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To laugh and be merry in their mood,

Their enemies were far behind.

And when they came to English wood,

Under the trusty tree,
There they found bows full good,

And arrows full great plenty.

So God me help, said Adam Bell,

And Clym of the Clough so free, I would we were in merry Carlisle,

Before that fair meynye.*

They sate them down, and made good cheer,

And ate and drank full well.
A second Fet of the wighty yeomen,

Another I will you tell.

* Company


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AS they sat in the merry green wood,

Under the green-wood tree,
They thought they heard a woman weep,

But her they mought* not see.


Sore then sighed the fair Alice :

That ever I saw this day !
For now is my dear husband slain :

Alas! and well-a-way !

Might I have spoken to his dear brethren,

Or with either of them twain,
To show to them what him befell,
My heart were out of pain.

* Might for could.

Cloudesly walked a little beside,

He looked under the green-wood lynde; He was aware of his wife, and children three,

Full woe in heart and mind.

Welcome, wife, then said William,

Under this trusty tree: I had ween’d yesterday, by sweet saint John,

Thou shouldst me never have see'.

Now well is me that ye be here,

My heart is out of woe;
Dame, he said, be merry and glad,

And thank my brethren two.

Hereof to speak, said Adam Bell,

I think it is no boot :
The meat, that we must sup withal,

It runneth yet fast on foot.

Then went they down into a lawn,

These noble archers all three ;
Each of them slew a hart of grease, *

The best that they could see.

* Fat hart.

Have here the best, Alice my wife,

Said William of Cloudesly; Because ye so boldly stood by me When I was slain full nigh.

Then went they all into supper

With such meat as they had ; And thanked God of their fortune :

They were both merry and glad.

And when they all had supped well,

Certainly without lease, * Cloudesly said, We will to our king,

To get us a charter of peace.

Alice shall be at our sojourning

In a nunnery here beside ; My two sons shall with her go,

And there they shall abide.

Mine eldest son shall go with me;

For him have you no care : And he shall bring you word again,

How that we do fare.

* Lies.

Thus be these yeomen to London gone,

As fast as they might hie,
Till they came to the king's palace,
Where they would needs be.

And when they came to the king's court,

Unto the palace gate,
Of no man would they ask no leave,

But boldly went in thereat.

They pressed prestly* into the hall,

Of no man had they dread:
The porter came after, and did them call,

And with them began to chide.

The usher said, Yeomen, what would ye have ?

I pray you tell to me:
You might thus make officers shent:t

Good sirs, of whence be ye?

Sir, we be outlaws of the forest

Certainly without lease;
And hither we be come to our king,

To get us a charter of peace.

* Quickly.

* Disgraced.

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