1587 - Holinshed, Raphael - Chronicles (3)

From International Robin Hood Bibliography
Date 1587
Author Holinshed, Raphael
Title Holinshed's Chronicles
Mentions Maying; Henry VIII and his queen, accompanied by many lords and ladies, ride to Shooter's Hill, where they meet two hundred members of the royal guard dressed as Robin Hood and his men. The royal guards give an archery exhibition, shooting arrows with whistle heads. 'Robin Hood' invites the royal couple into his arbour and feasts them on venison and wine. The royal and noble visitors are escorted back by Robin Hood and his company, en route meeting Ladies May and Flora in a rich chariot drawn by five horses, ridden by a the ladies Humidite, Lady Ver. Lady Vegetive, Lady PLeasant, and Sweet Odour. The ladies salute the king with goodly songs. This maying was witnessed by a large number of spectators. In the afternoon follows a horse race with the royal and noble riders dressed in green velvet and cloth of gold

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2017-05-19. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2021-01-07.


¶The court lieng at Gréenewich, the king and the quéene, accompanied with manie lords and ladies, road to the high ground of shooters hill to take the open aire; and as they passed by the waie, they espied a companieof [sic] tall yeomen, clothed all in gréene with gréene hoods, and bowes and arrowes, to the number of two hundred. Then one of them, which called himselfe Robin hood, came to the king, desiring him to sée his men shoot; and the king was content. Then he whisteled, and all the two hundred archers shot and losed at once; and then he whisteled againe, and they likewise shot againe; their arrowes whisteled by craft of the head, so that the noise was strange and great, and much pleased the king, the quéene, and all the companie. All these archers were of the kings gard, and had thus apparelled themselues to make solace to the king.

Then Robin hood desired the king and quéene to come into the greene wood, and to sée how the outlawes liued. The king demanded of the queene & hir ladies, if they durst aduenture to go into the wood with so manie outlawes. Then the quéene said, that if it pleased him she was content. Then the hornes blew, till they came to the wood vnder shooters hill, & there was an arbor made of boughes with a hall, and a great chamber; and an inner chamber verie well made and couered with floures & swéet hearbs, which the king much praised. Then said Robin hood; Sir, outlawes breakefasts is venison, and therefore you must be content with such fare as we vse. Then the king and quéene sat downe, and were serued with venison and wine by Robin hood and his men, to their great contentation.

Then the king departed and his companie, and Robin hood and his men them conducted; and as they [p. 837:] were returning, there met with them two ladies in a rich chariot drawen with fiue horsses, and euery horsse had his name on his head, and on euerie horsse sat a ladie with hir name written. On the first courser called Caude, sat Humidite, or Humide. On the second courser called Memcon road ladie Uer. On the third called Pheton sat ladie Uegetiue. On the fourth called Rimphon sat ladie Pleasant. On the fift called Lampace sat sweet Odour. And in the chaire sat ladie Maie, accompanied with ladie Flora, richlie apparelled, and they saluted the king with diuerse goodlie songs, and so brought him to Gréenewich. At this maieng was a great number of people to behold it to their great solace and comfort.

The same after noone, the king, the duke of Suffolke, the marquesse Dorset, and the earle of Essex, their bardes and bases of gréene veluet and cloth of gold, came into the field on great coursers, on whome waited diuerse gentlemen in silke of the same colour. On the other side entered sixtéene lords and gentlemen, all apparelled richlie after their deuises, and so valiantlie they ran their courses appointed: & after that, they ran volant one as fast as he might ouertake another, which was a goodlie sight to sée: and when all was doone they departed, and went to a goodlie banket. [...][1]

Source notes

The passage occurs under the year 1515.[2]. Marginal note against line beginning "¶The court lieng": "Edw. Hall in Hen. 8. fol lvj. Robin hood and his two hundred men present themselues to the king & queen in a maigame"; against line beginning "were returning, there met": "A shew of two ladies in a rich chariot drawne with fiue horsses". I have silently omitted hyphens that occur at line endings. This passage is not found in the 1577 edition of Holinshed's Chronicles.

Readers wishing to look up passages cited on IRHB in the original editions should be careful to note the book and chapter names etc. cited in IRHB's source references. The collations of the 1577 and 1587 editions of Holinshed are unusually confused, some sequences being paginated, some having leaf numbers, some neither. Note also that although the 1577 edition is in four volumes and that of 1587 in six, they were often bound (issued?) in two, respectively three, volumes. This is often reflected in PDFs of early editions.

IRHB comments

This event is the earliest example of the use of whistling arrows in England according to Walter Moseley's Essay on Archery (1792).[3]





Also see