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I will you take, and lady make,

As shortly as I can:
Thus have you won an erly's son,

And not a banished man.


Here may ye see, that women be

In love, meek, kind, and stable;
Let never man reprove them then,

Or call them variàble;
But, rather, pray God that we may

To them be comfortable;
Which sometime proveth such, as he loveth,

If they be charitable.
For sith men would that women should

Be meek to them each one;
Much more ought they to God obey,

And serve but Him alone.



[IF author of the ballad on Robin Hood's birth and pedigree had any authority for his statements, the famous archers who figure in the following legend lived before the time of Robin Hood, and were contemporaneous with his father, who is represented as having beaten them in shooting at a mark. However that may be, the antiquity of the ballad itself is clearly established by its style and form. Few of the ancient ballads are more distinctly marked by those characteristic turns of expression, and by that peculiar rhythm found in all the old poems which were written to be sung or recited. The earliest copy extant is in the British Museum, printed in black letter, in quarto, without a date. It was reprinted in 1605, and 1616, with the addition of an inferior piece, containing the adventures of

William of Cloudesly's son. Copies of these reprints are preserved in the Bodleian.

The heroes of this ballad were long celebrated for their skill in archery, and their wild lives as outlaws, in the north countrie,' where the Bells are a numerous ock, and

appear to have sustained a pre-eminent notoriety for their misdeeds so late as the beginning of the seventeenth century. Frequent allusions to these marauders occur in the plays of the Elizabethan period. That they flourished before the reign of Henry VIII. is ascertained by the fact, that Engle or Inglewood, which they frequented, was disforested by that monarch, and had become in Camden's time a dreary moor, with high distant hills on both sides, and a few stone farm houses and cottages along the road.' The forest of Ingle

nod was in Cumberland, and extended from Carlisle to . varith. The term " English wood' in the ballad is a corruption of Engle-wood, signifying, as Percy observes, wood for firing. Ritson suggests that the term, in this instance, meant a wood in which fires were made on particular occasions; and he supports the conjecture by a reference to Penrith beacon which stood within the confines of the forest, and to Ingle-borough, a hill which obtained its name from the beacon-fires anciently lighted on its summit.

Percy reprinted this ballad from the early black-letter copy, with variations from a MS. in his possession. Ritson, in his Pieces of Ancient Poetry, reproduced the old text, which is also followed by Mr. Gutch in his elaborate collection of the Robin Hood ballads. The following text is formed from a collation of both editions.]



ERRY it was in the


Among the levès green,*
Where that men hunt east and west

With bows and arrows keen;

* This was a popular form of opening, very common amongst the old ballads. It occurs, with slight variations, in Rovin Hood The third had a wedded fere.

To raise the deer out of their den;

Such sights hath oft been seen; As by three yeomen of the north countrie,

By them it is I mean.

The one of them hight Adam Bell,

The other, Clym of the Clough,* The third was William of Cloudesly,

An archer good enough.

They were outlawed for venison,

These yeomen everychone;
They swore them brethren upon a day,

To English-wood for to gone.

Now lith and listen, gentlemen,t

That of mirthès loveth to hear; Two of them were single men,

and Guy of Gisborne, Robin Hood and the Potter, A Tale og Robin Hood, and many others. The frequent recurrence of particular phrases and forms of description is a striking feature in these compositians, and marks their traditional character.

* Clim, Clem or Clement. Clough was used in different senses, sometimes it implied a cliff, and sometimes a wood; but more gene rally a glen or narrow valley.

+ Lith, or lithe, to tell or relate. 'Now lithe and listen, gentlemen,' was an expression of common occurrence, generally used at the beginning of a ballad, as in the Lytell Geste of Robin Hood, where it is to be found at the commencement of nearly every fytte. It was originally employed before the discovery of printing, and plainly indicates that the poem was intended for recitation. It would seem,' observes Mr. Motherwell, speaking of the constant reproduction of the same modes and turns of expression in these pieces, that these commonplaces are so many ingenious devices, no doubt suggested by the wisdom and experience of many ages, whereby oral poetry is more firmly imprinted on the memory, more readily recalled to it, when partially obliterated, and, in the absence of atters, the only efficacious means of preserving and transmitting it to after ages.' The occurrence of these established phrases, however, does not necessarily prove that a ballad belongs to a date anterior to the introduction of printing, a the old forms were preserved long afterwards.

William was the wedded man,

Much more then was his care;
He said to his brethren upon a day,

To Carlisle he would fare,

For to speak with fair Alice his wife,

And with his children three. By my troth,' said Adam Bell,

Not by the counsel of me:

*For if you go to Carlisle, brother,

And from this wild wood wend, If that the justice may you take,

Your life were at an end.'

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• If that I come not to-morrow, brother,

By prime to you again, Trust you

then that I am takèn, Or else that I am slain.'

He took his leave of his brethren two,

And to Carlisle he is gone: There he knocked at his own window

Shortly and anon. •Where be you, fair Alice,' he said,

• My wife and children three ? Lightly let in thine own husband,

William of Cloudesly.' • Alas!' then saydè fair Alice,

And sighèd wondrous sore, “This place has been beset for you

This half a year and more.' Now I am here,' said Cloudesly,

"I would that in I were; Now fetch us meat and drink enough,

And let us make us good cheer.'

She fetched him meat and drink plenty,

Like a true wedded wife;
And pleased him with that she had,

Whom she loved as her life.

There lay an old wife in that place,

A little beside the fire,
Which William had found of charity

More than seven year.

Up she rose, and walked full still,*

Evil mote she speed therefore;
For she had set no foot on ground

In seven year before.
She went unto the justice hall,

As fast as she could hie:
"This night,' she said, 'is come to town

William of Cloudesly.' Thereof the justice was full fain,

And so was the sheriff also; “Thou shalt not travaile hither dame, for pought,

Thy meed thou shalt have ere thou go.' They gave to her a right good gown,

Of scarlet it was as I heard sayne, t She took the gift, and home she went,

And couched her down again.

* This is the old reading from the printed copies. Dr. Percy reads, from his MS.

• Up she rose, and forth she goes.' The former, suggestive of the stealthiness of the old woman's step on her treacherous mission, is certainly better. † Percy reads

Of scarlet and of graine;' which is equivalent to saying ‘of scarlet and of scarlet,' graine being the name of the scarlet dye used for cloths.

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