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He that had neyther been kithe nor kin,
Might have seen a full sayre sight,
To see how together these yeomen went
With blades both browne and bright:
To see how these yeomen together they fought,
Two howres of a summer's day:
Yet neither Robin Hood nor Sir Guy
Them fettled to fly awaye.
Robin was reachles on a roote,
And stumbled at that tyde;
And Guy was quicke and nimble withall,
And hitt him upon the syde.
Ah deere Ladye, said Robin Hood, thou
That art both mother and may,
I think it was never mans destinye
To dye before his day.
Robin thought on our Ladye deere,
And soon leapt up againe;
And strait he came with a backward stroke,
And he Sir Guy hath slayne.
He took Sir Guys head by the hayre,
And stuck it upon his bowes end:
Thou hast been a traytor all thy life,
Which thing must have an end.
Robin pulled forth an Irysh knife,
And nicked Sir Guy in the face,
That he was never on woman born
Cold know whose head it was.
Sayes, Lye there, lye there, now, Sir Guye,
And with me be not wrothe:
Iff thou have had the worst strokes at my hand,
Thou shalt have the better clothe.
Robin did off his gowne of greene,
And on Sir Guy did throwe,
And he put on that capull hyde,
That clad him topp to toe.
Thy bowe, thy arrows, and little horne,
Now with me I will beare;
For I will away to Barnesdale,
To see how my men doe fare.
Robin Hood sett Guys horne to his mouth,
And a loud blast in it did blow,
That beheard the sheriffe of Nottingham,
As he leaned under a lowe.
Hearken, hearken, sayd the sheriffe,
I heare nowe tydings good,
For yonder I hear Sir Guyes horne blowe,
And he hath slaine Robin Hoode.
Yonder I heare Sir Guyes horne blowe,
Itt blowes soe well in tyde;
And yonder comes that wightye yeoman,
Cladd in his capull hyde.
Come hyther, come hyther, thou good Sir Guy,
Aske what thou wilt of mee.
OI will none of thy gold, sayd Robin,
Nor I will none of thy fee:
But now I have slaine the master, he sayes,
Lett me goe strike the knave;
For this is all the meede I aske,
None other reward Ile have.
Thou art a madman, sayd the sheriffe,
Thou sholdst have had a knightes fee:
But seeing thy asking hath beene soe bad,
Well granted it shall bee.
When Little John heard his master speake,
Well knew he it was his steven:
Now shall I bee looset, quoth Little John,
With Christ his might in heaven.
Fast Robin hee hyed him to Little John,
He thought to loose him blive;
The sheriffe and all his companye
Fast after him gan drive.
Stand abacke, stand abacke, sayd Robin;
Why draw you me so neere?
Itt was never the use in our countryè,
Ones shrift another shold heere.
But Robin pulled forth an Irysh knife,
And losed John hand and foote,
And gave him Sir Guyes bow into his hand,
And bade it be his boote.
Then John he took Guyes bow in his hand,
His bolts and arrowes eche one;
When the sheriffe saw Little John bend his bow,
He fettled him to be gone.
Towards his house in Nottingham towne
He fled full fast away:
And so did all the companye:
Not one behind wold stay.
But he cold neither runne soe fast,
Nor away so fast cold ryde,
But Little John with an arrowe soe broad,
He shott him into the backe-syde.
$105. Adam Bell, Clym of the Clough, and William of Cloudesly.
They were three noted outlaws, whose skill in archery rendered them formerly as famous in the North of England, as Robin Hood and his fellows were in the midland counties. Their place of residence was in the forest of Englewood, not far from Carlisle (called corruptly in the ballad English-wood, whereas Engle or Ingle wood signifies wood for firing). At what time they lived does not appear. The author of the common ballad on the pedigree, education, and marriage, of Robin Hood, makes them contemporary with Robin Hood's father, in order to give him the honor of beating them; viz.
The father of Robin a forester was,
And he shot in a lusty long bow
Two north-country miles and an inch at a shot,
As the pinder of Wakefield does know;
For he brought Adam Bell, and Clim of the Clough,
And William of Clowdèslee,
To shoot with our forester for forty mark;
And our forester beat them all three.
Collect. of Old Ballads, 1727, 1st vol. p. 67.
This seems to prove that they were commonly thought
to have lived before the popular hero of Sherwood.
I have only to add further concerning the principal hero
of this ballad, that the Bells were noted rogues in the
north so late as the time of Q. Elizabeth. See, in
Rymer's Fœdera, a letter from Lord William Howard
to some of the officers of state, wherein he mentions
MERY it was in grene forèst
Among the levès grene,
Whereas men hunt east and west
Wyth bowes and arrowes kene;
To ryse the dere out of theyr denne :
Suche sightes hath ofte bene sene;
As by thre yemen of the north countrèy,
By them it is I meane.
The one of them hight Adam Bel,
The other Clym of the Clough
The thyrd was William of Cloudesly,
An archer good ynough.
They were outlawed for venyson,
These yemen everchone;
They swore them brethren upon a day,
To Englyshe wood for to gone.
Now lith and lysten, gentylmen,
That of myrthe loveth to here:
Two of them were single men,
The third had a wedded fere.
Wyllyam was the wedded man,
Muche more than was hys care:
He sayde to hys brethren upon a day,
To Carleil he wold fare;
For to speke with fayre Alyce his wife,
And with hys children thre.
By my trouth, sayde Adam Bel,
Not by the counsell of me:
For if ye go to Carleil, brother,
And from thys wylde wode wende,
If the justice may you take,
Your lyfe were at an ende.
If that I come not to-morrow, brother,
By pryme to you agayne,
Truste not els but that I am take,
Or else that I am slayne.
He took his leave of his brethren two,
And to Carleil he is gon:
Theyre he knocked at his owne windowe,
Shortly and anone,
Wher be you, fayre Alyce my wyfe,
And my chyldren thre?
Lyghtly let in thine owne husbande,
Wyllyam of Cloudeslè.
Alas! then sayde fayre Alyce,
And syghed wonderous sore, Thys place hath ben besette for you Thys halfe yere and more.
Now am I here, said Cloudeslè,
I wold that in I were:
Now fetche us meate and drynke ynoughe, And let us make good chere.
She fetched hym meate and drynke plentyè,
Lyke a true wedded wyfe:
And pleased hym with that she had,
Whome she loved as her lyfe.
There lay an old wyfe in that place,
A lytle besyde the fyre,
Whych Wyllyam had found of charytyè
More than seven yere.
Up she rose, and forth she goes,
Evel mote she spede therefoore;
For she had not set no fote on ground
In seven yere before.
She went unto the justice-hall,
As fast as she could hye:
Thys night is conie unto thys town
Wyllyam of Cloudeslyè.
Thereof the justice was full fayne,
And so was the sherife also:
Thou shalt not trauaill hither, dame, for nought,
Thy mede thou shalt have or thou go.
They gave to her a ryght good goune
Of scarlate and of graine:
She toke the gyfte, and home she wente,
And couched her downe agayne.
They rysed the towne of mery Carleile
In all the haste they can;
And came thronging to Wyllyames house,
As fast as they might gone.
Theyre they besette that good yemàn
About on every side:
Wyllyam hearde great noyse of folkes,
That theytherward they hyed.
Alyce opened a back wyndow,
And loked all aboute:
She was ware of the justice and shirise bothe,
Wyth a full great route.
Alas! treason, cryed Alyce,
Ever wo may thou be!
Goe into my chamber, husband, she sayd,
Sweet Wyllyam of Cloudeslè.
He toke hys sweard and hys bucler,
Hys bow and hys chyldren thre,
And wente into hys strongest chamber,
Where he thought surest to be.
Fayre Alyce, lik a lover true,
Took a pollaxe in her hande :
He shal be dead that here commeth in
Thys dore, whyle I may stand.
Cloudeslè bente a wel-good bowe,
That was of trusty tre:
He smot the justice on the brest,
That hys arowe brest in three.
A curse on his harte, said William,
Thys day thy cote dyd on!
If it had ben no better than myne,
It had gone nere thy bone.
Yeld the, Cloudeslè, sayd the justise,
Thy bowe and thy arrowes the fro.
A curse on hys hart, said fair Alyce,
That my husband concelleth so.
• Clym-of the Clough, means Clem. (Clement) of the Valley; for so Clough signifies in the North
Set fyre on the house, saide the sherife,
Syth it wyll no better be,
And brenne we therein William, he saide,
Hys wyfe and chyldren thre.
They fyred the house in many a place;
The fyre flew up on hye:
Alas! then cryed fair Alyce,
I se we here shall dy.
William openyd a back wyndow,
That was in hys chamber hie,
And wyth shetes let downe his wyfe,
And eke hys chyldren thre.
Have here my treasure, sayde William,
My wyfe and my chyldren thre:
For Christès love do them no harme,
But wreke you all on me.
Wyllyam shot so wonderous well,
Tyll hys arrowes were all agoe,
And the fyre so fast upon hym fell,
That hys bowstryng brent in two.
The sparkles brent and fell upon
Good Wyllyam of Cloudesle:
Then he was a wofull man, and sayde,
Thys is a cowardes death to me.
Lever had I, sayde Wyllyam,
With my sworde in the route to renne, Then here among myne enemyes wode Thus cruelly to bren.
He toke hys sweard and hys buckler,
And among them all he ran.
Where the people were most in prece,
He smote down many a man.
There myght no man abyde his stroke,
So fersly on them he ran :
That lytle boye was the towne swyne-heard,
And kept fayre Alyces swine:
Oft he had seene Cloudesle in the woode,
And geuend hym there to dyne.
He went out att a crevis in the wall,
And lightly to the wood dyde gone;
There met he with these wightye yemen
Shortly and anone.
Alas! then sayde that lytle boye,
Ye tary here all to longe;
Cloudesle is taken, and dampned to death,
All readye for to honge.
Alas! then sayd good Adam Bell,
That ever we see thys daye!
He had better with us have taryed,
So ofte as we dyd hym praye.
He myght have dwellyd in grene forèste,
Under the shadowes grene,
And have kept both hym and us in reste,
Out of trouble and teene.
Adam bent a ryghte good bow,
A great hart sone had he slayne:
Take that, chylde, he sayde, to thy dynner,
And bryng me myne arrowe agayne.
Now go we hence, sayde these wightye yeomen,
Tary we no lenger here;
We shall hym borowe by God his grace,
Though we bye it full dere.
To Carleil wente these good yemen,
In a merry mornynge of Maye.-
Here is a Fyt* of Cloudeslye,
And another is for to saye.
Part the Second.
And when they came to merry Carleil, And in the mornynge tyde,
Then they threw wyndowes and dores on him, They founde the gates shut them untyll
And so toke that good yeman.
There they hym bounde both hande and fote,
And in depe dongeon cast.
Now, Cloudesle, sayd the hye justice,
Thou shalt be hanged in hast.
A payre of new gallowes, sayd the sherife,
Now shall I for the make;
And the gates of Carleil shal be shutte,
No man shall come in thereat.
Then shall not helpe Clym of the Cloughe,
Nor yet shall Adam Bell,
Though they come with a thousand mo,
Nor all the devels in hell.
Early in the mornynge the justice uprose,
To the gates first gan he gon,
And commaundeth he to be shut full close
Then went he to the markett place,
As fast as he could hye;
A of new gallous there he set up
Besyde the pyllorye.
A lyttle boy among them asked,
What meaneth that gallow-tree?
They sayde, To hang a good yeaman,
Called Wyllyam of Cloudeslè.
About on every side.
Alas! then sayd good Adam Bell,
That ever we were made men!
These gates be shut so wonderous wel,
We may not come here in.
Then bespake him Clym of the Clough,
Wyth a wyle we wyl us in bryng:
Let us saye we be messengers,
Streyght come nowe from our king.
Adam sayd, I have a letter written,
Now let us wysely werke,
We wyl saye we have the knyges seals;
I holde the porter no clerke.
Then Adam Bell bete on the gate,
With strokes great and strong;
The porter herde such noyse therat,
And to the gate he throng.
Who is there nowe, sayde the porter,
That maketh all thys dinne?
We be towmessengers,sayde Clim of the Clough,
Be come ryght from our kyng.
We have a letter, sayde Adam Bel,
To the justice we must it bryng:
Let us in our message to do,
That we were agayne to the kyng.
Tyll a false thefe be hanged up Called Wyllyam of Cloudeslè.
Then Cloudeslè cast his eyen asyde,
And saw hys brethren twaine
At a corner of the market-place,
Redy the justice for to slaine.
Then spake the good yeman Clym of the Clough, I se comfort, sayd Cloudesle,
And swore by Mary fre:
An if that we stande long without,
Lyk a thefe honge thou shalt be.
Lo! here we have the kyngès seale :
What, lurden, art thou wode?
The porter went it had been so,
And lyghtly dyd off hys hode.
Welcome be lordes seale, he sayde;
For that ye shall come in.
He opened the gate full shortlye;
An euyl openyng for him.
Now are we in, sayde Adam Bell,
Therof we are full faine;
But Christ he knowes, that harowed hell,
How we shall com out agayne.
Had we the keys, sayd Clim of the Clough,
Ryght wel then should we spede,
Then might we come out wel ynough
When e se tyme and nede.
They called the porter to counsell,
And wrange hys necke in two,
And cast him in a depe dongeon,
And toke hys keys hym fro.
Now am I porter, sayd Adam Bell,
Se, brother, the keys are here,
The worst porter to merry Carleile
They have had thys hundred yere.
And now wyll we our bowes bend,
Into the towne wyll we go,
For to delyuer our dere brother,
That lyeth in care and wo.
Then they bent theyr good yewe bowes,
And loked theyr stringes were sound,
The markett place in mery Carleile
They beset that stound.
And, as they loked them besyde,
A pair of new galowes thei see,
And the justice, with a quest of squyers,
Had judged theyr fere to de:
And Cloudeslè himselfe lay in a carte,
Fast bound both fote and hand;
And a stronge rope about hys necke,
All readye for to hange.
The justice called to hym a ladde,
Cloudeslès clothes should he have,
To take the measure of that yemàn,
Therafter to make hys grave.
I have sene as great marveile, sayde Cloudesle,
As betweyne thys and pryme,
He that maketh thys grave for me
Hymselfe may lye therin.
Thou speakest proudli, sayd the justice,
I shall the hange with my hande.
Full well herd this his bretheren two,
There styll as they did stande.
Yet hope I well to fare, If I might have my hands at wyll Ryght lytle wolde I care. Then bespake good Adam Bell
To Clym of the Clough so free :
Brother, se ye marke the justice wel;
Lo! yonder ye may him see:
And at the sherife shote I wyll
Strongly wyth arrowe kene;
A better shote in mery Carleile
Thys seven yere was not sene.
They loosed their arrowes both at once,
Of no man had thei dread;
The one hyt the justice, the other the sheryfe,
That both theyr sides gan blede.
All men voyded, that them stode nye,
When the justice fell to the grounde,
And the sheryf fell hym by;
Eyther had his deathes wounde.
All the citizens fast gan flye,
They durst no lenger abyde:
There lyghtly they loosed Cloudeslè,
Where he with ropes lay tyde.
Wyllyam sterte to an officer of the towne,
His axe fro hys hand he wronge,
On eche syde he smote them downe,
Hym thought he taryed to long.
Wyllyam saide to his brethren two;
Thys daye let us lyve and de;
If ever you have nede as I have now,
The same shall you finde by me.
They shot so well in that tyde,
Theyr stringes were of silke ful sure,
That they kept the stretes on every side ;
That batayle did long endure.
The fought together as brethren tru,
Lyke hardy men and bolde,
Many a man to the ground they thrue,
And many a herte made colde.
But when their arrowes were all gon,
Men preced to them full fast,
They drew their swordes then anone,
And theyr bowes from them cast.
They wenten lyghtlye on theyr way,
With swords and bucklers round:
By that it was myd of the day,
They made mani a wound.
There was many a nout-horne in Carlile blowen,
And the belles backward did ryng, Many a woman sayde, Alas!
And many theyr handes did wryng.
The mayre of Carleile forth was com,
Wyth hym a full great route:
These yemen dred him full sore,
Of their lyves they stode in doute.
The mayre came armed a full great pace,
With a pollaxe in hys hande;
Many a strong man wyth him was,
There in that stowre to stande.
The mayre smot at Cloudeslè with his bil,
Hys bucler he brast in two,
Full many a yeman with great evyll,
Alas! they cryed for wo.
Keepe we the gates fast, they bad,
That these traytours thereout not go.
But al for nought was that the wrought,
For so faste they downe were layde,
Tyll they all thre, that so manfulli fought,
Were gotten without, abraide.
Have here your keys, sayd Adam Bel,
Myne office I here forsake,
And yf you do by my counsell,
A new porter do ye make.
He threw theyr keys at theyre heads,
And bade them well to thryve,
And all that letteth any good yeman
To com and comfort his wyfe.
Thus be these good yemen gon to the wod,
And lyghtly, as lefe on lynde;
The lough and be mery in theyre mode,
Theyr foes wer ferr behind.
And when they came to the old Englishe wode,
Under the trusty tre,
There they found bowes full good,
And arrowes full great plentyè.
So God me help, sayd Adam Bell,
And Clym of the Clough so fre,
1 would we were in mery Carleile,
Before that fayre meynè.
They set them downe, and made good chere,
And eate and dranke full well.-
A Second Fyt of the wighty yeomen:
Another I wyll you tell.
Part the Third.
As they sat in Englyshe wood,
Under the green-wode tre,
They thought they heard a woman wepe,
But her they mought not se.
Sore then syghed the fayre Alyce :
That ever I sawe thys daye!
For nowe is my dere husband slayne:
Alas! and well-a-day!
Might I have spoke with his dere brethren,
Or with eyther of them twayne,
To shew them what him befell,
My heart were out of payne. Cloudeslè walk'd a little beside, Lookt under the green-wood
He was ware of his wife, and children thre,
Full wo in harte and mynde.
Welcome, wyfe, then sayd Wyllyam,
Under this trusti tre:
I wende yesterday, by sweete saynt John,
Thou shoulde me never have see.
"Now well is me that ye be here,
My harte is out of wo."
Dame, he sayde, be mery and glad,
And thanke my brethren two.
Herof to speake, said Adam Bell,
Iwis it is no bote:
The meate that we must supp withall,
It runneth yet fast on fote.
Then went they downe into a launde,
These noble archares thre;
Eche of them slew a hart of greece,
The best that they could se.
Have here the best, Alyce my wyfe,
Sayde Wyllyam of Cloudeslye;
By cause ye so bouldly stode by me,
When I was slayne full nye.
Then went they to theyr suppère
Wyth suche meate as they had;
And thanked God of their fortune,
They were both mery and glad.
And when thei had supped well,
Certain wythouten lease,
Cloudeslè sayd, We wyll to our kyng,
To get us a charter of peace.
Alyce shal be at our sojournyng,
In a nunnery here besyde;
My tow sons shall wyth her go,
And there they shall abyde.
Myne eldest son shall go wyth me;
And he shall breng you worde agayn,
For hym have you no care;
How that we all do fare.
Thus be these yemen to London gone,
As fast as they might he*,
Tyll they came to the kyng's pallàce,
Where they would nedes be.
And whan they came to the kyngès courte,
Unto the pallace gate,
Of no man wold they ask no leave,
But boldly went in therat.
The preced prestly, went into the hall,
Of no man had they dreade;
The porter came after, and dyd them call,
And with them gan to chyde.
The usher sayde, Yemen, what would ye have?
I pray you tell to me:
You myght thus make offycers shent :
Good syrs, of whence be ye?
Syr, we be outlawes of the forest,
Certayne withouten lease:
And hether we be come to our kyng,
To get us a charter of peace.
And whan they came before the kyng,
As it was the lawe of the lande,
They kneled downe without lettyng,
And eche held up his hand.
The sayed, Lord, we beche the here,
That ye will graunt us grace:
For we have slayne your fat falow-dere
In many a sondry place.
What be your nams, then said our kyng,
Anone that you tell me?
They said, Adam Bell, Clim of the Clough,
And Wyllyam of Cloudeslè.