Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 5 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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and robbed on the highway, and not only pardoned him, but received him into service near his person. We are further to believe that the man who had led so daring and jovial a life, and had so gener­ously dispensed the pillage of opulent monks, will­ingly entered into this service, doffed his Lincoln green for the Plantagenet plush, and consented to be enrolled among royal flunkies for three pence a day. And again, admitting all this, we are finally obliged by Mr. Hunter's document to concede that the stalwart archer (who, according to the ballad, maintained himself two and twenty years in the wood) was worn out by his duties as " proud por­ter " in less than two years, and was discharged a superannuated lackey, with five shillings in his pocket, "poar cas qil ne poait pluis travailler."
To those who are well acquainted with ancient popular poetry, the adventure of King Edward and Robin Hood, will seem the least eligible por­tion of this circle of story for the foundation of an historical theory. The ballad of King Ed­ward and Robin Hood is but one version of an extremely multiform legend, of which the tales of King Edward and the Shepherd and King Edward and the Hermit are other specimens; and any one who will take the trouble to examine will be convinced that all these stories are one and the same thing, the personages being varied for the sake of novelty, and the name of a recent or of the reigning monarch substituted in successive ages