A late and framentary version of the death of Robin Hood, preserved in the Percy Folio Manuscript, ed. Hales and Furnivall, I, 53.
|`I will neuer eate nor drinke,' Robin Hood said,
`Nor meate will doo me noo good,
Till I haue beene att merry Churchlees,
My vaines for to let blood.'
`That I reade not,' said Will Scarllett,
`Master, by the assente of me,
Without halfe a hundred of your best bowmen
You take to goe with yee.
`For there a good yeoman doth abide
Will be sure to quarrell with thee,
And if thou haue need of vs, master,
In faith we will not flee.'
'And thou be feard, thou William Scarlett,
Att home I read thee bee:'
`And you be wrothe, my deare master,
You shall neuer heare more of mee.'
'For there shall noe man with me goe,
Nor man with mee ryde,
And Litle Iohn shall be my man,
And beare my benbow by my side.'
'You'st beare your bowe, master, your selfe,
And shoote for a peny with mee:'
'To that I doe assent,' Robin Hood sayd,
`And soe, Iohn, lett it bee.'
They two bolde children shotten together,
All day theire selfe in ranke,
Vntill they came to blacke water,
And over it laid a planke.
Vpon it there kneeled an old woman,
Was banning Robin Hoode;
`Why dost thou bann Robin Hoode?' said Robin,
. . . .
[Nine stanzas missing; contents unknown.]
. . . . .
`To giue to Robin Hoode;
Wee weepen for his deare body,
That this day must be lett bloode.'
`The dame prior is my aunts daughter,
And nie vnto my kinne;
I know shee wold me noe harme this day,
For all the world to winne.'
Forth then shotten these children two,
And they did neuer lin,
Vntill they came to merry Churchless,
To merry Churchlee[s] with-in.
And when they came to merry Charchlees,
They knoced vpon a pin;
Vpp then rose dame prioresse,
And lett good Robin in.
Then Robin gaue to dame prioresse
Twenty pound in gold,
And bad her spend while that wold last,
And shee shold haue more when shee wold.
And downe then came dame prioresse,
Downe she came in that ilke,
With a pair off blood-irons in her hands,
Were wrapped all in silke.
`Sett a chaffing-dish to the fyer,' said dame prioresse,
And stripp thou vp thy sleeue:'
I hold him but an vnwise man
That will noo warning leeve.
Shee laid the blood-irons to Robin Hoods vaine,
Alacke, the more pitye!
And pearct the vaine, and let out the bloode,
That full red was to see.
And first it bled, the thicke, thicke bloode,
And afterwards the thinne,
And well then wist good Robin Hoode
Treason there was within.
`What cheere my master?' said Litle Iohn;
`In faith, Iohn, litle goode
. . . .
[Again nine stanzas are missing; content unknown.]
`I haue upon a gowne of greene,
Is cut short by my knee,
And in my hand a bright browne brand
That will well bite of the.'
But forth then of a shot-windowe
Good Robin Hood he could glide;
Red Roger, with a grounden glaue,
Thrust him through the milke-white side.
But Robin was light and nimble of foote,
And thought to abate his pride,
Ffor betwixt his head and his shoulders
He made a wound full wide.
Says, `Ly there, ly there, Red Roger,
The doggs they must thee eate;
For I may have my houzle,' he said,
`For I may both goe and speake.
`Now giue me mood,' Robin said to Litle Iohn,
`Giue me mood with thy hand;
I trust to God in heauen soe hye
My houzle will me bestand.'
`Now giue me leaue, giue me leaue, master,' he said,
`For Christs loue giue leaue to me,
To set a fier within this hall,
And to burne up all Churchlee.'
`That I reade not,' said Robin Hoode then,
`Litle Iohn, for it may not be;
If I shold doe any widow hurt, at my latter end,
God,' he said, ' wold blame me;
`But take me vpon thy backe, Litle Iohn,
And beare me to yonder streete,
And there make me full fayre graue,
Of grauell and of grete.
`And sett my bright sword at my head,
Mine arrowes at my feete.
And lay my vew-bow by my side,
My met-yard wi . . .
[The last few lines are missing.]
The English and Scottish Popular Ballads
- , ed. Francis James Child, Vol. III, 1890.]