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It ought, however, to be observed, that amid such a multitude of play-houses as subsisted in the metropolis before the civil wars, there must have been a great difference between their several accommodations, ornaments, and prices: and that some would be much more showy than others, though probably all were much inferior in splendour to the two great theatres after the Restoration.

***The preceding ESSAY, although some of the materials are new arranged, hath received no alteration deserving notice, from what it was in the second edition, 1767, except in Sect. IV., which, in the present impression, hath been much enlarged.

This is mentioned, because, since it was first published, the History of the English Stage hath been copiously handled by Mr. Thomas Warton in his "History of English Poetry, 1774," &c., 3 vols. 4to. (wherein is inserted whatever in these volumes fell in with his subject); and by Edmond Malone, Esq., who, in his "Historical Account of the English Stage,' (Shaksp. vol. i. pt. ii. 1790.) hath added greatly to our knowledge of the economy and usages of our ancient theatres.



Adam Bell, Clym of the Clough, and William of

WERE three noted outlaws, whose skill in archery rendered them formerly as famous in the North of England, as Robin Hood and his fellows were in the midland counties. Their place of residence was in the forest of Englewood, not far from Carlisle (called corruptly in the ballad Englishwood, whereas Engle- or Ingle-wood, signifies wood for firing). At what time they lived does not appear. The author of the common ballad on The Pedigree, Education, and Marriage of Robin Hood, makes them contemporary with Robin Hood's father, in order to give him the honour of beating them: viz.

The father of Robin a forrester was,

And he shot in a lusty long-bow

Two north-country miles and an inch at a shot,
As the Pindar of Wakefield does know:

For he brought Adam Bell, and Clim of the Clough,
And William a Clowdéslee

To shoot with our Forester for forty mark;

And our Forester beat them all three.

Collect. of Old Ballads, 1727, vol. i. p. 67.

This seems to prove that they were commonly thought to have lived before the popular hero of Sherwood.

Our northern archers were not unknown to their southern countrymen, their excellence at the long-bow is often alluded to by our ancient poets. Shakspeare, in his comedy of Much Adò about Nothing, act i., makes Benedicke confirm his resolves of not yielding to love by this protestation, "If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat1, and shoot at me; and he that let him be clapt on the shoulder and called Adam:'



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1 Bottles formerly were of leather; though perhaps a wooden bottle might be here meant. It is still a diversion in Scotland to hang up a cat in a small cask, or firkin, half filled with soot; and then a parcel of clowns on horseback try to beat out the ends of it, in order to show their dexterity in escaping before the contents fall upon them.

Percy. 1.


meaning Adam Bell, as Theobald rightly observes, who refers to one or two other passages in our old poets wherein he is mentioned. The Oxford editor has also well conjectured that "Abraham Cupid," in Romeo and Juliet, act ii. sc. 1, should be "Adam Cupid," in allusion to our archer. Ben Jonson has mentioned Clym o' the Clough in his Alchemist, act i. sc. 2. And Sir William Davenant, in a mock poem of his, called The long Vacation in London, describes the attorneys and proctors as making matches to meet in Finsbury-fields.

"With loynes in canvas bow-case tyde2:

Where arrowes stick with mickle pride; ..
Like ghosts of Adam Bell and Clymme.
Sol sets for fear they'l shoot at him."

Works, p. 291, fol. 1673.

I have only to add further, concerning the principal hero of this ballad, that the BELLS were noted rogues in the North so late as the time of Queen Elizabeth. See in Rymer's Fadera, a letter from Lord William Howard to some of the officers of state, wherein he mentions them.

As for the following stanzas, which will be judged from the style, orthography, and numbers, to be very ancient, they are given (corrected in some places by a MS. in the Editor's old folio) from a black-letter quarto, Imprinted at London in Lothburye by WMyllyam Copland (no date). That old quarto edition seems to be exactly followed in "Pieces of Ancient Popular Poetry, &c. Lond. 1791," 8vo., the variations from which that occur in the following copy, are selected from many others in the folio MS. above mentioned; and when distinguished by the usual inverted 'comma,' have been assisted by conjecture.

In the same MS. this ballad is followed by another, entitled Young Cloudeslee, being a continuation of the present story, and reciting the adventures of William of Cloudesly's son: but greatly inferior to this both in merit and antiquity.

2 i. e. Each with a canvass bow-case tied round his loins.

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Wyllyam was the wedded man,

Muche more then was hys care:

He sayde to hys brethren upon a day,
To Carleile he would fare,

For to speke with fayre Alyce his wife,
And with hys chyldren thre.

By my trouth, sayde Adam Bel,

Not by the counsell of me:

Ver. 24, Caerlel in P. C. passim.


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3 Clym of the Clough means Clem. [Clement] of the Cliff: for so Clough signifies in the North.

For if ye go to Carlile, brother,

And from thys wylde wode wende,

If that the justice may you take,

Your lyfe were at an ende.

If that I come not to-morrowe, brother,

By pryme to you agayne,


Truste you then that I am 'taken'


Or else that I am slayne.

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