Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/26

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Annual Address by the President.

school; just as most of us now, with one or two exceptions, against whom we delight to rub our ideas in this room and elsewhere, confessedly belong to the anthropological as distinguished from the literary school of folk-lore students.

The next principle of folk-lore research to which I shall direct your attention is the necessity for studying the environment of those who have brought down these traditional relics of earlier days. We who are students only of folk-lore, not collectors, we who are not partakers of the instincts which keep folk-lore alive, need to be perpetually reminded of the possibilities of the survival of crude traditional customs, beliefs, and myths among a peasantry living under the conditions of civilisation. It is so hard to believe that such things are; so difficult to understand that scientific knowledge, or, indeed, knowledge of any sort, beginning from above does not penetrate far down, and until lately could not have penetrated far down. We are always apt to think of others by our own standard, look at them through our own spectacles. But such a volume as The Denham Tracts, recently issued, ought, if anything can, to satisfy us that we do not know the people whose lore we are studying. The border chief who scorned property in land, and knew only property in his horse and sword, was not of the eighteenth century, he belonged to the eighth or ninth. For all that culture had done for him he might have come over with Hengist and Horsa. But that is just the point. If there are such survivals in flesh and blood, why need we doubt the survivals in custom, belief, and myth? and we must go on collecting our flesh and blood evidences side by side with our other evidence. This evidence we get from all sorts of places. Among legal records and the doings of municipalities and manors we shall find plenty. Apart from such instances of municipal custom really being folk-lore, as Mr. Hartland in his Godiva study and Mr. Billson in his Easter Hare study have given to us, we meet with the evidences right and left of us. In a recently printed volume of the County