"Nay, by hym that me made, And shope both sonne and mone; Fynde a better borowe," sayd Robyn, 255 "Or mony 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." 260
"By dere worthy god," sayd Robyn, "To seche all England thorowe, Yet founde I never to my pay A moch better borowe.
"Come now forthe, Lytell Johan, 265 And goo to my tresoure, And brynge me foure hondred pounde, And loke that it well tolde be."
Forthe then wente Lytell Johan, And Scathelocke went before, 270 He tolde out foure houndred pounde, By eyghtene score.[L272]
"Is this well tolde?" said lytell Much.
Johan sayd, "What greveth the?
It is almes to helpe a gentyll knyght 275 That is fall in poverte."
"Mayster," than said Lytell Johan, "His clothynge is full thynne; Ye must gyve the knyght a lyveray To lappe his body ther in.[L280] 280
"For ye have scarlet and grene, mayster, And many a ryche aray; There is no marchaunt in mery Englnde, So ryche, I dare well saye."
"Take hym thre yerdes of every coloure, 285 And loke that well mete it be:"
Lytell Johan toke none other mesure But his bowe tre.
And of every handfull that he met He lept ouer fotes thre: 290 "What devilkyns draper," sayd litell Much, "Thynkyst thou to be?"
Scathelocke stoode full styll and lough, And sayd, "By god allmyght, Johan may gyve hym the better mesure; 295 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." 300
"Take hym a gray courser," sayd Robyn, "And a sadell newe; He is our ladyes messengere, God lene that he be true."[L304]
"And a good palfraye," sayd lytell Moch, 305 "To mayntayne hym in his ryght:"
"And a payre of botes," sayd Scathelocke, "For he is a gentyll knyght."
"What shalt thou gyve him, Lytel Johan?" sayd Robyn.
"Syr, a payre of gylte spores clene, 310 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, 315 "Under this grene wode tre."
"It were grete shame," sayd Robyn, "A knyght alone to ryde, Without squyer, yeman, or page, To walke by hys syde. 320
"I shall the lene Lytyll Johan my man, For he shall be thy knave; In a yemans steed he may the stonde, Yf thou grete nede have."
9 Barnsdale is a tract of country, four or five miles broad, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. It was, we are told, woodland until recent inclosures, and is spoken of by Leland as a "woody and famous forest" in the reign of Henry the Eighth. From the depths of this retreat to Doncaster the distance is less than ten miles, and to Nottingham, in a straight line, about fifty. A little to the north of Barnsdale is Pontefract, and a little to the northwest is Wakefield, and beyond this the Priory of Kirklees. Mr. Hunter, whom we follow here, has shown by contemporary evidence that Barnsdale was infested by robbers in the days of the Edwards. "In the last year of the reign of King Edward the First, the bishops of St.
Andrew's and Glasgow, and the Abbot of Scone were conveyed, at the King's charge, from Scotland to Winchester. In this journey they had a guard, sometimes of eight archers, sometimes of twelve; but when they had got as far south as Daventry, they had no archers at all in attendance, and proceeded without a guard, in three days from thence to Winchester. But when they passed from Pontefract to Tickhill, the guard had been increased to the number of twenty archers, and the reason given in the account of the expenses of their journey, for this addition to the cost of the conveyance, is given in the two words, _propter Barnsdale_."
22. lust, Ritson.
69, 70. "The Sayles," is a place no longer known, but it is certain that there was formerly a place of the name in Barnsdale or near it.
"It was a very small tenancy of the manor of Pontefract, being not more than the tenth of a knight's fee" (Hunter). Watling Street stands here for the great North Road, probably a Roman highway, which crosses Barnsdale.
85. all his. PCC.
106, so R. (ed. 1489): all three, W. C. (de Worde & Copland).
109, this, R. that, W. C.
112, ere, R.
148, to pay, R. pay, W. C.
151, Robyn, R. Robyn Hoode, W. C.
179. "This stanza is remarkable for containing a reference to one of the old grievances of the people of England. In the reign of Henry the Third, and his son, and grandson, the compelling persons, some of them of no great estate, to take upon them the honour of knighthood, or pay a large sum to be excused, was felt as a heavy oppression."--HUNTER.
193, two yere, R.
194, knowe, OCC.
200, it may amende, OCC.
209, lancasesshyre, R.
228, not W. C.
233, by W. C.
234. So R. knowe me, W. C. The fragment of de Worde's older ed. ends with v. 239.
242, also, PCC. for 'in fere.'
243. Wyme, PCC.
272. I.e. by so many score to the hundred. It is certainly a very hyperbolical expression, but he measures the cloth in the same way.--RITSON.
280, helpe, W. wrappe, C.
304. leue, W. lende, C
THE SECONDE FYTTE.
Nowe is the knyght went on his way,[L1]
This game hym thought full good;[L2]
When he loked on Bernysdale, He blyssed Robyn Hode;
And whan he thought on Bernysdale, 5 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, 10 "To-morrowe I must to Yorke toune, To Saynt Mary abbay;