But Robin Hood, hee himself had disguis'd, And Marian was strangly attir'd, That they prov'd foes, and so fell to blowes, Whose vallour bold Robin admir'd. 40
They drew out their swords, and to cutting they went, At least an hour or more, That the blood ran apace from bold Robins face, And Marian was wounded sore.
"O hold thy hand, hold thy hand," said Robin Hood, 45 "And thou shalt be one of my string, To range in the wood with bold Robin Hood, To hear the sweet nightingall sing."
When Marian did hear the voice of her love, Her self shee did quickly discover, 50 And with kisses sweet she did him greet, Like to a most loyall lover.
When bold Robin Hood his Marian did see, Good lord, what clipping was there!
With kind embraces, and jobbing of faces, 55 Providing of gallant cheer.
For Little John took his bow in his hand, And wandred in the wood,[L58]
To kill the deer, and make good chear For Marian and Robin Hood. 60
A stately banquet they had full soon, All in a shaded bower, Where venison sweet they had to eat, And were merry that present hour.
Great flaggons of wine were set on the board, 65 And merrily they drunk round Their boules of sack, to strengthen the back, Whilst their knees did touch the ground.
First Robin Hood began a health To Marian his onely dear; 70 And his yeomen all, both comly and tall, Did quickly bring up the rear.
For in a brave vein they tost off the bouls,[L73]
Whilst thus they did remain; And every cup, as they drunk up, 75 They filled with speed again.
At last they ended their merryment, And went to walk in the wood, Where Little John and maid Marian Attended on bold Robin Hood. 80
In sollid content together they liv'd, With all their yeomen gay; They liv'd by their hands, without any lands, And so they did many a day.
But now to conclude, an end I will make, 85 In time as I think it good; For the people that dwell in the north can tell Of Marian and bold Robin Hood.
THE KINGS DISGUISE AND FRIENDSHIP WITH ROBIN HOOD.
This wretched production is evidently founded on the _Lytell Geste_.
It was printed by Ritson from "the common collection of Aldermary Churchyard." One or two improvements were made by Gutch from a York edition. RITSON'S _Robin Hood_, ii. 166; GUTCH'S _Robin Hood_, ii.
King Richard hearing of the pranks Of Robin Hood and his men, He much admir'd, and more desir'd, To see both him and them.
Then with a dozen of his lords 5 To Nottingham he rode; When he came there, he made good cheer, And took up his abode.
He having staid there some time, But had no hopes to speed, 10 He and his lords, with one accord, All put on monks' weeds.
From Fountain abbey they did ride, Down to Barnsdale; Where Robin Hood prepared stood 15 All company to assail.
The king was higher than the rest, And Robin thought he had An abbot been whom he had seen; To rob him he was glad. 20
He took the kings horse by the head, "Abbot," says he, "abide; I am bound to rue such knaves as you, That live in pomp and pride."
"But we are messengers from the king," 25 The king himself did say; "Near to this place his royal grace To speak with thee does stay."
"God save the king," said Robin Hood, "And all that wish him well; 30 He that does deny his sovereignty, I wish he was in hell."
"Thyself thou cursedst," says the king, "For thou a traitor art:"
"Nay, but that you are his messenger, 35 I swear you lie in heart.
"For I never yet hurt any man That honest is and true; But those who give their minds to live Upon other mens due. 40
"I never hurt the husbandmen, That use to till the ground: Nor spill their blood who range the wood To follow hawk or hound.
"My chiefest spite to clergy is, 45 Who in these days bear great sway; With fryars and monks, and their fine sprunks, I make my chiefest prey.
"But I am glad," says Robin Hood, "That I have met you here; 50 Before we end, you shall, my friend, Taste of our green-wood cheer."
The king he then did marvel much, And so did all his men; They thought with fear, what kind of cheer 55 Robin would provide for them.
Robin took the kings horse by the head, And led him to his tent: "Thou wouldst not be so us'd," quoth he, "But that my king thee sent. 60
"Nay, more than that," quoth Robin Hood, "For good king Richards sake, If you had as much gold as ever I told, I would not one penny take."
Then Robin set his horn to his mouth, 65 And a loud blast he did blow, Till a hundred and ten of Robin Hoods men, Came marching all of a row.
And when they came bold Robin before, Each man did bend his knee: 70 "O," thought the king, "'tis a gallant thing And a seemly sight to see."
Within himself the king did say, "These men of Robin Hoods More humble be than mine to me; 75 So the court may learn of the woods."
So then they all to dinner went, Upon a carpet green; Black, yellow, red, finely mingled, Most curious to be seen. 80
Venison and fowls were plenty there, With fish out of the river: King Richard swore, on sea or shore, He never was feasted better.
Then Robin takes a cann of ale: 85 "Come, let us now begin; And every man shall have his cann; Here's a health unto the king."
The king himself drank to the king, So round about it went; 90 Two barrels of ale, both stout and stale, To pledge that health was spent.
And after that, a bowl of wine In his hand took Robin Hood; "Until I die, I'll drink wine," said he, 95 "While I live in the green-wood.
"Bend all your bows," said Robin Hood, "And with the grey goose-wing Such sport now show, as you would do In the presence of the king." 100
They shewed such brave archery By cleaving sticks and wands, That the king did say, such men as they Live not in many lands.
"Well, Robin Hood," then says the king, 105 "If I could thy pardon get, To serve the king in every thing Wouldst thou thy mind firm set?"
"Yes, with all my heart," bold Robin said, So they flung off their hoods; 110 To serve the king in every thing, They swore they would spend their bloods.