Robin Hood and His Merry Men: A Play in Two Acts

1plunder.
2woods.
3bright, beautiful.
4satisfaction.
5lying.

 
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Robin Hood and His Merry Men: A Play in Two Acts

                             CHARACTERS
 
      King Edward.
      Sir Richard at the Lee.
      The High Justice of England.
      The Abbot of St. Mary’s.
      Prior of St. Mary’s.
      The Sheriff of Nottingham.
      Sir Roger of Doncaster.
      Robin Hood.
      Little John.
      Will Scarlet.
      Friar Tuck.
      Much the Miller’s Son.
      George a Green
      Clerk to High Justice.
      Forester.
      Alan a Dale.
 
      Lady Lee.
      Alan a Dale’s Bride.
      Sheriff’s officers—Knights—Bowmen—Billmen.
 
                                    Scenes
Act I, I, iii, v; Act II, iii, vi: Robin Hood’s Oak.
Act I, ii: Watling Street.  iv: St. Mary’s Abbey, York.
Act II, I, ii: Sir Richard’s Castle.  v: Hall of Notting-
      ham Castle.
 
   The tunes to be sung on page 6 and page 28 are to be
found in Songs of Britain, edited by Frank Kidson and
Martin Shaw (Boosey & Co.).
 
               ROBIN HOOD AND HIS MERRY MEN
 
                                      ACT I
 
                       Scene I.  Robin Hood’s Oak.
 
[Robin Hood stands leaning up against a treeLittle
   John, Will Scarlet, Geroge a Green, Much the
   Miller’s son, are grouped around.  They are all, except
   Friar Tuck dressed in cloaks and hoods of Lincoln
   green; Will Scarlet has a red hood.  They carry long
   bows and quivers of arrows slung on their shoulders.
   Friar Tuck has a grey monk’s cloak an cowl.  He is
   seated on the ground munching apples.  They sing a
   chorus.]

   Robin Hood.  Well sung, my merry men all!  Hurrah
for your lusty voices!  You sing well every man of you,
though yon fat Friar had his mouth too crammed with
apples to let our much noise.

   Friar Tuck [looking round over his shoulder.]  An’ you
keep a man waiting so long for his dinner, good Master
mine, what must he do but stay his hunger with an
apple?  ‘Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples,’
says the Scripture.  I am of that temper that I cannot go
far afoot without a mouthful of something.  Give me but
an apple and I can outstay any man.

      [The Merry Men laugh and make sport of the Friar,
                          who is quite unmoved.]

   Little John.  All the same, the Friar is right.  We
have been following the deer this many an hour.  If you
would dine betimes, Master, it would do you much good.

   Robin Hood.  Out upon you, Little John.  A giant to
cry out for food like a puling child!  Dine I will not this
day unless I have some guest to my board.

   Little John.  What manner of guest shall it be?

   George a Green.  And how shall we know whether he
is a likely guest?

   Robin Hood.  Why, I will have a bold baron, or
perchance a bishop or abbot to make sport of, or else
some gentle knight or squire out of the west who may
while time away with a merry tale.  Come, I will go
hear a mass whilst you find me a guest.

   Little John.  Right willingly, Master, but first tell us
whither we shall go and how we shall behave.
          Where we shall take, where we shall leave,
          Where we shall abide behind,
          Where we shall rob, where we shall reave1,
          Where we shall beat and bind.

   Robin Hood.  Have no fear.  Luck is always on our
side.  But mind you, my men, you must keep the law.
Listen and I will tell it you once more.

[The Merry Men gather round.  Robin Hood stands in their
                    midst and speaks gravely.]

   Robin Hood.
          First, look ye do no husband harm
          That tilleth with his plough.
          No more ye shall no good yeoman
          That walketh by greenwood shaw;
          Nor yet no knight nor no squièr
          That will be a good fellaw.
I will have no man robbed or hurt who gains an honest
livelihood by honest means, or who is kind and open-
hearted.  But there are men in high places who browbeat
the poor man, who wring from him his hard-earned goods,
fiving nothing in return but fierce words and cruel blows.
These live in splendour and have no pity.  Have no
mercy on these.
          These bishops and these archbishops,
          Ye shall them beat and bind;
          The High Sheriff of Nottingham,
          Him hold ye in your mind.
Then beware how ye treat mistress or maid.  My merry
men shall be known by their gentle ways with women.
Frighten them not by word or deed, for
          I never hurt woman in all my life
          Nor man in their company.
This is the law of Robin Hood which whoso breaks shall
be no follower of his.

   Little John.  Well Master, we have heard your words
and learnt our lesson.  And now luck send us a guest,
for the day grows late, and dinner tarries overlong to my
thinking.

   Robin Hood.  Away with you then.  Take your strong-
bow, my Little John, which never fails to find its quarry.
Will Scarlet and Much go with him.  It is my humour
to be alone.

   Will Scarlet.  Which way shall we take, Master?

   Robin Hood.  The road to the Sayles Farm.  From
there turn aside to Watling Street, and if you do not
meet with a fat abbot or belted earl riding along to
Nottingham call me no more Master.  Whoever you see
bring him along with you.

    [Exeunt the Merry MenRobin Hood stands alone
                    leaning on his bow and watching them go.]

   Robin Hood.  What a grand life I lead!  Who cares
to live in castle or homestead when he may roam free as
air through the forest as a jolly outlaw?  No carking
cares are mine, no trouble for the morrow.  I have no
goods to be robbed of, no fields to defend.  The whole
world is mine and joy is my master, for ho!
   [Sings.]  (Old English air ‘The Chirping of the Lark’.)
           In summer when the shawes1 be sheyne2,
           And leaves be large and long,
           It is full merry in fair forèst
           To hear the foulès song:
           To see the deer draw to the dale,
           And leave the hillès hee,
           And shadow them in leavès green,
           Under the greenwood tree.

                                                                                [Exit.]
 
 Scene II.   Watling Street—a part of the road that runs
                            through the forest.
 
      [Enter Little John, Will Scarlet, and Much.]
 
   Little John.  Here we are in Watling Street.  Now for
shelter.  If we are to find a guest our longbows and
Lincoln green must be hidden, or my masters will set
spurs to their horses at the sight of us.

   Will Scarlet.  Then I will send an arrow whizzing
after them.

   Little John.  And carry back a dead guest to my
Master’s feast!  A fine fool you would show yourself for
all your red hood.

   Much.  For my part I see no sense in killing a man.
It is not his life but his money-bags we are after.

   Little John.  Spoken like a true miller’s son, good
Much—thrifty and wise.  Hark, I hear a sound!  Quick,
behind this bush.

   [Enter Sir Richard at the Lee in plain attire care-
      lessly disposed, his head hanging on his breast.  He
      carries in one hand a staff, on which he leans, in the
      other a leathern bag.  Walks forward shaking his head
      mournfully from side to side.  Little John comes
      forward, pushes back his hood, and kneels on one knee
      before Sir Richard.]

   Little John.
         Welcome be ye, gentle knight,
         Welcome are ye to me.
         Welcome be thou to greenè wood,
         Gracious knight and free;
         My master hath abiden you fasting
         Sir, all these hourès three.

   Sir Richard.  Who is thy master, goodman green?

   Little John.  The bold Robin Hood.

   [Little John turns and beckons to Will Scarlet and
      Much to come out of hiding.  They advance and kneel
      before the knight behind Little JohnSir Richard
      scans them anxiously.]

   Sir Richard.  Aha, I have heard much of Robin Hood.
He is a good yeoman.  But who are these?

   Little John.  Both merry men of Robin Hood’s com-
pany and ready to do you honour.

   Sir Richard.  Hark then, my friends; I will go with
you, though my purpose was to have dined at Doncaster
to-day.  Alack, alack, I am too sad a heart to join a
company of merry men.  But go forward and I will follow.

[They go out, Sir Richard groaning and shaking his head
                                   as before.]
 
                    Scene III.  Robin Hood’s Oak.
 
[Robin Hood is seated by the tree, humming a tune as he
   sharpens an arrowFriar Tuck leans comfortably
   against the tree, or a bank, asleep.]

   Robin Hood.  Ho, fat Friar, wake up, or you will over-
sleep the dinner hour.  What have you been at, man, to
lie drowsing like a dog?

   Friar Tuck [sitting up rubbing his eyes].  Working
harder than any of you, Master.  We friars have more to
do than follow the deer and wander at our ease.  We
must be up betimes to ring the bell in the chapel for the
forest folk to come and hear mass.  Then we must read
it to them, and talk to the old women afterwards and
comfort their souls.  Then come the children to be taught
and corrected—and all this talking and preaching and
reading is enough to make any man of wits drowsy any
day of the year, to say nothing of a day like this when
dinner tarries beyond a man’s bearing and the sun
shines hot.

   [Enter Little John, Sir Richard, Will Scarlet, and
      MuchRobin Hood rises, giving a sly kick to the
      Friar as he passes him, doffs his hood, and kneels to Sir
      Richard on one knee.]

   Robin Hood.
          Welcome, Sir Knight, most heartily,
          Welcome are thou to me;
          I have abiden you fasting, Sir,
          All these hourès three.

   Sir Richard.
          God thee savè, good Robin,
          And all thy fair meinèe.

   [The Merry Men make ready a dinner with rough trenchers
      and drinking hornsWill Scarlet brings a bowl of
      water and a cloth in which the knight first and then
      Robin Hood dip hands and wipe them.  The whole
      company gather together to eat.]

   Robin Hood.  Eat and be merry, good Sir Knight.

   Sir Richard.  Thanks, good Sir.  I have not had such
a dinner for three weeks past.
           If I come again, Robin,
           Here by this country,
           As good a dinner I shall thee make
           As thou hast made to me.

   Robin Hood.  Gramercy, Knight.  A dinner does not
come amiss, though I was never so greedy as to crave
one.  Not like some fat fellows I wot of, who cannot
keep their heads up or their eyes open, unless their
mouths are stuffed with venison as soon as the sun
shows noon.

   Friar Tuck.  Lack-a-day, Master who can they be?

   Robin Hood.  But now, Sir Knight, the feast is at an
end, and ere you wend on your way, I must have
my rights.  For it has never been the fashion for a yeoman
to pay for a knight.

   Sir Richard [starting up surprised].  Indeed I have
nothing in my coffers.  For very shame I cannot proffer
the little I have.

   Robin Hood.  You will pardon our rude forest ways.
We deal the same with all men, of whatever degree.
Little John, go look.

   [Little John retires to a corner of the stage where the
      knight has left his cloak and leather bag.  He spreads out
      the cloak and shakes the bag over it.  One coin falls out.]

      Robin Hood.  Now, Sir Knight, the truth!

   Sir Richard.  In faith, good Robin, I have no more
than ten shillings.

   Robin Hood.  If that is all, I will not take a penny!
And if you need more I will lend it you.

 [Little John comes forward holding up the empty bag with
                          a rueful countenance.]

   Robin Hood.  What tidings, John?

   Little John.  Sir the knight speaks true enough.

   Robin Hood [gazing steadfastly at Sir Richard].  Sir,
your coat is thin as your coffer.  It strikes me you are no
true knight, but a yeoman forced to wear spurs against
your will—or worse, a guilty man, flung into poverty for
misdeeds.

   Sir Richard.  Now, faith, Robin, you wrong me.  I
am neither churl nor knave, but a man ruined by ill luck.
My ancestors were knights a hundred winters back.

   Robin Hood.  Come tell me.  How did you lose your
riches?

   Sir Richard.  By great folly and much kindness.  Two
years ago I was lord of four hundred pounds.  I had
a son, a well grown youth, who won renown in the
jousting field, until one day of ill-omen he must needs
carry sport too far.  In a fierce onslaught he slew
a knight of Lancashire and his squire.  To save my son,
my only son, my lands are forfeit.  They are in pledge to
the rich Abbot of St. Mary’s Abbey.

   Robin Hood.  For what sum?

   Sir Richard.  Four hundred pounds—no less.  The
Abbot told me with a grim smile that meant no mercy.

   Robin Hood.  And if you lose your land, what next?

   Sir Richard.  Ah, then:
         Hastily I will busk me
         Over the saltè sea.
         And see where Christ was quick and dead,
         On the mount of Calvary.
              [Holding out his hand to Robin Hood.]
         Farewell, friend, and have good day;
         It may no better be.

   [Sir Richard picks up his cloak, wraps it round him and
      prepares to go.  The Merry Men stand round with sad
      faces.]

   Sir Richard [turning and waving his hand].
         Farewell, friends, and have good day.
         I have no more to pay.

   Robin Hood.  Stay a moment, Sir Knight.  Have you
no friends?

   Sir Richard.  Friends enough, whilst I was rich.  But
they have fled away like a flock of sheep now that the
wolf poverty keeps the door.

      [The Merry Men look at each other making signs of
                                 compassion.]

   Robin Hood [clapping Sir Richard on the shoulder].
Come, good Sir, you must have some comrade from whom
you can borrow in your need?

   Sir Richard.  Not a man.  I have nothing but my
good faith to offer.

   Robin Hood.  I want nothing better.
          Come now forth, Little John,
          And go to my treasurý,
          And bringè me four hundred pound,
          And look well told it be.

   [Exeunt Robin Hood and Sir RichardThe Merry
      Men gather round Little John, who goes to a tree,
      plunges his arm down a hole, and draws out a heavy
      leathern bag, which he brings to the front of the stage.
      He then gives Will Scarlet some packets of money,
      which Will gravely counts over.]

   Much.  To think of telling out all this gold!  The
master is too free-handed, parting with his hard-won
treasure to the first passer-by.

   Little John.  Ah, you are still Much the miller and no
true forest outlaw, my son.  Why grieve?  Our master
hoards treasure but to give alms to such a gentle knight
as this who has gallen in poverty.

 [Re-enter Robin Hood and Sir RichardLittle John
         walks up to them and fingers the knight’s cloak.]

          Master, hear your Little John,
          His clothing is full thin;
          Ye must give the knight a livery
          To lap his body therein.
          For ye have scarlet and green, Master,
          And many a rich array;
          There is no merchant in Merry England
          So rich, I dare well say.

   Robin Hood.
          Take him three yards of each coloùr,
          And look well mete it be.

   [Little John and Will Scarlet go again to the tree and
      draw out rolls of scarlet and green cloth.  They stretch
      out some yards, which Little John measures with his
      bow, jumping two or three feet for each bow’s length.]

   Much.  Hold man.  What mad draper’s apprentice
are you?

[Will Scarlet laughs, clapping Little John on the back.]

   Will Scarlet.  Hold hard, yourself, Miller.  He gives
full measure who pays nothing.  Hey, John?

   George a Green.  How can one man want so much
cloth?

   Little John.  Have done with you gibes and jeers, and
fold me up this cloth.  Master, the knight will want
a horse now, to carry him and his gear.

   Robin Hood.  Hie then, give him my grey courser and
the new saddle bought last month in Nottingham Market.
Come, Sir Knight, we will set you on your way.

   Will Scarlet.  And Master, don’t forget a pair of boots
for the gentle knight.

   George a Green.  Aye, he will need boots sure enough,
although he be on horseback.

   Little John.  And gilt spurs, that he may overtake his
enemies.

   Robin Hood.  Away then, my merry men, and a song
to set the knight on his road.

                                                           [Exeunt singing.]
 
            Scene IV.  St. Mary’s Abbey—York.
 
[A HallThe Abbot is seated at a table on which lies
   a parchment roll which he unfastens and lays out before
   him.  The Prior stands beside him and scans the parch-
   ment over his shoulder.]

   Abbot.  What day is it Prior?

   Prior.  The twenty-fifth day of March, my Lord Abbot.

   Abbot.  Ha!  Was it not this day twelvemonth that
Sir Richard at the Lee came hither whining about that
scapegrace son of his?  And did I not advance him four
hundred pounds from my treasury on the surety of his
lands and castle to be forfeited unless the money were
forthcoming this very day?  Am I right, Prior?

   Prior.  That was the bond.

   Abbot.  Then, by my hood, a fine windfall comes to
our Abbey.

   Prior.  It is full early.  The day is not far gone.  I had
rather pay a hundred pounds down than do a wrong to
a noble knight who has wandered far and suffered much
hardship.

   Abbot.  By my beard, Prior, you are always in my way.
I warrant me, however, you will take the word of the High
Justice of England.  He will be here anon, to give
judgment.

    [A trumpet is heard withoutA Monk enters hastily.]

   Monk.  My Lord Abbot, my Lord Abbot, the High
Justice of England is without and demands admittance.

   Abbot.  Tell the High Justice I await him with all
reverence.

   [Exit MonkRe-enters to usher in the High Justice,
      his Clerk and followers.  The Abbot and High Justice
      exchange greetings.  Then the Abbot places the High
      Justice in a chair at the head of the table.  The Clerk
      is seated at a small table to one side of the stage.  The
      Prior seats himself at the table with the AbbotMonks
      and servants stand round.]

   Abbot. [turning to a monk behind him].  Cellarer, bring
in flagons and wine for my lord’s refreshment.

   Cellarer.  I will, Lord Abbot.

[Exit cellarer, who returns with flagons and a leather bottle of
wine.  The Abbot and High Justice drink to each other.]

   High Justice.  Aha, good Abbot, and excellent wine!
But now I ask you, what news of Sir Richard?

   Abbot.  No news, my lord!

   High Justice.  Which for you is good news, hey Abbot?

   Abbot.  In truth I care not to have him cringing here,
lean-faced and empty-handed, for [striking his fist on the
table] I swear that unless he brings the money this very
day, he shall be disinherited.

   High Justice.  You will not see him here to-day.  Have
no fear on that score.

   [A sound of voices in dispute is heard without.  The Prior
      rises and goes to the foor, then turns to the Abbot.]

   Prior.  My Lord Abbot, Sir Richard at the Lee has
come and would speak with you.

   Abbot. [between his teeth].  The dog!  [Aloud.] Bid
Sir Richard come forward.

   [Sir Richard steps forward and kneels down beside the
                                Abbot’s chair.]

   Sir Richard.  Greeting, Sir Abbot.  I come to hold my
day.

   Abbot.  Have you brought me my pay?

   Sir Richard. [with down-bent head].  Not one penny.

   Abbot.  Why do you come here then if you have not
brought my pay?

   Sir Richard.  Alack, to pray for a later day.

   High Justice.  Sir Knight, you have broken your bond.
The lands are forfeited.

   Sir Richard.  Now, good Sir Justice, be my friend and
defend me from my foes!

   High Justice.  No, no, Sir Richard.  I am here to see
that justice is done and the Abbot has his due.

   Sir Richard.
         Now, good Sir Abbot, be my friend,
         For thy courtesy,
         And hold my landès in thy hand
         Till I have made thee gree.1
         And I will be thy true servànt
         And truly servè thee
         Till ye have four hundred pound
         Of money good and free.

   Abbot.  Come by lands where you can, for you get
none from me.  [Rising, speaking with a look of hatred and
pointing to the door.]  Out with you, false-hearted knight,
out of my hall with speed!

   Sir Richard [starting up and clenching his fist].  You lie,
Sir Abbot, false was I never to God or man!  ‘Tis certain
you lack courtesy to let a knight kneel so long.

   High Justice [rising from his chair, speaking with a tone of
authority].  You were well advised, Sir Abbot, to come to
terms.  Offer the knight a sum down and be quit of him,
else you will never hold your land in peace.

   Abbot [sulkily].  I’ll give the fellow a hundred pounds.

   High Justice.  Give him two.

   Sir Richard.
         Though ye would give a thousand more,
         Yet were ye never the nigher;
         Shall there never be mine heir
         Abbot, Justice, nor friar.

[He dashes towards the Clerk’s tableClerk springs up in
                                        a fright.]

   Clerk.  Gently, gently I pray you good Sir Richard,
or you will overset my table and my inkhorn.

      [Sir Richard empties out a bag of gold on the table.]

   Clerk.  Mercy me, what a heap of gold!

   Sir Richard [scornfully].
         Have here thy gold, Sir Abbot, I say,
         Which that thou lentest me;
         Hadst thou been courteous at my coming,
         I would have rewarded thee.

[The Abbot sits still glaring and frowning with his head over
                                   his shoulder.]

   Abbot [hoarsely].  Sir Justice, give me back the gold
I gave you.

   High Justice. [rising].  Not a penny, Sir Abbot.  That
goes to the King’s coffers.

   Sir Richard [proudly].
         Sir Abbot, and ye men of law,
         Now have I held my day;
         Now shall I have my land again
         For aught that you can say.

                                                        [Exit Sir Richard.]
 
                     Scene V.  Robin Hood’s Oak.
 
[Robin Hood and his Men gathered there as beforeWill
   Scarlet and Much in one corner playing a gameFriar
   Tuck has just done drinking out of a flagon.]

   Friar Tuck.  Here we are at the trysting place, Master,
but the lean-visaged knight comes not.  And yet I thought
he would be here to share another feast.

   Robin Hood [anxiously].  For the pay I care not.  The
black monk has made that good; but I should be sorry
if the knight played me false.

   Little John.  Nay, Master, have no fear, the sun has
not set; I dare swear the knight is a true and trusty
knight.

   [Sound without of some one singing.  Merry Men all start
      up and listen.  Enter Sir Richard gaily.  He throws
      back his hood and kneels down to Robin Hood, then
      rises.]

   Sir Richard.
         God thee savè, Robin Hood,
         And all this company!

   Robin Hood.
         Welcome be thou, gentle knight,
         Why hast thou been so long?

   Sir Richard.
         For the Abbot and the High Justice
         Would have had my land with wrong.

   Robin Hood.
         Hast thou thy land again?  Speak truth.

   Sir Richard.
         Yea, thanks to God and thee.
         But take no grief I have been so long;
         I came by a wrestèling,
         And there I helped a poor yeoman,
         With wrong was put behind.

   Robin Hood.
         Now, by my bow and merry men,
         Sir Knight that I thank I thee
         What man that helpeth a good yeoman
         His friend will I be.

   Sir Richard [taking a heavy bag from his shoulder].  Well,
Robin, here are your four hundred pounds, and twenty
marks into the bargain for your courtesy.

   Robin Hood.  Nay, Sir Knight, I take not money twice
over.  My money has been paid back, yea, and doubled.

   Sir Richard.  Who has done you this good deed?

   Robin Hood.  Why, who but the cellarer of St. Mary’s
Abbey?  Ah, Knight, I have a tale to tell that will make
you laugh long and loud.  You know how I must have
a guest to my dinner.  This time there comes riding
along a Black Monk.  Little John and Will Scarlet
capture him, and bring him here.  He dines with us.
We ask if he is not charged to bring in your four hundred
pound.  He whines out that he has but twenty marks
with him.  John searches his bags, and shakes out a good
eight hundred pounds, wherewith I think myself well
paid.  We urge the Monk to stay and drink with us, but
away he rides in fear and dudgeon as fast as his horse
can bear him.

[Sir Richard listens to and laughs at Robin Hood’s tale.]

   Sir Richard.  For all that, you money is ready here.

   Robin Hood.  Make good use of it, Sir Knight.  Go,
Little John, to my treasury and bring me the four
hundred pounds, beyond what the Monk owed me.

   Little John.  Right willingly, Master.

[John goest to the tree and pulls out a money bag as before.]

   Little John.  Here is the bag—a goodly weight!

   Robin Hood.
          Have here four hundred pound,
          Thou gentle knight and true,
          And but thee horse and harness good,
          And giltè spurs all new.
          And use well thy four hundred pound,
          Which I lent to thee,
          And make thyself no more so bare,
          By the counsel of me.
 
                                 END OF ACT I
 
                                    ACT II
 
Scene I.  Without the Gates of Sir Richard at the Lee’s
                       Castle near Nottingham.

           [Enter Robin Hood bearing Little John.]

   Little John.  Lay me down, good Master mine.  You
have borne me over far.  The caitiff Sheriff has done for
me this time.

   Robin Hood.  Nay, nay, my Little John!  Here we
are at the good Sir Richard’s Castle.  Your wound will
not take long a-healing.  ‘Tis but an arrow in the knee.
I will blow a summons.

[He winds his hornA Bowman appears looking cautiously
                              over the Castle wall.]

   Bowman.  Who be you a-blowing a summons as though
lord of the land?

   Robin Hood.  I would speak with Sir Richard at the
Lee.  Tell him I am here.

   Bowman.  So I will when I know what name to
call ‘ee.

   Robin Hood.  Then say Robin Hood from Barnsdale is
at his door and in sore straits.

   Bowman.  Robin Hood!  Eh, be you Robin Hood?
[Peers over the wall and stares down.]

   Robin Hood.  Quick, quick, man.  I have a wounded
comrade.  Hasten to open the gate!

   [Bowman disappears; a moment later the gate is thrown
      open and Sir Richard rushes out and shakes Robin
      Hood 
by the hand.]

         Welcome be thou, good Robin
         Welcome art thou to me;
         I love no man in all the world
         So much as I do thee
But who is this?  What, my friend Little John, and
hurt?

   Robin Hood.  Sore hurt, Sir Knight.  All the work of
that false Sheriff of Nottingham.  We went, a score of
us, to the shooting-match in the town to try for the gold
and silver arrow.  As you may think, my men scored
heavily at the butts.  In the end the prize arrow was
mine and had just been delivered to me when the Sheriff
blows his horn.  My men cry treason, and before we
could string our bows came a flight of arrows amongst us.
We fought hard but they were too many for us.  Little
John was shot in the knee and rather than leave him to
the tender mercies of the Sheriff, I have borne him
hither, and now beg for shelter for us both.

   Sir Richard.  Enter, enter.  Right glad I am to see
you, and my lady will make you welcome.  Here,
sirrahs, bear this wounded man within.

   [Two bowmen come forward, lift Little John, and carry
him into the CastleSir Richard’s Lady comes out of
the Castle gateSir Richard takes her hand and leads
her forward to Robin Hood, who falls on his knee and
kisses her hand.]

   Sir Richard.  Here, lady mine, is our noble Robin
Hood.  But for his aid we should be wandering penniless
this day in some far country.

   The Lady.  Indeed, I am right glad to see you, good
sir.  It would need more words than I can muster to
give you thanks for your noble kindness to my dear lord.

   Robin Hood.  Speak not of it, lady.  A gentle knight
in distress will always find aid and shelter we me and
my band of jolly outlaws—and Sir Richard is as gentle
a knight as ever I met with.

   Sir Richard.  But now, hasten within, or we shall have
the proud Sheriff upon us.  Give my lady your hand,
good Robin, and lead her to the Hall.
[Turning to his bowmen.]
          Shut the gates and draw the bridge,
          And let no man come in,
          And arm you well, and make you ready,
          And to the wall ye win.
 
                       Scene II.  As before.
 
   [Sir Richard and Robin Hood appear on the walls of
                                  the Castle.]

   Sir Richard.  You have fine sight, Robin.  Do you see
nothing in the far glade?

   Robin Hood [gazing steadily].  I can see men moving.
Now I descry a horseman at their head.  The proud
Sheriff himself, by my beard, with three score billmen and
bowmen at his heels!

   Sir Richard.  Get within, Robin, with all haste.  I will
think what must be done.

                           [Exeunt Sir Richard and Robin Hood.]

   [Enter the Sheriff of Nottingham with bowmen and
                                   billmen.]

   Sheriff.  Now, my men, be ready to shoot if I tell you.
I have set a watch round the Castle, and it will go ill
with me if I do not bring this haughty knight to terms.
Is all ready?

   Bowman.  Yes, your worship.

   Sheriff.  Then, hornsman, wind you horn and let us
see if they will not yield them to the King’s warrant
without further ado.  [The hornsman blows a loud blast.]

             [Sir Richard appears on the battlements.]

   Sheriff.  Ha, traitor knight.  You keep here the King’s
enemies against the law and right.  Deliver them up.

   Sir Richard.  As I am a true knight, I am ready to
avow and stand by my deeds to all in the land.

   Sheriff.  You refuse to obey the King’s warrant?

   Sir Richard.  King’s warrant?  The King has no hand
in the matter, of that I am full certain.  Ride up to
London town, Sir Sheriff, tell you story to the King
himself, learn his will, and trouble me no more until you
are back.

   Sheriff.  Insolent traitor!  Am I to ride to court at
your bidding?  Nevertheless, go I will and lay my charge
before the King himself.  Then, there will be no more
defying a royal warrant.

                                       [Exeunt Sheriff and his train.]
 
                   Scene III.  Robin Hood’s Oak.
 
[Enter Sir Richard’s LadyShe is in riding dress, having
   just dismounted from her horse, which she has made fast
   a few paces away.]

   Lady.  This surely is Robin Hood’s tree, where my
dear lord was to have had tryst with him to-day.  Alack!
no sign of him or his merry men do I see.  Woe is me—
time flies fast.  The wicked Sheriff will have Sir Richard
within the gates of Nottingham Castle if they come not,
and then no hope of a rescue!

      [Sound of a horn without and shouting and singing.]

   Lady.  Joy, joy!  They come, they come.

   [Enter Robin Hood followed by Little John and Friar
      TuckThey stand still astonished at the sight of the
      lady.]

   Lady.  God save you, good Robin Hood, and all your
company.  Grant me a boon, I pray you.

                       [Robin kneels to the Lady.]

   Robin Hood.  The Lady Lee!  Where is Sir Richard?
   Lady.  Alack, alack! good Robin, you will not let my
lord be shamefully killed!  He is fast bound and carried
off to Nottingham, all for love of you!

   Robin Hood.  What man has taken him?

   Lady.  The proud Sheriff of Nottingham.  But oh,
Robin he is not yet three miles off.  Save him from the
wicked Sheriff!

[Robin starts up, blows his horn with fury, Will Scarlet,
               Much, and George a Green dash in.]

   Merry Men.  Master, Master, here we are!  What
game is afoot?

   Robin Hood.  Busk you, busk you, my merry men.
Make ready your bows.  Away with me to Nottingham!
He who falters shall dwell with me no more!  Lady,
Friar Tuck shall attend you.  The rest come with me.

[Exeunt Robin Hood and his men shouting ‘To Nottingham,
       to Nottingham!  Down with the proud Sheriff!’]

   Friar Tuck [fetching his staff which leans up against the
tree].  And so, my Lady Lee, I am to walk with you to
Uttersdale!  ‘Tis a long journey for one afoot.

   Lady Lee.  Not so far, Friar.  My palfrey steps gently.
You shall not be hurried.

   Friar Tuck.  I trust that no ill-luck befall us.  We
should be in sorry plight were we to meet some of yon
Sheriff’s bowmen.

   Lady Lee.  Have no fear, Friar.  Alack! they have
followed my poor lord to Nottingham!

   Friar Tuck.  Come then, my Lady, to horse!  Tarry
not.  Yea, ‘tis a long walk and a thirsty one.

   Lady Lee.  You shall have rare entertainment when
you reach the Castle, good Friar.

                                                                         [Exeunt.]     
 
                 Scene IV.  A Street in Nottingham.
 
[From right enter the Sheriff and his men, who guard
   Sir Richard in their midst.  His hands are bound
   behind him and one soldier holds the rope.  They are
   hardly on the stage before enter left Robin Hood, Little
   John, Will Scarlet, Much, George a Green.]
   Merry Men [shouting].  A rescue!  A rescue!

   Robin Hood.
          Abide, thou proud Sheriff, abide,
          Abide and speak with me;
          Of some tidings of our King
          I would fain hear of thee!

   Sheriff.  What, you paltry outlaw!  You law-breaking
knave!  You dare speak of the King!  At them, my
men, down with the robbers!  Down with the King’s
enemies!

   [The Merry Men and the Sheriff’s men fightRobin Hood
      attacks the Sheriff and fells him to the groundRobin
      stands for a minute looking at his fallen foe, then winds
      his horn to call a truce.  Fighting ceases.  Sheriff’s men
      come forward and carry out their leader.  Robin goes
      to the Knight and cuts his bondsThe Knight rubs his
      wrists and shakes himself.]

   Sir Richard.  A thousand thanks, Robin, for your
gallant rescue.  You saved my lands once.  Now you
have saved my life.

   Robin Hood.  We have had a hard run for it.  But now
          Thou shalt with me to the greenè-wood,
          Through mire, moss and fen.
          Thou shalt with me to the greenè-wood,
          Without any leasing1,
          Till that I have got us grace
          Of Edward, our comely king.

        [Exeunt Sir Richard, Robin Hood, and Merry Men.]
 
               Scene V.  Hall in Nottingham Castle.
 
[King Edward seated, Sir Roger of Doncaster stands by
      him.  A group of two or three knights further off.]

   King.  How long is it since we came north, Sir Roger,
in quest of this knight, Sir Richard at the Lee, and the
robber outlaw?

   Sir Roger.  A month or more, Sire.

   King.  Here have we been holding court in Nottingham
Castle, and riding the country far and near, but we never
come on the track of the villains.

   Sir Roger.  They know every nook and dingle, every
tree and rock of this wild country, too well to be caught.

   King.  Scarce a deer fit to shoot have they left roaming
in all our royal forest.  But, aha! we have taken the good
Sir Richard’s land in fee.  Hark now, my knights.  If
one of you would smite off that knight’s head and bring
it us, we would give you his lands to have and to hold
for evermore.  Yea, we would draw a charter signed and
sealed with out own royal hand.

   Sir Roger.  Sire, let no man think to hold Sir Richard’s
lands, as long as Robin Hood can carry a bow.  It would
be a swift shot and short shrift.

   King.  Ah, if we could but set eyes on the villain!  To
be dared and daunted in our own kingdom by a handful
of miscreants that ought to have been brought to justice
long ago!

   [Enter a Forester, who walks towards the group of knights
      and whispers.  A knight steps forward and bows to the
      King.]

   Knight.  Sire, here is a forester who says he can guide
you to the haunts of Robin Hood.

   King.  Bring him hither.

[Forester advances and kneels to the King, cap in hand.]

   King.  Stand up, forester, and let us hear your tale.

[Forester rises and stands twisting his cap in his hand.]

   King.  You know the forest well?

   Forester.  Every inch of the country, my liege, from
here to Barnsdale.

   King.  Can you aid us to capture the outlaw, Robin
Hood?

   Forester.  An you will be led by me, Sire, I’m sure
of it.

   King.  Speak then, what must we do?

   Forester.  Get you monk’s attire.  Robin Hood will
never let a monk pass without crying Halt!  He will
slip away at sight of a King’s archer, but a party of
monks will draw him out of hiding, have no fear.  Now,
my Lord, take some of your best knights, go down to
yonder Abbey, and array yourselves in the grey monk’s
cowl.  Then I will lead you straight to Robin Hood’s
lair.

   King.  By my word, well spoken forester.  It shall be
well for you if you earn your meed.  Sir Roger, we will
take his counsel.  Come to the Abbey, and you, knights,
follow.

                                                                           [Exeunt.]
 
                     Scene VI.  Robin Hood’s Oak.
 
[Enter the King disguised as an Abbot.  He wears a grey
   cloak and cowl, and above the cowl a broad hat.  He is
   followed by two or three knights in grey cloaks and cowls,
   and by the Forester.]

   The King [singing old English air].
                 Sir Eglamore that gallant knight

   Chorus.  Fa la, lanky down dilly,

   King.      He took up his sword and he went to fight

   Chorus.  Fa la, lanky down dilly.

   King.      And as he rode o’er hill and dale,
                 All armed in a coat of mail

   Chorus.  Fa la lanky down dilly,

   King.      There leap’d a dragon out of her den

   Chorus.  Fa la lanky down dilly,

   King.      Had slain God knows how many men,

   Chorus.  Fa la lanky down dilly,

   King.      But when she saw Sir Eglamore
                Oh, that you had but heard her roar

   Chorus.  Fa la, lanky down dilly.

   King.  So, forester, this is Robin Hood’s den!  If we
could but make him roar like Sir Eglamore’s dragon,
we were well pleased.  You are sure of his whereabouts,
forester?  He may be hunting our deer fifty miles away
for all we know.

   Forester.  My liege, I am certain sure he is here.  But
with your leave, Sire, I will go my ways, for my life will
not be worth a day’s purchase if Robin finds out how
I have tricked him.

   King.  Begone, good forester.  Stay, come to our
Castle in Nottingham to-morrow.  If the outlaw falls
into the trap you will have earned a round sum.

      [Forester kneels to the King and then slips away.]

   King [humming to himself].
          But when she saw Sir Eglamore
          Oh, that you had but heard her roar
          Fa la, lanky down dilly!

          [Robin Hood comes suddenly round the tree.]

   Robin Hood [sings], Fa la, lanky down dilly!
[takes the King by the arm] You sing lively ditties at your
Abbey, Sir Abbot.  I am glad to hear you have so gay
a spirit under your grey cowl.

   King [trying to shake Robin’s hand off].  And who are
you?

   Robin Hood.  A yeoman of the forest, living under the
greenwood tree.

   King.  How do you make your living, yeoman?

   Robin Hood.
          We be yeoman of this forest
          Under the green-wood tree;
          We live by our Kingès deer,
          None other shift have we.
          And ye have churches and rentès both
          And gold full great plenty
          Give us some of your spending
          For saintè charity.

   King.  Well, good yeoman, I have not much to bestow,
for I have been at Nottingham this fortnight past with
our King, and have spent so much money entertaining
him and his nobles that I have only brought forty pounds
to the greenwood with me to-day.  If I had a hundred
you should have half.  Here is the forty pounds.

   [Signs to a knight, who pulls out a bag of gold form under his
      cloak and hands it to Robin, who divides the money in
      two parts and returns one to the King.]

   Robin Hood [courteously].  Sir, this is for your spending.
May we meet another day.

   King.  I thank you, good Robin, for Robin Hood
I take you to be.  A moment, I pray you.  Edward, our
King, sends you greeting, and bids you come and feast
with him in Nottingham.  He sends his seal as a token.

   [The King draws out a large seal from under his cloak
      which he shows Robin, who, recognizing it, pushes back
      his hood and kneels on one knee and kisses the seal.]

   Robin Hood.
          I love no man in all the world
          So well as I do my King;
          Welcome is my lordès seal;
          And, monk, for thy tiding.
But now, Sir Abbot, in return for your tidings, you must
share our merrymakings under my oak, for this is May-
day, and many will be gathered together here to keep
holiday.

   [Robin blows his horn.  Enter the Merry Men, who kneel
      down before him.  With them comes Sir Richard at
      the Lee.]

   King [to himself].  Here is a goodly sight.  It strikes
me that his men are more at his bidding than my men
are at mine!

   Robin Hood.  Now, my men, we will have shooting at
the garland, until our friends come for the dancing.

   [The Merry Men jump up; Little John and Will
      Scarlet go out and return with a garland fastened to
      a pole which they set in the ground.  All make ready
      their bows and arrows.]

   Robin Hood [to the King].  He who fails to hit the
garland forfeits his tackle and hands it over to the
winner.  Also he must stand a buffet on the head.

   [The Merry Men shoot in turn at the garland, those who
      fail receiving buffets.  Bows and arrows pass from one
      to the otherAt last Robin Hood fails.]

   George a Green.  Master, a miss!  You tackle is lost.
Stand forth and take your pay!

   Robin Hood.
          If it be so, by all that’s fair,
          That may no better be,
          Sir Abbot, I deliver thee mine arrow,
          I pray thee, serve thou me.

   King.  Nay, Robin, by your leave, I have no wish to
smite a good yeoman.  He might take it amiss!

   Robin Hood.  Smite on boldly, I give you full leave.

[The King flings back his cloak and deals ROBIN a blow that
   makes him stagger and almost fall.  At the same moment
   the King’s hat falls off, and the cowl slips back.]

   Robin Hood. [recovering himself].  There is pith in your
arm.  I trow you can shoot well.  [Looks fixedly at the
King, and then he and Sir Richard kneel down.]

   Robin Hood.  My lord the King of England!  Now I
know you well!                       [The Merry Men all kneel.]

   King [holding out his hand, which Robin Hood kisses].  I
thank you, Robin, for your goodness and grace to me and
my men under your trystell tree.

   Robin Hood.  I crave pardon, my Lord the King, for
me and my men.

   King.  You have it, Robin, if you will leave the green-
wood, you and your merry men, and come and dwell with
me at my court.

   Robin Hood.  So shall it be.  I will come to your court
and try your service, but, Sir King, if I like it not, I will
come back to the forest, and shoot the deer as of old.

   King [laughing].  A bargain, good Robin.

   Robin Hood.  Grant pardon, too, Sire, to this noble
knight, Sir Richard at the Lee.  Trouble overtook him
for sheltering an outlaw.  He is a true man and valiant
and a loyal subject to the King.

   King.  We grant you our grace, Sir Richard, and trust
to see you at court with our friend Robin Hood.  But
now before your merrymakings begin, Robin, could you
not give us and our knight cloaks of your green cloth?
We are tired of masquerading as monks.

   Robin Hood.  With all my heart.  Fetch them out,
Little John and Scarlet.

   [The two go behind the tree and return with green hooded
      cloaks.  The King and his knights cast away their cowls
      and don the green cloaks.]

   King.  Now I am ready to sing and dance with the
gayest!

   [Enter Lady Lee and two maidens.  They kneel to the KING.
      Then follow Alan a Dale and his Bride as King and
      Queen of the May.]

   Robin Hood.  Welcome, good Alan a Dale.  I am glad
you have brought your fair lady to share the merriment.

   Alan a Dale.  Who could have a gladder May-day than
under your trystell tree?

   [The whole company sing.]

          There are twelve months in all the year
          As I hear many men say,
          But the merriest month in all the year
          Is the merry month of May.

   [Enter Maidens carrying a Maypole.  They dance round it,
      singing, then go out, and a Jack-a-green enters.  All the
      company join in dancing round him and singing songs of
      May.]