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people know right well that he that plaieth the Sowdain, is percase a sowter [shoe-maker], yet if one should cal him by his owne name, while he standeth in his majestie, one of his tormentors might hap to break his head." The Sowdain, or Soldan, was a name given to any Sarazen king (being only a more rude pronunciation of the word Sultan,) as the Soldan of Egypt, the Soudan of Persia, the Sowdan of Babylon, &c., who were generally represented as accompanied with grim Sarazens, whose business it was to punish and torment Christians.

I cannot conclude this short memoir without observing, that the French romancers, who had borrowed the word Termagant from us, and applied it as we in their old romances, corrupted it into Tervagaunte: and from them La Fontaine took it up, and has used it more than once in his tales. This may be added to the other proofs adduced in these volumes, of the great intercourse that formerly subsisted between the old minstrels and legendary writers of both nations, and that they mutually borrowed each other's romances.


Sir Patrick Spence,


Is given from two MS. copies, transmitted from Scotland. In what age the hero of this ballad lived, or when this fatal expedition happened that proved so destructive to the Scots nobles, I have not been able to discover; yet am of opinion that their catastrophe is not altogether without foundation in history, though it has escaped my own researches. In the infancy of navigation, such as used the northern seas were very liable to shipwreck in the wintry months: hence a law was enacted in the reign of James the Third, (a law which was frequently repeated afterwards,) "That there be na schip frauched out of the realm with any staple gudes, fra the feast of Simons day and Jude, unto the feast of the puri

fication of our Lady, called Candelmess." Jam. III. Parlt. 2. ch. 15.

In some modern copies, instead of Patrick Spence hath been substituted the name of Sir Andrew Wood, a famous Scottish admiral, who flourished in the time of our Edward IV., but whose story hath nothing in common with this of the ballad. As Wood was the most noted warrior of Scotland, it is probable that, like the Theban Hercules, he hath engrossed the renown of other heroes.

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1 A braid letter, i. e. open, or patent; in opposition to close rolls.

Percy. I.


Mak hast, mak haste, my mirry men all,
Our guid schip sails the morne.

O say na sae, my master deir,
For I feir a deadlie storme.

Late late yestreen I saw the new moone

Wi' the auld moone in hir arme;
And I feir, I feir, my deir mastèr,
That we will com to harme.

O our Scots nobles wer richt laith
To weet their cork-heild schoone;
Bot lang owre a' the play wer playd,
Their hats they swam aboone.

O lang, lang, may their ladies sit
Wi' thair fans into their hand,
Or eir they se Sir Patrick Spence
Cum sailing to the land.

O lang, lang, may the ladies stand
Wi' thair gold kems in their hair,
Waiting for thair ain deir lords,
For they'll se thame na mair.

Have owre, have owre to Aberdour 2,

It's fiftie fadom deip:

And thair lies guid Sir Patrick Spence,

Wi' the Scots lords at his feit3,





2 A village lying upon the river Forth, the entrance to which is sometimes denominated De mortuo mari.

3 An ingenious friend thinks the author of Hardyknute has borrowed several expressions and sentiments from the foregoing and other old Scottish songs in this collection.


Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne.

We have here a ballad of Robin Hood (from the Editor's folio MS.) which was never before printed, and carries marks of much greater antiquity than any of the common popular songs on this subject.

The severity of those tyrannical forest-laws that were introduced by our Norman kings, and the great temptation of breaking them by such as lived near the royal forests, at a time when the yeomanry of this kingdom were every where trained up to the long-bow, and excelled all other nations in the art of shooting, must constantly have occasioned great number of outlaws, and especially of such as were the best marksmen. These naturally fled to the woods for shelter, and forming into troops, endeavoured by their numbers to protect themselves from the dreadful penalties of their delinquency. The ancient punishment for killing the king's deer, was loss of eyes and castration: a punishment far worse than death. This will easily account for the troops of banditti which formerly lurked in the royal forests, and from their superior skill in archery, and knowledge of all the recesses of those unfrequented solitudes, found it no difficult matter to resist or elude the civil power.

Among all these, none was ever more famous than the hero of this ballad, whose chief residence was in Shirewood Forest, in Nottinghamshire: the heads of whose story, as collected by Stow, are briefly these.

"In this time [about the year 1190, in the reign of Richard I.] were many robbers, and outlawes, among the which Robin Hood, and Little John, renowned theeves, continued in woods, despoyling and robbing the goods of the rich. They killed none but such as would invade them; or by resistance for their own defence.

"The saide Robert entertained an hundred tall men and good archers with such spoiles and thefts as he got, upon

whom four hundred (were they ever so strong) durst not give the onset. He suffered no woman to be oppressed, violated, or otherwise molested: poore mens goods he spared, abundantle relieving them with that which by theft he got from abbeys and the houses of rich carles: whom Maior (the historian) blameth for his rapine and theft, but of all theeves he affirmeth him to be the prince and the most gentle theefe.” - Annals, p. 159.

The personal courage of this celebrated outlaw, his skill in archery, his humanity, and especially his levelling principle of taking from the rich and giving to the poor, have in all ages rendered him the favourite of the common people: who, not content to celebrate his memory by innumerable songs and stories, have erected him into the dignity of an earl. Indeed it is not impossible but our hero, to gain the more respect from his followers, or they to derive the more credit to their profession, may have given rise to such a report themselves: for we find it recorded in an epitaph, which, if genuine, must have been inscribed on his tombstone near the nunnery of Kirk-lees in Yorkshire; where (as the story goes) he was bled to death by a treacherous nun, to whom he applied for phlebotomy:

Hear undernead dis laitl stean
laiz robert earl of huntingtun
nea arcir ver az hie sae grud
an pipl kauld im Robin Heud
sick utlawz as hi an is men
vil England nivir si agen

obiit 24 kal. Dekembris, 12471

This epitaph appears to me suspicious; however, a late Antiquary has given a pedigree of Robin Hood, which, if genuine, shows that he had real pretensions to the earldom of Huntington, and that his true name was ROBERT FITZOOTH 2. Yet the most ancient poems on Robin Hood make no

1 See Thoresby's Ducat. Leod. p. 576. Biog. Brit. vi. 3933.
2 Stukeley, in his Palæographia Britannica, No. II. 1746.

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