Lysten, to [me], my mery men all, And harke what I shall say; Of an adventure I shall you tell, That befell this other daye.
With a proude potter I met, And a rose garlande on his head, The floures of it shone marvaylous freshe; This seven yere and more he hath used this waye, Yet was he never so curteyse a potter, 130 As one peny passage to paye.
Is there any of my mery men all That dare be so bolde To make the potter paie passage, Either silver or golde?
Not I master, for twenty pound redy tolde, For there is not among us al one That dare medle with that potter, man for man.
I felt his handes not long agone, But I had lever have ben here by the, 140 Therfore I knowe what he is.
Mete him when ye wil, or mete him whan ye shal, He is as propre a man as ever you medle withal.
I will lai with the, Litel John, twenti pound so read, If I wyth that potter mete, I wil make him pay passage, maugre his head.
I consente therto, so eate I bread, If he pay passage maugre his head, Twenti pound shall ye have of me for your mede.
THE POTTERS BOY JACKE.
Out alas, that ever I sawe this daye! 150 For I am clene out of my waye From Notyngham towne; If I hye me not the faster, Or I come there the market wel be done.[L154]
Let me se, are thy pottes hole and sounde?[L155]
Yea, meister, but they will not breake the ground.
I wil them breke, for the cuckold thi maisters sake; And if they will breake the grounde,[L158]
Thou shalt have thre pence for a pound.
Out alas! what have ye done? 160 If my maister come, he will breke your crown.
Why, thou horeson, art thou here yet?
Thou shouldest have bene at market.
I met with Robin Hode, a good yeman, He hath broken my pottes, And called you kuckolde by your name.
Thou mayst be a gentylman, so god me save, But thou semest a noughty knave.
Thou callest me cuckolde by my name, And I swere by god and saynt John 170 Wyfe had I never none.
This cannot I denye, But if thou be a good felowe, I wil sel mi horse, mi harneis, pottes and paniers to, Thou shalt have the one halfe and I will have the other; If thou be not so content, Thou shalt have stripes, if thou were my brother.
Harke, potter, what I shall say: This seven yere and more thou hast used this way, Yet were thou never so curteous to me, 180 As one penny passage to paye.
Why should I pay passage to thee?
For I am Robyn Hode, chiefe gouernoure Under the grene woode tree.
This seven yere have I used this way up and downe, Yet payed I passage to no man, Nor now I wyl not beginne, so do the worst thou can.[L187]
Passage shalt thou pai here under the grene-wode tre, Or els thou shalt leve a wedde with me.[L189]
If thou be a good felowe, as men do the call, 190 Laye awaye thy bowe, And take thy sword and buckeler in thy hande, And see what shall befall.
Lyttle John, where art thou?
Here, mayster, I make god a vowe.
I tolde you, mayster, so god me save, That you shoulde fynde the potter a knave.[L197]
Holde your buckeler faste in your hande, And I wyll styfly by you stande, Ready for to fyghte; 200 Be the knave never so stoute, I shall rappe him on the snoute, And put hym to flyghte.
35, maister, C.
64 ell, C.
70 You, you, C.
82, donee, C.
104, starte, C.