Robin Hood

Week 9: Medieval Heroes - Assignments - Reading - Resources - Images

Robin Hood and Sir Guy (Ballad 118)

Reading time: (3 minutes)

Robin is ready to go to Barnesdale now, disguised as Sir Guy, in order to announce to the Sheriff that Robin Hood is dead at last.
Saies, "Lye there, lye there, good Sir Guye,
And with me be not wrothe;
If thou have had the worse stroakes at my hand,
Thou shalt have the better cloathe."
Robin did off his gowne of greene,
Sir Guye hee did it throwe;
And hee put on that capull-hyde,
That cladd him toppe to toe.
did = took off
"The bowe, the arrowes, and litle horne,
And with me now I'le beare;
For now I will goe to Barnesdale,
To see how my men doe fare."
Robin sett Guyes horne to his mouth,
A lowd blast in it he did blow;
That beheard the sheriffe of Nottingham,
As he leaned under a lowe.
leaned = stood
lowe = hill
"Hearken! hearken!" sayd the sheriffe,
"I heard noe tydings but good;
For yonder I heare Sir Guyes horne blowe,
For he hath slaine Robin Hoode.
"For yonder I heare Sir Guyes horne blow,
Itt blowes soe well in tyde,
For yonder comes that wighty yoeman,
Cladd in his capull-hyde.
Come hither, thou good Sir Guye,
Aske of me what thou wilt have:"
"I'le none of thy gold." sayes Robin Hood,
"Nor I'll none of it have.
But now I have slaine the master," he sayd,
"Let me goe strike the knave;
This is all the reward I aske,
Nor noe other will I have."
"Thou art a madman," said the shiriffe,
"Thou sholdest have had a knights fee;
Seeing thy asking [hath] beene soe badd,
Well granted it shall be."
fee = fief (land-holding)
But Litle John heard his master speake,
Well he knew that was his steven;
Now shall I be loset," quoth Litle John,
"With Christs might in heaven"
steven = voice
loset = set loose
But Robin hee hyed him towards Litle John,
Hee thought hee wold loose him believe;
The sheriffe and all his companye
Fast after him did drive.
hyed = hastened
believe = at once
"Stand abacke! stand abacke!" sayd Robin;
"Why draw you mee soe neere?
Itt was never the use in our countrye
One's shrift another shoul heere.
shrift = confession
But Robin pulled forth an Iryshe kniffe,
And losed John hand and foote,
And gave him Sir Guyes bow in his hand,
And bade it be his boote
boote = benefit
But John tooke Guyes bow in his hand -
His arrowes were rawstye by the roote -;
The sheriffe saw Litle John draw a bow
And fettle him to shoote.
rawstye = rusty (bloody)
by the roote = on the tips
fettle = prepare
Towards his house in Nottingham
He fled full fast away,
And soe did all his companye,
Not one behind did stay.
But he could neither soe fast goe,
Noraway soe fast runn,
But Litle John, with an arrow broade,
Did cleave his heart in twinn.

Questions. Make sure you can answer these questions about what you just read:

  • how did Robin disguise himeslf as Guy? what did he leave behind with Guy's corpse?
  • what reward did "Guy" ask from the Sheriff for slaying Robin?
  • how did Robin cut Little John free? What did Little John do when he was free?

Source: Francis James Child, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads (1882-1898). Weblink. There are additional notes online by Stephen Knight and Thomas H. Ohlgren: weblink.

Modern Languages / Anthropology 3043: Folklore & Mythology. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one.
Page last updated: October 9, 2004 12:52 PM