Robin Hood's Birth, Breeding, Valor, and Marriage [Child 149]

DESCRIPTION: Robin and his mother visit her brother, who makes Robin his heir and gives him Little John as a page. Robin takes Little John to his band in the forest. He meets shepherd Clorinda who impresses by shooting a buck. They go to Titbury feast and are married.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1716; Wing dated one of the broadsides before 1685, according to Knight/Ohlgren
KEYWORDS: Robinhood family mother brother servant outlaw marriage
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Child 149, "Robin Hood's Birth, Breeding, Valor and Marriage" (1 text)
BBI, RZN17, "Kind gentlemen will you be patient awhile"
ADDITIONAL: Stephen Knight and Thomas Ohlgren, editors, _Robin Hood and Other Outlaw Tales_, TEAMS (Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages), Medieval Institute Publications, Western Michigan University, 2000, pp. 527-540, "Robin Hood's Birth, Breeding, Valour, and Marriage" (1 text, based primarily on the Roxburghe copy)

Roud #3991
NOTES [414 words]: Child notes that this ballad has several elements at variance with the bulk of the Robin Hood tradition. - KK
That is being very polite to a rather dreadful piece of hack work. For background on the Robin Hood legend, see the notes on "A Gest of Robyn Hode" [Child 117]. As for this monstrosity, well, Child gave it a bit of what it deserves when he notes that "The jocular author of this ballad... would certainly have been diverted by any one's supposing him to write under the restraints of tradition."
Knight/Ohlgren, p. 527, note that the texts borrows many materials not in the Robin Hood tradition, and concludes with a hope that the King will have heirs. They suggest that this is a wish for Charles II (reigned 1660-1685), who in fact had no legitimate children, which caused the throne to go to his Catholic brother James and eventually producing the Glorious Revolution.
This seems highly likely, but is not a logical necessity, since there were other childless English kings. One of them, of course, was Richard I, who why the mid-seventeenth century had become the usual King of the Robin Hood story.
The ballad implies that Robin is no longer a pure yeoman; he is the nephew of a "Squire Gamwell" (compare the Young Gamwell of "Robin Hood Newly Revived" [Child 128]), and his mother is the niece of the romance hero Guy of Warwick.
The song rings in not only the Pindar of Wakefield but also Adam Bell and Company.
To top it all off, Robin's love is not Maid Marian (who, admittedly, is no part of the early legend, but at least comes from the May Games) but Clorinda (Queen) of the Shepherdesses.
Just in case that isn't unreality enough for you, consider the claim in the third stanza that Robin's father could should an arrow a distance of two miles and an inch. (It would never do to forget the inch!)
Of course, a little work with the basic formulae of physics shows that, if we assume no air resistance and that Robin's father shot at an exact 45 degree angle (the optimal angle for propelling an object the maximum distance), the arrow would have needed an initial velocity of about 177 meters per second to cover that distance before falling to earth.
That's about 635 kilometers per hour. Or 380 miles per hour.
I don't know the ballistic properties of an arrow well enough to calculate the effects of air resistance. but I would estimate that, in English conditions, the arrow would have to be fired at least 900 kilometers per hour/550 miles per hour.
Right. - RBW
Last updated in version 2.5
File: C149

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.