Alfred Noyes.

Sherwood; or, Robin Hood and the three kings; a play in five acts online

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4



SHERWOOD




'IT was the king come home from the crusade

Page 133



SHERWOOD

OR

ROBIN HOOD AND THE

THREE KINGS

A Play in Five Acts

BY

ALFRED NOYES

//



Sherwood, in the Twilight,
is Robin Hood Awake?"



CAUFO&KtA



NEW YORK

FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY

PUBLISHERS



->



Copyright, igu, by
Frederick A. Stokes Company



All rights reserved, including that of translation into foreign
languages, including the Scandinavian.



h



• •»• • • • •*•*••

• • 1 • S ■ • i i I •• • • ••

• •••#•••••••• • ••••• •



PERSONS OF THE DRAMA



Robin



Earl of Huntingdon, known
Robin Hood."



as



Outlaws and followers of
" Robin Hood."



Little John
Friar Tuck ....
Will Scarlet . . .
Reynold Green leaf .
Much, the Miller's

Son

Alan-a-Dale ...

Prince John.

King Richard, Cceur de

Lion.

Blondel King Richard's minstrel

Oberon King of the Fairies,

Titania . . . . .! Queen of the Fairies.

Puck A Fairy.

The Sheriff of Not-



tingham.

FlTZ WALTER . . .

Shadow-of-a-Leaf .
Arthur Plantagenet



Queen Elinor .



• ••



Marian Fitzwalter" ."



Jenny . .
Widow Scarlet
Prioress of Kirklee



Father of Marian, known as

" Maid Marian."
A Fool.

Nephew to Prince John, a

boy of about ten years of

age.

t Mother of. P/jnce John and

• ; 'Richard* {Jon-heart.

'Known as Maid Marian, be-

• ttrothe^' ivBgfrn Hood.
'Maid* t& *Mariah. *
Mother of Will Scarlet.



Fairies, merry men, serfs, peasants, mercenaries,
an abbot, a baron, a novice, nuns, courtiers,
soldiers, retainers, etc.



438451



ILLUSTRATIONS
Robin Hood



FACING
PAGE



" It was the King come home from the crusade "

Frontispiece

" What weary souls by grace of Robin Hood
This night shall enter Dreamland " .... 20

" A happy bridegroom with the happy bride " . .144

" He cannot enter now.
The gates are closed against him." 222



ACT I



ACT I

Scene I. Night. The borders of the forest.
The smouldering embers of a Saxon home-
stead. The Sheriff and his men are strug-
gling with a Serf.-

serf
No, no, not that! not that! If you should blind

mc
God will repay you. Kill me out of hand 1
[Enter Prince John and several of his retainers.]

JOHN
Who is this night-jar?

[The retainers laugh.]

Surely, master Sheriff,
You should have cut its tongue out, first. Its cries
Tingle so hideously across the wood
They'll wake the King in Palestine. Small wonder.
That Robin Hood evades you.

SHERIFF

[To the Serf.]

Silence, dog,
Know you not better than to make this clamour
Before Prince John?

[3]



;:;;;*:S5«-B:rWood



SERF

Prince John! It is Prince John!
For God's love save me, sir !

JOHN

Whose thrall is he?

SHERIFF

I know not, sir, but he was caught red-handed
Killing the king's deer. By the forest law
He should of rights be blinded; for, as you see,

[He indicates the Serf's right hand.~\
'Tis not his first deer at King Richard's cost.

JOHN
'Twill save you trouble if you say at mine.

SHERIFF

Ay, sir, I pray your pardon — at your cost !

His right hand lacks the thumb and arrow-finger,

And though he vows it was a falling tree

That crushed them, you may trust your Sheriff, sir,

It was the law that clipped them when he last

Hunted your deer.

SERF

Prince, when the Conqueror came,
They burned my father's homestead with the rest

[4]



SHERWOOD



To make the King a broader hunting-ground.
I have hunted there for food. How could I bear
To hear my hungry children crying? Prince,
They'll make good bowmen for your wars, one
day.

JOHN
He is much too fond of ' Prince ' : he'll never live
To see a king. Whose thrall ? — his iron collar,
Look, is the name not on it?

SHERIFF

Sir, the name
Is filed away, and in another hour
The ring would have been broken. He's one of

those
Green adders of the moon, night-creeping thieves
Whom Huntingdon has tempted to the woods.
These desperate ruffians flee their lawful masters
And flock around the disaffected Earl
Like ragged rooks around an elm, by scores I
And now, i' faith, the sun of Huntingdon
Is setting fast. They've well nigh beggared him,
Eaten him out of house and home. They say
That, when we make him outlaw, we shall find
Nought to distrain upon, but empty cupboards.

JOHN

Did you not serve him once, yourself?

[5]



SHERWOOD



SHERIFF

Oh, ay,

He was more prosperous then. But now my cup-
boards
Are full, and his are bare. Well, I'd think scorn
To share a crust with outcast churls and thieves,
Doffing his dignity, letting them call him
Robin, or Robin Hood, as if an Earl
Were just a plain man, which he will be soon,
When we have served our writ of outlawry!
'Tis said he hopes much from the King's return
And swears by Lion-heart ; and though King Rich-
ard
Is brother to yourself, 'tis all the more
Ungracious, sir, to hope he should return,
And overset your rule. But then — to keep
Such base communications ! Myself would think it
Unworthy, of my sheriffship, much more
Unworthy a right Earl.

JOHN

You talk too much !
This whippet, here, slinks at his heel, you say.
Mercy may close her eyes, then. Take him off,
Blind him or what you will; and let him thank
His master for it. But wait — perhaps he knows
Where we may trap this young patrician thief.
Where is your master ?

[6]



SHERWOOD



SERF

Where you'll never find him.

JOHN

Oh, ho ! the dog is faithful ! Take him away.
Get your red business done. I shall require
Your men to ride with me.

SHERIFF

[To his men.']

Take him out yonder,
A bow-shot into the wood, so that his clamour
Do not offend my lord. Delay no time,
The irons are hot by this. They'll give you light
Enough to blind him by.

SERF

[Crying out and struggling as he is forced back

into the forest.]

No, no, not that!
God will repay you ! Kill me out of hand !

SHERIFF

[To Prince John.]
There is a kind of justice in all this.
The irons being heated in that fire, my lord,
Which was his hut, aforetime.
[Some of the men take the glowing irons from the
fire and follow into the wood.]

[7]



SHERWOOD



There's no need
To parley with him, either. The snares are laid
For Robin Hood. He goes this very night
To his betrothal feast.

JOHN

Betrothal feast!

SHERIFF

At old Fitzwalter's castle, sir.

JOHN

Ha! ha!
There will be one more guest there than he

thought !
Ourselves are riding thither. We intended
My Lady Marian for a happier fate
Than bride to Robin Hood. Your plans arc laid
To capture him ?

SHERIFF
[Consequentially.]
It was our purpose, sir,
To serve the writ of outlawry upon him
And capture him as he came forth.

JOHN

That's well.
Then — let him disappear — you understand?

[8]



SHERWOOD



SHERIFF

I have your warrant, sir? Death? A great
Earl?

JOHN
Why, first declare him outlawed at his feast !
'Twill gladden the tremulous heart of old Fitz-

waltcr
With his prospective son-in-law ; and then —
No man will overmuch concern himself
Whither an outlaw goes. You understand?

SHERIFF
It shall be done, sir.

JOHN

But the Lady Marian!
By heaven, I'll take her. I'll banish old Fitz-

walter
If he prevent my will in this. You'll bring
How many men to ring the castle round?

SHERIFF

A good five score of bowmen.
JOHN

Then I'll take her
This very night as hostage for Fitzwalter,
Since he consorts with outlaws. These grey rats

[9]



SHERWOOD



Will gnaw my kingdom's heart out. For 'tis
mine,

This England, now or later. They that hold

By Richard, as their absent king, would make

My rule a usurpation. God, am I

My brother's keeper?

[ There is a cry in the forest from the Serf, who
immediately afterwards appears at the edge
of the. glade, shaking himself free from his
guards. He seizes a weapon and rushes at
Prince John. One of the retainers runs
him through and he falls at the Prince's
feet.}

JOHN

That's a happy answer!

SHERIFF

'[Stooping over the body.]
He is dead.

JOHN
I am sorry. It were better sport
To send him groping like a hoodman blind
Through Sherwood, whimpering for his Robin.

Come,
I'll ride with you to this betrothal feast.
Now for my Lady Marian!
[Exeunt all. A pause. The scene darkens.

[IO]



SHERWOOD



Shadowy figures creep out from the thickets,
of old men, women and children.]

FIRST OLD MAN

[Stretching his arms up to Heaven,"]
God, am I
My brother's keeper? Witness, God in heaven,
He said it and not we — Cain's word, he said it !

FIRST WOMAN
[Kneeling by the body.]

Father, Father, and the blood of Abel
Cries to thee !

A BLIND MAN

Is there any light here still?

1 feel a hot breath on my face. The dark
Is better for us all. I am sometimes glad
They blinded me those many years ago.
Princes are princes; and God made the world
For one or two it seems. Well, I am glad

I cannot see His world.

FIRST WOMAN

[Still by the body and whispering to the others.]

Keep him away.
'Tis as we thought. The dead man is his son.
Keep him away, poor soul. He need not know.



SHERWOOD



[Some of the men carry the body among the
thickets.']

A CHILD

Mother, I'm hungry, I'm hungry I

FIRST OLD MAN

There's no food
For any of us to-night. The snares are empty,
And I can try no more.

THE BLIND MAN

Wait till my son
Comes back. He's a rare hunter is my boy.
You need not fret, poor little one. My son
Is much too quick and clever for the Sheriff.
He'll bring you something good. Why, ha ! ha I

ha!
Friends, I've a thought — the Sheriff's lit the fire
Ready for us to roast our meat. Come, come,
Let us be merry while we may ! t My boy
Will soon come back with food for the old folks.
The fire burns brightly, eh?

SECOND OLD MAN

The fire that feeds
On hope and eats our hearts away. They've

burnt
Everything, everything !

[12]



SHERWOOD



THE BLIND MAN

Ah, princes are princes!
But when the King comes home from the Crusade,
We shall have better times.

\
FIRST OLD MAN

Ay, when the King
Comes home from the Crusade.

CHILD

Mother, I'm hungry.

SECOND WOMAN

Oh, but if I could only find a crust

Left by the dogs. Masters, the child will starve.

We must have food.

THE BLIND MAjST

I tell you when my boy
Comes back, we shall have plenty !

FIRST WOMAN

God pity thee!

THE BLIND MAN
What dost thou mean?

SECOND WOMAN

Masters, the child will starve.

[13]



SHERWOOD



FIRST OLD MAN

Hist, who comes here — a forester?



THE BLIND MAN



We'd best



Slip back into the dark.



FIRST WOMAN

[Excitedly.]

No, stay ! All's well.
There's Shadow-of-a-Leaf, good Lady Marian's

fool
Beside him !

THE BLIND MAN

Ah, they say there's fairy blood
In Shadow-of-a-Leaf. But I've no hopes of more
From him, than wild bees' honey-bags.
[Enter Little John, a giant figure, leading a
donkey, laden with a sack. On the other
side, Shadow-of-a-Leaf trips, a slender fig-
ure in green trunk-hose and doublet. He is
tickling the donkey's ears with a long fern.]

SHADOW-OF-A-LEAF

Gee! Whoa I

Neddy, my boy, have you forgot the Weaver,
And how Titania tickled your long ears ?
Ha ! ha ! Don't ferns remind you ?

[14]



SHERWOOD



LITTLE JOHN

Friends, my master
Hath sent me to you, fearing ye might hunger.



Thy master?



FIRST OLD MAN



LITTLE JOHN

Robin Hood.



SECOND WOMAN
[Falling on her knees.]

God bless his name.
God bless the kindly name of Robin Hood.

LITTLE JOHN
[Handing them the sack.]
'Tis well nigh all that's left him ; and to-night
He goes to his betrothal feast.
[All the outcasts except the first old man exeunt. ]

SHADOW-OF-A-LEAF
[Pointing to the donkey.]

Now look,
There's nothing but that shadow of a cross
On his grey back to tell you of the palms
That once were strewn before my donkey's feet.
Won't ferns, won't branching ferns, do just as
well?

[15]



SHERWOOD



There's only a dream to ride my donkey now !
But, Neddy, I'll lead you home and cry — Ho-

SANNA !

We'll thread the glad Gate Beautiful again,
Though now there's only a Fool to hold your

bridle
And only moonlit ferns to strew your path,
And the great King is fighting for a grave
In lands beyond the sea. Come, Neddy, come,
Hosanna !

[Exit Shadow-OF-A-Leaf with the donkey. He
strews ferns before it as he goes.]

FIRST OLD MAN

'Tis a strange creature, master ! Thinkest
There's fairy blood in him?

LITTLE JOHN

'Twas he that brought
Word of your plight to Robin Hood. He flits
Like Moonshine thro' the forest. He'll be home
Before I know it. I must be hastening back.
This makes a sad betrothal night.

FIRST OLD MAN

That minds me,
Couched in the thicket yonder, we overheard
The Sheriff tell Prince John . . .
[16]



SHERWOOD



LITTLE JOHN

Prince John!

FIRST OLD MAN

You'd best
Warn Robin Hood. They're laying a trap for

him.
Ay ! Now I mind me of it ! I heard 'em say
They'd take him at the castle.

LITTLE JOHN

To-night ?

FIRST OLD MAN

To-night !
Fly, lad, for God's dear love. Warn Robin

Hood!
Fly like the wind* or you'll be there too late.
And yet you'd best be careful. There's five score
In ambush round the castle.

LITTLE JOHN

I'll be there
An if I have to break five hundred heads!
[He rushes off thro 1 the forest. The old man
goes into the thicket after the others. The
scene darkens. A soft light, as of the moon,
appears between the ferns to the right of the
glade, showing Oberon and Titania.]

[17]



SHERWOOD



TITANIA

Yet one night more the gates of fairyland
Are opened by a mortal's kindly deed.

OBERON

Last night the gates were shut, and I heard weep-
ing!

Men, women, children, beat upon the gates

That guard the City of Sleep. They could not
sleep.

Titania, must not that be terrible,

When mortals cannot sleep?

TITANIA

Yet one night more
Dear Robin Hood has opened the gates wide
And their poor weary souls can enter in.

OBERON

Yet one night more we woodland elves may steal
Out thro' the gates. I fear the time will come
When they must close for ever; and we no more
Shall hold our Sherwood revels.

TITANIA

Only love
And love's kind sacrifice can open them.
For when a mortal hurts himself to help
[18]



SHERWOOD



Another, then he thrusts the gates wide open
Between his world and ours.

OBERON

Ay, but that's rare,
That kind of love, Titania, for the gates
Are almost always closed.

TITANIA

Yet one night more!
Hark, how the fairy host begins to sing
Within the gates. Wait here and we shall see
What weary souls by grace of Robin Hood
This night shall enter Dreamland. See, they

come!
[ The soft light deepens in the hollow among the
ferns and the ivory gates of Dreamland are
seen swinging open. The fairy host is
heard, singing to invite the mortals to enter. ]

[Song of the fairies.]

The Forest shall conquer ! The Forest shall
conquer! The Forest shall conquer!

Your world is growing old;
But a Princess sleeps in the green-wood,

Whose hair is brighter than gold.

[19]



SHERWOOD



The Forest shall conquer ! The Forest shall
conquer! The Forest shall conquer!

O hearts that bleed and burn,
Her lips are redder than roses,

Who sleeps in the faery fern.

The Forest shall conquer ! The Forest shall
conquer! The Forest shall conquer!

By the Beauty that wakes anew
Milk-white with the fragrant hawthorn

In the drip of the dawn-red dew.

The Forest shall conquer ! The Forest shall
conquer! The Forest shall conquer!

O hearts that are weary of pain,
Come back to your home in Faerie

And wait till she wakes again.

[The victims of the forest-laws steal out of the
thicket once more — dark, distorted, lame,
blind, serfs with iron collars round their
necks, old men, women and children; and as
the fairy song breaks into chorus they pass
in procession thro* the beautiful gates. The
gates slowly close. The fairy song is heard
as dying away in the distance.]



[20]




THIS NIGHT SHALL ENTER DREAMLAND^ Page 19



SHERWOOD



TITANIA

[Coming out into the glade and holding up her
hands to the evening star beyond the tree-
tops.]

Shine, shine, dear star of Love, yet one night
more.



Scene II. A banqueting hall in Fitzwalter's
castle. The guests are assembling for the
betrothal feast of Robin and Marian.
Some of Robin Hood's men, clad in Lincoln
green, are just arriving at the doors.
Shadow-OF-A-Leaf runs forward to greet
them!

shadow-of-a-leaf
Come in, my scraps of Lincoln green ; come in,
My slips of greenwood. You're much wanted

here!
Head, heart and eyes, we are all pent up in walls
Of stone — nothing but walls on every side —
And not a rose to break them — big blind walls,
Neat smooth stone walls! Come in, my ragged

robins ;
Come in, my jolly minions of the moon,
My straggling hazel-boughs! Hey, bully friar,
Come in, my knotted oak ! Ho, little Much,

[21]



SHERWOOD



Come in, my sweet green linnet. Come, my

cushats,
Larks, yellow-hammers, fern-owls, Oh, come in,
Come in, my Dian's foresters, and drown us
With may, with blossoming may!

FITZWALTER

Out, Shadow-of-a-Leaf !
Welcome, welcome, good friends of Huntingdon,
Or Robin Hood, by whatsoever name
You best may love him.

CRIES

Robin ! Robin ! Robin !
[Enter Robin Hood.]

FITZWALTER

Robin, so be it ! Myself I am right glad
To call him at this bright betrothal feast
My son.

[Lays a hand on Robin's shoulder.']
Yet, though I would not cast a cloud
Across our happy gathering, you'll forgive
An old man and a father if he sees
All your glad faces thro' a summer mist
Of sadness.

ROBIN
Sadness? Yes, I understand.
[22]



SHERWOOD



FITZWALTER

No, Robin, no, you cannot understand.

ROBIN

Where's Marian?

^ FITZWALTER

Ay, that's all you think of, boy.
But I must say a word to all of you
Before she comes.

ROBIN

Why — what? . . .
FITZWALTER

No need to look
So startled; but it is no secret here;
For many of you are sharers of his wild
Adventures. Now I hoped an end had come
To these, until another rumour reached me,
This very day, of yet another prank.
You know, you know, how perilous a road
My Marian must ride if Huntingdon
Tramples the forest-laws beneath his heel
And, in the thin disguise of Robin Hood,
Succours the Saxon outlaws, makes his house
A refuge for them, lavishes his wealth
To feed their sick and needy.

[23]



SHERWOOD



[The Sheriff and two of his men appear in the
great doorway out of sight of the guests.]

SHERIFF
[Whispering.]

Not yet ! keep back !
One of you go — see that the guards are set !
He must not slip us.

FITZWALTER

Oh, I know his heart
Is gold, but this is not an age of gold;
And those who have must keep, or lose the power
Even to help themselves. No — he must doff
His green disguise of Robin Hood for ever,
And wear his natural coat of Huntingdon.

ROBIN

Ah, which is the disguise? Day after day
We rise and put our social armour on,
A different mask for every friend; but steel
Always to case our hearts. We are all so

wrapped,
So swathed, so muffled in habitual thought
That now I swear we do not know our souls
Or bodies from their winding-sheets ; but Custom,
Custom, the great god Custom, all day long
Shovels the dirt upon us where we lie

[2 4 ]



SHERWOOD



Buried alive and dreaming that we stand
Upright and royal. Sir, I have great doubts
About this world, doubts if we have the right
To sit down here for this betrothal feast
And gorge ourselves with plenty, when we know
That for the scraps and crumbs which we let fall
And never miss, children would kiss our hands
And women weep in gratitude. Suppose
A man fell wounded at your gates, you'd not
Pass on and smile and leave him there to die.
And can a few short miles of distance blind you?
■ Miles, nay, a furlong is enough to close f

The gates of mercy. Must we thrust our hands j |v>* *
Into the wounds before we can believe?
Oh, is our sight so thick and gross ? We came,
We saw, we conquered with the Conqueror.
We gave ourselves broad lands ; and when our king
Desired a wider hunting ground we set
Hundreds of Saxon homes a-blaze and tossed
Women and children back into the fire
If they but wrung their hands against our will.
And so we made our forest, and its leaves
Were pitiful, more pitiful than man.
They gave our homeless victims the same refuge
And happy hiding place they give the birds
And foxes. Then we made our forest-laws,
And he that dared to hunt, even for food,
Even on the ground where we had burned his hut,

[25]



SHERWOOD



The ground we had drenched with his own

kindred's blood,
Poor foolish churl, why, we put out his eyes
With red-hot irons, cut off both his hands,
Torture him with such horrors that . . .

Christ God,
How can I help but fight against it all?

SHADOW-OF-A-LEAF

Ah, gossips, if the Conqueror had but burned
Everything with four walls, hut, castle, palace,
And turned the whole wide world into a forest,
Drenched us with may, we might be happy then!
With sweet blue wood-smoke curling thro' the

boughs,
And just a pigeon's flap to break the silence,
And ferns, of course, there's much to make men

happy.
Well, well, the forest conquers at the last !
I saw a thistle in the castle courtyard,
A purple thistle breaking thro' the pavement,
Yesterday; and it's wonderful how soon
Some creepers pick these old grey walls to pieces.
These nunneries and these monasteries now,
They don't spring up like flowers, so I suppose
Old mother Nature wins the race at last.



[26]



SHERWOOD



FITZWALTER

Robin, my heart is with you, but I know
A hundred ages will not change this earth.

SHADOW-OF-A-LEAF

[With a candle in his hand.]

Gossip, suppose the sun goes out like this.
Pouf!

[Blows it out.]
Stranger things have happened.

FITZWALTER

Silence, fool! . .
So, if you share your wealth with all the world
Earth will be none the better, and my poor girl
Will suffer for it. Where you got the gold /
You have already lavished on the poor
Heaven knows.



FRIAR TUCK

Oh, by the mass and the sweet moon
Of Sherwood, so do I ? That's none so hard
A riddle!

SHADOW-OF-A-LEAF

Ah, Friar Tuck, we know, we know!
Under the hawthorn bough, and at the foot
Of rainbows, that's where fairies hide their gold

[27]



SHERWOOD



Cut me a silver penny out of the moon
Next time you're there.

[Whispers.']
Now tell me, have you brought
Your quarter-staff?

FRIAR TUCK

[Whispering.]

Hush! hush.

SHADOW-OF-A-LEAF

Oh, mum's the word!



I see it!

FITZWALTER
Believe me, Robin, there's one way
And only one — patience ! When Lion-heart
Comes home from the Crusade, he will not brook
This blot upon our chivalry. Prince John
Is dangerous to a heart like yours. Beware
Of rousing him. Meanwhile, your troth holds

good;
But, till the King comes home from the Crusade
You must not claim your bride.

ROBIN

So be it, then. . . .
When the great King comes home from the
Crusade! . . .

[28]



SHERWOOD



FITZWALTER

Meanwhile for Marian's sake and mine, I pray
Do nothing rash.

[Enter Widow Scarlet. She goes up to Robin
Hood.]

widow scarlet
Are you that Robin Hood
They call the poor man's friend?

ROBIN

I am.

WIDOW SCARLET

They told me,
They told me I should find you here. They told
me!

ROBIN

Come, mother, what's the trouble?

WIDOW SCARLET

Sir, my son
Will Scarlet lies in gaol at Nottingham
For killing deer in Sherwood! Sir, they'll hang

him.
He only wanted food for him and me !
They'll kill him, I tell you, they'll kill him. I

can't help

[29]



SHERWOOD



Crying it out. He's all I have, all ! Save him !
I'll pray for you, I'll . . .

ROBIN

[To Fitzwalter, as he raises Widow Scarlet
gently to her feet.']

Sir, has not the King
Come home from the Crusade? Does not your

heart
Fling open wide its gates to welcome him ?

FITZWALTER

Robin, you set me riddles. Follow your con-
science.
Do what seems best.

ROBIN

I hope there is a way,
Mother. I knew Will Scarlet. Better heart
There never beat beneath a leather jerkin.
He loved the forest and the forest loves him;
And if the lads that wear the forest's livery
Of living green should happen to break out
And save Will Scarlet (as on my soul I swear,
Mother, they shall!) why, that's a matter none
Shall answer for to prince, or king, or God,
But you and Robin Hood; and if the judgment
Strike harder upon us than the heavenly smile

[30]



SHERWOOD



Of sunshine thro' the greenwood, may it fall
Upon my head alone.

[Enter the Sheriff, with two of his men.]

SHERIFF

[Reads.]

In the king's name!
Thou, Earl of Huntingdon, by virtue of this
writ art hereby attainted and deprived of thine


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Online LibraryAlfred NoyesSherwood; or, Robin Hood and the three kings; a play in five acts → online text (page 1 of 7)