Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/210

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160
THE ELIZABETHAN PEOPLE

embroidered jerkin; and thus he is marching thither like the forman of a morris."[1]

Again, in Act iv. of The Knight of the Burning Pestle: "Let Ralph come out on May-day in the morning, and speak upon a conduit, with all his scarfs about him, and his feathers, and his rings, and his knacks;" and Ralph says in his declamation:—

"And by the common council of my fellows in the Strand,
 With gilded staff and crossed scarf, the May-lord here I stand.

*****

The morris rings, while hobby-horse doth foot it faeteously:
The lords and ladies now abroad, for their disport and play,
Do kiss sometimes upon the grass and sometimes in the hay;

*****

And lift aloft your velvet heads, and slipping off your gown,
With bells on legs, and napkins clean unto your shoulders tied,
With scarfs and garters as you please, and 'Hey for our town!' cried.

*****

Up, then, I say, both young and old, both men and maid a-maying,
With drums and guns that bounce aloud and merry tabor playing."

The most complete and accurate description of the ancient morris-dance, though written in later times, is from the pen of the antiquarian Strutt,

  1. The Blind Beggar of Bednal Green, Day,