Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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ROBIN HOOD.
389
king," and who makes a progress in Lancashire. Edward I. was never in Lancashire after he became king, nor Edward III. in the early years of his reign, (to which only could the ballads refer), and probably never at all. But Edward II., to whom the term " our comely king," so often applied, would cer­tainly be more appropriate than either to his father or his son, made one progress in Lancashire, and only one; this was in the autumn of the seventeenth year of his reign, a.d. 1323.
The ballad represents the king at this time as especially intent on the state of his forests, which were greatly wasted by the depredations of such men as Robin Hood; and we have historical evidence of Edward having then visited several of his forests, and. of his endeavour to reform the existing abuses.
In the ballad we are told that the king pardons Robin Hood, and takes him into his service; that he remains at court a year and three months; at which time, his money being nearly* exhausted, and his men having left him, except Little John and Scathelock, he becomes moody and melancholy, and resolves to leave the court. He obtains permission from the king for a short time, under the plea of making a pilgrimage to a chapel he had dedicated to Mary Magdalene in Barns-dale ; he returns to the forest and there passes the remainder of his life.
The date of the king's progress to Lancashire being the autumn of 1323, would fix the period of Robin's reception into his service a little before the Christmas of that year; and in the " Jornal de la Chambre," from the 16th April to the 7th of July, 1324, Mr. Hunter finds, for the first time, the name of " Robyn Hode " in the list of persons who received wages as " vadlets " or porters of the chamber. The entry is a payment to nineteen persons, whose names are specified, from the 24th of March, at the rate of 3d. per day. In the account which immediately precedes this, the names of those receiving payment are not specified, and that of Robin Hood has not been observed in any document bearing an earlier date, and the last payment to him is on the 22nd of November, in the following year.
Further, the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, of the ninth year of Edward II., shew that, before the Earl of Lancaster's rebellion, there was a Robertus Hood (familiarly Robin Hood), a person of some consideration, living at or near Wakefield, which is at no great distance from Barnsdale, and some of the family continued there till 1407.
The. three principal reasons for the excessive popularity of Robin Hood were, firstly, his free, manly, warm-hearted, and merry character—his protection of the oppressed, and hatred of all oppressors, whether clerical or lay; secondly, the en­couragement given to archery, which kept his name alive among the people; and, thirdly, the incorporation of characters representing Robin Hood and his companions with the May-day games of the people.
On the first point Grafton says, "And one thing was much commended in him, that ho would suffer no woman to be oppressed or otherwise abused. The poorer •ort of people he favoured, and would in no wise suffer their goods to be touched







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