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A COLLECTION OF
POEMS, SONGS, AND BALLADS
delatibe to that eatebrautei ingiflz Outlato
EDITED BY JOSEPH RITSON
WITH THIRTY-TWO ILLUSTRA TIONS BY GORDON BROWNE
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS
BROADWAY, LUDGATE HILL
NEW YORK: 9 LAFAYETTE PLACE
Price 8s. 6d. each, Cloth.
PERCY'S RELIQUE8 OF ANCIENT ENGLISH POETRY.
With Illustrations by E. H. CORBOULD.
CHAU.ER'S CANTERBURY TALES.
With Illustrations by E. H. CORBOULD.
HALL'S BRITISH BALLADS. With Illustrations.
SPENSER'S FAERIE QUEENE.
With Illustrations by E. H. CORBOULD.
ROBY'S TRADITIONS OF LANCASHIRE. 2 vols., 7s.
KING ARTHUR AND HIS KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE.
With Illustrations by F. A. FRASER.
PREFACE .. o I
THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD 2
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS .. .
I.-A LYTELL GESTE OF ROBYN HODE . 114
II.-ROBYN HODE [AND THE POTTER] . o o 197
III -ROBIN HOOD AND THE BEGGAR 210
IV.-ROBIN HOOD AND Guy OF GISBORNE o o 226
V.-A TRUE TALE OF ROBIN HOOD .. 237
I.-ROBIN HOOD'S BIRTH, BREEDING, VALOUR, AND MARRIAGE 258
II.-ROBIN HOOD'S PROGRESS TO NOTTINGHAM 268
III.-THE JOLLY PINDER OF WAKEFIELD, WITH ROBIN HOOD, SCAR-
LET, AND JOHN 272
IV.-ROBIN HOOD AND THE BISHOP. 274
V.-ROBIN HOOD AND THE BUTCHER .. 278
VI.-ROBIN HOOD AND THE TANNER . 284
VII.-ROBIN HOOD AND THE TINKER 290
VIII.-ROBIN HOOD AND ALLIN 'A' DALE. 297
IX.-ROBIN HOOD AND THE SHEPHERD 301
X.-ROBIN HOOD AND THE CURTALL FRYER. 306
XI.-ROBIN HOOD AND THE STRANGER 313
XII.-RoBIN HOOD AND QUEEN CATHERINE 329
XIII.-RoBIN HOODS CHASE . 337
XIV.-ROBIN HOODS GOLDEN PRIZE 342
XV.-ROBIN HOODS RESCUING WILL STUTLEY 347
XVI.-THE NOBLE FI -HER-MAN 353
XVII-ROBIN HOODS DELIGHT o o o 357
XVIII.-RoBIN HOOD AND THE BEGGAR .. 361
XIX.-LITTLE JOHN AND THE FOUR BEGGERS 367
XX.-ROBIN HOOD AND THE RANGER 370
XXI.-ROBIN HOOD AND LITTLE JOHN . 374
XXII.-ROBIN HOOD AND THE BISHOP OF HENEFORD .. 380
XXIII.-RoBIN HOOD RESCUING THE WIDOWS THREE SONS FROM THE
SHERIFF WHEN GOING TO BE EXECUTED 383
XXIV.-ROBIN HOOD AND MAID MARIAN .. 389
XXV.-THE KING'S DISGUISE, AND FRIENDSHIP WITH ROBIN HOOD 393
XXVI -ROBIN HOOD AND THE GOLDEN ARROW 399
XXVII.-RoBIN HOOD AND THE VALIANT KNIGHT 404
XXVIII.-ROBIN HOODS DEATH AND BURIAL .. 408
I--THE PLAYED OF ROBYN HODE .. 412
II.-A FREEMAN'S SONG 417
III.-A ROUND 420
IV.-HEY JOLLY ROBIN 420
V.-A MERRY WEDDING; OR, O BRAVE ARTHUR OF BRADLEY 421
VI.-ROBIN HOOD RESCUING THE THREE SQUIRES FROM NOTTING-
HAM GALLOWS. 425
VII.-ROBIN HOOD'S DELIGHT 427
VIII.-ROBIN HOOD AND THE MONK 428
T HE singular circumstance, that the name of an outlawed individual of
the twelfth or thirteenth century should continue traditionally popular,
be chanted in ballads, and, as one may say,
Familiar in our mouth as household works,
at the end of the eighteenth, excited the editor's curiosity to retrieve all the
historical or poetical remains concerning him that could be met with: an
object which he has occasionally pursued for many years; and of which pur-
suit he now publishes the result. He cannot, indeed, pretend that his re-
searches, extensive as they must appear, have been attended with all the
success he could have wished; but, at the same time, it ought to be acknow-
ledged that many poetical pieces, of great antiquity and some merit, are
deservedly rescued from oblivion.
The materials collected for the life" of this celebrated character, which
are either preserved at large, or carefully referred to in the "notes and illus-
trations," are not, it must be confessed, in every instance, so important, so
ancient, or, perhaps, so authentic, as the subject seems to demand; although
the compiler may be permitted to say, in humble second-hand imitation of
the poet Martial:
Some there are good, some middling, and some bad,
But yet they were the best that could be had.
Desirous to omit nothing that he could find upon theiLsubject, he has every-
where faithfully vouched and exhibited his authorities, such as they are: it
would, therefore, seem altogether uncandid or unjust to make him responsible
for the want of authenticity of such of them as may appear liable to that im-
CNL ff of Mobmn ILotr.,
IT will scarcely be expected that one should be able to offer an
authentic narrative of the life and transactions of this extra-
ordinary personage. The times in which he lived, the mode of
life he adopted, and the silence or loss of contemporary writers,
are circumstances sufficiently favourable indeed to romance, but
altogether inimical to historical truth. The reader must, there-
for, be contented with such a detail, however scanty or imperfect,
as a zealous pursuit of the subject enables one to give; and which,
though it may fail to satisfy, may possibly serve to amuse. No
assistance has been derived from the labours of his professed
biographers (a); and even the industrious sir John Hawkins,
from whom the public might have expected ample gratification
upon the subject, acknowledges that the history of this popular
hero is but little known; and all the scattered fragments concern-
ing.him, could they be brought together, would fall far short of
satisfying such an enquirer as none but real and authenticated
facts will content. We must," he says, take his story as we find
it." He accordingly gives us nothing but two or three trite and
trivial extracts, with which every one, at all curious about the
subject, was as well acquainted as himself. It is not, at the same
time, pretended that the present attempt promises more than to
bring together the scattered fragments to which the learned
historian alludes. This, however, has been done according to
the best of the compiler's information and abilities; and the result
is, with a due sense of the deficiency of both, submitted to the
ROBIN HOOD was born at Locksley, in the county of Not-
tingham (A), in the reign of King Henry the Second, and about
THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD. 3
the year of Christ I 6o (B). His extraction was noble, and his
true name ROBERT FITZOOTH, which vulgar pronunciation
easily corrupted into ROBIN HOOD (C). He is frequently styled,
and commonly reputed to have been, EARL OF HUNTINGDON;
a title to which, in the latter part of his life at least, he actually
appears to have had some sort of pretension (D). In his youth
he is reported to have been of a wild and extravagant disposition,
insomuch that, his inheritance being consumed or forfeited by
his excesses, and his person outlawed for debt, either from ne-
cessity or choice he sought an asylum in the woods and forests,
with which immense tracts, especially in the northern parts of
the kingdom, were at that time covered (E). Of these he chiefly
affected Barnsdale, in Yorkshire; Sherwood, in Nottingham-
shire; and, according to some, Plompton Park, in Cumber-
land (F). Here he either found, or was afterward joined by, a
number of persons in similar circumstances;
"Such as the fury of ungovern'd youth
Thrust from the company of awful men" (*F);
who appear to have considered and obeyed him as their chief or
leader, and of whom his principal favourites, or those in whose
courage and fidelity he most confided, were LITTLE JOHN (whose
surname is said to have been Nailor), WILLIAM SCADLOCK
(Scathelock, or Scarlet), GEORGE A GREEN, pinder (or pound-
keeper), of Wakefield, MUCH, a miller's son, and a certain monk
or frier, named TUCK (G). He is likewise said to have been ac-
companied in his retreat by a female, of whom he was enamoured,
and whose real or adopted name was MARIAN-(H).
His company, in process of time, consisted of a hundred
archers; "men," says Major, "most skilful in battle, whom four
times that number of the boldest fellows durst not attack" (I).
His manner of recruiting was somewhat singular, for, in the
words of on old writer, "whersoever he hard of any that were of
unusual strength and 'hardines,' he would desgyse himself,
and, rather than fayle, go lyke a begger to become acquaynted
with them; and, after he had tryed them with fighting; never
give them over tyl he had used means to drawe [them] to lyve
4 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
after his fashion" (j): a practice of which numerous instances
are recorded in the more common and popular songs, where,
indeed, he seldom fails to receive a sound beating. In shooting
with the long bow, which they chiefly practised, they excelled
all the men of the land; though, as occasion required, they had
also other weapons (K). In these forests, and with this company,
he for many years reigned like an independent sovereign; at
perpetual war, indeed, with the king of England and all his sub-
jects, with an exception, however, of the poor and needy, and
such as were "desolate and oppressed," or stood in need of his
protection. When molested by a superior force in one place, he
retired to another, still defying the power of what was called law
and government, and making his enemies pay dearly, as well for
their open attacks, as for their clandestine treachery. It is not,
at the same time, to be concluded that he must, in this opposition,
have been guilty of manifest treason or rebellion, as he most
certainly can be justly charged with neither. An outlaw, in those
times, being deprived of protection, owed no allegiance: his
hand 'was' against every man, and every man's hand against
him" (L). These forests, in short, were his territories; those
who accompanied and adhered to him, his subjects:
The world was not his friend, nor the world's law;
and what better title king Richard could pretend to the territory
and people of England, than Robin Hood had to the dominion
of Barnsdale or Sherwood, is a question humbly submitted to the
consideration of the political philosopher. The deer with which
the royal forests then abounded (every Norman tyrant being, like
Nimrod, "a mighty hunter before the Lord") would afford our
hero and his companions an ample supply of food throughout
the year; and of fuel, for dressing their venison, or for the other
purposes of life, they could evidently be in no want. The rest of
their necessaries would be easily procured, partly by taking what
they had occasion for from the wealthy passenger who traversed
or approached their territories, and partly by commerce with the
neighboring villages or great towns. It may be readily imagined
that such a life, during great part of the year, at least, and while
THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD. 5
it continued free from the alarms or apprehensions to which our
foresters, one would suppose, must have been too frequently sub-
ject, might be sufficiently pleasant and desirable, and even
deserve the compliment which is paid to it by Shakspeare, in
his comedy of As you like it, (Act i. scene i.,) where, on Oliver's
asking Where will the old duke live?" Charles answers, They
say he is already in the forest of Arden, and a many merry men
with him; and there they live like the OLD ROBIN HOOD OF
ENGLAND; . and fleet the time carelessly as they did in the
golden world." Their gallant chief, indeed, may be presumed to
have frequently exclaimed with the banished Valentine, in another
play of the same author':
"How use doth breed a habit in a man!
This shadowy desert, unfrequented woods,
I better brook than flourishing peopled towns.
Here can I sit alone, unseen of any,
And, to the nightingale's complaining notes,
Tune my distresses, and record my woes."
He would, doubtless, too often find occasion to add:
"What hallooing and what stir is this to-day?
These are my mates, that make their wills their law,
Have some unhappy passenger in chace:
They love me well; yet I have much to do
To keep them from uncivil outrages."
But, on the other hand, it will be at once difficult and painful to
---- When they did hear
The rain and wind beat dark December, how,
In that their pinching cave, they could discourse
The freezing hours away! (M)
Their mode of life, in short, and domestic economy, of which no
authentic particulars have been even traditionally preserved, are
more easily to be guessed at than described. They have, never-
theless, been elegantly sketched by the animating pencil of an
excellent, though neglected poet:
1 The Two Gentlemen of Verona, act v. scene iv.
STHE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
"The merry pranks he played, would ask an age to tell,
And the adventures strange that Robin Hood befell,
When Mansfield many a time for Robin hath been laid,
How he hath cousen'd them, that him would have betray'd;
How often he hath come to Nottingham disguis'd,
And cunningly escap'd, being set to be surpriz'd:
In this our spacious isle, I think there is not one,
But he hath heard some talk of him and little John;
And to the end of time, the tales shall ne'er be done,
Of Scarlock, George a Green, and Much the miller's son,
Of Tuck the merry friar, which many a sermon made
In praise of Robin Hood, his outlaws, and their trade.
An hundred valiant men had this brave Robin Hood,
Still ready at his call, that bow-men were right good,
All clad in Lincoln green (N), with caps of red and blue.
His fellow's winded horn not one of them but knew,
When setting to their lips their little beugles shrill,
The warbling ecchos wak'd from every dale and hill.
Their bauldricks set with studs, athwart their shoulders cast,
To which, under their arms, their sheafs were buckled fast,
A short sword at their belt, a buckler scarce a span,
Who struck below the knee, not counted then a man :
All made of Spanish yew, their bows were wondrous strong:
They not an arrow drew, but was a cloth-yard long.
Of archery they had the very perfect craft,
With broad arrow, or but, or prick, or roving shaft,
At marks full forty score they us'd to prick and rove,
Yet higher than the breast, for compass never strove;
Yet at the farthest mark a foot could hardly win:
At long-outs, short, and hoyles, each one could cleave the pin:
Their arrows finely pair'd, for timber and for feather,
With birch and brazil piec'd, to fly in any weather;
And shot they with the round, the square, or forked pile,
The loose gave such a twang, as might be heard a mile.
And of these archers brave, there was not any one,
But he could kill a deer, his swiftest speed upon,
Which they did boil and roast in many a mighty wood,
Sharp hunger the fine sauce to their more kingly food.
Then taking them to rest, his merry men and he
Slept many a summer's night under the greenwood tree.
From wealthy abbots chests and churls abundant store,
What oftentimes he took, he shar'd amongst the poor:
THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD. ?
No lordly bishop came in lusty Robin's way,
To him, before he went, but for his pass must pay:
The widow in distress he graciously relieved,
And remedied the wrongs of many a virgin griev'd (0):
He from the husband's bed no married woman wan,
But to his mistress dear, his loved Marian,
Was ever constant known, which, wheresoe'er she came,
Was sovereign of the woods; chief lady of the game:
Her clothes tuck'd to the knee, her dainty braided hair,
With bow and quiver arm'd, she wander'd here and there
Amongst the forests wild; Diana never knew
Such pleasures, nor such harts as Mariana slew."1
That our hero and his companions, while they lived in the
woods, had recourse to robbery for their better support, is neither
to be concealed nor to be denied. Testimonies to this purpose,
indeed, would be equally endless and unnecessary. Fordun, in
the fourteenth century, calls him, ille famosissimus siccarius,"
that most celebrated robber; and Major terms him and Little
John, "famatissimi latrones." But it is to be remembered,
according to the confession of the latter historian, that in these
exertions of power, he took away the goods of rich men only;
never killing any person, unless he was attacked or resisted : that
he would not suffer a woman to be maltreated; nor ever took
anything from the poor, but charitably fed them with the wealth
he drew from the abbots. 'I disapprove,' says he, 'of the rapine
of the man; but he was the most humane and the prince of all
robbers (*o).' In allusion, no doubt, to this irregular and preda-
tory course of life, he has had the honour to be compared to the
illustrious Wallace, the champion and deliverer of his country;
and that, it is not a little remarkable, in the latter's own time
Our hero, indeed, seems to have held bishops, abbots, priests,
and monks,-in a word, all the clergy, regular or secular,--in de-
"These byshoppes and thyse archebyshoppes,
Ye shall them bete and bynde,"
1 Drayton's Polyolbion, song xxvi.
8 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
was an injunction carefully impressed upon his followers. The
abbot of Saint Marys, in York (Q), from some unknown cause,
appears to have been distinguished by particular animosity; and
the sheriff of Nottinghamshire (R), who may have been too active
and officious in his endeavours to apprehend him, was the unre-
mitted object of his vengeance.
Notwithstanding, however, the aversion in which he appears
to have held the clergy of every denomination, he was a man of
exemplary piety, according to the notions of that age, and re-
tained a domestic chaplain (frier Tuck, no doubt) for the diurnal
celebration of the divine mysteries. This we learn from an anec-
dote preserved by Fordun, (s) as an instance of those actions which
the historian allows to deserve commendation. One day, as he
heard mass, which he was most devoutly accustomed to do, (nor
would he, in whatever necessity, suffer the office to be interrupted,)
he was espyed by a certain sheriff and officers belonging to the
king, who had frequently before molested him, in that most
secret recess of the wood where he was at mass. Some of his
people, who perceived what was going forward, advised him to
fly with all speed, which, out of reverence to the sacrament,
which he was then most devoutly worshiping, he absolutely re-
fused to do. But the rest of his men having fled for fear of
death, Robin, confiding solely in Him whom he reverently wor-
shiped, with a very few, who by chance were present, set upon
his enemies, whom he easily vanquished; and, being enriched
with their spoils and ransom, he always held the ministers of the
church and masses in greater veneration ever after, mindful of
what is vulgarly said:
Him god does surely hear
Who oft to th' mass gives ear."
Having, for a long series of years, maintained a sort of inde-
pendent sovereignty, and set kings, judges, and magistrates at de-
fiance, a proclamation was published (T), offering a considerable
reward for bringing him in either dead or alive ; which, however,
seems to have been productive of no greater success than former
attempts for that purpose. At length, the infirmities of old age
THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD. 9
increasing upon him (u), and desirous to be relieved, in a fit of
sickness, by being let blood, he applied for that purpose to the
prioress of Kirkleys-nunnery, in Yorkshire, his relation, (women,
and particularly religious women, being, in those times somewhat
better skilled in surgery than the sex is at present,) by whom he
was treacherously suffered to bleed to death. This event hap-
pened on the 18th of November, 1247, being the thirty-first year
of king Henry III., and (if the date assigned to his birth be
correct) about the 87th of his age (u). He was interred under
some trees, at a short distance from the house; a stone being
placed over his grave, with an inscription to his memory (v).
Such was the end of Robin Hood : a man who, in a barbarous
age, and under a complicated tyranny, displayed a spirit of free-
dom and independence which has endeared him to the common
people, whose cause he maintained, (for all opposition to tyranny
is the cause of the people); and in spite of the malicious endea-
vours of pitiful monks, by whom history was consecrated to the
crimes and follies of titled ruffians and sainted idiots, to suppress
all record of his patriotic exertions and virtuous acts, will render
his name immortal.
With respect to his personal character: it is sufficiently evi-
dent that he was active, brave, prudent, patient; possessed of
uncommon bodily strength, and considerable military skill; just,
generous, benevolent, faithful, and beloved or revered by his
followers or adherents for his excellent and amiable qualities.
Fordun, a priest, extols his piety. Major (as we have seen) pro-
nounces him the most humane and the prince of all robbers;
and Camden, whose testimony is of some weight, calls him
"Prcedonezm mitissimz;um," the gentlest of thieves. As proofs of
his universal and singular popularity : his story and exploits have
been made the subject as well of various dramatic exhibitions (w)
as of innumerable poems, rimes, songs, and ballads (x). He
has given rise to divers proverbs (v) ; and to swear by him, or
some of his companions, appears to have been a usual practice
(z). His songs have been chanted, on the most solemn occa-
sions (AA); his service to the word of God (BB). He may be
regarded as the patron of archery (cc) ; and, though not actually
10 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
canonized, (a situation to which the miracles wrought in his
favour, as well in his lifetime as after his death, and the super-
natural powers he is, in some parts, supposed to have possessed
(DD), give him an indisputable claim), he obtained the principal
distinction of sainthood in having a festival allotted to him, and
solemn games instituted in honour of his memory, which were
celebrated till the latter end of the sixteenth century; not by
the populace only, but by kings or princes and grave magistrates;
and that as well in Scotland as in England; being considered,
in the former country, of the highest political importance, and
essential to the civil and religious liberties of the people, the
efforts of government to suppress them frequently producing
tumult and insurrection (EE). His bow, and one of his arrows,
his chair, his cap, and one of his slippers, were preserved, with
peculiar veneration, till within the present century (FF); and not
only places which afforded him security or amusement, but even
the well at which he quenched his thirst, still retain his name
(GG); a name which, in the middle of the present century, was
conferred, as a singular distinction, upon the prime minister to
the king of Madagascar (HH).
After his death his company was dispersed. History is silent
in particulars : all that we can, therefore, learn is, that the
honour of Little John's death and burial is contended for by
rival nations (II); that his grave continued long celebrous for
the yielding of excellent whetstones;" and that some of his de-
scendants, of the name of Nailor, which he himself bore, and
they from him, were in being so late as the last century (KK).
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS
REFERRED TO IN THE FOREGOING LIFE.
(a) "FORMER biographers, &-c."] Such, that is, as have
already appeared in print, since a sort of manuscript life in the
Sloane Library will appear to have been of some service. The
first of these respectable personages is the author, or rather com-
piler, of The noble birth and gallant achievements of that re-
markable outlaw Robin Hood; together with a true account of
the many merry extravagant exploits he played ; in twelve several
stories: newly collected by an ingenious antiquary. London,
printed by W. O." [William Onley.] 4to, black letter, no date.
These several stories," in fact, are only so many of the songs
in the common Garland transposed; and the "ingenious anti-
quary," who strung them together, has known so little of his
trade, that he sets out with informing us of his heros banishment
by king Henry the ezik*th. The above is supposed to be "the
small merry book" called Robin Hood, mentioned in a list of
"' books, ballads, and histories, printed for and sold by William
Thackeray at the Angel in Duck-lane," (about 1680,) preserved
in one of the volumes of old ballads (part of Bagfords collection)
in the British Museum.
Another piece of biography, from which much will not be ex-
pected, is," The lives and heroick achievements of the renowned
Robin Hood, and 7ames Hind, two noted robbers and highway-
men. London, 1752," 8vo. This, however, is probably nothing
more than an extract from Johnsons Lives of the iighwaymen, in
which, as a specimen of the authors historical authenticity, we
have the life and actions of that noted robber, SIR JOHN
The principal if not sole reason why our hero is never once
mentioned by Matthew Paris, Benedictus Abbas, or any other an-
cient English historian, was most probably his avowed enmity to
churchmen; and history, in former times, was written by none
but monks. They were unwilling to praise the actions which
12 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
they durst neither misrepresent nor deny. Fordun and Major,
however, being foreigners, have not been deterred by this pro-
fessional spirit from rendering homage to his virtues.
(A) "-was born at Locksley in the county of Nottingham."]
"Robin Hood," says a MS. in the British Museum, (Bib. Sloan.
715,) written, as it seems, toward the end of the sixteenth cen-
tury, "was borne at Lockesley in Yorkshyre, or after others in
Nottinghamshire." The writer here labours under manifest igno-
rance and confusion, but the first row of the rubric will set him
"In Locksly town, in merry Nottinghamshire,
In merry sweet Locksly town,
There bold Robin Hood was born and was bred,
Bold Robin of famous renown." 1
Dr. Fuller (Worthies of England, 1662, p. 320,) is doubtful as to
the place of his nativity. Speaking of the Memorable Persons"
of Nottinghamshire, Robert Hood," says he, (if not by birth)
by his chief abode this country-man."
The name of such a town as Locksley, or Loxley (for so we
sometimes find it spelled), in the county of Nottingham or of
York, does not, it must be confessed, occur either in sir Henry
Spelmans Villare Anglicunz, in Adams's Index villaris, in
Whatleys Englands gazetteer,2 in Thorotons History of Not-
tinghamshire, or in the Nomina villarmn Eboracensium (York,
1768, 8vo). The silence of these authorities is not, however, to
be regarded as a conclusive proof that such a place never existed.
The names of towns and villages, of which no trace is now to be
found but in ancient writings, would fill a volume.
(B) "-in the reign of king Henry the second, and about the
year of Christ I 16."] Robin Hood," according to the Sloane
MS., "was borne . in the dayes of Henry the 2nd, about
the year II6o." This was the 6th year of that monarch; at
1 See Part II. ballad I.
2 All three mention a Loxle.y in Warwickshire, and another in Staffordshire (" near
Needwood-forest, the manor and seat of the Kinardsleys ").
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 13
whose death annoo 1189) he would, of course, be about 29 years
of age. Those writers are therefore pretty correct who represent
him as playing his -pranks (Dr. Fullers phrase) in the reign of
king Richard the first, and, according to the last named author,
" about the year of our lord 1200."1 Thus Mair (who is followed
by Stowe, Annlales 1592, A. 227,) Circa hct c temfora [sci.
Ricardi I.] ut azuguror, &c." A MS. note in the Museum (Bib.
Har. 1233), not, in Mr. Wanleys opinion, to be relied on, places
him in the same period, Tempf. Rich. I." Nor is Fordun alto-
gether out of his reckoning in bringing him down to the time of
Henry III. as we shall hereafter see; and with him agrees
Andrew of Wyntowne in his Oryginale cronykil," written about
1420, which, at the year 1283, has the following lines:
Lytil Jhon and Robyne Hude
Wayth-men were commendyd gud:
In Yngil-wode and Barnysdale
Thai oysyd all this tyme thare trawale."
A modern writer, (History of Whitby, by Lionel Charlton, York,
1779, 4to.) though of no authority in this point, has done well
enough to speak of him as living in the days of abbot Richard
and Peter his successor;" that is, between the years 1176 and
1211. The author of the two plays upon the story of our hero,
of which a particular account will be hereafter given, makes him
contemporary with king Richard, who, as well as his brother
prince John, is introduced upon the scene; which is confirmed
by another play, quoted in note (D). Warner, also, in his Albions
En;gland, 1602, p. 132, refers his existence to "better daies, first
Richards daies." This, to be sure, may not be such evidence as
would be sufficient to decide the point in a court of justice; but
neither judge nor counsel will dispute the authority of that oracle
of the law, sir Edward Coke, who pronounces that" This Robert
Hood lived in the reign of king R. I." (3 Insitzute, 197.)
We must not, therefore, regard what is said by such writers as
the author of George a Greene, the pinner of Wakefield," 1599,
(see note (G) who represents our hero as contemporary with king
1 It is Tioo in the original, but that is clearly an error of the press.
14 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
Edward IV.1 and the compiler of a foolish book called The
noble birth, &c. of Robin Hood," (see note (a) who commences
it by informing us of his banishment by king Henry VIII. As
well indeed might we suppose him to have lived before the time
of Charlemagne, because sir John Harrington, in his translation
of the Orlando furioso, 1590, p. 391, has made
"Duke 'Ammon in great wrath thus wise 'to' speaker,
This is a Tale indeed of ROBIN HOOD,
Which to believe, might show my wits but weake: "
or to imagine his story must have been familiar to Plutarch
because in his Morals, translated by Dr. Philemon Holland,
1603, p. 644, we read the following passage: "Even so [i.e., as
the crane and fox serve each other in .Esop], when learned men
at a table plunge and drowne themselves (as it were) in subtile
problems and questions interlaced with logicke, which the vulgar
sort are not able for their lives to comprehend and conceive;
whiles they also again for their part come in with their foolish
sozgs, and vain ballads of ROBIN-HOOD and LITTLE JOHN,
telling tales of a tubbe, or of a roasted horse, and such like."
Who, indeed, would be apt to think that his skill in archery was
known to Virgil? And yet, as interpreted by our facetious friend
Mr. Charles Cotton, he tells us that
Cupid was a little tyny,
Cogging, lying, peevish ninny,
But with a bow this shit-breecht elf
Would shoot like Robin Hood himself."
In a word, if we are to credit translators, he must have existed
before the siege of Troy; for thus, according to one of Homers:
"Then came a choice companion
Of ROBIN HOOD and LITTLE JOHN,
Who many a buck and many a doe,
In Sherwood forest, with his bow,
Had nabb'd; believe me it is true, sir,
The fellows Christian name was TEUCER."
Iliad, by Bridges, 4to, p. 231.
1 Kin Edward, it is true, is introduced in the "Lytel Geste," &., but the author
has unquestionably meant the firs of that name.
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 15
Thus likewise, in a much earlier translation of the same immortal
bard (Homer a la mode, 1664), we read of
-greate Apollo who's as good
At pricks and buts as Robin Hood."
This last supposition, indeed, has even the respectable counte-
nance of dan Geoffrey Chaucer:
"Pandarus answerde, it may be well enough,
And held with him of all that ever he said,
But in his hart he thought, and soft lough,
And to himself full soberly he said,
From hasellwood there JOLLY ROBIN played,
Shall come all that thou abidest here,
Ye, farewell all the snow of ferne yete."
TROILUS (B. 5.) Speghts edition, 1602.
(c) "His extraction was noble, and his true name ROBERT
FITZOOTH."] In "an olde and ancient pamphlet," which
Grafton the chronicler had seen, it was written that This man
discended of a noble parentage." The Sloane MS. says, "He
was of . . parentage ;" and though the material word is
illegible, the sense evidently requires noble. So, likewise, the
Harleian note : It is said that he was of noble blood." Leland
also has expressly termed him nobilis." (Collectanea, I. 54.)
The following account of his family will be found sufficiently
particular. Ralph Fitzothes or Fitzooth, a Norman who had
come over to England with William Rufus, marryed Maud or
Matilda, daughter of Gilbert de Gaunt, earl of Kyme and Lindsey,
by whom he had two sons : Philip, afterward earl of Kyme, that
earldom being part of his mothers dowry, and William. Philip
the elder dyed without issue; William was a ward to Robert de
Vere, earl of Oxford, in whose household he received his education,
and who, by the kings express command, gave him in marriage
to his own niece, the youngest of the three daughters of the cele-
brated lady Roisia de Vere, daughter of Aubrey de Vere, earl of
Guisnes in Normandy, and lord high chamberlain of England
16 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
under Henry I., and of Adeliza, daughter to Richard de Clare,
earl of Clarence and Hertford, by Payn de Beauchamp, baron of
Bedford, her second husband. The offspring of this marriage
was our hero, ROBERT FITZOOTH, commonly called ROBIN
HOOD. (See Stukeleys Palcsografhia Britannica, No. I.
A writer in the Gentlemans Magazine, for March, 1793, under
the signature D. H.,1 pretends that Hood is only a corruption of
o' th' wood, q.d. of Sherwood." This, to be sure, is an absurd
conceit; but, if the name were a matter of conjecture, it might
be probably enough referred to some particular sort of hood our
hero wore by way of distinction or disguise. See Scots Discoverie
of witchcraft, 1584, p. 522. In Jonsons masque of The Kings
entertainment at Welbeck" (Works, 1756, vii. 53,) certain cha-
racters are introduced "in livery hoods," of whom Fitz-ale says,
Six hoods they are, and of the blood,
They tell of ancient Robin Hood."
It may be remembered that Hugh Cafel, the first king of
France, of the third and last race, obtained that surname from
"a similar circumstance. It is unnecessary to add that Hood is
"a common surname at this day, as well as a place in Yorkshire,
formerly Hode; and that Edward the 3rd, in the Ioth year of
his reign, confirmed to Thomas, the son of Robert de Hode, of
Horeden, intail-general, certain places of moorland, 'c., in
vasto de Incklesmore, &-c. (Ro. Pa. 10 E. 3. m. 31.)
(D) He is frequently stiled . EARL OF HUNTINGDON, a title
to which, for the latter part of his life at least, he actually appears
to have had some sort of pretension."] In Graftons olde and
ancient pamphlet," though the author had, as already noticed,
said "this man discended of a noble parentage," he adds, "or
rather beyng of a base stock and linage, was for his manhood
and chivalry advanced to the noble dignitie of an erle."
In the MS. note (Bib. Har. 1233) is the following passage:
1 A ias R. G,, the scurrilous and malignant editor of that degraded publication,
NOTES AND ILL USTRA 7 IONVS. 17
"It is said that he was of noble blood no lesse then an earle."
Warner, in his Albions E;ngland, already cited, calls him "a
county." The titles of Mundys two plays are : "The downfall,"
and "The death of ROBERT EARLE OF HUNTINGTON." He is
likewise introduced in that character in the same authors Metro-
polis coronata, hereafter cited. In his epitaph we shall find him
expressly stiled ROBERT EARL OF HUNTINGTUN."
In "A pleasant commodie called Looke about you," printed
in 1600, our hero is introduced, and performs a principal part.
He is represented as the young earl of Huntington, and in ward
to prince Richard, though his brother Henry, the young king,
complains of his having "had wrong about his wardship." He
is described as
"A gallant youth, a proper gentleman;"
and is sometimes called "pretty earle," and "little wag." One
of the characters thus addresses him :
"But welcome, welcome, and young HUNTINGTON,
Sweet ROBYN HUDE, honors best flowing bloome,"
and calls him
----an honourable youth,
Vertuous and modest, Huntingtons right heyre."
And it is said that
"His father GILBERT was the smoothst fact lord
That ere bare armes in England or in Fraunce."
In one scene, "Enter Richard and Robert with coronets.'
"Rick. Richard the prince of England, with his ward,
The noble ROBERT HOOD, EARLE HUNTINGTON,
Present their service to your majestic."
Dr. Percys objection, that the most ancient poems make no
mention of this earldom,1 but only call him a yeoman, will be
considered in another place. How he founded his pretensions
to this title will be seen in his pedigree. Here it is.
1 The authority cited by Grafton, in 1569, as then "olde and ancientt" must have
been at least of equal antiquity with the most ancient poems that Dr. P. is acquainted
18 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
"THE PEDIGREE OF ROBIN HOOD, EARL OF HUNTINGTON.
I. bert de Clare,
Waltheof, earl of=judith, countess of earl of Brien.
Northumberland Huntingdon, the
and Huntington. Conqueror's niece.
II. i. 2. III. Alice= Robert Fitzgilbert
Simon de S.-Maud-David I., king
lis I., earl of of Scots, earl
Northampton of Huntingdon.
Henry, earl of7Ada,daugh-
Northumber- ter of Wil-
land and Hun- liam, earl of
tingdon. Warren. Gilbert de Gaunt, Roisia
V. --- earl of Kyme and
Simon S.lisII. =Isabel, daugh- Lindsey, came in
earl of North- ter of Robert with the Conque-
ampton and Bossu, earl of ror.
Huntington. Leicester. I------
------ Walter de Gaunt,
VI. I earl of Lindsey.
Malcolm IV., king I
of Scots, earl of Gilbert de Gaunt,A=jvis, daughter
Northumberland earl of Lincoln. and heir of
and Huntingdon. William de
__-- --J Rmara, earl of
VII. r---- Lincoln.
William, earl of Huntingdon.
VIII. a Norman, lord
Simon S. lis III., earl of Hun-=-Alice, heiress, of Kyme.
tingdon and Northampton, ob.
David, earl of Carrick' and Hunting- Philip Fitzooth,
don, son of Henry IV. (above) earl, lord of Kyme,
and of Ada, ob. 1219. ob. s. p.
John, surnamed Scot, his son, earl William Fitzooth,=-a daughter of
of Angus and Huntingdon, ob. s. brought up by Payn Beau-
P. 1237. Robert, earl of champ and
Oxford. lady Roisia de
I^..--..----- ---J Vere.
ROBERT FITZOOi'H, commonly called ROBIN HOOD,
pretended earl of Huntington, ob. 1274 ."*
Stukeley's PalzograaPhiaz ritannica, No. II. p. 115. In an interleaved copy of Robin Hoods
garland formerly belonging to Dr. Stukeley, and now in the possession of Francis Douce esquire,
opposite the 2d page of the ist song, is the following note in his own hand:
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 19
(E) "In his youth he is reported to have been of a wild and
extravagant disposition, &9c."] Graftons pamphlet, after suppos-
ing him to have been advancedd to the noble dignitie of an
erle," continued thus: But afterwardes he so prodigally ex-
ceeded in charges and expenses, that he fell into great debt, by
reason whereof, so many actions and sutes were commenced
against him whereunto he answered not, that by order of lawe he
was outlawed."' Leland must undoubtedly have had good
authority for calling him nobilis ille exlex." Fordun supposes
him in the number of those deprived of their estates by K. Hen.
III. Hoc inteznpore," says he, "de exheredatis surrexit &Z
caput erexit ille famosissimus siccarius Robertus Hode & littill
Johanne cuzm eorum complicibus." (p. 744.) The Sloane MS.
says he was so ryotous that he lost or should his patrimony & for
debt became an outlawe :" and the Harleian note mentions his
"having wasted his estate in riotous courses." The former
authority, however, gives a different, though, it may be, less
"Guy earl of Warwick.
George Gamwell Joanna=-=
of Gamwell Hall magn wa Fitz Odoth
Robin Fitz Odoth
Gamwell the king's forester in Yorkshire,
mentioned in Camden.
See my answer No. II. of lady Roisia,
where is Robin Hoods TRUE PEDIGREE."
The.doctor seems, by this pedigree, to have founded our heros pretensions on his descent from
Roisia, sister of Robert Fitzgilbert, husband of Alice, youngest daughter of Judith, countess of Hun-
tingdon; which, whatever it might do in those times, would scarcely be thought sufficient to support
such a claim, at present. Beside, though John the Scot dyed without issue, he left three sisters, all
marryed to powerful barons, either in Scotland or in England, none of whom, however, assumed the
title. It is, therefore, probable, after all, that Robin Hood derived his earldom by some other channel.
Dr. Stukeley, whose learned labours are sufficiently known and esteemed, was a professed anti-
quary. and a beneficed clergyman of the church of England. He has not, it is true, thought it ne-
cessary to cite any ancient or other authority in support of the above representations; nor is it in
the editors power to supply the deficiency. Perhaps, indeed, the doctor might think himself inti-
tied to expect that his owi authority would be deemed sufficient: upon that, however, they must be
content to rest. Sit idespeines auctorem. Mr. Parkin, who published "A reply to the peevish, weak,
and malevolent objections brought by Dr. Stukeley, in his Origiies Roystoniana., No 2," (Norwich,
1748, 4to.) terms his pedigree of Robin Hood quite jocose, an original indeed !" (see pp. 27,.32).
Otf/o and Fitz-Otho, it must be confessed, were common names among the Anglo-Normans,* but
no such name as Otlies, Ooth, Fitz-Othes, or Fit.-Oot/, has been elsewhere met with. Phtilip de
Kimne, also, was certainly a considerable landholder in the county of Lincoln, in the time of king
Henry II., but it no where appears, except from Dr. Stukeley, that his surname was Fitz-Ooth.
The doctor likewise informs us that the arms of Ralph Fitzooth, and consequently of our hero,
were "g. two bendlets engrailed, o."
1 Graftons chronicle, p. 85. 2 Collec. I. 54,
Filius Roberti filii Odonis est in custodia Domini Regis, et est vj annorum, et ipse est heres
decide parties unius militis, et vix possunt inde habere victum suum ipse et mater sua Rotulus
de vidius, &c, (31 H. 2.) MSS, Har. 624.
20 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
credible, account of his being obliged to abscond. It is as
follows : One of his first exployts was the going abrode into a
forest, & bearing with him a bowe of exceeding great strength,
he fell into company with certayne rangers or woodmen, who fell
to quarrel with him, as making showe to use such a bowe as no
man was able to shoote withall. Whereto Robin replyed that he
had two better then that at Lockesley, only he bare that with him
nowe as a byrding bowe. At length the 'contention' grewe so
hote that there was a wager layd about the killing of a deere a
great distance of, for performance whereof Robin offered to lay
his head to a certayne some of money, the advantage of which
rash speech the others presently tooke. So the market being
found out, one of them, both to make his hart faynt and hand
unsteady, as he was about to shoote urged him with the losse of
head if he myst the market. Notwithstanding Robin kyld the
deare, and gave every man his money agayne, save to him which
at the poynt of shooting so upbraided him with danger to loose
his hed for that wager; & he sayd they would drinke together:
whereupon the others stomached the matter and from quarelling
they grewe to fighting with him. But Robin, getting him some-
what of, with shooting dispatch them, and so fled away; and
then betaking himself to lyve in the woods, &c." n
That he lurked or infested the woods is agreed by all. "irc az
k'c temfora," says Major, "Robertus Huduzss An glus & parvus
Joannes, latrones, famatissimi, in nemoribus latuerunt."
Dr. Stukeley says that Robin Hood took to this wild way of
life, in imitation of his grandfather Geoffrey de Mandeville, who
being a favorer of Maud empress, K. Stephen took him prisoner
at S. Albans, and made him give up the tower of London, Wal-
den, Plessis, &c., upon which he lived on plunder." (MS. note
in his copy of Robin Hoods garland.)
(F) Of these he chiefly affected Barnsdale, &'c."] Along on
the lift hond," says Leland, "a iii. miles of betwixt Milburne and
Feribridge I saw the wooddi and famose forest of Barnesdale,
1 See Robin Hoods progress to Noittingam, Part II. ballad 2.
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 21
where thay say that Robyn Hudde lyvid like an owtlaw." Itinerary.
"They haunted about Barnesdale forrest, Cozmton [r. Plomr -
ton] parke,' and such other places." MS. Sloane.
"His principal residence," says Fuller, was in Shirewood
forrest in this county [Notts], though he had another haunt (he
is no fox that hath but one hole) near the sea in the North-riding
in Yorkshire, where Robin Hoods bay still retaineth his name:
not that he was any pirat, but a land-thief, who retreated to those
unsuspected parts for his security." Worthies of England, p. 320.
In Thorotons Nottinghamshire, p. 505, is some account of the
ancient and present state of Sherwood forest; but one looks in
vain, through that dry detail of land-owners, for any particulars
relating to our hero. In anno domini 1194, king Richard the
first, being a hunting in the forrest of Sherwood, did chase a hart
out of the forrest of Sherwood into Barnesdale in Yorkshire, and
because he could not there recover him, he made proclamation
at Tickill in Yorkshire, and at divers other places there, that no
person should kill, hurt, or chase the said hart, but that he might
safely retorne into forrest again, which hart was afterwards
called a hart-royall proclaimed. (Manwoods Forest laws, 1598,
p. 25, from "an ancient record" found by him in the tower of
Nottingham castle.) 2
1 Plompton park, upon the banks of the Peterill, in Cumberland, was formerly very
large, and set apart by the kings of England for the keeping of deer. It was disaffo-
rested or disparked, by Henry the 8th. See Camdens Brittania, by bishop Gibson,
who seems to confound this park with Inglewood-forest, a district of sixteen miles in
length, reaching from Carlile to Penrith, where the kings of England used to hunt,
and Edward I. is reported to have killed 200 bucks in one day. Ibi.
Aznno 1194]. Ticesima( nona die 7mensis nzartii Richardus rex Angliae profectus
est videre Clipestone, & forrestas de Sirewode, quas izpse nunquam viderat antea:
&- pjlaculerunZt ei mntuliznn, &- codem die rediit ad Notingham. R. de Hoveden
Annales, p. 736.
Drayton (Polyolbion, song 26,) introduces Sherwood in the character of a nymph,
who, out of disdain at the preference shewn by the poet to a sister-forest,
All self praise set apart, determineth to sing
That lusty Robin Hood, who long time like a king
Within her compass liv'd, and when he list to range,
For some rich booty set, or else his air to change,
To Sherwood still retired, his only standing court."
22 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
(*F) "Here he either found, --c."] After being outlawed,
Grafton tells us, "for a lewde shift, as his last refuge, [he] gathered
together a company of roysters and cutters, and practised
robberyes and spoyling of the kinges subjects, and occupied and
frequented the forests or wild countries." See also the follow.
(G) LITTLE JOHN, WILLIAM SCADLOCK, GEORGE A GREEN,
pinder of Wakefield, MUCH, a millers son, and a certain monk
or friar named TUCK."] Of these the pre-eminence is incontes-
tably due to Little /ohn, whose name is almost constantly coupled
with that of his gallant leader," Robertus Hode & littill Johanne,"
are mentioned together by Fordun, as early as 1341 ; and later
instances of the connection would be almost endless. After the
words, "for debt became an outlaw," the Sloane MS. adds,
" then joyninge to him many stout fellowes of lyke disposition,
amongst whom one called Little Jo/hn was principal or next
to him, they haunted about Barnsdale forrest, &9c." See notes
With respect tofrier Tuck, though some say he was an other
kynd of religious man, for that the order of freyrs was not yet
sprung up," (AMS. Sloan.) yet as the Dominican friers (or friers
preachers) came into England in the year 1221, upward of 20
years before the death of Robin Hood, and several orders of these
religious had flourished abroad for some time, there does not
seem much weight in that objection: nor, in fact, can one pay
much regard to the term frier, as it seems to have been the
common title given by the vulgar (more especially after the refor-
mation) to all the regular clergy, of which the friers were at once
the lowest and most numerous. If frier Tuck be the same person
who. in one of the oldest songs, is called The curtail frier of
Fountainsdale, he must necessarily have been one of the monks
of that abbey, which was of the Cistertian order. However this
may be, frier Tuck is frequently noticed, by old writers, as one
of the companions of Robin Hood, and as such was an essential
character in the morris-dance (see note (FF). He is thus men-
tioned by Skelton, laureat, in his "goodly interlude of Magnifi-
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 23
cence, written about the year 1500, and with an evident allusion
to some game or practice now totally forgotten and inexplicable;
Another bade shave half my berde,
And boyes to the pylery gan me plucke,
And wolde have made me freier Tucke,
To preche oute of the pylery hole,"
In the year 1417, as Stowe relates, "one by his ccunterfeite
name, called frier Tncke, with manie other malefactors, com-
mitted many robberies in the counties of Surrey & Sussex,
whereupon the king sent out his writs for their apprehension."
(Annalcs, T 592.)
George a Green is Georg o' tMe Green, meaning perhaps the
townz-green1, in which the jtound or pinifold stood of which he had
the care. He has been particularly celebrated, and As good as
George a Green is still a common saying.' Drayton, describing
the progress of the river Calder, in the West-riding of Yorkshire,
has the following lines :
It chanc'd she in her course on Kirkley' cast her eye,
Where merry Robin Hood, that honest thief, doth lie;
Beholding fitly too before how Wakefield stood,
She doth not only think of lusty Robin Hood,
But of his merry man, the pindar of the town
Of Wakefield, George a Green, whose fames so far are blown
For their so valiant fight, that every freemans song
Can tell you of the same, quoth she, be talk'd on long
For ye were merry lads, and those were merry days."
Thus too, Richard Brathwayte, in his poetical epistle "to all true-
bred northern sparks of the generous society of the Cottoneers"
(Strappfado for the divell, 1615):
But haste, my muse, in colours to display
Some ancient customs in their high-roade way,
1 It occurs in "Tarltons Newes out of Purgatory," 1630, 4to. (entered on the
stationers books in i5go).
24 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
At least such places labour to make known
As former times have honour'd with renowne.
The first whereof that I intend to show
Is merry Wakefield, and her pindar too,
Which fame hath blaz'd with all that did belong
Unto that towne in many gladsome song,
The pindars valour, and how firme he stood
In th' townes defence againstt th' rebel Robin Hood,
How stoutly he behav'd himself, and would,
In spite of Robin, bring his horse to th' fold,
His many May-games which were to be seene
Yearly presented uipon Wzakefield greene,
Where lovely Jugge and lustie Tib would go,
To see Tom-lively turne upon the toe;
Hob, Lob, and Crowde the fidler would be there,
And many more I will not speaker of here.
Good God how glad hath been this hart of mine,
To see that towne, which hath, in former time,
So flourish'd and so gloried in her name,
Famous by th' pindar who first rais'd the same !
Yea, I have paced ore tlhat greene and ore,
And th' more I saw't I tooke delight the more,
'For where we take contentment in a place,
A whole daies walk seems as a cinquepace.'
Yet as there is no solace upon earth,
Which is attended evermore with mirth,
But when we are transported most with gladnesse,
Then suddenly our joy's reduc'd to sadness,
So far'd with me to see the pindar gone,
And of those jolly laddes that were not one
Left to survive: I grieved more then Ile say :-
(But now for Bradford I must hast away.)
Unto thy task, my muse, and now make known,
The jolly shoo-maker of Bradford towne,
His gentle craft so rais'd in former time
By princely journey-men his discipline.
'Where he was wont with passengers to quaffe,
But suffer none to carry up their staff'
Upon their shoulders, whilst they past through town,
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 25
For if they did he soon would beat them down;
(So valiant was the souter) and from hence
Twixt Robin Hood and him grew th' difference;
Which, cause it is by most stage poets writ,
For brevity I thought good to omit."
In the latter part of this extract, honest Richard evidently
alludes to A pleasant conceyted comedie of George a Green, the
pinner of Wakefield; as it was sundry times acted by the servants
of the right honourable the earle of Sussex," I599, 4to, which
has been erroneously ascribed to Heywood the epigrammatist, and
is reprinted, with other trash, in the late edition of Dodsley's Old
plays; only it unluckily happens that Robin Hood is almost the
only person who has No difference with the souter (or shoe-maker)
of Bradford. The play in short (or at least that part of it which
we have any concern with) is founded on the ballad of Robin
Hood and thze inder of Wakefield, (see Part II. song 3,) which it
directly quotes, and is in fact a most despicable performance.1
King Edward (thefourti) having taken king James of Scotland
prisoner, after a most bloody battle near Middleham-castle, from
which of 30,000 Scots not 5,000 had escaped, comes with his
royal captive in disguise to Bradford, where they meet Robin
Hood and George a Green, who have just had a stout affray: and,
after having read this, and a great deal more such nonsensical
stuff, captain Grose sagaciously "supposes, that this play has
little or no foundation in history;" and very gravely sits down,
and debates his opinion in form.
The history of George a Green, pindar of the town of Wake-
field," 4to, no date,2 is a modern production, chiefly founded on
the old play just mentioned, of neither authority nor merit.
Our gallant pinder is thus facetiously commemorated by
Hinc diverso cursu, sero
Quod audissem de pindero
Wakefeeldensi; gloria mundz,
1 It likewise gives the proverb noticed in a preceding page thus: Were he as
good as George a Green, I would strike him sure."
2 There is an edition, in 17o6, 8vc.
26 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
Ubi socii suntj}Icundi,
Mecum statui peragrare
Georgii fustem visitare."
Turning thence, none could me hinder
To salute the Wakef.celd pindar;
Who indeed is the world's glory,
With his comrades never sorry.
This was the cause, lest you should miss it,
George' club I meant to visit.
Veni Wakefield tcramienuim,
Ubi qucerens Georgeum Greenum,
Non inveni, sed in Zignunm,
Fixumn reperi Georgii sigpm,,
Ubi allamz bibi feram
Donec Georgio fortior eran."
"Strait at Wakefield I was seen a,
Where I sought for George a Green a;
But could find not such a creature,
Yet on a sign I saw his feature,
Where strength of ale had so much stir'd me,
That I grew stouter far than Jordic."
Besides the companions of our hero enumerated in the text,
and whose names are most celebrated and familiar, we find those
of William ofGoldsbroziugh, (mentioned by Grafton,) Rzigkt-itting
Brand, (by Mundy,) and Gilbert with the white hand, who is
thrice named in the Lyttell geste of Robyn Hode, and is like-
wise noticed by bishop Gawin Douglas, in his Palice of Honour,
printed at Edinburgh in 1579, but written before 1518:
"Thair saw I Maitlaind upon auld Beird Gray,
Robene Hude, and Gilbert with the quite 'kand,'
How Hay of Nauchton flew, in Madin land." I
As no mention is made of Adam Bell, Clim of the Clough and
William of Cloudeslie, either in the ancient legend, or in more
than one of the numerous songs of Robin Hood, nor does the
name of the latter once occur in the old metrical history of those
1 Scottish poems, i. 122. The last verse is undoubtedly sense as it now stands; but
a collation of MSS. would probably authorise us to read,
Qukom Hay of Nauchton slew in Madin land."
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 27
famous archers, reprinted in Percys Reliques, and among Pieces
ofancient iofular poetry, it is to be concluded that they flourished
at different periods, or at least had no connection with each other.
In a poem, however, entitled "Adam Bell, Clim of the Clough,
and YOUNG William of Cloudesley, the second part," 1616, 4to,
b. i, (Bib. Bod. Art. L. 71, being a more modern copy than that
in Slden C. 39, which wants the title, but was probably printed
with the first part, which it there accompanies, in 1605; differing
considerably therefrom in several places; and containing many
additional verses;) are the following lines (not in the former copy):
Now beare thy fathers heart, my boy,
Said William of Cloudesley then,
When i was young i car'd not for
The brags of sturdiest men.
The pinder of Wakefield, George a Green,
I try'd a sommers day,
Yet he nor i were victors made
Nor victor'd went away.
Old Robin Hood, nor Little John,
Amongst their merry men all,
For fryer Tuck, so stout and young,
My courage could appall."
(H) "MARIAN".] Who or whatever this lady was, it is observable
that no mention of her occurs either in the Lytell geste of Robyn
Hode, or in any other poem or song concerning him, except the
not very old ballad of Robin Hoods golden prise," where she
is barely named, and a still more modern one of no merit (see
Part II. song 24).1 She is an important character, however, in
the two old plays of The death and dozunfall of Robert earl of
Hunttington, written before 1600, and is frequently mentioned by
dramatic or other writers about that period. Her presence, like-
wise, was considered as essential to the morris-dance. (See
In the First fart oflK. Henry IV. Falstaff says to the hostess,
-" There's no more faith in thee than in a stew'd prune; nor no
1 Surely the lady alluded to in the old May-game cannot be our maid Marian.
The earliest notice of her occurs in Barclay's Egloges, about 1500, where she is
evidently connected with Robin Hood. (See note Y.)
28 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
more truth in thee than in a drawn fox; and for womanhood,
maid Marian may be the deputy's wife of the ward to thee :" upon
which Dr. Johnson observes, that "Maid'Marian is a man dressed
like a woman, who attends the dancers of the morris." In the
ancient songs of Robin Hood," says Percy, 1 frequent mention is
made of maid Marian, who appears to have been his concubine.
I could quote," adds he, "many passages IN MY OLD MS. to this
purpose, but shall produce only one:l
"Good Robin Hood was living then,
Which now is quite forgot,
And so was fayre maid Marian, &c."
Mr. Steevens, too, after citing the old play of The downfall of
Robert earl of Huntizngdon, I601o, to prove "that maid Mai ian
was originally a name assumed by Matilda, the daughter of Robert
lord Fitzwater, while Robin Hood remained in a state of outlawry,"
observes, that Shakspeare speaks of maid Marian in her de-
graded state, when she was represented by a strumpet or a clown:"
and refers to figure 2 in the plate at the end of the play, with Mr.
Toilets observations on it. The widow, in sir W. Davenants
Love and Honour, says, I have been mistress Marian in a
maurice ere now;" and Mr. Warton2 quotes an old piece, entitled
" Old Meg of Herefordshire for a maid Marian, and Hereford
town for a morris-dance: or 12 morris-dancers in Herefordshire
1 Without "the ancient songs," to which the doctor refers, are confined to his old
MS." he evidently asserts what he would probably find it difficult to prove. As for
the passage he produces, it seems nothing to the purpose; as, in the first place, it is
apparently not ancient;" and, in the second, it is apparently not from a "song of
2 Mr. Warton, having observed that The play of ROBIN and MARIAN is said to
have been performed by the schoolboys of Angiers, according to annual custom, in the
year 1332: The boys were deguoisiez, says the old French record; and they had among
them UN FILLETTE desguisee; (Careent. Du Cange, v. ROBINET-PENTECOSTE):"
adds Our old character of Mayd Matrian may be hence illustrated." (His. En.
po. i. 245 ) This, indeed, seems sufficiently plausible; but unfortunately the Robin
and M larian of Anglers are not the Robin and Marian of Sherwood. The play is
still extant. See Fabliaux oIz contest, Paris, 1781, ii. 144. There are likewise some
very ancient pastoral ballads on the subject of these two lovers. See Laborde Essai
sur la Mlusique, ii. 163, 215. But, in fact, the names of Robin and Marion seem to
have been used by the chansonniers of antiquity like those of Colin and lPhebe, &c.
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 29
of 1200 years old," London, 1609, quarto : which is dedicated, he
says, to one Hall, a celebrated tabourer in that country.' (See
(I) His company, &c."] See the entire passage quoted from
Major in a subsequent note. By such bootyes as he could get,"
says the writer of the Sloane MS. "his company encreast to an
hundred and a halfe"
(J)--" the words of an old writer."] The author of the Sloane
manuscript; which adds: "after such maner he procured the
pynner of Wakefeyld to become one of his company, and a freyr
called Muchel [r. Tuck]... Scarlock he induced upon this occasion:
one day meeting him as he walked solitary & like to a man forlorne,
because a mayd to whom he was affyanced was taken from [him]
by the violence of her friends, & given to another that was old &
wealthy, whereupon Robin, understanding when the maryage-day
should be, came to the church as a bigger, & having his own
company not far of, which came in so soone as they hard the
sound of his home, he tooke the bryde perforce from him that
[bare] in hand to have marryed her, & caused the priest to wed
her & Scarlocke togetherr" (See Part II. song 8.) This MS.,
of which great part is merely the old legend or Lytell geste of
Robyn Hode turned into prose, appears to have been written
before the year 1600.
(K) In shooting, &G-c."] MS. Sloan. Grafton also speaks of
our heros excellyng principally in archery or shooting, his manly
courage agreeing thereunto."
Their archery, indeed, was unparalleled, as both Robin Hood
and Little John have frequently shot an arrow a measured mile,
or 1,760 yards, which, it is supposed, no one, either before or
since, was ever able to do. Tradition," says master Charlton,
"informs us that in one of 'Robin Hoods' peregrinations, he,
1 In 1592, Richard Jones, stationer, entered on the company's books, A pleasant
fancie, or merrie conceyt, called the passion et morrys, daunst by a crue of 8 couple
30 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
attended by his trusty mate Little John, went to dine [at Whitby-
abbey] with the abbot Richard, who, having heard them often
famed for their great dexterity in shooting with the long bow,
begged them after dinner to shew him a specimen thereof; when,
to oblige the abbot, they went up to the top of the abbey, whence
each of them shot an arrow, which fell not far from Whitby-laths,
but on the contrary side of the lane; and in memorial thereof, a
pillar was set up by the abbot in the place where each of these
arrows was found, which are yet standing in these our days; that
field where the pillar for Robin Hood's arrow stands being still
called Robin tHood'sfield, and the other where the pillar for Little
John's arrow is placed, still preserving the name of J7ohn'sfield.
Their distance from Whitby-abbey is MORE THAN A MEASURED
MILE, which seems very far for the flight of an arrow, and is a
circumstance that will stagger the faith of many; but as to the
credibility of the story, every reader may judge thereof as he
thinks proper; only I must here beg leave to observe that these
very pillars are mentioned, and the fields called by the aforesaid
names, in the old deeds for that ground, now in the possession
of Mr. Thomas Watson." (History of Whitby, York, I779, P. 146.)1
Dr. Meredith Hanmer, in his Chronicle of Ireland, (p. 179,)
speaking of Little John, says, "There are memorable acts reported
of him, which I hold not for truth, that he would shoot an arrow
1 "The quarry from whence king Wolfere fetched stones for his royal structure [i.ce
Peterborough] was undoubtedly that of Bernach near unto Stamford....And I find in
the charter of K. Edward the Confessor, which he granted to the abbot of Ramsey,
that the abbot of Ramsey should give to the abbot and convent of Peterburgh 4000
eeles in the time of Lent, and in consideration thereof the abbot of Peterburgh should
give to the abbot of Ramsey as much freestone from his pitts in Bernack, and as much
ragstone from his pitts in Peterburgh as he should need. Nor did the abbot of Peter-
burgh from these pits furnish only that but other abbies also, as that of St. Edmunds-
Bury: in memory whereof there are two long stones yet standing upon a balk in
Castor-field, near unto Gunwade-ferry; which erroneous tradition hath given out to
be draughts of arrows from Alwalton church-yard thither; the one of Robin Hood,
and the other of Little John; but the truth is, they were set up for witnesses, that the
carriages of stone from Bernack to Gunwade-ferry, to be conveyed to S. Edmunds-
Bury, might pass that way without paying toll; and in some old terrars they are called
S. Edmunds stones. These stones are nicked in their tops after the manner of arrows,
probably enough in memory of S. Edmund, who was shot to death with arrows by the
Danes." Guntons History of the churcJz ofPecterbiergi, 1686, p. 4.
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 31
A MILE OFF, and a great deale more; but them," adds he, "I
leave among the lyes of the land."
(L) "An outlaw, in those times, being deprived of protection,
owed no allegiance, &-c."] Such a character was, doubtless, at
the period treated of, in a very critical situation; it being equally
as legal and meritorious to hunt down and dispatch him as it was
to kill a wolf, the head of which animal he was said to bear.
"Itemforisfacit, says Bracton, (who wrote about the time,) omnia
que facis sunt, qzia a tenm ore quo utlagatus est CAPUT GERIT
LUPINUM, ita ut immune ab omnibus interfidi possit." (1. 2. c. 35.)
1 In this relation," Mr. Walker observes, the doctor not only evinces his credulity,
but displays his ignorance of archery; for the ingenious and learned Mr. Barrington,
than whom no man can be better informed on the subject, thinks that eleven score
and seven yards is the utmost extent that an arrow can be shot from a long bow."
(Archasologia, vol. VII.) According to tradition, he adds, Little John shot an arrow
from the Old-bridge, Dublin, to the present site of St. Michaels church, a distance not
exceeding, he believes, that mentioned by Mr. Barrington. (Historical essay on the
dress of the ancient and modern Irish, p. 129.)
What Mr. Barrington thinks" may be true enough, perhaps, of the Toxophilite
society and other modern archers; but people should not talk of ROBIN HOOD who
never shot in his bow. The above ingenious writers censure of Dr. Hanmers credulity
and ignorance, seems to be misapplied; since he cannot be supposed to believe what
he holds not for truth, and actually leaves among Ite lyes of the land.
See also the old song, printed in the Appendix, No. 2. Drayton, a well-informed
and intelligent man, who wrote before archery had fallen into complete disuse, says-
"At marks fullforty score they us'd to prick and rove."
That Mr. Barrington, indeed, was very ill informed on the subject is evident from
a most scarce book, in the editors possession, entitled "Aime for the archers of St.
George's fields, containing the names of all the marks in the same fields, with their
true distances according to the dimensuration of the line. Formerly gathered by
Richard Hannis, and now corrected by Thomas Bick, and others. London, Printed
by N. Howell for Robert Minehard and Benjamin Brownsmith, and are to be sold at
the sign of the man in the moon in Blackman-street, 1664," i6mo, where the distance
from Al/ha to Bicks memorial is 18 score, 16 yards; and ii score 7 yards (though
there are inferior numbers, the lowest being 9, 12) appears to be a very moderate shot
indeed. Two of these marks are Robin Hood and Little YJo/n. See also Shakspei.re's
Second fart of K. Henry IV. act 3, scene 2, where it is say'd that Old Double "would
have clapp'd i' the clout at twelve score; and carry'd you a forehand shaft a fourteen
and fourteen and a half:" and the notes upon the passage in Steevens' edition, 1793.
It is probable after all, that the word forty in Drayton is an error, of the transcriber
or pressman, for fourteen.
Whatever Robin Hoods father might do, there can be no question that the author
of the old ballad in which he is mentioned (Part II. song i.) has "shot in a lusty
strong bow," when he speaks of
"Two north-country miles and an inch at a shot."
32 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
In the great roll of the Exchequer, in the 7th year of king Richard
I. is an allowance by writ, of two marks, to Thomas de Prest-
wude, for bringing to Westminster the head of William de Elle-
ford, an outlaw. (See Madoxes History of the Exchequer, 136.)
Those who received or consorted with a person outlawed were
subject to the same punishment. Such was the humane policy
of our enlightened ancestors (See note s.)
. they could discourse
The freezing hours away "
(Cymbeline, act iii. scene 3) The chief subjects of our heros
conversation are supposed, by a poetical genius of the 16th cen-
tury, to have been the commendation of a forest-life, and the in-
gratitude of mankind.
"I have no tales of Robin Hood, though mal-content was he
In better daies, first Richards daies, and liv'd in woods as we
A Tymon of the world ; but not devoutly was he soe,
And therefore praise I not the man; but for from him did groe
Words worth the note, a word or twaine of him ere hence we goe.
Those daies begot some mal-contents, the principal of home
A county was, that with a troope of yomandry did rome,
Brave archers and deliver men, since nor before so good,
Those took from rich to give the poore, and manned Robin Hood.
He fed them well, and lodg'd them safe in pleasant caves and bowers,
Oft saying to his merry men, What juster life than ours ?
Here use we talents that abroad the churles abuse or hide,
Their coffers excrements, and yeat for common wants denide.
We might have served for their store, & they have dyc'st our bones,
Whose tongues, driftes, harts, intice, mean, melt, as syrens, foxes, stones,
Yea even the best that better them heard but aloofe our mones.
And redily the churles could prie and prate of our amis,
Forgetfull of their owne. .
I did amis, not missing friends that wisht me to amend;
I did amend, but missed friends when mine amis had end
My friends therefore shall finde me true, but I will trust no friend.
Not one I knewe that wisht me ill, nor any work me well,
To lose, lacke, live, time, friends, in yncke, an hell, an hell, an hell!
Then happier we (quoth Robin Hood) in merry Sherwood that dwell.1
1 Warners Albions England, 1602, p. 132. It is part of the hermits speech to the
earl of Lancaster.
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 33
It has been conjectured, however, that in the winter-season,
our hero and his companions severally quartered themselves in
villages or country-houses more or less remote, with persons of
whose fidelity they were assured. It is not improbable, at the
same time, that they might have tolerably comfortable habita-
tions erected in the woods.
Archery, which our hero and his companions appear to have
carried to a state of perfection, continued to be cultivated for
some ages after their time, down, indeed, to that of Henry VIII.,
or about the year 1540, when, owing to the introduction of artil-
lery and matchlock-guns, it became neglected, and the bowmen
of Cressy and Agincourt utterly extinct: though it may be still a
question whether a body of expert archers would not, even at
this day, be superior to an equal number armed with muskets.'
The loss sustained from this change by the people at large seems
irreparable. Anciently, the use of the bow or bill qualified every
man for a soldier; and a body of peasants, led on by a Tyler or
a Cade, was not less formidable than any military force that
could be raised to oppose them: by which means the people
from time to time preserved the very little liberty they had, and
which.their tyrants were constantly endeavouring to wrest from
them. See how the case stands at present: the sovereign, let
him be who or what he will, (kings have been tyrants and may
be so again,) has a standing army, well disciplined and accoutred,
while the subjects or people are absolutely defenceless: as much
care having been taken, particularly since "the glorious revolu-
tion," to deprive them of arms as was formerly bestowed to
enforce their use and practice.2 The following extract from
Hales Historia flacitorum coronce (i. 18) will serve to show
1 Sir Roger Williams, in his Briefc discourse of warre, 1590, has a chapter "To
prooue bow-men the worst shct vsed in these daies." Sir John Smythe, however,
was of a different opinion. See his Discourses concerning the formes and effects
of divers sorts of weapons, &c. As also, of the great sufficiencie, excellence, and
wonderful effects of archers," 1590, 4to. See also a different treatise by him upon
the same subject, in Num. 132 of the Harleian MSS.
2 A prince, who fills the throne with a disputed title, dares not arm his subjects ;
the only method of securing a people fully, both against domestic oppression, and
foreign conquest." Humes Essays, (" Of the Protestant succession.")
34 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
how familiar the bow and arrow was in the 14th century. "M. 22.
E. 3. Rot. 17. coram rege Ebor. This was the case of Henry
Vescy, who had been indicted before the sheriff in turno suo ..
of divers felonies, whereupon the sheriff -.ianzdavit co0zmmis-
sioznemz suam Henrico de Clydcrawe & allis ad capiendzul
firccdictzun H. Vescy, &- salvo ducendzim usqu e castruzm de
Ebor. Vescy would not submit to an arrest, but fled, &Z inter
fugiendzum shot with his bow and arrows at his pursuers, but
in the end was kild by Clyderawe;" to which may be added
a remarkable passage in Harrisons "Description of England,"
prefixedd to Holinsheds chronicle, 1587,) to prove how much it
had declined in the 16th. In times past," says he, the cheefe
force of England consisted in their long bowes. But now we
have in maner generallie given over that kind of artillerie, and
for long bowes in deed doo practise to shoot compasse for our
pastime; which kind of shooting can never yeeld anie smart
stroke, nor beat down our enemies, as our countriemen were
woont to doo at everie time of need. Certes the Frenchmen and
Rutters' deriding our new archerie in respect of their corslets,
will not let, in open skirmish, if anie leisure serve, to turned up
their tailes, and crie, Shoote, English; and all because our
strong shooting is decaied and laid in bed. But if some of our
Englishmen now lived that served king Edward the third in his
warres with France, the breech2 of such a varlet should have been
nailed to his bum with one arrow, and an other feathered in his
bowels, before he should have turned about to see who shot the
first," (p. 198.) Bishop Latimer, in his sixth sermon before K.
Edward VI. gives an interesting account how the sons of yeomen
were in his infancy, trained up to the bow. But now," says he,
" we have taken up whooring in townes, instead of shooting in
(N) "All clad in Lincoln green--"]
This species of cloth is mentioned by Spenser (Faerie queen,
VI. ii. 5.)
1 Flenmings, s Breeches,
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 35
"All in a woodmans jacket he was clad
Of Lincolne greene, belay'd with silver lace ;
And on his head an hood with aglets sprad,
And by his side his hunters home he hanging had."
It is likewise noticed by our poet himself, in another place
"Swains in shepherds giay, and gyrles in Lincolne greene." I
See Polyolbion, song XXV. where the marginal note says "Lin-
colne anciently dyed the best green in England." Thus Coventry
had formerly the reputation of dying the best blue. See Rays
Proverbs, p. 178. Kendal green is equally famous, and appears
to have been cloth of a similar quality. This colour was adopted
by foresters to prevent their being too readily discovered by the
deer. See sir John Wynnes History of the Guedir family,
(Barringtons Miscellanies,) p. 419. Thus the Scotish highlanders
used to wear brown plaids to prevent their being distinguished
among the heath. It is needless to observe that green has ever
been the favourite dress of an archer, hunter, &c. See note
(cc)2. We now call it a Saxon or grass green :
"His coat is of a Saxon green, his waistcoat's of a plaid."-0. Song.
Lincoln green was well known in France in or before the
thirteenth century. Thus in an old fabliau, transposed by M.
Le Grand (Fabliazux ou contes, iv. 13 :) II mit done son surcot
fourrd d'dcureuil, & sa belle robe d'ESTANFORT teinte en verd."
I Thus also in Part II ballad .
"( She got on her holyday kirtle and gown,
They were of a light Lincolne green."
S In the sign of The greeh man and still, we perceive a tunzisnan, in a green coat,
Standing by the side of a still, in allusion, as it has been facetiously conjectured, to
the partiality shown by that description bf gentry to a morning dram. The genuine
representation, however, should be thegreen man, (or man wzo deals in green herbs,)
with a buridle of peer-iint, or penz.ny.voyal, under his arm, which he brings to have
And farewell all gaie garments now,
With jewels riche of rare devise :
"Like Robin Hood, I wot not how,
I must goe range in woodmens wyse,
Cladde in a cote of greene or gray,
And gladde to get it if i maye.
The workers of a young wyt, Done by N. B. Gent. 1577, 4to. bo t.
36 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
Estanfort is Stamford, in Lincolnshire.1 This cloth is, likewise,
often mentioned by the old Scotish poets, under the names of
Lin>cumi liclt, Lincum twyne, &c., and appears to have been in
universal request: and yet, notwithstanding this cloud of
evidence, mister Pinkerton has had the confidence to assert
that "no particular cloth was ever made at Lincoln." (See
Ancient Scotish poems, ii. 430.) But, indeed, this worthy gentle-
man, as Johnson said of Goldsmith, only stumbles upon truth by
(o) From wealthy abbots chests, &c."]
"But who," exclaims Dr. Fuller, having cited this passage,
"made him a judge ? or gave him a commission to take where it
might be best spared, and give where it was most wanted?"
That same power, one may answer, which authorises kings to
take where it can be worst spared, and give it where it is least
wanted. Our hero, in this respect, was a knight-errant; and
wanted no other commission than that of Justice, whose cause
he militated. His power, compared with that of the king
of England, was, by no means, either equally usurped, or equally
abused: the one reigned over subjects (or slaves) as a master (or
tyrant), the other possessed no authority but what was delegated
to him by the free suffrage of his adherents, for their general
good: and, as for the rest, it would be absurd to blame in Robin
what we should praise in Richard.2 The latter, too, warred in
remote parts of the world against nations from which neither he
nor his subjects had sustained any injury; the former at home
against those to whose wealth, avarice, or ambition, he might
fairly attribute not only his own misfortunes, but the misery of
the oppressed and enslaved society he had quitted. In a word,
1 There appears, however, to be a town of this name in Flandeis, which may be
the place here meant. The above conjecture, therefore, will be received foe no more
than it is worth.
2 When Bulas, or Felix, the robber, brought bro before Papinian, the latter asked
him why he gave himself up to robbing and spoiling. And why, sir," was the
answer, "are you a governor'? See Dio Cassius in Severus.
Because I do that," said the pirate to Alexander, with a single ship which
thou dost with a great fleet, I am called a thief, and thou art called a kings"
NOTES AND ILL USTRATIONS. 37
every man who has the power has also the authority to pursue
the ends of justice, to regulate the gifts of fortune, by transferring
the superfluities of the rich to the necessities of the poor; by
relieving the oppressed, and even, when necessary, destroying
the oppressor. These are the objects of the social union, and
every individual may, and to the utmost of his power should,
endeavour to promote them. Had our Robin Hood been, like
M'Donald of Barrisdale, a reader of Virgil, he, as well as that
gallant chief, might have inscribed on his baldric,
Ham tibi erunt artes; pacis componere mores,
Parcere subjects, et debellare superbos." 1
(*o) But it is to be remembered," &c.] The passage, from
Majors work, which has been already quoted, is here given
entire (except as to a single sentence introduced in another
place.) Circa lhc tempora [s. Ricardi l.] ut attguror, Robertus
Hudus &6 Parvus Joannes latrones famalissimi, in nemoribus
latuerunt, solum opulentum virorumi bona dirifientes. Nullum
nisi eos invadentem vel resistentem iro suarum rerumtuitione
occiderunt. Cenlum sagittarios ad pugnam aptissimos Robe ttus
latrociniis aluit quos 400 virifortissimi invadere non audebant.
Fceminam nullum opprimi fermisit, nec pauperum bona surri-
puit, verum cos ex abbatum bonis ablatis oPifare pavit. Viri
rapinam imfnrobo, sed latronum omnium umnanissimus &n prin-
cefs erat." (Majoris Britannice Historia. Edin. 1740, p. 128.)
1 See Pennants Tour in Scotland MDCCLXXII. Part I. p. 404. The original
reading, whether altered by mistake or design, is-
-- pacisque imponere morem."
One might, to the same purpose, address our hero in the words of Plautus:
(Trinummus, Act IV. scene i.)
" Atque hanctuam gloriam jam ante auribus acceperam, et nobiles apud homines,
Pauperibus te parcere solitum, divites damnare atque domare.
Abi, laudo. scis ordine, ut aequom'st,
Tractare homines, hoc dis dignum'st, semper mendicis modest sint."
"tC I've heard before
This commendation of you, and from great ones,
That you were wont to spare the indigent,
And crush the wealthy.-I applaud your justice
In treating men according to their merits.-
'Tis worthy of the gods to have respect
Unto the poor."
38 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
Stowe, in his Annales, 1592, p. 227, gives an almost literal
version of the above passage; Richard Robinson versifies it;
and Camden slightly refers to it.
(p)-" has had the honour to be compared to the illustrious
Wallace, -c."] In the first volume of Pecks intended supple-
ment to the Monasticon, consisting of collections for the history
of Praemonstratensian monasteries, now in the British Museum,
is a very curious rhyming Latin poem, with the following title :
"Prioris Alnwicensis de bello Scotico afzud Dumbarr, tempoore
regis Edwardi L dictamen sive rithmus Latinus, quo de
WILLIELMO WALLACE, Scotico illo ROBIN WHOOD, plura sed
invidiose canit':" and in the margin are the following date and
reference: 22. 7ulii 1304. 32. '. I. .Reist. Prem. fol. 59. a."
This, it may be observed, is the first known instance of our heros
name being mentioned by any writer whatever; and affords a
strong and respectable proof of his early popularity.
(Q)-" the abbot of St. Marys in York."] In the year o188
Alan earl of Richmond founded here a stately abbey for black
monks to the honour of St. Olave; but it was afterwards dedi-
cated to the blessed Virgin by the command of king William
Rufus. Its yearly revenues at the suppression amounted to
15501. 7s. 9d. Dzugd. 28501. IS. 5d. Speed." Willis's iMitred
abbeys, i. 214. The abbots in our heros time were-
Robert de Harpsham (el. 1184) ob. II98.
Robert de Longo Campo, ob. 1239.
William Rondele, ob. 1244.
Tho. de Wharterhille, ob. 1258.
1 Richard Cceur de Lyon cald a king and conqueror was,
With Phillip king of France who did unto Jerusalem passe:
In this kings time was Robyn Hood, that archer and outlawe,
And little John his partner eke, unto them which did drawe
One hondred tall and good archers, on whom four hondred men,
Were their power never so strong, could not give onset then;
The abbots, monkes, and cares rich these only did molest,
And reskewd women when they saw of theeves them so opprest;
Restoring poore mens goods, and eke abundantly releeved
Poore travellers which wanted food, or were with sicknes greeved."
Third assertion, &c. (quoted elsewhere).
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 39
(R)-" the sheriff of Nottinghamshire "] Ralph Murdach was
sheriff of Derby and Nottinghamshires in the ist year of king
Richard I. and for the 7 years preceding, and William Brewerre
in his 6th year, between which and the Ist no name appears on
the roll. See Fullers Wor/ties, &c.
In the year 1195, Hubert archbishop of Canterbury, justiciary
of all England, sent throughout the kingdom this form of oath:
that all men of the realm of England would keep the peace of
the lord the king to their power; and that they would neither
be thieves nor robers, nor the receivers of such, nor consent to
them in any thing; and that when they were able to know such-
like malefactors, they would take them to the utmost of their
power, and deliver them to the sheriff; who in no wise should
be delivered unless by the lord the king or his chief justice; and
if unable to take them, they should cause the bailiffs of the lord
the king to know who they were: and, cry being raised for pur-
suing outlaws, robbers, theives, or their receivers, all should
fully do that suit to the utmost of their power, &c. Knights
were to be assigned for these purposes, and men chosen and
faithful were sent to execute them in every county, who by the
oath of true men of the vicinages took many and put them in
the kings prisons; but many, being forewarned, and conscious
of evil, left their houses and possessions, and fled. (. de
Hoveden, p. 757.)
(s)-" an anecdote preserved by Fordun, 6-c."] De quo
eciam quedam commendabilia recitantur sicut zatuit in hoc,
quod cum ihpse quondam in Barnisdale iram [f. ob iram] regis &6
fremitum princizis, missam, ut solitus erat, devotissime audiret,
nec aliqza necessitate volebat interruzmfere oqficium, quadam die
cum audiret missam, a' quodam vicecomite &- ministries regis,
sefpius fer _rius ifsum infestantibus, in illo secretissimo loco
nemorali, ubi missede interfuit, exploratus, venientes ad eum qui
de suis hoc perceferunt, ut omni annisu fugeret suggesserunt,
qui, ob reverentiam sacrament, quod tunc devotissime venera-
batur, omnino facere recusavit. Sed ceteris suis, ob metum
mortis trepidantibus, Robertus tantum confisus in eum, quem9
40 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
coluit reveritzus, cuin paucissimis, qui tunc forte ei affzerunt,
inimicos congressus & ecos defacili deficit, &- de corum spoliis ac
redemnptione ditatuzs, ministros ecclesice &- missas semn5er in major
veneratione semper n de post habere frcielegit, attendees qzod
vulgariter dictul est :
Hunc deus exaudit, qui missam scpius audit."
(J. De Fordun Scotichronicon, a Hearne. Ox. 1722, p. 774.)
This passage is found in no other copy of Forduns chronicle
than one in the Harleian library. Its suppression in all the rest
may be fairly accounted for on the principle which is presumed
to have influenced the conduct of the ancient English historians,
See note (a).
(T)-- a proclamation was published, "c."] "The king att
last," says the Harleian MS. sett fourth a proclamation to have
him apprehended, &--c." Grafton, after having told us that he
practisedd robberyes, &-c.," adds," The which beyng certefyed
to the king, and he beyng greatly offended therewith, caused his
proclamation to be made that whosoever would bryng him
quicke or dead, the king would geve him a great summe of
money, as by the records in the Exchequer is to be seene :
But of this promise no man enjoyed any benifite. For the sayd
Robert Hood, being afterwardes troubled with sicknesse, &9c.'"
(p. 85.) See note (L).
(u) At length, the infirmities of old age increasing upon him,
&-c."] Thus Grafton: The sayd Robert Hood, beyng troubled
with sicknesse, came to a certain nonry in Yorkshire called
Bircklies [r. Kircklies], where desiryng to be let blood, he was
betrayed and bled to death." The Sloane MS. says that "[Being]
dystempered with could and age, he had great payne in his
lymmes, his bloud being corrupted, therefore, to be eased of his
payne by letting bloud, he repayred to the priores of Kyrkesly,
which some say was his aunt, a woman very skylful in physique
& surgery; who, perceyving him to be Robyn Hood, & waying
howe fel an enimy he was to religious persons, toke revenge of
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 41
him for her owne howse and all others by letting him bleed to
death. It is also sayd that one sir Roger of Doncaster, bearing
grudge to Robyn for some injury, incyted the priores, with whom
he was very familiar, in such a maner to dispatch him." See the
Lytell geste of Robyn Hode, ad finem. The Harleian MS., after
mentioning the proclamation "sett fourth to have him appre-
hended," adds, "at which time it happened he fell sick at a
nunnery in Yorkshire called Birkleys [r. Kirkleys]; & desiring
there to be let blood, hee was betrayed & made bleed to death."
Kirkleys, Kirklees or Kirkleghes, formerly Kuthale, in the
deanry of Pontefract, and archdeaconry of the West-riding of
Yorkshire, was a Cistercian, or, as some say, a Benedictine
nunnery, founded, in honour of the virgin Mary and St. James,
by Reynerus Flandrensis in the reign of king Henry II. Its
revenues at the dissolution were somewhat about 20, and the
site was granted (36 Hen. 8) to John Tasburgh and Henry Savill,
from whom it came to one of the ancestors of Sir George Army-
tage bart. the present possessor. The remains of the building
(if any) are very inconsiderable, and its register has been searched
after in vain. See Tanners Notitia, p. 674. Thoresbys Ducatus
Leodiensis, p. 91. Hearnes "Account of several antiquities in
and about the university of Oxford," at the end of Lelands
Itinerary, vol. ii. p. 128.
In 1706 was discovered, among the ruins of the nunnery, the
monument of Elisabeth de Staynton, prioress; but it is not
certain that this was the lady from whom our hero experienced
such kind assistance. See Thoresby and Hearne ubi supra.
"One may wonder," says Dr. Fuller, "how he escaped the
hand of justice, dying in his bed, for ought is found to the con-
trary : but it was because he was rather a merry than a mischie-
vous thief (complementing passengers out of their purses), never
murdering any but deer, and .. 'feasting' the vicinage with
his venison." (Worthies, p. 320.) See the following note.
(v) He was interred under some trees at a short distance
from the house; a stone being placed over his grave with an
inscription to his memory." Kirkley monasterium monialiumt ,
42 THE LIFE OF ROB-IN HOOD.
ubi Ro: Hood nobilis ille exlex sepultus." Lelands Collectanea,
i, 54.-" Kirkleys Nunnery, in the Woods whereof Robin Hoods
grave is, is between Halifax and Wakefield upon Calder." Letter
from Jo. Savile to W. Camden, Illus. viro elis. 1691.
S -- ------ as Caldor comes along,
It chanc'd she in her course on Kirkley' cast her eye,
Where merry Robin Hood, that honest thief, doth lie,"
(Poly-Olbion, Song 28,)
See also Camdens Britannia, 1695, p. 709.
In the second volume of Dr. Stukeleys Itinerarium curiosum
is an engraving of The prospect of Kirkleys-abby, where Robin
Hood dyed, from the footway leading to Heartishead church, at
a quarter of a mile distant. A. The New Hall. B. The Gate-
house of the Nunnery. C. The trees among 2ewhich Robin Hood
was buryed. D. The way up the Hill where this was drawn.
E. Bradley wood. F. Almondbury hill. G. Castle field. Drawn
by Dr. Johnston among his Yorkshire antiquitys, p. 54 of the
drawings. E. Kirkall, sculp." It makes plate 99 of the above
work, but is unnoticed in the letter press.
According to the Sloane MS. the prioress, after "letting him
bleed to death, buryed him under a great stone by the hywayes
syde:" which is agreeable to the account in Graftons chronicle,
where it is said that, after his death, the prioresse of the same
place caused him to be buried by the highway side, where he
had used to rob and spoyle those that passed that way. And
vpon his grave the sayde prioresse did lay a very fayre stone,
wherein the names of Robert Hood, William of GoldesborougJ,
and others were graven. And the cause why she buryed him
there was, for that the common passengers and travailers,knowyng
and seeyng him there buryed, might more safely and without feare
take their jorneys that way, which they durst not do in the life
of the sayd outlawes. And at eyther ende of the sayde tombe
was erected a crosse of stone, which is to be seene there at this
"1 Near unto 'Kirklees' the noted Robin Hood lies buried under
a grave-stone that yet remains near the park, but the inscription
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 43
scarce legible." Thoresbys Ducalus Leodiensis, p. 91. In the
Afifendix, p. 576, is the following note, with a reference to "page
Amongst the papers of the learned Dr. Gale, late dean of
Yorke, was found this epitaph of Robin Hood:
eIar untanmab tis laitI stran
lais tobvrt arat of tuntingtun
near arcit ber a fjiet a gteu
an pipl ltaula im robin btenu
sict uttlawa a, )if an i ment
bfil englanb nibr Zi agtn.
otbit 24 [r. 14] Ral be tmrhtis 1247."
The genuineness of this epitaph has been questioned. Dr. Percy,
in the first edition of his Reliques of ancient English poetry,"
(1765,) says "It must be confessed this epitaph is suspicious,
because in the most ancient poems of Robin Hood, there is no
mention of this imaginary earldom." This reason, however, is
by no means conclusive, the most ancient poem now extant having
no pretension to the antiquity claimed by the epitaph: and indeed
the doctor himself should seem to have afterward had less confi-
dence in it, as, in both the subsequent editions, those words are
omitted, and the learned critic merely observes that the epitaph
affears to him suspicious. It will be admitted that the bare
suspicion of this ingenious writer, whose knowledge and judg-
ment of ancient poetry are so conspicuous and. eminent, ought
to have considerable weight. As for the present editors part,
though he does not pretend to say that the language of this
epitaph is that of Henry the thirds time, nor indeed to determine
of what age it is, he can perceive nothing in it from whence one
should be led to pronounce it spurious, i.e., that it was never
inscribed on the grave-stone of Robin Hood. That there actually
was some inscription upon it in Thoresbys time, though then
scarce legible, is evident from his own words: and it should be
remembered, as well that the last century was not the aera of
imposition, as that Dr. Gale was both too good and too learned
a man either to be capable of it himself or to be liable to it from
44 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
That industrious chronologist and topographer, as well as re-
spectable artist and citizen, master Thomas Gent, of York, in
his List of religious houses," annexed to The ancient and
modern state of" that famous city, 1730, I2mo, p. 234, informs
us that he had been told, That his [Robin Hoods] tombstone,
having his effigy thereon, was ordered, not many years ago, by a
certain knight to be placed as a harthstone in his great hall.
When it was laid overnight, the next morning it was surprisinglyy'
removed [on or tol one side; and so three times it was laid, and
as successively turned aside. The knight, thinking he had done
wrong to have brought it thither, ordered it should be drawn back
again; which was performed by a pair of oxen and four horses,
when twice the number could scarce do it before. But as this,"
adds the sagacious writer, is a story only, it is left to the reader,
to judge at pleasure." N.B. This is the second instance of a
miracle wrought in favour of our hero!
In Goughs Sefulchral ionzumtents, p. cviii. is the figure of
the stone over the grave of Robin Hood [in Kirklees park, being
a plain stone with a sort of cross fleuree thereon] now broken
and much defaced, the inscription illegible. That printed in
Thoresby Dzicat. Leod. 576, from Dr. Gale's papers, was never
on it.1 The late Sir Samuel Armitage, owner of the premises,
caused the ground under it to be dug a yard deep, and found it
had never been disturbed; so that it was probably brought from
some other place, and by vulgar tradition ascribed to Robin
Hood" (refers to "Mr. Watsons letter in Antiquary society
minutes "). This is probably the tombstone of Elisabeth de
Staynton, mentioned in the preceding note.
The old epitaph is, by some anonymous hand, in a work
entitled "C Sezicirorzum inscriptiones, or a curious collection of
1 That this epitaph had been printed, or was well known at least, long before the
publication of Mr. Thoresbys book, if not before either he or Dr. Gale was born
appears from the "true tale of Robin Hood" by Martin Parker, written, if not printed,
as early as 1631. (See Part I. p. 127.) That dates, about this period, were fre-
quently by ides and kalends, see Madoxes Formnuilare Anglicanuzz, (Dissertation) p
xxx. Even Arabic figures are produced in some of still greater antiquity, see Col-
lectanea de rebus Hibernicis, ii. 331. Robert Grosthead bishop of Lincoln makes use
of these figures about the year 1240. Astles Origin of writing. p. 188.
NOTES AND ILL USTRATIONS. 45
900 of the most remarkable epitaphs," Westminster, 1727, (vol.
ii. p. 73,) thus not inelegantly paraphrased:
Here, underneath this little stone,
Thro' Death's assaults now lieth one,
Known by the name of Robin Hood,
Who was a thief, and archer good;
Full thirteen [r. thirty] years, and something more,
He robb'd the rich to feed the poor:
Therefore, his grave bedew with tears,
And offer for his soul your prayers." 1
(w) "Various dramatic exhibitions."] The earliest of these
performances now extant is, "The played of Robyn Hode, very
proper to be played in Maye games," which is inserted in the
Appendix to this work, and may probably be as old as the 15th
century. That a different play, however, on the same subject
has formerly existed, seems pretty certain from a somewhat
curious passage in The famous chronicle of king Edward the
first, sirnamed Edward Longshankes, &9c." by George Peele,
printed in 1593.
Lluellen . . weele get the next daie from Brecknocke the BOOKE
OF ROBIN HOOD, the frier he shall instruct us in his cause, and weele even
here . wander like irregulers up and down the wilderness, ile be master
of misrule, ile be Robin Hood that once, cousin 'Rice,' thou shalt be little
okn, and hers frier David, as fit as a die for frier Tucke. Now, my sweet
Nel, if you will make up the messe with a good heart for made Marian,
and doe well with Lluellen under the green-woode trees, With as good a wil
as in the good townes, why plena est curisa. Exeunt.
Ente-r M2ortimor, solus.
Mortimor . Maisters, have after gentle Robin Hood.
You are not so well accompanied I hope,
1ut if a potter come to plaie his part,
Youle give himn stripes or welcome good or worse Exit
1 In The travels of Tom Thumb over England and Wales [by Mr. Robert Dods-
ley], p. Io0, is another though inferior version.
"Here, under this memorial stone,
Lies Robei-t earl cf Huntingdon;
As he, no archer e'er was good,
And people called him Robin Hood :
Such outlaws as his men and he
Again may England never see."
46 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
Enter Lluellen, Meredith, frier, Elinor, and there train.
They are all clad inz geene, &c., sing, &c. Blyth and bonny, the
song ended, Liuellen speaketh.
Luellen. Why so, I see, my mates of olde,
All were not lies that Bedlams beldamss] told ;
Of Robin Hodd and little John,
Frier Tucke and maideMarian
Mortimer, as a foster, afterwards fights the frier with flailes."
2. "The downfall of Robert earle of Huntington afterward
called Robin Hood of merrie Sherwodde: with his love to chaste
Matilda, the lord Fitzwaters daughter, afterwardes his faire made
Marian. Acted by the right honourable, the earle of Notingham,
lord high admiral of England, his servants. T Imprinted at
London, for William Leake, 16oi." 4to. b. I.
3. The death of Robert, earle of Huntington, otherwise called
Robin Hood of merrie Sherwodde : with the lamentable tragedie
of chaste Matilda, his fire maid Marian, joysoned at Dunmowe,
by king John. Acted, S&c. I Imprinted, &,c. [as above] 160o."
4to. b. I.
These two plays, usually called the first and second part of
Robin Hood, were always, on the authority of Kirkman, falsely
ascribed to Thomas Heywood, tiltl Mr. Malone fortunately re-
trieved the names of the true authors, Anthony Mundy and
Henry Chettle.1 As they seem partly founded on traditions long
since forgotten, and refer occasionally to documents not now to
be found, at any rate, as they are much older than most of the
common ballads upon the subject, and contain some curious and
I In "a large folio volume of accounts kept by Mr. Philip Henslowe, who appears
to have been proprietor of the Rose theatre near the Bankside in Southwark,'h he has
"Feb. C" The first part of Robin Hood, by Anthony Mundy.
1597-8. The second part of the downfall of earl Huntington, sirnamed Robin-
hood, by Anthony Mundy and Henry Chettle."
In a subsequent page is the following entry: "Lent unto Robarte -Shawe, the 18
of Novemb. 1598, to lend unto Mr. Cheattle, upon the mending of the first part of
Robari Hoode, the sum of x s," and afterwards-" For mending of ,Robin Hood for
the corte." See Malones edition of "The plays and poems of Willia-i Shakspearee,
X790. vol. I. part II. (Emendations and additions.)
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 4?
possibly authentic particulars not elsewhere to be met with, the
Leader will excuse the particularity of the account and length of
the extracts her- given.
The first ,far, or downfall of Robert earle of Huntington, is
supposed to be performed at the court and command of Henry
the 8th;. the poet Skelton being the dramatist, and acting the
part of chorus. The introductory scene commences thus :
Enter sir okhn Eliam, knd knocked at Skeltons door.
Sir John. Howe, master Skeltoi'! what, at studio hard ?
Opens the door.
Skelt. Welcome and whist for, honest sir John Eltam, -
Twill trouble you after your great affairs,
(i. e. the survey yig .of certain maps which his majesty had
employed him i z,
To take the paine that tended to intreate you to,
About rehearsal of you o0s d play.
EUl. Nay, master Sk -dr the king himself,
As wee were parting, btake great heede
Wee faile not of our day: therefore I pray
Sende for the rest, that now we may rehearse.
Skel. 0 they are readfe aIl, and drest to play.
What part play you?
Elt. Why, I play little John,
And came of purpose with this greene sute.
Skel. Holloa, my masters, little John is come.
At every door all the players runner out; some crying where ?
where? others Welcome, sir John: among other the boyes and
Skel. Faith, little Tracy, you are somewhat forward.
What, our maid Marian leaping like a lad!
If you remember, Robin is your love,
Sir Thomas Mantle yonder, not sir John.
Clow. But, master, sir John is my fellow, for I am Much the millers
sonne. Am I not ?
Skel. I know yee ate sir :-
And, gentlerrein, sirce you are thus prepared,
48 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
Goe in, and bring your dumbe scene on the stage,
And I, as prologue, purpose to express
The ground whereon our historic is laied.
Exeunt, manel Skelton.
Triumzet sound,  enter first king Richard with drum and ancient,
giving Ely a purse and sceptre, his mother and brother Johzn, Chester,
Lester, Lacie, others at the kings appointment, doing reverence. The king
goes in : presently Ely ascends the chaire, Chester, Jo/hn, and the queen
part displeasantly.  Enter ROBERT, EARLE OF HUNTINGTON, leading
AZnrian: follozves him W'Varman, and after Warman, the prior; Warma,
ever faltering, and making curtsie, taking gifts of the prior behind and his
inaster before. Prince John enters, ofereth to take Marian; Queen Elinor
enters, offering to pull Robin from her; but they infolde each other, and sit
dozdne within the curteines.  Warman with the prior, sir Hugh Lacy,
lord Sentloc, and sir Gilbert Brogh ton folde hands, and drawing the cur-
teinzs, all (but the prior) enter, and are kindly received by Robin Hoode."
During the exhibition of the second part of the dumb-shew,
Skelton instructs the audience as follows :-
This youth that leads yon virgin by the hand
Is our earle Robert, or your Robin Iloode,
That in those daies, was earle of Hunting on;
The ill-fac't miser, brib'd in either hand,
Is Warman, once the steward of his house,
Who, Judas like, betraies his liberal lord,
Into the hands of that relentless prior,
Calde Gilbert Hoode, uncle to Huntington.
Those two that seeke to part these lovely friends,
Are Elenor the queen, and John the pri-ce,
She loves earle Robert, he made Marian,
But vainely; for their deare affect is such,
As only death can sunder their true loves.
Long had they lov'd, and now it is agreed,
This day they must be troth-plight, after wed :
At Huntingtons fire house a feast is helde,
But envie turnes it to a house of teares.
For those false guests, conspiring with the prior;
To whom earle Robert greatly is in debt,
Meane at the banquet to betray the earle,
Unto a heavier writ of outlawry:
The manner and escape you all shall see.
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 49
Looke to your entrance, get you in, sir John,
My shift is long, for I play frier Tucke ;
Wherein, if Skelton hath but any lucke,
Heele thank his hearers oft with many a ducke.
For many talk of Robin Hood that never shot in his bowe,
But Skelton writes of Robin Hood what he doth truly knowe"
After some Skeltonical rimes, and a scene betwixt the prior,
the sheriff, and justice Warman, concerning the outlawry, which
appears to be proclaimed, and the taking of earl Huntington at
dinner, Enter Robin Hoode, little 7ohn following him; Robin
having his napkin on kis shoulder, as if kee were sodainly raised
from dinner." He is in a violent rage at being outlawed, and
Little John endeavours to pacify him. Marian being distressed
at his apparent disorder, he dissembles with her. After she is
gone, John thus addresses him:
Now must your honour leave these mourning tunes,
And thus by my areede you shall provide ;
Your plate and jewels 'i wil' straight packe up,
And toward Notingham convey them hence.
At Rowford, Sowtham, :Wortley, Hothersfield,
Of all your cattell money shall be made,
And I at Mansfield will attend your coming;
Where weele determine which waie's best to take.
Rob. Well, be it so, a gods name, let it be;
And if I can, Marian shall come with mee.
John. Else care will kill her; therefore if you please,
At th' utmost corner of the garden wall,
Soone in the evening waite for Marian,
And as I goe ile tell her of the place.
Your horses at the Bell shall readie bee,
I mean Belsavage,1 whence as citizens
That 'meane' to ride for pleasure some small way,
You shall set foorth."
1 That is, the inn so called, upon Ludgate-hill. The modern sign, which however
seems to have been the same 200 years ago, is a bell and a wild man; but the
original is supposed to have been a beautiful Indian; and the inscription La belle
savage. Some, indeed, assert that the inn once belonged to a lady Arabella
Savage; and others, that its name, originally The bell and savage, arose (like The
George and blue boai) from the junction of two inns, with those respective signs.
Non nostrzum est tantas comfonere lites,
50 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
The company now enters, and Robin charges them with the
conspiracy, and rates their treacherous proceeding. Little John
in attempting to remove the goods is set upon by Warman and
the sheriff; and during the fray Enter prince Jooin, Ely, and
the prior, and others." Little John tells the prince, he but
defends the box containing his own getting; upon which his
royal highness observes,
"You do the fellow wrong; his goods are his :
You only must extend upon the earles.
Prior. That was, my lord, but nowe is Robert Hood,
A simple yeoman as his servants were."
Ely gives the prior his commission, with directions to make
speed, lest in his country-houses all his heards be solde;" and
gives Warman a patent "for the high sheriffewick of Notting-
ham." After this, Enter Robin like a citizen ;" and then the
queen and Marian disguised for each other. Robin takes
Marian, and leaves the queen to prince John, who is so much
enraged at the deception that he breaks the head of Elys mes-
senger. Sir Hugh, brother to lord Lacy, and steward to Ely,
who had been deeply concerned in Huntingtons ruin, is killed in
a brawl, by prince John, whom Ely orders to be arrested; but
the prince, producing letters from the king, revoking Elys ap-
pointment, "lifts up his drawne sworde" and "Exit, cum Lester
and Lacy," in triumph. Then, Enter Robin Hoode, Matilda,
at one door, little okhn, and Miuck tke millers sonne at another
doore" After mutual congratulations, Robin asks if it be
--possible that Warmans spite
Should stretch so farre, that he doth hunt the lives
Of bonnie Scarlet, and his brother Scathlock.
Mzuc. 0, I, sir. Warman came but yesterday to take charge of the
jaile at Notingham, and this daie, he saies, he will hang the two out-
Rob. Now, by my honours hope, . .
He is too blame: say, John, where must they die?
7okn. Yonder's their mothers house, and here the tree,
Whereon, poore men, they must forgoe their lives;
And yonder comes a lazy lozell frier,
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 51
That is appointed for their confessor,
Who, when we brought your monie to their mothers,
Was wishing her to patience for their deaths,"
Here Enter frier Tucke ;" some conversation passes, and the
frier skeltonizes; after which departs, saying,
--- let us goe our way,
Unto this hanging business; would for mee
Some rescue or repreeve might set them free.
Rob. Heardst thou not, little John, the friers speech ?
7ohn. He seems like a good fellow, my good lord.
Rob. He's a good fellow, John, upon my word,
Lend me thy home, and get thee in to Much,
And when I blowe this home, come both and helpe mee.
7Jon. Take heed, my lord: the villane Warman knows you,
And ten to one, he hath a writ against you.
Rob, Fear not: below the bridge a poor blind man doth dwell,
With him I will change my habit, and disguise,
Only be readie when I, call for yee,
For I will save their lives, if it may bee. .
Enter Warman, Scarlet, and Scathlock bounde, frier Tucke as
their confessor, officers with halberts.
War. Master frier, be briefe, delay no time.
Scarlet and Scatlock, never hope for life ;
Here is the place of execution,
And you must answer lawe, for what is done,
Scar. Well, if there be no remedie, we must:
Though it ill seemeth, Warman, thou shouldst bee,
So bloodie to pursue our lives thus cruellie.
Scat. Our mother sav'd thee from the gallows, Warman,
His father did preferred thee to thy lord :
One mother had wee both, and both our fathers
To thee and to thy father were kinde friends . .
War. Ye were first outlaws, then ye proved theeves.
Both of your fathers were good honest men ;
Your mother lives their widowe in good fame :1
1 She is called the widow Scarlet; so that Scathlocke was the elder brother. In
fact, however, it was mere ignorance in the author to suppose the Scathlocke and
Scarlet of the story distinct persons, the latter name being an evident corruption of
the former: Scathlock, Scadlock, Scarlock, Scarlet.
52 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
But you are scapethrifts, unthrifts, villanes, knaves,
And as ye liv'd by shifts, shall die with shame."
To them enters Ralph, the sherifs man, to acquaint him that
the carnifer, or executor of the law, had fallen off his curtail "
and was cripplefied and rendered incapable of performing his
office; so that the sheriff was to become his deputy. The sheriff
insists that Ralph shall serve the turn, which he refuses. In the
midst of the altercation, Enter Robin Hoode, like an old man,"
who tells the sheriff that the two outlaws had murdered his young
son, and undone himself; so that for revenge sake he desires
they may be delivered to him. They denying the charge, Ro-
bin whispers with them," and with the sherifs leave, and his
mans help, unbinds them: then, sounds his horn: and Enter
little 7ohn, Muck. .z Fiht; the frier, making as if he helfpt
the sheriffe, knockes down his men, crying, Keepe the kings
peace. Sheriffe [perceiving that it is "the outlawed earle of
Huntington "] runnes away, and his men." (See the ballad of
"Robin Hood rescuing the widows sons," Part II. num. xxiii.)
"'Fri. Farewell, earle Robert, as I am true frier,
I had rather be thy clarke, than serve the prior.
Rob. A jolly fellow Scarlet, knowest thou him ?
Scar. Hee is of Yorke, and of Saint Maries cloister ;
There where your greedie uncle is lord prior. .. .
Rob. Here is no biding, masters; get yee in. ..
John, on a sodaine thus I am resolved,
To' keepe in Sherewoodde tille the kings return,
And being outlawed, leade an outlawes life. .
JoJ/n. I like your honours purpose exceeding well.
Rob. Nay, no more honour, I pray thee, little John;
Henceforth I will be called Robin Hoode,
Matilda shall be my maid Marian. '
Then follows a scene betwixt old Fitzwater and prince John,
in the course of which the prince, as a reason to induce Fitz-
water to recall his daughter Matilda, tells him that she is living
in an adulterous state, for that
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 53
-Huntington is excommunicate,
And till his debts be paid, by Romes decree,
It is agreed, absolv'd he cannot be;
And that can never be.--So never wife, &c."
Fitzwater, on this, flies into a passion, and accuses the prince of
being already marryed to earle Chepstowes daughter." They
"fight; yJon fallss" Then enter the queen, &c. and John sen-
tences Fitzwater to banishment : after which, Enter Scathlocke
and Scarlet, winding their homes, at several doores. To them
enter Robin Hoode, Matilda, all in greene, . Much, little
John; all the men with bozes and arrowes.1
Rob. Wind once more, jolly huntsmen, all your horns,
Whose shrill sound, with the echoing wods assist,
Shall ring a sad knell for the fearefull deere,
Before our feathered shafts, deaths winged darts,
Bring sodaine summons for their fatally ends.
Scar. Its ful seven years since we were outlawed first,
And wealthy Sherewood was our heritage;
For all those years we raigned uncontrolde,
From Barnsdale shrogs to Notinghams red cliffes.
At Blithe and Tickhill were we welcome guests;
Good George a Greene at Bradford was our friend,
And wanton Wakefields pinner lov'd us well.2
At Barnsley dwels a potter, tough and strong,
That never brookt we brethren should have wrong.
The nunnes of Farnsfield (pretty nunnes they bee)
Gave napkins, shirts, and bands to him and mee.
Bateman of Kendall gave us Kendall greene;
1 In The book of the inventary of the goods of my lord admeralles men taken
the no of Marche in the year 1598," are the following properties for Robin Hood and
his retinue, in this identical play:
Item, i green gown for Maryan.
Item, vi grene cottes for Roben Hoode, and iiii knaves sewtes.
Item, i hatte for Roben Hoode, i hobihorse.
Item, Roben Hoodes sewte.
Item, the fryers trusse in Roben Hoode."
Malones Shak, II. ii. (Emen. & ad.)
2 George a Greene and Wakefields pinner, were one and the same person. The
shoemaker of Bradford is anonymous.
54 THE LIFE OF ROBIN H OOD.
And Sharpe of Leeds sharpe arrows for us made.
At Rotherham dwelt our bowyer, god him blisse,
Jackson he hight, his bowes did never missed.
This for our goode, our scathe let Scathlocke tell,
In merry Mansfield how it once befell.
Scath. In merry Mansfield, on a wrestling day,
Prizes there were, and yeomen came to play,
My brother Scarlet and myself were twaine ;
Many resisted, but it was in vaine,
For of them all we wonne the mastery,
And the gilt wreathes were given to him and me.
There by sir Doncaster of Hothersfield,'
We were bewraid, beset, and forst to yield;
And so borne bound, from thence to Notingham,
Where we lay doom'd to death till Warman came.
Some cordial expressions pass between Robin and Matilda.
He commands all the yeomen to be cheerful; and orders little
John to read the articles.
7okh. First, no man must presume to call our master,
By name of earle, lorde, baron, knight, or squire :
But simply by the name of Robin Hoode.-
That faire Matilda henceforth change her name,
And' by maid Marians name, be only cald.
Thirdly, no yeoman following Robin Hoode
in Sherewod, shall use widowe, wife, or maid,
But by true labour, lustfull thoughts expell.
Fourthly, no passenger with whom ye meete,
Shall yee let passe till hee with Robin feaste:
Except a poast, a carrier, or such folke,
As use with foode to serve the market townes.
Fiftly, you never shall the poor man wrong,
Nor spare a priest, a usurer, or a clarke.
Lastly, you shall defend with all your power
Maids, widowes, orphants, and distressed men.
All, All these we vowe to keepe, as we are men.
Rob. Then wend ye to the greenewod merrily,
And let the light roes bootlesse from yee runne.
Marian and I, as soveraigns of your toyles,
Will wait, within our bower, your bent bowes spoiles.
Exeznt winding their horns.
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATE ONS. 55
In the next scene, we find frier Tucke feignedly entering into
a conspiracy with the prior and sir Doncaster, to serve an
execution on Robin, in disguise. Jinny, the widow Scarlets
daughter, coming in, on her way to Sherwood, is persuaded by
the frier to accompany him, disguised in habit like a pedlers
mort." Fitzwater enters like an old man :-sees Robin sleeping
on a green bank, Marian strewing flowers on him ; pretends to
be blind and hungry, and is regaled by them. In answer to a
question why the fair Matilda (Fitzwaters daughter) had changed
her name, Robin tells him it is
"Because she lives a spotlesse maiden life:
And shall, till Robins outlawe life have ende.
"That he may lawfully take her to wife;
Which, if king Richard come, will not be long."
"Enter frier Tucke and Jinny like pedlers singing," and after-
ward Sir Doncaster and others weaponed.--The frier discovers
the plot, and a fray ensues. The scene then changes to the court,
where the prior is informed of six of his barns being destroyed
by fire, and of the different execrations of all ranks upon him, as
the undoer of the good lord Robert, earle of Huntington;" that
the convent of St. Marys had elected "Olde father Jerome prior
in his place; and lastly a herald brings his sentence of banish-
ment, which is confirmed by the entrance of the prior. Lester
brings an account of the imprisonment of his gallant sovereign,
king Richard, by the duke of Austria, and requires his ransom
to be sent. He then introduces a description of his matchless
valour in the holy land. John not only refuses the ransom
money, but usurps the stile of king: upon which Lester grows
furious, and rates the whole company. The following is part of
the dialogue :
7oh. (to Lester). Darest thou attempt thus proudly in our sight?
Lest. What is 't a subject dares, that I dare not?
Salf. Dare subjects dare, their soveraigne being by?
Lest, O god, that my true soveraigne were ny!
Qu. Lester, he is.
Lest. Madam, by god, you ly.
Chest. Unmanner'd man.
Lest. A plague of reverence I
56 THE LIFE OF ROBIN ROOD.
After this, and more on the same subject, the scene returns to
the forest; where Ely, being taken by Much, "like a countryman
with a basket," is examined and detected by Robin, who pro-
mises him protection and service. On their departure :
7/ok. Skelton, a worde or two beside the play.
Fri. Now, sir John Eltam, what is't you would say.
khon. Methinks I see no jeasts of Robin Hoode,
No merry morrices of frier Tuck,
No pleasant skippings up and down the wodde,
No hunting songs, no coursing of the bucke :
Pray god this play of ours may have good lucke,
And the king's majestic mislike it not!
Fri. And if he doe, what can we doe to that ?
I promised him a play of Robin Hoode,
His honorable life, in merry Sherewod ;
His majestic himself survaid the plot,
And bad me boldly write it, it was good.
For merry jeasts, they have bene showne before:
As how the frier fell into the well,
For love of f inny, that faire bonny bell :
How Greeneleafe rob'd the shrieve of Notingham,
And other mirthful matter, fudl of game.
"Enter Warman banished." He laments his fall, and applies
to a cousin, on whom he had bestowed large possessions, for
relief; but receives nothing, except reproaches for his treachery
to his noble master. The jailor of Nottingham, who was in-
debted to him for his place, refuses him even a scrap of his dogs
meat, and reviles him in the severest terms. Goodwife Tomson,
whose husband he had delivered from death, to his great joy,
promises him a caudle, but fetches him a halter ; in which he is
about to hang himself, upon some tree in the forest, but is pre-
vented by Fitzwater and some of Robin Hoods men, who crack
a number of jokes upon him: Robin puts an end to their mockery,
1 Which, by the way, was termed a kempen caudle. See the second zart of K. H.
VI. act 4, scene 7. Lord-chancellor Jeffries, at the revolution, was treated much in
the same manner. One day, during his confinement in the tower, he received a
barrel of oysters, upon which he observed to his keeper, "Well, you see, I have yet
some friends left:'; at the bottom of the barrel, however, he found a halter: which
changed his countenance, and is even thought to have hastened his death.
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 57
and proffers him comfort and favour. Then enters frier Tucke,
with an account of sir Doncaster and the prior being striped and
wounded in their way to Bawtrey : Robin out of love to his uncle
hastens to the place. After this, "Enter prince John, solus, in
greene, bowe and arrowes.
John. Why this is somewhat like, now may I sing,
As did the Wakefield pinder in his note;
At Michaelmas commeth my covenant out,
My master gives me my fee;
Then Robin lie were thy Kendall greene,
And wend to the greenewodde with thee." 1
He assumes the name of Woodnet, and is detected by Scathlocke
and frier Tucke. The prince and Scathlocke fight, Scathlocke
grows weary, and the frier takes his place. Marian enters, and
perceiving the frier, parts the combatants. Robin enters, and
John submits to him. Much enters, running, with information
of the approach of the king and twelve and twenty score of
horses." Robin places his people in order. The trumpets
sound, the king and his train enter, a general pardon ensues,
and the king confirms the love of Robin and Matilda. Thus
the play concludes, Skelton promising tke second parl, and
acquainting the audience of what it should consist.
The second part, or death of Robert earle of Huntington, is a
pursuit of the same story. The scene, so far as our hero is
concerned, lyes in Sherwood. A few extracts may not be
"Sc. iiii. Winde hornes. Enter king, queene, &zc. Frier Tuck
carrying a stags kead, dancingg" The frier has been sent for
to read the following inscription upon a copper ring round the
When Harold Hare-foote raigned king,
About my necke he put this ring."
The king orders "head, ring and all" to be sent to Nottingham
1 See the ballad of The jolly pinder of Wakefield," Part II. Num. III.
5 8 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
castle, to be kept for monuments. Fitzwater tells him, he has
heard an olde tale,"
That Harold, being Goodwin's sonne of Kent,1
Hunted for pleasure once within this wood,
And singled out a faire and stately stage,
Which, foote to foote, the king in running caught;
And sure this was the stage.
King. It was no doubt.
Chester. But some, my lord, affirmed,
That Julius Cesar, many years before,
Tooke such a stage, and such a poesie writ: 2
1 Fitzwater confounds one man with another; Harold Harefoot was the son and
successor of Canute the great.
2 This tradition is referred to, and the inscription given in Mr. Rays Itinerarz'es:
I760, p. 153 :--" We rode through a bushet or common called Rodwell-hake, two miles
from Leeds, where (according to the vulgar tradition) was once found a stag, with a
ring of brass about its neck, having this inscription:
When Julius Cesar here was king,
About my neck he put this ring:
Whosoever doth me take,
Let me go for Caesar's sake."
In The midwiz;f, or Old woman's magazine, (vol. i. p. 250,) Mrs. Midnight, in a
letter To the venerable society of antiquarians," containing a description of Cesars
camp, on Windsor forest, has the following passage: There have been many extra-
ordinary things discovered about this camp. One thing, I particularly remember,
was a deer of about sixteen hundred years old . This deer it seems was a
favourite of Casar's, and on that account he bedecked her neck with a golden collar
and an inscription, which I shall by and by take notice of; she had been frequently
taken, but when the hunters, the peasants and poor people saw the golden collar on
her neck, they readily let her go again. However, as she continually increased in
strength and in bulk, as well as in age, after the course of about fifteen or sixteen
centuries, the flesh and skin were entirely grown over this collar, so that it could not
be discovered till after she was killed, and then to the surprise of the virtuosi, it
appeared with this inscription:
When Julius Casar reigned here,
There was I a little deer;
If any man shall me take,
Let me go for Caesar's sake.
This collar, which is of pure gold, I am told weighs thirty ounces, and as the blood
of the creature still appears fresh upon it, I believe it may be as valuable as any of
your gimcracks; however, there will be no harm in my sending of it to you; and if I
can procure it, you may depend on my taking the utmost care of it." As no notice
is announced of this wonderful piece of antiquity in the voluminous and important
lucubrations of the above learned body, it most probably never came into their pos-
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 59
Upon which his majesty very sagaciously remarks,
It should not be in Julius Coesars time:
"There was no English used in this land
Untill the Saxons came, and this is writ
In Saxon characters."
The next quotation may be of service to Dr. Percy, who has
been pleased to question our heros nobility, because "the most
ancient poems make no mention of this earldom," and the old
legend expressly asserts him "to have been a yeoman." It is
very true; and we shall here not only find his title established,
but also discover the secret of his not being usually distinguished
or designed by it.
session; which is very much to be lamented, as it would have been an admirable
companion for Hardecnutes chamber-fot, King Edward the rstsfinger, and other
Juvenal des Ursins gravely relates that in the year 1380, a hart was taken at
Senlis, with a chain about his neck, inscribed Ccesar koc me donavit." *
Upton, to be even witl him, supposes a hart to have been taken at Bagshot near
Windsor, with a motto on the collar in the French language, which proves the ancient
Romans were familiar therewith long before it existed :
Jzdius Ccsar, quant jeofius petis,
Cest coler suz mon col ad mys." t
This dictator pereituo, in fact, seems to have collared every hart he took, The
family of Pompei in Italy use two harts for their supporters, on whose collars were
the letters N. M. T. in memory of one, on whose collar were these words: Nezo
Me Tangat, Casaris sum." Anstis, II. 113.
The origin of all these stories is to be found in Pliny, who says: It is generally
held and confessed that the stage or hind live long ; for an hundred yeer after Alex-
ander the great, some were taken with golden collars about their necks, overgrowne
now with haire, and growne within the skin: which collars the said king had done
upon them.' Naturall historic (by Holland), 160o. (B. 8. c. 32.) Pausanias, more.
over, speaking of one Leocydas, who fought for the Megalopolitans, in conjunction
with Lydiades against the Lacedaemonians (about the year 243 before Christ). says
he was reported to be the descendant in the ninth degree of that Arcesilaus, who
living in Lycosura saw that stag which is sacred to the goddess Despoine worn out
with old age. This stag, he adds, had a collar on its neck with the following inscrip-
Caught young, when Agapenor sail'd for Troy.
By which, he concludes, it is evident, that a stag lives much longer than an elephant.
(B. 8, c. o1.) ____
^ HistOire de Char.es VI, pton, de re military, p.. 119.
60 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
Enter Roben Hoode.
King. How now, earle Robert /
Fri. A forfet, a forfet, my liege lord,
My masters lawes are on record,
The court-roll here your grace may see.
King. I pray thee, frier, read them mee.
Fri. One shall suffice, and this is hee.
No man that comment inz this wod,
To feast or dwell with Roobin Hood,
Shall call him earle, lord, knight, or squire,
He no such titles doth desire,
But Robin Hood, plain Robin Hoode,
That honest YEOMAN, stout and good,
On pain offorfetting a market,
That must be paid to mee his clarke.
My liege, my liege, this lawe you broke,
Almost in the last word you spoke;
That crime may not acquitted bee,
Till frier Tuck receive his fee."
Now, the reason that "the most ancient poems make no men-
tion of this earldom," and the old legend expressly asserts him
"to have been a yeoman," appears, plainly enough, to be, that
as, pursuant to his own injunction, he was never called, either
by his followers, or in the vicinity, by any other name than
Robin Hood, so particularly the minstrels, who were always, no
doubt, welcome to Sherwood,' and liberally entertained by him
and his yeomanry, would take special care never to offend against
the above law: which puts an end to the dispute. Q.E.D.
Our hero is, at length, poisoned by a drink which Doncaster
and the prior, his uncle, had prepared for him to give to the
king. His departing scene and last dying speech are beautiful
1 Robin, in the old legend, expresses his regard for this order of men (concerning
which the reader may consult an ingenious "Essay" in the Rcliques of ancient
English :oetry, (vol. I.)and some "Observations" in a collection of Ancient songs,
(printed in 1790):
Whether he be messengere,
Or a man that myrthes can,
Or yf he be a pore man,
Of my good he shall have some."
NOTES AND ILL USTRA TIONS. 61
Rob. Inough, enough, Fitzwater, take your child.
My dying frost, which no sunnes heat can thawe,
Closes the powers of all my outward parts;
My freezing blood runnes back unto my heart,
Where it assists death, which it would resist:
Only my love a little hinders death,
For he beholds her eyes, and cannot smite.
M at. 0 let mee looke for ever in thy eyes,
And lay my warme breath to thy bloodlesse lips,
If my sight can restraine death's tyrannies,
Or keep lives breath within thy bosome lockt."
He desires to be buryed
"At Wakefield, underneath the abbey-wall;
directs the manner of his funeral; and bids his yeomen,
"For holy dirges, sing 'him' wodmens songs."
The king, upon the earls death, expresses his sorrow for the
tragical event; ratifies the will; repeats the directions for the
funeral; and says,
Fall to your wod-songs, therefore, yeomen bold,
And deck his herse with flowers, that lov'd you deere.
The whole concludes with the following solemne dirge:
"Weepe, weepe, ye wod-men waile,
Your hands with sorrow wring;
Your master Robin Hood lies deade,
Therefore sigh as you sing.
Here lies his primer, and his beades,
His bent bowe, and his arrowes keene,
His good sworde and his holy crosse:
Now cast on flowers fresh and greene.
And, as they fall, shed teares and say,
Well a, well a day, well a, well a day!
Thus cast yee flowers and sing,
And on to Wakefield take your way."
The poet then prosecutes the legend of Matilda, who is finally
poisoned, by the procurement of king John, in Dunmow-priory.
62 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
The story of this lady, whom the author of these plays is sup-
posed to have been the first that converted into the character of
maid Marian, or connected in any shape with the history of
Robin Hood, is thus related by Stowe, under the year 1213:
"The chronicle of Dunmow sayth, this discord arose betwixt
the king and his barons, because of Mawd called the faire,
daughter to Robert Fitzwalter, home the king loved, but her
father would not consent; and thereupon ensued warre through-
out England..... Whilst Mawd the faire remained at Dun-
mow, there came a messenger unto her from king John about
his suite in love, but because she would not agree, the messenger
poysoned a boyled or potched egge against she was hungrie,
whereof she died." (Annales, 1592.) Two of Draytons heroical
epistles pass between king John and Matilda. He has also
written her legend.
4. Robin Hood's penn'orths, by Wm. Haughton."'
5. "Metropolis coronata, the triumphs of ancient drapery:
or, rich clothing of England, in a second yeeres performance.
In honour of the advancement of sir John Jolles, knight, to the
high office of lord maior of London, and taking his oath for the
same authorities, on Monday being the 30. day of October, 1615.
Performed in heartie affection to him, and at the bountifull
charges of his worthy brethren the truely honourable society of
drapers, the first that received such dignitie, in this citie. De-
vised and written by A. M. [Anthony Mundy] citizen and draper
of London." 1615, 4to.
This is one of the pageants formerly usual on Lord-mayors-
day, and of which several are extant, written as well by our
author Mundy,2 as by Middleton, Dekker, Heywood, and other
hackney dramatists of that period. They were thought of such
consequence that the city had for some time (though probably
not till after the restoration) a professed laureat for their com-
1 This play is entered in master Henslowes account-book with the date of December
16oo. See Malones Shakspeare, Vol. II. Part II. (Emen. & ad.)
2 "The triumphes of reunited Britannia. A pageant in honour of sir Leonard
Holliday lord mayor." 1605.
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 63
position; an office which expired with Elkanah Settle in 1723-4.
They consisted chiefly of machinery, allegorical or historical
personages, songs and speeches.
"After all these shewes, thus ordered in their appointed
places, followeth another device of huntsmen, all clad in greene,
with their bowes, arrowes and bugles, and a new slaine deere,
carried among them. It savoureth of earle Robert de la Hude,
sometime the noble earle of Huntington, and sonne in law (by
marriage) to old Fitz-Alwine,1 raised by the muses all-com-
manding power, to honour this triumph with his father. During
the time of his out-lawed life in the forest of merry Shirwood,
and elsewhere, while the cruel oppression of a most unnatural
and covetous brother hung heavy upon him, Gilbert de la Hude
lord abbot of Christall [r. Kirkstall] abbey, who had all or most
of his lands in mortgage : he was commonly called Robin Hood,
and had a gallant company of men (out-lawed in the like
manner) that followed his downecast fortunes; as little .ohn,
Scathlocke, Much tke millers son, Rzigt-hitting- Brand, fryar
Tuck, and many more. In which condition of life we make
instant use of him, and part of his brave bowmen, fitted with
bowes and arrowes, of the like strength and length, as good
records deliver testimonie, were then used by them in their
killing of deere...... .
Afterward, [viz. after Fitz-Alwines speech to the lord maior
at night,"] as occasion best presenteth itself, when the heate of
all other employment are calmly overpast, earle Robin Hood,
with fryer Tuck, and his other brave huntes-men, attending (now
at last) to discharge their duty to my lord, which the busie tur-
moile of the whole day could not before afford: they shewe
themselves to him in this order, and earle Robin himself thus
1 Henry Fitz-Alwine Fitz-Liefstane, gold-smith, first mayor of London, was ap-
pointed to that office by K. Kichard I. in r189, and continued therein till the i5th of
K. John, I2I2, when he "deceased, and was buried in the priorie of the holy trinitie,
neare unto Aldgate." (Stowes Survay, 1598, p. 418.) His relationship with Robin
Hood is merely poetical, and invented by Munday for the nonce ;" though it is by
no means improbable that they were acquainted, and that our hero might have occa-
sionally dined at the mansion-house on a lord mayors day.
64 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
The speech spoken by earl Robert de la Hude, commonly called
Since graves may not their dead contain
Nor in their peaceful sleepes remain,
But triumphes and great shows must use them,
And we unable to refuse them;
It joyes me that earle Robert Hood,
Fetcht from the forrest of merrie Shirwood,
With these my yeomen tight and tall,
Brave huntsmen and good archers all,
Must in this joviall day partake,
Prepared for your honours sake.
No sooner was i raysde from rest,
And of my former state possest
As while i liv'd, but being alone,
And of my yeomen seeing not one,
1 with my bugle gave a call,
Made all the woods to ring withall.
Immediately came little John,
And Scathlock followed him anon,
With Much the honest millers sonne
And ere ought else could be done,
The frolicke frier came tripping in,
His heart upon a merrie pinne.
Master (quoth he) in yonder brake,
A deere is hid for Marian's sake,
Bid Scathlock, John, or honest Brand,
That hath the happy hitting hand,
Shoote right and have him: and see, my lord,
The deed performed with the word.
For Robin and his bow-men bold,
Religiously did ever holde,
Not emptie-handed to be seen,
Were't but at feasting on a greene;
Much more then, when so high a day
Calls our attendance: all we may
Is all too little, 'tis your grace
To winke at weakenesse in this case,
So fearing to be over-long,
End all with our old hunting-song.
Ia 0 0 & 0 a
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 65
The song of Robin Hood and his huntes-men.
Now wend we together, my merry men all,
tJnto the forest side a:
And there to strike a buck or a doae,
Let our cunning all be tride a.
Then goe we merrily, merrily on,
To the green-wood to take up our stand [a],
Where we will lye in waite for our game,
With our best bowes all in our hand [a].
What life is there like to bold Robin Hood?
It is so pleasant a thing a:
In merry Shirwood he spends his dayes,
As pleasantly as a king a.
No man may compare with bold Robin Hood,
With Robin Hood, Scathlocke and John [a]:
Their life was never, nor never will be,
If in case that they were gone a.
They will not away from merry Shirwood,
In any place else to dwell [a]:
For there is neither city nor towne,
That likes them half so well [a].
Our lives are wholly given to hunt,
And haunt the merry greene-wood [a];
Where our best service is daily spent,
For otr master Robin Hood [a]."
6. "Robin Hood and his pastoral May games." 1624.
7. Robin Hood and his crew of soldiers." 1627.
These two titles are inserted among the plays mentioned by
Chetwood, in his B itish theatre, (p. 67,) as written by anony-
mous authors in the i6th century to the restoration. But neither
Langbaine, who mentions both, nor any other person, pretends
to have ever seen either of them. The former, indeed, may
possibly be The played of Robyn Hode," already noticed; and
the other is probably a future article. Langbaine, it is to be
observed, gives no date to either piece; so that, it may be fairly
concluded, those above specifyed are of Chetwoods own inven-
66 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
tion, which appears to have been abundantly fertile in every
species of forgery and imposture.
8. The sad shepherd, or a tale of Robin Hood."
The story of our renowned archer cannot be said to have been
wholely occupyed by bards without a name; since, not to men-
tion Mundy or Drayton, the celebrated Ben Jonson intended a
pastoral drama on this subject, under the above title; but dying,
in the year 1637, before it was finished, little more than the two
first acts has descended down to us. His last editor (Mr.
Whalley), while he regrets that it is but a fragment, speaks of it
in raptures, and, indeed, not without evident reason, many
passages being eminently poetical and judicious.
The persons of the play," so far as concerns our immediate
purpose, are: [i] "Robin Hood, the chief woodman [i.e.,
forester], master of the feast.  Marian, his lady, the mistress.
 Friar Tuck, the chaplain and steward.  Little John, bow-
bearer. [5, 6] Scarlet, Scathlocke,1 two brothers, huntsmen. 
George a Green, huisher of the bower.  Much, Robin Hoods
bailiff or acater." The rest are, the guests invited, the witch of
Paplewick, her daughter, the swin'ard her son, Puck Hairy or
Robin Goodfellow, their hind, and lastly a devout hermit. The
scene, Sherwood, consisting of a landscape of a forest, hills,
valleys, cottages, a castle, a river, pastures, herds, flocks, all full
of country simplicity; Robin Hoods bower, his well, &c." The
argument of the first act" is as follows; Robin Hood, having
invited all the shepherds and shepherdesses of the vale of
Be'voir to a feast in the forest of Sherwood, and trusting to his
mistress, maid Marian, with her woodmen, to kill him venison
against the day; having left the like charge with friar Tuck his
chaplain and steward, to command the rest of his merry men to
see the bower made ready, and all things in order for the enter-
tainment: 'meets' with his guests at their entrance into the
wood, and conducts them to his bower : where, by the way, he
receives the relation of THE SAD SHEPHERD /Eglamour, who is
1 Jonson was led into this mistake by the old play of Robin Hoodl See before,
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 67
fallen into a deep melancholy for the loss of his beloved Earine,
reported to have been drowned in passing over the Trent, some
few days before.. . In the mean time Marian is come from
hunting. . Robin Hood enquires if she hunted the deere at
force, and what sport he made ? how long he stood? and what
head he bore? all which is briefly answered, with a relation of
breaking him up, and the raven, and her bone. The suspect
had of that raven to be Maudlin the witch of Paplewick, whom
one of the huntsmen met i' the morning at the rouzing of the
deer, and is confirmed by her being then in Robin Hoods
kitchen, i' the chimney corner, broiling the same bit which was
thrown to the raven at the quarry or fall of the deer. Marian,
being gone in to shew the deer to some of the shepherdesses,
returns discontented; sends away the venison she had killed to
her they call the witch; quarrels with her love Robin Hood,
abuseth him, and his guests the shepherds; and so departs,
leaving them all in wonder and perplexity."
By "the argument of the second act" it appears that the witch
which had "taken the shape of Marian to abuse Robin Hood,
and perplex his guests." However, upon an explanation of the
matter with the true Marian, the trick is found out, the venison
recovered, and Robin Hood dispatcheth out his woodmen to
hunt and take her : which ends the act." The third act was de-
signed to be taken up with the chace of the witch, her various
schemes to elude the pursuers, and the discovery of Earine in
the swineherds enchanted oak. Nothing more of the authors
design appearing, we have only to regret the imperfect state of a
pastoral drama, which, according to the above learned and in-
genious editor, would have done honour to the nation.1
9. Robin Hood and his crew of soldiers, a comedy acted at
Nottingham on the day of his saCRed majesties corronation.
Vivatrex. The actors names: Robin Hood, commander; Little
1 This play appears to have been performed upon the stage after the restoration
The prologue and epilogue (spoken by Mr. Portlock) are to be found in num. oo009 of
the Sloane MSS. It was republished, with a continuation and notes, by Mr. Waldron,
of Drury-lane theatre, in 1783.
S flz _n
68 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
John, William Scadlocke, soldiers; messenger from the she-
riffe. London, printed for James Davis, 1661." 4to.
This is an interlude, of a few pages and no merit; alluding to
the late rebellion, and the subject of the day. The outlaws,
convinced by the reasoning of the sheriffs messenger, become
10. "Robin Hood. An opera, as it is perforrm'd at Lee's and
Harpers great theatrical booth in Bartholomew-fair." 1730.
ii. "Robin Hood." 1751. 8vo.
This was a ballad-farce, acted at Drury-lane theatre; in which
the following favourite song was originally sung by Mr. Beard in
the character of Robin Hood.
As blithe as the linnet sings in the green Wood,
So blithe we'll wake the morn;
And through the wide forest of merry Sherwood
We'll wind the bugle horn.
The sheriff attempts to take bold Robin Hood,
Bold Robin disdains to fly;
Let him come when he will, we'll, in merry Sherwood,
Or vanquish, boys, or die.
Our hearts they are stout, and our bows they are good,
As well their masters know;
They're cull'd in the forest of merry Sherwood,
And never will spare a foe.
Our arrows shall drink of the fallow deer's blood,
We'll hunt them all o'er the plain;
And through the wide forest of merry Sherwood,
No shaft shall fly in vain.
Brave Scarlet, and John, who ne'er were subdu'd,
Give each his hand so bold;
We'll range through the forest of merry Sherwood,
What say my hearts of gold?
12. Robin Hood; or, Sherwood forest : a comic opera." As
"performed at the theatre-royal in Covent-garden, By Leonard
Mac Nally, esq." 1784. 8vo.
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 69
This otherwise insignificant performance was embellished with
some fine music by Mr. Shield. It has been since reduced to,
and is still frequently acted as, an after-piece.
A drama on the subject of Robin Hood, under the title of The
foresters, has been long expected from the elegant author of The
school for scandal. The first act, said to have been written many
years ago, is, by those who have seen or heard it, spoken of with
(x) -" innumerable poems, rimes, songs and ballads."] The
original and most ancient pieces of this nature have all perished
in the lapse of time, during a period of between five and six
hundred years continuance; and all we now know of them is that
such things once existed. In the Vision of Pierce Plowman, an
allegorical poem, thought to have been composed soon after the
year 1360, and generally ascribed to Robert Langeland, the
author introduces an ignorant, idle and drunken secular priest,
the representative, no doubt, of the parochial clergy of that age,
in the character of Sloth, who makes the following confession :
I cannot parfitli mi paternoster, as the preist it singeth,
But I can RYMS OF ROBEN HODE, and 'Randolf' erl of Chester,
But of our lord or our lady I lerne nothing at all."2
1 A most stupid pantomime on the subject, under the title of Merry Sherwood,
or Harlequin Forester," was performed in December, 1795, at the theatre-royal Covent-
2 ist edit. 1550, fo. xxvi., b. (Randolf is misprinted Rand of.) Subsequent editions,
even of the same year, reading only Randall of Chester,' Mr. Warton (History
ofEnglish poetry, ii. 179,) makes this genius, whom he calls a frier, say, that he is
well acquainted with THE rimes of Randall of Chester;" and these rimes he,
whimsically enough, conjectures to be the old Chester Wh/itsun plays; which, upon
very idle and nonsensical evidence, he supposes to have been written by Randal
Higden, the compiler of the Polychronicon. Of course, if this absurd idea were at
all founded, THE rimes of Robin Hood must likewise allude to certain Yorkshire or
Nottinghamshire plays, written by hinzsel. The Randolf erl of Chester" here
meant is Randal Blundevile, the last earl of that name, who had been in the holy
land, was a great warrior and patriot, and dyed in 1231.
The reading of the original edition is confirmed by a very old manuscript, in the
Cotton library, (Vespasian, B. XVI.) differing considerably from the printed copies,
which gives the passage thus :
70 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
Fordun, the Scotish historian, who wrote about 1340, speaking
of Robin Hood and Little John, and their accomplices, says,
"of whom the foolish vulgar in comedies and tragedies make
lewd entertainment, and are delighted to hear the jesters and min-
strels sing them above all other ballads : and Mair (or Major),
whose history was published by himself in 1521, observes that
"The exploits of this Robert are celebrated in songs throughout
all Britain." 2 So, likewise, master Johne Bellendene, the trans-
lator of that noble clerk master Hector Bois, (Boece or Boethius,)
who wrote about the same period, having mentioned "that waith-
man Robert Hode with his fallow litil Johne," adds, ofquhom ar
mony fabillis and mery sports soung amang the vulgar pepyll." 3
Whatever may have been the nature of the compositions alluded
to by the above writers, several of the pieces printed in the pre-
sent collection are unquestionably of great antiquity; not less,
that is, than between three and four hundred years old. The
I can nouzt perfitli my pater-noster as a prest hit syngeth :
I can rymes of Robyn Hood, of RONDOLF ERL OF CHESTRE,
Ac of oure lorde ne of our ladi the leste that ever was maked,"
(See also Caligdua, A. XI.)
The speaker himself could have told Mr. Warton he was nofrier.
I have ben PRIESTE & PERSON passynge thyrty winter,
Yet can I nether solfe, ne singe, ne sayntes lyves read;
But I can find in a field or in a furlong an hare,
Better than in Beatus vir or in Beati ones
Construe one clause well, & kenne it to my parishens."
1 De quibus stolidum vuIlgus Jzianter in comaediis et tragardiis pfrurienterfestum
faciunt, & super celeras 'romancias' mimos & bardanos cantitare delectantur."
Scotichronicon (a Hearne), p. 774. Comedies and tragedies are-not dramatic com-
positions, but-poems of a comic or serious cast. Romance in Spanish, and romance
in French, signify-not a tale of chivalry, but-a vulgar ballad, at this day.
2 "Rebus kutis Roberti gestis tota Britannia in cantibuis utitur." Majoris
Britanniae historic, Edin. 1740, p. 128.
3 History of Scotland, Edin. 1541, fo. The word "waithman" was probably
suggested by Andrew of Wyntown (see before, note (B). It seems equivalent to the
English vagabond, or, perhaps, outlaw. Waithl is waif; and it is to be remembered
that, in the technical language of the English courts, a woman is said to be waived,
and not outlawed. "In our auld Scottish language says Skene, "ane Votmanz is
ane out-law, or ane fugitive fra the lawes." (De verborum significatione), Edin.
1597). It is from Jbwan, venari, fugare. See Lyes Dictionary. The passage
above quoted does not occur in Boises original work.
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 71
Lytell geste, which is first inserted, is probably the oldest thing
upon the subject which we now possess : but a legend, apparently
of the same species, was once extant, of, perhaps, a still earlier
date, of which it is some little satisfaction to be able to give even
the following fragment, from a single leaf, fortunately preserved
in one of the volumes of old printed ballads in the British mu-
seum, in a hand-writing as old as Henry the 6ths time. It ex-
hibits the characters of our hero and his fidus Achates in the
noblest point of view.
"He sayd Robyn Hod . . yne the preson,
And owght off hit wos gon.
The porter rose a-non certeyn,
As sone as he hard Johan call ;
Lytyll Johan was redy with a sword,
And bare hym throw to the wall.
Now will I be jayler, sayd lytyll Johan,
And toke the keys in hond ;
He toke the way to Robin Hod,
And sone he hyme unbond.
He gaffe hym a good swerd in his hond,
His hed ther-with for to kepe;
And their as the wallis wer lowest,
Anon down their they lepe.
To Robyn .. sayd:
I have done the a god tome for an .
Quit me when throw may;
I have done the a gode torne, said lytyll [Johan,
Forsothe as I the saye ;
I have browghte the under the gren wod . .
Farewell & have gode daye.
1 Of this poem there have been, at least, five editions at London or Westminster,
and one at Edinburgh. In a list of bookss printed, and . . sold by Jane
Bell, at the east end of Christ-church ," in company with Frier Rzus, The
frier and the boy; &c. is "a book of Robin Hood and Little John." Captain Cox
of Coventry appears to have had a copy of some old edition; see Lanehams Letter
from Killzgworth, 1575.
72 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
Nay, be my trowthe, sayd Robyn,
So schall it never bee ;
I make the master, sayd Robyn,
Off all my men & me.
Nay, be my trowthe, sayd lytyll Johan,
So schall it never bee."
This, indeed, may be part of the story of Robin Hood and little
John," which M. Wilhelm Bedwell found in the ancient MS. lent
him by his much honoured good friend M. G. Withers, whence
he extracted and published The tournament of Tottenham," a
poem of the same age, and which seemed to him to be done
(perhaps but transcribed) by sir Gilbert Pilkington, formerly, as
some had thought, parson of that parish.'
That poems and stories on the subject of our hero and his
companions were extraordinarily popular and common before
and during the sixteenth century is evident from the testimony
of divers writers. Thus, Alexander Barclay, priest, in his trans-
lation of The shyp of folys, printed by Pynson in 1508, and by
John Cawood in 1570,2 says:
I write no jeste ne tale of ROBIN HOOD."
"" n For goodlie scripture is not worth an hawe,
But tales are loved ground of ribaudry;
And many are so blinded with their foly,
That no scriptur think they so true nor gode,
As is a foolish jest of ROBIN HODE."
And of all fables and jestes of ROBIN HOOD,
Or other trifles."
The same Barclay, in the fourth of his Egloges, subjoined to
the last edition of The ship of foles, but originally printed soon
after 1500, has the following passage:
1 "Description of the town of Tottenham-high-crosse, &c." London, (1631, 4to.)
1718, 8vo. The invaluable MS. alluded to has been since discovered, and the entire
poem, of which Mr. Ritson has here given a fragment, will be found in the appendix.
2 The book, under the same title, printed by Wynken de Worde, in 1517, is a
different translation in prose.
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 73
Yet would I gladly heare some mery ft
Of MADE MARION, or els of ROBIN HOOD,
Or Benteleyes ale, which chafeth well the blood,
Of Perte of Norwich, or Sauce of Wilberton,
Or buckishe Joly well stuffed as a ton."
Robert Braham, in his epistle to the reader, prefixed to Lyd-
gates Troy-book, 1555, is of opinion that : Caxtons recueil" [of
Troy] is worthy to be numbred amongest the trifelinge tales
and barrayne luerdries of ROBYN HODE and Bevys of Hamp-
ton." (See Ames's Typograpfhical antiquities, by Herbert, p. 849.)
"For one that is sand blynd," says sir Thomas Chaloner,
" would take an asse for a moyle, or another prayse a rime of
ROBYN HODE for as excellent a making as Troylus of Chaucer,
yet should they not straight-waies be counted made there-
fore?" (Erasmus's Praise offolye, sig. h.)
If good lyfe," observes bishop Latimer, do not insue and
folowe upon our reading to the example of other, we myghte as
well spend that tyme in reading of prophane hystories, of
Canterburye tales, or a fit of ROBEN HODE." (Sermons, sig.
The following lines, from a poem in the Hyndford MS. com-
piled in 1568, afford an additional proof of our heros popularity
"Thair is no story that I of heir,
Of 7ohne-nor ROBENE HUDE,
Nor zit of Wallace wicht but weir,
That me thinks half so gude,
As of there palmaris, &c."
That the subject was not forgotten in the succeeding age, can
be testified by Drayton, who is elsewhere quoted, and in his
sixth eclogue makes Gorbo thus address "old Winken de
"Come, sit we down under this hawthorn-tree,
The morrows light shall lend us day enough,
And let us .ell of Gawen, or sir Guy,
Of ROBIN HOOD, or of old Clem a Clough."
1 Mr. Warburton reads Toby; and so, perhaps, it may be in former editions.
74 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
Richard Johnson, who wrote The history of Tom Thumbe,"
in prose, (London, 1621, I2mo, b. I.) thus prefaces his work:
"My merry muse begets no tales of Guy of Warwicke, &c., nor
will I trouble my penne with the pleasant glee of ROBIN HOOD,
LITTLE JOHN, the FRYER, and his MARIAN j nor will I call to
mind the lusty PINDER of WAKEFIELD, &.c."
In The Calidonian forrest," a sort of allegorical or mystic
tale, by John Hepwith, gentleman, printed in 1641, 4to, the
"Let us take of Robin Hoode,
And little John in merry Shirewoode, &c."'
Of one very ancient, and undoubtedly once very popular, song
tis single line is all that is now known to exist:
"oabin a o i 1 baI toob."
However, though but a line, it is of the highest authority in
Westminster-hall, where, in order to the decision of a knotty
point, it has been repeatedly cited, in the most solemn manner,
by grave and learned judges.
1 Honest Barnaby, i.e. Richard Brathwayte, who wrote or travelled about 4640,
was well acquainted with our heros story.
Veni Nottingham, tyrones
Sherwoodenses sunt latrones,
Instar Robin Hood, & servi
Scarlet & Joannis Parvi;
Passim, sparsim, peculantur
Cellis, sylvis defrcedantur.
Thence to Nottingham, where rovers,
Highway riders, Sherwood drovers,
Like old Robin Hood, and Scarlet,
Or like Little eohn his variety ;
Here and there they shew them doughty,
In cells and woods to get their booty."
Whitlock relates that "the [parliament] committee who carried the propositions of
peace to Oxford, had the kings answer sealed up and sent to them. They, upon
advice together, thought it not fit for them to receive an answer in that manner . .
and made an address to his majesty, that they might know what his answer was, and
have a copy of it; to which his majesty replied, What is that to you, who are but to
carry what I send, and if I will send the song of Robin Hood and Little John, you
must carry it? To which the commissioners only said, that the business about which
they came was of somewhat more consequence than that song." (Memorials, p. I5x.)
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 75
M. 6 9ac. B. R. Wilham v. Barker. Yelv. 141. Trespass,
for breaking plaintiffs close, &c. Plea, Liberum tenementum of
sir John Tyndall, and justification as his servant and by his
command. Replication, That it is true it is his freehold, but
that long before the time when &c. he leased to plaintif at will,
who entered and was possessed until, &c. traversing, that de-
fendant entered, &c. by command of sir John. Demurrer; and
adjudged against plaintiff, on the ground of the replication being
bad, as not setting forth any seisin or possession in sir John,
out of which a lease at will could be derived. For a title made
by the plea or replication should be certain to all intents, because
it is traversable. Here, therefore, he should have stated sir
Johns seisin, as well as the lease at will; which is not done
here: mes tout mu came il uzt rtplic Robin Whood in Barnwood
stood, absque hoc q bcE. 4 commantement sir John. Quod nota.
Per Fenner, Williams et Crook justices sole e mcoutt.t t jubgmmnt
Bone accorbant. Yelv. p. cf."
In the case of Bush v. Leake, B. R. Trin. 23 G. 3. Buller,
justice, cited the case of Coulthurst v. Coulthurst, C. B. Pasch.
12 G. 3. (an action on bond) and observed "There, a case in
Yelverton was alluded to, where the court said, You might as
well say, by way of inducement to a traverse, Robin Hood in
It is almost unnecessary to observe, because it will be shortly
proved, that Barnwood, in the preceding quotations, ought to be
Barnsdale.' With respect to Whood, the reader will see, under
1 There is, in fact, such a place as Barnwoodforest, in Buckinghamshire ; but no
one, except Mr. Hearne, has hitherto supposed that part of the country to have been
frequented by our hero. Barnwood, in the case reported by Yelverton, has clearly
arisen from a confusion of Barnsdale and green wood. Robin Hood in the
greenwood stood" was likewise the beginning of an old song now lost (see VIII.-
" Robin Hood and Allin a Dale," &c., infra): and it is not a little remarkable that
Jefferies, serjeant, on the trial of Pilkington and others, for a riot, in 1683, by a
similar confusion, quotes the line in question thus:
Robin Hood upon Greendale stood."
(State-trials, iii. 634.)
A third corruption has taken place in Parker, p. 13I, (King v. Cotton,) though ex-
pressly cited from Yelverton; viz.
"' Robin Hood in Barnwell stood."
76 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
note (P), a remarkable proof of the antiquity of that pronuncia-
tion, which actually prevails in the metropolis at this day. See
also the word "whodes" in note (EE). So, likewise, Bale, in his
Acts of English votaries, 1560, says, "the monkes had their
cowles, caprones or whodes;" and in Stowes Survay, I598,
p. 120, have "a fooles whoode."
This celebrated and important line occurs as the first of a
foolish mock-song, inserted in an old morality, entitled "A new
interlude and a mery of the nature of the iiii elementss" sup-
posed to have been pictured by John Rastall about 1520; where
it is thus introduced:
"Hu[manyte]. --let us some lusty balet syng.
YnL[norance]. Nay, syr, be the hevyn kyng:
For me thynkyth it servyth for no thyng,
All such pevysh prykeryd song.
Hlu. Pes, man, pryk-song may not be dyspysyd,
For therwith god is well plesyd.
Yng. Is god well pleasyd, trowest thou, therby ?
Nay, nay, for there is no reason why.
For is it not as good to say playnly
Gyf me a spade,
As gyf me a spa ve va ve va ve vade ?
But yf thou wylt have a song that is good,
I have one of ROBYN HODE,
The best that ever was made.
Hu. Then a feleshyp, let us here it.
Yng. But there is a bordon, thou must bere it,
SO r elly s it w y ll n o t b e.
The following most vulgar and indecent rime, current among the peasantry in the
north of England, may have been intended to ridicule the perpetual repetition of
"R Robin Hood in greenwood stood :"
In green-wood stood,
With his back against a tree;
He fell flat
Into a cow plat,
And all besh-n was he.
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 77
Hi. Thafr begyn, and care not for .
Downe down down, &c.
Yng. Robyn Hode in Barnysdale stode,
And lent hym tyl a mapyll thystyll;
Than cam our lady & swete saynt Andrewe ;
Slepyst thou, wakyst thou, Geffrey Coke ? 1
A c. wynter the water was depe,
I can not tell you how brode ;
He toke a gose nek in his hande,
And over the water he went.
He start up to a thystell top,
And cut hym down a holyn clobbe,
He stroke the wren betwene the hornys,
That fyre sprange out of the pygges tayle.
Jak boy is thy bow i-broke,
Or hath any man done the wryguldy range ?
He plukkyd muskyllys out of a wyllowe,
And put them in to his sachell.
Wylkyn was an archer good,
And well coude handell a spade;
He toke his bend bowe in his hand,
And set him down by the fyre.
He toke with him lx. bowes and ten,
A pese of befe, another of ,baken.
Of all the byrdes in mery Englond,
So merely pypys the mery botell."
The lives, stories, and giftes of men which are contained in
the bible, they [the papists] read as things no more pertaining
unto them than a tale of Robin Hood." Tyndale, Prologue to
the prophecy of Jonas, about 1531.
Gwalter Lynne, printer, in his dedication to Ann, duchess of
Somerset, of" The true belief in Christ and his sacramentes,'
155o, says, I would wyshe tharfore that al men, women, and
children, would read it. Not as they haue bene here tofore
1 It is possible that, amid these absurdities, there may be other lines of the old
.soig of Robin Hood, which is the only reason for reviving them.
"0 O sleepst thou, or wakst thou, Jeffrey Cboke ?'
gCecrs, likewise, in a medley of a similar description, in Pammelia, 16o9.
78 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
accustomed to reade the failed stores of Robin-hode, Clem of
the Cloughe, wyth such lyke to passe the tyme wythal, &c."
In 1562, John Aide had license to print "a ballad of Robyn
god," a mistake, it is probable, for Robyn Hod.
Alexander Hume, minister of Logie, about 1599, says, in one
of his Hymnes or sacred songs," printed in that year, that
--- --" much to blame are those of carnal brood,
Who loath to taste of intellectual food,
Yet surfeit on old tales of Robin Hood."
Complaint of Scotland. Edin. 18o0, Dissertation, p. 221.
Exclude the scriptures, and bid them read the story
Of Robin Hood and Guy, which was both tall and stout,
And Bevis of Southampton, to seek the matter out.
Suffer all slander against god and his truth,
And praise the old fashion in king Arthur's days,
Of abbays and monasteries how it is great ruth
To have them plucked down, and so the eldest says;
And how it was merry when Robin Hoods plays
Was in every town, the morrice and the fool,
The maypole and the drum, to bring the calf from school,
With Midge, Madge and Marion, about the pole to dance,
And Stephen, that tall stripling, to lead Volans dance,
With roguing Gangweeke, a goodly remembrance,
With beads in every hand, our prayers stood by tale:
This was a merry work, talk among our meany,
And then of good eggs ye might have twenty for a penny."
L. Ramseys Practice of the divell, b. 1.
All the entire poems and songs known to be extant will be
found in the following collection; but many more may be
traditionally preserved in different parts of the country which
would have added considerably to its value.' That some of
1 Iri A"Hecraclits vridens, or a discourse between Jest and Earnest," a periodical
paper, against the whigs, published in 168i, and collected and republished in I713,
(No. 34) Jest begins singing:
Bills, bows, and axes, quoth Robin Hood,
But I have not time to tell;
Yonder's the sheriff and his company,
But I hope all will be well.
Hei, down, derry, derry, down .
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 79
these identical pieces, or others of the like nature, were great
favourites with the common people in the time of queen Eliza-
beth, though not much esteemed, it would seem, by the refined
critic, may, in addition to the testimonies already cited, be
infered from a passage in Webbes Discourse of English joetrie,
printed in 1586. If I lette passe," says he," the unaccountable
rabble of ryming ballet-makers, and compylers of sencelesse
sonets, who be most busy to stuffe every stall full of gi-osse
devises and unlearned pamphlets, I trust I shall with the best
sort be held excused. For though many such can frame an
alehouse-song of five or sixe score verses, hobbling uppon some
tune of a northern jy/yge, or ROBYN HOODE, or La lubber, &c.
and perhappes observe just number of sillables, eyght in one
line, sixe in an other, and therewithall an A to make a jercke in
and says, I hope I may sing of old Robin without offending a grand jury, or being
presented for disuniting protestants."
In The gentleman's magazine, for December, 179o, is the first verse of a song
used by the inhabitants of Helston in Cornwall, on the celebration of an annual
festivity on the eighth of May, called the Furry-day, supposed Floras day, not, it is
imagined, as many have thought, in remembrance of some festival instituted in
honour of that goddess, but rather from the garlands commonly worn on that day."
(See the same publication for June and October, 1790.) This verse was the whole
that Mr. Urbans correspondent could then recollect, but he thought he might be
afterward able to send all that is known of it, for," he says, it formerly was very
long, but is now much forgotten." The stanza is as follows !
"Robin Hood and Little John
They are both gone to fair O0
And We will go to the merry green-w00od&
To see what they do there O.
With hel an tow,
And chearily we'll get up,
As soon as any day 0,
All for to bring the summer home,
The summer and the May O."
" After which," he adds, there is something about the grey goose wing ; from all
which," he concludes, the goddess Flora has nothing to say to it." She may have
nothing to say to the song, indeed, and yet a good deal to do with the thing. But
the fact is that the first eight days of May, or the first day and the eighth, seem to
have been devoted by the Celtic nations to some great religious ceremony. Certain
superstitious observances of this period still exist in the highlands of Scotland, where
it is called the Bel-tein ; Beltanz, in that country, being a common term for the
beginning of May, as between the Beltans is a saying significant of thefirst and
eighth days of that month. The games of Robin Hood, as we shall elsewhere see,
80 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
the ende, yet if these might be accounted poets (as it is sayde
some of them make means to be promoted to the lawrell) surely
we shall shortly have whole swarmes of poets; and every one
that can frame a book in ryme, though, for want of matter, it
be but in commendations of copper noses or bottle ale, wyll
catch at the garlande due to poets: whose potticall (poeticall, I
should say) heades, I would wyshe, at their worshipfull comence-
ments, might, in steede of lawrell, be gorgiously garnished with
fayre greene barley, in token of their good affection to our
English malt." The chief object of this satire seems to be
William Elderton, the drunken ballad-maker, of whose composi-
tions all but one or two have unfortunately perished."
Most of the songs inserted in the second part of this work
were common broad-sheet ballads, printed in the black letter,
with wood-cuts, between the restoration and the revolution;
were, for whatever reason, always celebrated in May.-N.B. FHcl-an-tow,' in the
above stanza, should be heave and how. Heave and hzow, and RzumbeZow, was an
ordinary chorus to old ballads; and is at least as ancient as the reign of Edward II.,
since it occurs in the stanza of a Scotish song, preserved by some of our old historians,
on the battle of Bannock-burn.
To lengthen this long note: Among the Harleian MSS. (num. 367,) is the frag-
ment of "a tale of Robin Hood dialouge-wise beetweene Watt and Jeffry. The
morall is the overthrowe of the abbyes; the like being attempted by the Puritane,
which is the wolfe, and the politician, which is the fox, against the bushops. Robin
Hood, bushop ; Adam Bell, abbot; Little John, colleauges of the university." This
seems to have been a common mode of satyrizing both the old church and the re-
formers. In another MS. of the same collection, (N. 207) written about 1532, is a
tract entitled "The banckett of John the reve, unto Peirs Ploughman, Laurens
Laborer, Thomlyn Tailyor, and Hobb of the Hille, with others;" being, as M:.
Wanley says, a dispute concerning transubstantiation by a Roman catholic. The
other, indeed, is much more modern : it alludes to the indolence of the abbots, and
their falling off from the original purity in which they were placed by the bishops,
whom it inclines to praise. The object of its satire seems to be the Puritans; but
here it is imperfect, though the lines preserved are not wholly destitute of poetical
merit.-" Robin Hood and the duke of Lancaster, a ballad, to the tune of The abbot
of Canterbury, 1727," is a satire on sir Robert Walpole.
1 Chatterton, in his Memoirs of a sad dog," represents "baron Otranto" (meaning
the honorable Horace Walpole, now earl of Orford) when on a visit to "sir Stentor,"
as highly pleased with Robin Hoods ramble, "melodiously chaunted by the knight's
groom and dairymaid, to the excellent music of a two-stringed violin and bag-pipe,"
Which transported him back to the age of his favourite hero, Richard the third;"
whereas, says he, the songs of Robin Hood were not in being till the reign of queen
Elizabeth." This, indeed, may be in a great measure true of those which we now
have, but there is sufficient evidence of the existence and popularity of such-like songs
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 81
though copies of some few have been found of an earlier date.
Who was the author of the collection, entitled Robin Hood's
garland, no one," says sir John Hawkins, "has yet pretended to
guess. As some of the songs have in them more of the spirit of
poetry than others, it is probable," he thinks, "it is the work of
various hands : that it has from time to time been varied and
adapted to the phrase of the times," he says, "is certain." None
of these songs, it is believed, were ever collected into a garland
till some time after the restoration; as the earlyest that has
been met with, a copy of which is in the possession of Francis
Douce, esq., was printed by W. Thackeray, a noted ballad-
monger, in 1670. This, however, contains no more than sixteen
songs, some of which, very falsely as it seems, are said to have
been never before printed." The latest edition of any worth,"
according to sir John Hawkins, is that of 1719." None of the
old editions of this garland have any sort of preface : that pre-
fixed to the modern ones, of Bow or Aldermary church-yard,
being taken from the collection of old ballads, 1723, where it is
placed at the head of Robin Hoods birth and breeding. The full
title of the last London edition of any note is--" Robin Hood's
garland: being a complete history of all the notable and merry
exploits performed by him and his men on many occasions: To
which is added a preface, [i.e., the one already mentioned] giving
a more full and particular account of his birth, &c. than any
hitherto published. [Czut of archers shooting at a target.]
I'll send this arrow from my bow,
And in a wager will be bound
To hit the mark aright, although
It were for fifteen hundred pound.
Doubt not I'll make the wager good,
Or ne'er believe bold Robin Hood.
for ages preceding; and some of these, no doubt, were occasionally modernised or
new-written, though most of them must be allowed to have perished.
The late Dr. Johnson, in controverting the authenticity of Fingal, a composition in
which the author, Mr. Macpherson, has made great use of some unquestionably
ancient Irish ballads, said, "He would undertake to write an epick poem on the
story of Robin Hood, and half England, to whom the names and places he should
mention in it are familiar, would believe and declare they had heard it from their
earliest years." (Boswell's Yournalz p. 486.)
82 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
Adorned with twenty-seven neat and curious cuts adapted to the
subject of each song. London, Printed and sold by R. Marshall,
in Aldermary church-yard, Bow-lane." 12mo. On the back of
the title-page is the following Grub-street address:
"To all gentlemen archers."
"This garland has been long out of repair,
Some songs being wanting, of which we give account;
For now at last, by true industrious care,
The sixteen songs to twenty-seven we mount;
Which large addition needs must please, I know,
All the ingenious 'yeomen' of the bow.
To read how Robin Hood and Little John,
Brave Scarlet, Stutely, valiant, bold and free,
Each of them bravely, fairly played the man,
While they did reign beneath the green-wood tree;
Bishops, friars, likewise many more,
Parted with their gold for to increase their store,
But never would they rob or wrong the poor."
The last seven lines are not by the author of the first six, but
were added afterward; perhaps when the twenty-four songs were
increased to twenty-seven.1
1 The following note is inserted in the fourth edition of the Reliques of ancient
English oetry,, published in July, 1795 (vol. I. p. xcvii.):
"Of the 24 songs in what is now called 'Robin Hood's garland,' many are so
modern as not to be found in Pepys's collection, completed only in 1700. In the
[editors] folio MS. are ancient fragments of the following, viz.-Robin Hood and the
beggar.-Robin Hood and the butcher.-Robin Hoode and fryer Tucke.-Robin
Hood and the pindar.-Robin Hood and queen Catherine, in two parts.-Little John
and the four beggars, and Robine Hood his death.' This last, which is very curious,
has no resemblance to any that have yet been published [it is probably number
XXVIII. of Part II.]; and the others are extremely different from the printed copies;
but they unfortunately are in the beginning of the MS., where half of every leaf hath
been torn away."
As this MS. "contains several songs relating to the civil war in the last century,"
the mere circumstance of its comprising fragments of the above ballads, is no proof of
a higher antiquity, any more than its not containing 'one that alludes to the restora-
tion' proves its having been compiled before that period; or than, because some of
these 24 songs are not to be found in Pepys's collection, they are more modern than
1700. If the MS. could be collated, it would probably turn out that many of its
contents have been inaccurately and unfaithfully transcribed, by some illiterate
person, from printed copies still extant, and, consequently, that it is, so far, of no
authority. See the advertisement prefixed.
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 83
(Y)-" has given rise to divers proverbs : "] Proverbs, in all
countries, are, generally speaking, of very great antiquity; and
therefore it will not be contended that those concerning our hero
are the oldest we have. It is highly probable, however, that they
originated in or near his own time, and of course have existed
for upward of 500 years, which is no modern date. They are
here arranged, not, perhaps, according to their exact chronological
order, but by the age of the authorities they are taken from.
I. Good even, good Robin Hood.
The allusion is to civility extorted byfear. It is preserved by
Skelton, in that most biting satire, against cardinal Wolsey, Why
come ye not to court ? (Works, 1736, p. 147.)
He is set so hye,
In his hierarchy,
That in the chambre of stars
All matters there he mars ;
Clapping his rod on the borde,
No man dare speaker a word;
For he hath all the saying,
Without any renaying:
He rolleth in his records,
He saith, How say ye, my lordes ?
Is not my reason good ?
Good even, good Robin Hood." 1
2. Many men talk of Robin Hood that never shot in his bow.
That is, many discourse (or prate rather) of matters wherein
they have no skill or experience. This proverb is now extended
all over England, though originally of Nottinghamshsire extrac-
tion, where Robin Hood did principally reside in Sherwood forrest.
He was an arch robber, and withal an excellent archer; though
1 Mr. Warton has mistaken and misprinted this line so as to make it absolute
Is not my reason good ?
Good-even good-Robin Hood.':
(Hist. En. po. vol. ii.)
84 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
surely the poet' gives a twang to the loose of his arrow, making
him shoot one, a cloth-yard long, at full forty score mark, for
compass never kzger than the breast, and within less than a foot
of the mark. But herein our author hath verified the proverb,
talking at large of Robin Hood, in whose bow he never shot."
Fuller's Worthies, p. 315.
"One may justly wonder," adds the facetious writer, "this
archer did not at last hit the mark, I mean, come to the gallows
for his many robberies."
The proverb is mentioned, and given as above, by sir Edward
Coke in his 3rd Institute, p. 197. See also note (w). It is thus
noticed by Jonson, in The king's entertainment at Walbeck in
Nottinghamshire, 1633 :"
"This is . father Fitz-Ale, herald of Derby, &c.
He can fly o'er hills and dales,
And report you more odd tales
Of our out-law Robin Hood,
That revell'd here in Sherewood,
And more stories of him show,
(Though he ne'er shot in his bow)
Than au' men or believe or know."
We likewise meet with it in EfLigrams, &c. 1654:
"Vertue we praise, but practice not her good,
(Athenian-like) we act not what we know ;
So manay men doe talk of Robin Hood,
Who never yet shot arrow in his bow."
On the back of a ballad, in Anthony t Woods collection, he
"There be some that prate
Of Robin Hood, and of his bow,
Which never shot therein, I trow."
Ray gives it thus:
"Many talk of Robin Hood, that never shot in his bow,
And many talk of little John, that never did him know ;"
which Kelly has varyed, but without authority.
1 Draytlons FPoy-Olzonz, song 26, p. 122. (Siura, p. ii.)
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 85
Camdens printer has separated the lines, as distinct proverbs
(Remains, 1674) :
"Many speak of Robin Hood that never shot in his bow.
Many a man talks of little John that never did him know."
This proverb likewise occurs in The downfall of Robert earle
Huntington, 16oo, and is alluded to in a scarce and curious
old tract entitled "The contention betwyxte Churchyeard and
Camell, upon David Dycers Dreame &c." 1560, 4to, b. 1.
"Your sodain stores and thundre claps, your boasts and braggs so loude:
Hath doone no harme though Robin Hood spake with you in a cloud.
Go learned again of litell Jhon, to shute in Robyn Hods bowe,
Or Dicars dreame shall be unhit, and all his when, I trowe." 1
The Italians appear to have a similar saying.
Molti parlan di Orlando
Chi non viddero mai suo brando.
3. To overshoot Robin Hood.
And lastly and chiefly, they cry out with open mouth as if
they had overshot Robin Hood, that Plato banished them [i.e.
poets] out of his commonwealth." Sir P. Sidneys Defence of
4. Tales of Robin Hood are good [enoughi]for fools.
This proverb is inserted in Camdens Remains, printed origin-
ally in 16o5 ; but the word in brackets is supplied from Ray.
5. To sell Robin Hoods pennyworths.
"It is spoken of things sold under half their value; or, if you
will, half sold half given. Robin Hood came lightly by his
ware, and lightly parted therewith; so that he could afford the
length of his bow for a yard of velvet, Whithersoever he came,
he carried a fair along with him; chapmen crowding to buy his
stollen commodities. But seeing The receiver is as bad as the
1 In Churchyards "Replication onto Camels objection," he tells the latter:
Your knowledge is great, your judgment is good,
The most of your study hath ben of Robyn Hood;
And Bevys of Hampton, and syr Launcelot de Lake,
Hath taught you full oft your erses to make."
86 'THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
thief, and such buyers are as bad as receivers, the chief penny-
worths of plundered goods may in fine prove dear enough to
their consciences." Fuller's Worthies, p. 315.
This saying is alluded to in the old north-country song of
Randal a Barnaby :
"All men said it became me well,
And Robin Hoods fennyworths I did sell."
6. Ccme, turn about, Robin blood.
Implying that to challenge or defy our hero must have been
the ne plus ultra of courage. It occurs in Wit and drollery,
"Oh, Love, whose power and might,
No creature ere withstood,
Thou forces me to write,
Come turn about Robin-hood."
7. As crook'd as Robinz Hoods bow.
That is, we are to conceive, when bent by himself. The fol-
lowing stanza of a modern Irish song is the only authority for
this proverb that has been met with.
"The next with whom I did engage,
It was an old woman worn with age,
Her teeth were like tobacco pegs,
Besides she had two bandy legs,
Her back more crook'd than Robin Hfoods bow,
Purblind and decrepid, unable to go;
Altho' her years were sixty-three,
She smil'd at the humours of Soosthe Bue."
8. To go round by Robin Hoods barn.
This saying, which now first appears in print, is used to imply
the going of a short distance by a circuitous method, or the
farthest way about.
(z)-" to swear by him, or some of his companions, appears to
have been a usual practice."] The earlyest instance of this prac-
tice occurs in a pleasant story among Certaine merry tales of the
mad-men of Gottam," compiled in the reign of Henry VIII. by
Dr. Andrew Borde, an eminent physician of that period, which
here follows verbatimn, as taken from an old edition in black letter,
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 87
without date, (in the Bodleian library,) being the first tale in the
There was two men of Gottam, and the one of them was going
to the market to Nottingham to buy sheepe, and the other came
from the market; and both met together upon Nottingham bridge.
Well met, said the one to the other. Whither be yee going ? said
he that came from Nottingham. Marry, said he that was going
thither, I goe to the market to buy sheepe. Buy sheepe said
the other, and which way wilt thou bring them home? Marry,
said the other, I will bring them over this bridge. BY ROBIN
HOOD, said he that came from Nottingham, but thou shalt not.
BY MAID MARRION, said he that was going thitherward, but I
will. Thou shalt not, said the one. I will, said the other. Ter
here! said the one. Shue there! said the other. Then they beate
their staves against the ground, one against the other, as there
had been an hundred sheepe betwixt them. Hold in, said the
one. Beware the leaping over the bridge of my sheepe, said the
other. I care not, said the other. They shall not come this
way, said the one. But they shall, said the other. Then said
the other, & if that thou make much to doe, I will put my finger
in thy mouth. A turd thou wilt, said the other. And as they
were at their contention, another man of Gottam came from the
market, with a sacke of meale upon a horse, and seeing and
hearing his neighbours at strife for sheepe, and none betwixt
them, said, Ah fooles, will you never learn wit? Helpe me, said
he that had the meale, and lay my sacke upon my shoulder.
They did so; and he went to the one side of the bridge, and un-
loosed the mouth of the sacke, and did shake out all his meale
into the river. Now, neighbours, said the man, how much meale
is there in my sacke now ? Marry, there is none at all, said they.
Now, by my faith, said he, even as much wit is in your two heads,
to strive for that thing you have not. Which was the wisest of
all these three persons, judge you?"1
1 See the original story, in which two brothers, of whom one had wished for as
many oxen as he saw stars, the other for a pasture as wide as the firmament, kill
each other about the pasturage of the oxen, (from Camer. o0er. subscis, cent. i. c.
88 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
By the bare scalp of Robin Hoods fat frier,"
is an oath put by Shakspeare into the mouth of one of his out-
laws in the Two gentlemen of Verona, act 4. scene I. "Robin
Hoods fat frier is frier Tuck; a circumstance of which doctor
Johnson, who set about explaining that author with a very inade-
quate stock of information, was perfectly ignorant.
(AA)-" his songs have been preferred not only, on the most
solemn occasion, to the psalms of David, but in fact to the new
testament."] [On Friday, March 9th, 1733] was executed at
Northampton William Alcock for the murder of his wife. He
never own'd the fact, nor was at all concerned at his approaching
death, refusing the prayers and assistance of any persons. In
the morning he drank more than was sufficient, yet sent and
paid for a pint of wine, which being deny'd him, he would not
enter the cart before he had his money returned. On his way to
the gallows he sung part of an OLD SONG OF ROBIN HOOD, with
the chorus, Derry, derry, down,' gc., and swore, kicked and
spurn'd at every person that laid hold of the cart; and before
he was turned off, took off his shoes, to avoid a well-known pro-
verb; and being told by a person in the cart with him, it was
more proper for him to read, or hear somebody read to him, than
so vilely to swear and sing, he struck the book out of the person's
hands, and went on damning the spectators, and calling for wine.
Whilst psalms and prayers were performing at the tree, he did
little but talk to one or other, desiring some to remember him,
others to drink to his good journey; and to the last moment
declared the injustice of his case." (Gentleman's magazine,
volume III. page 154.)
92. p. 429,) in Wanleys Little world of man, edition of 1774, pa 426. Camerarius, it
seems, had the story from Scardeonius de claris civibus Patavinis; whence it is also
related in the notes to Upton de studio military; and an older, of the like kind, is in
the Facetiae of Poggius.
1 Derry down is the burden of the old songs of the Druids sung by their Bards
and Vaids, to call the people to their religious assembly in the groves. Doire in
Irish (the old Punic) is a grove: corrupted into derry. A famous Druid grove and
academy at the place since called Londonderry from thence." MS. note by Dr.
Stukely, in his copy of Robin Hoods garland. Paul, Paul, thou art beside thyself! '
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS 89
To this may be added, that at Edinburgh, in 1565, Sandy
Stevin menstrall" [i.e. musician] was convinced of blasphemy,
alledging, That he would give no moir credit to The new testa-
ment then to a tale of Robin Hood, except it wer confirmed be
the doctors of the church." Knox's Historie of the reformation
in Scotland. (Edin. 1732, P. 368.)
William Roy, in a bitter satire against cardinal Wolsey, in-
titled, "Rede me and be nott wrote For I saye nothynge but
trothe," printed abroad, about 1525, speaking of the bishops,
"Their frantyke foly is so pevishe,
That they contempne in Englishe,
To have the new testament;
But as for tales of Robyn Hode,
With other jestes nether honest nor goode,
They have none impediment."
To the same effect is the following passage in another oia libel
upon the priests, entitled I playne Piers which cannot flatter, a
plowe-man men me call, -c." b. 1. n. d. printed in the original as
No Christen booke
Maye thou on looke,
Yf thou be an Englishe strunt,
"Thus dothe alyens us loutte,
By that ye spread about,
After that old sorte and wonte.
You allowed they saye,
Roben Hode, Bevys, & Gower,
And all bagage be syd,
Butgods word ye may not abyde,
These lyese are your church 'dower.' "
See also before, p. 70.1
1 Mr. Boyd, the famous preacher in Childsdale, finding that several of his hearers
went away after the forenoon sermon, had this expression in his afternoon prayers :
" Now, lord, thou seest that many people go away from hearing thy word ; but had
we told them stories of Robin Hood, or Davie Lindsay, they had stayed; and yet
none of these are near so good as thy word that I preach." Scotch presbyterian
eloquence, 1714, p. 156.
90 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HOOD.
So, in Laurence Ramseys Practise of the divell, (n. d. 4to.
Exclude the scriptures, and byd them reade the store
Of Robin Hood, and Guye, which was both tall and stout,
And Bevis of Southampton, to seeke the matter out."
(BB) "His service to the word of god."] "I came once
myselfe" says bishop Latimer, (in his sixth sermon before king
Edward VI.) "to a place, riding on a journey homeward from
London, and I sent worde over night into the towne that I would
preach there in the morning, because it was a holy day, and me-
thought it was an holydayes work. The church stode in my way;
and I toke my horsse and my company and went thither; I
thought I should have found a great company in the church,
and when I came there the church dore was faste locked. I
tarried there half an hower and more, and at last the keye was
found; and one of the parishe comes to me, and says, Syr,
thys ys a busye day with us, we cannot heare you; it is ROBYN
HOODES DAYE. The parishe are gone abroad to gather for Ro-
BYN HOODE, I pray you let them not. I was fayne there to geve
place to ROBYN HOODE. I thought my rochet should have bene
regarded, though I were not; but it would not serve, it was
fayne to geve place to ROBYN HOODES MEN.
It is no laughing matter, my friends, it is a wepynge matter,
a heavy matter, under the pretence for gatherynge for ROBYN
HOODE, a traytoure 1 and a thefe, to put out a preacher, to have
his office lesse esteemed, to preferred ROBYN HOODE before the my-
nystration of gods word ; and all thys hath come of unpreachynge
prelates. Thys realme hath been il provided, for that it hath
had such corrupt judgementes in it, to preferred ROBYN HOODE
to GODDES WORDE. Yf the bysshoppes had bene preachers,
there sholde never have bene any such thynge, 6c."
(cc)-"may be called the patron of archery."] The bow and
1 The bishop grows scurrilous. I never heard," says Coke, attorney-general,
' that Robin Hood was a traiLor; they say he was an ottlaw." [State-trials, i.
218.-Raleigh had said, Is it not strange for me to make myself a Riobin Hood, a
Kett, or a Cade ? "1
NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 91
arrow makers, in particular, have always held his memory in the
utmost reverence. Thus, in the old ballad of Londons ordinary:
The hosiers will dine at the Leg,
The drapers at the sign of the Brush,
The letckers to Robin Hood will go,
And the spendthrift to Beggars-bush."
The picture of our hero is yet a common sign in the country,
and, before hanging-signs were abolished in London, must have
been still more so in the city ; there being at present no less than
a dozen alleys, courts, lanes, &-c. to which he or it has given a
name. (See Baldwin's New com l6ete guide, 1770.) The Robin
Hood Society, a club or assembly for public debate, or school for
oratory, is well known. It was held at a public house, which
had once borne the sign and still retained the name of this great
man, in Butcher-row, near Temple-bar.
It is very usual in the north of England, for a publican, whose
name fortunately happens to be 7John Little, to have the sign of
Robin Hood and his constant attendant, with this quibbling
You gentlemen, and yeomen good,
Come in and drink with Robin Hood;
If Robin Hood be not at home,
Come in and drink with Little John.
An honest countryman, admiring the conceit, adopted the lines,
with a slight, but, as he thought, necessary alteration, viz.-
If Robin Hood be not at home,
Come in and drink with-Simon Webster.
1 This ballad seems to have been written in imitation of a song in Heywood's
Rape of L crece, 163o, beginning-
"The gentry to the Kings-head
The nobles to the crown, &c."
2 In Arnold's Essex harmony, (ii. 98,) he gives the inscription, as a catch for
three voices, of his own composition, thus :
My beer is stout, my ale is good,
Pray stay and drink with Robin Hood;
If Robin Hood abroad is gone,
Pray stay and drink with little John."
92 THE LIFE OF ROBIN HI OOD.
Drayton, describing the various ensigns or devices of the
English counties, at the battle of Agincourt, gives to
"Old NOTTINGHAM, an archer clad in green,
Under a tree with his drawn bow that stood,
Which in a chequer'd flag far off was seen ;
It wazs the picure of OLD ROBIN HOOD."
(DD)-" the supernatural powers he is, in some parts, supposed
to have possessed."] In the parish of Halifax, is an immense
stone or rock, supposed to be a druidical monument, there called
Robin Hood's cennzystone, which he is said to have used to pitch
with at a mark for his amusement. There is likewise another of
these stones, of several tons weight, which the country people
will tell you he threw off an adjoining hill with a spade as he
was digging. Everything of the marvellous kind being here
attributed to Robin Hood, as it is in Cornwall to K. Arthur."
(Watsons History of Halifrx, p. 27.)
At Birchover, six miles south of Bakewell, and four from
Haddon, in Derbyshire, among several singular groups of rocks,
are some stones called Robin Hoods stride, being two of the
highest and most remarkable. The people say Robin Hood
(EE)-"having a festival allotted to him, and solemn games
instituted in honour of his memory, &c."] These games, which
were of great antiquity, and different kinds, appear to have been
solemnized on the first and succeeding days of May; and to owe
their original establishment to the cultivation and improvement
of the manly exercise of archery, which was not, in former times,
practised merely for the sake of amusement.
I find, says Stowe, "that in the month of May, the citizens
of London, of all estates, lightlie in every parish, or sometimes
two or three parishes joyning together, had their several may-
inges, and did fetch in Maypoles, with divers )warlike shewes,
with good archers, morice-danzcers, and other devices for pastime
all the day long; and towards the evening they had stage-playes
and bonefires in the streets. . These great May-