A romantic, mediaeval tale of a duke who, disguised as a fool, woos a fair lady. The story is told partly in prose but largely in verse.
Though still he muttered fiercely 'neath his breath,
Such baleful words as: "'S blood!" and "'S bones!" and "'S death!"
Then laughed the Duke and from the greenwood strode;
But scarce was he upon the dusty road,
Than came the rogue who, louting to his knee:
"O Fool! Sir Fool! Most noble Fool!" said he.
"Either no fool, or fool forsooth thou art,
That dareth thus to take an outlaw's part.
Yet, since this day my rogue's life ye did spare,
So now by oak, by ash, by thorn I swear--
"And mark, Sir Fool, and to my saying heed--
Shouldst e'er lack friends to aid thee in thy need
Come by this stream where stands a mighty oak,
Its massy bole deep-cleft by lightning stroke,
Hid in this cleft a hunting-horn ye'll see,
Take then this horn and sound thereon notes three.
So shall ye find the greenwood shall repay
The roguish life ye spared a rogue this day."
So spake he; then, uprising from his kne