MORRIS DANCE AT REVESBY.
[From a MS. version. Edited by T. Fairman Ordish.]
HE curious piece, which is here printed for the first time, is thus referred to by Brand: "I have before me a copy of a drama played by a set of Plow Boys or Morris Dancers, in their riband dresses, with swords, on October the 20th, 1779, at Revesby Abbey, in Lincolnshire, the seat of the Right Hon. Sir Joseph Banks, Bart., P.R.S. The assumed characters of the piece are different from those of the more regular morris, and they were accompanied by two men from Kirtley, without any particular dresses, who sang the song of Landlord and Tenant," Beyond noting the dramatis personæ, and quoting half a dozen lines of the Fool's opening speech, this is all Brand has to say. But in his brief notice he calls attention to two of the peculiarities of the piece — the unusual names of the characters and the Fool's reference to Christmas —
"Still we are all brave jovial boys
And take delight in Christmas joys."
But there are other peculiarities. If the piece is a Christmas mumming play, the character of Father Christmas is absent, which I cannot find to be the case in any other Christmas mumming. The date, again, is against its being such a play (it was performed on Oct. 20), as is also the presence of the young woman character. The date of the performance, the character of the Landlord and Tenant song,
- Popular Antiquities, i. 573.