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Robin Hood

by
 to a friend 

No! those days are gone away
And their hours are old and gray,
And their minutes buried all
Under the down-trodden pall
Of the leaves of many years:
Many times have winter's shears,
Frozen North, and chilling East,
Sounded tempests to the feast
Of the forest's whispering fleeces,
Since men knew nor rent nor leases.
No, the bugle sounds no more, And the twanging bow no more; Silent is the ivory shrill Past the heath and up the hill; There is no mid-forest laugh, Where lone Echo gives the half To some wight, amaz'd to hear Jesting, deep in forest drear.
On the fairest time of June You may go, with sun or moon, Or the seven stars to light you, Or the polar ray to right you; But you never may behold Little John, or Robin bold; Never one, of all the clan, Thrumming on an empty can Some old hunting ditty, while He doth his green way beguile To fair hostess Merriment, Down beside the pasture Trent; For he left the merry tale Messenger for spicy ale.
Gone, the merry morris din; Gone, the song of Gamelyn; Gone, the tough-belted outlaw Idling in the "grenè shawe"; All are gone away and past! And if Robin should be cast Sudden from his turfed grave, And if Marian should have Once again her forest days, She would weep, and he would craze: He would swear, for all his oaks, Fall'n beneath the dockyard strokes, Have rotted on the briny seas; She would weep that her wild bees Sang not to her--strange! that honey Can't be got without hard money! So it is: yet let us sing, Honour to the old bow-string! Honour to the bugle-horn! Honour to the woods unshorn! Honour to the Lincoln green! Honour to the archer keen! Honour to tight little John, And the horse he rode upon! Honour to bold Robin Hood, Sleeping in the underwood! Honour to maid Marian, And to all the Sherwood-clan! Though their days have hurried by Let us two a burden try.

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