1612 - Anonymous - Satirical epitaph on Robert Cecil

From International Robin Hood Bibliography
Date 1612
Author Anonymous
Title [Untitled satirical epitaph on Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury]
Mentions Robin Hood; Robin Goodfellow; [Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury]

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2014-08-26. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2021-01-07.


Here lies thrown, for the Worms to eat,
Little Bossive Robin [sc. Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury], that was so Great.
Not Robin Good-fellow, nor Robin Hood,
But Robin th'Encloser of Hatfield Wood.
Who seem'd as sent from ugly Fate,
To spoil the Prince and rob the State.
Owning a Mind of dismal ends,
As Traps for Foes, and Tricks for Friends.
But now in Hatfield lies the —
Who stank while he liv'd and died of the —[1]

Source comments

This epitaph and another one that is more learned but no less satirical are cited in Francis Osborne's "Traditional Memoires on the Reign of King James", which is the second part of his "Historical Memoires on the Reigns of Q. Elizabeth, and King Iames". Osborne has the verse in italics with emphasized words in normal type; I have reversed this.

IRHB comments

Osborne notes among the things Cecil was reviled for his acquisition and enclosure of Hatfield Chase. He also provides the rather unsavoury details required for a proper understanding of the last line, but this fortunately does not concern Robin Hood.[2]