Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 5 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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xviii
INTRODUCTION.
Third, and the last under Edward the Second, and all describing him as a political foe to the establish­ed government. To all of these hypotheses there are two very obvious and decisive objections. The first is that Eobin Hood, as already remarked, is not so much as named in contemporary history. "Whether as the unsubdued leader of the Saxon peasantry, or insurgent against the tyranny of Henry or Edward, it is inconceivable that we should not hear something of him from the chroniclers. If, as Thierry says, " he had chosen Hereward for his model," it is unexplained and inexplicable why his historical fate has been so different from that of Hereward. The hero of the Camp of Refuge fills an ample place in the annals of his day; his achievements are also handed down in a prose romance which presents many points of resemblance to the ballads of Eobin Hood. It would have been no wonder if the vulgar legends about Hereward had utterly perished, but it is altogether anomalous x that a popular champion who attained so extraordinary a notoriety in song, a man living from one hundred to two hundred and fifty years later than Hereward, should be passed over without one word of notice from any
1 Mr. Hunter thinks it necessary to prove that it waa formerly a usage in England to celebrate real events in popu­lar song. We submit that it has been still more customary to celebrate them in history, when they were of public im-. portance. The case of private and domestic stories is dif­ferent.







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