Sunday, November 23, 2014

Who polluted Robin Hood?

Robin Hood was not a jacobin nor a socialist, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. But here, I will highlight where he was transformed into one.

The title of the book is: "Robin Hood: A Collection of All the Ancient Poems, Songs, and Ballads, Now Extant Relative to that Celebrated English Outlaw ; to which are Prefixed Historical Anecdotes of His Life", authored by Joseph Ritson, who was sympathetic to Jacobinism. This book was first printed in 1795. This book is a collection of his works, which means that he was spreading this filth around in who knows how many publications in how many countries prior to collecting them. Ever wonder why now, that idea of Robin Hood as a communist is so widespread? This is why.

About Ritson's Jacobin viewpoint, see "Joseph Ritson: a critical biography", by Henry Alfred Burd. P. 177 (here)

Previous to this, most old stories of Robin Hood had him stealing from the Sheriff of Nottingham(Child Ballad 122), or, from characters such as The Bishop of Hereford. (Child Ballad 143; alt) There are a few outliers, such as Martin Parker's Ballad(154), which Ritson cites, but it was Ritson who mainstreamed this idea where no longer do the Sheriff or King John get rich via taxes, and instead, it is Robin Hood who does the redistributing.

Now, for a small examination of Ritson's writing, particularly page xlvii:

In a word, every man who has the power has also the authority to pursue the ends of justice, to regulate the gifts of fortune, by transfering the superfluities of the rich to the necessities of the poor; by relieving the oppressed, and even, when necessary, destroying the oppressor. These are the objects of the social union, and every individual may, and to the utmost of his power should, endeavour to promote them.

This kind of language seems very familiar. Who does that sound like to you?

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