Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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Of all the sources from which the fertile muse of the English ballad-maker has derived its subjects, no one has proved more inexhaustible, or more universally acceptable to the hearers, than the life and adventures of Robin Hood; and it is indeed singular that an outlaw of so early a time " should continue traditionally popular, be chanted in ballads, have given rise to numerous proverbs, and still be 'familiar in our mouth as household words,' in the nineteenth century.'"—
" 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 Scarloct, George a Green, and Much, the miller's son; Of Tuck,-the merry friar, which many a Bermon made In praise of Robin Hood, his outlaws, and their trade."
Drayton's Polyolbion, Song 26.
The theories, relative to the time in which he lived, vary greatly. Accord­ing to Ritson, he was born in the reign of Henry II., about the year 1160, and his true name was Robert Fitzooth, " which vulgar pronunciation easily corrupted into Robin Hood." M. Thierry looks upon him as the chief of a band of Saxons resisting their Norman oppressors. Mr. Wright considers him as a mere creature of the imagination—a Robin Goodfellow"—" one amongst the personages of the early mythology of the Teutonic people." b A writer in The Westminster Heview0 believes him to have been one of the Hxheredati, adherents of Simon de Montfort, who were reduced to the greatest extremities after the battle of Evesham. The Rev. Joseph Hunter,a the last writer on the subject, adopts the account given of him in the earliest ballads, and has brought forward much curious historical evidence to confirm that account. In his view, Robin Hool lived in the reign of Edward II., and was in all probability one of the "Contrariantes," supporters of the Earl of Lancaster, who was defeated at the battle of Borough-bridge, in the month of March, 1321-2.
■ The idea that Robin Hood is only a corruption of Robin o'th'wood was started by a correspondent of The Gentleman's Magazine for March, 1793.
b Essays on the Literature, &c, of the Middle Ages. By Thomas Wright, 2 vols., 8vo., 1860.
« March, 1840.
* Critical and Historical Tracts, No. 4, " The Ballad-Hero, Robin Hood." By the Rev. Joseph Hunter, Vies Pres. Soc. Ants., 8vo., 1852.

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