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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Then bespake a fair old Knight
That was true in his fay : ' Ah ! my liege lord the King,
One word I shall you say.
ccclxiii ' There is no man in this country
May have the Knightes lands, While Robin Hood may ride or go,
And bear a bow in his hands.
' That he ne shall not lose his head,
The best ball in his hood ; Give it no man, my lord the King,
That ye will any good.'
Half a year dwelt our comely King
In Nottingham, and more ; Could he not hear of Robin Hood,
In what country he wore.
But alway wente good Robin
By halk and eke by hill, And alway slew the Kinges deer,
And wielded them at will.
Then bespake a proud forster, That stood by our Kinges knee :
' If ye will see good Robin Hood, Ye must do after me.
fay] faith.          That ye will] to whom you wish.          halk]
nook, hiding-place.          forster] forester.
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