Title: The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood of Great Renown in Nottinghamshire
Author: Howard Pyle.
Genre: Fiction, litearture, children's lit, YA, historical fiction.
Publication Date: 1883.
Summary: The plot follows Robin Hood as he becomes an outlaw after a conflict with foresters and through his many adventures and run-ins with the law.
My rating: 7/10
♥ From the Author to the Reader
You who so plod amid the serious things that you feel it shame to give yourself up even for a few short moments to mirth and joyousness in the land of Fancy; you who think that life hath nought to do with innocent laughter that can harm no one; these pages are not for you. Clap to the leaves and go no farther than this, for I tell you plainly that if you go farther you will be scandalized by seeing good, sober folks in real history so frisk and caper in gay colors and motley, that you would not know them but for the names tagged to them. ... Beside these there are a whole host of knights, priests, nobles, burghers, yeomen, pages, ladies, lasses, landlords, beggars, pedlers, and what not, all living the merriest of merry lives, and all bound by nothing but a few odd strands and certain old ballads (snipped and clipped and tied together again in a score of knots) which draw these jocund fellows here and there, singing as they go.
Here you will find a hundred dull, sober, jogging places, all tricked out with flowers and what not, till no one would know them in their fanciful dress. And here is a country bearing a well-known name, wherein no chill mists press upon our spirits, and no rain falls but what rolls off our backs like April showers off the backs of sleek drakes; where flowers bloom forever and birds are always singing; where every fellow hath a merry catch as he travels the roads, and ale and beer and wine (such as muddle no wits) flow like water in a brook.
This country is no Fairy-land. What is it? 'Tis the land of Fancy, and is of that pleasant kind that, when you tire of it, - whisk! - you clap the leaves of this every-day life, with no harm done.
And now I lift the curtain that hangs between here and No-man's-land. Will you come with me, sweet Reader? I thank you. Give me your hand.
♥ To this all listened without a word, and when it was done many drew deep breaths, being carried away by the tale of knightly daring and noble sacrifice.
"It doth make a man better," quoth Robin Hood, "to hear of those noble men that lived so long ago. When one dost list to such tales, his soul doth say, 'Put by thy poor little likings and seek to do likewise.' Truly, one may not do so as nobly one's self, but in the striving one is better. I mind me our good Gaffer Swanthold was wont to say, 'He who jumps for the moon and gets it not leaps higher than he who stoops for a penny in the mud.'"
♥ "Now, lad," said he, "tell us thy troubles, and speak freely. A flow of words doth ever ease the heart of sorrows; it is like opening the waste weir when the mill-dam is over full."
♥ Now happenings so come upon us in this world that the serious things of this world become so mixed up with the merry things that our life is all of a jumble of black and white, as it were, like the boards of checkered black and white upon which country folk play draughts at the inn beside the blazing fire of a winter's night.
♥ "Come, fill us some sack!" cried Robin. "Let us e'er be merry while we may, for man is but dust, and he hath but a span to live here till the worm getteth him, as our good gossip Swanthold sayeth; so let life be merry while it lasts, say I. Nay, never look down i' the mouth, Sir Sheriff."
♥ "Trully, the river hath no side but the other," said the Friar.
"How dost thou prove that?" asked Robin.
"Why, thus;" said the Friar, noting the points upon his fingers. "The other side of the river is the other, thou grantest?"
"Yet the other side is but one side, thou dost mark?"
"No man could gainsay that," said Robin.
"Then if the other side is one side, this side is the other side. But the other side is the other side, therefor both sides of the river are the other side. Q.E.D."
♥"Truly," quoth he, "the dear world is as fair here as in the woodland shades. Who calls it a vale of tears? Methinks it is but the darkness in our minds that bringeth gloom to the world..."
♥ ...and saving, also, for the mellow snoring of Friar Tuck, who enjoyed his sleep with a noise as of one sawing soft wood very slowly.
♥ So passed the seasons then, so they pass now, and so they will pass in time to come, whilst we come and go like leaves of the tree that fall and are soon forgotten.
♥ "One man calleth me kind, another calleth me cruel; this one calleth me good, honest fellow, and that one vile thief. Truly, the world hath as many eyes to look upon a man withal as there are spots on a toad; so, with what pair of eyes thou regardest me lieth entirely with thine own self. My name is Robin Hood."
♥ Thus it happened that when young David came forth from the tent along with Sir Richard, the blood all washed from his face, and his soiled jerkin changed for a clean one, no sounds of anger were heard, but all pressed forward to see the young man, feeling proud that one of the great wrestlers of England should have entered the ring at Denby fair. For thus fickle is a mass of men.
♥ In the budding hedges the little birds twittered merrily, and on either hand the green hills swept up to the sky, the great white clouds of springtime sailing slowly over their crowns in lazy flight.
♥ Old winter had passed and spring had come. No leafy thickness had yet clad the woodlands, but the budding leaves hung like a tender mist about the trees. In the open country the meadow lands lay a sheeny green, the cornfields a dark velvety color, for they were thick and soft with the growing blades. The plough-boy shouted in the sun, and in the purple new-turned furrows flocks of birds hunted for fat worms. All the broad moist earth smiled in the warm light, and each little green hill clapped its hands for joy.
♥ "Methinks I would rather roam this forest in the gentle springtime than be king of all merry England. What palace is the broad world is as fair as this sweet woodland just now, and what king in all the world hath such appetite for plover's eggs and lampreys as I for juicy venison and sparkling ale? Gaffer Swanthold speaks truly when he saith, 'Better a crust with content than honey with a sour heart.'"
♥ The deaf man was the first to hear Robin, for he said, "Hark, brothers, I hear some one coming." And the blind man was the first to see him, for he said, "He is an honest man, brothers, and one of like craft to ourselves." Then the dumb man called to him in a great voice and said, "Welcome, brother; come and sit whilst there is still some of the feast left and a little Malmsey in the pottle." At this the lame, who had taken off his wooden leg and unstrapped his own leg, and was sitting with it stretched out upon the grass so as to rest it, made room for Robin among them. "We are glad to see thee, brother," said he, holding out the flask of Malmsey.
"Marry," quoth Robin, laughing, and weighing the flask in his hands ere he drank, "methinks it is not more than seemly of you all to be glad to see me, seeing that I bring sight to the blind, speech to the dumb, hearing to the deaf, and such a lusty leg to a lame man. I drink to your happiness, brothers, as I may not drink to your healthy, seeing ye are already hale, wind and limb."
♥ The high road stretched wide and dusty in the hot summer afternoon sun, and the trees stood motionless along the roadside. All across the meadow lands the hot air danced and quivered, and in the limpid waters of the lowland brook, spanned by a little stone bridge, the fish hung motionless above the yellow gravel, and the dragon-fly sat quite still, perched upon the sharp tip of a spike of the rushes, with its wings glistening in the sun.
♥ "Let this peril that thou hast passed through teach thee a lesson. First, be more honest. Second, be not so bold in thy comings and goings. A man that walketh in the darkness as thou dost may escape for a time, but in the end he will surely fall into the pit. Thou hast put thy head in the angry lion's mouth, and yet thou hast escaped by a miracle. Try it not again."
♥ "... for in sooth all the holiness belonging to rich friars, such as ye are, one could drop into a thimble and the good wife would never feel it with the tip of her finger."
♥ "And now, dear friend, - you who have journeyed with me all these merry doings, - I will not bid you follow me further but will drop your hand here with a "good den," if you wish it; for that which cometh hereafter speaks of the breaking up of things, and shows how joy and pleasures that are dead and gone can never be set upon their feet to walk again."
♥ Robin Hood's fingers wrapped lovingly around his good bow, and he smiled faintly when he felt it in his grasp; then he nocked the arrow on that part of the string that the tips of his fingers knew so well.
... As he finished speaking, he raised himself of a sudden and sat upright. His old strength seemed to come back to him, and, drawing his bowstring to his ear, he sped the arrow out of the open casement. As the shaft flew, his hand sank slowly with the bow till it lay across his knees, and his body likewise sank back into Little John's loving arms; but something had sped from that body, even as the winged arrow sped from the bow.
...Thus died Robin Hood, at Kirklees Nunnery, in fair Yorkshire, with mercy in his heart toward those that had been his undoing; for thus he showed mercy for the erring and pity for the weak through all the time of his living.
Hear undernead dis laitl stean
lais robert earl of huntingtun
nea arcir ver as hie sae geud
an pipl kauld im Robin Heud
sick utlaws as hi an is men
vil England nidir si agen
obiit 24 Kal. Dekembris 1247