MAD ROBIN. English, Country Dance Tune and Air (4/4 time). G Dorian (Chappell): G Minor (Barnes, Sharp). Standard tuning (fiddle). AB (Chappell): AABB (Sharp): AA'BB' (Barnes, Playford). This once-popular melody appears earliest in John Playford's Dancing Master , first supplement to the 7th edition (1687). It was retained in the long-running series through the 18th and final edition of 1728, and also can be heard as the air to songs in the ballads operas Polly (1728), The Lover's Opera (1729), and The Stage Mutineers (1733), among others.
'Mad Robin', like 'Mad Tom', 'Mad Dick' or 'Mad Moll', is thought to be a generic term for an individual afflicted with mental illness. There were numerous 'mad songs' in the the 17th and 18th centuries, such as "Tom a Bedlam."
Source for notated version:
Printed sources: Barlow (Complete Country Dances from Playford's Dancing Master), 1985; No. 278, p. 69. Barnes (English Country Dance Tunes), 1986. Chappell (Popular Music of the Olden Time, vol. 2), 1859; p. 56. Moffat (Dances of the Olden Time), 1922; p. 4. Sharp (Country Dance Tunes), 1909; p. 68.