wards the encouragement of archery, and the custom was continued even beyond the close of the reign of James I. It is true that the May-games in their rudest form, the mere dance of lads and lasses round a May-pole, or the simple morris with the Lady of the May, were occasionally seen during the reign of Elizabeth; but the general exhibition was the more complicated ceremony we are about to describe." To these characters were soon added several others, till, at its highest development under Elizabeth and James, the dramatis personæ of the morris-dance included the following characters: Robin Hood, Maid Marian, Friar Tuck, Little John, the Fool, Tom the Piper, the Hobby-Horse, the Dragon, and from two to ten morris-dancers, or the same number of Robin Hood's men, with the painted Maypole in the centre.
Robin Hood was created King or Lord of the May, and sometimes bore in his hand a painted standard. His paramour. Maid Marian, supplanted the former Queen of the May. Her part, in the days of Shakespeare, was usually taken by a smooth-faced lad whose unbroken voice rendered him capable of taking the part of a woman effectively. This custom gave offence to the Puritans, one of whom wrote in the following words:
- Drake, Vol I., p. 159