Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 5 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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INTRODUCTION.                           xiii
one hundred and twenty-five years and two hun­dred years respectively after that date; and it is further manifest that all three of these chroniclers had no other authority for their statements than traditional tales similar to those which have come down to our day.1 When, therefore, Thierry, relying upon these chronicles and kindred popular legends, unhesitatingly adopts the conjecture of Mair, and describes Robin Hood as the hero of the Saxon serfs, the chief of a troop of Saxon banditti that continued, even to the reign of Coeur de Lion, a determined resistance against the Norman inva­ders,2 and when another able and plausible writer accepts and maintains, with equal confidence, the hypothesis of Bovver, and exhibits the renowned outlaw as an adherent of Simon de Montfort, who, after the fatal battle of Evesham, kept up a vig­orous guerilla warfare against the officers of the tyrant Henry the Third, and of his successor,8 we must regard these representations which were conjectural three or four centuries ago, as conjec-
1  A comparison of the legends concerning William Tell, as they appear in any of the recent discussions of the sub­ject, (e. g. Ideler's Sage mm dem Schuss des Tell, Berlin, 1836,) with those of Kobin Hood and Adam Bell, will be found interesting and instructive.
2  In his Histoire de la Conquete de V Angleierre par les Nor-mands, 1. xi. Thierry was anticipated in his theory by Barry, in a dissertation cited by Mr. Wright in his Essays: These de Litieralwre sur les Viccissitudes et les Transformations du Cycle populaire de Robin Hood. Paris, 1832.
8 London and Westminster Keview, vol. xxxiii. p. 424.