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Come hyther, come hyther, thou good fir Guy,
Alke what thou wilt of mee. o I will none of thy gold, sayd Robin, Nor I will none of thy fee :
But now I have slaine the master, he sayes,
Let me goe strike the knave ; For this is all the meede I ake;
None other rewarde I'le have.
Thou art a madman, fayd the sheriffe,
Thou sholdst have had a knightes fee : But seeing thy asking hath beene soe bad,
Well granted it shal bee.
When Little John heard his master speake,
Well knewe he it was his steven :
With Chrift his might in heaven.
Faft Robin hee hyed him to Little John,
He thought to loose him blive ; The sheriffe and all his companye
Fast after himn can drive.
Stand abacke, stand abacke, fayd Robin ;
Why draw you mee fo neere?
Ones Thrift another shold heere.
But Robin pulled forth an Iryfh knife,
And losed John hand and foote,
And bade it be his boote.
Then John he took Gayes bow in his hand,
His boltes and arrowes eche one:
Towards his house in Nottingham towne,
He fed full faft away ;
Not one behind wold stay.
But he cold neither runne foe fast,
Nor away soe faft cold ryde,
He shotg him into the ' backe'-fyde.
.* The title of Sir was not formerly peculiar to Knigbts, it was given to priests, and sometimes to very inferior personages.
ON HENRY FOURTH EARL OF NORTH,
The fubje&t of this peem, which was written by SkelTON, is the death of HENRX Percy, fourth earl of Northumberland, who fell a victim to the avarice of Henry VII. In 1489 the parliament had granted the king a subfidy for carrying on the zvar in Bretagne. This tax was found so heavy in the North, that the whole country was in a flame. The E. of Northumberland, then lord lieutenant for Yorkshire, wrote to inform the king of the discontent, and praying an abatement. But nothing is so unrelenting as avarice : the king wrote back that not a penny should be abated. This message being delivered by the earl with too little caution, the populace rose, and supposing him to be the promoter of their calamity, broke into his house, and murdered him with several of his attendants : who yet are charged by Skelton with being backward in their duty on this occafon. Tbis melancholy event happened at the earl's seat at Cocklodge, near Thirske, in Yorkshire, April 28. 1489. See Lord Bacon, &c.
If the reader does not find much poetical merit in this old poem (which yet is one of Skelton's belt), he will see a striking picture of the date and magnificence kept up by our
ancient nobility during the feudal times. This great earl is described here. as having among his menial servants, KNIGHTS, SQUIREs, and even BARONS: see v. 32. 183. &c. Which however different from modern manners, was formerly not unusual with our greater Barons, whose castles had all the splendour and offices of a royal court, before the Laws against Retainers abridged and limited the number of their attendants.
John Skelton, who commonly styled himself Poet Laureat, died June 21. 1529. The following poem, which appears to have been written foon after the event, is printed from an ancient MS. copy preserved in the British Museum, being much more correct than that printed among
SKELTON's Poems in bl. let. 12mo. 1568.-It is addressed to Henry Percy fifth earl of Northumberland, and is prefacea, &c. in the following manner :
Poeta Skelton Laureatus libellum suum metrice
Ad dominum properato meum mea pagina Percy,
Qui Northumbrorum jura paterna gerit.
Quæque suo patri triftia justa cano.
Fortunam, cuncta quæ male fida rotat.
Ad libitum cujus ipse paratus ero.
Skelton LAUREAT UPON THE DOLORUS DITHE AND MUCH LAMENTABLE CHAUNCE OF THE MOOST
HONORABLE Erle op NortHUMBERLANDE.
Wayle, I wepe, I fobbe, I figh fal fore
The dedely fate, the dolefulle deftenny Of him that is gone, alas ! withoute restore,
Of the blode royall descendinge nobelly;
Whos lordshepe doutles was flayne lamentably 5 Thorow treson ageyn hym compaffyd and wrought; Trew to his prince, in word, in dede, and thought.
Of hevenly poems, O Clyo calde by name
In the college of musis goddess hyftoriall, Adres the to me, whiche am both halt and lame.",
In elect futeraunce to make memoryall:
To the for soccour, to the for helpe I call Myne homely rudnes and drighnes to expelle With the freshe waters of Elyconys welle.
Of noble actes auncyently enrolde,
Of famous princis and lordes of aftate, By thy report ar wonte to be extold,
Regeftringe trewly every formare date ;
Of thy bountie after the usuall rate,
In sesons past who hathe harde or fene
Of formar writinge by any presidente That vilane haftarddis in ther furious tene,
† Henry, firft E. of Northumberland, was born of Mary daughter to Henry E, of Lancaster, second son of K. Henry III.
He was also lineally descended from the Emperour Charlemagne and the ancient Kings of France, by his ancestor Fosceline de Lovain, (Son of Godfrey Duke
of Brabant,) who took the name of Percy on marrying the beiress of that bouse in the reign of Hen. II. Vid. Camden. Britan. Edmondjon, &c.