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For though my ryme be ragged,
Tattered and jagged,
Rudely rayne beaten,
Rusty and moughte' eaten,
If ye take well therwith,
It hath in it some pyth.
For, as farre as I can se,
It is wronge with eche degre;
For the temporalte
Accuseth the spiritualte;
The spirituall agayne
Dothe grudge and complayne
Upon the temporall men:
Thus eche of other blother?
The tone : agayng the tother.
Alas, they make me shoder!
For in hoder moder*
The Churche is put in faute. S
The prelates ben so haut,
They say, and loke so hy,
As though they wolde fly
Above the sterry skye.
Laye-men say indede,
How they take no hede
Theyr sely shepe to fede,
But plucke away and pull
The fleces of theyr wull;
Unethes ? they leve a locke
Of wull amonges theyr flocke.
And as for theyr connynge,
A glommynge and a mummynge,
And make therof a jape;
They gaspe and they gape,
All to have promocyon;
There is theyr hole devocyon,
With money, if it wyll hap,
To catche the forked cap.
Forsothe they are to lewd
To say so, all beshrewd !


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“Quho ? is at my windo? Quho? Quho? Go from my windo, go, go!

Quho callis thair

Sa lyke a strangair? Go from my windo, go!"

5 Lord I am heir, ane wretchit mortall That for thy mercy dois cry and call Unto the, my Lord celestiall.

Se quho is at thy windo, quho!”
“How dar thow for mercy cry,
Sa lang in sin as thow dois ly?
Mercy to have thow art not worthy,

Go from my windo, go!”


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Who shall have my fayr lady? Who but I? Who but I? Who? Who shall have my fayr lady? Who hath more ryght therto ?

Thys ender nyght'
I saw a syght,

A star as bright as day;
And ever among
A maydyn song:

By-by, baby, lullay! Thys vyrgyn clere Wythowtyn pere

Unto hur son gane say: “My son, my lorde, My fathere dere,

Why lyest thow in hay?

This lady clere
That I sheu. here,

Man soul yt ys, trust ye;


1 moth a complain the one in secrets fault haughty ? scarcely show, declare

1 life

2 who

the other night

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“My son, I say Wythowtyn nay?

Thow art my derling dere; I shall the kepe Whyle thow dost slepe

And make the goode chere;


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Quid petis, o fily ?
Mater dulcissima,

Quid petis, o fili ?

Michi plausus oscula da-da,
So laughyng in lap layde,

So pretyly, so pertly,
So passyngly well a-payd,

Ful softly and full soberly
Unto her swet son she said:

Quid petys,” etc.
The moder full manerly and mekly as a mayd,
Lokyng on her lytill son so laughyng in lap layd,
So pretyly, so partly, so passingly well apayd,
So passyngly wel apayd,

Full softly and full soberly
Unto her son she saide,
Unto her son saide:

“Quid petis," etc. I mene this by Mary, our Makers moder of myght, Full lovely lookyng on our Lord, the lanterne of lyght,

16 Thus saying to our Savior; this saw I in my syght.

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“My son, my lorde,
My fader dere,

Syth all ys at thy wyll,
I pray the, son,
Graunte me a bone,

Yff hyt be ryght and skylle;

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II Fyll the cuppe, Phylyppe,

And let us drynke a drame! Ons or twys abowte the howse

And leave where we began. I drynke to your swete harte

Soo mutche as here is in, Desyeringe yow to followe me

And doo as I begyn!
And yf you will not pledge,

You shall bere the blame.
I drynke to you with all my harte,

Yf you will pledge me the same.

What cher ? Gud cher! gud cher, gud cher!

Be mery and glad this gud Newyere!
“Lyft up your hartes and be glad,”
In Crystes byrth the angell bad;
Say eche to oder, yf any be sad,

“What cher," etc.
Now the kyng of hevyn his byrth hath take,
Joy and myrth we owght to make;
Say eche to oder for hys sake,
“What cher," etc.

8 I tell you all with hart so fre, Ryght welcum ye be to me; Be glad and mery, for charite!

“What cher,” etc. The gudman of this place in fere 1 You to be mery he prayth you here, And with gud hert he doth to you say, “What cher,” etc.




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I Lully, lulley, lulley, lulley! The fawcon hath born my makeaway!


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Pastyme with good companye
I love and shall untyll I dye.
Gruche ? who lust, but none denye.
So God be plesyd, thus leve : wyll I,
For my pastance Hunt, syng and dance;
My hart is sett;
All goodly sport For my comfort.
Who schall me lett?

Youthe must have sum daliance,
Off good or yll sum pastance,
Company me-thynkys the best
All thoughtes and fansys to dejest,
For idillness Is cheff mastres
Of vices all!
Then who can say But myrth and play
Is best of all ?


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By that bedis side kneleth a may,
And she wepeth both night and day.
Lully, lulley, etc.

And by that beddis side there stondith a ston,
Corpus Christi wretyn theron.
Lully, lulley, etc.


3. “Me thought they did mee beate and binde,

And tooke my bow mee froe;
If I bee Robin a-live in this lande,

I'le be wrocken' on both them towe."

4. “Sweavens are swift, master,” quoth John,

“As the wind that blowes ore a hill; For if itt be never soe lowde this night,

To-morrow it may be still."



5. “Buske yee, bowne yee, my merry men all,

For John shall goe with mee;
For I'le goe seeke yond wight yeomen

In greenwood where they bee."
6. They cast on their gowne of greene,

A shooting gone are they,
Until they came to the merry greenwood,

Where they had gladdest bee;
There were they ware of a wight yeoman,

His body leaned to a tree. 7. A sword and a dagger he wore by his side,

Had beene many a mans bane,
And he was cladd in his capull-hyde,"
Topp, and tayle, and mayne.

30 8. “Stand you still, master," quoth Litle John,

“Under this trusty tree,
And I will goe to yond wight yeoman,

To know his meaning trulye.”

The lytyll, prety nyghtyngale,

Among the levys grene,
I wold I were with her all nyght!

But yet ye wote 'not whome I mene!
The nyghtyngale sat one a brere

Among the thornys sherp and keyn And comfort me wyth mery cher.

But yet ye wot not whome I mene! She dyd aper’ all on hur keynde

A lady ryght well be-seyne, Wyth wordys of loff tolde me hur mynde.

But yet ye wot not whome I mene. Hyt dyd me goode upon hur to loke,

Hur corse was closyd all in grene; Away fro me hur herte she toke,

But yete ye wot not whome I mene. “Lady!" I cryed, wyth rufull mone,

“Have mynd of me, that true hath bene! For I loved none but you alone.”

But yet ye wot not whome I mene.

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(Authors and Dates Unknown)



9. “A, John, by me thou setts noe store,

And that's a ffarleythinge;
How offt send I my men beffore,

And tarry my-selfe behinde?
10. “It is noe cunning a knave to ken;

And a man but heare him speake. 40 And itt were not for bursting of my bowe,

John, I wold thy head breake."
II. But often words they breeden bale;

That parted Robin and John.
John is gone to Barnesdale,

The gates he knowes eche one. 12. And when hee came to Barnesdale,

Great heavinesse there hee hadd;
He ffound two of his fellowes
Were slaine both in a slade,


1. When shawess beene sheene, and shradds ?

full fayre,
And leeves both large and longe,
It is merry, walking in the fayre fforrest,

To heare the small birds songe.

2. The woodweele 8 sang, and wold not cease,

Amongst the leaves a lyne;'
And it is by two wight 10 yeomen,

By deare God, that I meane.

13. And Scarlett a-ffoote flyinge was,

Over stockes and stone,
For the sheriffe with seven score men

Fast after him is gone.


I know : appear 3 in nature groves 6 beautiful 'coppices • woodlark of linden 10 stout

1 avenged ? dreams 3 horse-hide • strange • valley

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14. “Yett one shoote l'le shoote," sayes Litle John,

“With Crist his might and mayne; I'le make yond fellow that flyes soe fast

To be both glad and ffaine.” 15. John bent up a good veiwe ' bow, And ffetteled ? him to shoote;

60 The bow was made of a tender boughe,

And fell downe to his foote. 16. “Woe worth thee, wicked wood,” sayd Litle

That ere thou grew on a tree!
For this day thou art my bale,

My boote : when thou shold bee !" 17. This shoote it was but looselye shott,

The arrowe flew in vaine,
And it mett one of the sheriffes men;

Good William a Trent was slaine. 70 18. It had beene better for William a Trent

To hange upon a gallowe
Then for to lye in the greenwoode,

There slaine with an arrowe.
19. And it is sayd, when men be mett,

Six can doe more than three:
And they have tane Litle John,

And bound him ffast to a tree. 20. “Thou shalt be drawen by dale and downe,"

quoth the sheriffe,
"And hanged hye on a hill:”

80 “But thou may ffayle," quoth Litle John,

“If itt be Christs owne will."
21. Let us leave talking of Litle John,

For hee is bound fast to a tree,
And talke of Guy and Robin Hood

In the green woode where they bee. 22. How these two yeomen together they mett,

Under the leaves of lyne,
To see what marchandise they made
Even at that same time.

90 23. "Good morrow, good fellow," quoth Sir Guy;

“Good morrow, good ffellow," quoth hee; “Methinkes by this bow thou beares in thy


A good archer thou seems to bee." 24. “I am wilfull my way," quoth Sir Guye,

And of my morning tyde:”'
"I'le lead thee through the wood," quoth

“Good ffellow, I'le be thy guide."

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* yew ? made ready Shelp


1 hour

2 wands

3 apart

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