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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' Take five of the beste knights
That be in youre lede, And walke down by yon Abbey,
And get you monkes weed.
' And I will be your leades-man,
And leade you the way, And ere ye come to Nottingham,
Mine head then dare I lay
' That ye shall meet with good Robin
Alive if that he be ; Ere ye come to Nottingham
With eyes ye shall him see.'
Full hastily our King was dight,
So were his knightes five, Each of them in monkes weed,
And hasted thither blive.
Our King was great above his cowl, A broad hat on his crown,
Right as he were abbot-like, They rode into the town.
ccclxxiii Stiff boots our King had on,
Forsooth as I you say ; Singing he rode to the greene-wood,
The convent was clothed in gray.
lede] following, retinne. company of monks. 560
leades-man] guide.
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