140: Robin Hood Rescuing Three Squires

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The earliest version of this ballad is found in the Percy Folio Manuscript of the seventeenth century, but it doesn’t appear in print until the following century when it appears widely printed on many garlands and continued so into the nineteenth century. It has stanzas and themes from earlier RH ballads. Child quotes several early literary sources and other ballads, like Hind Horn (17), for some of the events in the ballad. Under that popular but confusing title of ‘Bold Robin Hood’ it continued to be widely printed on broadsides in versions of eighteen or twenty stanzas in the nineteenth century.

Not surprisingly it has turned up in oral tradition on both sides of the Atlantic. Bronson splits the extant tunes into two groups. In Britain it has been recorded in Hampshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire and Staffordshire, and the ubiquitous Bell Robertson supplied a twenty-three stanza version to Gavin Greig. Versions have been collected in Maine and North Carolina.

Texts posted by request.