132: The Bold Pedlar and Robin Hood

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The first appearance of this popular ballad is in 'Captain Delaney's Garland' of 1775 [BL 1346.m.7(9)] where it is titled 'Robin Hood and the Proud Pedlar'. Child gives this and an oral version from Dixon's 'Ancient Poems and Ballads' where Dixon refers to having seen stall copies. Though not widely printed in the nineteenth century, Catnach, Pitts and some of their contemporaries printed it early in that century and it was still being printed on broadsides as late as Sanderson of Edinburgh who was still printing well into the twentieth century. All of the full versions, stall copies and oral, have the same fifteen stanzas.

Child saw it as a traditional variation Of 'Robin Hood Newly Revived' No. 128. It appears to be a rewrite of that ballad, possibly by a broadside hack. The garland version has Robin Hood's cousin named 'Gamwell' which is the same as in 128, whereas Dixon and the nineteenth century broadsides all have 'Gamble Gold'.

The ballad has been found in oral tradition in Sussex (four pretty full versions), Surrey, Essex and London, and in Scotland. In America it has turned up in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. Again some of the American versions obviously derive from the garland version, having 'Gamwell' as the cousin or some similar name. The 'Gamble Gold' version also appears in 'The American Songster', Cozzens, New York, c1850.

Bronson gives fourteen versions placed into three tune groups and six subgroups.

Texts will be posted here on request.