The Play of Robin Hood and the Potter

It has already been mentioned that this fragmentary play of ‘Robin Hood and the Potter’, forms the second part of the ‘playe of Robyn Hoode, verye proper to be played in Maye games’(1) appended by William Copland to his edition of the Gest. It follows the play of ‘Robin Hood and the Friar’ without any break in the printed text; and both plays show evidence of having been composed or re-composed by the same author; however Robin Hood’s own introduction (‘Lysten to me my mery men all’) to the ‘adventure’ of his meeting with the potter, shows us that we are looking at a seperate play. Like ‘Robin Hood and the Friar’, this was a short and simple play, possibly meant to end with a morris dance. In the following text, the ‘rose garlande’ on the potter’s head, gives us an indication that this is a May Game play.

1. The title prefixed to the text of the play by Copland, but shorter that that on the title page of the volume.

Source: Sigs. H 4v-I 2v of William Copland’s edition of A Mery Geste of Robyn Hoode, printed at Three Cranes Wharf, London, c. 1560 (British Library copy, press-mark C. 21. c. 63).

Other Editions: Appended to Edward White’s edition of A Merry Jest of Robin Hood, printed at London, c. 1590 (Bodleian Library, Oxford, Z. 3. Art. Seld.); Ritson, 1795, II, 199-203; Gutch, 1847, II, 57-60; Child, 1888, III, 114-15; J.M. Manly, Specimens of the Pre-Shaksperean Drama (Boston, 1897), I, 285-8; Malone Society, Collections I, Part 2 (Oxford, 1908), pp.132-6; Old English Drama, Students Facsimile Edition, ed. J. S. Farmer (Amersham, 1914); F. J. Tickner, ed., Earlier English Drama from Robin Hood to Everyman (London, 1926), pp. 20-3; Rymes of Robyn Hood,Dobson and Taylor, 1976, pp. 215-19.