THE ROBIN HOOD
Mr. Akerman describes a Token of the Robin Hood Tavern:—"IOHN THOMLINSON AT THE. An archer fitting an arrow to his bow; a small figure behind, holding an arrow.—℞. IN CHISWELL STREET, 1667. In the centre, HIS HALFE PENNY, and I. S. T." Mr. Akerman continues:
"It is easy to perceive what is intended by the representation on the obverse of this token. Though 'Little John,' we are told, stood upwards of six good English feet without his shoes, he is here depicted to suit the popular humour—a dwarf in size, compared with his friend and leader, the bold outlaw. The proximity of Chiswell-street to Finsbury-fields may have led to the adoption of the sign, which was doubtless at a time when archery was considered an elegant as well as an indispensable accomplishment of an English gentleman. It is far from obsolete now, as several low public-houses and beer-shops in the vicinity of London testify. One of them exhibits Robin Hood and his companion dressed in the most approved style of 'Astley's,' and underneath the group is the following irresistible invitation to slake your thirst:—
"Ye archers bold and yeomen good,
Stop and drink with Robin Hood:
If Robin Hood is not at home,
Stop and drink with little John.
"Our London readers could doubtless supply the variorum copies of this elegant distich, which, as this is an age for 'Family Shakspeares,' modernized Chaucers, and new versions of 'Robin Hood's Garland,' we recommend to the notice of the next editor of the ballads in praise of the Sherwood freebooter."
Club Life of London Vol. II