Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
Robert Henryson. 1425–1500
  
16. Robin and Makyne
  
ROBIN sat on gude green hill, 
  Kepand a flock of fe: 
Mirry Makyne said him till 
  'Robin, thou rew on me: 
I haif thee luvit, loud and still,         5
  Thir yeiris twa or thre; 
My dule in dern bot gif thou dill, 
  Doutless but dreid I de.' 
 
Robin answerit 'By the Rude 
  Na thing of luve I knaw,  10
But keipis my scheip undir yon wud: 
  Lo, quhair they raik on raw. 
Quhat has marrit thee in thy mude, 
  Makyne, to me thou shaw; 
Or quhat is luve, or to be lude?  15
  Fain wad I leir that law.' 
 
'At luvis lair gif thou will leir 
  Tak thair ane A B C; 
Be heynd, courtass, and fair of feir, 
  Wyse, hardy, and free:  20
So that no danger do thee deir 
  Quhat dule in dern thou dre; 
Preiss thee with pain at all poweir 
  Be patient and previe.' 
 
Robin answerit hir agane,  25
  'I wat nocht quhat is lufe; 
But I haif mervel in certaine 
  Quhat makis thee this wanrufe: 
The weddir is fair, and I am fain; 
  My scheip gois haill aboif;  30
And we wald prey us in this plane, 
  They wald us baith reproif.' 
 
'Robin, tak tent unto my tale, 
  And wirk all as I reid, 
And thou sall haif my heart all haill,  35
  Eik and my maiden-heid: 
Sen God sendis bute for baill, 
  And for murnyng remeid, 
In dern with thee bot gif I daill 
  Dowtles I am bot deid.'  40
 
'Makyne, to-morn this ilka tyde 
  And ye will meit me heir, 
Peraventure my scheip may gang besyde, 
  Quhyle we haif liggit full neir; 
But mawgre haif I, and I byde,  45
  Fra they begin to steir; 
Quhat lyis on heart I will nocht hyd; 
  Makyn, then mak gude cheir.' 
 
'Robin, thou reivis me roiff and rest; 
  I luve bot thee allane.'  50
'Makyne, adieu! the sone gois west, 
  The day is neir-hand gane.' 
'Robin, in dule I am so drest 
  That luve will be my bane.' 
'Ga luve, Makyne, quhair-evir thow list,  55
  For lemman I luve nane.' 
 
'Robin, I stand in sic a styll, 
  I sicht and that full sair.' 
'Makyne, I haif been here this quhyle; 
  At hame God gif I wair.'  60
'My huny, Robin, talk ane quhyll, 
  Gif thow will do na mair.' 
'Makyn, sum uthir man begyle, 
  For hamewart I will fair.' 
 
Robin on his wayis went  65
  As light as leif of tre; 
Makyne murnit in hir intent, 
  And trowd him nevir to se. 
Robin brayd attour the bent: 
  Then Makyne cryit on hie,  70
'Now may thow sing, for I am schent! 
  Quhat alis lufe at me?' 
 
Makyne went hame withowttin fail, 
  Full wery eftir cowth weip; 
Then Robin in a ful fair daill  75
  Assemblit all his scheip. 
Be that sum part of Makynis aill 
  Out-throw his hairt cowd creip; 
He fallowit hir fast thair till assaill, 
  And till her tuke gude keip.  80
 
'Abyd, abyd, thow fair Makyne, 
  A word for ony thing; 
For all my luve, it sall be thyne, 
  Withowttin departing. 
All haill thy hairt for till haif myne  85
  Is all my cuvating; 
My scheip to-morn, quhyle houris nyne, 
  Will neid of no keping.' 
 
'Robin, thow hes hard soung and say, 
  In gestis and storeis auld,  90
The man that will nocht quhen he may 
  Sall haif nocht quhen he wald. 
I pray to Jesu every day, 
  Mot eik thair cairis cauld 
That first preissis with thee to play  95
  Be firth, forrest, or fauld.' 
 
'Makyne, the nicht is soft and dry, 
  The weddir is warme and fair, 
And the grene woid rycht neir us by 
  To walk attour all quhair: 100
Thair ma na janglour us espy, 
  That is to lufe contrair; 
Thairin, Makyne, baith ye and I, 
  Unsene we ma repair.' 
 
'Robin, that warld is all away, 105
  And quyt brocht till ane end: 
And nevir agane thereto, perfay, 
  Sall it be as thow wend; 
For of my pane thow maid it play; 
  And all in vane I spend: 110
As thow hes done, sa sall I say, 
  "Murne on, I think to mend."' 
 
'Makyne, the howp of all my heill, 
  My hairt on thee is sett; 
And evirmair to thee be leill 115
  Quhill I may leif but lett; 
Never to faill as utheris feill, 
  Quhat grace that evir I gett.' 
'Robin, with thee I will nocht deill; 
  Adieu! for thus we mett.' 120
 
Makyne went hame blyth anneuche 
  Attour the holttis hair; 
Robin murnit, and Makyne leuche; 
  Scho sang, he sichit sair: 
And so left him baith wo and wreuch, 125
  In dolour and in cair, 
Kepand his hird under a huche 
  Amangis the holttis hair. 
 
GLOSS:  kepand] keeping.  fe] sheep, cattle.  him till] to him.  dule in dern] sorrow in secret.  dill] soothe.  but dreid] without dread, i.  e.  there is no fear or doubt.  raik on raw] range in row.  lude] loved.  leir] learn.  lair] lore.  heynd] gentle.  feir] demeanour.  deir] daunt.  dre] endure.  preiss] endeavour.  wanrufe] unrest.  haill] healthy, whole.  aboif] above, up yonder.  and] if.  tak tent] give heed.  reid] advise.  bute for baill] remedy for hurt.  bot gif] but if, unless.  daill] deal.  mawgre haif I] I am uneasy.  reivis] robbest.  roiff] quiet.  drest] beset.  lemman] mistress.  sicht] sigh.  in hir intent] in her inward thought.  brayd] strode.  bent] coarse grass.  schent] destroyed.  alis] ails.  be that] by the time that.  till] to.  tuke keip] paid attention.  hard] heard.  gestis] romances.  mot eik] may add to.  be] by.  janglour] talebearer.  wend] weened.  howp] hope.  but lett] without hindrance.  anneuche] enough.  holttis hair] grey woodlands.  leuche] laughed.  wreuch] peevish.  huche] heuch, cliff.
 
 
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