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Methought they did me beat and bind,
And took my bow me fro';
Sweavens are swift, master, quoth John,
As the wind that blows o'er a hill ; For if it be never so loud this night,
To-morrow it may be still.
Busk ye, bownet ye, my merry men all,
And John shall go with me,
In the greenwood where they be.
Then they cast on their gowns of green,
And took their bows each one, And they away to the green forest,
A shooting forth are gone;
Until they came to the merry greenwood,
Where they had gladdest be,
His body leaned to a tree.
+ Make ready
A sword and a dagger he wore by his side,
Of many a man the bane;
Top and tail and mane.
Stand you still, master, quoth Little John,
Under this tree so green,
To know what he doth mean.
Ah! John, by me thou settest no store,
And that I fairly find;
And tarry myself behind ?
It is no cunning a knave to ken,
Ant a man but hear him speak;
John, I thy head would break.
As often words they breeden bale, $
So they parted, Robin and John; And John is gone to Barnesdale :
The gates & he knoweth each one.
But when he came to Barnesdale,
Great heaviness there he had,
For he found two of his own fellows
Were slain both in a glade.
And Scarlett he was flying a-foot
Fast over stock and stone, For the proud sheriff with seven score men
Fast after him is gone.
One shot now I will shoot, quoth John,
(With Christe his might and main ;) I'll make yon fellow that flies so fast,
To stop he shall be fain.
Then John bent up his long bende-bow,
And fettled * him to shoot :
And fell down to his foot.
Woe worth, woe worth thee, wicked wood
That ere thou grew on a tree ; For now this day thou art my bale,
My bootet when thou shouldst be.
* Made ready
His shoot it was but loosely shot,
Yet flew not the arrow in vain,
Good William-a-Trent was slain.
It had been better for William-a-Trent
To have been a-bed with sorrow, Than to be that day in the greenwood glade
To meet with Little John's arrow.
But as it is said, when men be met,
Five can do more than three, The sheriff hath taken Little John,
And bound him fast to a tree.
Thou shalt be drawn by dale and down,
And hang’d high on a hill. But thou mayst fail of thy purpose, quoth John,
If it be Christe his will..
Let us leave talking of Little John,
And think of Robin Hood,
Where under the leaves he stood.
Good morrow, good fellow, said Robin so fair,
Good morrow, good fellow, quoth he : Methinks by this bow thou bear'st in thy hand,
A good archer thou shouldst be.
I am wilful* of my way, quo' the yeoman,
And of my morning tide. I'll lead thee through the wood, said Robin;
Good fellow, I'll be thy guide.
I seek an outlaw, the stranger said,
Men call him Robin Hood;
Than forty pounds so good.
Now come with me, thou wighty yeoman,
And Robin thou soon shalt see :
But first let us some pastime find
Under the greenwood tree.
First let us some mastery make
Among the woods so even,
Here at some unsett steven.