The Foresters


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Act IV

The Heart of the Forest, Sunrise and full day.
A cave at the L. A fallen tree at the R.

No. 33 [4KB, 1' 03"]

Enter Marian and Kate. Marian tripping on, gathering flowers.

Kate.
What makes you seem so cold, my Lady Marian?

Marian.
Cold, d'ye say? How cold?
Kate.
To Love and Robin
Marian.
What makes thee think I seem so cold to Robin?

Kate.
You never whisper close as lovers do,
Nor care to leap into each other's arms.

Marian.
There is a fence I cannot overleap.

Kate.
Thy father's will. Then you will wed the Sheriff?

Marian.
When Heaven falls! But listen - overhead -
Fluting, and piping, and luting, 'Love, love, love' -
Those sweet tree-Cupids half-way up in Heaven,
The birds! Would I were one of 'em! Oh, good Kate -
If my man-Robin were but a bird-Robin,
How happily would we lilt among the leaves,
Love, love, love, love! What merry madness! listen!

Kate.
Look! yonder your man-Robin comes;
I'll not meet him now - but call
Kate when you will, for I am close at hand. (Exit.)

Enter Robin.

Robin.
Thy father, Marian dear, will not grace our feast
With his white beard today.

Marian.
Alas!

Robin.
Hast thou no sigh but sigh for him?

Marian.
Robin, the sweet light of a mother's eye,
The beam of dawn upon the opening flower,
Has never glanced upon me when a child.
He was my father, mother, both in one,
The love that children owe to both I give
To him alone.

Robin.
(Taking a tress of her hair in his hand.)
Time! if his backward-working alchemy
Should change this gold to silver, why, the silver
Were dear as gold, the wrinkle as the dimple.
Thy bee should buzz about the court of John.
No ribald John is Love, no wanton prince,
The ruler of an hour, but lawful King,
Whose writ will run thro' all the range of life.
Out upon all hard-hearted maidenhood!

Marian.
And out upon all simple-hearted bachelors.
Ah, well! thou seest the land has come between us,
And this rich Sheriff, too, has come between us;
And my father's will has come between us,
So, is it not all over now between us?
Gone, like a deer that hath escaped thine arrow!

Robin.
What deer, when I have mark'd him, ever yet
Escaped mine arrow? Over is it? Wilt thou
Give me thy hand on that?

Marian.
Take it.

Robin.
(Kisses her hand.) The Sheriff!
This ring cries out against thee. Say it again,
And by this ring, the lips that never breathed
Love's falsehood to true maid will seal Love's truth
On those sweet lips that dare to dally with it.

Marian.
Quiet, quiet! or I will to my father.

Robin.
Then that bond he hath
Of the abbot - wilt thou ask him for it?

Marian.
Why?

Robin.
I have sent to the Abbot and Justiciary
To bring their counter-bond into the forest.

Marian.
What wilt thou do with the bond, then?

Robin.
Wait and see.
What wilt thou do with the Sheriff?

No. 34 [2KB 0' 12"]

Marian.
Wait and see.
I bring the bond.

Exit Marian.

Enter Little John, Friar Tuck, and Much, and Foresters and Peasants
laughing and talking.

Robin.
Have you glanced down thro' all the forest ways,
And mark'd if those two knaves from York be coming?

Little John.
Not yet, but here comes one of bigger mould.

No. 35 [1KB, 0' 08"]

Enter King Richard, his face hidden by slouching head-dress.

Little John.
Art thou a knight?

King Richard.
I am.

Robin.
And walkest here
Unarmour'd? all these walks are Robin Hood's,
And sometimes perilous.

King Richard.
Good! but having lived
For twenty days and nights in mail, at last
I crawl'd, like a sick crab, from my old shell,
That I might breathe for a moment free of shield
And cuirass in this forest where I dreamed
That all was peace.
(aside) What if these knaves should know me for their King?

Robin.
Art thou for Richard, or allied to John?

King Richard.
I am allied to John.

Robin.
The worse for thee.

King Richard.
Art thou that banished Earl of Huntingdon,
The chief of these outlaws who break the law?

Friar Tuck.
Fine him! fine him! he hath called plain
Robin an Earl. How much is it, Robin, for a knight?

Robin.
A mark.

King Richard.
(Gives it.) There.

Robin.
Thou payest easily, like a good fellow,
But being o' John's side we must have thy gold.

King Richard.
But I am more for Richard than for John.

Robin.
What, what, a truckler! a word-eating coward!
Nay, search him then. How much hast thou about thee?

King Richard.
I had one mark.

Robin.
What more?

King Richard.
No more, I think.
But how then if I will not bide to be searched?

Robin.
We are four to one.

King Richard.
And I might deal with four.

Robin.
But if I wind
This forest-horn of mine I can bring down
Fourscore tall fellows on thee.

King Richard.
Search me then.
I should be hard beset with thy fourscore.

Little John.
(Searching King Richard.) Robin, he hath No more. He hath spoken truth.

Robin.
I am glad of it. Give him back his gold again.

King Richard.
But I had liefer than this gold again,
Not having broken fast the livelong day,
Something to eat.

Robin.
And thou shalt have it, man.
Our feast is yonder, spread beneath an oak,
A savoury viand, so thou be not
Squeamish at eating the King's venison.

King Richard.
Nay, Robin, I am like thyself in that
I look on the King's venison as my own.

Friar Tuck.
Ay, ay, Robin, but let him know our forest laws: he that pays not for his dinner must fight for it. Ay, and so thou fight at quarterstaff for thy dinner with our Robin, that will give thee a new zest for it, though thou wert like a bottle full up to the cork, or as hollow as a box, or the head of a fool, or the heart of Prince John, or any other symbol of vacuity.

They bring out the quarterstaffs.

King Richard.
Great woodland King, I know not quarterstaff.

Robin.
Then thou shalt play the game of buffets with us.

King Richard.
What's that?

Robin.
I stand up here, thou there. I give thee
A buffet, and thou me. The Holy Virgin
Stand by the strongest. I am overbreathed,
Take him and try him, friar.

Friar Tuck.
There! (Strikes.)

King Richard.
(Strikes.) There! (Friar falls.)

Friar Tuck.
There,
Thou hast roll'd over the Church militant
Nay, I defy thee still. Try me an hour hence.
I am misty with a thimbleful of ale.

Robin.
Thou seest, Sir Knight, our friar is so holy
That he's a miracle-monger, and can make
Five quarts pass into a thimble. Up, good Much.

Little John.
Ay, for Old Much is every inch a man.
We should be all the more beholden to him.

Much.
Much and more, much and more! I am the oldest of thy men, and thou and thy youngsters are always muching and moreing me. There! (Strikes.)

King Richard.
There! (Much falls.)

Robin.
'Much would have more,' says the proverb; but Much hath had more than enough. Give me thy hand, Much; I love thee (lifts him up). At him, Scarlet.

Scarlet.
I cannot cope with him: my wrist is strained.

King Richard.
Try, thyself, valorous Robin!

Robin.
I am mortally afeard o' thee, thou big man;
But seeing valour is one against all odds,
There!

King Richard.
There!

Robin stumbles, and is caught in the arms of Little John.


Robin.
Good, now I love thee mightily, thou tall fellow.
Break thine alliance with this faithless John,
And live with us and the birds in the green wood.

King Richard.
I cannot break it, Robin, if I wish'd.
Still I am more for Richard than for John.

No. 36 [lKB, 0' 09"]

Enter Marian hastily.

Marian.
Look, Robin, at the far end of the glade
I see two figures crawling up the hill.

No. 37 [lKB, 0' 04"]

Distant sound of trumpets.

Robin.
The Abbot of York and his Justiciary.

King Richard.
(aside) Friends of John, my brother!
They know me - I must not as yet be known.
(aloud) Friends, your free sports have swallow'd my free hour.
Farewell, at once, for I must hence upon
The King's affair.

Robin.
Not taste his venison first?

Friar Tuck.
Hast thou not fought for it, and earn'd it? Stay,
Dine with our brethren here, and on thine own.

King Richard.
It may not be - farewell! Farewell!
I left mine horse and armour with a squire,
And I must see to 'em.

Robin.
When wilt thou return?

King Richard.
Return, I? When? When Richard shall return.

Robin.
No sooner? When will that be? Canst thou tell?
But I have ta'en a sudden fancy to thee.
Accept this horn! If e'er though be assail'd
In any of our forests, blow upon it
Three mots - this fashion - listen! (blows)
Canst thou do it? (King Richard blows.)
Blown like a true son of the woods. Farewell!

Exit King Richard.

Enter Abbott and Justiciary.

Friar Tuck.
Church and Law, halt and pay toll!

Justiciary.
Rogue, we have thy captain's safe-conduct; though he be the chief of rogues, he hath never broken his word.

Abbot.
There is our bond. (Gives it to Robin.)

Robin.
I thank thee.

Justiciary.
Ay, but where,
Where is this old Sir Richard of the Lea?
Thou told'st us we should meet him in the forest,
Where he would pay us down his thousand marks.

Marian.
Give him another month, and he will pay it.

Justiciary.
We cannot give a month.

Marian.
Why, then a week.

Justiciary.
No, not an hour: the debt is due to-day!

Abbot.
Where is this laggard Richard of the Lea?

Robin.
He hath been hurt, was growing whole again,
Have you no pity? must you see this man?

Justiciary.
Ay, ay, what else? how else can this be settled?

Robin.
Go, men, and fetch him hither on the litter.

No. 38 [lKB, 0' 15"]

Sir Richard Lea is brought in. Kate following.

Justiciary.
Sir Richard, it was agreed when you borrowed these moneys from the Abbot, that, if they were not repaid within a limited time, your land should be the forfeit.

Sir Richard.
(wandering) The land! the land!

Marian.
You see he is past himself.
What would you more?

Justiciary.
What more? One thousand marks,
Or else the land.
You hide this damsel in your forest here, (points to Marian)
You hope to hold and keep her for yourself,
You heed not how you soil her maiden fame,
You scheme against her father's weal and hers;
For, so this maid would wed our brother, he
Would pay us all the debt at once, and thus
This old Sir Richard might redeem his land.
He is all for love, he cares not for the land.

Sir Richard.
The land! the land!

Robin.
(Giving two bags to the Abbot.)
Here be one thousand marks
Out of our treasury to redeem the land. (pointing to each of the bags)
Half here, half there. (Plaudits from his band, "Bravo, Robin!")

Justiciary.
Ay, ay, but there is for use four hundred marks.

Robin.
(Giving a bag to Justiciary.) There then, four hundred marks.
(Plaudits, "Well done, Robin!")

Justiciary.
What did I say?
Nay, my tongues tript - six hundred marks for use.

Robin.
(Giving another bag to him.) Two hundred more?
There then, two hundred more. (Plaudits, "Good, Robin!")

Justiciary.
Ay, ay, but you see the bond and the letter of the law. It is stated there that these moneys should be paid in to the abbot at York, at the end of the month at noon, and they are delivered here in the wild wood an hour after noon.

Marian.
The letter - O, how often justice drowns
Between the law and letter of the law!

Robin.
O Heaven, I would the letter of the law
Were some strong fellow here in the wild wood,
That I might beat him down at quarterstaff.

Marian.
Have you no pity?

Justiciary.
You run down your game,
We ours. What pity have you for your game?

Marian.
Pity! Pity! - There was a man of ours
Up in the north - a goodly fellow too,
He met a stag there on so narrow a ledge -
A precipice above - and one below -
There was no room to advance or to retire.
The men lay down - the dainty-footed creature
Came stepping o'er him, so as not to harm.
The hunter's passion flash'd into the man,
He drove his knife into the heart of the deer,
The deer fell to the bottom dead; and the man
Fell with him, and was ever after crippled.
I fear I had small pity for that man. -
You have the monies and the use of them!
What would you more?

Justiciary.
What? must we dance attendance all the day?

Robin.

Dance! ay, by all the saints and all the devils, ye shall dance! When the Church and the Law have forgotten God's music, they shall dance to the music of the wild wood. Let the birds sing, and do you dance to their song! What, you will not? Strike up our music, Little John. (He plays.)

No. 39 [5KB, 1' 02"]

Robin.

They will not? Prick 'em in the calves with the arrow-points prick 'em in the calves.

Much and Scarlet and the Men do so.

Abbot.
Rogue, I am full of gout. I cannot dance.

Robin.
And Sir Richard cannot redeem his land. Sweat out your gout, friend, for, by my life, you shall dance till he can. Prick him in the calves! (They prick their calves.)

Justiciary.
Rogue, I have a swollen vein in my right leg, and if thou prick me there I shall die.

Justiciary.
Take the left leg, for the love of God.

Abbot.
You will all of you hang.

Robin.
Let us hang, so thou dance meanwhile; or, by that same love of God, we will hang thee, .

Justiciary.
Take care! Take care! I dance - I will dance - I dance

Abbot and Justiciary dance to music, each holding a bag in each hand.

Scarlet.
Yonder comes the Sheriff, follow'd by Prince John

Robin.
Crouch all into the bush!

The foresters and peasants hide behind the bushes.

Marian.
I remain.
Beside my father's litter.

Robin.
And fear not thou.
Each of us has an arrow on the cord;
We all keep watch.

Robin and his Men retire R. and L. Enter Sheriff of Nottingham.

Sheriff.
Marian! Thou!

Marian.
I wait upon a dying father.

Sheriff.
The debt hath not been paid. She will be mine.
What are you capering for? By old Saint Vitus,
Have you gone mad? Has it been paid?

Abbot.
(dancing) Oh, yes.

Sheriff.
Have I lost her then?

Justiciary.
(dancing) Lost her? Oh, no - we took
Advantage of the letter - Oh, the left leg!
Not paid at York - the wood - prick me no more!

Sheriff.
What pricks thee, save it be thy conscience, man?

Justiciary.
By my halidome, I felt him at my leg still.
Where be they gone to?

Sheriff.
Thou art alone in the silence of the forest,
Save for this maiden and thy brother Abbot,
And this old crazeling in the litter there.

Enter on one side Friar Tuck from the bush, and on the other Prince John and his Men.

Justiciary.
(Examining his leg) They have missed the vein.

Sheriff.
Sweet Marian, by the letter of the law
It seems thy father's land is forfeited.

Sir Richard.
No! let me out of the litter. She shall wed thee:
The land shall still be mine. Child - thou shalt wed him,
Or thine old father will go mad - he will,
He will - he feels it in his head.

Marian.
Oh, peace, father, peace!
A woman's heart is but a little thing,
Much lighter than a thousand marks in gold;
But pity for a father, it may be,
Is weightier than a thousand marks in gold.
I cannot love the Sheriff.

Sir Richard.
But thou wilt wed him?

Marian.
Ay, save King Richard, when he comes, forbid me.
Sweet heavens, I could wish that all the land
Were plunged beneath the waters of the sea,
Tho' all the world should go about in boats.

Friar Tuck.
Why, so should all the love-sick be sea-sick.

Marian.
Better than heart-sick, friar.

Prince John.
(to Sheriff) See you not
They are jesting at us yonder, mocking us?
Carry her off, and let the old man die.
(advancing to Marian) Come, girl, thou shalt along with us on the instant.

Friar Tuck.
(Brandishing his staff.) Then on the instant I will break thy head.

Sheriff.
Back, thou fool-friar! Knowest thou not the Prince?

Friar Tuck.
(muttering) He may be Prince; he is not gentleman.

Prince John.
Look! I will take the rope from off thy waist,
And twist it round thy neck and hang thee by it.
Seize him and truss him up, and carry her off.

Friar Tuck slips behind Marian, and then into the bush.

Marian.
(Drawing the bow.) Not one step nearer! Back! My hand is firm,
Mine eye most true to one hair's-breadth of aim.
Never, tho' you should queen me over all the realm
Held by King Richard, could I stoop so low
As mate with one that holds no love is pure,
No friendship sacred, values neither man
Nor woman save as tools. And you, Sir Sheriff, (turning to the Sheriff)
Marriage is of the soul, not of the body.
Win me you cannot, murder me you may, but while
I breathe Heaven's air, and Heaven looks down on me,
And smiles at my best meanings, I remain
Mistress of mine own self and mine own soul.
(Retreating, with bow drawn, to the bush, and, in an undertone, almost fainting.) Robin!

Robin.
(In the bushes.) I am here, my arrow on the cord.
He dies who dares to touch thee.

Prince John.
Advance, advance!
What, daunted by a garrulous, arrogant girl?
Seize her, and carry her off into my castle.

His attendants advance. The King in armour reappears from the cave.

No. 40 [lKB, 0' 08"]

King Richard.
What shouts are these that ring along the wood?

Friar Tuck.
(advancing) Hail, knight, and help us. Here is one would clutch
Our pretty Marian for his willy-nilly, the other for his bride.

King Richard.
Damsel, tells he the truth?

Marian.
Ay, noble knight.

Friar Tuck.
Ay, and she will not marry till Richard come.

King Richard by Louis Rhead
King Richard.
(Raising his visor.) King Richard is here, and I am he.

Prince John.
(Lowering his, and whispering to his men.)
It is not he - his face - tho' very like -
No, no! We have certain news he died in prison.
Make at him, all of you. 'Tis a traitor coming
In Richard's name.

The men advance.

Friar Tuck.
Why blowest thou not the horn?

King Richard.
I that have turn'd the Moslem crescent pale,
I blow the horn against this rascal rout!

Friar Tuck plucks the horn from him and blows. Richard dashes alone against the Sheriff and John's Men, and is almost borne down, when Robin and his men rush in and rescue him.

No. 41 [2KB 0' 12"]

King Richard.
(to Robin) Thou hast saved my head at the peril of thine own.

Prince John.
A horse! a horse! I cannot meet his eyes.
Sheriff, thou wilt find me at Nottingham. (Exit with his Men.)

Sheriff.
If anywhere, I shall find thee in hell.

King Richard.
I fear to ask who left us even now.

Marian.
I grieve to say it was thy father's son.

Robin.
Shall I not after him and bring him back?

King Richard.
No, let him be. Sheriff of Nottingham! (Sheriff kneels.)

Sheriff.
My liege, Prince John -

King Richard.
Say thou no word against my brother John.

Sheriff.
Why then, my liege, I have no word to say.

King Richard.
(to Robin) My good friend Robin, Earl of Huntingdon,
For Earl thou art again, hast thou no fetters
For those of thine own band who would betray thee?

Robin.
I have; but these were never worn as yet.
I never found one traitor in my band.

King Richard.
Thou art happier than thy King. Put him in chains.

They bear the Sheriff away.

King Richard.
You, my Lord Abbot, you Justiciary, (The Abbot and Justiciary kneel.)
You both are utter traitors to your King.

Justiciary.
O my good liege, we did believe you dead.

Marian.
Was justice dead because the King was dead?
Sir Richard paid his moneys to the Abbot.
You crost him with a quibble of your law.

King Richard.
But on the faith and honour of a King,
The land is his again.

Sir Richard.
The land! the land!
I am crazed no longer, so I have the land.
(Comes out of the litter and kneels.) God save the King!

King Richard.
Maid Marian, thou wouldst marry
This Sheriff when King Richard came again
Except -

Marian.
The King forbade it. True, my liege.

King Richard.
Now if the King command it?

Marian.
Then, my liege,
If you would marry me with a traitor Sheriff,
I fear I might prove traitor with the Sheriff.

King Richard.
But if the King forbid thy marrying
With Robin, our good Earl of Huntingdon?

Marian.
Then will I live forever in the wild wood.

Robin.
(coming forward) And I with thee.

King Richard.
On nuts and acorns, ha!
Or the King's deer? Thou art overbold.

Robin.
My King,
I am but the echo of the lips of love.

King Richard.
Thou hast risk'd thy life for mine: bind these two men.

They take the bags from the Abbot and Justiciary, and proceed to fetter them.

Friar Tuck.
(Brandishing his staff.) I pray you, my liege, let me execute the vengeance of the Church upon them. I have a stout crabstick here, which longs to break itself across their backs.

Robin.
Keep silence, bully friar, before the King.

Friar Tuck.
If a cat may look at a King, may not a friar speak to one?

King Richard.
I have had a year of prison-silence, Robin,
And heed him not - the vengeance of the Church!
Thou shalt pronounce the blessing of the Church
On those two here, Robin and Marian.

Marian.
He is but hedge-priest, Sir King.

No. 42 [1KB, 0' 15"]

King Richard.
And thou their Queen.
Our rebel Abbot then shall join your hands,
Release them.

Robin.
Are all our guests here?

King Richard.
No - there 's yet one other:
I will not dine without him. Come from out
Thy hiding!

Enter Walter Lea.

King Richard.
This young warrior broke his prison
And join'd my banner in the Holy Land.
And cleft the Moslem turban at my side.
My masters, welcome gallant Walter Lea.
Kiss him, Sir Richard - kiss him, my sweet Marian.

Marian.
O Walter, Walter, is it thou indeed
Whose ransom was our ruin, whose return
Builds up our house again? I fear I dream.
Here - give me one sharp pinch upon the cheek
That I may feel thou art no phantom - yet
Thou art tann'd almost beyond my knowing, brother. (They embrace.)

Walter Lea.
But thou art fair as ever, my sweet sister.

Sir Richard.
My boy! I had despaired of thee - that sent me crazed! (They embrace.)

Robin.
Embrace me, Marian, (to Kate entering)
And thou, good Kate, be kind.

Kate.
(To Little John.) Well then, who kisses first?

Little John.
Kiss both together. (They kiss.)

Marian.
Then all is well. In this full tide of love,
Wave, heralds, wave: thy match shall follow mine.
(to Kate) Would there were more - a hundred lovers more
To celebrate this advent of our King!

Robin.
Our forest games are ended, our free life,
And we must hence to the King's court. Farewell,
Old friends, old patriarch oaks. A thousand winters
Will strip you bare as death, a thousand summers
Robe you life-green again. You seem, as it were,
Immortal, and we mortal. How few Junes
Will heat our pulses quicker! How few frosts
Will chill the hearts that beat for Robin Hood!

Marian.
And yet I think these oaks at dawn and even,
Or in the balmy breathings of the night,
Will whisper evermore of Robin Hood.
We leave but happy memories to the forest.
We dealt in the wild justice of the woods.
Strike up a stave, old friends, for all is well.

CHORUS OF FORESTERS
while they dance a country dance.

No. 43 [10KB, 0' 55"]

All.
Now the King is home again, and nevermore to roam again,
Now the King is home again, the King will have his own again,
Home again, home again, and each will have his own again,
All the birds in merry Sherwood sing and sing him home again.

Now the King is home again, and nevermore to roam again,
Now the King is home again, the King will have his own again,
Home again, home again, and each will have his own again,
All the birds in merry Sherwood sing and sing him home again.

FINAL CURTAIN.


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