Robin Hood's Birth, Breeding, Valor, and Marriage

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"Robin Hood's Birth, Breeding, Valor, and Marriage" is Child ballad 149.[1] It recounts Robin Hood's adventures hunting and a romance with Clorinda, the queen of the shepherdess, a heroine who did not prove able to displace Maid Marian as his sweet heart.[2]

In his introduction to the ballad, Francis James Child gives its first printing as 1716 in Dryden's Miscellany and remarks on the freedom with which it treats tradition and indeed common sense.[3] A feature of interest is that the author is apparently unaware of the "Earl of Huntingdon" tradition.


Robin Hood's father is described as a forester, outshooting Adam Bell, Clim of the Clough, and William a Cloudsley, other famous outlaws of the time. Robin Hood went with his parents to his uncle's Gamwel Hall. Little John amused them there, but Robin Hood is adopted by his uncle the squire. At some later stage (apparently, the continuity isn't clear) Robin Hood set out into Sherwood with Little John. He met Clorinda, the queen of the shepherdess, also out to hunt a deer. She shot one, impressing him, and he invited her to feast with him. After the meal, he asked her to marry him, and she agreed. On the way, eight yeomen tried to steal their deer. After five of them are killed, the rest spared on Little John's intercession. The marriage was celebrated. The overall tone, despite the violent episode, is relaxed and comic.


  1. ^ Francis James Child, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, "Robin Hood's Birth, Breeding, Valor and Marriage"
  2. ^ Holt, J. C. Robin Hood p 165 (1982) Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-27541-6.
  3. ^ Child, Francis James (2003-01-01). The English and Scottish Popular Ballads. Dover Publications. ISBN 9780486431475.