The Oxford Book of Ballads - online book

A Selection Of The Best English Lyric Ballads Chosen & Edited by Arthur Quiller-Couch

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' Go now forth, Little John,
The truthe tell thou mc ; If there be no more but ten shillings,
No penny that I see.'
Little John his mantle spread
Full fair upon the ground, And there he found in the Knight's coffer
But even half a pound.
Little John let it lie full still,
And went to his master low ; i What tidings, John :' said Robin Hood.
' Sir, the Knight is true enow.'
' Fill of the best wine,' said Robin,
'The Knight shall begin ; Muche wonder thinketh me
Thy clothing is so thin.
' Tell me one word,' said Robin,
' And counsel shall it be ; I trow thou wert made a knight of force,
Or else of yeomanry.
' Or else thou hast been a sorry husband, And lived in stroke and strife ;
An okerer, or a lecher,
With wrong hast led thy life,'
counsel] secret.              of forct-] by force.             of yeomanry]
from the yeoman class. a sorry husband] a wretched manager, okerer] usurer         lecher] an unchaste man.
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