Erlinton

No: 8; variant: 8C

  1. AS Robin Hood sat by a tree, He espied a prettie may, And when she chanced him to see, She turnd her head away.
  2. ‘O feare me not, thou prettie mayde, And doe not flie from mee; I am the kindest man,’ he said, ‘That ever eye did see.’
  3. Then to her he did doffe his cap, And to her lowted low; ‘To meete with thee I hold it good hap, If thou wilt not say noe.’
  4. Then he put his hand around her waste, Soe small, so tight, and trim, And after sought her lip to taste, And she to kissed him.
  5. ‘Where dost thou dwell, my prettie maide? I prithee tell to me;’ ‘I am a tanner’s daughter,’ she said, ‘John Hobbes of Barneslee.’
  6. ‘And whither goest thou, pretty maide? Shall I be thy true love?’ ‘If thou art not afeard,’ she said, ‘My true love thou shalt prove.’
  7. ‘What should I feare?’ then he replied; ‘I am thy true love now;’ ‘I have two brethren, and their pride Would scorn such one as thou.’
  8. ‘That will we try,’ quoth Robin Hood; ‘I was not made their scorne; Ile shed my blood to doe the[e] good, As sure as they were borne.’
  9. ‘My brothers are proude and fierce and strong;’ ‘I am,’ said he, ‘The same, And if they offer thee to wrong, Theyle finde Ile play their game.
  10. ‘Through the free forrest I can run, The king may not controll; They are but barking tanners’ sons, To me they shall pay toll.
  11. ‘And if not mine be sheepe and kine, I have cattle on my land; On venison eche day I may dine, Whiles they have none in hand.’
  12. These wordes had Robin Hood scarce spoke, When they two men did see, Come riding till their horses smoke: ‘My brothers both,’ cried shee.
  13. Each had a good sword by his side, And furiouslie they rode To where they Robin Hood espied, That with the maiden stood.
  14. ‘Flee hence, flee hence, away with speede!’ Cried she to Robin Hood, ‘For if thou stay, thoult surely bleede; I could not see thy blood.’
  15. ‘With us, false maiden, come away, And leave that outlawe bolde; Why fledst thou from thy home this day, And left thy father olde?’
  16. Robin stept backe but paces five, Unto a sturdie tree; ‘Ile fight whiles I am left alive; Stay thou, sweete maide, with mee.’
  17. He stood before, she stoode behinde, The brothers two drewe nie; ‘Our sister now to us resign, Or thou full sure shalt die.’
  18. Then cried the maide, ‘My brethren deare, With ye Ile freely wend, But harm not this young forrester, Noe ill doth he pretend.’
  19. ‘Stande up, sweete maide, I plight my troth; Fall thou not on thy knee; Ile force thy cruell brothers both To bend the knee to thee.
  20. ‘Stand thou behinde this sturdie oke, I soone will quell their pride; Thoult see my sword with furie smoke, And in their hearts’ blood died.’
  21. He set his backe against a tree, His foote against a stone; The first blow that he gave so free Cleft one man to the bone.
  22. The tanners bold they fought right well, And it was one to two; But Robin did them both refell, All in the damsell’s viewe.
  23. The red blood ran from Robins brow, All downe unto his knee; ‘O holde your handes, my brethren now, I will goe backe with yee.’
  24. ‘Stand backe, stand backe, my pretty maide, Stand backe and let me fight; By sweete St. James be no[t] afraide But I will it requite.’
  25. Then Robin did his sword uplift, And let it fall againe; The oldest brothers head it cleft, Right through unto his braine.
  26. ‘O hold thy hand, bolde forrester, Or ill may thee betide; Slay not my youngest brother here, He is my father’s pride.’
  27. ‘Away, for I would scorne to owe, My life to the[e], false maide!’ The youngest cried, and aimd a blow That lit on Robin’s head.
  28. Then Robin leand against the tree, His life nie gone did seeme; His eyes did swim, he could not see The maiden start betweene.
  29. It was not long ere Robin Hood Could welde his sword so bright; Upon his feete he firmly stood, And did renew the fight.
  30. Untill the tanner scarce could heave His weapon in the aire; But Robin would not him bereave Of life, and left him there.
  31. Then to the greenewood did he fly, And with him went the maide; For him she vowd that she would dye, He’d live for her, he said.