Further reading

Calking, Siobhan Bly. Saracens and the Making of English

Identity. New York, N.Y.: Routledge, 2005. Rouse, Robert Allen. The Idea of Anglo-Saxon England in Middle English Romance. Cambridge, UK: D.S. Brewer, 2005.

Robert Allen Rouse

BIBLICAL ALLUSIONS An allusion is a reference to a generally well-known literary text, event, or person that the author leaves unexplained but expects his/her readers to know and understand. In English literature of the premodern period, both the Bible and the classical tradition provide a large storehouse of possible allusions that authors of the period frequently drew upon to enrich their own writings. Any part of the Bible was "fair game" for reference, but the Creation and Fall of humanity, Genesis and Exodus, the Incarnation and Passion, and the Apocalypse provided the most common ones. As such, Adam and Christ are typological partners, as are Isaac and Christ, Eve and Mary, and so forth. Certainly others make an appearance, but the chief biblical allusions derive from the liturgical year and the essential catechetical story.

See also exegesis, hagiography, Virgin lyrics.

Larry J. Swain

"BIRTH OF ROBIN HOOD, THE" Anonymous (1681-1684) At times also referred to as "Robin Hood's Birth, Breeding, valour, and Marriage," this later Robin Hood ballad is one in which we start to see a change in the character of Robin Hood. The poem is 220 lines long and arranged into 55 four-line stanzas rhyming abcb. There are three surviving versions of this ballad. In each, the title character has begun to be gentrified.

This poem begins with the introduction of Robin of Locksley, Nottinghamshire. His father was a forester, and his mother (named Joan) was a niece to Guy of Warwick and sister to Gamwell of Gamwell Hall. The main narrative involves Robin and his mother traveling on Christmas Eve to visit her brother Gamwell. When they arrive, the feast resembles the royal banquets of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and not of the secretive and illegal forest feasts Robin and his men organized as a result of poaching. As the feast continues, Robin is told by his uncle that he shall inherit his land when he dies, and Robin agrees, but only if Little John can be his page.

Robin then leaves the hall to venture into Sherwood Forest, where a group of yeomen are living, apparently under his watch. While there, Robin encounters Clo-

rinda, "queen of the shepherds." The two venture into the forest, whereupon she shoots a buck with her bow and arrow. Robin is smitten and wants to marry Clo-rinda at once; however, she is due at Titbury for a feast. Robin, Clorinda, Little John, and assorted yeomen go together to Titbury, but they are ambushed on the way. Robin kills five men at once, and then all go to the Titbury Christmas fair, where people are singing ballads and dancing. Robin and Clorinda are married by the parson, and the poem ends with a prayer for the king, that he "may get children, and they may get more, / To govern and do us some good" (ll. 219-220).

This poem highlights the turning point between the yeoman Robin Hood, who tricks the established aristocracy and ruling classes, and the Robin Hood who is of noble pedigree. At the close of The Birth of Robin Hood, it is clear that the gentrification of the outlaw here has made him a respected individual. Some scholars have seen this as a bit problematic: How can an outlaw hero, one who purports to know and fight for the less fortunate, originate from the very estate that seeks to dominate and oppress the less fortunate? others have researched the clash between city life and rural life, especially the growing trend toward urbanization. Another area of interest to scholars is the character of Gamwell. The Birth of Robin Hood opens with a genealogy, so to speak, of English outlaws, all of whom were featured in their own narratives or included at length in a Robin Hood ballad. Of those named, only Gamwell, Robin's uncle, does not have an existing narrative; perhaps at one point there was a Gamwell outlaw narrative(s).

See also Gest of Robyn Hode, A.

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