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Goe fetch him downe the Eldridge sworde,
The kinge he cryde, with speede:
Nowe heaven assist thee, courteous knighte;
My daughter is thy meede.
The gyaunt he stepped into the lists,
And sayd, Awaye, awaye:
I sweare, as I am the hend soldàn,
Thou lettest me here all daye.
Then forth the stranger knighte he came
In his blacke armoure dight:
The ladye sighed a gentle sighe,
"That this were my true knighte!" And now the gyaunt and knighte be mett Within the lists so broad:
And now with swordes so sharp of steele,
They gan to lay on load.
The soldan strucke the knighte a stroke,
That made him reele asyde:
Then woe-begone was that faire ladye,
And thrice she deeply sighde.
The soldan strucke a second stroke,
And made the bloude to flowe:
All pale and wan was that ladye fayre,
And thrice she wept for woe.
The soldan strucke a third fell stroke,
Which brought the knighte on his knee;
Sad sorrow pierced that ladyes heart,
And she shriekt loud shriekings three. The knighte he leapt upon his feete, All recklesse of the paine; Quoth he, But heaven be now my speede, Or else I shall be slaine.
He grasped his sword with mayne and mighte,
And spying a secrette part,
He drave it into the soldan's syde,
And pierced him to the heart.
Then all the people gave a shoute,
When they sawe the soldan falle :
The ladye wept, and thanked Christ,
That had reskewed her from thrall.
And nowe the kinge with all his barons
Rose uppe from off his seate,
And downe he stepped into the listes,
That curteous knighte to greete.
But he for paine and lacke of bloude
Was fallen into a swounde,
And there all waltering in his gore,
Lay lifelesse on the grounde.
Come downe, come downe, my daughter deare,
Thou art a leeche of skille;
Farre lever had I lose half my landes,
Than this good knighte sholde spille.
Down then stepped that faire ladyè,
To helpe him if she maye;
But when she did his beavere raise,
It is my life, my lord, she sayes,
And shriekte and swound awaye.
Sir Cauline juste lifte up his eyes
When he heard his ladye crye:
ladye, I am thine owne true love;
For thee I wisht to dye.
Then giving her one partinge looke,
He closed his eyes in death,
Ere Christabelle, that ladye milde,
Began to draw her breathe.
But when she founde her comelye knighte
Indeed was dead and gone,
She layd her pale cold cheeke to his,
And thus she made her moane :
O staye, my deare and onlye lord,
For me thy faithful feere;
'Tis meet that I shold followe thee,
Who hast bought my love soe deare.
Then fayntinge in a deadly swoune,
And with a deep-fette sighe
That burst her gentle heart in twayne,
Fayre Christabelle did dye.
§ 104. Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne. "In this time (about the year 1190, in the reign of Richard I.) were many robbers and out-lawes, among the which Robin Hood and Little John, renowned theeves, continued in woods, despoyling and robbing the goods of the rich. They killed none but such as would invade them; or by resistance for their own defence.
"The said Robert entertained an hundred tall men and good archers with such spoiles and thefts as he got, upon whom four hundred (were they ever so strong) durst not give the onset. He suffered no woman to be oppressed, violated, or otherwise molested; poore men's goods he spared, abundantlie relieving thein with that, which by theft he got from abbeys and the houses of rich carles; whom Maior the historian blameth for his rapine and theft, but of all theeves he affirmeth him to be the prince and the most gentle theefe." Stowe's Annals, p. 159.
WHAN shaws beene sheene, and shraddes full
And leaves both large and longe,
Itt's merrye walkyng in the fayre forrest
To hear the small birdes songe.
The woodweele sang, and wold not cease,
Sitting upon the spraye,
So lowde, he wakened Robin Hood,
In the greenwood where he lay.
Now by my faye, said jollye Robin,
A sweaven I had this night;
I dreamt me of tow wighty yemen,
That fast with me gan fight.
Methought they did me beat and binde,
And tooke my bowe me froe;
Iff I be Robin alive in this lande,
Ile be wroken on them towe.
Sweavens are swift, sayd Lyttle John,
As the wind blowes over the hill;
For iff it be never so loude this night,
To-morrow it may be still.
Buske yee, bowne yee, my merry men all,
And John shall goe with mee,
For Ile goe seeke yond wighty yeomen,
In greenwood where they bee.
They then cast on theyr gownes of grene,
And took theyr bowes each one;
And they away to the grene forrest
A shooting forth are gone;
Untill they came to the merry greenwood,
Where they had gladdest to bee:
There they were ware of a wight yeoman,
That leaned against a tree.
A sworde and a dagger he wore by his side,
Of manye a man the bane;
And he was clad in his capull hyde
Top and tayll and mayne.
Stand still, master, quoth Lyttle John,
Under this tree so green,
And I will go to yond wight yeoman
To know what he doth meane.
Ah! John, by me thou settest noe store,
And that I farley finde :
How often send I my men before,
And tarry myselfe behinde ?
It is no cunning a knave to ken,
An a man but heare him speake; An it were not for bursting of my bowe, John, I thy head would breake. As often wordes they breeden bale, So they parted Robin and John; And John is gone to Barnesdale, The gates he knoweth eche one. But when he came to Barnesdale,
Great heavinesse there hee hadd, For he found tow of his owne fellowes Were slaine both in a slade,
And Scarlette he was flying a-foote
Fast over stocke and stone,
For the proud sheriffe with seven score men
Fast after him is gone.
One shoote now I will shoote, quoth John,
With Christ his might and mayne;
Ile make yond sheriffe that wends so fast,
To stopp he shall be fayne.
Then John bent up his long bende-bowe,
And fettled him to shoote:
The bow was made of tender boughe,
And fell downe at his foote.
Woe worth, woe worth thee, wicked wood,
That ever thou grew on a tree;
For now this day thou art my bale,
My boote when thou shold bee.
His shoote it was but loosely shott,
Yet flew not the arrowe in vaine,
For it mett one of the sheriffes men,
And William a Trent was slaine.
It had bene better of William a Trent
To have bene abed with sorrowe,
Than to be that day in the greenwood slade
To meet with Little John's arrowe.
But as it is said, when men be mett,
Fyve can doe more than three,
The sheriffe hath taken Little John,
And bound him fast to a tree.
Thou shalt be drawen by dale and downe,
And hanged hye on a hill.
But thou mayst fayle of thy purpose, quoth
If it be Christ his will.
Lett us leave talking of Little John, And thinke of Robin Hood,
How he is gone to the wight yeoman,
Where under the leaves he stood.
Good morrow, good fellowe, sayd Robin so fayre,
Good morrow, good fellow, quo he: Methinks, by this bowe thou beares in thy hande,
A good archere thou sholdst bee.
I am wilfulle of my waye, quo' the
And of my morning tyde.
Ile lead thee through the wood, sayd Robin:
Good fellow, Ile be thy guide.
I seeke an outlawe, the straunger sayd,
Men call him Robin Hood;
Rather I'd meet with that proud outlawe
Than fortye pound soe good.
Now come with me, thou wighty yeman,
And Robin thou soone shalt see:
But first let us some pastime find
Under the greenwood tree.
First let us some masterye make
Among the woods so even,
We may chance to meet with Robin Hood
Here at some unsett steven.
They cut them down two summer shroggs,
That grew both under a breere,
And set them threescore rood in twaine
To shoote the prickes y-fere.
Leade on, good fellowe, quoth Robin Hood,
Leade on, I do bidd thee.
Nay by my faith, good fellowe, hee sayd,
My leader thou shalt bee.
The first time Robin shot at the pricke,
He mist but an inch it fro:
The yeoman he was an archer good,
But he cold never do soe.
The second shoote had the wightye yeman,
He shot within the garland:
But Robin he shot far better than hee,
For he clave the good prick-wande.
A blessing upon thy heart, he sayd;
Goode fellowe, thy shooting is goode;
For an thy heart be as good as thy hand,
Thou wert better than Robin Hood.
Now tell me thy name, good fellowe, sayd he,
Under the leaves of lyne.
Nay by my faith, quoth bolde Robin,
Till thou have told me thine.
I dwelle by dale and downe, quoth hee,
And Robin to take Ime sworne;
And when I am called by my right name
I am Guy of good Gisborne.
My dwelling is in this wood, says Robin,
By thee I set right nought:
I am Robin Hood of Barnesdale,
Whom thou so long has sought.
He that had neyther been kithe nor kin,
Might have seen a full sayre sight,
To see how together these yeomen went
With blades both browne and bright:
To see how these yeomen together they fought,
Two howres of a summer's day:
Yet neither Robin Hood nor Sir Guy
Them fettled to fly awaye.
Robin was reachles on a roote,
And stumbled at that tyde;
And Guy was quicke and nimble withall,
And hitt him upon the syde.
Ah deere Ladye, said Robin Hood, thou
That art both mother and may,
I think it was never mans destinye
To dye before his day.
Robin thought on our Ladye deere,
And soon leapt up againe;
And strait he came with a backward stroke,
And he Sir Guy hath slayne.
He took Sir Guys head by the hayre,
And stuck it upon his bowes end:
Thou hast been a traytor all thy life,
Which thing must have an end.
Robin pulled forth an Irysh knife,
And nicked Sir Guy in the face,
That he was never on woman born
Cold know whose head it was.
Sayes, Lye there, lye there, now, Sir Guye,
And with me be not wrothe:
Iff thou have had the worst strokes at my hand,
Thou shalt have the better clothe.
Robin did off his gowne of greene,
And on Sir Guy did throwe,
And he put on that capull hyde,
That clad him topp to toe.
Thy bowe, thy arrows, and little horne,
Now with me I will beare;
For I will away to Barnesdale,
To see how my men doe fare.
Robin Hood sett Guys horne to his mouth,
And a loud blast in it did blow,
That beheard the sheriffe of Nottingham,
As he leaned under a lowe.
Hearken, hearken, sayd the sheriffe,
I heare nowe tydings good,
For yonder I hear Sir Guyes horne blowe,
And he hath slaine Robin Hoode.
Yonder I heare Sir Guyes horne blowe,
Itt blowes soe well in tyde;
And yonder comes that wightye yeoman,
Cladd in his capull hyde.
Come hyther, come hyther, thou good Sir Guy,
Aske what thou wilt of mee.
OI will none of thy gold, sayd Robin,
Nor I will none of thy fee:
But now I have slaine the master, he sayes,
Lett me goe strike the knave;
For this is all the meede I aske,
None other reward Ile have.
Thou art a madman, sayd the sheriffe,
Thou sholdst have had a knightes fee:
But seeing thy asking hath beene soe bad,
Well granted it shall bee.
When Little John heard his master speake,
Well knew he it was his steven:
Now shall I bee looset, quoth Little John,
With Christ his might in heaven.
Fast Robin hee hyed him to Little John,
He thought to loose him blive;
The sheriffe and all his companye
Fast after him gan drive.
Stand abacke, stand abacke, sayd Robin;
Why draw you me so neere?
Itt was never the use in our countryè,
Ones shrift another shold heere.
But Robin pulled forth an Irysh knife,
And losed John hand and foote,
And gave him Sir Guyes bow into his hand,
And bade it be his boote.
Then John he took Guyes bow in his hand,
His bolts and arrowes eche one;
When the sheriffe saw Little John bend his bow,
He fettled him to be gone.
Towards his house in Nottingham towne
He fled full fast away:
And so did all the companye:
Not one behind wold stay.
But he cold neither runne soe fast,
Nor away so fast cold ryde,
But Little John with an arrowe soe broad,
He shott him into the backe-syde.
§ 105. Adam Bell, Clym of the Clough, and William of Cloudesly.
They were three noted outlaws, whose skill in archery rendered them formerly as famous in the North of England, as Robin Hood and his fellows were in the midland counties. Their place of residence was in the forest of Englewood, not far from Carlisle (called corruptly in the ballad English-wood, whereas Engle or Ingle wood signifies wood for firing). At what time they lived does not appear. The author of the common ballad on the pedigree, education, and marriage, of Robin Hood, makes them contemporary with Robin Hood's father, in order to give him the honor of beating them; viz.
The father of Robin a forester was,
And he shot in a lusty long bow
Two north-country miles and an inch at a shot,
As the pinder of Wakefield does know;
For he brought Adam Bell, and Clim of the Clough,
And William of Clowdeslee,
To shoot with our forester for forty mark;
And our forester beat them all three.
Collect. of Old Ballads, 1727, 1st vol. p. 67.
This seems to prove that they were commonly thought
to have lived before the popular hero of Sherwood.
I have only to add further concerning the principal hero
of this ballad, that the Bells were noted rogues in the
north so late as the time of Q. Elizabeth. See, in
Rymer's Foedera, a letter from Lord William Howard
to some of the officers of state, wherein he mentions
Among the levès grene,
Whereas men hunt east and west
Wyth bowes and arrowes kene;
To ryse the dere out of theyr denne :
Suche sightes hath ofte bene sene;
As by thre yemen of the north countrèy,
By them it is I meane.
The one of them hight Adam Bel,
The other Clym of the Clough
The thyrd was William of Cloudesly,
An archer good ynough.
They were outlawed for venyson,
These yemen everchone;
They swore them brethren upon a day,
To Englyshe wood for to gone.
Now lith and lysten, gentylmen,
That of myrthe loveth to here:
Two of them were single men,
The third had a wedded fere.
Wyllyam was the wedded man,
Muche more than was hys care:
He sayde to hys brethren upon a day,
To Carleil he wold fare;
For to speke with fayre Alyce his wife,
And with hys children thre.
By my trouth, sayde Adam Bel,
Not by the counsell of me :
For if ye go to Carleil, brother,
And from thys wylde wode wende,
If the justice may you take,
Your lyfe were at an ende.
If that I come not to-morrow,
By pryme to you agayne,
Truste not els but that I am take,
Or else that I am slayne.
He took his leave of his brethren two,
And to Carleil he is gon :
Theyre he knocked at his owne windowe,
Shortly and anone,
Wher be you, fayre Alyce my wyfe,
And my chyldren thre?
Lyghtly let in thine owne husbande,
Wyllyam of Cloudeslè.
Alas! then sayde fayre Alyce,
And syghed wonderous sore,
Thys place hath ben besette for you
Thys halfe yere and more.
Now am I here, said Cloudeslè,
I wold that in I were:
Now fetche us meate and drynke ynoughe, And let us make good chere.
She fetched hym meate and drynke plentyè,
Lyke a true wedded wyfe:
And pleased hym with that she had,
Whome she loved as her lyfe.
There lay an old wyfe in that place,
A lytle besyde the fyre,
Whych Wyllyam had found of charytyè
More than seven yere.
Up she rose, and forth she goes,
Evel mote she spede therefoore;
For she had not set no fote on ground
In seven yere before.
She went unto the justice-hall,
As fast as she could hye:
Thys night is come unto thys town
Wyllyam of Cloudeslyè.
Thereof the justice was full fayne,
And so was the sherife also:
Thou shalt not trauaill hither, dame, for nought,
Thy mede thou shalt have or thou go.
They gave to her a ryght good goune
Of scarlate and of graine:
She toke the gyfte, and home she wente,
And couched her downe agayne.
They rysed the towne of mery Carleile
In all the haste they can;
And came thronging to Wyllyames house,
As fast as they might gone.
Theyre they besette that good yemàn
About on every side:
Wyllyam hearde great noyse of folkes,
That theytherward they hyed.
Alyce opened a back wyndow,
And loked all aboute:
She was ware of the justice and shirife bothe,
Wyth a full great route.
Alas! treason, cryed Alyce,
Ever wo may thou be!
Goe into my chamber, husband, she sayd,
Sweet Wyllyam of Cloudeslè.
He toke hys sweard and hys bucler,
Hys bow and hys chyldren thre,
And wente into hys strongest chamber,
Where he thought surest to be.
Fayre Alyce, lik a lover true,
Took a pollaxe in her hande :
He shal be dead that here commeth in
Thys dore, whyle I may stand.
Cloudeslè bente a wel-good bowe,
That was of trusty tre:
He smot the justice on the brest,
That hys arowe brest in three.
A curse on his harte, said William,
Thys day thy cote dyd on!
If it had ben no better than mynė,
It had gone nere thy bone.
Yeld the, Cloudeslè, sayd the justise,
Thy bowe and thy arrowes the fro.
A curse on hys hart, said fair Alyce,
That my husband concelleth so.
• Clym of the Clough, means Clem. (Clement) of the Valley; for so Clough signifies in the North
Set fyre on the house, saide the sherife,
Syth it wyll no better be,
And brenne we therein William, he saide,
Hys wyfe and chyldren-thre.
They fyred the house in many a place;
The fyre flew up on hye:
Alas! then cryed fair Alyce,
I se we here shall dy.
William openyd a back wyndow,
That was in hys chamber hie,
And wyth shetes let downe his wyfe,
And eke hys chyldren thre.
Have here my treasure, sayde William,
My wyfe and my chyldren thre:
For Christès love do them no harme,
But wreke you all on me.
Wyllyam shot so wonderous well,
Tyll hys arrowes were all agoe,
And the fyre so fast upon hym fell,
That hys bowstryng brent in two.
The sparkles brent and fell upon
Good Wyllyam of Cloudesle:
Then he was a wofull man, and sayde,
Thys is a cowardes death to me.
Lever had I, sayde Wyllyam,
With my sworde in the route to renne,
Then here among myne enemyes wode
Thus cruelly to bren.
He toke hys sweard and hys buckler,
And among them all he ran.
Where the people were most in prece,
He smote down many a man.
There myght no man abyde his stroke,
So fersly on them he ran :
Then they threw wyndowes and dores on him,
And so toke that good yeman.
There they hym bounde both hande and fote,
And in depe dongeon cast.
Now, Cloudesle, sayd the hye justice,
Thou shalt be hanged in hast.
A payre of new gallowes, sayd the sherife,
Now shall I for the make;
And the gates of Carleil shal be shutte,
No man shall come in thereat.
Then shall not helpe Clym of the Cloughe,
Nor yet shall Adam Bell,
Though they come with a thousand mo,
Nor all the devels in hell.
Early in the mornynge the justice uprose,
To the gates first gan he gon,
And commaundeth he to be shut full close
Then went he to the markett place,
As fast as he could hye;
A payre of new gallous there he set up
Besyde the pyllorye.
A lyttle boy among them asked,
What meaneth that gallow-tree? They sayde, To hang a good yeaman, Called Wyllyam of Cloudeslè.
That lytle boye was the towne swyne-heard,
And kept fayre Alyces swine:
Oft he had seene Cloudesle in the woode
And geuend hym there to dyne.
He went out att a crevis in the wall,
And lightly to the wood dyde gone;
There met he with these wightye yemen
Shortly and anone.
Alas! then sayde that lytle boye,
Ye tary here all to longe;
Cloudesle is taken, and dampned to death,
All readye for to honge.
Alas! then sayd good Adam Bell,
That ever we see thys daye!
He had better with us have taryed,
So ofte as we dyd hym praye.
He myght have dwellyd in grene forèste,
Under the shadowes grene,
And have kept both hym and us in reste,
Out of trouble and teene.
Adam bent a ryghte good bow,
A great hart sone had he slayne:
Take that, chylde, he sayde, to thy dynner,
And bryng me myne arrowe agayne.
Now go we hence, sayde these wightye yeomen,
Tary we no lenger here;
We shall hym borowe by God his grace,
Though we bye it full dere.
To Carleil wente these good yemen,
In a merry mornynge of Maye.-
Here is a Fyt* of Cloudeslye,
And another is for to saye.
Part the Second.
And when they came to merry Carleil,
And in the mornynge tyde,
They founde the gates shut them untyll
About on every side.
Alas! then sayd good Adam Bell,
That ever we were made men!
These gates be shut so wonderous wel,
We may not come here in.
Then bespake him Clym of the Clough,
Wyth a wyle we wyl us in bryng:
Let us saye we be messengers,
Streyght come nowe from our king.
Adam sayd, I have a letter written,
Now let us wysely werke,
We wyl saye we have the knyges seals;
I holde the porter no clerke.
Then Adam Bell bete on the gate,
With strokes great and strong;
The porter herde such noyse therat,
And to the gate he throng.
Who is there nowe, sayde the porter,
That maketh all thys dinne?
We be tow messengers,sayde Clim of theClough,
Be come ryght from our kyng.
We have a letter, sayde Adam Bel,
To the justice we must it bryng:
Let us in our message to do,
That we were agayne to the kyng.