Few, indeed, were the folks that ever came this way, for it was in the loneliest part of Barnisdale Forest. Besides, who had any right to come here save it was the king's foresters keeping strict watch and ward over the king's deer?

This phrase confused me does it mean: consider?

Source: The Merry Adventure of Robin Hood

  • It's effectively an archaic usage. Everyone today would use unless (or except, with some other syntactic tweaks), not save in such contexts. Aug 8, 2019 at 13:11

1 Answer 1


It is old fashioned and quaint.

"Save" means "except". So the rhetorical question asks "Who had the right to enter the forest except the king's foresters keeping watch over the deer?"

The "it was" is odd and dated, but "it" refers the "a person who can enter the forest"

  • I don't think it's exactly that it was is "dated". It is if you simply substitute except for save (where we might say except for), but there's nothing at all "odd" about ... unless it was [so-and-so]. Aug 8, 2019 at 13:17

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