Robin Hode and Guy of Gisborne

From The Anglish Wiki

This is an Anglish translation of Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne, a story found in the manuscript British Library Add MSS 27879 from around 1650. It is believed that the story is much older than this surviving version. I've taken liberties to make it more comprehensible and to keep some of the lines rhyming.

As a personal preference I have opted: to use ⟨eCe⟩ and ⟨oCe⟩ instead of ⟨ee⟩ and ⟨oo⟩; to use ⟨oCe⟩ instead of ⟨oa⟩; to use ⟨e⟩, ⟨eCe⟩, or ⟨aCe⟩ instead of ⟨ea⟩, depending on vowel quality; to allow magic-E to appear after all consonant clusters. In other words, green, moon, goat, head, mead, great, mild, ground, moose, and wife become grene, mone, gote, hed, mede, grate, milde, grunde, mosse, and ƿiffe.

The Writ

Hƿen scales are scene and screds full fair,
And lefes boþ lufly and long,
It is merry ƿalking in þe ƿinsum ƿodes,
To here þe small birds song.

Þe ƿodeƿale sang, and ƿuld not stop,
Amongst þe lefes of lime.
"And it is by tƿo ƿigt geoman,
By dere God, þat I mene.

"Meþougt þey did me bete and bind,
And toke my boƿ me fro.
If I be Robin alife in þis land,
I ƿill be ƿraken on boþ þem tƿo."

"Sƿefens are sƿift, lord," cƿoþ John,
"As þe ƿind þat bloƿes ofer a hill,
For if it be nefer so lude þis nigt,
Tomorroƿ it may be still."

"Busk ge, bune ge, my merry men all,
For John scall go ƿiþ me,
For I ƿill go seke geond ƿigt geomen
In greneƿode hƿere þey be."

Hy cast on her ƿede of grene,
A scoting gone are hy,
Until hy came to þe merry greneƿode,
Hƿere hy ƿuld gladdest be.
Þere ƿere þe ƿare of ƿigt geoman,
His body lened to a tree.

A sƿord and a sax he ƿore by his side,
Hƿic had been many a mans bane,
And he ƿas clad in his capel hide,
Top, and tail, and mane.

"Stand geƿ still, lord," cƿoþ Littel John,
"Under þis trusty tree,
And I ƿill go to geond ƿigt geoman,
To knoƿ his mening treƿly."

"Aye, John, by me þu sets no store,
And þats a ferly þing.
Hu oft send I my men before,
And tarry myself behind?

"It takes no cunning to ken a knafe,
And a man but here him speke.
And if it ƿere not for my boƿ bursting,
John, I ƿuld þy hed brake."

But often ƿords brede bale,
And so split Robin and John.
John fared to Barnsdale,
Þe gates he knoƿs ece one.

And hƿen he ƿent to Barnsdale,
Grate hefiness þere he had.
He funde tƿo of his oƿn felloƿs,
Ƿere slain boþ in a slade.

And Scarlett on fote ƿas flying,
Ofer stocks and stone,
For þe sceriff ƿiþ sefen skore men
Fast after him had gone.

"Yet one scot I ƿill scote," said Littel John,
"Ƿiþ Crist his migt and main,
I ƿill make geond felloƿ þat flys so fast
To be boþ glad and fain."

John bent up a gode geƿ boƿ,
And fettelled it to scote.
Þe boƿ ƿas made of a neƿ groƿn buge,
And fell doƿn to his fote.

"Ƿoe ƿorþ þee, ƿicked ƿode," said Littel John,
"Þat ere þu greƿ on a tree.
For þis day þu art my bale,
Hƿen my bote þu sculd be."

Þis scote it ƿas but lossely scot,
Þe arroƿ fleƿ in vain,
And it met one of þe sceriffs men,
Gode William a Trent ƿas slain.

It had bene better for William a Trent
To hang upon a galloƿ
Þen for to lie in þe greneƿode,
Þere slain ƿiþ an arroƿ.

And it is said, hƿen men are met,
Six can do more þen þree.
And þey haf num Littel John,
And bunde him fast to a tree.

"Þu scalt be draƿn by dale and dune,
And hanged hige on a hill."
"But þu may truck," cƿoþ Littel John,
"If it be Crists oƿn ƿill."

Let us lefe talking of Littel John,
For he is bunde fast to a tree,
And talk nu of Guy and Robin,
In þe green ƿode hƿere þey be.

Hu þese tƿo geomen togeþer þey met,
Under þe lefes of lime,
To see hƿat godes þey made,
Efen at þat same time.

"Gode morroƿ, gode felloƿ," cƿoþ Godeman Guy,
"Gode morroƿ, gode felloƿ," cƿoþ he,
"Meþinkes by þis boƿ þu berest in þy hand,
A gode marksman þu seems to be."

"I am ƿillful of my ƿay," cƿoþ Godeman Guy,
"And of my morning tide."
"I ƿill lede þee þruge þe ƿode," cƿoþ Robin,
"Gode felloƿ, I ƿill be þy latteƿ."

"I seke an utelaƿ," cƿoþ Godeman Guy,
"Men call him Robin Hode.
I ƿuld raþer mete ƿiþ him one day,
Þen forty pundes of gold."

"If geƿ tƿo met, it ƿuld be sene hƿic is better
Before geƿ ƿuld be of him rid.
Let us sum oþer game find,
Gode felloƿ, I þe bid.

"Let us sum oþer þings fulcum,
And ƿe ƿill ƿalk in þe ƿodes efen.
Ƿe may ƿiþ luck mete Robin Hode
At sum unset stefen."

Þey cut þem dune þe summer scrubs,
Hƿih greƿ boþ under a brere,
And set þem þree skore rode in tƿin,
To scote þe pricks full nere.

"Lede on, gode felloƿ," said Godeman Guy,
"Lede on, I do bid þee."
"Nay, by my faiþ," cƿoþ Robin Hode,
"Þe leder þu shalt be."

Þe first gode scot þat Robin made
Did not hit an inc to hige or loƿ.
Guy ƿas a marksman gode enuge,
But he culd nefer scote like so.

Þe oþer scot Guy did scote,
He got ƿiþin þe garland.
But Robin Hode scot better þan he,
For he clofe þe gode prickƿand.

"Gods blessing on þy hart!" said Guy,
"Gode felloƿ, þy scoting is gode,
For if þy hart be as gode as þy hands,
Þu ƿere better þan Robin Hode.

"Tell me þy name, gode felloƿ," cƿoþ Guy,
"Under þe lefes of lime."
"Nay, by my faiþ," cƿoþ gode Robin,
"Till þu haf told me þine."

"I dƿell by dale and dune," cƿoþ Guy,
"And I haf done many dedes gnorned.
And he þat calls me by my rigt name
Calls me Guy of gode Gysborne."

"My dƿelling is in þe ƿode," said Robin,
"By þee I set rigt nougt.
My name is Robin Hode of Barnsdale,
A felloƿ þu has long sougt."

He þat had neiþer bene a kiþ nor kin
Migt haf sene a full fair sigt,
To see hu togeþer þese geomen ƿent,
Ƿiþ blades boþ brune and brigt.

To haf sene hu þese geomen togeþer fougt,
Tƿo stundes of a summers day.
It ƿas neiþer Guy nor Robin Hode
Þat fettelled þem to fly aƿay.

Robin ƿas receless on a rote,
And stumbled at þat tide,
And Guy ƿas cƿick and nimbel ƿiþall,
And hit him on þe left side.

"Ah, dere Lady!" said Robin Hode,
"Þu art boþ moþer and may!
I þink it ƿas nefer mans ƿird
To die before his day."

Robin þougt on ure Lady dere,
And sone lept up agen,
And þus he came ƿiþ an aƿkƿard stroke.
Godeman Guy he ƿas slain.

He toke Godeman Guys hed by þe hair,
And stuck it on his boƿs end.
"Þu hast bene a sƿike all þy life,
Hƿic þing must haf an end."

Robin pulled forþ an Irisc knife,
And nicked Godeman Guy in þe lere,
Þat he ƿas nefer from a ƿuman born
Culd tell hƿo Godeman Guy ƿas.

"Lie þere, lie þere, Godeman Guy,
And ƿiþ me be not ƿroþ.
If þu haf had þe ƿors strokes at my hand,
Þu scalt haf þe better cloþ."

Robin did his ƿede of grene,
On Godeman Guy it þroƿ.
And he put on þat capel hide,
Þat clad him top to toe.

"Þe boƿ, þe arroƿs, and a littel horn,
Ƿiþ me nu I ƿill bare.
For nu I ƿill go to Barnsdale,
To see hu my men do fare."

Robin set Guys horn to his muþe,
A lude blast in it he did bloƿ.
Þat beherd þe sceriff of Nottingham,
As he lened under a loƿ.

"Harken! harken!" said þe sceriff,
"I herd no tidings but gode,
For geonder I here Godeman Guys horn bloƿ,
For he haþ slain Robin Hode.

"For geonder I here Godeman Guys horn bloƿ,
It bloƿs so ƿell in tide,
For geonder cums þat ƿigt geoman,
Clad in his capel hide.

"Cum hiþer þu, Godeman Guy,
Ask of me hƿat þu ƿilt haf."
"I ƿisc for none of þy gold," said Robin Hode,
"Ges I ƿill none of it haf."

"But nu I haf slain þe lord," he said,
"Let me go strike þe knafe.
Þis is all þe mede I ask,
Nor no oþer ƿill I haf."

"Þu art a madman," said þe sceriff,
"Þu sculdst haf had a knigts fee.
Seeing þy asking be so bad,
Ƿell gefen it scall be."

But Littel John herd his lord speke,
Ƿell he kneƿ þat ƿas his stefen.
"Nu scall I be lossened," cƿoþ Littel John,
"Ƿiþ Crists migt in hefen."

But Robin he hied himself toƿards Littel John,
He þougt he ƿuld losse him belife.
Þe sceriff and all his ging
Fast after him did drife.

"Stand back, stand back!" said Robin.
"Hƿy draƿ geƿ to me so nere?
It ƿas nefer þe ƿun in ure land
Ones scrift anoþer sculd here."

But Robin pulled forþ his Irisc knife,
And lossened John hand and fote,
And geafe him Godeman Guys boƿ in his hand,
And bade it be his bote.

So John toke Guys boƿ in his hand
His arroƿs ƿere rusty by þe rote.
Þe sceriff saƿ Littel John draƿ a boƿ
And fettel it to scote.

Toƿards his huse in Nottingam
He fled full fast aƿay,
And so did all his ging,
Not one did bide þat day.

But he culd neiþer so fast go,
Nor aƿay so fast run,
But Littel John, ƿiþ an arroƿ broad,
Did clefe his hart in tƿain.