Robin Hood and þe Monk

From The Anglish Wiki

This is an Anglish translation of Robin Hood and the Monk, a fifteenth century ballad. I've taken liberties to make it more comprehensible and to keep some of the lines rhyming.

Beware: this article uses spellings which have had foreign influence reverted.

The Writ

In þe summer hwen þe scaws were sceen,
and þe leafs were great and long,
it was full merry in þe fair woods
to hear þe fules song.

To see þe deers draw to þe dale,
and from þe hige hills flee,
to scadow emselfs in green leafs
under þe greenwood tree.

It befell on Hwitsun
early on a Þrimilk morning.
Þe fair sun abuf did scine,
and þe merry birds did sing.

"Þis is a merry morning," said Littel John,
"by him hwo died on a tree,
a more merry man þan I
lifs not in Cristianity."

"Pluck up yewer heart, my dear lord,"
Littel John said,
"and see þat it is a full fair time,
þis morning in hwic we tread."

"Yea, but one þing gnorns me," said Robin,
"and does my heart muc woe.
Þat I may not know earnest day,
to mass nor morning beads go."

"It has been a fortnigt and more," he said,
"sins my Healend I did see.
Today I will go to Nottingham
wiþ þe migt of mild Mary."

Þen spoke Muc, þe millers son,
may for him good þings betide.
"Take twelf of yewer bold yeomen,
well weaponed, by yewer side.
He hwo wold haf yew slain,
wold dare not þose twelf abide."

"Of all my merry men," said Robin,
"I want no utelaw,
but Littel John to bare my bow,
until I cees to draw."

"Yew scall bare yewer own," said Littel John,
"lord, and I will bare mine,
and we will scoot for a penny,
under þe greenwood lind."

"I will not scoot for a penny." said Robin,
"Indeed, Littel John, I say to þee,
for efery penny þue scootest for,
indeed I will stake þee þree."

Þus hy scot forþ, þese two yeomen,
boþ at busc and stone,
til Littel John won of his lord,
fife scillings for hose and scoon.

A ferly þreep fell between em,
as hy went by þe way.
Littel John said he had won fife scillings,
and Robin Hood said scortly "nay".

Robin Hood clept Littel John a liar,
and smote him wiþ his hand.
Littel John waxed wroþ þerewiþ,
and pulled ute his brigt brand.

"Were yew not my lord," said Littel John,
"yew wold be hit full sore.
Get yewerself a man hwere yew will,
for yew haf me no more."

Þen Robin went to Nottingham,
himself mourning alone,
and Littel John to merry Scerwood,
þe paþs he knew eac one.

Hwen Robin came to Nottingham,
I will tell yew hwat happened þen,
he bade to God and mild Mary
to bring him ute sundly ayen.

He went into Hallow Marys circ,
and knelt dune before þe rood.
All hwo were wiþin þe circ
beheld well Robin Hood.

Beside him stood a great headed monk,
I bid to God woe to him be.
For cwickly he melded Robin,
as soon as he did see.

Ute þe door þe monk ran,
full swift and anon.
All þe gates of Nottingham
he made to be sparred eac one.

"Rise up," þe monk said, "yew prude sceriff,
busk yewerself and make yewerself bund.
I haf spotted þe kings warry,
forsooþ he is in þis tune."

"I haf spotted þe sneaking warry,
as he stood þere at mass.
It will be yewer scild," said þe monk,
"If he scold slip yewer grasp."

"Þis lordswikes name is Robin Hood,
under þe greenwood lind.
He ones stole from me a hundred punds,
it scall nefer be ute of my mind."

Up þen rose þis prude sceriff,
and swiftly made himself yare.
Many were þe weaponed men
hwo to þe circ wiþ him did fare.

Þe doors hy þorougly sparred,
wiþ stafes in full good wone;
"Wellaway," said Robin Hood,
"nue miss I Littel John."

Þen Robin took ute a twohanded sword,
þat hanged dune by his knee.
Hwere þe sceriff and his men stood þickest
Þiþerward wold he be.

Þrise at em he ran þen,
forsooþ as I nue say,
and wunded many a weaponed man,
and twelf he slew þat day.

His sword upon þe sceriffs head,
wissly it broke in two.
"Þe smiþ þat made yew," said Robin,
"I bid God work him woe."

"For nue am I weaponless," said Robin,
"wellaway, ayenst my will.
But if I seek to flee hens from,
I know hy will me kill."

(leaf missing, Robin is caugt, þe merry men hear þe news)

Sum fell in swooning as if hy were dead,
and lay still as any stone.
None of em were in hir mind,
none but Littel John.

"Let by yewer wailing," said Littel John,
"for his luf, Crist hwo died on a tree.
Ye hwo scold be duty men,
it is a great scame to see."

"Ure lord was hard bestood
and yet ran not away.
Pluck up yewer hearts, and leaf þis moaning,
and hearken hwat I say."

"He has þewed Ure Lady many a day,
and will ayen, þe time is nige.
Þerefore I trust in her hoor,
no wicked deaþ scall he die."

"Þerefore be glad
and let þis mourning go by.
I scall deal wiþ þat wicked monk,
wiþ þe migt of mild Mary,
hwen I meet him," said Littel John
"we will go but we two".

"Look þat ye keep well ure tryst tree
under þe small leafs,
and spare none of þis hartmeat,
þat þrugeute þis dale weafs."

Forþ þen went þese yeomen two,
Littel John and Muc on þe fare.
And looked on Muc's eams huse,
þe higeway lay full near.

Littel John stood at a window,
and looked forþ from an upper room.
Þere he saw þe monk cum riding by,
and wiþ him a littel goom.

"By my leef," said Littel John to Muc,
"I can tell þis tiding is good.
I see hwere þe monk cums riding,
I know him by his wide hood."

"Hwens cum ye?" said Littel John,
"tell us tidings, hwatefer ye can say,
of a wicked utelaw,
hwo was taken yesterday."

"He stole from me and my fellows boþ,
twenty marks he did gain.
If þat wicked utelaw be taken,
forsooþ we wold boþ be fain."

"So did he me," said þe monk,
"of a hundred punds and more.
I laid þe first hand upon him,
ye may þank me þerefore."

"I bead to God to þank yew," said Littel John,
"and we will hwen we may.
We will go wiþ yew, wiþ yewer leaf,
and bring yewer on yewer way."

"For Robin Hood has many a wild fellow,
I tell yew nue of þat bane.
If hy knew ye rode þis way,
in leef ye wold be slain."

As hy went talking by þe way,
þe monk and Littel John,
John took þe monks hors by þe head,
full soon and anon.

John took þe monks hors by þe head,
forsooþ as I nue say.
So did Muc fang þe littel goom,
so he cud not flee away.

By þe þroat of þe hood
John pulled þe monk dune.
John was not of him agast,
he let him fall on his crune.

Littel John hwo was so gnorny,
drew ute his sword in one swoop.
Þe monk saw he wold be killed,
ludely for mils he did roop.

"He was my lord," said Littel John,
"hwo yew haf brougt suc bale.
Yew will nefer see ure king,
nor tell him yewer last tale."

John smote off þe monks head,
no longer wold he dwell.
So did Muc þe littel goom,
for fear þat he wold tell.

Þere hy buried em boþ,
in neiþer moss nor ling.
And Littel John and Muc as feres
took þe monks errands to þe king.

Littel John came unto þe king,
he knelt dune upon his knee.
"God nere yew, my lord,
Yesoo nere yew and see."

"God nere yew, my king."
To speak John was full bold.
He gafe him þe errands in his hand,
þe king did em unfold.

Þe king read þe errands anon,
and said, "So mot I þee,
þere was nefer yeoman in merry England
I longed so sore to see."

"Hwere is þe monk hwo þese scold haf brougt?"
þat þe king did say.
"By my trewþ," said Littel John,
"he died along þe way."

Þe king gafe Muc and Littel John
twenty punds and þen,
made em yeomen of þe þrone,
and bade em go ayen.

He gafe John þe seal in hand,
to þe sceriff for him to bare,
to bring Robin Hood to him,
and no man do him dere.

John took his leaf of þe king,
forsooþ as I nue say,
Þe next day to Nottingham
To take he yede þe way.

Hwen John came to Nottingham
þe gates were sparred eac one.
John clept up to þe porter,
and he answered back anon.

"Hwat is þe inting," asked Littel John,
"yew spar þe gates so fast?"
"Along of Robin Hood," said þe porter,
"nue in deep {{over|imprisonment|haft} he is þrown."

"John and Muc and Will scaþelock,
forsooþ as I nue say,
hy slew þe men upon þe walls,
and fite us here efery day."

John aspired after þe sceriff,
and soon he him fund;
he opened þe kings sunderseal,
and handed it on dune.

Hwen þe sceriff saw þe kings seal,
he did off his hood anon.
"Hwere is þe monk þat bore þe errands?"
He asked of Littel John.

"Þe king is so fain wiþ him," said Littel John,
"forsooþ as I nue say,
he has made him abbot of Westminster,
A lord of þat abbey."

Þe sceriff did John harry,
and gafe him wine of þe best.
At nigt hy went to hir beds,
and efery man to his rest.

Hwen þe sceriff was asleep,
drunken wiþ wine and ale,
Littel John and Muc forsooþ
fund þe way to þe cwartern.

John clept up þe cwarternkeeper,
and bade him rise anon.
"Robin Hood has broken ute,
and from it he is gone."

Þe porter rose anon,
as soon as he heard John clepe.
Littel John was ready wiþ a sword,
and stabbed him þruge þe wall.

"Nue I am cwarternkeeper," said John,
and took þe keys in his hands.
He tread þe way to Robin Hood,
and freed him from his bands.

He gafe Robin a good sword,
his head þerewiþ to keep.
And þere hwere þe walls were lowest,
anon dune did hy leap.

By þen þe cock began to crow,
þe day began to spring.
Þe sceriff fund þe cwarternkeeper dead,
so þe tune bell he did ring.

He made a roop þrugeute all þe tune,
telling boþ yeoman and knafe.
Hwoefer brougt him Robin Hood,
his meed he scold haf.

"For I dare nefer," said þe sceriff,
"cum before ure king.
For if I do I know wissly,
þat he will haf me hang."

Þe sceriff sougt þrugeute all Nottingham,
boþ by roads and by styne.
But Robin was in merry Scerwood,
as lite as a leaf on lind.

Þen bespake good Littel John,
to Robin Hood did he say:
"I haf done þee a good hwarft from ill,
Meed me hwen yew may."

"I haf done yew a good hwarft,
forsooþ as I nue say.
I haf brougt yew under þe greenwood lind.
Farewell, and haf good day."

"Nay, by my trewþ," said Robin,
"so scall it nefer be.
I make yew þe lord
of all my men and me."

"Nay, by my trewþ," said Littel John,
"so scall it nefer be.
But let me be yewer fellow,
noþing els I care to be."

Þus John got Robin ute of cwartern,
indeed from þat bane.
Hwen his men saw him hwole and sund,
forsooþ hy were full fain.

Hy filled in wine and were glad,
under þe leafs of þe dale.
And hy ate pasties of hartmeat,
hwic were good wiþ hir ale.

Þen word came to þe king
hue Robin Hood was gone.
And hue þe sceriff of Nottingham
dared nefer to look him upon.

Þen bespake þe cumly king
in a wraþ hige:
"Littel John has swiked þe sceriff,
in leef so has he I."

"Littel John has swiked us boþ,
And þat full well I see.
Or els þe sceriff of Nottingham
higely hung scold he be."

"I made em yeomen of þe kinsettel,
and gafe em fee wiþ my hand.
I gafe em griþ," said þe king,
"þrugeute all merry England."

"I gafe em griþ," þen said þe king,
"I say, so mot I þee.
suc a yeoman as he is one,
in all England are not þree."

"He is trew to his lord,
I say, by sweet Hallow John.
He lufs better Robin Hood
þen he does us eac one."

"Robin Hood is efer bund to him,
boþ in street and stall.
Speak no more of þis business,
but John has swiked us all."

Þus ends þe tale of þe monk
and Robin Hood wiss.
God, þat is efer a kinsettelled king,
bring us all to his bliss.