Barrow, G. W. S. Robert Bruce and the Community of the Realm of Scotland. 3rd ed. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1988. Mackenzie, Agnes Mure. Robert Bruce, King of Scots. 1934.
Reprint, Edinburgh: Oliver/Boyd, 1956. Scott, Ranald McNair. Robert Bruce, King of Scots. London: Hutchinson, 1982.
ROBIN HOOD BALLADS A distinct subgenre of the outlaw tale, the Robin Hood ballads trace their roots back to the Middle Ages. As with many ballads, they were told or sung many years before being recorded beginning in the 15th century. The first reference to them in English literature is found in William Langland's Piers Plowman, where Sloth, who cannot remember his paternoster (our Father), can easily recall the "rymes of Robyn hood" (B-text, Passus 5, l. 402). Another sermon from the same time period admonishes people in a similar fashion.
Through the tales were popular, the Robin Hood of these early medieval ballads is not the Robin Hood of today. He is not concerned with social justice; he is concerned with self-preservation, mockery of others, and self-gratification. He is also violent and selfish. He fled into the forest because he killed the king's foresters, not because he was cheated of his legacy. He is also not egalitarian: His men kneel to him. The medieval Robin is neither a peasant fighting for rights nor a displaced noble—he is a yeoman (a farmer who owns his own farm). In a number of the ballads, Robin is set against the church, and by the 16th century, the "steal from the rich, give to the poor" theme began to emerge as Robin steals from abbots and distributes the gains. The name became associated with treason, and in 1605, Guy Fawkes and his conspirators were branded "Robin Hoods" by Robert Cecil.
See also "Birth of Robin Hood, The"; Gest of Robyn Hode, A; "Robin Hood's Death and Burial"; Tale of Gamelyn, The.
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