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Come hyther, come hyther, thou good sir Guy,

Aske what thou wilt of mee. 0 I will none of thy gold, sayd Robin, Nor I will none of thy fee:


But now I have slaine the master, he sayes,

Let me goe strike the knave; For this is all the rewarde I aske;

Nor noe other will I have.


Thou art a madman, said the sheriffe,

Thou sholdst have had a knightes fee: But seeing thy asking hath beene soe bad,

Well granted it shale be.


When Little John heard his master speake,

Well knewe he it was his steven :
Now shall I be looset, quoth Little John,

With Christ his might in heaven.

Fast Robin hee hyed him to Little John,

He thought to loose him belive; The sheriffe and all his

companye Fast after him can drive.


Stand abacke, stand abacke, sayd Robin;

Why draw you mee 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, 225

His boltes 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 soe did all the companye:

Not one behind wold stay.

But he cold neither runne soe fast,

Nor away soe fast cold ryde,
But little John with an arrowe soe broad,

He shott him into the backe’-syde.


The title of Sir was not formerly peculiar to knights, it was given to priests, and sometimes to very inferior personages.

Dr. Johnson thinks this title was applied to such as had taken the degree of A.B. in the universities, who are still styled Domini, “Sirs," to distinguish them from Undergraduates, who have no prefix, and from Masters of Arts, who are styled Magistri, “Masters."




An Elegy on Henry, Fourth Earl of


The subject of this poem, which was written by Skelton, is the death of Henry Percy, fourth Earl of Northumberland, who fell a victim to the avarice of Henry VII. In 1489, the parliament had granted the king a subsidy for carrying on the war in Bretagne. This tax was found so heavy in the North, that the whole country was in a flame. The Earl of Northumberland, then lord-lieutenant for Yorkshire, wrote to inform the king of the discontent, and praying an abatement. But nothing is so unrelenting as avarice : the king wrote back, that not a penny should be abated. This message being delivered by the earl with too little caution, the populace rose, and supposing him to be the promoter of their calamity, broke into his house, and murdered him, with several of his attendants; who yet are charged by Skelton with being backward in their duty on this occasion. This melancholy event happened at the earl's seat at Cocklodge, near Thirske, in Yorkshire, April 28, 1489. See Lord Bacon, &c.

If the reader does not find much poetical merit in this old poem, (which yet is one of Skelton's best,) he will see a striking picture of the state and magnificence kept up by our ancient nobility during the feudal times. This great earl is described here as having among his menial servants, knights, squires , and even barons : see v. 32, 183, &c.; which, however different from modern manners, was formerly not unusual with our greater barons, whose castles had all the splendour and offices of a royal court, before the laws against Retainers abridged and limited the number of their attendants.

John Skelton, who commonly styled himself Poet-Laureat, died June 21, 1529. The following poem, which appears to have been written soon after the event, is printed from an ancient MS. copy, preserved in the British Museum, being much more correct than that printed among Skelton's Poems, in bl. let. 12mo. 1568. It is addressed to Henry Percy, fifth Earl of Northumberland, and is prefaced, &c. in the following manner :

Poeta Skelton Laureatus libellum suum metrice

Ad dominum properato meum mea pagina Percy,

Qui Northumbrorum jura paterna gerit.
Ad nutum celebris tu prona repone leonis,

Quæque suo patri tristia justa cano.
Ast ubi perlegit, dubiam sub mente volutet

Fortunam, cuncta quæ male fida rotat.
Qui leo sit felix, et Nestoris occupet annos;

Ad libitum cujus ipse paratus ero.








wepe, I sobbe, I sigh ful sore The dedely fate, the dolefulle destenny Of him that is gone, alas! without restore,

Of the blode* royall descendinge nobelly;
Whos lordshepe doutles was slayne lamentably 5

* The mother of Henry, first Earl of Northumberland, was


Thorow treson ageyn hym compassyd and wrought; Trew to his prince, in word, in dede, and thought. of hevefily poemd, o cifo calde bly

In the college of musis goddess hystoriall, Adres the to me, whiche am both halt and lame 10

In elect uteraunce to make memoryall : :

To the for soccour, to the for helpe I call Myne homely rudnes and drighnes to expelle With the freshe waters of Elyconys welle.


Of noble actes auncyently enrolde,

Of famous princis and lordes of astate, By thy report ar wonte to be extold,

Regestringe trewly every formare date;

Of thy bountie after the usuall rate,
Kyndle in me suche plenty of thy noblès,
Thes sorrowfulle dities that I may shew expres.


In sesons past who hathe harde or sene

Of formar writinge by any presidente That vilane hastarddis in ther furious tene,

Mary daughter to Henry Earl of Lancaster, whose father Edmond was second son of King Henry III. The mother and wife of the second Earl of Northumberland, were both lineal descendants of King Edward III. The Percys also were lineally descended from the Emperor Charlemagne and the ancient kings of France, by his ancestor Josceline de Lovaine, (son of Godfrey Duke of Brabant,) who took the name of Percy on marrying the heiress of that house in the reign of Hen. II. Vide Camden's Britan. Edmonson, &c.

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