Of more than full an hundred men, But forty tarryed still, Who were resolv'd to sticke to him Let fortune worke her will. 340
If none had fled, all for his sake Had got their pardon free; The king to favour meant to take His merry men and he.
But e're the pardon to him came 345 This famous archer dy'd: His death and manner of the same I'le presently describe.
For, being vext to think upon His followers revolt, 350 In melancholly passin He did recount his fault.
"Perfideous traytors!" sayd he then, "In all your dangers past Have I you guarded as my men, 355 To leave me thus at last!"
This sad perplexity did cause A feaver, as some say, Which him unto confusion drawes, Though by a stranger way. 360
This deadly danger to prevent, He hie'd him with all speede Unto a nunnery, with intent For his healths-sake to bleede.
A faithlesse fryer did pretend 365 In love to let him blood, But he by falshood wrought the end Of famous Robbin Hood.
The fryer, as some say, did this To vindicate the wrong 370 Which to the clergy he and his Had done by power strong.
Thus dyed he by trechery, That could not dye by force: Had he liv'd longer, certainely 375 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. 380
A treacherous leach this fryer was, To let him bleed to death; And Robbin was, methinks, an asse To trust him with his breath.
His corpse the prioress of the place, 385 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 fixed on the ground; 390 An epitaph was set thereon, Wherein his name was found.
The date o' th' yeare, and day also, Shee made to be set there, That all who by the way did goe 395 Might see it plain appeare,
That such a man as Robbin Hood Was buried in that place; And how he lived in the greene wood And robb'd there for a space. 400
It seemes that though the clergie he Had put to mickle woe, He should not quite forgotten be, Although he was their foe.
This woman, though she did him hate, 405 Yet loved his memory; And thought it wondrous pitty that His fame should with him dye.
This epitaph, as records tell, Within this hundred yeares, 410 By many was discerned well, But time all things out-weares.[L412]
His followers, when he was dead, Were some receiv'd to grace; The rest to forraign countries fled, 415 And left their native place.
Although his funerall was but mean, This woman had in minde, Least his fame should be buried clean From those that came behind. 420
For certainly, before nor since, No man e're understood, Under the reign of any prince, Of one like Robbin Hood.
Full thirteene years, and something more, 425 These outlawes lived thus, Feared of the rich, loved of the poor, A thing most marvelous.
A thing unpossible to us This story seems to be; 430 None dares be now so venturous, But times are chang'd we see.
We that live in these later dayes Of civile government, If need be, have an hundred wayes 435 Such outlawes to prevent.
In those days men more barbarous were, And lived less in awe; Now (God be thanked) people feare More to offend the law. 440
No roaring guns were then in use, They dreampt of no such thing; Our Englishmen in fight did chuse The gallant gray-goose wing:
In which activity these men, 445 Through practice, were so good, That in those days none equal'd them, Specially Robbin Hood.
So that, it seemes, keeping in caves, In woods and forests thicke, 450 They'd beate a multitude with staves, Their arrowes did so pricke.
And none durst neare unto them come, Unlesse in courtesie; All such he bravely would send home, 455 With mirth and jollity.
Which courtesie won him such love, As I before have told, 'Twas the cheef cause that he did prove More prosperous than he could. 460
Let us be thankefull for these times Of plenty, truth, and peace; And leave out great and horrid crimes, Least they cause this to cease.
I know there's many fained tales 465 Of Robbin Hood and 's crew; But chronicles, which seldom fayles, Reports this to be true.
Let none then thinke this is a lye, For, if 'twere put to th' worst, 470 They may the truth of all discry I' th' raigne of Richard the first.
If any reader please to try, As I direction show, The truth of this brave history, 475 Hee'll find it true I know.
And I shall think my labour well Bestowed to purpose good, When't shall be said that I did tell True tales of Robbin Hood. 480
ROBIN HOOD AND MAID MARIAN.
"This ballad is given from an old black-letter copy in the collection of Anthony a Wood. Its full title is, _A famous battle between Robin Hood and Maid Marian; declaring their love, life, and liberty. Tune_, Robin Hood Reviv'd." RITSON'S _Robin Hood_, ii. 161.
A bonny fine-maid of a noble degree, _With a hey down, down, a down, down_, Maid Marian call'd by name, Did live in the North, of excellent worth, For shee was a gallant dame.
For favour and face, and beauty most rare, 5 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, 10 That could surpass this country lass, Beloved of lord and knight.
The earl of Huntington, nobly born, That came of noble blood, To Marian went, with a good intent, 15 By the name of Robin Hood.
With kisses sweet their red lips did meet, For she and the earl did agree; In every place, they kindly embrace, With love and sweet unity. 20
But fortune bearing these lovers a spight, That soon they were forc'd 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, 25 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, She drest herself like a page, 30 And ranged the wood, 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, 35 Whose person was better then gold.