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awaits him in the forest whom he loves better; still her constancy is unshaken, and in noble admiration he confesses:

Myne owne dere love, I se the prove
That ye be kynde, and true:
Of mayde, and wyfe, in all my lyfe,
The best that ever I knewe.
Be nat dismayed: whatsoever I sayd
To you, whan I began;
I wyli nat to the grene wode go,

I am no banyshed man.'

'These tydings be more gladd to me Ye shall not nede further to drede;
Than to be made a quene,

I wyll not dysparage
Yf I were sure they sholde endure: You (God defend !) syth ye descend
But it is often sene,

Of so grete a lynage.
Whan men wyll breke promyse, they speke Now undyrstande; to Westmarlande,
The wordes on the splene.

Which is myne herytage,
Ye shape some wyle me to begyle, I wyll you brynge, and with a rynge
And stele from me, I wene:

By way of maryage
Than were the case worse than it was, I wyll you take, and lady make,
And I more wo-begone:

As shortely as I can:
For, in my mynde, of all mankynde Thus have you now an crlys son
I love but you alone.

And not a banyshed man.' Wherefore pay your tribute to the beautiful, not withstanding the free insinuations of the cynic, for,

Here may ye se, that women be
In love, meke, kynde, and stable:
Late never man reprove them then,
Or call them variable:
But, rather, pray God, that we may

To them be comfortable.' We all need something to idealize. Science, literature, art, music, all work that way, this for one, that for another. In the popular ideal, you will discover the national character. Here it is Robin Hood, living in the green forest free and bold, ready to draw his bow in the sheriff's face; generous, compassionate, giving to the poor the spoils of the rich; religious, after the fashion,

'A good maner then had Robyn
In land where that he were,
Every daye ere he wolde dine

Three masses folde he hear;' chivalrous withal, for the worship of the Virgin softens the temper of the outlaw,

“Robyn loved our dere lady;
For doute of dedely synne,
Would he never do company harme
That ony woman was ynne.'

Before all, fearless and valiant, and joyously so, the champion of the commons against oppression, civil and ecclesiastical. It is he,' says an old historian, “whom the common people love so dearly to celebrate in games and comedies, and whose history, sung by fiddlers, interests them more than any other.' Robin dreams, 'in the greenwood where he lay,' that two yeomen are thrashing him, and he wants to go and find them, repulsing Little John, who offers to lead the way:

""Ah! John, by me thou settest noe store,
And that I farley finde;
How offt send I my men beffore,

And tarry my selfe behinde!")
He goes alone, and meets the brave Guy of Gisborne:

""Good morrow, good fellow," said Robin so fair,
“Good morrow, good fellow," quoth he,
“Methinks by the bow thou bearest in thy hand,
A good archer thou shouldst be."
“I am wandering from my way," quoth the yeoman,
"And of my morning ride."
"I'll lead thee thro' the wood," said Robin,
“Good fellow, I'll be thy guide."
"I seek an outlaw," the stranger said,
“Men call him Robin Hood,
Rather I'd meet with that proud outlaw
Than forty pound so good.“
"Now come with me, thou lusty yeoman,
And Robin thou soon shall see;
But first, let i1s some pastime find,
Under the greenwood tree."
“Now tell me thy name, good fellow," quoth he,
“Under the leaves of lime."
“Nay, by my faith," quoth bold Robin,
* Till thou hast told me thine."
“I dwell by dale and down," quoth he,
"And Robin to take I'm sworn,
And when I'm called by my right name,
I'm Guy of good Gisborne."
“My dwelling is in this wood," says Robin,
* By thee I set right nought:
I am Robin Hood of Barnesdale,
Whom thou so long hast sought."
He that to neither were kith or kin
Might have seen a full fair sight,
To see how together these yeomen went,
With blades both brown and bright.
To see how these yeomen together they fought,
Two hours of a summer's day;
Yet neither Sir Guy nor Robin Hood
Them settled to fly away.'

These redoubtable archers fight very amicably, jovially, hating only traitors and tyrants. Bold Robin is the representative of a class who revel in fighting as a pastime. An honest exchange of blows, whoever is worsted, always prepares the way for fellowship and respect:

""I pass not for length," bold Arthur reply'd,
“My staff is of oke so free;
Eight foot and a half, it will knock down a call,
And I hope it will knock down thee."
Theu Robin could no longer forbear,
He gave him such a knock,
Quickly and soon the blood came down
Before it was ten a clock.
Then Arthur he soon recovered himself
And gave him such a knock on the crown,
That from every side of bold Robin Hood's head
The blood came trickling down.
Then Robin raged like a wild hoar,
As soon as he saw his own blood:
Then Bland was in hast, he laid on so fast,
As though he had been cleaving of wood.
And about and about and about they went,
Like two wild bores in a chase,
Striving to aim each other to main,
Leg, arm, or any other place.
And knock for knock thcy lustily dealt,
Which held for two hours and more,
Till all the wood rang at every bang,
They plyed their work so sore.
“Hold thy hand, hold thy hand," said Robin Hood,
“And let thy quarrel fall;
For hero we may thrash our bones all to mesh,
And get no coyn at all.
And in the forest of merry Sherwood,
Hereafter thou shalt be free."
"God a mercy for nought, my freedom I bought,

I may thank my staff, and not thee. When the bandit and his antagonists have fought to the defeat of one or the satisfaction of all, they embrace, or shake hands, then dance together on the green grass:

• Then Robin took them both by the hands,
And danc'd round about the oke tree,
* For three merry men, and three merry men,

And three merry men we be."" Will the discontent of such men be overlooked ? They conquer and maintain liberty by their native roughness. Upon the haughtiest prince they impose a restraint stronger than any which mere

laws can impose. He may overstep the constitutional line; but they will exercise the like privilege whenever his encroachments are so serious as to excite alarm.

Prose.- No expansion of prose is possible, until the realities of life, political, social, and ecclesiastical, can be safely discussed. Thought was restrained in too many ways to allow much range of exercise beyond the unsubstantial realm of poetry. Hence the prose writers of the period are not numerous, and, with few exceptions, are unimportant. It is worthy of remark, however, that they exhibit three new kinds of composition,-epistolary, politi cal, and ästhetic.

The Paston Letters, written chiefly by persons of rank and condition, contain many curious specimens of correspondence belonging to this and the preceding century. They are unique, and give an interesting picture of social life. In one, for example, we have a glimpse of the state of the Norfolk coast:

•On Saturday last past, Dravall, half-brother to Warren Harman, was taken with enemies walking by the sea-side; and they have him forth with them, and they took two pilgrims, a man and a woman. ... God give grace that the sca may be better kept thau it is now, or else it shall be a perilous dwelling by the seacoast.' One of the remarkable features of the age was the incessant litigation. Agnes Paston writes to one of her sons:

"I greet you well, and advise you to think once of the day of your father's counsel to learn the law, for he said many times that whosoever should dwell at Paston should have need to con to defend himself.' One of the Pastons is reproved for his extravagance in dress and servants:

'It is the guise of your countrymen to spend all the goods they have on men and livery gowns, and horse and harness, and so bear it out for a while, and at the last they are but beggars.' It would appear that in what least concerns others, others most assiduously, then as now, intermeddled,

The queen came into this town on Tuesday last past, afternoon, and abode here till it was Thursday afternoon; and she sent after my cousin Elizabeth Clerc, to come to her; and she durst not disobey her commandment, and came to her. And when she came in the queen's presence, the queen made right much of her, and desired her to have an hus. band, the which ye shall know of hereafter, But us for that he is never nearer than he was before. It seems to have been dangerous to write freely; and an opinion upon passing events or the characters of men was usually supplemented by some such sentence as,

After this is read and understood, I pray you burn or break it, for I am loth to write anything of any lord. The profuse liberality of parliament in voting supplies to Edward IV is rebuked,

*The king goeth so near us in this country, both to poor and rich, that I wot not how we shall live, unless the world amend.'

The first to weigh and explain the constitution of his country was Fortescue, who wrote, in exile, a discourse of real and lasting value on The Difference between an Absolute and a Limited Monarchy, in which the state of France under a despot is contrasted with that of England. He says to the young prince whom he is instructing:

* The same Commons he so impoverished and distroyed, that they may unneth? lyve. Thay drink water, thay eate apples, with bred right brown made of rye. They eate no feshe, but if it be selden, a litill larde, or of the entrails or heds of bests sclayne for the nobles and merchants of the land. They weryn no wollyn, but if it be a pore cote under their uttermost garment, made of grete canvass, and calit a frok. Their hosyn be of like canvas, and passen not their knee, wherfor they be gartrid and their thyglis bare. Their wils and children gone bare fote. ... For sum of them, that was wonte to pay to his lord for his tenement which he hyrith by the year a scute? payth now to the kyng, over that scute, fyre skuts. Wher thrugh they be artyd 3 by necessity -0 to watch, labour 2n11 grb in the ground for their sustenance, that their nature is much wasted, and the kynd of them brought to yowght. Thay gone crokyd and ar feeble, not able to fight nor to defend the realm; nor they have wepon, nor monye to buy them wepon withal. , This is the frute first of hyre Jus regale. But blessed be God, this land ys rulid tinder a better lawe, and therfor the people therof be not in such pepurye, nor therby hurt in their persons, but they be wealthie and have all things necessarie to the sustenance of natire. Wherefore they be myghty and able to resyste the adversaries of the realms that do or will do them wrong. Loo, this is the frut of Jus politicum et regale, under which we lyve.'

In the decline of romantic literature, one last and famous effort was made, about 1470, by Sir Thomas Malory, in that tessellated compilement of Morte d'Arthur, whose mottled pieces, struck from the vast quarry of the Round Table, are squared together by no unskilful hand. Its style, always animated and flowing, mounts occasionally into the region of eloquence:

"Oh! ye mighty and pompous lords, winning in the glories transitory of this unstable life, as in reigning over great realms and mighty great countries, fortified with strong castles and towers, edified with many a rich city; yea also, ye fierce and mighty knights, so valiant in adventurous deeds of arms, behold: behold! see how this mighty conqueror, King Arthur, whom in his human life all the world dreaded, yea also the noble Queen Guenever, which sometime sat in her chair adorned with gold, pearls, and precious stones, now }ie full low in obscure foss, or pit, covered with clods of earth and clay! Behold also this mighty champion, Sir Lancelot, peerless of all knighthood: see now how be lieth grovelling upon the cold mould; now being so feeble and faint, that sometime was so terrible: how, and in what manner, ought ye to be so desirons of worldly hononr

1 Scarcely.

?About three shillings and fourpence.

3 Compelled.

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