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1583 - Robinson, Richard - Thirde Assertion Englishe Hystoricall

Allusion
1583 1583
Author Robinson, Richard
Title Thirde Assertion Englishe Hystoricall
Mentions Robin Hood; Little John; archery; May game
Title-page.

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2017-01-12. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2017-05-08.

Allusion

Richard Cœur de Lyon cald a king and Conqueror was,
With Phillip king of France, who did vnto Ierusalem passe:
Olde Chronicles report, his power had Archers them among,
Whose force confounded Pagans fell and layde them dead along.
In this kings time was Robyn Hood: that Archer and outlawe,
And litle Iohn his partener eke, vnto them which did drawe
One hondred tall and good Archers, on whome foure hondred men
Were their power neuer so strong could not giue onset then:
The Abbots Monkes and Earles rich, these onely did molest
And reskewd woemen when they saw of theeues them so opprest,
Restoring poore mens goods, and eke aboundantly releeued
Poore Trauellers which wanted food, or were with sicknes greeued.
  And, heare because of Archery I do by penne explane
The vse, the proffet, and the praise, to England by the same,
My self remembreth of a childe in Contreye natiue mine:
A May game was of Robyn-hood and of his traine that time
To traine vp young men, stripplingsand [sic], eche other younger childe
In shooting, yearely this with solempne feast was by the Guylde,
Or Brother hood of Townsmen done, with sport, with ioy, and loue
To proffet which in present tyme, and afterward did proue.[1]

Source notes

Original printed text in black letter, with Roman type used for names etc., for which I have used italic type.
Marginal note to the second line: "Anno. 1191. | 2. Ric. I."[2]
Marginal note to the line beginning "My self remembreth": "(1553.) | (7. E. 6.)".[2]

IRHB comments

Robinson's 'Thirde Assertion Englishe Hystoricall' is part of his Threefold Assertion frendly in fauour and furtherance of English Archery at this Day which in turn forms the bulk of his Avncient Order, Societie, and Vnitie Laudable, of Prince Arthure, and his Knightly Armory of the Round Table. Ritson noted in 1795 that

[i]t appears from this publication that on the revival of London archery in queen Elizabeths [sic] time, "the worshipfull socyety of archers," instead of calling themselves after Robin Hood and his companions, took the names of "the magnificent prince Arthure and his knightly traine of the round table." It is, probably, to one of the annual meetings of this identical society, that master Shallow alludes, in The second part of K. Henry IV. "I remember," says he, "at Mile-end green, [their usual place of exercise.] — I was then Sir Dagonet in Arthur's shew.[3]

It is immediately clear that Richard Robinson's brief account of Robin Hood owes much to chronicle entries on the outlaw, perhaps particularly that in Richard Grafton's Chronicle at large,[4] for which see IRHB's page on 1568 - Grafton, Richard - Chronicle at large. When Robinson is at pains to stress that the Robin Hood May game of his childhood was a decorous affair, utilitarian, orderly and celebrated "with sport, with ioy, and loue", this should probably be seen against a background of increasing Puritan opposition to such customs. A marginal note indicates that the fondly remembered May game took place in 1553. Perhaps research into Robinson's biography will suggest a likely location.

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