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How Robin and His Outlaws Lived in The Woods

 Robin and his merry men
: Lived just like the birds;
They had almost as many tracks as thoughts,
: And whistles and songs as words.
Up they were with the earliest sign Of the sun's up-looking eye; But not an archer breakfasted Till he twinkled from the sky.
All the morning they were wont To fly their grey-goose quills At butts, or wands, or trees, or twigs, Till theirs was the skill of skills.
With swords too they played lustily, And at quarter-staff; Many a hit would have made some cry, Which only made them laugh.
The horn was then their dinner-bell; When like princes of the wood, Under the glimmering summer trees, Pure venison was their food.
Pure venison and a little wine, Except when the skies were rough; Or when they had a feasting day; For their blood was wine enough.
And story then, and joke, and song, And Harry's harp went round; And sometimes they'd get up and dance, For pleasure of the sound.
Tingle, tangle! said the harp, As they footed in and out: Good lord! it was a sight to see Their feathers float about;-- A pleasant sight, especially : If Margery was there, Or little Ciss, or laughing Bess, : Or Moll with the clumps of hair; Or any other merry lass : From the neighbouring villages, Who came with milk and eggs, or fruit, : A singing through the trees.
For all the country round about : Was fond of Robin Hood, With whom they got a share of more : Than the acorns in the wood; Nor ever would he suffer harm : To woman, above all; No plunder, were she ne'er so great, : No fright to great or small; No,—not a single kiss unliked, : Nor one look-saddening clip; Accurst be he, said Robin Hood, : Makes pale a woman's lip.
Only on the haughty rich, : And on their unjust store, He'd lay his fines of equity : For his merry men and the poor.
And special was his joy, no doubt : (Which made the dish to curse) To light upon a good fat friar, : And carve him of his purse.
A monk to him was a toad in the hole, : And an abbot a pig in grain, But a bishop was a baron of beef, : With cut and come again.
Never poor man came for help, And wnet away denied; Never woman for redress, And went away wet-eyed.
Says Robin to the poor who came : To ask of him relief, You do but get your goods again, : That were altered by the thief; There, ploughman, is a sheaf of your's : Turned to yellow gold; And, miller, there's your last year's rent, : 'Twill wrap thee from the cold: And you there, Wat of Lancashire, : Who such a way have come, Get upon your land-tax, man, : And ride it merrily home.

by James Henry Leigh Hunt
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