I would have you welcome my nephew here. 

That has paid me two for one. 

In feasting and sporting they passed the day, 

Till Phoebus sunk into the deep ; 
Then each one to his quarters hy'd. 

His guard there for to keep. 

Long had they not walked within the green-wood, 

But Robin he soon espy'd, 
A beautiful damsel all alone, 

That on a black palfrey did ride. 


Her riding-suit was of a sable hew black, 

Cypress over her face, 
Through which her rose-like cheeks did blush, 

All with a comely grace. 

Come tell me the cause, thou pretty one, 

Quoth Robin, and tell me aright, 
From whence thou comest, and whither thou goest, 

All in this mournful plight ? 

From London I came, the damsel reply'd, 

From London upon the Thames, 
Which circled is, O grief to tell ! 

Besieg'd with foreign arms. 

By the proud prince of Arragon, 

Who swears by his martial hand 
To have the princess to his spouse, 

Or else to waste this land ; 

Except such champions can be found, 

That dare fight three to three. 
Against the prince, and giants twain. 

Most horrid for to see ; 

Whose grisly looks, and eyes like brands, 
Strike terrour where they come. 

With serpents hissing on their helms, 
Instead of feathered plume. 

The princess shall be the victor's prize, 
The king hath vow'd and said, 

And he that shall the conquest win, 
Shall have her to his bride. 

Now we are four damsels sent abroad. 
To the east, west, north, and south. 

To try whose fortune is so good 
To find these champions * out.' 



But all in Tain we have sought about| 

For none so bold there are 
That dare adventure life and bloody 

To free a lady fair. 

When is the day ? quoth Robin Hood, 

Tell me this and no more. 
On Midsummer next, the dam'sel said, 

Which is June the twenty -four. 

With that the tears trickled down her cheeks, 

And silent was her tongne ; 
With sighs and sobs she took her leave, 

Away her palfrey sprung. 

The news struck Robin to the heart, 

He fell down on the grass, 
His actions and his troubled mind 

Shew'd he perplexed was. 

Where lies your grief? quoth Will < Scadlock,* 

O, master, tell to me : 
If the damsels eyes have pierc'd your heart, 

I'll fetch her back to thee. 

Now nay, now nay, quoth Robin Hood, 

She doth not cause my smart; 
But 'tis the poor distressed princess, 

That wounds me to the heart : 

I'll go fight the [prince and] giants all, 

To set the lady free. 
The devil take my soul, quoth Little John, 

If I part with thy company. 

Must I stay behind? quoth Will Scadlock, 

No, no, that must not be ; 
I'le make the third man in the fight, 

So we shall be three to three. 


These words cheer'd Robin to the heart, 

Joy shone within his face, 
Within his arms he hugg'd them both, 

And kindly did imbrace. 

Quoth he, We'll put on mothley grey, 

And long staves in our hands, 
A scrip and bottle by our sides, 

As come from the holy land. 

So may we pass along the high-way, 
None will ask us from whence we came, 

But take us pilgrims for to be, 
Or else some holy men. 

Now they are on their journey gone, 

As fast as they may speed, 
Yet for all their haste, ere they arriv'd, 

The princess forth was led, 

To be delivered to the prince, 

Who in the list did stand, 
Prepar'd to fight, or else receive 

His lady by the hand. 

With that he walk'd about the lists. 

With giants by his side : 
Bring forth, said he, your champions, 

Or bring me forth my bride. 

This is the four and twentieth day. 

The day prefixt upon : 
Bring forth my bride, or London burns, 

I swear by * Alcaron.' 

Then cries the king, and queen likewise, 

Both weeping as they * spake,* 
Lo ! we have brought our daughter dear^ 

Whom we are forc'd to forsake. 
P S 


With that stept out bold Robin Hood, 
Crys, My liege, it must not be so : 

Such beauty as the fair princess 
Is not for a tyrants mow. 

The prince he then began to storm, 
Cries, Fool, fanatick, baboon ! 

How dare thou stop my valour's prize ? 
rU kill thee with a frown. 

Thou tyrant Turk, thou infidel, 

Thus Robin began to reply. 
Thy frowns I scorn ; lo ! here's my gage, 

And thus I thee defie. 

And for those two Goliahs there, 

That stand on either side, 
Here are two little Davids by, 

That soon can tame their pride. 

Then the king did for armour send. 
For lances, swords, and shields ; 

And thus all three in armour bright. 
Came marching to the field. 

The trumpets began to sound a charge, 

Each singled out his man ; 
Their arms in pieces soon were hew'd, 

Blood sprang from every vain. 

The prince he reacht Robin Hood a blow, 
He struck with might and main, 

Which forc'd him to reel about the field, 
As though he had been slain. 

God-a-mercy, quoth Robin, for that blow ! 

The quarrel shall soon be try'd ; 
This stroke shall shew a full divorce 

Betwixt thee and thy bride. 


So from his shoulders he's cut his head, 

Which on the ground did fall. 
And grumhling sore at Robin Hood, 

To be so dealt withal. 

The giants then began to rage 

To see their prince lie dead : 
Thou's be the next, quoth Little John, 

Unless thou well guard thy head. 

With that his faulchion he wherl'd about, 

It was both keen and sharp ; 
He clave the giant to the belt. 

And cut in twain his heart. 

Will Scadlock well had play'd his part. 
The giant he had brought to his knee ; 

Quoth Will, The devil cannot break his fastf 
Unless he have you all three. 

So with his faulchion he run him through, 

A deep and * ghastly' wound ; 
Who dam'd and foam'd, curst and blasphem'd, 

And then fell to the ground. 

Now all the lists with shouts were fiU'd, 

The skies they did resound, 
Which brought the prmcess to herself, 

Who had fal'n in a s wound. 

The king and queen, and princess fair, 

Came walking to the place. 
And gave the champions many thanks. 

And did them further grace. 

Tell me, quoth the king, whence you are. 

That thus disguised came, 
Whose valour speaks that noble blood 

Doth run through every vain. 
F 3 


A boon, a boon, quoth Robin Hood, 

On my knees I beg and crave. 
By my crown, quoth the king, I grant, 

Ask what, and thou shalt have. 

Then pardon I beg for my merry men, 

Wliich are in the green-wood, 
For Little John, and Will Scadlock, 

And for me, bold Robin Hood. 

Art thou Robin Hood ? quoth the king ; 

For the valour thou hast shewn, 
Your pardons I do freely grant, 

And welcome every one, 

The princess I promise the victor*s prize. 

She cannot have you all three. 
She shall chuse, quoth Robin. Said Little John, 

Then little share falls to me. 

Then did the princess view all three, 

With a comely lovely grace. 
And took Will Scadlock by the hand. 

Saying, Here I make my choice. 

With that a noble lord stept forth, 

Of Maxfield earl was he. 
Who look'd Will Scadlock in the face, 

And wept most bitterly. 

Quoth he, I had a son like thee. 

Whom I lov'd wondrous well, 
But he is gone, or rather dead. 

His name it is young Gamwell. 

Then did Will Scadlock fall on his knees. 

Cries, Father! father! here. 
Here kneels your son, your young Gamwell, 

You said you lov'd so dear. 


But, lord ! what imbracing and kissing was there, 

When all these friends were met ! 
Th«y are gone to the wedding, and so to [the] bedding : 

And so 1 bid you good night. 


From an old black letter copy in a private collection, com- 
pared with another in that of Anthony d fVood. The full title 
is: " Renowned Robin Hood ; Or^ His famous archery truly 
related in the worthy exploits he acted before queen Katherine, 
he being an outlaw man ; and how he obtained his own and 
his fellows pardon. To a new tune J' 

it is scarcely worth observing that there was no queen consort 
named Katherine before Henry the fifths time ; but as 
Henry the eighth had no less than three wives so called, the 
name would be sufficiently familiar to our ballad maker. 

Gold tane from the kings harbengers, 
Downe, a downe, a downe, 

As seldome hath beene seene, 

Downe, a downe, a downe, 

And carried by bold Robin Hood 
For a present to the queene. 
Downe, a downe, a downe. 

If that I live a yeare to an end, 
Thus can queene Katherine say, 

Bold Robin Hood, I will be thy friend, 
And all thy yeomen gay. 


The queene is to her chamber goncjt 

As fast as she can wen ; 
She calls unto her lovely page, 

His name was Richard Patrington. 

*' Come thou hither to mee, thou lovely page, 

Come thou hither to niee ; 
For thou must post to Nottingham, 

As fast as thou can dree j 

And as thou goest to Nottingham, 

Search all the English wood, 
Enquire of one good yeomen or another, 

That can tell thee of Robin Hood. 

Sometimes hee went, sometimes hee ran, 

As fast as he could win ; 
And when hee came to Nottingham, 

There hee took up his inne. 

And when he came to Nottingham, 

And had tooke up his inne, 
He cals for a pottle of Rhenish wine, 

And dranke a health to his queene* 

There sate a yeoman by his side, 
Tell mee, sweet page, said hee, 

What is thy businesse and the cause. 
So far in the north countrey ? 

This is thy businesse and the cause, 

Sir, rJe tell it you for good, 
To enquire of one good yeoman or another, 

To tell mee of Robin Hood. 

" He get my horse betimes in the morne. 

By it be break of day, 
And I will shew thee bold Robin Hood, 

And all his yeomeu gay." 


When that he came at Robin Hoods place, 

Hee fell down on his knee : 
" Queen Katherine she doth greet you well, 

She greets you well by me ; 

She bids you post to fair London court, 

Not fearing any thing ; 
For there shall be a little sport, 

And she hath sent you a ring." 

Robin Hood tooke his mantle from his back, 

It was of the Lincolne greene. 
And sent it by this lovely page. 

For a present unto the queene. 

In summer time, when leaves grow green. 

It's a seemely sight to see, 
How Robin Hood himselfe had drest, 

And all his yeomandry. 

He clothed his men in Lincolne greene, 

And himselfe in scarlet red ; 
Blacke hats, white feathers, all alike. 

Now bold Robin Hood is rid : 

And when hee came at Londons court, 

Hee fell downe on his knee. 
Thou art welcome, Locksly, said the queen. 

And all thy good * yeomandree.' 

The king is into Finsbury field* 

Marchiuj^ in battle ray. 
And after follows bold Robin Hood, 

And all his yeomen gay. 

* Ground near Moorfields, London, famous in old times for 
the archery "practised there, " In the year 1498," says Stow, 
*' all the gardens which had continued time out of minde, 
tpithout Mooregate, to wit, about and beyond the lordship of 


Come hither, Tepus, said the king, 

Bow-bearer after mee ; 
Come measure me out with this line, 

How long our mark must be. 

What is the wager ? said the queene, 
That must I now know here. 

" Three hundred tun of Rhenish wine. 
Three hundred tun of beere ; 

Three hundred of the fattest harts 
That run on Dallom lee." 

That's a princely wager, said the king, 
That needs must I tell thee. 

Fensherry, were destroyed. And of them was made a plaine 
field for archers to shoote in" Survey of London, 1598, p. 
351. See also p. 77. where it is observed that " about the 
feast of S. Bartlemew . , , the officers of the city . . . were 
challengers of all men in the suburbes, . . . before the * lord* 
maior, aldermen^ and sheriffesy in Fensbery fielde, to 
shoote the standarde, broade arrow, and flighty for games,'* 
There is a tract intitledy <^ Ay me for Finsburie archers, or an 
alphabetical table of the names of every marke within the same 
fields, with the true distances, both by the map, and dimen^ 
suration with the line. Published for the ease of the skilfully 
and behoof e of the yoonge beginners in the famous exercise of 
archeriCf by J. J, and E. B. To be sold at the signe of the 
Swan in Grub Street, by F, Sergeant. 1594. 16»io. Repub* 
lished by R, F, 1604; and again by James Partridge, 1628. 

The practice of shooting here is alluded to by Cotton, in his 
Virgile travestie J (6.iv.)l 667: 

" And airows loosed from Grub-street bow, 
" In FiNSBURV, to him are slow." ' 

and is said to have continued till within the memory of persons 
now living. 


With that bespake one Clifton then^ 

Full quickly and full soone, 
Measure no marks for us, most soveraigne liege, 

Well shoot at sun and moone. 

*» Full fifteene score your marke shall be, 

Full fifteene score shall stand." 
He lay my bow, said Clifton then, 

He cleave the willow wand. 

With that the kings archers led about, 

While it was three, and none ; 
With that the ladies began to shout, 

" Madam, your game is gone." 

A boone, a boonc, queene Katherine cries, 

I crave it on my bare knee ; 
Is there any knight of your privy counsel 

Of queen Katherines part will be? 

Come hither to mee, sir Richard Lee, 

Thou art a knight full good ; 
For I do knowe by thy pedigree 

Thou sprung'st from Gowers blood. 

Come hither to me, thou bishop of Hereford : 

For a noble priest was hee. 
By my silver miter, said the bishop then, 

He not bet one peny. 

The kiug hath archers of his own, 

Full ready and full light, 
And these be strangers every one, 

No man knowes what they hight. 

What wilt thou bet ? said Robin Hood, 
Thou seest our game the worse. 

By my silver miter, then said the bishop^ 
All the money within my purse. 


What is in thy purse? said Robin Hood, 
Throw it downe on the ground. 

Fifteen score nobles, said ihe bishop ; 
Its neere an liuudred pound. 

Robin Hood took his bagge from his side, 
And threw it downe on the greene ; 

William Scadlocke then went smiling away, 
** I know who this money must win." 

With that the king's archers led about, 
While it was three and three ; 

With that the ladies gave a shout, 
** Woodcock, beware thy knee !'* 

It is three and three, now, said the king, 

The next three pays for all. 
Robin Hood went and whisper'd the queen, 

The kings part shall be but small. 

Robin Hood hee led about, 

Hee shot it under hand ; 
And Clifton with a bearing arrow, 

Hee clave the willow wand. 

And little Midge, the millers son, 
Hee shot not much the worse ; 

He shot witiiin a finger of the prick : 
" Now, bishop, beware thy purse !" 

A boone, a boone, queen Katherine cries, 

I crave * it* on my bare knee, 
That you will angry be with none 

That are of my partie. 

" They shall have forty dales to come. 

And forty daiea to goe, 
And three times forty to sport and play ; 

Then welcome friend or foe.** 


Thou art welcome, Robin Hood, said the queene, 

And so is Little John, 
And so is Midge, the millers son; 

Tinice welcome every one. 

Is this Robin Hood? now said the king, 

For it was told to me 
That he was slain in the palace gates, 

So far in the north country. 

Is this Robin Hood ? quoth the bishop then, 

As * it seems' well to be : 
Had I knowne * it' had been that bold outliw, 

I would not [have] bet one peny. 

Hee tooke me late one Saturday at night, 

And bound mee fast to a tree, 
And made mee sing a masse, Got wot, 

To him and his * yeomandre.' 

What, an if I did, saies Robin Hood, 

Of that masse I was faine ; 
Tor recompence of that, he saies. 

Here's halfe thy gold againe. 

Now nay, now nay, saies Little John, 

Master, that shall not be ; 
We must give gifts to the kings officers ; 

That gold will serve thee and mee. 



<* Or a merry progress between Robin Hood and King 
Henry. Shewing how Robin Hood led the king his chase 
from London to London ; and when he had taken his leave of 
the queen, he returned to 7nerry Sherwood, To the tune of 
Robin Hood and the beggar,'* 

From an old black letter copy in the collection of Anthony 
(t Wood, 

Come, you gallants all, to you I do call, 
iVithhey down, -down, an a down, 

That now * are' in this place; 
For a song I will sing of Henry the king, 

How he did Robin Hood chase. 

Queen Katherine she a match did make, 

As plainly doth appear. 
For three hundred tun of good red wine, 

And three [hundred] tun of beere. 

But yet her archers she had to seek. 
With their bows and arrows so good ; 

But her mind it was bent with a good intent, 
To send for bold Robin Hood. 

But when bold Robin he came there. 

Queen Katherine she did say. 
Thou art welcome, Locksly, said the queen, 

And all thy yeomen gay. 


For a match of shooting I have made. 

And thou on my part must be. 
*< If I miss the mark, be it light or dark, 

Then hanged I will be." 

But when the game came to be played, 

Bold Robin he then drew nigh, 
With his mantle of green, most brare to be seen, 

He let his arrows fly. 

And when the game it ended was, 

Bold Robin wan it with a grace ; 
But after the king was angry with him, 

And vowed hewould him chase. 

What though his pardon granted was, 

While he with him did stay ; 
But yet the king was vexed at him. 

When as he was gone his way. 

Soon after the king from the court did hye, 

In a furious angry mood, 
And often enquired both far and near 

After bold Robin Hood, 

But when the king to Nottingham came. 

Bold Robin was in the wood : 
O, come now, said he, and let me see 

Who can And me bold Robin Hood. 

But when that bold Robin he did hear. 

The king had him in chase, 
Then said Little John, 'Tis time to be gone. 

And go to some other place. 

And away they went from merry Sherwood, 

And into Yorkshire he did hye ; 
And the king did follow, with a hoop and a halloW| 

But could not come him nigh, 

Q 3 


Yet jolly Robin he passed along, 
* And went strait' to Newcastle town; 

And there * he' stayed hours two or three, 
And * then' to Barwick * is' gone. 

When the king did see how Robin did flee^ 

He was vexed wondrous sore ; 
With a hoop and a hallow he vowed to follow, 

And take him, or never give ore. 

Come now let's away, then crys Little John, 

Let any man follow that dare ; 
To Carlisle we'l hye, with our company. 

And so then to Lancaster. 

From Lancaster then to Chester they went, 

And so did king Henry ; 
But Robin [went] away, for he durst not stay, 

For fear of some treachery. 

Says Robin, Come let us for London goe. 

To see our noble queens face. 
It may be she wants our company. 

Which makes the king so us chase. 

When Robin he came queene Katherin before. 

He fell low upon his knee : 
" If it please your grace, I have come to this place 

For to speak with king Henry.'' 

Queen Katherine answered bold Robin Hood again. 
The king is gone to merry Sherwood ; 

And when he went away to me he did say. 
He would go and seek Robin Hood. 

" Then fare you well, my gracious queen, 

For to Sherwood I will hye apace ; 
For fain would I see what he would with me, 

If 1 could but meet with his grace." 


But when king Henry he came home, 

Fyll weary, and vexed in mind, 
And that he did hear Robin had been there, 

He blamed dame Fortune unkind. 

You're welcome home, * queen' Katherin cryed, 

Henry, my soveraign liege ; 
Bold Robin Hood, that archer good, 

Your person hath been to seek. 

But when king Henry he did * hear,* 
That Robin had been there him to seeke, 

This answer he gave. He's a cunning knave, 
For I have sought him this whole three weeks. 

A boon ! a boon ! < queen' Katherin cry*d, 

I beg it here * of your grace. 
To pardon his life, and seek not strife : 

And so endeth Robin Hoods chase. 

Q 8 



** He met two priests upon the way, 
And forced them with him to pray ; 
For gold they prayed^ and gold they had, 
Enough to make hold Robin glad ; 
His share came to four hundred pound, 
That then was told upon the ground. 
Now mark, and you shall hear the jest, 
You never heard the like exprest. 

Tune is, Robin Hood was a tall young man, Sfc" 

This ballad (given from an old black letter copy in the 
collection of Anthony d H^ood) was entered (amongst others) 
in the stationers book, by Francis Coule, 13th June, 1631, 
and by Francis Grove, 2d June, 1656. 

I HAVE heard talk of Robin Hood, 
Derry, derry down, 

And of brave Little John, 
Of fryer Tuck, and Will Scarlet, 

Loxley, and maid Maridn. 

But such a tale as this before 

I think was never knone ; ^ 

For Robin Hood disguised himself. 
And * from ' the wood is gone. 

Like to a fryer bold Robin Hood 
Was accoutered in his array; 

With hood, gown, beeds, and crucifix, 
He past upon the way. 


He had not gone miles two or three, 

But it was his chance to spy 
Two histy priests, clad all in black, 

Come riding gallantly. 

Benedicite, then said Robin Hood, 

Some pitty on me take; 
Cross yon my hand with a silver groat, 

For our dear ladies sake. 

For I have been wandring all this day, 

And nothing could I get ; 
Not so ranch as one poor cnp of drink. 

Nor bit of bread to eat. 

Now, by our holy dame, the priests repli'd. 

We never a peny have ; 
For we this morning have been rob'd, 

And could no money save. 

I am much afraid, said bold Robin Hood, 

That you both do tell a lie ; 
And now before you do go hence, 

I am resolv'd to try. 

When as the priests heard him say so. 

Then they rode away amain ; 
But Robin Hood betook to his heels. 

And soon overtook them again. 

Then Robin Hood laid hold of them both, 
And pull'd them down from their horse ; 

O spare us, fryei ! the priests cry'd out. 
On us have some remorse ! 

You said you had no mony, quoth he. 
Wherefore, without delay. 

We three will fall down on our knees, 
And for mony we will pray. 


The priests they could not him gainsay, 
But down tiiey kneeled with speed : 

Send us, O send us, then quoth they, 
Some mony to serve our need. 

The priests did pray with a mournful chear, 
Sometimes their hands did wring ; 

Sometimes they wept, and cried aloud, 
Whilst Robin did merrily sing. 

When they had been praying an hours spac?. 

The priests did still lament ; 
Then quoth bold Robin, Now let's see 

What mony heaven hath us sent. 

We will be sharers all alike 
Of [the] mony that we have ; 

And there is never a one of us 
That his fellow shall deceive. 

The priests their hands in their pockets put, 

But mouy would find none : 
We'I search ourselves, said Robin Hood, 

Each other, one by one. 

Then Robin took pains to search them both, 
And he found good store of gold. 

Five hundred peeces presently 
Upon the grass was told. 

Here is a brave show, said Robin Hood, 

Such store of gold to see, 
And you shall each one have a part, 

Cause you prayed so heartily. 

He gave them fifty pounds a-peece, 
And the rest for himself did keep: 

The priests [they] durst not speak one word, 
But they sighed wondrous deep. 


With that the priests rose up from their knees, 

Thinking to have parted so : 
Nay, nay, says Robin Hood, one thing more 

I have to say ere you go. 

You shall be sworn, said bold Robin Hood, 

Upon this holy grass. 
That you will never tell lies again, 

Which way soever you pass. 

The second oath that you here must take, 

That all the days of your lives. 
You shall never tempt maids to sin. 

Nor lye with other mens wives. 

The last oath you shall take, it is this, 

Be charitable to the poor ; 
Say, you have met with a holy fryar, 

And I desire no more. 

He set them on their horses again. 
And away then they did ride ; 

And he return'd to the merry green-wood, 
With great joy, mirth, and pride. 

- ^^^ ;^^v-*>'-c^; 




^ Wnl^ X] l^^fV.f^'^ ^W in the collection of Anthony 
dWood, The full title is: " Rohin Hood his rescuing Will 
Stutly from the sheriff and his men, who had taken him 
prisoner, and was going to hang him. To the tune of Robin 
Jtiood and queen Katheiine," 

When Robin Hood in the green wood liv^d^ 
Dcrry, derry down, 
Under the green wood tree, 
Tidings tliere came to him with speed, 
Tidings for certainty. 

Hey down, derry, den-y down. 

That Will Stutly surprized was. 

And eke in prison lay ; 
Three varlets that the sheriff had hired. 

Did likely him betray, 

" I, and to-morrow hanged must be, 
To-morrow as soon as it is day ; 

Before they could this victory get. 
Two of tiiem did Stutly slay." 

When Robin Hood he heard this news, 

Lord ! he was grieved sore ; 
And to his merry men he did say, 

(Who altogether swore) 


That Will Stiitl}^ shduld rescued be, 

And be brought * back' again; 
Or else should many a gallant wight 

For his sake there be slain. 

He cloathed himself in scarlet ' red/ 

His men were all in green; 
A finer shew, throughout the world, 

In no place could be seen. 

Good lord ! it was a gallant sight 

To see them all on a row ; 
With every man a good broad sword, 

And eke a good yew bow\ 

Forth of the green wood are they gone, 

Yea all couragiously, 
Resolving to bring Stutly home, 

Or every man to die. 

And when they came the castle neer, 

Whereas Will Stutly lay, 
I hold it good, saith Robin Hood, 

Wee here in ambush stay, 

And send one forth some news to hear, 

To yonder palmer fair. 
That stands under the castle wall. 

Some news he may declare. 

With that steps forth a brave young man, 

Which was of courage bold, 
Thus did hee speak to the old man ; 

I pray thee, palmer old. 

Tell me, if that thou rightly ken. 
When must Will Stutly die, 

Who is one of bold Robin's men, 
And here doth prisoner lie ? 


Alack! alas! the palmer said, 

And for ever wo is me ! 
Will Stutly hanged must be this day, 

On yonder gallows tree. 

O had his noble master known, 
He would some succour send ; 

A few of iiis bold yeomandree 
Full soon would fetch him heuce. 

I, that is true, the young man said ; ' 

I, that is true, said he ; 
Or, if they were neer to this place,' 

They soon would set him free* 

But fare * thee * well, thou good old man, 
Farewell, and thanks to thee ; 

If Stutly hanged be this day, 
Reveng'c^ his death will be. 

Hee was no sooner from the palmer gone, 
But the gates ' were ' open'd wide. 

And out of the castle "Will Stutly came, 
Guarded on every side. 

When hee was forth of the castle come, 

And saw no help was nigh. 
Thus he did say to the sheriff, 

Thus he said gallantly : 

Now seeing that I needs must die. 

Grant me one boon, said he, 
For my noble master nere had a man, 

That yet was haug'd on the tree. 

Give me a sword all in my hand, 

And let mee be unbound. 
And with thee and thy men He fight, 

'Till I lie dead uu the ground. 


But his desire he would not grant, 

His wishes were in vain ; 
For the sheriff had sworn he hanged should be. 

And not by the sword be slain. 

Do but unbind my hands, he saies^ 

I will no weapons crave, 
And if I hanged be this day> 

Damnation let me have. 

Ono, o no, the sheriff said, 

Thou shalt on the gallows die, 
I, and so shall thy master too, 

If ever in me it lie. 

O, dastard coward ! Stutly cries, 
Thou faint heart peasant slave I 

If ever my master do thee meet. 
Thou shalt thy paiment have. 

My noble master < doth thee ' scorn, 
And all thy * coward ' crew ; 

Such silly imps unable are, 
Bold Robin to subdue. 

But when he was to the gallows come, 

And ready to bid adiew, 
Out of a bush leaps Little John, 

And comes Will Stutly * to * : 

" I pray thee, Will, before thou die, 
Of thy dear friends take leave ; 

I needs must borrow him for a while. 
How say you, master * shrieve ' ? " 

Now, as I live, the sheriff he said, 

That varlet will I know ; 
Some sturdy rebell is that same, 

Therefore let him not go. 


Then Little John most hastily, 

Away cut Stutly's bands, 
And from one of the * sheriffs* men, 

A sword twicht from his hands. 

<^ Here, Will, here, take thou this same 

Thou canst it better sway ; 
And here defend thyself a while, 

For aid will come straightway." 

And there they turned them back to back 
In the middle of them that day, 

'Till Robin Hood approached near 
With many an archer gay. 

With that an arrow by them flew, 

I wist from Robin Hood ; 
Make haste, make haste, the sheriff he said, 

Make haste, for it is good. 

The sheriff is gon, his * doughty' men 

Thought it no boot to stay. 
But as their master had them taught, 

* They* run full fast away. 

O stay, O stay, Will Stutly said, 

Take leave ere you depart ; 
You neere will catch bold Robin Hood, 

Unless you dare him meet. 

ill betide you, quoth Robin Hood, 
That you so soon are gone ; 

My sword may in the scabbord rest, 
For here our work is done, 

1 little thought, < Will Stutly said,' 
When I came to this place. 

For to have met with Little John, 
^ Or seen my masters face. 


Thus Stutly was at liberty set, 

Aud safe brought from his foe : 
" O thanks, O thanks to my master, 

Since here it was not so." 

And once again, my fellows [all]. 

We shall in the green wood meet, 
Where we [will] make our bow-strings twangj, 

Musick for us most «weet." 



" Skewing how he won a prize on the sea, and how he gave 
the one halfe to his dame, and the other to the building of 
almes-houses. The tune is, In summer time, Sfc,*' 

From three old black letter copies ; one in the collection of 
Anthony k Wood, another in the British Museum^ and the 
third iti a private collection. 

In summer time, when leaves grow green, 
When they doe grow both green and long,- 

Of a bold outlaw, cali'd Robin Hood, 
It is of him I sing this song, — 

When the lilly leafe, and the elephant, 
Doth bud and spring with a merry cheere. 

This outlaw was weary of the wood side, 
And chasing of the fallow deere. 

** The fisher-men brave more mony have 
Than any merchants two or three ; 

Therefore I will to Scarborough go. 
That i a- itsherman brave may be." 


Tiiis outlaw called his merry men all, 
As they sate under the green-wood tree : 

** If any of you have gold to spend, 
I pray you heartily spend it with me." 

Now, quoth Robin Hood, He to Scarborough go, 

It seems to be a very faire day. 
* He' tooke up his inne at a widdow womans house. 

Hard by upon the water gray ; 

Who asked of him, Where wert thou borne? 

Or tell to me where dost thou fare? 
I am a poor fisherman, said he then, 

This day intrapped all in care. 

" What is thy name, thou fine fellow, 
I pray thee heartily tell it to mee ?" 

" In my own country, where I was borne. 
Men call me Simon over the Lee.'* 

Simon, Simon, said the good wife, 
I wish thou mayest well brook thy name. 

The out-law was ware of her courtesie. 
And rejoyced he had got such a dame. 

" Simon, wilt thou be my man ? 

And good round wages He give thee ; 
I have as good a ship of my own, 

As any sails upon the sea. 

Anchors and planks thou shalt not want. 
Masts and ropes that are so long." 

And if you thus do furnish me. 
Said Simon, nothing shall goe wrong. ^ 

They pluckt up anchor, and away did sayle, 
More of a day then two or three ; 

Wlien others cast in their baited books, 
The bare lines into the se*^ cast he. 


It will be long, said the master tlien, 
Eie this great hibber do thrive on the sea ; 

I'le assure you he shall have no part of our fish, 
For in truth he is no part worthy, 

woe is me ! said Simon then, 
This day that ever 1 came here ! 

1 wish I were in Plompton parke, 
In chasing of the fallow deere. 

For every clowne laughs me to scorne, 

And they by me set nought at all ; 
If I had them in Plompton park, 

I would set as little by them all. 

They pluckt up anchor, and away did sayle, 

More of a day then two or three : 
3ut SinioQ espyed a ship of warre, 

That sayled towards them most valorously. 

O woe is me ! said tlie master then, 

This day that ever I was borne ! 
For all our fish we have got to day, 

Is every bit lost and forlorne. 

For your French robbers on the sea, 

They will not spare of us one maij, 
But carry us to the coast of France, 

And ligge us in the prison strong. 

But Simon said, Doe not feare them, 

Neither, master, take you no care ; 
Give me my bent bow in my hand, 

And never a Frenchman will I sp^re. 

ff Hold thy peace, thou long lubber. 
For thou art nought but brags and boast ; 

Jf I should cast thee over-board, 
There's but a simple lubber lost." 


Simon grew angry at these words, 

And so angry then was he, 
That he took his bent bow in his hand, 

And in the ship-hatch goe doth he. 

Master, tye me to the mast, saith he. 
That at my mark I may stand fair. 

And give me my bent bow in my hand. 
And never a Frenchman will I spare. 

He drew his arrow to the very head. 
And drew it with all might and maine. 

And straightway, in the twinkling of an eye, 
* To' the Frenchraans heart the ' arrow's gane.* 

The Frenchman fell down on the ship hatch^ 
And under the hatches * there' below ; 

Another Frenchman, that him espy'd, 
The dead corpse into the sea doth throw, 

O master, loose me from the mast, he said^ 
And for them all take you no care ; 

For give me my bent bow in my hand. 
And never a Frenchman will I spare. 

Then streight [they] boarded the French ship. 
They lyeing all dead in their sight ; 

They found within ' that' ship of warre, 
Twelve thousand pound of mony bright. 

The one halfe of tlie ship, said Simon then. 
He give to my dame and [her] children small ; 

The other halfe of the ship lie bestow 
On you that are my fellowes all. 

But now bespake the master then. 

For so, Simon, it shall not be, 
For you have won it with your own hand, 

And the owner of it you shall bee. 


** It shall be so, as I have said ; 

And, with this gold, for the opprest 
An habitation I will build, 

Where they shall live in peace and rest." 



'* OVf a merry combat fought between Robin Hood^ Little 
John, and Will, Scarelock, and three stout Keepers in Sheer* 
wood Forrest, 

** Robin was valiant and stout. 

So was Scarelock and John in the field. 

But these Keepers stout did give them rout, 
And made them all for to yield. 

But after the battel ended was. 

Bold Robin did make them amends, 
For claret and sack they did not lack, 
$0 drank themselves goodfriendsk 
To the tune of, Robin Hood and Queen Katherine ; or, 
Robin Hood and the Shepheard." 

From an old black letter copy in the collection (^Anthony 
d Wood, 

There's some will talk of lords and knights^ 
Doun, a doun, a doun, 
And some of yeomen good ; 
But I will tell you of Will Scarlock, 
Little John, and Robin Hood. 
Doun, a doun, a doun, a doun» 

They were outlaws, 'tis well known. 

And men of a noble blood ; 
And many a time was their valour shown 

In the forrest of merry Sheerwood, 


Upon a time it chanced so. 

As Robin would have it be, 
They all three would a walking go, 

The pastime for to see. 

And as they walked the forest along. 

Upon a Midsummer day, 
There was they aware of three keepers, 

Clad all in green aray. 

With brave long faucheons by their sides^ 

And forrest billg in hand, 
They call'd aloud to those bold outRws, 

And charged them to stand. 

Why, who are you, cry'd bold Robin, 

That * speak* so boldly here? 
** We three belong to King Henry, 

And are keepers of his deer." 

The devil ' you are?' sayes Robin Hood, 

I am sure that it is not so ; 
We be the keepers of this forrest. 

And that you soon shall know. 

Come, your coats of green lay on the ground, 

And so will we all three, 
And take your swords and bucklers round. 

And try the victory. 

We be content, the keepers said. 

We be three, and you no less. 
Then why should we be of you afraid, 

^ As' we nevey did transgress? 

** Why, if you be three keepers in this forrest, 
Then we be three rangers good, 

And will make you know before you do go, 
You meet with bold Robin Hood,'* 


" We be content, thou bold outlaw, 

Our valour here to try, 
And will make you know, before we do go, 

We will fight before we will fly. 

Then, come draw your swords, you bold outlaws, 

No longer stand to prate, 
But let us try it out with blows, 

For cowards we do hate. 

Here is one of us for Will Scarlock, 

And another for Little John, 
And I myself for Robin Hood, 

Because he is stout and strong." 

So they fell to it hard and sore, 

It was on a Midsummers day ; 
From eight of the clock '(ill two and past. 

They all shewed gallant play. 

There Robin, and Will, and Little John, 

They fought most manfully, 
'Till all their winde was spent and gone. 

Then Robin aloud did cry : 

O hold, O hold, cries bold Robin, 

I see you be stout men ; 
Let me blow one blast on my bugle horn, 

Then He fight with you again. 

" That bargain's to make, bold Robin Hood, 

Therefore we it deny ; 
Thy blast upon the bugle horn 

Cannot make us fight or fly. 

Therefore fall on, or else be gone, 

And yield to us the day : 
It never shall be said that we are afraid ^ 

Of thee , nor thy yeomen gay.'* 


If that be so, cries bold Robin, 
Let me but know your names, 

And in the forest of merry Sheerwood, 
I shall extol your fames. 

And with our names, one of them said, 

What hast thou here to do ? 
Except that you wilt fight it out, 

Our names thou shalt not know* 

"We will fight no more, sayes bold Robin, 

You be men of valour stout ; 
Come and go with me to Nottingham, 

And there we will fight it out. 

With a but of sack we will bang it ' about)* 

To see who wins the day ; 
And for the cost make you no doubt, 

I have gold * enough' to pay. 

And ever hereafter so long as we live, 

We all will brethren be ; 
For I love these men with heart and hand| 

That will fight and never flee. 

So, away they went to Nottinghamj 

With sack to make amends ; 
For three days they the wine did chase, 

And drank themselves good friends. 




" Shewing how Robin Hood and the Beggar fought, and 
how he changed cloaths with the Beggar, and how he went a 
begging to Nottingham ; and how he saved three brethren 
from being hang'd for stealing of deer» To the tune ofy 
Robin Hood and the Stranger" 

From an old black letter copy in the collection of Anthony 
it fVood. 

Come and listen, you gentlemen all, 
Hey down, down, an a down^ 

That mirth do love for to hear. 
And a story true lie tell unto you. 

If that you will but draw near. 

In elder times, when merriment was, 
And archery was holden good, 

There was an outlaw as many * do' know, 
Which men called Robin Hood. 

Upon a time it chanced so, 

Bold Robin was merry disposed, 

His time for to spend lie did intend, 
Either with friends or foes. 

Tlien he got upon a gallant brave steed, 

The which was worth angels ten. 
With a mantle of green, most brave to be seen, 

He left all his merry men. 

Andriding towards Nottingham, 

Some pastime for to 'spy, 
There was he aware of a jolly beggar. 

As ere he b£beld with his eye. 


An old pacht coat the beggar bad on, 

Which be daily did use to wear ; 
And many a bag, about bini did wag, 

Which "made Kobin to him repair, 

God speed, God speed, said Robin Hood, 

What countryman ? tell to me. 
"I am Yorkshire, sir, but ere you go far, 

Some charity give unto me." 

Why, what wouldst thou have ? said Robin Hood, 

I pray thee tell unto me. 
No lands nor livings, the beggar he said, 

But a penny for charitie. 

1 have no money, said Robin Hood then, 

But a ranger within the wood ; 
I am an outlaw, as many do know, 

My name it is Robin Hood. 

But yet I must tell the, bonny beggar, 
That a bout with [thee] I must try ; 

Thy coat of gray, lay down I say, 
And my mantle of green shall laye by. 

Content, content, the beggar he cry'd. 

Thy part it will be the worse ; 
For I hope this bout to give thee the rout, 

And then have at thy purse. 

So the beggar he had a mickle long staffe, 

And Robin a nut-brown sword ; 
So the beggar drew nigh, and at Robin let fly, 

But gave him never a word. 

Fight on, fight on, said Robin Hood the% 

This game well pleaseth me. 
For every blow that Robin gave. 

The beggar gave buffets three* 


Apd fighting there full hard and sore, 

Not far from Nottingham town, 
They never fled, 'till from Robin Hoods head 

The blood came trickling down. 

O, hold thy hand, said Robin Hood then, 

And thou and I will agree. 
If that be true, the beggar he said. 

Thy mantle come give unto me. 

Now a change, a change, cri^d Robin Hood, 

Thy bags and coat give me ; 
And this mantle of mine He to thee resign, 

My horse and my braverie. 

When Robin had got the beggars clothes. 

He looked round about : 
Methinks, said he, I seem to be 

A beggar brave and stout. 

For now I have a bag for my bread. 

So I have another for corn ; 
I have one for salt, and another for malt, 

And one for my little horn. 

And now I will a begging g6e, 

Some charitie for to find. 
And if any more of Robin you'll know, 

In < the ' second part His behind. 

Now Robin he is to Nottingham bound. 
With his bag hanging down to his knee. 

His staff, and his coat, scarce worth a groat^ 
Yet merrilie passed he. 

As Robin he passed the streets along, 

He heard a pittiful cry ; 
Three brethren dear, as he did hear^ 

Condemned were to dye. 


154! - ROBIN HOOD 

Then Robin he highed to the sheriffs [house], 

Some reliefe for to seek ; 
H6 skipt, and leapt, and capered full high^ 

As he went along the street. 

But when to the sheriffs doore he came^ 
There a gentleman tine and brave, 

Thou beggar, said he, come tell unto me 
What it is thou wouldest have. 

No meat, nor drink, said Robiq Hood the% 

That I come here to crave ; 
But to get the lives of yeomen three. 

And that I fain would have. 

That cannot be, thou bold beggar. 

Their fact it is so cleer ; 
I tell to thee, they hanged must be, 

For stealing of our king's deer. 

But when to the gallows they did come, 

There was many a weeping eye : 
O, hold your peace, said Robin Hood then, 

For certain < they shall ' not dye. 

Then Robin he set his horn to his mouth. 
And he blew out blastes three, , . . 

Till a hundred bold archers brave 
Came kneeling down to his knee. 

What is your will, master ? they saidj . - 

We are at your command. 
ShoQt east, shoot west, said Robi^ Hood then,; 

And see you spare no man. 

Then theyjshot east, and they shot west, 

Their arrows were so keen ; 
The sheriffe he^ and his companie. 

No longer * could ' be seen. 


Then he s^ept to those brethren three^ 

And away he has them tane ; 
The sheriffe.was crost, and many a man lost, 

That dead lay on the plain. 

And away they went into the merry green wood, 

And sung with a merry glee; 
And Robin Hood took these brethren good 

To be of his yeomandrie. 


From an old black letter copy in the collection of Anthony 
d Wood : the full title being, " A new merry song of Robin 
Hood and Little John, shewing how little John went a 
heggingy and how he fought with the four beggers, and what 
a prize he got of the four beggers. The tune w, Robin Hood 
and the Begger" 

All you that delight to spend some time, 

With a hey down, doton, a down, down^ 

A merry song for to siug, 
Unto me draw neer, and you shall hear 

How Little John went a begging. 

As Robin Hood walked the forest along, 

And all his yeomandree, 
Sayes Robin, Some of you must a begging go, 

And, Little John, it must be thee. 

Sayes John, If I must a begging go, 

I will have a palmer's weed. 
With a staff and a coat, and bags of all sort, 

The better then I may speed. 

« 3 


Come, give me now a bag for my bread, 
And another for my cheese, 

And one for a peny, when as I get any, 
That nothing I may leese. 

Now Little John he is a begging gone, 

Seeking for some relief; 
But of all the beggars he met on the way, 

Little John he was the chief. 

But as he was walking himself alone, 

Four beggers he chanced to spy. 
Some deaf, and some blind, and some came behind ; 

Sayes John, Heres a brave company. 

Good-morrow, said John, my brethren dear, 

Good fortune I had you to see ; 
Which way do you go ? pray let me know, 

For I want some company, 

O ! what is here to do ? then said Little John : 

Why ring all tliese bells ? said he ; 
What dog is a hanging ? Come, let us be ganging. 

That we the truth may see* 

Here is no dog a hanging, then one of them said, 

Good fellow, we tell unto thee ; 
But here is one dead, that will give us cheese and breads 

And it may be one single penny. 

We have brethren in London, another he said, 

So have we in Coventry, 
In Barwick and Dover, and all the world over. 

But ne'er a crookt carril like thee. 

Therefore stand thee back, thou crooked car^l, 
And take that knock on the crown. 

Nay, said Little John, He not yet be gone, 
For a bout will I have of you round. 


Now have at yott all, then said Little John, 

If you be so full of your blows ; 
Fight on all four, and nere give ore, 

Whether you be friends or foes. 

John nipped the dumb, and made him to rore, 

And the blind * he made to' see ; 
And he that a cripple had been seven years. 

He made run then faster than he. 

And flinging them all against the wall. 

With many a sturdy bang, 
It made John sing, to hear the gold ring, ^ 

Which again the walls cryed twang. 

Then he got out of the beggers cloak 

Three hundred pound in gold ; 
Good fortune had I, then said Little John, 

Such a good sight to behold. 

But what found he in the beggar's bag 

But three hundred pound and three ? 
*< If I drink water while this doth last, 

Then an ill death may I dye. 

And my begging trade I will now give ore, 

My fortune hath bin so good; 
Therefore He not stay, but I will away. 

To the forrest of merry Sherwood." 

And when to the forrest of Sherwood he came, 

He quickly there did see 
His master good, bold Robin Hood, 

And all his company. 

What news? What news? then said Robin Hood, 

Come, Little John, tell unto me ; 
How hast thou sped with thy beggers trade ? 

For that I fain would see. 

I S 


No news but good, said Little John, 

With begging ful wel I have sped ; 
Six hundred and three I have here for thee, 

In silver and gold so red. 

* Then ' Robin Hood took Little John by the hand, 

And danced about the oak tree : 
** If we drink water while this doth last, 

Then an il death may we die.*' 

So to conclude my merry new song, 

All you that delight it to sing ; 
'Tis of Robin Hood, that archer good, 

And how Little John went a begging. 




No ancient copy of this ballad having been met withf it 
is given from an edition of " Robin Hoods Garland^* 
printed some years since at York^ The tune is ** Arthur a 

When Phoebus had melted the ^ sickles ' of ice, 
With a hey doum, 8fc. 

And likewise the mountains of snow, 
Bold Robin Hood he would ramble away, 

To frolick abroad with his bow. 

He left all his merry men waiting behind. 
Whilst through the green vallics he pass'd, 

Where he did behold a forester bold, 
Whocry'dout, Friend, waithersofast2 


I am going, quoth Robin, to kill a fat buck 

For me and my merry men all ; 
Besides, ere I go, I'll have a fat doe, 

Or else it shall cost me a fall. 

You'd best have a care, said the forester then, 
For these are his majesty's deer ; 

Before you shall shoot, the thing 1*11 dispute, 
For I am head forester here. 

These thirteen long summers, quoth Robin, I'm sure, 

My arrows I here have let fly, 
Where freely I range ; methinks it is strange 

You should have more power than I. 

This forest, quoth Robin, I think is my own, 

And so are the nimble deer too ; 
Therefore I declare, and solemnly swear, 

ru not be affronted by you» 

The forester he had a long quarter staff. 

Likewise a broad sword by his side ; 
Without more ado, he presently drew, 

Declaring the truth should be try'd. 

Bold Robin Hood had a sword of the best, 

Thus, ere he would take any wrong, 
His courage was flush, he'd venture a brush, 

And thus they fell to it ding dong. 

The very first blow that the forester gave, 
He made his broad weapon cry twang; 

'Twas over the head, he fell down for dead, 
O that was a damnable bang ! 

But Robin he soon recovered himself. 

And bravely fell to it again ; 
The very next stroke their weapons they broke^, 

Yet never a man there was «lain. 


At quarter staff then they resolved to play, 
Because they would have the other bout; 

And brave Robin Hood right valiantly stood^ 
Unwilling he was to give out. 

Bold Robin he gave him very hard blows 

The other return'd them as fast ; 
At every stroke their jackets did smoke ; 

Three hours the combat did last. 

At length in a rage the forester grew, 

And cudgel'd bold Robin so sore, 
That he could not stand, so shaking his hand, 

He cry'd, Let us freely give o'er. 

Thou art a brave fellow, I needs must confess 

I never knew any so good ; 
Thou art fitting to be a yeoman for me, 

And range in the merry green wood. 

I'll give thee this ring as a token of love, 
For bravely thou hast acted thy part ; 

That man that can fight, in him I delight, 
And love him with all my whole heart. 

Robin Hood set his bugle horn to his mouth, 

A blast then he merrily blows ; 
His yeomen did hear, and strait did appear 

A hundred with trusty long bows. 

Now Little John came at the head of them all, 

Cloth'd in a rich mantle of green ; 
And likewise the rest were gloriously drest, 

A delicate sight to be seen ! 

Lo! these are my yeomen, said bold Robin Hood, 
And thou shalt be one of the train : 

A mantle and bow, and quiver also, 
I give them whom I entertain. 


The forester \villingly enter'd the list, 

They were such a beautiful sight ; 
Then with a long bow they shot a fat doe, 

And made a rich supper that night. 

What singing and dancing was in the green wood, 

For joy of another new matel 
With might and delight they spent all the night, 

And liv'd at a plentiful rate. 

The forester ne'er was so merry before. 

As then he was with these brave souls, 
Who never would fail, in wine, beer, or ale, 

To take off their cherishing bowls. 

Then Robin Hood gave him a mantle of green, 
Broad arrows, and curious long bow : 

This done, the next day, so gallant and gay, 
He marched them all on a row. 

Quoth he, My brave yeomen, be true to your trust, 
And then we may range the woods wide. 

They all did declare, and solemnly swear, 
They would conquer, or die by his side. 




" Being an account of their first meetingy their fierce cn- 
iounter, and conquest. To which is added, their friendly 
agreement ; and how he came to be called Little John, Tune 
of, Arthur a BlandJ" 

This ballad is named in a schedule of such things under an 
agreement between IV, Thackeray and others in 1689, (Col, 
Pepys, vol. 5, J but is here given as corrected from a copy 
in the « Collection of Old Ballads^'* 1723. 

When Robin Hood was about twenty years old, 
With a hey down^ down, and a down ; 

He happened to meet Little John, 
A jolly brisk blade, right fit for the trade, 

For he was a lusty young man. 

Tho' he was call'd Little, his limbs they were large, 

And his stature was seven foot high ; 
Whereever he came, they quak'd at his name, 

For soon he would make them to fly. 

How they came acquainted, I'll tell you in brief, 

If you would but listen awhile ; 
For this vei^ jest, among all the rest 

I think it may cause you to smile. 

For Robin Hood said to his jolly bowmdn. 

Pray tarry you here in this grove ; 
And see that you all observe well my call. 

While thorough the forest I rove. 


We have had no sport for these fourteen long days^ 

Therefore now abroad will I go ; 
Now should I be beat, and cannot retreat, 

My horn I will presently blow. 

Then did he shake hands with his merry men all, 
And bid them at present good b' w'ye : 

Then, ^s near the brook his journey he took, 
A stranger he chanc'd to espy. 

They happened to meet on a long narrow bridge, 

And neither of them would give way; 
Quoth bold Robin Hood, and sturdily stood, 

I'll shew you right Nottingham play. 

With that from his quiver an arrow he dr^w, 

A broad arrow with a goose-wing. 
The stranger reply 'd, I'll liquor thy hide. 

If thou offer to touch the string. 

Quoth hold Robin Hood, Thou dost prate like an ass, 

For were I to bend but my bow, 
I could send a dart, quite thro' thy proud heart. 

Before thou -could'st strike me one blow. 

Thou talk^st like a coward, the stranger reply*d; 

Well arm'd with a long bow you stand. 
To shoot at my breast, while I, I protest. 

Have nought but a staff in my hand. 

The name of a coward, quoth Robin, I scorn, 
Therefore my long bow I'll lay by j 

And now, for thy sake, a staff will I take, 
The truth of thy manhood to try. 

Then IRobin Hood stept to a thicket of trees, 
And chose him a staff of ground oak ; 

Now this being done, away he did run 
To the ttraugeiv and merrily spoke i 


Lo I see my staff is lusty and tough, 
Now here on the bridge we will play ; 

Whoever falls in, the other shall win 
The battle, and so we'll away. 

With all my whole heart, the stranger reply'd, 

I scorn in the least to give out ; 
This said, they fell to't without more dispute. 

And their staffs they did flourish about. 

At first Robin he gave the stranger a bang, 
So hard that he made his bones ring ; 

The stranger he said, This must be repaid, 
ril give you as good as you bring. 

So long as I am able to handle a staff, 
To die in your debt, friend, I scorn. 

Then to it each goes, and follow'd their blows, 
As if they'd been threshing of corn. 

The stranger gave Robin a crack on the crown, 
Which caused the blood to appear ; 

Then Robin enrag'd, more fiercely engaged, 
And follow'd his blows more severe. 

So thick and so fast did he lay it on him, 
With a passionate fury and ire ; 

At every stroke he made him to smoke. 
As if he had been all on fire. 

then into fury the stranger he grew. 
And gave him a damnable look, 

And with it a blow, that laid him full low. 
And tumbl'd him into the brook. 

1 prithee, good fellow, o where art thou now ? 
The stranger, in laughter, he cry'd. 

Quoth bold Robin Hood, Good faith, in the flood, 
And floating {ilong with the tide. 


I needs must acknowledge thou art a brave soul, 

With thee I'll no longer contend ; 
For needs must I say, thou hast got the day, 

Our battel shall be at an end. 

Then unto the bank he did presently wade, 

And pull'd himself out by a thorn ; 
Which done, at the last he blow'd a loud blast 

Straitway on his fine bugle-horn : 

The echo of which through the vallies did fly, 

At which his stout bowmen appear'd, 
All clothed in green, most gay to be seen, 

So up to their master they steer'd. 

O, what's the matter ? quoth William Stutely, 

Good master you are wet to the skin. 
No matter, quoth he, the lad which you see 

In fighting hath tumbl'd me in. 

He shall not go scot-free, the others reply'd ; 

So strait they were seizing him there, 
To duck him likewise : but Robin Hood cries, 

He is a stout fellow ; forbear. 

There's no one shall wrong thee, friend, be not afraid ; 

These bowmen upon me do wait; 
There's threescore and nine ; if thou wilt be mine. 

Thou shalt have my livery strait. 

And other accoutrements fit for a man ; 

Speak up, jolly blade, never fear. 
I'll teach you also the use of the bow, 

To shoot at the fat fallow deer. 

O, here is my hand, the stranger reply'd, 

I'll serve you with all my whole heart ; 
My name is John Little, a man of good mettle ; 

Ne're doubt me, for I'll play my part* 



His name shall be alter'd, quoth William Stutely, 

And I will his godfather be ; 
Prepare then a feast, and none of the least. 

For we will be merry, quoth he. 

They presently fetch'd him a brace of fat does, 
With humming strong liquor likewise ; 

They lov'd what was good ; so, in tlie green wood, 
This pretty sweet babe they baptize. 

He was, I must tell you, but seven foot high, 

And, may be, an ell in the waste ; 
A sweet pretty lad : much feasting they had ; 

Bold Robin the christening grac'd. 

With all his bowmen, which stood in a ring. 
And were of the Nottingham breed ; 

Brave Stutely came then, with seven yeoman, 
And did in this manner proceed. 

This infant was called John Little, quoth he ; 

Which name shall be changed anon : 
The words we'll transpose ; so wherever he goes, 

His name shall be call'd Little John. 

They all with a shout made the elements ring ; 

So soon as the office was ore, 
To feasting they went, with true merriment. 

And tippl'd strong liquor gillore. 

Then Robin he took the pretty sweet babe, 
And cloath'd him from top to the toe. 

In garments of green, most gay to be seen, 
And gave him a curious long bow. 

*.* Thou shalt be an archer as well as the best, 
And range in the green wood with us ; 

Where we'll not want gold nor silver, behold, 
While bishops have ought in their purse. 


We live here like 'squires, or lords of renown, 

Without ere a foot of tree land ; 
We feast on good cheer, with wine, ale, and beer, 

And ev'ry thing at our command." 

Then musick and dancing did finish the day ; 

At length, when the sun waxed low, 
Then all the whole train the grove did refrain^ 

And unto their caves they did go. 

And so, ever after, as long as he liv'd, 

Altho' he was proper and tall, 
Yet, nevertheless, the truth to express, 

Still Little John they did him call. 



This excellent ballad, given from the common edition of 
Aldeiinary-church-yardy (compared with the York copy,) is 
supposed to be modern : the story ^ however, seems alluded to 
in the ballad of " Renowned Robin Hood," The full title is 
" The bishop of Herefords entertainment by Robin Hood and 
Little John, ifc, in merry Barnsdale" 

Home they will talk of bold Robin Hood, 

And some of barons bold ; 
But ru tell you how he serv'd the bishop of Hereford, 

When he robb'd him of his gold. 

As it befel in merry Barnsdale, 

* Air under the green-wood-tree, 
The bishop of Hereford was to come by, 

With all his company. 



Come, kill [me] a ven'son, said bold Robin Hood, 

Come, kill me a good fat deer, 
The bishop of Hereford is to dine with me to-day, 

And he shall pay well for his cheer. 

We'll kill a fat ven'son, said bold Robin Hood, 

And dress it by the highway side; 
And we will watch the bishop narrowly. 

Lest some other way he should ride. 

Robin Hood dress'd himself in shepherd's attire, 

With six of his men also ; 
And, when the bishop of Hereford came by, 

They about the fire did go. 

O what is the matter? then said the bishop, 
Or for whom do you make this a-do ? 

Or why do you kill the king's ven'son, 
When your company is so few ? 

We are shepherds, said bold Robin Hood, 

And we keep sheep all the year, 
And we are disposed to be merry this day, 

And to kill of the king's fat deer. 

You are brave fellows ! said the bishop. 
And the king of your doings shall know : 

Therefore make haste, and come along with me, 
For before the king you shall go. 

O pardon, O pardon, said bold Robin Hood, 

O pardon, I thee pray ; 
For it becomes not your lordships coat 

To take so many lives away. 

No pardon, no pardon, said the bishdp, 

No pardon I thee owe ; 
Therefore make haste, and come along with me, 

For before the king you shall go. 


Then Rubin set his back against a tree, 

And his foot against a thorn, 
And from underneath his shepherds coat 

He puird out a bugle born. 

He put the little end to his mouth, 

And a loud blast did he blow, 
*Til! threescore and ten of bold Robin's men 

Came running all on a row : 

All making obeysance to bold Robin Hood j 

'Twas a comely sight for to see. 
What is the matter, master, said Little John, 

That you blow so hastily ? 

*< O here is the bishop of Hereford, 

And no pardon we shall have." 
Cut off his head, master, said Little Jobn^ 

And throw him into his grave. 

O pardon, O pardon, said the bishop, 

O pardon I thee pray ; 
For if I had known it had been you, 

I'd have gone some other way. 

No pardon, no pardon, said bold Robin Hood, 

No pardon I thee owe ; 
Therefore make haste, and come along with me, 

For to merry Barnsdale you shall go. 

Then Robin he took the bishop by the hand, 

And led him to merry Barnsdale ; 
He made him to stay and sup with him that night, 

And to drink wine, beer, and ale. 

Call in a reckoning, said the bishop. 
For methinks it grows wond'rous high. 

Lend me your purse, master, said Little John, 
And I'll tell you bye and bye. 
T 3 


Then Little John took the bishop's cloak, 

And spread it upon the ground, 
And out of the bishop's portmantua 

He told three hundred pound. 

Here's money enough, master, said Little John, 

And a comely sight 'tis to see; . 
It makes me in charity with the bisndp, 

Tho' he heartily loveth not me. 

Robin Hood took the bishop by the hand, 

And he caused the music to play ; 
And he made the [old] bishop to dance in his bootf^ 

And glad he could so get away. 



This halladf from the York edition of ^* Robin Hoods 
garland,'* is probably one of the oldest extant of which he 
is the subject. In the more common editions is a modernised 
copy, in which the " silly old woman" is converted in " a 
gay lady ;" but even this is more ancient than most of the 
pieces here inserted, and is intitled by its meiit to a place 
in the appendix. 

There are twelve months in all the year, 

As I hear many say, 
But the merriest month in all the year 

Is the merry month of May, 


Now Robin If cod is to Nottingham gone, 

With a link a down, and a day, 
And there he met a silly old woman, 

Was weeping on the way. 

" What news? what news? thou silly old woman, 

What news hast thou for me ?" 
Said she, There's three squires in Nottingham town, 

To-day * are* condemned to die. 

Ob, have they parishes burnt ? he said. 
Or have they ministers slain ? 

^* They have no parishes burnt, good sir, 
Nor yet have ministers slain, 


Oh, what have they done ? md Robin Hood, 

I pray thee tell to me. 
" It's for slaying of the king's fallow deer, 

Bearing their long bows with thee." 

Dost thou not mind, old woman, he said, 

Since thou made me sup and dine ? 
By the truth of my body, quoth bold Robin Hood, 

You could not tell it in better time. 

Now Robin Hood is to Nottingham gone. 

With a link, a down, and a * day,' 
And there he met with a silly old palmer, 

Was walking along the highway. 

<< What news ? what news? thou silly old man, 

What news, I do thee pray ?" 
Said he, Three squires in Nottingham ioyfUi 
' Are condemn' d to die this day. 


*' Come change thy apparel with me, old maii^ 
Come change thy apparel for mine j 

Here is forty shillings in good silver, 
Go drink it in beer or wine." 

Oh, thine apparel is good, he said, 
K. And mine is ragged and torn ; 

TVhereever you go, wherever you ride, 
Laugh ne'er an old man to scorn. 

** Come change thy apparel with me, old churl, 
Come change thy apparel with mine ; 

Here are twenty pieces of good broad gold, 
Go feast thy brethren with wine." 

Then he put on tlie old man's hat, 
It stood full high on the crown : 

*^ The first bold bargain that 1 come at, 
It shall make thee come down.'' 

Then he put on the old man's cloak, 
Was patch'd black, blew, and red ; 

He thought it no shame, all the day long, 
To wear the bags of bread. 

Then he put on the old man's breeks, 

Was patch'd from ballnp to side : 
By the truth of my body, bold Robin can say, 

This man lov'd little pride. 

Then he put on the old man's hose, 

Were patch'd from knee to wrist : 
By the truth of my body, said bold Robin Hood^ 

I'd laugh if I had any list. 

Then he put on the old man's shoes. 
Were patch'd both beneath and aboon ; 

Then Robin Hood swore a solemn oath, 
It's good habit that makes a man* 


Now Robin Hood is to Nottingham gaiie. 

With a link a down and a down, 
And there he met with the proud sheriff, 

Was walking along the town. 

Oh * Christ you' save, oh, sheriff, he said, 

Oh * Christ you save and see ;' 
And what will you give to a silly old man 

To-day will your hangman be ? 

Some suits, some suits, the sheriff he said^ 

Some suits I'll give to thee ; 
Some suits, some suits, and pence thirteen, 

To-day's a hangman's fee. 

Then Robin he turns him round about, 

And jumps from stock to stone : 
By the truth of my body, the sheriff he said, 

That's well jumpt, thou nimble old man. 

I was ne'er a hangman in all my life, 

Nor yet intends to trade ; 
But curst be he, said bold Robin, 

That first a hangman was made. 

I've a bag for meal, and a bag for malt. 

And a bag for barley and corn ; 
A bag for bread, and a bag for beef. 

And a bag for my little small horn. 

I have a horn in my pocket, 

I got it from Robin Hood, 
And still when I set it to my mouth, 

For * thee' it blows little good. 

** Oh, wind thy horn, thou proud felWw, 

Of thee I have no doubt ; 
J. wish that thou give such a blast, 

Till both thy eyes fall out." 


The first loud blast that he did blow, 
He blew both loud and shrill ; 

A hundred and fifty of Robin Hood's mera 
Came riding over the hill. 

The next loud blast that he did give, 
He blew both loud and amain, 

And quickly sixty of Robin Hood's men^ 
Came shining over the plain. 

Oh, who are * those,' the sheriff he said. 

Come tripping over the lee ? 
They're my attendants, brave Robin did sa 

They'll pay a visit to thee. 

They took the gallows from the slack, 

They set it in the glen, 
They hang'd the proud sheriff on that, 

^eleas'd their own three men. 


This hallad, which has never been inserted in any of the 
publications intitled ^* Robin Hoods garland,^^ is given from 
an old black letter copy in the collection of Anthony H, IVood, 
Its full title is, *' A famous battle between Robin Hood and 
maid Marian ; declaring their love^ life, and liberty. Tune, 
Robin Hood revived," 

A BONNY fine maid of a noble degree, 

With a hey down, down, a down, down, 

Maid Marian cali'd by name, 
Did live in the North, of excellent worthy 

For she was a gallant dame. 


For favour and face, and beauty most rare, 

Queen Hellen shee did excell : 
For Marian then was prais'd of all men, 

That did in the country dwell. 

Twas neither Rosamond nor Jane Shore, 

Whose beauty was clear and bright, 
That could surpass this country lass, 

Beloved of lord and knight. 

The earl of Huntingdon, nobly born. 

That came of noble blood, 
To Marian went, with a good intent^ 

By the name of Robin Hood. 


But fortune bearing these lovers a spight, 
That soon they were forced to part : 

To the merry green wood then went Robin Hood, 
With a sad and sorrowfull heart. 

And Marian, poor soul, was troubled in mind, 

For the absence of her friend ; 
With finger in eye, shee often did cry, 

And his person did much comend. 

Perplexed and vexed, and troubled in mind, 

Shee drest herself like a page, 
And ranged the Mrood, to find Robin Hood, 

The bravest of men in that age. 

With quiver and bow, sword, buckler, and all, 
Thus armed was Marian most bold, 

Still wandering about, to find Robin out, 
Whose person was better than goM. 



But Robiu Hood, hee, himself had disguised, 
And Marian was strangely attir*d, 

That they prov'd foes, and so fell to blowes, 
Whose vallour bold Robin admir'd. 

They drew out their swords, and to cutting they went, 

At least an hour or more, 
That the blood ran apace from bold Robins face, 

And Marian was wounded sore. 

O hold thy hand, hold thy hand, said Robin Hood| 

And thou shalt be one of my string, 
To range in the wood, with bold Robin Hood, 

And hear the sweet uightingall sing. 

When Marian did hear the voice of her love, 

Her self shee did quickly discover, 
And with kisses sweet, she did him greet. 

Like to a most loyall lover. 

When bold Robin Hood his Marian did see, 

Good lord, what clipping was there! 
With kind embraces, and jobbing of faces, 

Providing of gallant cheer. 

Tor Little John took his bow in his hand, 

And ' wandred' in the wood. 
To kill the deer, and make good chear. 

For Marian ancl Robin Hood. 

A stately banquet < they* had full soon, 

All in a shaded bower, 
Where venison sweet they had to eat, 

And were merry that present hour. 

Great flaggons of wine were set on the board, 

And merrily they drunk round 
Their boules of sack * * * » 


First Rubin Hood began a health 

To Marian his onely dear ; 
And his yeomen all, both conily and tall, 

Did quickly bring up the rear; 

For in a brave venie they tost off the bonis. 

Whilst thus they did remain ; 
And every cup, as they drank up, 

They filled with speed again, 

At last they ended their merryment, 

And went to walk in the wood, 
Where little John, and maid Marian, 

Attended on bold Robin Hood. 

In sollid content together they liv'd. 

With all their yeomen cay ; 
They liv'd by < tlieir' 4iands, without any lands, 

And so they did many a day. 

But now to conclude an end I will make, 

In time as I think it good ; 
For the people that dwell in the North can teU 

Of Marian and bold Robin Hood. 



King Richard hearing of the pranks 
Of Robin Hood and his men, 

He much admir'd, and more desired 
To see both him and them. 


Then, with a dozen of his lords, 

To Nottingham he rode ; 
When he came there, he made good cheer, 

And took up his abode. 

He having staid there some time, 

But had no hopes to speed, 
He and his lords, with one accord, 

All put on monk's weeds. 

From Fountain-abbey they did ride, 

Down to Barnsdale ; 
Where Robin Hood prepared stood 

All company to assail. 

The king was higher than the rest. 

And Robin thought he had 
An abbot been whom he had seen, 

To rob him he was glad. 

He took the king's horse by the head, 

Abbot, says he, abide ; 
I am bound to rue such knaves as you, 

That live in pomp and pride. 

But we are messengers from the king, 

The king himself did say ; 
Near to this place his royal grace 

To speak with thee does stay. 

God save the king, said Robin Hood, 

And all that wish him well ; 
He that does deny his sovereignty, 

I wish he was in hell. 

Thyself thou cursedst, says the king. 

For thou a traitor art. 
" Nay, but that you are his messenger, 

I swear you lie in heart. 


For I never yet hurt any man 

That honest is and true ; 
But those who give their minds to live 

Upou other mens due. 

I never hurt the * husbandmen,* 

That use to till the ground : 
Nor spill their blood who range the wood, 

To follow hawk or hound. 

My chiefest spite to clergy is, 

Who in these days bear great sway ; 

With fryars and monks, with their fine sprunks, 
T make my chiefest prey." 

Rut I am very glad, says Robin Hood, 

That I have met you here ; 
Come, before we end, you shall, my friend. 

Taste of our green- wood cheer. 

The king he then did marvel much, 

And so did all his men ; 
They thought with fear, what kind of cheer, 

Robin would provide for them. 

Robin took the king's horse by the head, 

And led him to his tent : 
Thou wouldst not be so us'd, quoth he, 

But that my king thee sent. 

Nay, more than that, quoth Robin Hood, 

For good king Richard's sake. 
If you had as much gold as ever I told, 

I would not one penny take. 

Then Robin set his horn to his mouth. 

And a loud blast he did blow, 
'Till a hundred and ten of Robin Hood's men. 

Came marching all of a row. 
u 2 


And when they came bold Robin before, 
Each man did bend liis knee : 

O, thought the king, 'tis a gallant thing, 
And a seemly sight to see. 

Within himself the king did say, 
These men of Robin Hood's 

More humble be than mine to me ; 
So the court may learn of the woods. 

So then they all to dinner went, 

Upon a carpet green ; 
Black, yellow, red, finely mingled, 

Most curious to be seen. 

Veriison and fow^s were plenty there, 

With fish out of the river : 
King Richard swcre, on sea or shore, 
He never was feasted belter. 

Then Robin takes a cann of ale : 

" Come, let «s now begin ; 
And every man shall have his cann : 

Here's a health unto the king." 

Tlje king himself drank to the king, 

So round about it went ; 
Two barrels of ale, both stout and stale, 

To pledge that health was spent. 

And, after tlwt, a bowl of wine 
In his hand took Robin Hood; 

Until I die, I'll drink wine, said he. 
While I live in the green wood. 

Bend all your bows, said Robin Hood, 
And with the grey-goose-wing. 

Such sport now show, as you would do 
In the presence of the king. 


They shewed such brave archery, 

By cleaving sticks and wands, 
That the king did say, such men as they 

Live not in many lands. 

Well, Robin Hood, then says the king, 

If I could thy pardon get, 
To serve the king in every thing 

Would'st thou thy mind firm set? 

Yes, * with all' my heart, bold Robin said, 

So they flung off their hoods. 
To serve the king in every thing, 

They swore they would spend their * bloods.' 

For a clergyman was first my bane, 

Which makes me hate them all. 
But if you will be so kind to me, 

Love them again I shall. 

The king no longer could forbear. 
For he was mov'd with * truth,' 

" I am the king, < your' sovereign king, 
That appears before you all." 

When Robin saw that it was he, 
Strait then he down did fall. 

Stand up again, then said the king, 

I'll tliee thy pardon give ; 
Stand up my friend, who can contend, 

When I give leave to live ? 

So they are all gone to Nottingham, 
All shouting as they came : 

But when the people them did see. 
They thought the king was slain ; 
u 3 


And for that cause the outlaws were come. 

To rule all as they list; 
And for to shun, which * way* to run, 

The people did not wist. 

The plowman left the plow in the fields. 
The smith ran from his shop ; 

Old folks also, thai scarce could go. 
Over their sticks did hop. 

The king soon did let thera understand 
He had been in the green-wood, 

And from that day, for evermore, 
He'd forgiven Robin Hood. 

Then [when] the people they did hear, 

And [thatj the truth was known. 
They all did sing, God save the king ! 

Hang care, the town's our own I 

What's that Robin Hood ? then said the sfaeriif, 

That varlet I do hate ; 
Both me and mine he caused to dine. 

And serv'd us all with one plate. 

Ho, ho, said Robin Hood, I know what you mean, 

Come, take your gold again ; 
Be friends with me, and I with thee,^ 

And so with every man. 

Now, master sheriff, you are paid, 

And since you are beginner, 
As well as you give me my due, 

For you ne'er paid for that dinner. 

But if * that it' should please the king. 

So much your house to grace, 
To sup with you, for, to speak true, 

[IJ know you ne'er was base. 


The sheriff [this] could not gainsay, 

For a trick was put upon him ; 
A supper was drest, the king was a guest, 

But he thought 'twould have outdone him. 

They are all gone to London court, 

Robin Hood with all his train ; 
He once was there a noble peer, 

And now he's there again. 

Many such pranks brave Robin play'd, 

While he liv'd in the green wood : 
Now, my friend, attend, and hear an end 

Of honest Robin Hood. 


When as the sheriff of Nottingham 
Was come with mickle grief. 

He talk'd no good of Robin Hood, 
That strong and sturdy thief. 
Fal la dal de. 

So unto London road he past. 

His losses to unfold 
To king Richard, who did regard 

The tale that he had told. 

Why, quoth the king, what shall I do f 
Art thou not sheriff for me ? 

The law is in force, to take thy course 
Of them that injure thee. 


Go get thee gone, and by thyself 

Devise some tricking game, 
Jor to enthral yon rebels all, 

Go take thy course with them. 

So away the sheriff he return'd, 

And by the way he thought 
Of th' words of the king, and how the thing 

To pass might well be brought. 

For within his mind he imagined, 
That when such matches were, 

Those outlaws stout, without all doubt, 
Would be the bowmen there. 

So an arrow with a golden head. 

And shaft of silver-white. 
Who on the day should bear away 

For his own proper right. 

Tidings came to bold Robin Hood, 

Under the green-wood tree : 
" Come prepare you then, my merry men, 

We'll go yon sport to see." 

With that stept forth a brave young man, 

David of Doucaster, 
Master, said he, be rul'd by me, 

From the green wood we'll not stir. 

To tell the truth, Tm well inform'd, 

Yon match it is a wile ; 
The sheriff, I wiss, devises this 

Us archers to beguile. 

Thou smells of a coward, said Robin Hood, 

Thy words do not please me ; 
Come on't what will, I'll try my skill, 

At yon brave archery. 


then bespoke brave Little John, 
Come let us thither gang ; 

Come listen to me, how it shall be^ 
That we need not be ken'd. 

Our mantles all of Lincoln-green 

Behind us we will leave ; 
We'll dress us all so several, 

They shall not us perceive. 

One shall wear white, another red, 

One yellow, another blue ; 
Thus iu disguise, ' to' the exercise 

We'll gang, whate'er insue. 

Forth from the green wood they are gone, 

With hearts all firm and stout, 
Resolving [then] with the sheriflPs men 

To have a hearty bout. 

So themselves they mixed with the rest, 

To prevent all suspicion ; 
For if they should together hold 

They thought it no discretion. 

So the sheriff looking round about. 

Amongst eight hundred men, 
But could not see the sight that he^ 

Had long suspected then. 

Some said. If Robin Hood was here, 

And all his men to boot. 
Sure none of them could pass these men. 

So bravely they do shoot. 

Ay, quoth the sheriff, and scratch'd his head, 
I thought he would have been here ; 

1 thought he would, but tho' he's bold, 
tie durst not now appear. 


O that word griev'd Robin Hood to the heart, 

He vexed in his blood ; 
Ere long, thought he, thou shalt well see 

That here was Robin Hood. 

Some cried. Bluejacket! another cried, Brown! 

And a third cried, Brave yellow ! 
But the fourth man said, Yon man in red 

In this place has no fellow. 

For that was Robin Hood himself, 

For he was cloath'd in red ; 
At every shot the prize he got, 

For he was both sure and dead. 

So the arrow with the golden head, 

And shaft of silver-white. 
Brave Robin Hood won, and bore with him. 

For his own proper right. 

These outlaws there, that very day, 

To shun all kinds of doubt, 
By three or four, no less nor more, 

As they went in came out. 

Untill they all assembled were 

Under the green-wood shade, 
Where they * report,' in pleasant sporty 

What brave pastime they made. 

Says Robin Hood, all my care is, 

How that yon sheriff may 
Know certainly that it was I. 

That bore his arrow away. 

Says Little John, My counsel good 

Did take effect before, 
So therefore now, if you'll allow. 

I will advise once more. 


Speak on, speak on, said Robin Hood, 
Thy wit's both quick and sound, 


This I advise, said Little John, 

That a letter shall be penn'd> 
And when it is done, to Nottingham 

You to the sheriff shall send. 

That is well advised, said Robin Hood, 

But how must it be sent? 
** Pugh ! when you please, 'tis done with ease ; * 

Master, be you content. 

I'll stick it on ray aiTow's hciad. 

And shoot it into the town ; 
The mark must show where it must go, 

Whenever it lights down." 

The project it was well perform'd, 

The sheriff that letter had. 
Which when he read, he scratch'd his head, 

And rav'd like one that's mad. 

So we'll leave him chafing in * his' grease. 

Which will do him no good : 
Now, my friends, attend, and hear the end 

Of honest Robin Hood. 



'* Together with an account of his] death and burial, Sfc, 
Tune ^ Robin Hood and the fifteen foresters*^ From the 
tommon garland of Aldermary -church-yard ; corrected by thi 
York copy. 

When Robin Hood, and his merry meu all^ 
Derry down, doivn, 
Had reigned many years, 
The king was then told that they had been bold 
To his bishops and qoble peers. 

Hey down, derry derry down. 

Therefore they called a council of state, 
To know what was best to be done, 

For to (Jiiell their pride, or else they reply'd 
The land would be over-run. 

Having consulted a whole summer's day, 

At length it was agreed, 
Tliat one should be sent to try the event, 

And fetch him away wiih speedy 

Therefore a trusty and most worthy knight 

The king was pleasM to call. 
Sir William by name; when to him he came^ 

He told him his pleasure all. 

** Go yon from hence to bold Robin Hood, 
And bid him, without more ado, 

Surrender himself, or else the proud elf 
Shall suffer with all his crew. 


Take here a hundred bowmen brave, 

All chosen men of great might, 
Of excellent art to take thy part, 

In glittering armour most bright.'' 

Then said the kyight, My sovereign liege, 

By me they siiall be led ; 
I'll venture my blood against bold Robin Hood, 

And bring him alive or dead. 

One hundred men were chosen straight, 

As proper as e'er men saw: 
On Midsummer-day they marched away^ 

To conquer that brav'ie outlavv. 

With long yew bows, and shining spears. 

They march'd with mickle pride, 
And never delay'd, nor halted, nor stay'd 

'Till they came to the green-wood side. 

Said he to his archers, Tarry here, 

Your bows make ready all. 
That if need should be, you may follow ipe, 

And see you observe my call. 

I'll fijo first in person, he cry'd. 

With the letters of my good king, 
Well sigu'd and seal'd, and if he will yield, 

We need not to draw one string. 

He wander'd about 'till at length he came 

To the tent of Robin Hood ; 
The letter he shows; bold Robin arose, 

And there on his guard he stood. 

They'd have me surrender, quoth bold Robin Hood, 

And lie at their mercy then ; 
But tell them from me, that never shall be, 

While I have full seven score men. 


23a ROBIN HOOD, &c. 

Sir "William the knight, bcth hardy and bold, 

He olfer'd to seize him there, 
Which William Locksley by fortune did see, 

And bid him that trick to forbear. 

Then Robin Hood set his horn to his mouth, 

And blew a blast or twain, 
And so did the knight, at which there in sight 

The archers came all amain. 

Sir William with care he drew up his men, 
And plac'd them in battle-array ; 

Bold Robin, we find, he was not behind : 
Now this was a bloody fray. 

The archers on both sides bent their bows, 

And the clouds of arrows flew; 
The very first flight that honour'd knight 

Did there bid the world adieu* 

Yet nevertheless their fight did last 

From morning till almost noon ; 
Both parties were stout, and loth to give out, 

This was on the last day of June. 

At length they left off; one party they went 
To Loudon with right good will ; 

And Robin Hood he to the green-wood tree. 
And there he was taken ill. 

He sent for a monk, to let him blood. 

Who took his life away ; 
Now this being done, his archers they run, 

It was not a time to stay. 

Some got on board and cross'd the seas. 
To Flanders, France, and Spain, 

And others to Rome, tor fear of their doom, 
But saou return'd again. 



'* Shewing how he was taken illy and how he went to his 
6ousin at Kirkley-hall^ who let him blood, which was the came 
of his death. Tune of Robin Hoods last farewel, &c." 

This very old and curious piece is preserved solely in the 
editions of " Robin Hood's garland ^^ printed at Yorkf where 
it is made to conclude with some foolish lines, (adopted from 
the London copy of the preceding ballad,) in order to introduce 
the epitaph. It is here given from a collation oftico different 
copieSj containing numerous variations. 

When Robin Hood and Little John^ 
Down a down, a down, a doum, 
"Went o'er yon bank of broom, 
Said Robin Hood to Little John, 
We have shot for many a pound: 
JJey down, a down, a down. 

But I am not able to shoot one shot more, 

My arrows will not flee ; 
But I have a cousin lives down below, 

Please god, she will bleed me. 

Now Robin is to fair Kirkley gone, 

As fast as he can win ; 
But before he came there, as we do hear. 

He was taken very ill. 

And when that he came to fair Kirkley-hall, 

He knock'd all at the ring, 
But none was so ready as his cousin herself 

For to let bold Robin in. 


Will you please to sit down, cousin Robin, she said, 

And drink some beer with me? 
*' No, I will neither eat nor drink, 

Till I am blooded by thee." 

Well, I have a room, cousin Robin, she said^ 

Which you did never see. 
And if you please to walk therein, 

You blooded by me shall be. 

She took him by the lilly-white hand. 

And let him to a private room, 
And there she blooded bold Robin Hood, 

Whilst one drop of blood would run. 

She blooded him in the vein of the arm, 

And lock'd him up in the room ; 
There did he bleed all the live-long day, 

Until the next day at noon. 

He then bethought him of a casement door. 

Thinking for to be gone, 
He was so weak he could not leap. 

Nor he could not get down. 

He then bethought him of his bugle-horn. 

Which hung low down to his knee. 
He set his horn unto his mouth, 

And blew out weak blasts three* 

Then Little John, when hearing him. 

As he sat under the tree, 
" I fear my master is near dead. 

He blows so wearily." 

Then Little John to fair Kirkley is gone. 

As fast as he can dree ; 
But when he came to Kirkley-hall, 

He broke locks two or three; 


Until! he came bold Robin to, 

Then he fell on his knee ; 
A boon, a boon, cries Little John, 

Master, I beg of thee. 

What is that boon, quoth Kobin Hood, 

Little John, thou begs of me ? 
" It is to burn fair Kirkley-hall, 

And all their Hunn,ery." 

Now nay, now nay, quoth Robin Hood, 

That boon FU not grant thee ; 
I never * hurt woman in all my life, 

Nor man in woman's company. 

I never hurt fair maid in all my time, 

Nor at my end shall it be ; 
But give me my bent bow in my hand. 

And a broad arrow I'll let flee j 
And where this arrow is taken up, 

There shall my grave digg'd be. 

Lay me a green sod imder my head, 

And another at my feet; 
And lay my bent bow by my side, 

Which was my music sweet ; 
And make my grave of gravel and green, 

Which is most right and meet. • 

Let me have length and breadth enough. 

With a green soM under my head ; 
That they may say, when I am dead, 

Here lies bold Robin Hood. 

These words they readily promis'd him, 

Which did byld Rubin please : 
And there they buried bold Robin Hood, 

Near to the fair Kirkl^ys. 

X $ 



Air, early, 

Alderbest, best of all. 

Angels, pieces of gold coin 
value 10s, 

Anker, hermit, anchorite, 

Ar, ere. 

Asay, Asayed, essayed, try- 
edf proved. 

A sound f in a swoon, 

Annsetters ancestors. 

Avow, Avowe, vow, 

Avowe, maintain, verbum 

A vow^, /©under, patron, pro- 

Awayte, awayte me scathe, 
lye in wait to do me harm, 

Awayted, lay in wait for. 

A wet, wit, know. 

Awkwarde, backward. 

Ayenst, against. 

Baist, Baste, basted, beta* 

Baitb, both. 

Bale, mischief, woe, sorrow, 

Band-dogs, mastives; so call- 
ed from their being usually 
tyed or chained up at night. 

Ban is, bane, destruction. 

Bear, moan, lamentation, 

Bedeue, behind, one after 
another ? 

"Bedyng, asking, 

Beforen, before. 

Begeck, give them a be* 

geek, play them a trickf 
make fools of them, 

Behote, promised, 

Bescro, beshrew, 

Bestad, ferre and friend 
bestad, /ar/rom home and 
without a friend. 

Bestead, beset, put to it. 

Beth, are, be. 

Blate, sheepish or foolish, as 
we should now say, 

Blive, belive, immediately, 

Bloschems, blossoms, 

B\y\e, fast, quickly, briskly. 

Booking, pouring, flowing. 

Bode, bidden, invited. 

Bolt, Bolte, Boites, Boltys, 
A bolt was an arrow of a 
particular kind, used for 
shooting at a mark or at 

Boote, help, 

Borde, table, 

Borowe, pledge, surety. 

Borrow, pledge, bail, 

liorowehode, suretyship, 

Boskyd, busked, prepared^ 
got ready. 

Bottys, buts, 

Bon, bow. 

Bound, betook, went ; bold- 
ly bound away, briskly 
scamper d off, 

Bowe, bough. 

Rown, ready, 

Bowne ye, prepare ye, get 



Boyt, both. 

Breyde, started, steped has- 
ty ly, 

Breyde, start, quick or 
hasty step. 

Broke, brook, eryoy, use, 

Bronde, brand, stcord. 

Brook, er^oy, 

Bushemcut, ambush* 

Buske, I wyll me buske, 
i. e. gOf betake myself^ 
bnske you, address or pre- 
pare yourselves, make rea- 

Bydene, one after another. 

Can, did, 

Cankardly, peevishly, with 
ill temper, 

CapuU hyde, horse hide. 

Card, carle, old fellow, 

Caward, awkward^ or back- 
ward, — See Awkwarde. 

Cerstyn, christian, 

Chaffar, chaffer, merchan- 
dise, commodity, 

Chepe, better chepe, cheap- 
er, very cheap, 

Cheys, choose, 

Cla'd, scratched. 

Clouted, patched, 

Commytted, accounted. 

Cote a pye, upper garment, 
short cloke, 

Coud, knew, understood. 

Co vent, convent; whence our 

Cowed, could, knew. 

Crack, boast. 

Craftely, skilfully, selE^un- 
duin artem. 

Crouse, brisk, 

Cun, con, owe, give, 

Curteyse; courteous. 

Cutters, sJiarking fellows. 

Dear, harm. 

Deft, well-looking, neatly 

Demed, judged, 
Derne, privy, secret, 
Deyell, devil, 
Deythe, dight^ dressed, 
Donne, dun, 
Doyt, doth, do. 
Dree, hye, 
DreyfFe, drive. 
Dub, shallow mirey pool. 
Dung, beaten, overcome, 
Durk, dagger, 
Dyght, dressed, done, 
Dysgrate, disgraced, 
Een, eyes, 
Eftsones, hereafter, after' 

Eild, age, 
Ender, under, 
Eylde, yield, 
Eyr, year. 

Fail, but fail, without fail, 
Failyd, wanted, missed. 
Fair, fare, ado. 
Fare, live. 

Farley, fairly, plainly. 
Fay, faith, 
Fayne, glad, 
Fe^fee, wages, 
Feardest, fearfulest, most 

frightened or afraid, 
Feders, feathers, 
Fende, defend, 
Fered, fared, lived, 
Ferre, far, ferre dayes, far 

in the day, 
Fette, fetched, 
Fetteled him, made him rea* 

dyy prepared himself, set 

Feyffe, Jive, 



Fiiuders, splinters, 

Fone, foes. 

Forbode, commandment. 

Forgone, foregOf lose, 

Fors, care, 

Forsoyt, forsooth, truly, 

Foryete, forgoten, 

Fostere, forester, 

Fothe, foot, 

Frae, from. 

Frebore, free-born, gentle, 

Fynly, goodly. 

Gate, way, 

Geffe, given, 

Ger, gear, stuff, goods, prO' 
perty, effects, 

Gillore, plenty, 

God, good, goods, property, 

Gorney, journey, 

Goy, joy, 

Graff, oke graff, oak-branch 
or sapling ? 

Gramercy, thanks, or many 
thanks; grand merci, F, 

Gree, satifaction, 

Gret, greeted, saluted, 

Grome, a common man ? 

Hail, all hail, whokly, en- 
tirely . 

Hart of Greece, means, per- 
haps, no more than a fat 
hart, for the sake of a quib- 
ble between Greece and 

Highed, hyed, hastened. 

Eight, what they hight, 
what they are called. 

Halfendell, half, 

Hals, neck, 

Hambellet, ambleth, 

Hawt, aught, any thing, 

Hayt, hath, 

Hende, gentle, courteous. 

Hent, took, caught, 

Hepe, hip, haw. 

Her, their, 

Het, it, 

Het, eat, 

Heynd, gentle, courteous. 

Holy, wholely, 

Hos, Hus, us, 

Hotys, oats, 

Hoosband, manager. 

Housbonde, husbandman^ 

How, hill. 
Howt, out, 

Hyght, vowed, promised, 
Hynde, knave, 
Ibent, bent. 
Ibonde, bound, 
Ichaunged, changed, 
Idyght, dight, dressed, made 

Ifedered, feathered, 
like, each. 
In fere, together, 
Inocked, nocked, notched. 
Iquyt, acquitted, set at li" 

Iswore, sworn, 
Itake, taken. 
Japes, tricks, 
Kest, cast. 

Kirtle, upper petticoat. 
Knave, servant, man. 
Kod, quod, quoth, said, 
Kyrtell, waistcoat? 
Lappe, v^ap. 
Late, lake, play, game f 
Launsgay, a sort of lance, 
Leasynge, lying, falsehood, 
Lede, train, suite. 
Ledesman, guide, 
Lee, plain. 
Lefe, willing, 
Leffes, leaiKs, 



Lende, meet, encounter* 

Lene, lewL 

Lere, learn, 

L,ere, cheek. 

Let, omit, hinder , hindered. 

Lever, rather. 

Lewtd, loyalty, faithy truth; 
leaul^, F. 

Ley the, light. 

Ligge, lay. 

Li 11) stop, stay. 

Lithe, attend, hear, hearken, 

LofFe, love. 

Lore, lost. 

Lough, Loughe, Low, 

Lowe, « a little hilV P. 

Lown, villain, knave, base 

Lynde, Lyne, thelimeor tin' 
den tree; or collectively lime 
trees; or trees in general. 

Ly veray, livery, habit, live- 
ry, delivery : the mess, 
portion, or quantity of 
provisions delivered out at 
a time by the butler was 
called a livery. 

Main, force. 

Masars, cups, vessels. 

May, maid. 

Medys, midst, middle. 

Meede, reward. 

Met, Mete, measured. 

Melhe, meat. 

Meyne, attendants, retinue; 
mesnie, F. 

Meythe, might. 

Mickle, much, great, very. 

Misters, need. r. mister. 

Mo, more. 

Molde, earth. 
Mot, might. 

Mote, might, may. 

Mote, meeting, assembly, 
court, audit. 

Mouiitenaunce, amount, du- 
ration, space. 

Mow, mouth. 

Mowe, may. 

Muckle. See Mickle. 

Myrthes, mirth, merriment. 

Myster, need. 

Ner, ear. 

Ner, (ne wer it) were it not, 

NobellyB, 9to6Z£s. The nohle 
was a gold coin value 6s, 8(2. 

Nombles, Numbles, en- 
trails ; those parts which 
are usually baked in a pye: 
now, corruptly, called hum- 
bles or umbies : nombles, 

Okerer, usurer, [F. 

Owthe, out. 

Palmer. A palmer was, 
properly, a pilgrim who 
had visited the holy-land, 
from the palm-branch or 
cross which he bore as a 
sign of such visitation; 
but, it is probable that the 
distinction between pal- 
mers and other pilgrims 
was never much attended 
to in this country. The 
palmer in the text seems 
to be no more than a com* 
mon bcgger. 

Partakers, assistants, per- 
sons to take thy part. 

Passe, extent, bounds, limits, 

Pauage, Pavag, Pavage, 
Pawage, a toll or duty 
payable for the liberty of 
passing over the soil or 
territory of another : paa« 
gium, L. 



Pay, contentj satisfaction. 

Pay, money, 

Pinder. T/tepinder is the 
pounder or pound-keeper; 
the petty officer of a manor 
whose duty it is to impound 
all strange cattle straying 
upon the common, &c. 

Preke, prick, a piece of wood 
in the center of the target, 

Prese, company, 

Prest, ready, ready to go, 

Quequer, quiver, 

Queyt, quit, recompense. 

Quod, quoth, says, said. 

Raked, walked apace, 

Ray, battle ray, battle 

Reachles, careless, regard- 
less, unobservant. 

Red, clear, 

Reutb, j)ity^ compassion, 

Reve, take by force, 

Reves, bailiffs, receivers. 

Ripe, cleanse, 

Riped, cleansed. 

Rod, poles, perches, A rod, 
pole, or perch, is usually 
sixteen feet and a half, but 
in Sherwood forest (ac- 
cordir^ to Blount) it is 
2ifeet, the foot there be- 
ing 18 inches. 

Rode, rood, cross. 

Rung, staff. 

Ruth, pity, compassion, 

Ryglitwys, righteous, just. 

Sack, a kind of Spanish 
wine, perhaps sherry, for- 
merly much drunk in this 
country ; very different, at 
least, from the sweet or 
Canary wine now so called, * 

Salved, (salued?) saluted. 

Scathe, harm, 

Schetyng, shooting, 

Schomer, summer. 

Sclo, slay. 

Scop, scalp, pate, 

Scoper, supper, 

Screfe, ScrefFe, sheriff, 

Seche, seek. 

See, saw, regard, protect, 

Seker, sure, 

Semblaunte, semblance, ap- 

Sene, see, 

Sette, mortgaged, 

Shende, hurt, annoy, 

Shente, hurt, wounded, 

Shete, shoot, 

ShopCj shaped, made, 

Shrewde, Shrewed, unlucky. 

Shrift, confession, 

Shroggs, " shrubs, thorns, 
briars. G, Doug, scrog- 
gisi" P. 

Skaith, hurt, harm. 

Slack, low ground, 

S!ade, " « slip ofgreenswerd 
between plow lands, or 
woods, &c." P. 

Slawe, Slone, slain, 

Sle, Sloo, slay, 

Soniers, sumpter-horses, 

Sothe, sooth, truth. 

Soyt, sooth, truth. 

Spear, ask, Speer'd, asked, 

Slalward, Stalworthe, stout, 
well made. 

Stark, stiff. 

Stede, time, 

Steven. At some unsett 
Steven. At some unlouked 
for time, by some odd ac- 
cident, by mere chance* 



Stime, sparky particle or 

ray of light, 
Stint^ stop, 
Sto', store, 
Sweaven, dream. 
Syne, after, afterward, then, 
Syth, afterward, 
Takles, arrows, 
Takyll, arrow, 
Tene, grief, sorrow, distress f 

The, thrive, prosper, 
Tortyll, wreathed, twined, 
twirled, twisted: toviiW^j F, 
Tray, anger, 
TreyfFe, thrive. 
Trow, true, 
Trowet, troth. 
True, trow, believe, 
Twicht, snatched, wrested 

Tynde, iyndes, tines, ant- 
lers, the pointed branches 
that issue from the main 
beam of a stag. 
Unketh, uncouth, strange. 
iJnncth, scarcely. 
Venie, brave venie, merry 

vein, jovial humour. 
Wan, wonnynge wau, dwel- 
Warden pies. Wardens are 
a species of large pears. 
In Shakspeares " Winters 
Tale,'^ the clown, enume- 
rating the articles he had 
to provide for the sheep- 
shearing feast, says he 
•' must have saffron to 
colour the warden-pies.'* 
Ware, aware^ sensible. 
Was, wash, 
Weele, well. 

Wed, Wedde, pawn, pledge, 
or deposit, — to wedde, in 
mortgage. — lay my life to 
wedde, pawn my life. 
Welt, welt them at his wyll, 
did as he pleased with tliem. 
Wen, wend, go, hye. 
Wende, go, 
Wenest, thinkest. 
Went, wended, gone. 
Werschep, worshipped, re- 

vei^enced, respected. 
West, wist, known, 
Wete, know. 
Whang, leathern whang, 

leather thong or string, 
Whute, whistle, 
Wigger wand, wicker wand. 
Win, get» 

Wist, ktiew, wis, trow, be- 
Wight, Wighty, strong, 
Wilfulle, doubtful. 
Wode, tnad, 
Wolwarde, wearing a flanel 

shirt, by way of penance, 
Wonest, dweliest. 
Woodweele, " tjie golden 
ouzle, a bird of the thrush 
ki7ui." P. 
Worthe, Wo worthe the, 

woe be to thee. 
Wrack, ruin, destruction, 
Wroken, wreaked, revenge 
Wyght, strong, stout. 
Wynne, go, 
Wys, trow, 
Wyte, Wytte, know. 
Yede, Yeed, went, 
Yeffell, evil, 
Yeft, gift. 
Yeraenry, yeomamy. 
Yend; yon. 


Yeomandree, Yeomandry, 
yeomanry f followers, 

Yerdes, rods, 

Yever, ever. 

Yfere, together, 

yike, same, YIke same, 
very game, same, very. 


Ynowe, enough, 
Yode, went, 
Yole, Christmass, 
Yonder, under, 
Yong men, yeomen. 


J. a^'Creery, Printei, 
BUck-Horsc Court, London.