"And moche [I] thanke the of thy comfort, 125 And of thy curteysye, And of thy grete kyndenesse, Under the grene wode tre.
"I love no man in all this worlde So much as I do the; 130 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, 135 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." 140
Bordes were layed, and clothes spred, Reddely and anone; Robyn Hode and his mery men To mete gan they gone.
302, this care, W.
303, syt, W.
11. And that shoteth al ther best, W. And they that shote al of the best, C.
13, al theyre, W. al of the, C.
46, they slist, W. he clefte, C.
80, belyve, C.
100. That I after eate no bread, C.
THE SYXTE FYTTE.
Lythe and lysten, gentylmen, And herken unto your songe, How the proude sheryfe of Notyngham, And men of armes stronge,
Full faste came to the hye sheryfe, 5 The countre up to rout, And they beset the knyghts castell, The walles all about.
The proude sheryfe loude gan crye, And sayd, "Thou traytour knyght, 10 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,[L14]
Upon all the londes that I have, 15 As I am a trewe knyght.
"Wende forthe, syrs, on your waye, And doth do more to me, Tyll ye wytte our kynges wyll, What he woll say to the." 20
The sheref thus had his answere, With out ony leasynge; Forthe he yode to London toune, All for to tel our kynge.
There he tolde hym of that knyght, 25 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, 30 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, 35 And so I wyll that knyght.
"Go home, thou proud sheryf, And do as I bydde the,[L38]
And ordayne good archeres inowe Of all the wyde countree." 40
The sheryf had his leve itake, And went hym on his way; And Robyn Hode to grene wode [went]
Upon a certayn day.
And Lytell Johan was hole of the arowe, 45 That shote was in his kne, And dyde hym strayte to Robyn Hode, Under the grene wode tre.
Robyn Hode walked in the foreste, Under the leves grene; 50 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, 55 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, 60
Toke he there this gentyll knyght, With men of armes stronge, And lad hym home to Notyngham warde, Ibonde both fote and honde.[L64]
The sheryf swore a full grete othe, 65 By hym that dyed on rode,[L66]
He had lever than an hondrede pounde, That he had Robyn Hode.
Then the lady, the knyghtes wyfe, A fayre lady and fre, 70 She set her on a gode palfray, To grene wode anon rode she.
When she came to the forest, Under the grene wode tre, Founde she there Robyn Hode, 75 And all his fayre meyne.
"God the save, good Robyn Hode,[L77]
And all thy company; For our dere ladyes love,[L79]
A bone graunte thou me. 80
"Let thou never my wedded lorde[L81]
Shamfully slayne to be;[L82]
He is fast ibounde to Notyngham warde, For the love of the."
Anone then sayd good Robyn, 85 To that lady fre, "What man hath your lorde itake?"
"The proude shirife," than sayd she.[L88]
["The proude sheryfe hath hym itake]
Forsoth as I the say; 90 He is not yet thre myles Passed on his waye."[L92]
Up then sterte good Robyn, As a man that had be wode; "Buske you, my mery young men, 95 For hym that dyed on a rode.
"And he that this sorowe forsaketh, By hym that dyed on a tre, And by him that al thinges maketh,[L99]
No lenger shall dwell with me."[L100] 100
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, 105 "The sheryf wolde I fayn se,[L106]
And yf I may hym take, Iquyt than shall he bee."[L108]
And whan they came to Notyngham, They walked in the strete, 110 And with the proud sheryf, i-wys, Sone gan they mete.
"Abyde, thou proud sheryf," he sayd, "Abyde and speake with me, Of some tydynges of our kynge, 115 I wolde fayne here of the.
"This seven yere, by dere worthy god, Ne yede I so fast on fote; I make myn avowe to god, thou proude sheryfe, That is not for thy good."[L120] 120