Maid Marian; or, Huntress of Arlingford

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Maid Marian; or, Huntress of Arlingford

MAID MARIAN; or, HUNTRESS OF ARLINGFORD. 
A Legendary Opera,
In Three Acts. 
 
First Performed at the
Theatre Royal, Covent Garden,
On Tuesday, December 3, 1822.
 
By J. R. Planché
Author of "Amoroso," "The Vampire," "Witch of Dercleugh," &c.
 
The overture and music entirely new,
and composed by
Mr. Bishop.
 
London:
Printed for John Lowndes, 36, Bow Street, Covent Garden.
 
Price Two Shillings and Sixpence.
 
DRAMATIS PERSONӔ.
Richard, King of England
Prince John
Baron Fitzwalter
Robert Fitzooth; Early of Locksley & Huntingdon
Sir Ralph Montfaucon
Lord Lacy
Abbot of Rubygill
Friar Michael
Friar Peter
Sir William of the Lee
Sir Guy of Gamwell
William Gamwell
Little John
Much, the Miller
Allan o'Dale
Will Whitethorn
Officers
Herald
Attendant on Prince John
Sheriff of Nottingham
Page
 
Lady Matilda Fitzwater
Alice Gamewell
Village Lass
 
Foresters [20 male, 25 female]
 
MAID MARIAN.
 
ACT I.
 
SCENE I.
 
Interior of the Chapel of Rubygill Abbey; on one side the altar, in the centre the great gates of the Chapel open, through which is seen the country; the Abbot of Rubygill is discovered standing on the steps of the altar; the Friars forming a line from him to the gates; facing them stand the Baron Fitzwalter and Matilda with Bridemaidens and attendants, male and female, Much the Miller and Will Whitethorn; outside the gates are groupes of Peasants in their holiday dresses, and upon an elevated spot of ground beyond them Matilda's Page is seen anxiously looking out for the approach of some one.
 
All.
Listen! Listen! He must be near,
Listen, his coursers' tramp to hear.
 
Mat.
Look out! look out! amid the forest's gloom,
See ye not the waving of his snow-white plume?
 
Page (coming forward).
The sun beams brightly on the lake,
The breeze blows lightly through the brake.
Nought but the gleaming wave I see;
I hear no sound, save the rustling tree.
 
All.
Hark! hark! hark!
 
Mat.
'Tis the tramp of horses' feet!
 
All.
He comes! he comes! he comes!
Haste we the Earl to greet.
 
Mat.
Ah! no! -- Ah! no!
Whither, oh! whither, on morn so gay,
Far from his love doth the brave Earl stray.
 
All.
Whither, &c.
 
[The Peasants shout, the Earl of Huntingdon appears, followed by a party of Spearmen and Archers, who range themselves without the gates; the Earl enters the Chapel, and advances to Matilda.]  

Bar.
Why, how now, my lord of Huntingdon; this is strange array methinks, for such an occasion.  Come you for a bridal or a battle, I pray!
 
Earl.
Perhaps for both, my noble father-in-law.  Sweet Matilda, forgive this extraordinary but unavoidable delay, and answer me one question.  Come you hither to give your hand to the Earl of Locksley and Huntingdon, whose lands touch the Ouse and the Trent, or to Robert Fitzooth, the son of his mother?
 
Mat.
Neither to the Earl nor his earldom, but to Robert Fizooth, and his love.
 
Bar.
What the devil is the meaning of all this?
 
Earl.
Baron Fitzwater. Sir Ralph Montfaucon follows hard at my heels with a commission from the Regent, Longchamp, Bishop of Ely, to for bid this ceremony and attach me as a traitor.
 
Bar. & Mat.
A traitor!
 
Earl.
Aye, Baron, such is the word.  To your care, therefore, for the present I consign your daughter, to whom though the ceremony be not performed I am not the less married in the eye of my only saint, our lady, who will yet bring us together.  Nay, sweet Matilda, part we must for a time; but we will soon meet under brighter skies, and be this the seal of our faith.
 
[Kisses, and consigns her to the Baron.
 
Bar.
But, fire and fury.
 
[Trumpet without, movement of Archers and Spearmen.
 
Earl.
Ah, they come! away Baron through the postern – this path is dangerous – adieu Matilda.  Now, now my merry yeomen, for your lord and our lady.
 
[The Earl and his party exeunt through gate hastily. The Abbot and Friars rush off in confusion on one side.  The Baron and attendants hurry off Matilda on the other.
 
SCENE II.
Exterior of the Abbey.
Enter the Baron and Matilda.
 
Bar.
No, no, no – I don't loose my hold, I promise you.  Help him, indeed! great help you'd be to him, truly; besides, he needs no help.  Look, yonder he rides with his mad-headed yeomanry, as merrily as he marched hither ten minutes ago.
 
Mat.
My gallant Robert – he is indeed safe!  See, he has changed his sword for a bow, and rains arrows on his baffled pursuers!  Noble! gallant Robert!
 
Bar.
Knavish! Poaching Robert!
 
Mat.
What, father! for hunting the king's deer.  Have you just found out that is a crime? Why, I have heard you rail at the forest laws by the hour!
 
Bar.
Did you ever hear me rail myself out of house and land as that madcap hath done, with a plague to him?  If I had done that, then were I a knave.  Come – come to the castle.
 
Mat.
My lover is a brave man, and a true man, and a young man, and a handsome man – aye, and an honest man to boot, father; and you well knew, 'tis his adherance to our brave king Richard, and contempt of the proud prelate of Ely, and the traitorous, subtle-minded John of Anjou, which has drawn upon him this persecution, and not the deaths of a few deer.  And, had he fallen, e'en now, Matilda would have realized the old ballad you are so fond of.
 
SONG. – Matilda. (from the Novel.)
 
A damsel stood to watch the fight,
  By the banks of Kingslea mere,
And they brought to her feet her own true knight,
  Sore wounded on a bier.
 
"O let not," he said, "while yet I live.
  The cruel foe me take;
But with thy lips one sweet kiss give,
  And cast me in the lake."
 
Around his neck she wound her arms,
  And she kissed his lips so pale;
And evermore the war's alarms
  Came louder up the vale.
 
She drew him to the lake's deep side,
  Where the red heath fringed the shore,
And plunged with him beneath the tide,
  And they were seen no more.
 
[Exeunt Baron and Matilda.
 
SCENE III.
 
The Refectory of the Abbey. – A table set out with refreshments, &c.
 
Enter the Abbot, Friar Peter and others, with Sir Ralph Montfaucon.
 
Abbot.
Holy Saint Botolph! what an escape have we had! Come, children, come – let us recruit our spirits with a cup of wine, and a venison pasty.  Sit, sit, Sir Ralph – sit, noble knight.  The Earl is far enow by this, and pursuit were as useless as dangerous.  Sit, I pray you, and inform us respecting the nature of this nobleman's offence.
 
[They sit.
 
Sir Ral.
A complication of offenses, holy father.  He began with hunting the royal deer, during the latter part of king Henry's reign, in despite of all remonstrance, and has lately combined with that fault the withholding of certain monies, due to the Abbot of Doncaster, and has thus made himself the declared enemy of church and state, and all for being too fond of venison.
 
Enter Friar Michael.
 
Friar Pet.
Fond of venison! A heinous offence indeed!  (helping himself largely to the pasty) O the Earl is a great sinner.
 
Friar Mich.
(advancing) The Earl of Huntingdon is a worthy peer, and the best marksman in England.
 
Friar Pet.
Eh! what – brother Michael! why, this is flat treason!  Call an attainted traitor a worthy peer!
 
Friar Mich.
I say, he will draw the long bow with any bold yeoman among them all.
 
Abbot.
Don't talk of long bows, son Michael!  Those sacrilegious arrows are still whizzing in my ears!  What have we, pillars of the church, to do with the long bow?
 
Sir Ral.
Be that as it may, he is an outlaw from this moment.
 
Friar Mich.
So much the worse for the law then.  It will have a heavier miss of him than he will have of the law.  He will strike as much venison as ever, and more of other game.  I know what I say – but Basta!  Let us drink!
 
[Seats himself and pours out wine.
 
Friar Pet.
What other game?  I hope he won't poach among our partridges.
 
Friar Mich.
Poach! not he.  If he wants your partridges, he'll strike 'em under your nose, and drag our trout-stream for you on a Thursday evening, my little brother.
 
Friar Pet.
Monstrous! and starve us on a fast day!
 
Sir Ral.
Truly, I am sorry for the lady Matilda; she, I believe, is very fond of this wild runagate.
 
Friar Pet.
A mad girl, a mad girl.
 
Friar Mich.
(rising) How mean you a mad girl?  Has she not beauty, grace, wit, sense, discretion, dexterity, learning? and valour!
 
Friar Pet.
(rising) Learning!  What has a woman to do with learning and valour?  Who ever heard a woman commended for valour? – Meekness, and tenderness, and humility, and obedience to her husband, and faith in her confessor, and domesticity, or, as the learned doctors call it, the faculty of stayathomeitiveness, and embroidery, and music, and pickling, and preserving; these are female virtues; but valour – why whoever heard ----?
 
Friar Mich.
She is the all in all; -- gentle as the ring-dove, yet high souring as the falcon; humble below her deserving, yet deserving beyond the estimate of panegyric: the chief regulator of her household, the fairest pillar of her hall, and the sweetest blossom of her bower.  For obedience to her husband, that is not to be tried till she has one; for faith in her confessor, she has as much as the law prescribes; for embroidery, an Arachné; for music, syren; and for pickling and preserving – did not one of her jars of sugared apricots give you your last surfeit at Arlingford castle?
 
Friar Pet.
Call you that preserving?  I call it destroying.  Call you it pickling? truly, it pickled me.  My life was saved by a miracle.
 
Friar Mich.
By canary, you mean.  Wine is your only life preserver.  Your life was saved by canary.
 
Sir Ral.
(rising) If the young lady be half what you describe, reverend father, she must be a paragon; but your commending her for valour does somewhat amaze me.
 
Friar Pet.
She can fence, and draw the long bow, and play at single stick, and quarter staff.
 
Friar Mich.
Yet, mark you, not like a virago, or a hoyden, or one that would crack a serving man's head for spilling gravy on her ruff; but with such womanly grace, and temperate self-cpmmand, as if those manly exercises belonged to her only, and were become, for her sake, feminine.
 
Sir Ral.
You incite me to view her.  That madcap earl found me other employment than to remark her this morning.
 
Friar Mich.
The Earl is a worthy peer; he is worth any fourteen earls north of Trent, and any seven south of it.
 
Sir Ral.
His mettle will be tried; there is many a courtier will swear to the Regent to bring him in dead or alive.
 
Friar Mich.
They must look to the brambles then.

[Sings.
The bramble! the bramble! the bonny forest bramble
Doth make a jest
Of silken vest
That will through greenwood scramble.
The bramble! the bramble! the bonny forest bramble!
 
Abbot.
Plague on your lungs, son Michael, this is your old coil, always roaring in your cups.
 
Friar Mich.
I know what I say; there is often more sense in an old song, than in a new homily.

[Sings again.
The bramble! the bramble! the bonny forest bramble
Sir Ral.
Tall friar, either you shoot the shafts of your merriment at random, or you know more of the earl's designs than becomes your frock.
 
Friar Mich.
Let my frock answer for its own sins.  It is worn past covering mine.
 
[Sings.
"So I’ll have a new cloak about me."
 
Abbot.
Son! son! would you sing half so loud at matins!  Sir Knight, I pray you to tarry as long as you list at Rubygill; but I have private business and devotion to attend to at present.
 
[Putting a bottle under his arm.
 
Sir Ral.
Holy father, you have my thanks.
 
Abbot.
Benedicite, son! Benedicite!
 
[Exeunt Abbot, and all but Friars Michael and Peter, who remain with Sir Ralph.
 
Sir Ral.
And now, reverend fathers, I would fain repair to Arlingford castle, that I may give the worthy Baron an explanation of my intervention at his nuptials, and behold his peerless daughter; will either of you be kind enough to guide me thither?
 
Friar Pet.
Not I, by the mass.
 
Friar Mich.
And why not, brother Peter?
 
Friar Pet.
The lady Matilda, as I said before, can draw the long bow; she must bear no good will to Sir Ralph, and if she should espie him from the tower, she may testify her recognition with a cloth yard shaft.  Now she is not so infallible a markswoman, but that she might shoot at a crow, and kill a pigeon; that is, she might peradventure miss the knight and hit me, who never did her any harm.
 
Friar Mich.
Tut, tut, man, there is no such fear.
 
Friar Pet.
Mass, but there is such fear, and very strong too.  You who have it not, may keep your way, and I who have it will keep mine.  I am not just now in the vein for being picked off at a long shot; so peace be with you.

[Exit Friar Peter.
 
Sir Ral.
Is this Lady Matilda, then, so very terrible a damsel?
 
Friar Mich.
By no means.  She has certainly a high spirit; but it is the wing of the eagle without his beak, or his claw.  She is as gentle as magnanimous; but it is the gentleness of the summer wind, which, however lightly it wave the tuft of the pine, carries with it the intimation of a power, that, if roused to its extremity, could make it bend to the dust!
 
Sir Ral.
From the warmth of your panegyric, ghostly father, I should almost suspect you were in love with the lady.
 
Friar Mich.
So I am, and I care not who knows it; but, all in the way of honesty, master soldier; I am, as it were, her spiritual lover, her father confessor and ghostly director, and were she a damsel errant, I would be her ghostly esquire, her friar militant.  She and the Earl were companions from the cradle, and reciprocally fashioned each other to the love of the fern and the foxglove; had either been less sylvan, the other might have been more saintly; but they will now never hear matins, but those of the lark, nor reverence vaulted aisle, but that of the greenwood canopy.  Come, sir Knight, follow me; I will be your guide to Arlingford castle.
 
[Exeunt Friar and Sir Ralph.
 
SCENE IV.
 
Apartment at Arlingford Castle.
 
Enter the Baron Fitzwater.
 
Bar.
A pretty spot of work! a pretty spot of work!  Fiends and faggots! I, Baron Fitzwater, a lineal descendent of the redoubtable Fireabrass of Normandy, who came over to England with the Conqueror, and in the battle of Hastings killed with his own hand four and twenty Saxon chieftains, all on a row – I – I to be treated with such contumely! my daughter's marriage broken off – not that I care about that – it's well as it was – it's well as it was; but my son-in-law driven out of the chapel before my face – not that I care about that – serve him right – he'd no business to be there under such circumstances.  I – I – I've been very ill used – very ill treated indeed – I can't exactly say by whom – but I've been very ill treated – I'm in a desperate passion with somebody – I wish I could make up my mind as to the particular person – I should like hugely to quarrel; but I can find nobody to quarrel with – my daughter smiles at me – how I hate any body that smiles! – and my servants run away from me, before I can knock 'em down.
 
Enter Servant.
 
Now – what do you want? what the devil do you come here for?
 
Ser.
An' it please you, my lord, friar Michael and Sir Ralph Montfaucon request to speak with your lordship.
 
Bar.
Shew them in!  Excellent!  I'll quarrel with them.
 
[Exit servant.
 
Enter Friar Michael and Sir Ralph.
 
Now, sirs, your business with me.
 
Friar Mich.
Most noble Baron –
 
Bar.
No compliments – no preface – your business with me?
 
Sir Ral.
Lord Fitzwater, in obedience to the commands of the Regent, I have been the unwilling instrument of frustrating the intended nuptials of your fair daughter; yet will you, I trust, owe me no displeasure for my agency herein, seeing that the noble maiden might otherwise, by this time, have been the bride of an outlaw.
 
Bar.
I am very much obliged to you, sir; your solicitude for my daughter is truly paternal; and it is very kind withal to come to the relief of my insufficiency and inexperience, and concern yourself so much in that which concerns you not.
 
Friar Mich.
You misconceive the knight, noble Baron.  He urges not his reason in the shape of a a preconceived intent, but in that of a subsequent extenuation.  Certes, he hath done the Lady Matilda great wrong.
 
Bar.
How great wrong?  What do you mean by great wrong?  Would you have her married to a wild fly-by-night, that accident made an earl, and nature a deer-stealer? that has not wit enough to eat venison, without picking a quarrel with monarch? that flings away his own lands into the clutches of rascally friars, for the sake of hunting in other men's grounds, and feasting vagabonds that wear Lincoln green? and would have flung away mine in the bargain, if he had had my daughter!  What do you mean by great wrong?
 
Friar Mich.
True, true, great right I mean.
 
Bar.
Right! – What has any man to do with my daughter's right but myself?  What right has any man to drive my daughter's bridegroom out of the chapel, and turn all our merry faces into green wounds and bloody coxcombs, and then come and tell me he has done us great right?
 
Friar Mich.
True – he has done neither right nor wrong.
 
Bar.
But he has – he has done both; and I will maintain in with my glove!
 
Sir Ral.
It shall not need – I will concede any thing in honour.
 
Bar.
And I will concede nothing in honour.  I will concede nothing in honour to any man.
 
Sir Ral.
Neither will I, Baron, in that sense; but here me: -- I was commissioned by the Regent to apprehend the Earl of Huntingdon, and pursued him to the chapel, where I would have awaited the close of the ceremony if I had thought that either yourself or your daughter would have felt desirous that she should become an outlaw's bride.
 
Bar.
Who said, sir, that we desirous of any such thing?  I say the earl is now no earl, but plain Robert Fitzooth; therefore, I'll none of him.
 
Friar Mich.
He may atone, and the regent may mollify.
 
Sir Ral.
He cannot atone; he has killed the king's men; and, if the baron should aid and abet, he will lose his castle and land.
 
Bar.
Will I?  Not while I have a drop of blood in my veins.  He that comes to take 'em, shall first serve me as the friar serves my flasks of canary, he shall drain me dry as hay.  Am I not disparaged?  Am I not outraged?  Is not my daughter vilified, and made a mockery – a girl half married?  There was my butler brought home with a broken head – my butler, friar – there's that may move your sympathy, friar.  The earl! no earl shall come no more to my daughter.
 
Friar Mich.
Very good.
 
Bar.
It is not very good, for I can't get her to say so.
 
Sir Ral.
I fear the young lady must be much distressed and discomposed.
 
Bar.
Not a whit, sir!  She is, as usual, in a most provoking imperturbability, and contradicts me so smilingly, that it would enrage you to see her.  (Sir Ralph and Friar Mich. laugh.) What the devil, are you laughing at me, too!  Is there any thing so particularly amusing in my being provoked? – then I wont be provoked! – I – I – I'll laugh as well as you.
 
[Forces a laugh, and at last joins heartily with the Knight and the Friar; at which moment the door opens, and Matilda enters, in a hunting-dress.
 
Bar.
(stopping short in his laugh.)  How now! what do you do in that green dress?
 
Mat.
I knew not you had company, so came down to shew you the new suit I mean to go to Gamwell in to-morrow.
 
Bar. 
To Gamwell! what, I warrant you, to meet the earl, and slip your neck into the same noose?
 
Mat.
Not to my knowledge, father.
 
Bar.
What surety have I of that?
 
Mat.
Here's the Friar Michael, my confessor; he will be my surety; or you may send with me as many of your grooms as you will.
 
Bar.
My grooms are all false knaves; there's not a rascal among them but loves you better than me.  Villains, that I feed and clothe!
 
Mat.
Truly, it is not villainy to love me; if it be, I should be sorry my father were an honest man, (the Baron smiles) or my lover, either.
 
Bar.
(frowning) He's not an honest man; how can he be, when he has neither house nor land, which are the better part of a man?
 
Friar Mich.
They are but the husk of a man; the worthless coat of a chestnut; the man himself is the kernel.
 
Bar.
The man is the grape-stone, and the pulp of the melon: the house and land are the true substantial fruit, and all that give him savour and value.
 
Mat.
He will never want house or land while the meeting boughs weave a green roof in the wood, and the free range of the hart marks out the bounds of the forest.
 
Bar.
Vert and venison!  Vert and venison!  Treason, and flat rebellion!  Confound your smiling face, what makes you look so good-humour'd?  What, you think I can't look at you, and be in a passion – you think so, do you?  We shall see – we shall see.  Have you no fear in talking thus, when here is the king's liegeman come to take us all into custody, and confiscate our goods and chattels?
 
Sir Ral.
Nay, Lord Fitzwater, you wrong me in your report.  My visit is one of courtesy and excuse, not of menace and authority.
 
Bar.
There it is – every one takes a pleasure in contradicting me.  Here is this courteous knight, who has not open'd his mouth three times since he has been in my house, cuts me short in my story with a flat denial.
 
Mat.
Oh, I cry you mercy, Sir Knight!  I did not recollect you before; I am your debtor for no slight favor, and so is my liege lord.
 
Bar.
Her liege lord!
 
Sir Ral.
Pardon me, gentle lady; had I known you before to-day, I would have cut off my right hand, ere it should have been raised to do you displeasure.
 
Mat.
Oh, sir, a good man may be forced on an ill office; but I can distinguish the man from his duty.  (Gives him her hand; Sir Ralph kisses it, and then talks apart with Friar.)  And now remember, father, I go to the feast to-morrow.
 
Bar.
Do you! but I say you do not.
 
Mat.
But I must go, father.
 
Bar.
But I'll have up the drawbridge.
 
Mat.
But I'll swim the moat.
 
Bar.
But I'll secure the gate.
 
Mat.
But I'll leap the battlement.
 
Bar.
But I'll lock you in an upper chamber.
 
Mat.
But I'll shred the tapestry, and let myself down.
 
Bar. 
But I'll lock you in a turret, where you shall only see light through a loop-hole.
 
Mat.
But through that loop-hole will I take my flight, like a young eagle from its aëry; and, father, while I go out freely, I will return willingly; but if once I slip through a loop-hole – –
 
SONG. – Matilda. (from the Novel)
    No! no! no! no! no!
The love that follows fain
  Will never its faith betray;
But the faith that's held in a chain,
Will never be found again
  If a single link give way.
    No! no! no! no! no!
 
For hark! hark! hark!
The dog doth bark
  That watches the wild-deer's lair;
The hunter awakes at the peep of the dawn,
But the lair is empty, the deer it is gone,
  And the hunter knows not where.
    No! no! no! no!
 
The love that follows, &c.
 
Friar Mich.
An excellent song, by the mass!
 
Bar.
So this is the way you encourage my daughter, is it, you profane, roaring, bawling, catch-singing friar!  Are you mad! are you insane! are you possess'd!  What do you mean! 'Sdeath and fury! what do you both mean?
 
Friar Mich.
Under favour, bold Baron –—
 
Mat.
Nay, father, be not angry with the friar, he means not to offend you; and least of all should my gaiety displease you now, when I have need of all my spirits to outweigh the severity of my fortune.
 
Bar.
Hum! ah! well!  Pshaw, I'm an old fool!  It's very hard – nobody will quarrel with me, after all – no matter – your hand, friar.  Kiss me, Maud.  Sing on, in heaven's name, and crack away the flasks, till your voice swims in canary.  (To Sir Ralph.)  You see how it is, Sir Knight – Matilda is my daughter, but she has me in leading-strings, that's the truth of it. 
 
Sir Ral.
Sweet must be the bondage of so fair a creature; but night gathers fast, and I must join my lieutenant at Locksley Castle.
 
Friar Mich.
And I my ghostly brethren at Rubygill Abbey.
 
Bar.
Well, but Sir Knight – Friar! we must have a cup of canary, to drown all unkindness in.  Wine, there, you knaves – some wine.  Ha! ha!  Bully Friar, that's the spell to hold you by.
 
Enter Page and Servants with wine on a salver; Baron, Friar, and Sir Ralph drink.
 
Friar Mich.
Farewell, noble Baron; farewell, sweet lady.
 
[Sir Ralph and Friar salute the Baron and Lady Matilda, and exeunt.
 
Bar.
Farewell, farewell.  He's a jolly fellow, after all, and has seen younger and merrier days.

QUINTETTE. – Baron, Matilda, Page, and Two Domestics. (from the Novel.)
Bar.
Though he be now a grey, grey friar,
Yet he was once a hale young knight;
The cry of his dogs was the only choir
In which his spirit did take delight.
 
Mat.
Little he reck'd of the matin-bell,
And drown'd its toll with the clanging horn;
And the only beads he lov'd to tell
Were the beads of dew on the spangled thorn.
 
1st Serv.
Though changeful Time, with hand severe,
Has made him now those sports forego;
His heart still bounds with joy to hear
The mellow horn and twanging bow.
 
Page.
Though he be now a grey, grey friar, &c.
 
All.
Little he reck'd of the matin, &c.
[Exeunt Omnes.
 
SCENE V.
Sherwood Forest. – Night. The Moon rises as the Scene proceeds.
 
Enter the Earl of Huntingdon, as Robin Hood, and William Gamwell.
 
Rob.
Even so, cousin Gamwell – Earl of Huntingdon I am no more, but plain Robin Hood, the outlaw: my gay weeds have I exchanged for a suit of Lincoln green: this forest of Sherwood have I made my merry home; and here, with my faithful yeoman, will I strike venison, and sing jovial catches, despite the Regent, Sir Ralph Montfaucon, Saint Thomas-à-Becket, and the devil to boot.
 
Wil.
By our lady, and you will do well.  But, I pray you, not to forget that to-morrow is Gamwell feast, and that my father, and my sister Alice, and all of us, have reckoned much on your presence.
 
Rob.
Fear not—I will be there.  Commend me to Sir Guy of Gamwell, and to the lovely Alice. – Tell them, they will see that old friend with a new face, but with the same heart and hand for love and good fellowship as ever.
 
Wil.
I will do your bidding; but how brooked Matilda. – how bore our sweet cousin Maud, this frown of fortune?
 
Rob.
As only she could bear it, William; -- with a glistening eye, but a trusting heart: -- though we are not one canonically, we are one in spirit and affection; we are twin plants of the forest and fortune hath no power to change us.
 
Wil.
Aye, aye, Robin; for as a true woodsman would say –

SONG. – William Gamwell. – (from the Novel.)
The slender beech, and the sapling oak,
  That grow by the shadowy rill,
You may fell down both at a single stroke,
  You may fell down which you will;
But this you must know, that as long as they grow,
  Whatever change may be,
You never can teach either oak or beech
  To be aught but a greenwood tree.
[Noise without.
 
"This way – this way with him!"
 
Rob.
Ha! my yeoman have taken a prisoner – they bring him this way.
 
Enter Much the Miller, Allen-a-Dale, and Yeomen, with Sir William of the Lee, prisoner.
 
Much.
We found this man lurking about the forest, master, and he refused to explain his business here so we seized him as a spy.
 
Rob.
A spy! he has the look of a true man; -- release him.  Now, sir, what would you? there is that in your bearing denotes a troubled spirit: I have suffered myself, and can feel for others.  If an outlawed man can serve you, speak?
 
Sir Wil.
Courteous stranger, you see before you a bankrupt in fortune and hope.  I am named Sir William of the Lee.  To succor one I thought a friend, I pawned my lands to the Abbot of Saint Mary's; that friend hath proved false, and failed in the repayment of the sum borrowed: if, therefore, they be not redeemed by to-morrow at noon, hill and dale, field and forest, are lost to me for ever.  I was hastening, as a last resourse, to beg from the proud abbot a longer day, when your followers surrounded me, and would fain have forced from me that confidence which your kindness hath won. 
 
Rob.
And for what sum are your lands in pledge?
 
Sir Wil.
Four hundred pounds.
 
Rob.
Have you no relation, or friend, who would assist you in this straight?
 
Sir Wil.
Alas! no.  My only brother went to Palestine with King Richard; and knew I where he now is, and had I time to inform him of my misfortune, I know not that he hath the means.
 
Rob.
Know you of none who would be surety for you, supposing a stranger would advance you the sum requisite.
 
Sir Wil.
No earthly one, I call our lady to witness.
 
Rob. Come, she shall be your surety: she is my only saint, and never failed me yet.  I will lend you these four hundred pounds, and you shall swear by our lady, to repay me on a certain day, and when you have supped with Robin Hood and his merry men, you shall be set on your way towards Saint Mary's Abbey.  What say you, Sir William of the Lee?
 
Sir Wil.
Now blessed be Robin Hood and his merry men all.  For never before met man such friends at his need!
 
Rob.
(to William Gamell) Cousin, you must sup with me likewise in my new habitation.  Night hath put on her coronet of stars, and thrown her dewy mantle over leaf and flower; and yonder rises the bonny moon to light our greenwood revelry.
 
FINALE. – GLEE & CHORUS.
William Gamwell, Much the Miller, Allen-a-Dale, and Yeoman.
 
Hart and hind are in their lair,
  Couch'd beneath the fern they lie,
And the moon, our mistress fair,
  Is riding through the cloudless sky;
O'er the lake the night-wind steals,
About the oak the blind bat wheels,
  Come sit we round our trysting tree,
Daring out-laws as we be.
 
Now in dark and narrow cell,
  Now in chamber rich and rare,
Lowly monk his beads doth tell,
  Lordly about patters prayer;
'Neath our leafy covering,
Let us now our vespers sing;
  Come, troll we catch, and chaunt we glee,
Daring out-laws as we be.
 
Now in stately castle hall,
  Baron proud and gallant knight,
For the courtly harpers call,
  And pace a measure with lady bright;
Blyther sport in greenwood bower,
Know we at this moonlight hour;
  Come, drink we deep, and feast we free,
Daring out-laws as we be.
 
END OF ACT I.
 
ACT II.
 
SCENE I.
 
Gamwell Green – Sun-rise.  A May-pole erected.  Alice Gamwell and a group of Village Lads and Lasses dancing and wreathing garlands of flowers.
 
SOLO. – Village Lass.
 
Gather each flower
From garden and mead,
In whose balmy bower,
The bee loves to feed.
Gather each flower,
And wreath while you may,
A garland for our
Sweet queen of the day.
 
Chorus.
Gather each flower, &c.
 
SOLO. – Alice Gamwell.
 
Gather the rarest,
The dews ever wet,
Gather the fairest
The sun hath kiss'd yet.
Ye will cull never,
A blossom so gay
As she is, who is ever
The queen of the May.
 
Chorus.
Gather each flower, &c.
 
Enter Sir Ralph Montfaucon, muffled in a large Cloak.
 
Sir Ralph.
(aside) So I find I have not been misdirected; this, no doubt, is Gamwell green; and yonder are the preparations for the May-games, of which the lovely Matilda is to be queen.  I could not resist the opportunity of once more beholding the fair Huntress of Arlingford.  The castle and lands of Locksley are offered by proclamation to him, who shall bring in the Earl, their late master, dead or alive.  The Baron Fitzwater is evidently no longer partial to him; and he who shall, by good fortune, obtain the forfeited estate, will make one certain step towards the father's favour; and – but I am observed; I must enter into conversation with these lasses.  (approaching them and aloud)  My pretty maidens, I have wandered unwittingly out of my road.  Will you be kind enough to inform me whither I have strayed?
 
Alice.
Dear sir, do you not know your are in the neighbourhood of Gamwell hall?
 
Sir Ral.
So far from it, that I have never heard the name of Gamwell hall before.
 
All.
Never heard the name of Gamwell hall!
 
Sir Ral.
Indeed, no; but I shall be happy to get rid of my ignorance.  And, pray, why are you so busy weaving these garlands?
 
Alice.
Why, do you not know, sir, that to-day is Gamwell feast?
 
Sir Ral.
This is the first intimation I have had of it.
 
Alice.
Oh then, sir, you will have something to see, that I can tell you; for we shall choose a queen of the May, and we shall crown her with roses, and place her in a chariot of roses, and draw it with lines of roses; and we shall dance with roses, and on roses, and we shall be all roses.
 
Sir Ral.
That you will, and the sweetest and brightest of all the roses of the May, my pretty damsel.

Alice.
And there will be all sorts of May-games and there will be prizes for archery; and there will be the knight's ale, and the forester's venison – and oh, I shall dance with Will Whitethorn!
 
Vill. Lass.
Here – here come Sir Guy and master Gamwell, and some of the company.
 
Sir Ral.
(aside) The Lady Matilda, too, as I live, with that strange friar – I will not be seen yet.
 
[Sir Ralph retires.
 
Enter Sir Guy of Gamwell, William Gamwell, Lady Matilda, and Friar Michael.  At the same moment, from the opposite side, Robin Hood enters, with a party of his Yeomen – Robin Hood runs to Matilda.
 
Sir Guy.
Welcome, welcome, my sweet coz.  Maud! – welcome, my wild coz.  Robin! – your hand, jolly friar – your hand, old boy! – welcome, welcome all! – Dance, laugh, sing, eat, drink, and be merry.
 
Friar Mich.
Odelife, Sir Guy! why, you grow younger every year.
 
Sir Guy.
To be sure, to be sure, jolly friar!  Where, where's Little John.
 
Lit. John.
Here I am, master.
 
Sir Guy.
Come here, sirrah, and look to the garlands, and the girls, and the may-pole -- -- Eh, eh, eh! the fellow's tall enough for a may-pole himself! but he was born under my roof, Friar, and so we've call'd him Little John ever since he was christen'd.
 
Sir Ral.
(advancing, and aside)  Surely I have seen yon face before – either my eyes deceive me, or – nay, I am certain – (to Young Gamwell, who is passing near him)  Young man!
 
Wil. Gam.
What would you?
 
Sir Ral.
A word in private.  (Drawing him aside, and continuing in a low voice) Do you know the name of yon forester now conversing with the Lady Matilda?
 
Wil. Gam.
(carelessly)  Robin, I believe – I think they call him Robin.
 
Sir Ral.
Is that all you know of him?
 
Wil. Gam.
Why, what more should I know of him?
 
Sir Ral.
Then, I can tell you, he's the outlawed Earl of Huntingdon, on whose head is set so large a price.
 
Wil. Gam.
Ay, is he?
 
Sir Ral.
He were a prize worth taking.
 
Wil. Gam.
No doubt.
 
Sir Ral.
How think you, are the foresters his adherents?
 
Wil. Gam.
I cannot say.
 
Sir Ral.
Are your peasantry loyal and well disposed?
 
Wil. Gam.
Passing loyal.
 
Sir Ral.
If I should call on them in the king's name, think you they would aid and assist?
 
Wil. Gam.
If you call'd on them in the king's name, most likely they would – one side or the other.
 
Sir Ral.
Aye, but which side?
 
Wil. Gam.
That remains to be tried.
 
Sir Ral.
I have the regent's commission to apprehend this earl that was.  How would you advise me to act, being, as you see, without attendant force?
 
Wil. Gam.
Why, I would advise you to take yourself off, without delay, unless you would relish the taste of a volley of arrows, a shower of stones, and a hail-storm of cudgel-blows, which would not be turn'd aside by a "God save the regent!"
 
[Walks away.
 
Sir Ral.
(aside)  Confusion! had I but foreseen this! but, daring as he is, I did not suppose him capable of --  What's to be done!  If I tarry here. that fellow will betray me.  I will to Nottingham with all speed, and crave the sheriff's assistance.  Now, fortune, be my friend.
 
[Exit Sir Ralph, hastily.
 
Sir Guy.
There, there, that will do; now let the sports begin.
 
[March.  One party of Villagers and Foresters take hands round the Maypole; another party draw forward a Car, constructed with branches, and adorned with flowers, with a Canopy of Flowers, and traces made of garlands.  Matilda is crowned with flowers by Little John, and handed by Robin Hood into the Car.  Dance.
 
Friar Mich.
Hold! who be these that come so fast this way!  As heaven shall judge me, it is that false knight, sir Ralph Montfaucon, and the sheriff of Nottingham, with a party of armed men.  We must make good our post, and let them dislodge us, if they may.
 
Rob.
To arms, my merry men all!
 
Mat.
This time, Robin, I will stand by thee!
 
[Alice and female Peasants exeunt, alarmed.  The men arm themselves with sticks, and prepare to support Robin and his Foresters; the Friar flourishes his staff, Matilda draws her bow; Robin, Sir Guy, William Gamwell, and Little John, &c. range themselves on one side; the Sheriff of Nottingham, Sir Ralph Montfaucon, and party enter on the other.
 
Sher.
Stand in the king's name; by virtue of my authority, as Sheriff of Nottingham.  I call upon all true subjects to deliver up that false traitor, Robert, formerly Earl of Huntingdon.
 
Rob.
False traitor in thy teeth, proud sheriff! win me, and wear me.
 
[Skirmish; Robin and his party beat off the Sheriff's men; Matilda wounds Sir Ralph in the arm with an arrow; Friar Michael knocks down the Sheriff and beats him.
 
Sher.
Hey, Friar Michael!  What means this Friar? hold! hold!
 
Mat.
(catching the Friar's arm)  Hold, good Friar; let me plead for the Sheriff.
 
Friar Mich.
Let him be trudging, then.  Up, and away, master Sheriff, as you value the rest of your bones; hence! hence!
 
[Drives him off.
 
Mat.
(taking the arrow from Sir Ralph's arm)  I reclaim my arrow, Sir Knight, which struck you where I aimed it, to admonish you to desist from your enterprize; I could as easily have lodged it in your heart.
 
Sir Ral.
It did not need: you have lodged one there already.
 
Mat.
If you mean to say you love me, it is more than I ever shall you; but if you will show your love by no further interfering with mine, you will at least merit my gratitude.  Away ere those return, who may treat you less courteously.
 
[Exit Sir Ralph.
 
Re-enter Friar Michael, Robin Hood, Sir Guy, William Gamwell, Much the Miller, Alen-a-Dale, Little John, Yeomen, Peasants, &c.
 
Friar Mich.
Victoria! victoria! but, my good friends all, let us part, and part quickly; for the matter will not rest here, take my word for it.
 
Rob.
I think with you, good friar.  Worthy Sir Guy, your old age must not suffer for my wild youth: you and the fair Alice will I find a safe covert for, far on the borders of Barnsdale.  As for my coz, William, and my old acquaintance, Little John –
 
Wil. Gam.
We will wend with you, coz, to the good greenwood, an' you spurn not our company.
 
Rob.
You shall be heartily welcome.  Farewell, sweet Maud, I must to Sherwood.
 
[Exeunt Robin Hood, Old Gamwell, Little John, and Yeomen.
 
Friar Mich.
And I will see the Lady Matilda in safety to her father's castle-gate, and then ensconce behind the walls of old Rubygill Abbey, till this breeze shall blow over.
 
Exeunt Friar and Matilda.
 
Manent William Gamwell, Much the Miller, Allen-a-Dale, and 1st Yeoman.
 
Wil. Gam.
Come, comrades, let us follow our brave captain, Robin – we may strike a deer or two now before sun-set.  Oh, 'tis rare sport.
 
GLEE. – Wil. Gam., Much, Allen, and 1st Yeoman.
With hawk and hound we'll merrily sweep
   Through Greenwood glade and ell,
Until the bugles' death-note deep
   Ring out the red-deer's knell.
 
And when the chase is o'er, and round
   The wine-cups gaily go,
We'll make the festive bower resound
   With the praise of the best drawn bow.
 
SCENE II.
 
An Apartment in Arlingford Castle.
 
Enter the Baron.
 
Bar.
Breach of the king's peace! breach of the king's fiddlestick!  What did they mean by their cock-and-bull stories, of my daughter grievously bruising the Sheriff of Nottingham?  A set of vagabond rascals in disguise, no doubt.  I hear, by-the-bye, there is a gang of thieves, that has just set up business in Sherwood Forest.  A pretty pretence, indeed, to get into my castle with force and arms, and make a famine in my buttery, and a drought in my cellar, and a void in my strong box, and a vacuum in my silver scullery; but I was too deep for the villains; and if they had not forthwith avoided my territory, they would have been more grievously bruised by me, than ever was the sheriff by my daughter -- -- Eh! odso! here she comes!
 
Enter Matilda.
 
Why, Maud! Maud! what's this I hear, Maud?  Is there any truth in the story, that you have return'd so speedily?
 
Mat.
If you are alluding to a fray with Sir Ralph Montfaucon and the Sheriff of Nottingham, father, I doubt not but you have heard something like the truth.
 
Bar.
The devil I have!  And – and – what began it, eh?
 
Mat.
A design of the sheriff's to take one of the foresters into custody!
 
Bar.
One of the foresters!  Oh, ho! then I guess who that forester was! but truly this friar, by all accounts, is a desperate fellow!  I did not think there could have been so much valour under a grey frock.  Maud, you're a wild girl, Maud; a chip of the old block, Maud; a wild girl and a wild friar, and three or four foresters' wild lads, all to keep their ground against a tame knight and a tame sheriff, and his posse of tame varlets; by this light, the like was never heard; but do you know, Maud, you must not go about so any more, sweet Maud – you must stay at home – you must ensconce, for there is your tame sheriff on one hand that will take you per force, and there is your wild forester on the other, that will take you without any force at all, Maud – your wild forester, Robin, cousin Robin, Robin Hood of Sherwood Forest.  But you must hunt no more in such company – no more May – games and Gamwell feasts – my lands and castle would be the forfeit of a few more such pranks; and I think they are quite as well in my hands as the King's – quite as well.
 
Mat.
Nay, then, if you are so bent on my captivity, my case, I fear, is hopeless; but surely you will not completely put a stop to my romantic rambles; -- share them with me for once, my dear father, and then say nay if you can.
 
SONG.—Matilda.
Let us seek the yellow shore,
Which the wild waves tumble o'er,
And catch the mermaid's ditty rare,
As she combs her dripping hair.
Then hasten to some leafy nook,
Where, by spirit-haunted brook,
We that sweet unearthly lay
Will sing, till ev'ry fawn and fay
Shall wondring from their green homes peep,
And a pleasant chorus keep.
 
Bar.
Ugh! you're an impudent baggage – a wild wench – a cunning wench.  You know you can sing me out of any thing – you do, you rogue, you – and if that mad friar –

Friar Michael. (sings without)
Drink, and sing, and eat, and laugh,
  And so go forth to battle;
For the top of a skull, and the end of a staff
  Do make a ghostly rattle.
Enters.
 
Bar.
"Talk of the old one, and his imps appear," says the proverb.  Ho! ho! friar – singing friar, laughing friar, roaring friar, fighting friar, hacking friar, thwacking friar, joke-cracking, bottle-cracking, skull-cracking friar!
 
Friar Mich.
And, ho! ho! baron – bold baron, old baron, sturdy baron, wordy baron, long baron, strong baron, mighty baron, flighty baron, 'mazed baron, crazed baron, hacked baron, thwacked baron, bone-cracked, sconce-cracked baron –
 
Bar.
What do you mean, bully friar, by calling me hacked and thwacked?
 
Friar Mich.
Were you not in the wars? where he who escapes unhacked does more credit to his heels than his arms.  I pay a tribute to your valour, in calling you hacked and thwacked.
 
Bar.
I never was thwacked in my life.  I stood my ground manfully, and covered my body with my sword.  If I had had the luck to meet with a fighting friar, indeed, I might have been thwacked, and soundly too; but I hold myself a match for any two laymen: it takes nine fighting laymen to make a fighting friar.
 
Mat.
But whence come you now, holy father?
 
Friar Mich.
From Rubygill Abbey, whither I must never return.
 
Mat.
What is the matter, then, father?
 
Friar Mich.
This is the matter, fair lady: -- my holy brother, had heard of my late exploit, and sentenced me to seven years' imprisonment, and privation of wine.  I therefore deemed it fitting to take my departure, which they would fain have prohibited – I was enforced to clear the way with my staff – I have greviously beaten my dearly beloved brethren – I grieve thereat, but they enforced me thereto.  I have beaten them much – I mowed them down to the right, and to the left, and left them like an ill-reaped field of wheat, ear and straw pointing all ways, scattered in singleness, and jumbled in masses, and so bade them farewell, saying, peace be with you.  But I must not tarry, lest danger be in my rear; therefore, farewell, sweet Matilda, and farewell, noble baron, and farewell again, sweet Matilda – the Alpha and Omega of father Michael – the first and the last. 
 
Bar.
Farewell, father, and heaven send you be never assailed by more than fifty men at a time!
 
Friar Mich.
Amen to that good wish.
 
Mat.
And we shall meet again, father, I trust.
 
Bar.
When the storm is blown over.
 
Friar Mich.
Doubt it not, lady, though flooded forest were between us, and fifty dragons guarded the bridge.
 
Bar.
Well said, friar, I'll see thee to the gate.
 
[Exeunt Friar Michael and Baron.
 
Mat.
Heigho!  If Richard the Lion-hearted were on his throne, in merry London, instead of being a prisoner in Germany, my bold Robin would not be suffered to languish an outlaw.
 
Enter Page.
 
DUETTO. – Matilda and Page.
Mat.
Come hither, come hither, thou little foot page!
  Come hither to my knee,
And say if thou sawest my own true love,
  And what my love said to thee.
 
Page.
Oh, lady, fair lady, thou hast him seen,
  Since he was seen by me,
And what he said, lady, I've o'er and o'er
  Told word for word to thee.
 
Mat.
Now, tell me again, thou little foot-page,
  Twice, thrice, now tell them to me.
 
Page.
Oh, these were the words thy true love spoke,
  And bade me them bear to thee –
"Tell her, while red the rose doth blow;
Tell her, while green the leaves do grow;
The heart of her love shall constant prove –
'Twill cease to beat 'ere cease to love."
 
Together.
"Tell her, while red, &c.
Mat.
Good boy – when you are tall enough, you shall be squire to my bold Robin, and carry his bow.
 
Page.
Thanks, mistress – I would the day were come.
 
[Exit Page.
 
Bar.
(without)  "An impudent scoundrel!"
 
Mat.
My father's voice in anger! – what can have –—
 
Enter Baron, with a blunt arrow, to the head of which is attached a letter.
 
Bar. Every body, every body strives to insult me, and put me in a passion! – 'twould exasperate a Job.
 
Mat.
What is the matter, father?
 
Bar.
Matter! – some impudent villain has shot a blunt arrow into the nape of my neck.
 
Mat.
Well – but, father, a sharp arrow, in the same place, would have killed you; therefore, the sending a blunt one was very considerate.
 
Bar.
Considerate with a vengeance!  Where was the consideration of sending it at all?  This is some of your forester's pranks – by way of a love-token to you, he takes a random shot at me.
 
Mat.
But, see – here is a letter attached to it – some friendly advice, no doubt.  (takes it off.)
 
Bar.
Ah! and like most other friendly advice, given in a disagreeable manner.  Let me look at it.  (takes the letter and reads)  Eh!  Odslife!  What's this I read?  -- Longchamp, Bishop of Ely, fled the country in disguise – Prince John in open rebellion – Nottingham Castle seized, and the Prince on his march hither, to summon Arlingford. – Its towers shall crumble in the dust, 'ere they give shelter to the false brother of our royal Richard!  I'll assemble my retainers, collect a hasty supply of provisions, up with my drawbridge, down with my portcullis, and keep the castle like a true descendant of the redoubtable Fireabras, who came over with the Conqueror. 
 
[Distant drum.
 
Mat.
Hark! his drum!  I fear he will not give us time!
 
Bar.
Then we must meet him as we may, Maud; for I will burn keep and turret to the ground, sooner than yield them up to rebellion and ingratitude.  Ho! knaves! varlets! to arms! to arms!
 
[Exeunt Baron and Matilda.
 
SCENE III.
 
Prince John's Tent and Encampment before Arlingford Castle. – Night; – Lamps burning.
 
[Flourish.
 
Enter Prince John, with papers in his hand.  Lord Lacy, Sir Ralph Montfaucon, &c.
 
Prin. John.
Sir Ralph Montfaucon, we bid you, once more, heartily welcome, and trust you will find our service as pleasant and profitable as that of his reverence of Ely, who, I am credibly informed by these letters, has fled beyond sea, in a strange disguise for a prelate of such high rank, and aspiring character.  We have need of your aid, Sir Knight, aye, and of the aid of all true English hearts in this extremity.  Our unfortunate brother Richard is dead – at least, to us, and heaven knows the evil that might befall this kingdom, were its sceptre placed in the baby grasp of our nephew Arthur.  My Lord Lacy, have you dispatched a herald, as we commanded, to summon yon castle of Arlingford?
 
Lord Lacy.
I have, my liege; and heard but now his trump beneath the walls.
 
Prin. John.
'Tis well.  Montfaucon, you are acquainted, I think, with the state and strength of the building.
 
Sir Ral.
I have been within it once, my liege, and a stronger hold in a more commanding situation, I have never yet seen. 
 
Prin. John.
By my Halidome, such a place should be in the hands of a faithful servitor.  Montfaucon, should the Baron Fitzwater forfeit it by his resistance to our authority, would'st thou keep it well and loyally for thy loving sovereign?
 
Sir Ral.
While this right hand can grasp a hilt, my gracious lord; and deeply will I hold myself bound to your highness for a deed, which will fulfill all promises made in favour of your servant and vassel.
 
Lord Lacy.
A generous prince! a most noble lord, who thus rewards his faithful followers.
 
Enter Herald.
 
Prin. John.
Now, what answer from the Lord Fitzwater?
 
Herald.
A bold defiance to your Highness's power, and scornful denial of your proclaimed sovereignty.
 
Prin. John.
Now, by the light of our lady's brow! the dotard shall deeply rue this insolence; for every letter in every word of scorn, a cross-bow bolt shall bear our sharp vengeance to the battlements of his proud castle, and teach him reverence.  To-night the close investure of yon walls must content us; to-morrow's dawn shall mark us mount them.
 
[Shouts without.
 
What mean these shouts?
 
Enter 1st Officer (hastily)
 
1st Of.
Arm! arm, my liege! a band of archers have forced the out-posts, and the besieged have made a desperate sally.
 
Prin. John.
Ill-fated fools! – they rush upon their deaths!  Lacy – Montfaucon – mount, and follow me!
 
[Alarm – shout.
 
Enter 2nd Officer (with paper)
 
Prin. John.
Now, sir, your tidings?
 
2nd Of.
The besieged have cut their way through all opposition, and gone off in a body towards Sherwood.  This paper was the moment shot within a few paces of your highness' tent.
 
Prin. John.
(snatching and reading it) "Prince John – I do not consider myself to have resisted lawful authority, seeing that you are in rebellion against your liege sovereign, Richard; and had my means been adequate to my will, I would have defended my castle against you till dooms-day. – As it is, I have so well disposed my combustibles, that it shall not serve you as a strong hold in your rebellion.  My daughter and I are content to be houseless for a time, in the reflection, that we have deserved your enmity, and the friendship of Cœur de Lion! – Fitzwater."  How's this?  Traitor!  To the castle, instantly!
 
[The curtains of the tent are suddenly undrawn, and discover Arlingford Castle in flames, in the distance.  The troops of Prince John in consternation.
 
Sir Ral.
My lord, the castle burns!
 
Prin. John. 
Confusion! – it is too late! 
 
CHORUS. – FINALE.
"Revenge!  Revenge! yon flames that shake
Their crimson tresses o'er the sky,
Are harmless to the fires that wake,
And rage within our bosoms high! –
Revenge!  Revenge! the daring crew
Shall dearly soon their treason rue!"

END OF ACT II.

ACT III.
 
SCENE I.
 
Hall in Nottingham Castle.
 
Prince John, Lord Lacy, Sir Ralph Montfaucon, Nobles, Ladies, &c. seated at a magnificent Banquet.  Minstrels, Heralds &c. Bands from Orchestra, on the Stage.
 
MINSTRELS' GLEE. – Female Minstrels, &c.
The red, red wine in the beaker dances,
  Shaming the morning's rosy hue,
And o'er it the eye of beauty glances,
  Bright as the star to the morning true.
Oh, tis pleasure's sun ascending,
  Tinges the tides in our cups that flow;
Oh, tis love's fair day-star blending
  Its golden light with that crimson glow.
Largesse!  Largesse! gallant knights!
  We your bards and heralds crave:
Love of ladies – death of champions! 
  Glory, glory, to the brave!
[At the end of Glee, Prince John and Nobles fling coin among them.  An Attendant enters, and presents Prince John with a Letter.  He opens it hastily, reads, rises, and impatiently breaks up the Banquet.  All retire, except the Attendant, Lord Lacy, and Sir Ralph Montfaucon, whom the Prince signs to remain.
 
Prin. John.
(much agitated)  Who brought this hither?
 
Attend.  A Frenchman, my liege, who said he had ridden night and day, to place it in the hands of your highness.
 
Prin. John.
Leave us!
 
[Exeunt Attend.
 
Lord Lacy.
What has happened, my liege!
 
Sir Ral.
Your highness looks pale.
 
Prin. John.
Read – read – and you will look pale, too, sirs! 
 
[Giving the Letter to Lord Lacy.
 
Lord Lacy.
(reading)  "Take heed to yourself, for the devil is unchained."
 
Sir Ral.
King Richard at liberty!
 
Lord Lacy.
This may be a false alarm, or a forged letter.
 
Prin. John.
It is France's own hand and seal.
 
Sir Ral.
It is time then to draw our party to a head, either at York, or at some other centrical place.  A few days later, and it will be indeed too late.
 
Lord Lacy.
It is so, I fear, already.  So soon as Richard's release and return is blown abroad, he will be at the head of an army.
 
Prin. John.
There is but one road to safety.  This object of our terror journeys as yet – it is probably alone – he must be met withal.
 
Lord Lacy.
Not by me; I will not harm a feather in his crest, save in fair and open combat.
 
Prin. John.
And wilt thou forsake me, then, after so many protestations of zeal for my service?
 
Lord Lacy.
I mean it not; I will abide by you in aught that becomes a knight, whether in the lists or in the camp! but this highway practice comes not within my vow.
 
Prin. John.
Come hither, Montfaucon.  An unhappy prince am I: my father, King Henry, had faithful servants; he had but to say that he was plagued with a factious priest, and the blood of Thomas-à-Becket, saint though he was, stained the steps of his own altar.  Had I such friends –
 
Sir Ral.
You have, my liege, one such at least; for, since better may not be, I will take on me the conduct of this perilous enterprize.  I will endeavour to inform myself if Richard is landed, and of the route he has taken, and hope soon to send you welcome news of my expedition.  Adieu, my prince, till better times.
 
[Exit Montfaucon.
 
Prin. John.
(to Lord Lacy)  He goes to take my brother prisoner; I trust he will observe my orders, and use our brother Richard's person with all due respect.
 
Lord Lacy. 
I had better pass to his lodgings and make him fully aware of your grace's pleasure; for, as it quite escaped my ear, it may not, perchance, have reached Montfaucon's. 
 
Prin. John.
Nay, nay, I promise thee he heard me; and, besides, I have other occupation for thee.  Lacy, come hither.  Thou dost think, I warrant, that thou hast lost somewhat of our regard, by boldly declining this unpleasing task; but no, Lacy, I rather honour thee, for thy virtuous constancy.  The arrest of my unfortunate brother forms no such good title to our royal favour, as doth thy chivalrous and courageous denial.  The truncheon of high marshal requires a bold hand to grasp it.   Think of that, Lacy, and begone to thy charge. 
 
[Walks up the Stage.
 
Lord Lacy.
(aside) Fickle tyrant! evil luck have they who trust thee – but high marshal of England! –  that! that is indeed  a prize worth playing for.
 
[Exit Lord Lacy.
 
Prin. John.
(pacing the apartment with hasty steps.)  My brother's name is an ague to them – they have seen the hand-writing on the wall! – they have marked the paw of the lion in the sand! they have heard his approaching roar shake the wood.  Nothing, nothing, I fear, will re-animate their courage.  If Lacy betrays me, as his bearing leads me to fear, I will have his head, were Richard thundering at my very gates.
 
[Exit Prince John.
 
SCENE II.
 
The Tysting Tree in the Sherwood Forest.
 
Enter Robin Hood, Scarlet, Little John, Much, Allen, and 1st Yeoman.
 
Rob.
The sun hath been up some time; we are late at our morning's muster; but the business of last night is a fair excuse for it.  Has any one seen the Baron Fitzwater, or the lovely lady Matilda, this morning.
 
Scar.
Yonder comes the friar; he, no doubt, hath tidings of them.
 
Enter Friar Michael, as Friar Tuck.
 
Rob.
Now, bully friar, what's news of our noble guests?
 
Friar Tuck.
Why, there's that mirror of maidens, that paragon of huntresses, the lady Matilda, has clothed herself in male attire, in forester's green, in the true livery of merry Sherwood; and the old baron is grumbling like the abbot of Mumblemass, where the stock-fish is highly salted, and the tooth-ache will only let him eat on one side of his mouth.  Look where they come, side by side – winter and spring – January and May – there, my lads, there's a mirror of the moon for you.
 
Enter Baron Fitzwater and Matilda, in Male Attire.
 
Rob.
Welcome, welcome, my fair forester – welcome, welcome, noble Baron; and now recognize your son-in-law that would have been, in the outlaw Robin Hood. 
 
Bar.
Aye, aye, I recognize you fast enough.
 
Scar. 
And behold your friend young Gamwell, in the outlaw Scarlet.
 
Lit. John.
And Little John, of Gamwell Hall, in Robin Hood's lieutenant.
 
Friar Tuck.
And father Michael, of Rubygill Abbey, in Friar Tuck, of Sherwood Forest.  Truly, I have a chapel here hard by, in the shape of a hollow tree, where I intend to put up all my prayers for travellers, and Little John is to hold the plate at the door; for good praying deserves good paying.
 
Bar.
Upon my word, I'm in good company.
 
Friar Tuck. 
In the best of company, in the high court of Nature, and in the midst of her own nobility.  Is 't not so?  This goodly grove is our palace; the oak and the beech are its colonade and its canopy; the sun, moon and stars are its everlasting lamps; the lark, the thrush, and the nightingale, its unhired musicians.  Robin Hood is king of the forest, both by dignity of birth and by virtue of his standing army; Scarlet and John are peers of the forest! lords temporal of Sherwood; and am I not lord spiritual? am I not pope? are not they state monarchical? and am I not church militant?
 
Rob.
Well preached, friar; and yet there is one thing wanting to constitute a court, and that is – a queen. And now, lovely Matilda, look upon these cylvan shades, where we've so often roused the stag from his ferny couch.  Shall I take your hand, Matilda, in the presence of this my court? shall I crown you with our wild-wood coronet, and hail you queen of the forest! will you be the queen, Matilda, of your own true king, Robin?
 
Friar Tuck.
Not Matilda: the rules of our ailance require new birth.  We have excepted in favour of Little John, because he is Great John, and his name is a misnomer.  I therefore change thy name, lady, to Marian.
 
Bar.
Here is a pretty conspiracy! why you villainous friar, think you to nickname and marry my daughter before my face, with impunity?
 
Friar Tuck.
Even so, bold baron.  We are strongest here.
 
Bar.
Fire and fury!
 
Mat.
Father, you know the terms of our compact; from the moment you restrained my liberty, you renounced your claim to all but compulsory obedience.  May I never again have roof but the blue sky, nor barrier but the forest-bounds, with its merry yeomen to  my train, Little John to my page, Friar Tuck to my ghostly adviser, and Robin Hood to my liege lord.  I am no longer Lady Matilda, of Arlingford castle, but plain Maid Marian, of Sherwood Forest.
 
All.
(but Baron) Long live Maid Marian!
 
Bar.
Oh, false girl! do you renounce your name and parentage?
 
Mar.
Not my parentage, but my name, indeed; do not all maids renounce it at the altar?
 
Bar.
The altar! grant me patience! what do you mean by the altar?
 
Friar Tuck.
Oh, we'll soon show the noble Baron what we mean by the altar.  Little John, I appoint thee my clerk: thou art here duly elected in full moat.
 
Bar.
I wish you were in a full moat together, with a smooth wall on both sides.
 
Friar Tuck.
Punnest thou!  A heinous anti-christian offense.  Why anti-christian? because anti-catholic –  why anti-catholic? because anti-Roman – why anti-Roman? because Carthagianian.  Is not pun from Punic?  Punica fides: double-visaged, double-tongued.  He that will make a pun – I say no more – fie on it!  Stand forth, clerk.  Who is the bride's father?
 
Bar.
There is no bride's father – I am the father of Matilda Fitzwater.
 
Friar Tuck.
There is no Matilda Fitzwater this is the fair Maid Marian.  Will you be her true natural father, or shall I commute paternity?  Stand forth, Scarlet.
 
Bar.
Stand back, sirrah Scarlet – my daughter shall have no other father but me – needs must when the devil drives.  There – there – take her, Robin – but ––
 
Friar Tuck.
No buts – spoil not your courtesy with a but – unless, indeed, it be a but of sack, to drink happiness to Robin Hood, and the fair maiden, queen Marian.
 
Rob.
And now, Scarlet, read over the laws of our forest society, according to our daily custom, before we separate for business, that no one may plead forgetfulness of their injunctions.
 
Friar Tuck.
Aye, aye, read, son Scarlet, read; and with a stentorophonic voice, that no one may plead deafness – it's a very common complaint on such occasions.  [They mount Scarlet on the Stump of an old Tree.
 
Lit. John.
Silence in the court!
 
Scar.
(reads)  "At a high court of justice, held under the greenwood tree, an hour after sun-rise, the following articles, moved by friar Tuck, in his capacity of peer spiritual, and seconded by Much the Miller, were unanimously agreed to.  Resolved, imprimis, our government is legitimate, and our society is founded on the one golden rule of right, namely, 'to keep what we have, and to catch what we can.'  Secondly, all forest laws, but our own, we declare null and void.   Thirdly, all abbots shall be bound and beaten, especially the abbot of Doncaster, as shall also all sheriffs, especially the Sheriff of Nottingham.  Fourthly, all travellers shall be invited to partake of Robin's hospitality, and if they come not willingly, they shall be compelled; and the rich man shall pay well for his fare, and the poor man shall feast scot-free.  And these articles we swear to keep, as we are good men and true.  Carried by acclamation.  God save King Richard!"
 
[All shout.
 
Bar.
Excellent laws – excellent, by the holy-rood!  William of Normandy, with my great, great grandfather, Fireabras, at his elbow, could not have made better.  And now, sweet Maud – I must leave you Maud; your life is very well for the young and hearty, but it squares not with my age or humour.  I must house, Maud.  Give me a roof over my head, be it never so humble; besides I like to pull off my boots of a night, which your foresters seldom do, and then to ensconce myself thereafter in a comfortable bed.
 
Friar Tuck.
Had you not dry leaves with a bishop's surplice over them?  What would you have softer? and an abbot's travelling cloak for your coverlet: what would you have warmer?
 
Bar.
Very true; but that was an indulgence to a guest; and I dreamed all night of the Sheriff of Nottingham.  I like to feel myself safe – I must find refuge – but where? – that is the question.
 
Rob.
Where Sir Guy of Gamwell has found it, near the borders of Barnsdale: there you may dwell in safety with him and fair Alice, till King Richard return: I and Marian will be your guides, and I will leave Scarlet and Little John joint regents of Sherwood, during my absence.  Come, let us together, and consult concerning our journey, and our necessary disguises.  After dinner we will set forth – Scarlet, Little John, Much, and Allen, you know your several stations.  Up, and be doing.
 
[Exeunt Robin Hood, Baron, Friar, and Marian.
 
GLEE. – Scarlet, Little John, Much, Allen, and Foresters.  (From the Novel.)
Scarlet.
Oh, bold Robin Hood is a forester good,
As ever drew bow in the merry greenwood.
At his bugle's shrill singing the echoes are ringing
The wild deer are springing for many a rood;
Its summons we follow through brake over hollow,
The shrilly-blown summons of bold Robin Hood.
 
Little John.
And what eye hath e'er seen such a sweet maiden queen
As Marian, the pride of the foresters green,
A sweet garden flower, she blooms in the bower,
Where alone to this hour the wild-rose hath been.
We hail her in duty the queen of all beauty,
We will live, we will die, by our sweet maiden queen.
 
Much the Miller.
And we've a grey friar, good as heart may desire,
To absolve all our sins, as the case may require;
Who, with courage so stout, lays his oak-plant about,
And puts to the rout all the foes of his choir.
For we are his choristers, we merry foresters,
Chorussing still with our militant friar!
 
All.
Robin and Marian!  Robin and Marian!
Drink to them one by one; drink as ye sing;
Robin and Marian!  Robin and Marian!
Long with their glory old Sherwood shall ring.
[Exeunt Omnes.
 
SCENE III.
 
View on the Borders of the Forest of Sherwood; River and old Ferry-house beside it.
 
Enter Marian.
 
Mar.
Our disguises are settled; our route marked out, and after dinner Robin and I are to set forth with my good father towards Barnsdale.  We must travel with caution, for Prince John commands all the vicinity, and has doubtless laid the country for us.  How long will Britons crouch beneath his usurped and tyrannical sway? –  Would that my woman's voice could rouse my countrymen to arms in the cause of justice and of freedom.
 
BRAVANIA – Matilda. – Recitative.
To arms! 'tis Freedom calls upon the brave,
  And England on her chivalry.
To arms! in such a cause, the grave
  Is but the gate to glorious Immortality!
 
AIR. – Gird the sword and sieze the spear,
Give the brazen trumpet breath,
Strike the rebels souls with fear,
Scatter round despair and death.
And as ye deal the blow
Let this your war shout be,
'Vengeance on the foe,
St. George and Liberty!'
 
Well, till the appointed hour arrives, I will keep watch here, in the true Sherwood fashion, as I have put on the true Sherwood livery; and Robin shall find I can bring in a guest, as well as the boldest among his merry yeomen. – As I live, younder comes a brave subject for trial of my powers of persuasion – a goodly knight, in his steel harness, with his vizor closed, and a battle-axe would fell an ox.  No matter – by our Lady, I will accost him.
 
[Draws her Sword, and leans against a Tree.
 
Enter Richard Cœr de Lion, armed Cap-à-pée.
 
Rich.
My horse has sunk with fatigue; and every effort which I have made to pursue my way on foot, seems more likely to lead me out of my my road, than to advance me on my journey.  Could I but meet some one, of whom I could enquire.
 
[Turns, and sees Marian.
 
Mar.
Welcome, Sir Knight, you are in good time for your meals.  My master was fearful he should have to wait dinner for you.
 
Rich.
Who is your master, and where does he abide?
 
Mar.
My master is called Robin Hood, and he abides hard by.
 
Rich.
And what knows he of me?
 
Mar.
He knows you, as he does every wayfaring knight and friar, by instinct.
 
Rich.
Gramercy! then I understand his bidding.  But how, if I say I will not come?
 
Mar.
I am enjoined to bring you: if persuasion avail not, I must use other argument.
 
Rich.
Sayest thou so? I doubt if thy stripling rhetoric would convince me.
 
Mar.
That remains to be seen, Sir Knight.
 
Rich.
Tut – tut – we are not equally matched, boy; I should get less honour by thy conquest, than grief by thy injury.
 
Mar.
Perhaps my strength is more than my seeming, and my cunning more than my strength.  Therefore, let it please your knighthood to follow me, or abide the consequences.
 
Rich.
By my Holy Dame, thou art the most audacious stripling!  With one blow of my trusty battle-axe, I could annihilate thee, knave!  I scorn to take such advantage of thy youth; but, as I am a knight, with equal weapon will I chastize thy presumption.
 
[Flings away his battle-axe, and draws his sword.
 
Mar.
St. George! for merry England!
 
Enter Friar Tuck.
 
Friar Tuck.
Well offered, girl! well offered!  But stand by, I'll pay him for thee.
 
[Comes between them, flourishing his staff. 
 
Rich.
Who art thou?
 
Friar Tuck.
I am the church militant of Sherwood.  Why art thou in arms against our lady queen?
 
Rich.
What meanest thou?
 
Friar Tuck.
Truly, this is our liege lady of the forest, against whom I do apprehend thee in overt act of treason.  What sayest thou for thyself?
 
Rich.
I say, if this be indeed a lady, man never yet confronted me more boldly.
 
Friar Tuck.
Spoken like one who hath done execution!  Dost thou prefer cold steel, or wilt thou diversify thy repast with a taste of my oak-graff? or wilt thou incline thy heart to our venison?  Wilt thou fight, or wilt thou dine? or wilt thou fight and dine? or wilt thou dine and fight?  I am for thee, choose as thou mayest.
 
Rich.
I will dine; for with lady or friar I never fought yet, and with neither will I ever fight knowingly.  And if this be the queen of the forest, I will not, being in her own dominions, be backward to do her homage.  [Kisses Marian's hand.
 
Friar Tuck.
Gramercy, Sir Knight, I laud thee for thy courtesy, which I deem to be no less than thy valour.  Now, do thou lead my lady, and follow me, while I follow my nose, which scents the pleasant odour of roast, from the depth of the forest recesses.
 
[Sir Ralph Montfaucon, and four or five armed Men, appear among the Trees, and as Richard stoops to pick up his battle-axe, they rush from their concealment.
 
Rich.
Ha! have we traitors here?
 
Friar Tuck.
What means this, my masters?
 
Sir Ral.
(to his men) Upon him! (to Richard) Die, tyrant.
 
Rich.
Ha!  Saint Edward!  Ha!  Saint George!
 
[Kills two of the Assassins; Friar beats off the rest, and strikes down Sir Ralph, whose helmet falls off, and discovers him.
 
Mar.
Sir Ralph Montfaucon!
 
Friar Tuck.
Odso, courteous knight, is this the return you make for the baron's canary, when you kissed his daughter's hand, in token of contrition for your intermeddling at her wedding?
 
Mar.
Confess what brought you here, and how did you gain knowledge of my retreat?
 
Sir Ral.
I will confess nothing.
 
Rich.
Stand back, I pray, friends, and let me speak to him alone.
 
[They retire.
 
Now, Montfaucon, say thou the truth to me.  Confess who set thee on this traitorous deed?
 
Sir Ral.
Thy father's son; who, in so doing, did but avenge on thee thy disobedience to thy father.
 
Rich.
(after a movement of indignation, which he overcomes)  Thou dost not ask thy life?
 
Sir Ral.
He that is in the lion's clutch, knows it were needless.
 
Rich.
Take it, then, unasked – the lion preys not on prostrate carcases.  Take thy life – but with this condition – that, in three days, thou shalt leave England, and that thou wilt never mention the name of John of Anjou as connected with thy felony.  If thou art found on English ground after the space I have allotted thee, thou diest; or if thou breathest aught that can attaint the honour of my house, by St. George! not the altar itself shall be a sanctuary!  Up, and away.
 
[Sir Ralph rises, and exits respectfully.  The Friar makes a step to prevent him – Richard interferes.
 
Nay, I pray you, friend, for my sake, let him go free.  And, now, with many thanks for your ready aid – for I have reason to suppose myself the object of their attack – let me beseech you to pursue your way, as before intended.  Your hand, my fair champion! – 'tis a soft one for such encounters.  Lead, lead, good friar – we follow thee.
 
[Exit Richard, leading Marian, and following Friar, who appear struck by the dignified and mysterious bearing of the Stranger Knight.
 
SCENE IV.
 
Part of Sherwood Forest – same as Second Scene. 
 
Enter Scarlet, meeting Much the Miller, Little John, Allen a Dale, and Yeomen, with Friar Peter Prisoner.
 
Lit. John.
Bring him along – bring him along.
 
Scar.
Heyday! whom have we here?
 
Friar Peter.
But masters! masters! how now masters!  What order is this among you? – you – you have plundered my mails, and spirited away my mule.  Another, in my place, would have been at his "excommunicabo vos;" but I am placable, and if you restore my beast, and my property, and make a vow to eat no venison till next Pentecost, it may be you shall hear little more of this sad frolic.
 
Scar.
Holy father! it grieves me to think that you should have met with such usage from any of my brethren, as calls for your fatherly reprehension.
 
Friar Pet.
Usage! it were fit for no hound of good race.  Here is this profane forester – whose name, Lord forgive them for lying – I hear is Little John, has sworn that if I pay not down three-score crowns of ransom to the boot of all the other treasure he has robbed me of, he would hang me upon the highest tree in the greenwood.
 
Scar.
Did he so, in very deed?  Then, reverend father, I think you had better comply with his demands; for Little John is the very man to abide by his word, when he has so pledged it.
 
[All laugh but the Friar.
 
Friar Pet.
Eh! what?  Nay, good gentlemen, you do but jest!  I – I – I love a good jest with all my heart. – Eh! eh! eh!  Oh dear!
 
Scar.
I am as grave as a father confessor.  You must pay ransom, sir friar, or your abbey will know you no more.  Take him to our buxom chaplain, Friar Tuck, and he will expound the texts that concern this matter.  Away with him! 
 
[They force out friar.
 
By our Lady, this life were well enough, an' we had lasses to share it with us; but I have a sad miss in my pretty Bertha, from whom these troublesome days have separated me.  It is rumoured abroad, however, that King Richard has returned from Germany, and if that news be true, we may look for a change that may better our fortunes, and give us our loves again.  'Twill be long 'ere I forget the last time I strolled with mine through Gamwell thicket by moonlight. –
 
SONG – Scarlet.
O well do I remember that lone but lovely hour,                  [flower,
When the stars had met, and the dews had wet each gently closing
When the moon-lit trees waved in the breeze above the sleeping deer,
And we fondly stay'd through the greenwood shade, in the spring-time of the year.
When all was still beneath the bright moon's chaste and quiet eye,
Save the ceaseless flow of the stream below, and the night wind's fragrant sigh,
Which brought the song of the distant throng so faintly to the ear,
As we fondly stray'd through the greenwood shade, in the spring-time of the year,
O, like an infant's dream of joy, was that sweet hour to me!
As pure, as bright, as swift in flight, from care, from fear as free.
And from my heart the life must part, which now its pulse doth cheer,
'Ere the thought shall fade of that greenwood shade, in the spring-time of the year.
 
[Exit Scarlet.
 
SCENE V.
 
Robin Hood's Bower.
 
A rustic table, set out with venison pasties, and flasks of wine, drinking cups, &c.  Robin Hood, King Richard, Marian, Baron Fitzwater, Little John, and Much the Miller, with Friar Peter between them, Friar Tuck, Allen a Dale, and Yeomen, all seated at dinner.
 
Rob.
(to Friar Peter)  Why, how now, old acquaintance, what makes you look so down, man? thou hast done thine embassy justly, and shall have our lady's grace.
 
Friar Pet.
Alack! Alack!  No embassy had I, luckless sinner, as well thou wottest, but to take to my abbey in safety the treasure whereof thou hast despoiled me.
 
Friar Tuck.
Brother Peter, brother Peter, be not ungrateful; hast thou not dined, brother Peter, dined sumptuously for thy money, and in honourable company?
 
Friar Pet.
Ungrateful!  What art thou, Friar Michael, who left not a bone unbruised among the holy brotherhood of Rubygill?
 
Rob.
Holla! holla! – no quarrelling, holy fathers!  Frair, do you not remember hearing of a sorrowful knight, Sir William of the Lee, who supped with me some time gone by?
 
Friar Tuck.
Marry!  I have heard you and Scarlet speak of him often – his lands were in jeopardy with a certain abbot, who would allow him no longer day for their redemption, whereupon you lent him the money he needed, though he had no better security than our lady to give for it.
 
Rob.
I never desired better: for she never failed to send me my pay.  Four hundred pounds was the sum, and this very day named for the repayment, and behold, here is our friend Friar Peter brings it me from one of her own flock – the Abbot of Saint Mary's, principal and interest to a penny, as Little John can testify, who told it forth.
 
Friar Pet.
I know nothing of your knight, and the money was our own, as the Virgin shall bless me.
 
Friar Tuck.
She shall bless thee for a faithful messenger.
 
Rob.
Begone an thou list, Friar – we excuse thee thy ransom for old acquaintance sake.  Little John, let him depart in peace.
 
[Friar Peter runs out the instant Little John lets him go.  All laugh at his exit.
 
Bar.
(to Richard) They say, sir knight, they should laugh who win; but thou laughest who art likely to lose.
 
Rich.
I have won a good dinner, some mirth, and some knowledge, and I cannot lose by paying for them.
 
Rob.
Bravely said!  Still it becomes thee to pay; for it is not meet that a poor forester should treat a rich knight.  How much money hast thou with thee?
 
Rich.
Troth, I know not; perhaps much, perhaps little, perhaps none: but search, and what thou findest keep; and for the sake of thy kind heart and open hand, be it what it may, I wish it were more.
 
Rob.
Then, since thou say'st so, not a penny will I touch.  Many a false churl comes hither, and disburses against his will, and till there is lack of these, I pray not on true men.
 
Rich.
Thou art thyself a true man right well I judge, Robin, and seemest more like one bred in a court, than to thy present out-law life.
 
Friar Tuck.
Our life is a craft, an art, and a mystery. How much of it, think you, may be learned at court?
 
Rich.
I should apprehend, very little.
 
Friar Tuck.
And so should I; for we should find very little of our bold open practice; but should hear abundance of praise of our principles, not by the same name though, for King Richard is a hero, and our Robin is a thief.  Marry, your hero guts an exchequer, while your thief disembowels a portmanteau: your hero sacks a city, while your thief sacks a cellar: your hero marauds on a larger scale, and that is all the difference: but two of a trade cannot agree; therefore, your hero makes laws, to get rid of your thief, and gives him an ill name, that he may hang him.
 
Rich.
Your comparison, friar, fails in this: -- that your thief fights for profit, and your hero for honor.  I have fought under the banners of Richard, and if, as you phrase it, he guts exchequer, and sacks cities, it is not to win treasure for himself, but to furnish forth the means of his greater and more glorious aim.
 
Friar Tuck.
Misconceive me not, sir knight; we all love and honour the king.  I say not that Richard is a thief, but I say that Robin is a hero.  It is the false word that makes the unjust distinction.  They are twin spirits, and should be friends, but that fortune hath differently cast their lots; but their names shall descend together to the latest days, as the flower of their age, and of merry old England. 
 
Mar.
And you may add, friar, that Robin, no less than Richard, is king in his own dominion; and that, if his subjects be fewer, they are more uniformly loyal.
 
Rich.
I would, fair lady, that thy latter observation were not so true; but I nothing doubt, Robin, that if Richard could hear your friar, and see you and your lady, as I do now, there is not a man in England whom he would take by the hand more cordially then yourself.
 
Enter Scarlet (hastily.)
 
Scar.
A body of armed men are speeding this way – to your weapons, lands, and stand fast!
 
Rob.
Ods life! what means this?  To arms, my merry men all!
 
Enter Sir William of the Lee, attended.
 
Sir Wil.
No arms, Robin! have you forgotten Sir William of the Lee?
 
Rob.
No, by my fay! and right welcome again to Sherwood.
 
Sir Wil.
Here are thy four hundred pounds; and my men have brought thee an hundred bows, and as many quivers, which I beseech thee to receive, and to use as a poor token of my gratitude.  My brother has returned rich with the spoil of the Saracen; aye, and there is brave news abroad.  King Richard hath returned likewise: and the traitorous John hath fled from Nottingham, with intention to seek safety in France.
 
Rob.
Thy news is, indeed, welcome! thy bows and arrows are welcome, too, but of thy money not a penny will I touch, it is paid already.  My lady, who was thy security, hath sent it me for thee – thou who lookest incredulously; but here is a witness for what I say, in the person of this good knight, who saw the messenger depart but now.
 
Sir Wil.
(looking round and recognizing the King)  Cœr de Lion! – God save king Richard!
 
[Kneels.
 
[All kneel.
 
Rob.
The king!
 
Rich.
Rise, rise, my friends!  Your misdemeanours, whether in forest or field, have been atoned by the loyal services you have rendered in my cause, and the rescue this day afforded me.  Arise, my liegemen, and be good subjects in future.
 
[They rise.
 
Besides, (smiling) Robin is king here – king o out-laws, and prince of good fellows! as his lad and this ghostly friar have well shown.  I have heard much of thee, Robin, both of thy present and former state.  And these, if I guess aright, are the noble Baron Fitzwater, and the Lady Matilda.
 
Bar.
The same, most gracious sovereign: -- old Robert Fitzwater, the lineal descendant of the renowned Fireabras, who came over with the Conqueror, and his giddy-brained daughter, who loves a green leaf better than a countess's coronet.
 
Mar.
Aye, father, while green leaves wave over loyal hearts, and coronets but glitter on the brows of traitors.
 
Rich.
Sweet lady, Richard Plantagenet will remedy such wrong.  Baron, you have proved your fidelity to me by the loss of your land and castle; but you shall have speedy reparation, and so shall Robin also: he must leave his forest life, and be a peer of Cœr de Lion; for no deed done in our absence, and in the troublesome times to which it hath given rise, shall be remembered to his disadvantage.  Robert, Earl of Huntingdon, such of your followers as you will part with, shall have maintenance in our court – and if ever I confess to priest, it shall be to this friar.
 
Friar Tuck.
Gramercy to your majesty! and my inflictions shall be flasks of canary, and if the number be (as in grave cases I may, peradventure, make it) too great for one frail mortality, you shall do penance by proxy, and pour down my throat the reduncy of the burden.
 
All.
Long live King Richard!

SONG.
Shout for the monarch! whose glorious name,
Shall ever stand first on the records of fame;
Loudly each echo in Sherwood shall ring;
Long live the Lion-Heart!  God save the king!
 
THE END.
 
 
Additional Information:
ADVERTISEMENT.

The opera of "Maid Marian" is founded principally on the incidents, poetry, and dialogue, of a very beautiful little novel, so named, by the Author of "Headlong Hall," and other talented productions, but the Adapter has availed himself, likewise of some undramatized situations in the Romance of "Ivanhoe," and of such information as he could glean from the various legends and ballads, collected by Ritson, and others, concerning "Robin Hood and his Merrie Men," and which appeared to him capable of adding to the interest or effect of his compilation.

A few of the Songs, Glees, &c. which have been culled from the Novel, have necessarily undergone some trivial alterations for the sake of the music: those not stated as selections, are the composition of the Adapter of the Piece.