"Be mery, dame," sayd the knyght, "And praye for Robyn Hode,
"That ever his soule be in blysse; 185 He holpe me out of my tene; Ne had not be his kyndenesse, Beggers had we ben.
"The abbot and I acordyd ben, He is served of his pay, 190 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, 195 All redy for too paye.
He purveyed hym an hondred bowes, The strenges welle [y-]dyght, An hondred shefe of arowes good, The hedes burnyshed full bryght. 200
And every arowe an elle longe, With pecocke well ydyght, Inocked all with whyte sylver, It was a semly syght.
He purveyed hym an hondreth men, 205 Well harneysed in that stede, And hymselfe in that same sete,[L207]
And clothed in whyte and rede.
He bare a launsgay in his honde, And a man ledde his male, 210 And reden with a lyght songe Unto Bernysdale.
As he went at brydge ther was a wrastelyng, And there taryed was he, And there was all the best yemen, 215 Of all the west countree.
A full fayre game there was upset; A whyte bull up ipyght,[L218]
A grete courser with sadle and brydil, With golde burneyshed full bryght; 220
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 bere away.
There was a yeman in that place, 225 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, 230 He said that yoman sholde have no harme, For love of Robyn Hode.
The knyght presed into the place, An hondred folowed hym fre,[L234]
With bowes bent, and arowes sharpe, 235 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. 240
He gave hym fyve 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, 245 Tyll that playe was done, So longe abode Robyn fastynge, Thre houres after the none.
1, Ritson, this way.
2, hym, _sic_ Ch. & M.
25. The prior, in an abbey, was the officer immediately under the abbot; in priories and conventual cathedrals he was the superior.--RITSON.
101, 2. I.e., the Chief Justice had been retained for the abbot by robe and fee. A writer in _Notes and Queries_, (vol. vi. p. 479,) quotes statutes of Edward I. and Edward III. against maintenance, in which the abuse of robes and fees is mentioned, and cites the following clause from the oath required to be taken by justices: "And that ye will take no _fee_ so long as ye shall be justices, nor _robes_, of any man great or small, except of the king himself."
122, leue, W. Lende us, C.
126, loke (for call), W. C.
148, grete, W. get, C.
150, thou. PCC.
180. This is a place unknown. There is a forest in Lancashire, observes Ritson, of the name of Wierysdale, but it appears subsequently that the knight's castle was in Nottinghamshire.
207, sute, C.
218, I up pyght, W. up ypyght, C.
234, fere, W. in fere, C.
THE THYRDE FYTTE.
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, 5 That yonge men wolde go shete,[L6]
Lytell Johan fet his bowe anone, And sayd he wolde them mete.
Thre tymes Lytell Johan shot about, And always cleft the wande;[L10] 10 The proude sheryf of Notyngham By the markes gan stande.
The sheryf swore a full grete othe, By hym that dyed on a tre, This man is the best archere 15 That yet sawe I me.
"Say me now, wyght yonge man, What is now thy name?
In what countre were thou born,[L19]
And where is thy wonnynge wane?"[L20] 20
"In Holdernesse I was bore, I-wys all of my dame; Men call me Reynolde Grenelefe, Whan I am at hame."
"Say me, Reynaud Grenelefe, 25 Wolte thou dwell with me?
And every yere I wyll the gyve Twenty marke to thy fee."
"I have a mayster," sayd Lytell Johan, "A curteys knight is he; 30 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 35 A good hors and a wyght.
Now is Lytel Johan the sheryffes man, God gyve us well to spede, But alway thought Lytell Johan To quyte hym well his mede. 40
"Now so god me helpe," sayd Lytel Johan,[L41]
"And be my trewe lewte, I shall be the worste servaunte to hym That ever yet had he."
It befell upon a Wednesday, 45 The sheryfe on hontynge was gone, And Lytel Johan lay in his bed, And was foryete at home.
Therfore he was fastynge Tyl it was past the none; 50 "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, 55 My dyner gyve thou me."
"Shalt thou never ete ne drynke," said the stuarde, "Tyll my lord be come to towne;"
"I make myn avowe to god," sayd Lytell Johan, "I had lever to cracke thy crowne." 60