“Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne”


Little John and Robin separate; Little John is taken after trying to stop an invasion by the Sheriff. Meanwhile, Robin meets Guy; they fight, and Robin slays Guy. He then takes his clothes and horn and rescues John


This is considered by J. C. Holt (following Child and others), to be one of the five "basic" Robin Hood ballads. (The earliest known copy (from the Percy folio) is somewhat corrupt, but shows survivals of a much older text, and seems to be at least two centuries older than the manuscript. It is noteworthy that a fragment of the same story, in dramatic form, appears on the back of a slip of financial sheets from 1475/6 C.E. For more details on chronology see the notes on "A Gest of Robyn Hode" [Child 117]).

Bronson notes that Chappell associated a tune with this piece, but that the association was Chappell's own, on weak grounds, and therefore does not cite the melody. - RBW


  1. Child 118, "Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne" (1 text)
  2. Bronson 118, comments only; cf. Chappell/Wooldridge I, p. 277, "The Chirping of the Lark" (1 tune)
  3. Percy/Wheatley I, pp. 102-116, "Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne" (1 text)
  4. BrownII 32, "Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne" (1 text, said in the Brown collection to "certainly derive" from this piece, but this is a stretch. It may be this, but it is only a disordered fragment, which looks to me to combine aspects of several Robin Hood ballads; the only real link with this is the reported title "Robin Hood and Guy of Gusborne")
  5. Leach, pp. 334-340, "Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne" (1 text)
  6. OBB 116, "Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne" (1 text)
  7. Gummere, pp. 68-76+320-321, "Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne" (1 text)
  8. TBB 26, "Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne" (1 text)
  9. DT 118, RHGISBOR
  10. Roud #3977
  11. BI, C118


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1765 (Percy)
Found in: US(SE)?