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1662 - Young Robin - To Robert Harley

Allusion
Date 1662
Author Young Robin
Title "Young Robin" to Sir Bobert Harley, at his Lodging at a strong water shop over against the "Blew Bore" in Tuttle (Tothill) Street, Westminster
Mentions Robin Hood; Sherwood forest; stag [hunting]; [ballads]; merry [as in 'merry men']

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2013-08-03. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2018-07-28.

Allusion

[16]62, August 8.—I now perceive it impossible to live within the cities of London and Westminster and not turn courtier. I wish your lodging had been at Wapping. But whether I write to a man of this world or to an angel is a dispute, yet I expect an answer and am indifferent from what place, but to let you see that a son of Robin Hood cannot be ill natured I will make this manly interpretation of your unkindness, that it is as difficult to find me as a stag in the forest of Sherwood, where men of that race could hardly be harboured, as many worthy balletical records can inform you, yet knowing you to be almost one of us (though of an Indian race) I dare tell you that I am sometimes at Swarkeston, sometimes at Warsop, and now at Bestwood, merry in all places and which is more, well pleased and drink your health [p. 42:] dead or alive, which your captain and cornet never will refuse, and thus I have given you a true and perfect account of the plots and affairs of this county as to mankind. But should I enter into or upon the other sex, and tell you a true account of my Lady Newcastle's horsematch, I must crave aid from Sir John Denham and his fellows who trade in nectar, yet to speak truth we have good squeezed malt that smells full out as well as saudwich (sic), and that well followed makes us appear like men; let others express our actions and hers, for we are not book-learned. And now Robin by name and not by nature I bid you farewell, and if thou darest meet me near Warsop upon the forest at the Lady Newcastle's horsematch the last of August, where in taffeta instead of armour bright 'tis six to four I may appear, you shall see such a fight as England affords not the fellow and possibly become one of the brotherhood, which will be no small honour, laying your ordinary knighthood aside, to you and a particular kindness from, &c.
Postscript.—I have a lady and some of my race remembers you. Direct your letters by the Nottingham post to Bestwood and they will find.[1]

Source notes

Brackets and parentheses editorial, except indication of change of page.

IRHB comments

The heading of this letter, as cited in the fact box above, is part editorial, part original. The ending of the letter suggests it is signed (presumably "find" refers to the undersigned), but the printed edition indicates no signature. The editors do not identify sender or recipient of the letter, but the recipient was probably Robert Harley (1626-73), son of Sir Robert Harley (1579-1656) of Brampton Bryan, Herefordshire, and Lady Brilliana Harley, née Conway (1598-1643); see his page at The History of Parliament.

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