Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/235

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183
OUT-OF-DOOR SPORTS

was usually practiced in the open fields, and is much commended for the healthiness of the exercise it afforded." It is of frequent mention in the Elizabethan plays, and is doubtless sometimes confused with foot-ball. (Cf. Middleton's Game of Chess, ii. 2; Ford's Lover's Melancholie, ii. 1; Eastward Ho, i. 1.)

The quotation above from King James's ultimatum in regard to sports rules foot-ball out because of its cruel nature, an objection that has not yet quite disappeared. The ancient game, however, was altogether different from the modern game played under the same name. It was then played without system, and because of the unequal numbers that frequently engaged upon opposite sides, there was far more opportunity for rough playing and accidents. The old way of playing the game is sufficiently described in the following paragraph from Strutt: "When a match at foot-ball is made, two parties, each containing an equal number of competitors, take the field and stand between two goals, placed at a distance of eighty or a hundred yards the one from the other; the ball, which is commonly made from a blown bladder, and cased with leather, is delivered in the midst of the ground, and the object of each party is to drive it through the goal of their antagonists, which being achieved the