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11, 12. "This alludes to the usual issue of winter robes from the king's wardrobe to the officers of his household."


15, had, Ritson.

16. Another had full sone, W.

44. Lefte never one, W.

49, lughe, W.

74, ferre, W.

75, commended for, C.

135. The little convent of Kirklees lay between Wakefield and Halifax. HUNTER.

138, donkesley, W.

140, the, OCC.


This favorite and delightful ballad was printed by William Copland, without date, but probably not far from 1550. Only a single copy of this edition is known to be preserved. There is another edition by James Roberts, printed in 1605, with a second part entitled _Young Cloudeslee_, "a very inferior and servile production," says Ritson.

Mr. Payne Collier has recently recovered a fragment of an excellent edition considerably older than Copland's.

_Adam Bell, &c._, was also entered at Stationers' Hall in 1557-8, as licensed to John King. Another entry occurs in the same registers under 1582, and in 1586 mention is made of "A ballad of Willm.

Clowdisley never printed before." No one of these three impressions is known to be extant.

Percy inserted this piece in his _Reliques_, (i. 158,) following Copland's edition, with corrections from his folio manuscript. Ritson adhered to Copland's text with his usual fidelity, (_Pieces of Popular Poetry_, p. 1.) We have printed the ballad from Ritson, with some important improvements derived from a transcript of Mr. Collier's fragment most kindly furnished by that gentleman. This fragment extends from the 7th verse of the second fit to the 55th of the third, but is somewhat mutilated.

"Allane Bell" is mentioned by Dunbar in company

with Robin Hood, Guy of Gisborne, and others. The editor of the _Reliques_ has pointed out several allusions to the ballad in our dramatic poets, which show the extreme popularity of the story.

"Shakespeare, in his comedy of _Much Ado about Nothing_, act i. makes Benedick confirm his resolves of not yielding to love, by this protestation: 'If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat, and shoot at me, and he that hits me, let him be clapt on the shoulder, and called Adam:'--meaning Adam Bell, as Theobald rightly observes, who refers to one or two other passages in our old poets, wherein he is mentioned.

The Oxford editor has also well conjectured, that 'Abraham Cupid,'in _Romeo and Juliet_, act ii. sc. 1, should be 'Adam Cupid,' in allusion to our archer. Ben Jonson has mentioned Clym o' the Clough in his _Alchemist_, act i. sc. 2. And Sir William Davenant, in a mock poem of his, called _The Long Vacation in London_, describes the attorneys and proctors as making matches to meet in Finsbury Fields.

'With loynes in canvas bow-case tyde, Where arrowes stick with mickle pride; Like ghosts of Adam Bell and Clymme; Sol sits for fear they'l shoot at him.'--

_Works_, 1673, fol. p. 291."

The place of residence ascribed in the present ballad to these outlaws is Englewood or Inglewood, a forest in Cumberland sixteen miles in length, and extending from Carlisle to Penrith, which, according to Wyntown, was also frequented by Robin Hood, (_Cronykil_, vii. 10, 431.) By the author of the ballad of _Robin Hood's Birth, Breeding, Valour, and Marriage_, they are made contemporary with Robin Hood's father.

"The father of Robin a forrester was, And he shot in a lusty strong bow Two north-country miles and an inch at a shot, As the Pinder of Wakefield does know.

For he brought Adam Bell, and Clim of the Clugh, And William of Clowdesle To shoot with our forrester for forty mark, And the forrester beat them all three."

A state paper cited by Mr. Hunter exhibits a person of the name of Adam Bell in connection with another of Robin Hood's haunts, and is thought by that gentleman to afford a clue to the real history of one of the actors in the story.

"King Henry the Fourth, by letters enrolled in the Exchequer, in Trinity Term, in the seventh year of his reign [1406], and bearing date the 14th day of April, granted to one Adam Bell an annuity of 4_l._ 10_s._ issuing out of the fee-farm of Clipston, in the forest of Sherwood, together with the profits and advantages of the vesture and herbage of the garden called the Halgarth, in which the manor-house of Clipston is situated.

"Now, as Sherwood is noted for its connection with archery, and may be regarded also as the _patria_ of much of the ballad poetry of England, and the name of Adam Bell is a peculiar one, this might be almost of itself sufficient to show that the ballad had a foundation in veritable history. But we further find that this Adam Bell violated his allegiance by adhering to the Scots, the King's enemies; whereupon this grant was virtually resumed, and the sheriff of Nottinghamshire accounted for the rents which would have been his. In the third year of King Henry the Fifth [1416], the account was rendered by Thomas Hercy, and in the fourth year by Simon Leak. The mention of his adhesion to the Scots, leads us to the Scottish border, and will not leave a doubt in the mind of the most sceptical (!) that we have here one of the persons, some of whose deeds (with some poetical license, perhaps) are come down to us in the words of one of our popular ballads." _New Illustrations of the Life, Studies, and Writings of Shakespeare_, i. 245.

It must be confessed that Mr. Hunter is easily satisfied. The Bells were one of the most notorious of the marauding tribes of the Marches, and as late as 1593, are grouped with the Graemes and Armstrongs, in a memorial of the English Warden, as among "the bad and more vagrant of the great surnames of the border." (Rymer's _F[oe]dera_, xvi. 183, 2d ed.) Adam was a very common _pr[oe]nomen_ among these people, and is borne by two other familiar ballad heroes, Adam Gordon and Adam Car.

The combination of Adam Bell must have been anything but a rarity;[27]

nor could it have been an unfrequent occurrence, for a Scottish freebooter who had entered into the pay of the English King, to return to his natural connections, when a tempting opportunity offered itself, or for any Border mercenary to change sides as often as this seemed to be for his interest.

The rescue of William of Cloudesly by Adam Bell and Clym of the Clough, in the second fit, resembles in all the main points the rescue of Robin Hood by Little John and Much, in _Robin Hood and the Monk_.

The incident of the shot at the apple, in the third fit, for a long time received as a part of the genuine history of William Tell, is of great antiquity, and may be traced northward from Switzerland through the various Gothic nations to the mythical legends of Scandinavia. The exploit is first narrated in the _Wilkina Saga_ of the archer Eigill, who, at Nidung's command, proves his skill at the bow by shooting an apple from his son's head. Eigill had selected three arrows, and on being questioned as to the purpose of the other two, replied that they were destined for Nidung in case the first had caused the death of his child. This form of the legend is of the 10th or 11th century. In the 12th century, Saxo Grammaticus tells this story of Toko and King Harald. The resemblance to Tell is in Toko's case stronger than in any; for, besides making the same speech about the reserved arrow, he distinguishes himself in a sea-storm, and shoots the king,--this last feat being historical, and dated 992. Similar achievements are ascribed in Norwegian sagas to St. Olaf (died, 1030), and to King Haraldr Sigurtharson (died, 1066), and in Schleswig Holstein, to Heming Wolf, who having, in 1472, been outlawed for taking part with a rebel against King Christian, and falling into the hands of his enemies, was obliged to exhibit his skill at the risk of his son's life. Again, in Sprenger's _Malleus Maleficarum_, a work of the 15th century, the story is related of one Puncher, a magician of the Rhine country; and finally, about two hundred years after the formation of the Swiss confederacy, this famous exploit is imputed to Tell, though early chroniclers have not a word to say either about him or his archery. (See Grimm's[28] _Deutsche Mythologie_, ed. 1842, pp. 353-5, p. 1214: Nork's _Mythologie der Volkssagen_, in Scheible's _Kloster_, vol. 9, p. 105, _seqq._ Many of the documents that bear upon this question are cited at length in Ideler's _Schuss des Tell_, Berlin, 1836.)

[27] Thus, in the _Parliamentary Writs_, we have two Adam Bells (_possibly_ only one) contemporary with Mr. Hunter's Robin Hood, and both resident in Yorkshire.

1315, Adam Belle, manucaptor of a burgess for Scarborough.

1324, Adam Bele, manucaptor for citizens returned for York.

[28] Grimm refers to the tradition by which Eustathius accounts for Sarpedon's being king of the Lycians, which involves a story of his two rival uncles proposing to shoot through a ring placed on the breast of a child, and of Sarpedon's being offered for that purpose by his mother; and also mentions a manuscript he had seen of travels in Turkey, which contained a picture of a man shooting at an apple placed on a child's head.

Mery it was in grene forest, Amonge the leues grene, Wher that men walke east and west, With bowes and arrowes kene,

To ryse the dere out of theyr denne,-- 5 Such sightes hath ofte bene sene,--[L6]

As by thre yemen of the north countrey,[L7]

By them it is I meane.[L8]

The one of them hight Adam Bel, The other Clym of the Clough,[L10] 10 The thyrd was William of Cloudesly,[L11]

An archer good ynough.

They were outlawed for venyson, These yemen everechone; They swore them brethren upon a day, 15 To Englysshe-wood for to gone.

Now lith and lysten, gentylmen, That of myrthes loveth to here:[L18]

Two of them were single men, The third had a wedded fere. 20

Wyllyam was the wedded man, Muche more then was hys care: He sayde to hys brethren upon a day, To Carelel he would fare,

For to speke with fayre Alse hys wife, 25 And with hys chyldren thre.

"By my trouth," sayde Adam Bel, "Not by the counsell of me.

"For if ye go to Caerlel, brother, And from thys wylde wode wende, 30 If the justice mai you take, Your lyfe were at an ende."

"If that I come not tomorowe, brother, By pryme to you agayne, Truste not els but that I am take, 35 Or else that I am slayne."

He toke hys leave of his brethren two, And to Carlel he is gon; There he knocked at hys owne windowe, Shortlye and anone. 40

"Where be you, fayre Alyce, my wyfe,[L41]

And my chyldren three?

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