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And see! upon the crowded street,
[See Appendix, Note 0.]
Ever the King was bending low
While all along the crowded way
-But in the train you might discern
i (MS.--"Nobles who mourn'd their power restrain'de
And the poor burgher's joys disdain'd;
And chiefs, who, hostage for their clan,
[MS. adds :
“With awkward stride there city groom
Would part of fabled knight assume.”] 2 The exhibition of this renowned outlaw and his band was a favourite frolic at such festivals as we are describing. This sporting, in which kings did not disdain to be actors, was prohibited in Scotland upon the Reformation, by a statute of the 6th Parliament of Queen Mary, c. 61, A. D. 1555, which ordered, under heavy penalties, that “na manner of person be chosen Robert Hude, nor Little John, Abbot of Unreason, Queen of May, nor otherwise.” But in 1561, the “rascal multitude," says John Knox,“ were stirred up to make a Robin Hude, whilk enormity was of many years left and damned by statute and act of Parliament; yet would they not be forbidden.” Accordingly, they raised a very serious tumult, and at length made pri. soners the magistrates who endeavoured to suppress it, and would not release them till they extorted a formal promise that no one should be punished for his share of the disturbance
Friar Tuck with quarterstaff and cowl,
It would seem, from the complaints of the General Assembly of the Kirk, that these profane festivities were continued down to 1592. Bold Robin was, to say the least, equally successful in maintaining his ground against the reformed clergy of Eng. land; for the simple and evangelical Latimer complains of com. ing to a country church, where the people refused to hear him, because it was Robin Hood's day; and his mitre and rochet were fain to give way to the village pastime. Much curious information on this subject may be found in the Preliminary Dissertation to the late Mr Ritson's edition of the songs respecto ing this memorable outlaw. The game of Robin Hood was usually acted in May; and he was associated with the morricedancers, on whom so much illustration has been bestowed by the commentators on Shakspeare. A very lively picture of these festivities, containing a great deal of curious information on the subject of the private life and amusements of our ancestors, was thrown by the late ingenious Mr Strutt, into his romance entitled Queen-hoo Hall, published after his death, in 1808.
Fondly he watch'd with watery eye,
: [MS.—"Fondly he watch'd with watery eye,
For answering glance of sympathy,
The King gave forth the arrow bright."] 2 The Douglas of the poem is an imaginary person, a supposed uncle of the Earl of Angus. But the king's behaviour during an unexpected interview with the Laird of Kilspindie, one of the banished Douglasses, under circumstances similar to those in the text, is imitated from a real story told by Home of Godscroft. I would have availed myself more fully of the simple and affecting circumstances of the old history, had they not been already woven into a pathetic ballad by my friend Mr Finlay. 3
“His (the king's) implacability (towards the family of Douglas) did also appear in his carriage towards Archibald of Kilspindie, whom he, when he was a child, loved singularly well for his ability of body, and was wont to call him his Grey-Steill.4 Archibald, being banished into England, could not well comport with the humour of that nation, which he thought to be too proud, and that they had too high a conceit of themselves, joinod with a contempt and despising of all others. Wherefore, being wearied of that life, and remembering the king's favour of old towards him, he determined to try the king's mercifulneas and clemency. So he comes into Scotland, and taking oc.
Glasgow, 1919, voi, i
3 See Scottish Ellstorical and Rornantic Baliais 2. 17.
• A champion nf popular romance. See Ellis
Romances, vol. iii.