"Had we the keys," said Clym of the Clough, "Right well then should we speed; Then might we come out well enough When we see time and need." They called the porter to a couns-el, And wrung his neck in two, And cast him in a deep dunge-on, And took the keys him fro.
"Now am I porter," said Adam Bell; "See, brother, the keys have we here; The worst port-er to merry Carlisle They have had this hundred year: And now will we our bow-es bend, Into the town will we go, For to deliver our dear broth-er, That lieth in care and woe."
They bent their good yew bow-es, And looked their strings were round, The market-place of merry Carlisle They beset in that stound; And as they look-ed them beside, A pair of new gallows there they see, And the Justice with a quest of squires, That judged William hang-ed to be.
And Cloudeslie lay ready there in a cart, Fast bound both foot and hand, And a strong rope about his neck, All ready for to be hanged. The Justice called to him a lad, Cloudeslie's clothes should he have To take the measure of that yeom-an, Thereafter to make his grave.
"I have seen as great marvel," said Cloudeslie, "As between this and prime; He that maketh this grave for me, Himself may lie therein."-- "Thou speakest proudly," said the Justice; "I shall hang thee with my hand." Full well that heard his brethren two, There still as they did stand.
Then Cloudeslie cast his eyen aside, And saw his two brethren At a corner of the market-place, Ready the Justice to slain. "I see good comfort," said Cloudeslie, "Yet hope I well to fare; If I might have my hands at will, Right little would I care."
Then spake good Adam Bell To Clym of the Clough so free, "Brother, see ye mark the Justice well; Lo, yonder ye may him see; And at the Sheriff shoot I will Strongly with arrow keen." A better shot in merry Carlisle This seven year was not seen.
They loosed their arrows both at once, Of no man had they drede; The one hit the Justice, the other the Sheriff, That both their sides gan bleed. All men voided, that them stood nigh, When the Justice fell to the ground, And the Sheriff fell nigh him by, Either had his death's wound.