Thus than holpe hym good Robyn, The knyght all of his care:[L302]
God, that sytteth in heven hye,[L303]
Graunte us well to fare.
19, such, W.
54, you, W. Make you yonder preste, C.
77, yemen, C.
80, Lytell Johan. O. CC.
108, them bothe, O. CC.
136, to, W.
149, nade, W. not in C.
172. Eyght pounde, W.
187, to, W.
205, corser, W. courser, C.
249, gayne, W.
253. But take not a grefe, sayd the knyght, That I have be so longe. O. CC.
269. I twyse, W.
280, thi trusty, C.
THE FYFTH FYTTE.
Now hath the knyght his leve itake, And wente hym on his way; Robyn Hode and his mery men Dwelled styll full many a day.
Lyth and lysten, gentilmen, 5 And herken what I shall say, How the proud sheryfe of Notyngham Dyde crye a full fayre play;
That all the best archers of the north Sholde come upon a daye, 10 And he that shoteth altherbest[L11]
The game shall bere away.
He that shoteth altherbest[L13]
Furthest fayre and lowe, At a payre of fynly buttes, 15 Under the grene wode shawe,
A ryght good arowe he shall have, The shaft of sylver whyte, The heade and the feders of ryche rede golde, In Englond is none lyke. 20
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, 25 Ye shall go with me; And I wyll wete the shryves fayth, Trewe and yf he be."
Whan they had theyr bowes ibent, Theyr takles fedred fre, 30 Seven score of wyght yonge men Stode by Robyns kne.
"Whan they cam to Notyngham, The buttes were fayre and longe; Many was the bolde archere 35 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." 40
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, 45 And alway he slist the wand,[L46]
And so dyde good Gylberte With the whyte hande.
Lytell Johan and good Scatheloke Were archers good and fre; 50 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, 55 Forsoth, Robyn Hode.
Hym was delyvered the goode arw, For best worthy was he; He toke the yeft so curteysly, To grene wode wolde he. 60
They cryed out on Robyn Hode, And great hornes gan they blowe: "Wo worth the, treason!" sayd Robyn, "Full evyl thou art to knowe.
"And wo be thou, thou proud sheryf, 65 Thus gladdynge thy gest; Other wyse thou behote me In yonder wylde forest.
"But had I the in grene wode, Under my trystell tre, 70 Thou sholdest leve me a better wedde Than thy trewe lewte."
Full many a bowe there was bent, And arowes let they glyde, Many a kyrtell there was rent, 75 And hurt many a syde.
The outlaws shot was so stronge, That no man myght them dryve, And the proud sheryfes men They fled away full blyve.[L80] 80
Robyn sawe the busshement to-broke, In grene wode he wolde have be; Many an arowe there was shot Amonge that company.
Lytell Johan was hurte full sore, 85 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 me, 90 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 95 Alyve now fynde me.
"But take out thy browne swerde, And smyte all of my hede, And gyve me woundes dede and wyde, No lyfe on me be lefte."[L100] 100
"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, 105 "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; 110 Many a tyme he layd hym downe, And shot another whyle.
Then was there a fayre castell, A lytell within the wode, Double-dyched it was about, 115 And walled, by the rode.
And there dwelled that gentyll knyght, Syr Richard at the Lee, That Robyn had lent his good, Under the grene wode tree. 120
In he toke good Robyn, And all his company; "Welcome be thou, Robyn Hode, Welcome arte thou me;