Hys hode hangynge over hys eyen two, He rode in symple aray; 90 A soryer man than he was one Rode never in somers-day.
Lytell Johan was curteyse, And set hym on his kne: "Welcome be ye, gentyll knyght, 95 Welcome are you to me.
"Welcome be thou to grene wood, Hende knyght and fre; My mayster hath abyden you fastynge, Syr, all these oures thre." 100
"Who is your mayster?" sayd the knyght.
Johan sayde, "Robyn Hode."
"He is a good yeman," sayd the knyght, "Of hym I have herde moch good.
"I graunte," he sayd, "with you to wende, 105 My brethren, all in-fere;[L106]
My purpose was to have deyned to day At Blythe or Dankastere."
Forthe than went this gentyll knyght,[L109]
With a carefull chere; 110 The teres out of his eyen ran, And fell downe by his lere.[L112]
They brought hym unto the lodge dore; When Robyn gan hym se, Full curteysly dyde of his hode, 115 And set hym on his kne.
"Welcome, syr knyght," then said Robyn, "Welcome thou arte to me, I haue abyde you fastynge, syr, All these houres thre." 120
Then answered the gentyll knyght, With wordes fayre and fre, "God the save, good Robyn, And all thy fayre meyne."
They washed togyder and wyped bothe, 125 And set tyll theyr dynere; Brede and wyne they had ynough, And nombles of the dere.
Swannes and fesauntes they had full good, And foules of the revere; 130 There fayled never so lytell a byrde, That ever was bred on brere.
"Do gladly, syr knyght," sayd Robyn; "Gramercy, syr," sayd he, "Such a dyner had I not 135 Of all these wekes thre.
"If I come agayne, Robyn, Here by this countre, As good a dyner I shall the make, As thou hast made to me." 140
"Gramercy, knyght," sayd Robyn; "My dyner whan I have, I was never so gredy, by dere worthy god, My dyner for to crave.
"But pay or ye wende," sayd Robyn, 145 "Me thynketh it is good ryght; It was never the maner, by dere worthy god, A yeman to pay for a knyght."[L148]
"I have nought in my cofers," sayd the knyght, "That I may profer for shame;" 150 "Lytell Johan, go loke," sayd Robyn,[L151]
"Ne let not for no blame.
"Tell me trouth," sayd Robyn, "So god have parte of the;"
"I have no more but ten shillings," sayd the knyght, 155 "So god have parte of me."
"Yf thou have no more," sayd Robyn, "I wyll not one peny; And yf thou have nede of ony more, More shall I len the. 160
"Go now forth, Lytell Johan, The trouthe tell thou me; Yf there be no more but ten shillings, Not one peny that I se."
Lytell Johan spred downe his mantell, 165 Full fayre upon the grounde, And there he found in the knyghtes cofer But even halfe a pounde.
Lytyll Johan let it lye full styll, And went to his mayster full lowe: 170 "What tydynge, Johan?" sayd Robyn: "Syr, the knyght is trewe inough."
"Fyll of the best wyne," sayd Robyn, "The knyght shall begynne; Moch wonder thynketh me 175 Thy clothynge is so thynne.
"Tell me one worde," sayd Robyn, "And counsell shall it be; I trowe thou were made a knyght of forse,[L179]
Or elles of yemanry; 180
"Or elles thou hast ben a sory housband, And leved in stroke and stryfe; An okerer, or elles a lechoure," sayd Robyn, "With wronge hast thou lede thy lyfe."
"I am none of them," sayd the knyght, 185 "By god that made me; An hondreth wynter here before, Myne aunsetters knyghtes have be.
"But ofte it hath befal, Robyn, A man hath be dysgrate; 190 But god that syteth in heven above May amend his state.
"Within two or thre yere, Robyn," he sayd,[L193]
"My neyghbores well it kende,[L194]
Foure hondreth pounde of good money 195 Full wel than myghte I spende.
"Now have I no good," sayd the knyght, "But my chyldren and my wyfe; God hath shapen such an ende, Tyll god may amende my lyfe."[L200] 200
"In what maner," sayd Robyn, "Hast thou lore thy riches?"
"For my grete foly," he sayd, "And for my kindenesse.
"I had a sone, for soth, Robyn, 205 That sholde have ben my eyre, When he was twenty wynter olde, In felde wolde juste full feyre.
"He slewe a knyght of Lancastshyre,[L209]
And a squyre bolde; 210 For to save hym in his ryght, My goodes beth sette and solde.
"My londes beth set to wedde, Robyn, Untyll a certayne daye, To a ryche abbot here besyde, 215 Of Saynt Mary abbay."
"What is the somme?" sayd Robyn, "Trouthe than tell thou me;"
"Syr," he sayd, "foure hondred pounde, The abbot tolde it to me." 220
"Now, and thou lese thy londe," sayd Robyn, "What shall fall of the?"
"Hastely I wyll me buske," sayd the knyght, "Over the salte see,
"And se where Cryst was quycke and deed 225 On the mounte of Caluare: Fare well, frende, and have good daye, It may noo better be."[L228]
Teeres fell out of his eyen two, He wolde haue gone his waye: 230 "Farewell, frendes, and have good day, I ne have more to pay."
"Where be thy friendes?" sayd Robyn:[L233]
"Syr, never one wyll me know;[L234]
Whyle I was ryche inow at home, 235 Grete bost then wolde they blowe.
"And now they renne awaye fro me, As bestes on a rowe; They take no more heed of me Then they me never sawe." 240
For ruthe then wepte Lytell Johan, Scathelocke and Much in fere:[L242]
"Fyll of the best wyne," sayd Robyn,[L243]
"For here is a symple chere.
"Hast thou ony frendes," sayd Robyn, 245 "Thy borowes that wyll be?"
"I have none," then sayd the knyght, "But god that dyed on a tree."
"Do waye thy japes," sayd Robyn, "Therof will I right none; 250 Wenest thou I wyll have god to borowe, Peter, Poule, or Johan?