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1405 - Anonymous - Dives and Pauper

Allusion
Date c. 1405
Author Anonymous
Title Dives and Pauper
Mentions Tale or song of Robin Hood

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-05-17. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-06-10.

Allusion

For þe peple þise dayys is wol indeuout to God and to holy chirche and þey louyn but wol lytil men of holy cherche and han gret ioye for dishesyn and dispisin men of holy chyrche, and þey ben loth to comyn in holy chyrche whan þey arn boundyn to comyn þedyr and wol loth to heryn Godys seruyse. Late þey comyn and sone gon aȝen awey. Ȝyf þey ben þer a lytil while, hem þynkyth wol longe. Þey han leuer gon to þe tauerne þan to holy chirche, leuer to heryn a tale or a song of Robyn Hood or of som rybaudye þan to heryn messe or matynys or onyþing of Goddis seruise or ony word of God. And sythe þe peple hath so lityl deuocion to God and holy chirche, Y can noȝt sen þat þey don swyche cost in holy chirche for deuocion ne for þe loue of God, for þey dispisyn God day and nyȝth with here wyckyd lyuynge and her wickyd thewys.[1]

Source notes

In this passage Pauper explains to Diues why he believes that, rather than being undertaken out of love of God, Englishmen's lavish expenditure on church building has purely selfish motivations such as the desire to impress etc. The passage occurs in Commandment I, cap. li. Instead of "a song . . . rybaudye" one MS has "songis of onclennesse".[1] Other variants for this passage are not significant in our context. Barnum in a note cites 1377 - Langland, William - Piers Plowman and 1419 - Walsingham, John - Reply of Friar Daw Topias as examples of other early allusions to tales of Robin Hood.[2] In Commandment I, cap. xlvii, a few pages before the above passage, is cited a piece of calendar data referring to the year 1405.[3] While the entire work may well have been written over several years, the passage mentioning Robin Hood thus almost certainly dates from 1405.

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