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Act I Scene I

The garden before Sir Richard Lea's castle.

Steps leading to portico at L. A large tree, vine grown, at R.
A balustrade across back, with a view of the country beyond.
Flower beds at base of balustrade.

Kate.
(gathering flowers) These roses for my Lady Marian. These lilies to lighten Sir Richard's black room, where he sits and eats his heart for want of money to pay the Abbot.

No. 1 [7KB, 2' 39"]

(sings) The warrior Earl of Allendale,
   He loved the Lady Anne;
The lady loved the master well,
   The maid she loved the man.

All in the castle garden,
   Or ever the day began,
The lady gave a rose to the earl,
   The maid a rose to the man.

'I go to fight in Scotland
   With many a savage clan;'
The lady gave her hand to the Earl,
   The maid her hand to the man.

'Farewell, farewell, my warrior Earl!'
   And ever a tear down ran.
She gave a weeping kiss to the Earl,
   And the maid a kiss to the man.
Next Song

Enter four ragged Retainers.

First Retainer.
You do well, Mistress Kate, to sing and to gather roses. You be fed with tit-bits, you, and we be dogs that have only the bones, till we be the bones our own selves.

Kate.
I am fed with tit-bits no more than you are, but I keep a good heart and make the most of it; and, truth to say, Sir Richard and my Lady Marian fare well nigh as sparely as their people.

Second Retainer.
And look at our suits, out at knee, out at elbow. We be more like scarecrows in a field than decent serving-men; and then, I pray you, look at Robin Earl of Huntingdon's men - how fine they be in their liveries, and each of 'em as sleek and round as a mellow codlin.

Third Retainer.
She hath looked well at one of 'em, Little John.

Third Retainer.
Ay, how fine they be in their liveries, and each of 'em as full of meat as an egg, and as sleek and as round-about as a mellow codlin.

First Retainer.
But I be worse off than any of you, for I be lean by nature, and if you cram me crop-full I be little better than Famine in the picture, but if you starve me I be Gaffer Death himself. I would like to show you, Mistress Kate, how bare and spare I be on the rib: I be lanker than an old horse turned out to die on the common.

Kate.
Spare me thy spare ribs, I pray thee; but why growl and snarl ye? Did none of you love young Walter Lea?

First Retainer.
Ay, if he had not gone to fight the King's battles, we should have better battels at home.

Kate.
Right enough, but the boy was taken prisoner by the Moors.

First Retainer.
Ay.

Kate.
And Sir Richard was told he might be ransomed for two thousand marks in gold.

First Retainer.
Ay.

Kate.
Then he borrowed the monies from the Abbot of York, the Sheriff's brother. And if they be not paid back at the end of the year, the land goes to the Abbot.

Second Retainer.
And there's no news of young Walter?

Kate.
None; nor of the gold, nor the man who took out the gold; but now ye know why we live so stintedly, and why ye have so few grains to peck at. Sir Richard must scrape and scrape till he get to the land again. Come, come, why do ye loiter here? Carry fresh rushes into the dining-hall, for those that are there they be so greasy and smell so vilely that my Lady Marian holds her nose when she steps across it.

First Retainer.
Why there, now! that very word 'greasy' hath a kind of unction in it, a smack of relish about it. The rats have gnawed 'em already. I pray Heaven we may not have to take to the rushes. (Retainers exeunt.)

Kate.
Poor fellows!
(Resuming at the flowers, she sings,)
The lady gave her hand to the earl,
The maid her hand to the man. (Making a nosegay of what she has.)

Enter Little John, looking over the rail.

Little John.
Little John by Louis Rhead My master, Robin the Earl, is always a-telling us that every man should handle' all womankind gently, and hold them in all honour, and speak small to 'em, and not scare 'em, but go about to come at their love with all manner of homages, and observances, and circumbendibuses.

Kate.
(sings) The lady gave a rose to the earl,
The maid a rose to the man.

Little John.
O the sacred little thing! What a shape! what lovely arms! A rose to the man! Ay, the man had given her a rose, and she gave him another.

Kate.
(Sees John, but does not show it.) Shall I keep one little rose for Little John? No.

Little John.
There, there! She hath a tenderness toward me, but is too shy to show it. It is in her, in the woman, and the man must bring it out of her.

Kate.
(sings) She gave a weeping kiss to the earl,
The maid a kiss to the man. (Gathering more flowers and approaching him, seeming unconscious of his presence.)

Little John.
Did she? But there I am sure the ballad is at fault. It should have told us how the man first kissed the maid. She doesn't see me. Shall I be bold? Shall I touch her? Shall I give her the first kiss? (She nears him.) O sweet Kate, the first kiss, the first kiss!

Kate.
(turns and kisses him) Why lookest thou so amazed?

Little John.
I cannot tell; but I came to give thee the first kiss, and thou hast given it me.
(coming over the rail)

Kate.
But if a man and a maid care for one another, does it matter so much if the maid give the first kiss?

Little John.
I cannot tell, but I had sooner have given thee the first kiss. I was dreaming of it all the way hither.

Kate.
Dream of it, then, all the way back, for now I will have none of it.

Little John.
Nay, now thou hast given me the man's kiss, let me give thee the maid's.

Kate.
If thou draw one inch nearer, I will give thee a buffet on the face. There's Mistress Marian a-coming.

No. 2 [1KB, 0' 28"]

Little John.
Wilt thou not give me the little rose for Little John?

Kate throws it down and tramples on it.

Kate.
There! (Courtesying to Marian, who enters L. then Kate exits, L.)

Marian.
Ay, but thou hast ruffled my woman, Little John. She hath the fire in her face and the dew in her eyes. I believe thee to be too solemn and formal to be a ruffler. Out upon thee!

Little John.
I am no ruffler, my lady; but I pray you, my lady, if a man and a maid love one another, may not the maid give the first kiss?

Marian.
It will be all the more gracious of her if she do.

Little John.
I cannot tell. Manners be so corrupt, and these are the days of Prince John. (Exit at R.)

Marian sits at C., looking off over the landscape,
as the sound of a mandolin is heard off. (No. 3)

Marian.
Ah, Robin, Robin, are you yonder, thinking of me, as here my heart singeth to me of thee:

No. 4 [3KB, 2' 17"]

(sings) Love flew in at the window,
   As Wealth walk'd in at the door.
'You have come for you saw Wealth coming,' said I.
But he flutter'd his wings with a sweet little cry,
   'I'll cleave to you rich or poor,'
   'I'll cleave to you rich or poor.'

Wealth dropt out of the window,
   Poverty crept thro' the door.
'Well, now you would fain follow Wealth,' said I,
But he flutter'd his wings as he gave me the lie,
   'I cling to you all the more.'
   'I cling to you all the more.'
Next Song

Enter Sir Richard Lea reading a bond.

Sir Richard.
Marian! Thou hast sung the old proverb out of fashion!

Marian.
Father!

Sir Richard.
Who parted from thee even now?

Marian.
That strange starched stiff creature, Little John, the Earl's man. He would grapple with a lion like the King, and is flustered by a girl's kiss.

Sir Richard.
There never was an Earl so true a friend of the people as Lord Robin of Huntingdon.

Marian.
I love him as I hate John.

Sir Richard.
I fear me he hath wasted his revenues in the service of our good King Richard against the party of John, as I have done, as I have done: and where is Richard?

Marian.
Cleave to him, father! he will come home at last.

Sir Richard.
I trust he will, but if he do not I and thou are but beggars.

Marian.
We will be beggared then, and be true to the King.

Sir Richard by Louis Rhead
Sir Richard.
Thou speakest like a fool or a woman. Canst thou endure to be a beggar whose whole life hath been folded like a blossom in the sheath, like a careless sleeper in the down; who never hast felt a want, to whom all things, up to this present, have come as freely as heaven's air and mother's milk?

Marian.
Tut, father! I am none of your delicate Norman maidens who can only broider and mayhap ride a-hawking with the help of the men. By all the saints I can shoot almost as closely with the bow as the great Earl himself. I have played at the foils too with Kate: but is not to-day his birthday?

Sir Richard.
Dost thou love him indeed, that thou keepest a record of his birthdays? Thou knowest that the Sheriff of Nottingham loves thee.

Marian.
The Sheriff dare to love me? me, who worship Robin of Huntingdon? I love him as a damsel of his day might have loved Harold the Saxon. They both fought against the tyranny of the kings, but your Sheriff, your little man, if he dare to fight at all, would fight for his rents, his leases, his houses, his monies, his oxen, his dinners, himself, and this John. This Norman tyranny - the stream is bearing us all down, and our little Sheriff will ever swim with the stream! but our great Robin is against it. Ah! how often, in old histories, have the great men striven against the stream, and how often, in the long sweep of years to come, must the great man strive against it again to save his country and the liberties of his people! God bless Robin, Earl of Huntingdon!

Sir Richard.
Ay, ay. He wore thy colours once at a tourney. I am old and forget. Was Prince John there?

Marian.
The Sheriff of Nottingham was there - not John.

Sir Richard.
Beware of John and the Sheriff of Nottingham. They hunt in couples, and when they look at a maid, they blast her.

Marian.
Then the maid is not high-hearted enough.

Sir Richard.
Their aim is ever at that which flies highest - but oh, girl, girl, I am almost in despair. Those two thousand marks lent me by the Abbot for the ransom of thy brother Walter - they must be paid in a year and a month, or I lose the land. There is one that should be grateful to me overseas, a count in Brittany, I saved his life once in battle. I will go to him. I am all but sure of him. I will go to him.

Marian.
And I will follow thee, and God help us both!

Sir Richard.
Child, thou shouldst marry one who will pay the debt. Robin of Huntingdon is a friend of Richard; I know not, but he may save the land, he may save the land.

Marian.
(Showing a cross hung around her neck.) Father, look upon this cross!

Sir Richard.
Ay, the King, thy godfather, gave it thee when a baby.

Marian.
And said whenever I married he would give me away, and on this cross I have sworn (Kisses it.) there is no other man that shall give me away.

Sir Richard.
Lo, there, I am all as loyal as thyself, but what a vow! what a vow!

Re-enter Little John.

Little John.
My Lady Marian, your woman so flustered me that I forgot my message from the Earl. To-day he celebrates his thirtieth birthday, and he prays your ladyship be present at his banquet to-night.

Marian.
Say, we will come.

Little John.
And I pray you, my lady, to stand between me and your woman, Kate.

Marian.
I will speak with her.

Little John.
I thank you, my lady, and I wish you and your ladyship's father a most exceedingly good morning. (Exit)

Sir Richard.
Thou hast answered for me, but I know not if I will let thee go.

Marian.
Nay, but I mean to go.

Sir Richard.
Not if I barred thee up in thy chamber, like a bird in a cage.

Marian.
Then I would drop from the casement, like a spider.

Sir Richard.
But I would hoist the drawbridge, like thy master.

Marian.
And I would swim the moat, like an otter.

Sir Richard.
But I would set my men-at-arms to oppose thee, like the lord of the castle.

Marian
And I would break through them all, like the King of England. (Exit with a laugh.)

Sir Richard.
Well, thou shalt go. (gazing over the view beyond) But oh, the land, the land! My my great grandfather, my grandfather, and my own father - they were born and bred on it - they have trodden it for half a thousand years, and whenever I set my own foot on it I say to it, 'Thou art mine,' and it answers, 'I am thine to the very heart of the earth' - but now I have lost my gold, I have lost my son, and I shall lose my land also. (Exit.)

No. 5 [4KB, 0' 54"]


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