Robin Hood 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.

The Writ

Hƿen scales are sceen and screds full fair,
And leafs are boþ lufly and long,
It is merry ƿalking in þe ƿinsum ƿoods,
To hear þe small bird's song.

Þe ƿoodƿale sang, and ƿuld not stop,
Amongst þe leafs of lime.
"And it is by tƿo ƿigt geoman,
By dear God, þat I mean."

"Meþougt þey did me beat and bind,
And took 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 bloƿs 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 seek geond ƿigt geomen
In greenƿood hƿere þey be."

Hy cast on her ƿeed of green,
A scooting gone are hy,
Until hy came to þe merry greenƿood,
Hƿere hy ƿuld gladdest be.
Þere ƿere þe ƿare of ƿigt geoman,
His body leaned on 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 hear him speak.
And if it ƿere not for my boƿ bursting,
John, I ƿuld þy head brake."

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

And hƿen he ƿent to Barnsdale,
Great heafiness þere he had.
He fund tƿo of his oƿn felloƿs,
Ƿere slain boþ in a slade.

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

"Yet one scot I ƿill scoot," 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 good geƿ boƿ,
And fettelled it to scoot.
Þe boƿ ƿas made of a neƿ groƿn buge,
And fell doƿn to his foot.

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

Þis scoot it ƿas but lossely scot,
Þe arroƿ fleƿ in vain,
And it met one of þe sceriff's men,
Good William a Trent ƿas slain.

It had been better for William a Trent
To hang upon a galloƿ
Þen for to lie in þe greenƿood,
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 bund 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 leaf talking of Littel John,
For he is bund fast to a tree,
And talk nu of Guy and Robin,
In þe green ƿood hƿere þey be.

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

"Goodemorroƿ, good felloƿ," cƿoþ Goodman Guy,
"Good morroƿ, good felloƿ," cƿoþ he,
"Meþinkes by þis boƿ þu berest in þy hand,
A good marksman þu seems to be."

"I am ƿillful of my ƿay," cƿoþ Goodman Guy,
"And of my morning tide."
"I ƿill lead þee þruge þe ƿood," cƿoþ Robin,
"Good felloƿ, I ƿill be þy latteƿ."

"I seek an utelaƿ," cƿoþ Goodman Guy,
"Men call him Robin Hood.
I ƿuld raþer meet ƿiþ him one day,
Þen forty punds of gold."

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

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

Þey cut þem dune þe summer scrubs,
Hƿic greƿ boþ under a breer,
And set þem þree skore rode in tƿin,
To scoot þe pricks full near.

"Lead on, good felloƿ," said Goodman Guy,
"Lead on, I do bid þee."
"Nay, by my faiþ," cƿoþ Robin Hood,
"Þe leader þu shalt be."

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

Þe oþer scot Guy did scoot,
He got ƿiþin þe garland.
But Robin Hood scot better þan he,
For he clofe þe good prickƿand.

"Good blessing on þy hart!" said Guy,
"Good felloƿ, þy scooting is good,
For if þy heart be as good as þy hands,
Þu ƿere better þan Robin Hood.

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

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

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

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

To haf seen hu þese geomen togeþer fougt,
Tƿo stunds of a summer's day.
It ƿas neiþer Guy nor Robin Hood
Þat fettelled þem to fly aƿay.

Robin ƿas reacless on a root,
And stumbelled at þat tide,
And Guy ƿas cƿick and nimbel ƿiþall,
And hit him on þe left side.

"Ah, dear Lady!" said Robin Hood,
"Þu art boþ moþer and may!
I þink it ƿas nefer man's ƿird
To die before his day."

Robin þougt on ure Lady dear,
And soon lept up agen,
And þus he came ƿiþ an aƿkƿard stroke.
Goodman Guy he ƿas slain.

He took Goodman Guy's head by þe hair,
And stuck it on his boƿ's end.
"Þu hast been a sƿike all þy life,
Hƿic þing must haf an end."

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

"Lie þere, lie þere, Goodman 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 ƿeed of green,
On Goodman 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 Guy's horn to his muþe,
A lude blast in it he did bloƿ.
Þat beherd þe sceriff of Nottingham,
As he leaned under a loƿ.

"Harken! harken!" said þe sceriff,
"I herd no tidings but good,
For geonder I hear Goodman Guy's horn bloƿ,
For he haþ slain Robin Hood.

"For geonder I hear Goodman Guy's horn bloƿ,
It bloƿs so ƿell in tide,
For geonder cums þat ƿigt geoman,
Clad in his capel hide.

"Cum hiþer þu, Goodman Guy,
Ask of me hƿat þu ƿilt haf."
"I ƿisc for none of þy gold," said Robin Hood,
"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 meed I ask,
Nor no oþer ƿill I haf."

"Þu art a madman," said þe sceriff,
"Þu sculdst haf had a knigt's fee.
Seeing þy asking be so bad,
Ƿell geafen it scall be."

But Littel John herd his lord speak,
Ƿell he kneƿ þat ƿas his stefen.
"Nu scall I be loosened," cƿoþ Littel John,
"Ƿiþ Crist's migt in heafen."

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 near?
It ƿas nefer þe ƿun in ure land
Ones scrift anoþer sculd hear."

But Robin pulled forþ his Irisc knife,
And loosened John hand and foot,
And geafe him Goodman Guy's boƿ in his hand,
And bade it be his boot.

So John took Guy's boƿ in his hand
His arroƿs ƿere rusty by þe root.
Þe sceriff saƿ Littel John draƿ a boƿ
And fettel it to scoot.

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 cleaf his heart in tƿain.

When plant-husks are beautiful, and twigs are very fair,
And leaves are both lovely and long,
It is merry walking in the joyful woods,
And to hear the small birds' song.

The woodwale sang, and would not stop,
Amongst the leaves of lime.
"And it is by two valiant yeomen,
By dear God, that I mean".

"It seemed to me they beat me and bound me,
And took my boƿ me fro.
If I am Robin alive in this land,
I will be avenged on both of them two."

"Visions are swift, lord," said John,
"As the wind that blowes over a hill,
For if it be never so loud this night,
Tomorrow it may be still."