Robin Hood


To A Friend

    No! those days are gone away,
    And their hours are old and gray,
    And their minutes buried all
    Under the down-trodden pall
    Of the leaves of many years:
    Many times have winter’s shears,
    Frozen North, and chilling East,
    Sounded tempests to the feast
    Of the forest’s whispering fleeces,
    Since men knew nor rent nor leases.

    No, the bugle sounds no more,
    And the twanging bow no more;
    Silent is the ivory shrill
    Past the heath and up the hill;
    There is no mid-forest laugh,
    Where lone Echo gives the half
    To some wight, amaz’d to hear
    Jesting, deep in forest drear.

    On the fairest time of June
    You may go, with sun or moon,
    Or the seven stars to light you,
    Or the polar ray to right you;
    But you never may behold
    Little John, or Robin bold;
    Never one, of all the clan,
    Thrumming on an empty can
    Some old hunting ditty, while
    He doth his green way beguile
    To fair hostess Merriment,
    Down beside the pasture Trent;
    For he left the merry tale
    Messenger for spicy ale.

    Gone, the merry morris din;
    Gone, the song of Gamelyn;
    Gone, the tough-belted outlaw
    Idling in the “grenè shawe;”
    All are gone away and past!
    And if Robin should be cast
    Sudden from his turfed grave,
    And if Marian should have
    Once again her forest days,
    She would weep, and he would craze:
    He would swear, for all his oaks,
    Fall’n beneath the dockyard strokes,
    Have rotted on the briny seas;
    She would weep that her wild bees
    Sang not to her strange! that honey
    Can’t be got without hard money!

    So it is: yet let us sing,
    Honour to the old bow-string!
    Honour to the bugle-horn!
    Honour to the woods unshorn!
    Honour to the Lincoln green!
    Honour to the archer keen!
    Honour to tight Little John,
    And the horse he rode upon!
    Honour to bold Robin Hood,
    Sleeping in the underwood!
    Honour to Maid Marian,
    And to all the Sherwood-clan!
    Though their days have hurried by,
    Let us two a burden try.


facebook share button twitter share button google plus share button tumblr share button reddit share button email share button share on pinterest pinterest

Create a library and add your favorite stories. Get started by clicking the "Add" button.
Add Robin Hood to your own personal library.

Return to the John Keats Home Page, or . . . Read the next poem; Sharing Eve's Apple

Anton Chekhov
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Susan Glaspell
Mark Twain
Edgar Allan Poe
Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
Herman Melville
Stephen Leacock
Kate Chopin
Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson