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Nay, the

rd yet rong

ad, the

la till King Richard come home again. Prince John (to Sheriff). How she looks up at him, how she holds

for

BRE

her face!

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Marian. Any that you may ask.

Robin. A question that every true man asks of a woman once in his life.

Marian. I will not answer it, my lord,

Now if she kiss him, I will have his head.

Sheriff. Peace, my lord; the Earl and Sir Richard come this way.

Robin. Must you have these monies before the year and the month end?

Sir Richard. Or I forfeit my land to the Abbot. I must pass overseas to one that I trust will help me.

Robin. Leaving your fair Marian alone here.

Sir Richard. Ay, for she hath somewhat of the lioness in her, and there be men-at-arms to guard her.

[Robin, Sir Richard, and Marian pass on.

Prince John (to Sheriff). Why that will be our opportunity When I and thou will rob the nest of her. Sheriff. Good Prince, art thou in need of any gold? Prince John. Gold? why? not now. Sheriff. I would give thee any gold So that myself alone might rob the nest. Prince John. Well, well then, thou shalt rob the nest alone. Sheriff. Swear to me by that relic on thy neck.

Prince John. I swear then by this
relic on my neck—

No, no, I will not swear by this; I keep it
For holy vows made to the blessed Saints
Not pleasures, women's matters.
Dost thou mistrust me? Am I not thy
friend?
Beware, man, lest thou lose thy faith in

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a holy Palmer, bounden by a vow not to show his face, nor to speak word to any one, till he join King Richard in the Holy Land.

Robin. Going to the Holy Land to Richard! Give me thy hand and tell him- Why, what a cold grasp is thine as if thou didst repent thy courtesy even in the doing it. That is no true man's hand. I hate hidden faces.

Sheriff. Pardon him again, I pray you; but the twilight of the coming day already glimmers in the east. We thank you, and farewell.

Robin. Farewell, farewell. I hate hidden faces.

[Exeunt Prince John and Sheriff. Sir Richard (coming forward with Maid Marian). How close the Sheriff peer'd into thine eyes! What did he say to thee?

Marian.

Bade me beware Of John: what maid but would beware of John?

Sir Richard. What else?

Marian. I care not what he said.
Sir Richard.
What else?
Marian. That if I cast an eye of
favour on him,

Himself would pay this mortgage to his brother,

And save the land.
Sir Richard.

Did he say so, the

Sheriff?

Robin. I fear this Abbot is a heart of
flint,

Hard as the stones of his abbey.
O good Sir Richard,

I am sorry my exchequer runs so low
I cannot help you in this exigency;
For though my men and I flash out at
times

Of festival like burnish'd summer-flies, We make but one hour's buzz, are only like

The rainbow of a momentary sun.
I am mortgaged as thyself.

Sir Richard. Ay! I warrant theethou canst not be sorrier than I am. Come away, daughter.

Robin. Farewell, Sir Richard; farewell, sweet Marian.

Marian. Till better times.

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The mortgage if she favour'd him. I fear
Not her, the father's power upon her.
Friends, (to his men)
I am only merry for an hour or two
Upon a birthday: if this life of ours
Be a good glad thing, why should we
make us merry

Because a year of it is gone? but Hope
Smiles from the threshold of the year to

come

Whispering 'it will be happier,' and old faces

Press round us, and warm hands close with warm hands,

And thro' the blood the wine leaps to the brain

Like April sap to the topmost tree, that shoots

New buds to heaven, whereon the throstle rock'd

Sings a new song to the new year-and you Strike up a song, my friends, and then to bed.

Little John. What will you have, my lord?

Robin. 'To sleep! to sleep!' Little John. There is a touch of sadness in it, my lord,

But ill befitting such a festal day.

Robin. I have a touch of sadness in myself.

Sing.

Song.

To sleep! to sleep! The long bright day is done,
And darkness rises from the fallen sun.
To sleep! to sleep!

Whate'er thy joys, they vanish with the day;
Whate'er thy griefs, in sleep they fade away.
To sleep! to sleep!

Sleep, mournful heart, and let the past be past!
Sleep, happy soul! all life will sleep at last.
To sleep! to sleep!

[A trumpet blown at the gates. Robin. Who breaks the stillness of the morning thus?

Little John (going out and returning). It is a royal messenger, my lord: I trust he brings us news of the King's coming.

Enter a PURSUIVANT who reads.

O yes, O yes, O yes! In the name of the Regent. Thou, Robin Hood Earl of Huntingdon art attainted and hast lost

thine earldom of Huntingdon. Moreover thou art dispossessed of all thy lands, goods, and chattels; and by virtue of this writ, whereas Robin Hood Earl of Huntingdon by force and arms hath trespassed against the king in divers manners, therefore by the judgment of the officers of the said lord king, according to the law and custom of the kingdom of England Robin Hood Earl of Huntingdon is outlawed and banished.

Robin. I have shelter'd some that

broke the forest laws.

This is irregular and the work of John.

['Irregular, irregular! (tumult) Down with him, tear his coat from his back!'

Messenger. Ho there! ho there, the Sheriff's men without!

Robin. Nay, let them be, man, let them be. We yield.

How should we cope with John? The London folkmote

Has made him all but king, and he hath seized

On half the royal castles. Let him alone! (to his men)

A worthy messenger! how should he help it?

Shall we too work injustice? what, thou shakest!

Here, here-a cup of wine-drink and
begone! [Exit Messenger.
We will away in four-and-twenty hours,
But shall we leave our England?

Tuck.
Robin, Earl—
Robin. Let be the Earl. Henceforth
I am no more

Then plain man to plain man.
Tuck.
Well, then, plain man,
There be good fellows there in merry
Sherwood

That hold by Richard, tho' they kill his deer.

Robin. In Sherwood Forest. I have heard of them.

Have they no leader?
Tuck.
Each man for his own.
Be thou their leader and they will all of
them
Swarm to thy voice like bees to the brass

pan.

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I held for Richard, and I hated John.
I am a thief, ay, and a king of thieves.
Ay! but we rob the robber, wrong the
wronger,

And what we wring from them we give the poor.

I am none the worse for that, and all the better

For this free forest-life, for while I sat Among my thralls in my baronial hall The groining hid the heavens; but since I breathed,

A houseless head beneath the sun and stars,

The soul of the woods hath stricken thro' my blood,

The love of freedom, the desire of God,
The hope of larger life hereafter, more
Tenfold than under roof. [Horn blown.
True, were I taken
They would prick out my sight. A price
is set
On this poor head; but I believe there
lives
No man who truly loves and truly rules
His following, but can keep his followers

true.

I am one with mine. Traitors are rarely bred

Save under traitor kings. Our vice-king
John,
True king of vice-true play on words-
our John
By his Norman arrogance and dissolute-

ness,

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