Old Robin of Portingale [Child 80]
DESCRIPTION: Old Robin's young wife arranges with her lover Sir Gyles for 24 men to kill Robin. Warned by a page, he kills Gyles, then cuts off his wife's breasts and ears. He makes the page his heir, burns a cross into his shoulder and goes to the holy land.
EARLIEST DATE: 1765 (Percy)
KEYWORDS: betrayal husband wife injury death fight travel lastwill
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Child 80, "Old Robin of Portingale" (1 text)
Percy/Wheatley III, pp. 50-58, "Old Robin of Portingale" (2 texts, the second being that of the folio manuscript and the first being Percy's rewrite)
OBB 53, "Old Robin of Portingale" (1 text)
NOTES: This ballad is so thoroughly nasty, I'm surprised it isn't more popular. - PJS
The likely explanation is that it is literary; there is no evidence that it ever entered oral tradition. And the moral, that young women should not marry old men, is adequately taught in other songs. - RBW
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The Ballad Index Copyright 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.