HE. "I can believe, it shall you grieve, And somewhat you distrain; But, afterward, your pain-es hard Within a day or twain Shall soon aslake; and ye shall take Com-fort to you again. Why should ye nought? for, to make thought, Your labour were in vain. And thus I do; and pray you, lo, As heartily as I can: For I must to the green wood go, Alone, a banished man."
SHE. "Now, sith that ye have shewed to me The secret of your mind, I shall be plain to you again, Like as ye shall me find. Sith it is so, that ye will go, I will not leave behind. Shall never be said, the Nut-brown Maid Was to her love unkind: Make you read-y, for so am I, Although it were anone: For, in my mind, of all mankind I love but you alone."
HE. "Yet I you re-de, take good heed When men will think and say: Of young, of old, it shall be told, That ye be gone away Your wanton will for to fulfil, In green wood you to play; And that ye might from your delight No longer make delay. Rather than ye should thus for me Be called an ill wom-an, Yet would I to the green wood go, Alone, a banished man."
SHE. "Though it be sung of old and young, That I should be to blame, Theirs be the charge that speak so large In hurting of my name: For I will prove, that faithful love It is devoid of shame In your distress and heaviness To part with you the same: And sure all tho that do not so, True lovers are they none: For, in my mind, of all mankind I love but you alone."
HE. "I counsel you, Remember how It is no maiden's law Nothing to doubt, but to run out To wood with an out-law; For ye must there in your hand bear A bow to bear and draw; And, as a thief, thus must ye live, Ever in dread and awe; By which to you great harm might grow: Yet had I liever than That I had to the green wood go Alone, a banished man."
SHE. "I think not nay, but as ye say, It is no maiden's lore; But love may make me for your sake, As ye have said before, To come on foot, to hunt and shoot To get us meat and store; For so that I your company May have, I ask no more; From which to part, it maketh mine heart As cold as any stone: For, in my mind, of all mankind I love but you alone."
HE. "For an out-law, this is the law, That men him take and bind; Without pit-ie, hang-ed to be, And waver with the wind. If I had nede (as God forbede!) What rescues could ye find? Forsooth, I trow, you and your bow Should draw for fear behind. And no mervayle: for little avail Were in your counsel than: Wherefore I to the wood will go, Alone, a banished man."
SHE "Full well know ye, that women be Full feeble for to fight; No womanhede it is indeed To be bold as a knight; Yet, in such fear if that ye were Among enemies day and night, I would withstand, with bow in hand, To grieve them as I might, And you to save; as women have From death many a one: For, in my mind, of all mankind I love but you alone."