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Erlinton is #8 of the Child Ballads, the collection of 305 ballads from England and Scotland, and their American variants, collected by Francis James Child in the late nineteenth century. The collection was published as The English and Scottish Popular Ballads between 1882 and 1898 by Houghton Mifflin in ten volumes and later reissued in a five volume edition.
Erlinton imprisons his daughter in her bower, to keep her from sinning. She persuades her sister to go to the woods with her, and escapes her with her lover Willie. They are attacked, by knights or outlaws, but he fights and kills them all, and they escape.
In the Robin Hood variant, Robin sees a woman walking in the woods and persuades her to run away with him; unlike the other variants, they are not already lovers and she does not need to escape her father. Her brothers attack, but Robin kills all of them except the youngest.
This ballad has many similarities with Child ballad 7, Earl Brand, where the lovers's escape ends in their deaths, and the fight scenes often have details in common across variants. Francis James Child only reluctantly separated them, but concluded that because the lovers' assailants are her kin in Earl Brand and strangers in Erlinton, they were separate types.
- "The English and Scottish popular ballads / Part I-X.". WorldCat. Retrieved 25 April 2011. "10 vol. ; in 4°"
- Francis James Child, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, v 1, p 178, Dover Publications, New York 1965
- Francis James Child, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, v 1, p 88, Dover Publications, New York 1965
- Francis James Child, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, v 1, p 106, Dover Publications, New York 1965
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