The Foresters

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Act II

Sherwood Forest; a glade; a hut at the L.; a bright day-light effect.

The Foresters, with Tuck, Scarlet, and others are discovered preparing to depart.
Some are cleaning their weapons, some testing their bows,
some preparing their arrows, Friar Tuck moving among them all.
Scarlet moodily reclining at C.

No. 15 [14KB, 2' 53"]

Scarlet.
There is no land like England,
Where're the light of day be;
There are no hearts like English hearts,
Such hearts of oak as they be.
There is no land like England,
Where're the light of day be;
There are no men like Englishmen,
So tall and bold as they be.

Chorus.
And these will strike for England,
And man and maid be free,
To foil and spoil the tyrant
Beneath the greenwood tree.
To foil and spoil the tyrant
Beneath the greenwood tree.

Scarlet.
There is no land like England,
Where're the light of day be;
There are no wives like English wives,
So fair and chaste as they be.
There is no land like England,
Where're the light of day be;
There are no maids like English maids,
So beautiful as they be.

Chorus.
And these shall wed with freemen,
And all their sons be free,
To sing the songs of England
Beneath the greenwood tree.
To sing the songs of England
Beneath the greenwood tree.
Next Song

At end of chorus Robin enters and waves his men away.
They disperse.

Robin Hood by Louis Rhead
Robin.
(alone) My lonely hour!
The king of day hath stept from off his throne,
Flung by the golden mantle of the cloud,
And sets, a naked fire. The King of England
Perchance this day may sink as gloriously.
I have reign'd one year in the wild wood.
One year in greater nearness to the birthday
Of the after-life, when all the sheeted dead
Are shaken from their stillness in the grave
By the last trumpet. Am I worse or better?
I am outlaw'd. I am none the worse for that.
I am a thief, ay, and a king of thieves.
Ay! but we rob the robber, wrong the wronger,
And what we wring from them we give the poor.
I am none the worse for that, and all the better
For this free forest-life. For while I sat
Among my thralls in my baronial hall
The groining hid the heavens; but since I breathed,
A houseless head beneath the sun and stars,
The soul of the woods hath stricken thro' my blood,
The love of freedom, the desire of God,
The hope of larger life hereafter, more
Tenfold than under roof.

No. 15a [1KB, 0' 07"]

Horn blown. Enter Little John and Kate.

Robin.
Why break you thus upon my lonely hour?

Little John.
I found this white doe wandering thro' the wood,
Not thine, but mine. I have shot her thro' the heart.

Kate.
He lies, my lord. I have shot him thro' the heart.

Robin.
Heaven! Thou art the very woman who waits
On the fair Marian. Tell me, tell me of her!
Thou comest a very angel out of heaven.
Where is she? and how fares she?

Kate.
O my good lord,
I am but an angel by reflected light.
Your heaven is vacant of your angel. John -
Shame on him! -
Stole on her - she was walking in the garden -
And after some slight speech about the Sheriff
He caught her round the waist, whereon she struck him
And fled into the castle. She and Sir Richard
Have past away, I know not where;
But I am weary pacing thro' the wood in search of them -
Show me some cave or cabin where I may rest.

Robin.
Go with him. I will talk with thee anon.

Exeunt Little John and Kate.

She struck him, my brave Marian, struck the Prince,
The serpent that had crept into the garden
And coil'd himself about her sacred waist.
(Passionately) Gone, and it may be gone for evermore!
O, would that I could see her for a moment
Glide like a light across these woodland ways!
Tho' in one moment she should glance away,
I should be happier for it all the year.
O, would she moved beside me like my shadow!
O, would she stood before me as my queen,
To make this Sherwood Eden o'er again,
And these rough oaks the palms of Paradise! (Looks off, and starts.)

No.16 [3KB, 0' 40"]

Who be those three yonder with bows?
- not of my band - the Sheriff, and by heaven,
Prince John himself and one of those mercenaries that suck the blood of England!
My people are all scattered, I know not where.
Have they come for me?
Here is the witch's hut.
The fool - people call her a witch - a good witch to me!
I will shelter here.

Knocks at the door of the hut.

Old Woman.
(looking out of the half door or wicket)
Ah, dear Robin! ah, noble captain, friend of the poor!

Robin.
I am chased by my foes. Disguise me - thy gown and thy coif.

Old Woman.
Come in, come in; I would give my life for thee.

Robin.
Quick, good mother, quick!

Old Woman.
Ay, ay, gown, coif, and petticoat, and the old woman's blessing with them to the last fringe.

They go in.

No.16a [2KB, 0' 19"]

Enter Prince John, Sheriff of Nottingham, and Mercenary.

Prince John.
Did we not hear the two would pass this way?
They must have past. Here is a woodman's hut.

Mercenary.
Take heed, take heed! in Nottingham they say
There bides a foul witch somewhere hereabout.

Sheriff.
Not in this hut, I take it.

Prince John.
Why not here?

Sheriff.
I saw a man go in, my lord.

Prince John.
Not two?

Sheriff.
No, my lord, one.

Prince John.
Make for the cottage then! (Mercenary knocks.)
Knock again! knock again! (He knocks again.)

Prince John.
(striking the door,) Open, open, or I will drive the door from the doorpost.

Robin, disguised, opens the half-door and leans over it.

Robin.
Come in, come on.

Prince John.
Why did ye keep us at the door so long?

Robin.
(curtseying) I was afeard it was the ghost, your worship.

Prince John.
Ghost! did one in white pass?

Robin.
(curtseying) No, your worship.

Prince John.
Did two knights pass?

Robin.
(curtseying) No, your worship.

Sheriff.
I fear me we have lost our labour, then.

Robin.
Yes, your worship.

Prince John.
Except this old hag have been bribed to lie.

Robin.
We old hags should be bribed to speak truth, for we lie by nature.

Prince John.
There was a man just now that enter'd here?

Robin.
There is but one old woman in the hut. (Old Woman yells.) I crave your worship's pardon. There is yet another old woman. She was murdered here a hundred years ago, and whenever a murder is to be done again she yells out i' this way - so they say, your worship.

Mercenary.
Now, if I hadn't a sprig o' wickentree sewn into my dress, I should run.

Prince John.
Tut! tut! the scream of some wild woodland thing.
How came we to be parted from our men?
We shouted, and they shouted, as I thought,
But shout and echo play'd into each other
So hollowly we knew not which was which.

Robin.
The wood is full of echoes, owls, elfs, ouphes, oafs, ghosts o' the mist, wills-o'-the- wisp; only they that be bred in it can find their way a-nights in it.

Prince John.
I am footsore and famish'd therewithal.
Is there aught within?

Robin.
Sour milk and black bread.

Prince John.
Well, set them forth. (Robin disappears.) I could eat anything.

Robin reappears and offers a platter with black bread, and a jug of milk.

Prince John.
This is mere marble. Old hag, how should thy one tooth drill thro' this?

Robin.
Nay, by Saint Gemini, I ha' two; and since the sheriff left me naught but an empty belly, they can meet upon anything thro' a millstone. You gentles that live upo' manchet-bread and march-pane, what should you know o' the food o' the poor? There's for you, and there's for you - and the old woman's welcome.

Prince John.
The old wretch is mad, and her bread is beyond me; and the milk - faugh! Hast thou a cow perhaps?

Robin.
Ay, for when the Sheriff took my little horse without paying for it -

Sheriff.
How hadst thou then the means to buy a cow?

Robin.
She was given me.

Sheriff.
By whom?

Robin.
By a thief.

Sheriff.
Who, woman, who?

Robin.

No. 16b [1KB, 0' 09"]

(sings) He was a forester good;
He was the cock o' the walk;
He was the king o' the wood.
Your worship may find another rhyme if you care to drag your brains for such a minnow.

Sheriff.
That cow was mine. I have lost a cow from my meadow. Robin Hood was it? I thought as much. He will come to the gibbet at last. (Old Woman yells.)

Mercenary.
O sweet sir, talk not of cows. You anger the spirit.

Robin.
I beseech you all to speak lower. Robin may be hard by wi' three-score of his men. He often looks in here by the moonshine. Beware of Robin. (Old Woman yells.)

Mercenary.
Ah, do you hear? There may be murder done.

Sheriff.
Have you not finished, my Lord?

Robin.
Thou hast crost him in love, and I have heard him swear he will be even wi' thee.(Old Woman yells.)

Prince John.
Why do you listen, man, to the old fool?

Sheriff.
I will give thee a silver penny if thou wilt show us the way back to Nottingham.

Prince John.
How should this old lamester guide us? Where is thy good man?

Robin.
The Saints were so kind to both on us that he was dead before he was born. (Coming forward with his bow, using it as a staff.)

Prince John.
Half-witted and a witch to boot! Mislead us, and I will have thy life! and what doest thou with that, who art more bow-bent than the very bow thou carriest?

Robin.
I keep it to kill nightingales.

Prince John.
Nightingales!

Robin.
You see, they are so fond o' their own voices that I cannot sleep o' nights by cause on 'em.

Sheriff.
(Laying a hand on the bow.) This is no bow to hit nightingales; this is a true woodman's bow of the best yew-wood to slay the deer.

Robin.
(Rising upright and clutching his bow.) Why, an old woman can shoot closer than you two.

Prince John.
Thou standest straight. Thou speakest manlike. Thou art no old woman - thou art disguised - thou art one of the thieves.

Makes a clutch at the gown, which comes in pieces and falls,
showing Robin in his forester's dress.

No. 17 [3KB, 0' 35"]

Sheriff.
It is the very captain of the thieves!

Prince John.
We have him at last; we have him at advantage. Strike, Sheriff! Strike, Mercenary!

They draw swords and attack him; he defends himself with his.
Enter Little John.

Little John.
How now? Clashing of swords? Three upon one? And that one our Robin!
Rogues, have you no manhood?

Draws and defends Robin.
Enter Sir Richard Lea in armour.

Sir Richard.
Old as I am, I will not brook to see
Three upon two.

Draws on Robin's side.
The other three are beaten off and exeunt.
Enter Friar Tuck.

Friar Tuck.
I am too late then with my quarterstaff?

Robin.
Quick, Friar! follow them!
See whether there be more of 'em in the wood.

Friar Tuck.
On the gallop, on the gallop, Robin, like a deer from a dog, or a colt from a gad-fly, or a stump-tailed ox in May-time, or the cow that jumped over the moon. (Exit.)

Robin.
Nay, nay, but softly, lest they spy thee, Friar!
(To Sir Richard, who reels.) Take thou mine arm. Who art thou, gallant knight?

Sir Richard.
Robin, know you me not?

Robin.
Sir Richard!

Sir Richard.
Who be those three that I have fought withal?

Robin.
Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Sir Richard.
Prince John again! We are flying from this John.
The Sheriff - I am grieved it was the Sheriff;
For, Robin, he must be my son-in-law.
Thou art an outlaw, and couldst never pay
The mortgage on my land. Thou wilt not see
My Marian more. So - so - I have presumed
Beyond my strength. Give me a draught of wine -
A draught of wine.

No. 18 [lKB, 0' 16"]

Marian enters, in the habit of a Red-Cross Knight.

Sir Richard.
Follow me, my son, follow me. This is my son but late escaped
From prison. Follow me, lad - follow -

Robin.
Our cellar is hard by.
Take him, good Little John, and give him wine.

Exit Sir Richard leaning on Little John.

Robin
(To Maid Marian, who is following her father.) Thou art his son,
I pray thee, stay a moment.

Marian.
A moment! - for some matter of no moment!
Well, then, take and use your moment, while you may.

Robin.
Thou art her brother.
Her face is thine, and if thou be as gentle
Give me some news of my sweet Marian.
Where is she?

Marian.
Thy sweet Marian? I believe
She came with me into the forest here.

Robin.
She follow'd thee into the forest here?

Marian.
Nay - that, my friend, I am sure I did not say.

Robin.
Thou blowest hot and cold. Where is she then?

Marian.
Is she not here with thee?

Robin.
Would Jove she were!

Marian.
If not with thee I know not where she is.
She may have lighted on your fairies here,
And now be skipping in their fairy-rings,
And capering hand in hand with Oberon.

Robin.
Peace!

Marian.
Or learning witchcraft of your woodland witch,
And how to charm and waste the hearts of men.

Robin.
That is not brother-like.

Marian.
(pointing to the sky) Or there perchance
Up yonder with the man i' the moon.

Robin.
No more!

Marian.
Or haply fallen victim to the wolf.

Robin.
Tut! be there wolves in Sherwood?

Marian.
The wolf, John!

Robin.
Curse him! but thou art mocking me. Thou art
Her brother - I forgive thee. Come, be thou
My brother too. She loves me.

Marian.
Doth she so?

Robin.
Do you doubt me when I say she loves me, man?

Marian.
No, but my father will not lose his land;
Rather than that would wed her with the Sheriff.

Robin.
Thou hold'st with him?

Marian.
Yes, in some sort I do.

Robin.
Thou hold'st with him?

Marian.
I tell thee, in some sort.

Robin.
(angrily) Sort! sort! what sort? what sort of man art thou -
For land, not love? Thou wilt inherit the land,
And so wouldst sell thy sister to the Sheriff,
O thou unworthy brother of my dear Marian!
And, now I do bethink me, thou wast by
And never drewest sword to help the old man
When he was fighting.

Marian.
There were three to three.

Robin.
Thou shouldst have ta'en his place, and fought for him.

Marian.
He did it so well there was no call for me.

Robin.
Come now, I fain would have a bout with thee.
It is but pastime - nay, I will not harm thee.
Draw!

Marian.
Earl, I would fight with any man but thee.

Robin.
Come, boy! 'tis but to see if thou canst fence.
Draw! (Draws.)

Marian.
No, Sir Earl, I will not fight to-day.

Robin.
To-morrow then?

Marian.
Well, I will fight to-morrow.

Robin.
Give me thy glove upon it.

No. 19 [2KB, 1' 01"]

Marian.
(pulls off her glove and gives it to him) There!

Robin.
And there!
What sparkles in the moonlight on thy hand? (Takes her hand)
In that great heat to wed her to the sheriff
Thou hast robb'd my girl of her betrothal ring.

Marian.
No, no!

Robin.
What! do I not know mine own ring?

Marian.
I keep it for her.

Robin.
Nay, she swore it never
Should leave her finger. Give it me, by heaven,
Or I will force it from thee.

Marian.
Why, Robin, Robin!

Robin.
Marian!
Is it thou? I fall before thee. I am ashamed.

She moves from him, the moonlight falls upon her.

O, look! before the shadow of these dark oaks
Thou seems't a saintly splendour out from heaven,
Clothed with the mystic silver of her moon.
Speak but one word, not only of forgiveness,
But to show thou art mortal.

Marian.
Mortal enough,
If love for thee be mortal. Lovers hold
True love immortal. Robin, tho' I love thee,
We cannot come together yet. My father
And I and he are passing overseas:
He has a friend there will advance the ransom.
So now the forest lawns are all as bright
As ways to heaven, I pray thee give us guides
To lead us thro' the windings of the wood.

Robin.
Oh, go not yet, stay with us, and when thy brother -

Marian.
Robin, I ever held that saying false
That Love is blind, but thou hast proven it true.
Why - even your woodland squirrel sees the nut
Behind the shell, and thee, however mask'd,
I should have known. But thou - to dream that he
My brother, my dear Walter - now, perhaps,
Fetter'd and lash'd, a galley-slave, or closed
For ever in a Moorish tower, or wreckt
And dead beneath the midland ocean, he
As gentle as he's brave - that such as he
Would wrest from me the precious ring I promised
Never to part with - No, not he, nor any.
I would have battled for it to the death. (In her excitement she draws her sword.)
See, thou hast wrong'd my brother and myself.

Robin.
(kneeling) See then, I kneel once more to be forgiven.

Enter several of the Foresters, rushing on.

Scarlet.
Our Robin beaten, pleading for his life!
Seize on the knight! wrench his sword from him!

They all rush on Marian.

Robin.
(springing up and waving his hand) Back!
Back all of you! this is Maid Marian
Flying from John - disguised.

Men.
Maid Marian? she?

Much.
Captain, we saw thee cowering to a knight
And thought thou wert bewitch'd.

Marian.
You dared to dream
That our great Robin would cower to any
Of mortal build! This doubt in thee begets a doubt in me. Robin, I know not, can I trust myself
With your brave band? In some of these may lodge
That baseness which for fear or monies, might
Betray me to the wild prince.

Robin.
No, Marian, no!
Not any of these, I swear!

Men.
No, no, we swear.

Robin.
Stay with us in this wood, stay with us here,
Sweet Marian, till thou wed what man thou wilt.
All here will prize thee, honour, worship thee,
Crown thee with flowers.

No. 20 [2KB 0' 37"]

Enter Little John and Kate, who falls on the neck of Marian.

Kate.
O false knight, or mistress fair, hide not thyself
From her who loves thee.

Little John.
What!
Wilt thou embrace thy sweetheart 'fore my face?
Quick with my sword! (He draws.)

Kate.
O, hold thy hand! this is our Marian.

Robin.
Down with thy sword! she is my queen and thine,
The mistress of the band!

Foresters.
All hail Queen Marian!

Marian.
They hail me, Robin!
Well, be it so, thou strongest thief of all,
For thou hast stolen my will and made it thine!
Had I a bulrush now, in this right hand,
For sceptre, I were like a queen indeed!

Robin.
Thou art our Queen! - our woodland Queen! - Queen Marian!

No. 21 [2KB, 0' 17"]

All.
Queen Marian! (Kneeling and each raising an arrow or sword in salute.)

CURTAIN


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