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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' It is noe cunning a knave to ken, An a man but heare him speake;
An itt were not for bursting of my bowe, John, I wold thy head breake.'
As often wordes they breeden bale, So they parted Robin and John:
And John is gone to Barnesdale ; The gates he knoweth eche one.
But when he came to Barnesdale, Great heavinesse there hee hadd,
For he found two of his owne fellowes Were slaine both in a siade.
And Scarlette a-foote he flyinge was
Fast over stocke and stone, For the Sheriffe with seven score men
Fast after him is gone.
xvi ' Yet one shoote I'le shoote,' quoth Little John,
' With Christ his might and mayne ; Tie make yond fellow that flyes soe fast,
To stopp he shall be fayne.'
Then John bent up his good yewe-bowe
And fettl'd him to shoote : The bow was made of a tender boughe,
And fell downe to his foote.
gates] ways, paths. slade] hollow. fettl'd] prepared. 1225                                           J                                         577
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