Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Anonymous
Editor: David Bevington
Not Peer Reviewed

Robin Hood and the Beggar


From The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, ed. Francis James Child, 5 vols. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1889), Vol. 3, number 133. Edited with notes and modernized punctuation and spelling by David Bevington. See Child's Ballads Vol. 3 numbers 115-54 for other ballad accounts of Robin Hood.

[As Robin Hood is riding toward Nottingham, he chances upon a beggar begging for alms. Claiming that he has no money, Robin Hood offers instead to fight a bout with the beggar. He cries truce when the beggar gives him three blows for every one of Robin's sword strokes. Robin thereupon exchanges his horse and finery for the beggar's rags and bags and proceeds on thus accoutered to Nottingham, where, with the assistance of 100 archers whom he summons by a blast on his horn, Robin rescues three yeomen from the Sheriff of Nottingham and defeats that hated official in battle. The story bears some resemblance to Shakespeare's source narratives for As You Like It. See the reference to "old Robin Hood of England" and his "many merry men" at AYL, 1.2.111-14.]