Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 5 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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INTRODUCTION.                         XXXI
his hands a bow and arrows. The other furnishes nothing peculiar except a name: the ceremony is called a hoodening, and the hobby horse a hooden. In the rider with bow and arrows, Kuhn sees Eobin Hood and the Hobby Horse, and in the name hooden (which is explained by the authority he quotes to mean wooden) he discovers a pro­vincial form of wooden which connects the out­law and the divinity.1 It will be generally agreed that these slender premises are totally in­adequate to support the weighty conclusion that is rested upon them.
"Why the adventures of Eobin Hood should be specially assigned, as they are in the old ballads, to the month of May, remains unexplained. We have no exquisite reason to offer, but we may perhaps find reason good enough in the delicious stanzas with which some of these ballads begin.
In summer when the shawes be sheen,
And leaves be large and long, It is full merry in fair forest
To hear the fowles song; To see the deer draw to the dale,
And leave the hilles hee, And shadow them in the leaves green
Under the green-wood tree.
The poetical character of the season affords all the explanation that is required.
i The name Eobin also appears to Kuhn worthy of notice, since the horseman in the May pageant is in some parts of Germany called Ruprecht (Rupert, Robert).