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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ccx ' Whether he be a messenger,
Or a man that mirthes can, Of my good he shall have some,
If he be a poore man.'
ccxi Forth then started Little John,
Half in tray and teen, And girt him with a full good sword,
Under a mantle of green.
ccxn They wenten up unto the Sayles,
Those yeomen alle three ; They looked east, they looked west,
They mighte no man see.
But as they looked in Barnesdale,
By the highe-way, Then were they ware of a Black Monk,
Upon a good palfrey.
ccx IV Then bespake him Little John,
To Muche gan he say: ' I dare well lay my life to wed,
That Monk hath brought our pay.
ccxv ' Make glad cheer,' said Little John,
' And dress your bows of yew, And look your hearts be seker and sad,
Your strings trusty and true.
that mirthes can] that can crack a joke. tray and teen] grief and trouble.        a Black Monk] a Benedictine.        wed] wager,
seker and sad] sure and steady.
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