Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/469

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


I have spoken of the heterogeneous or mixed nature of the piece, and I will briefly note what appear to be the diverse elements. (a.) Christmas Mumming.

'* Come, follow me, merry men all, Tho' we have made bold for to call, It is only once by the year That we are so merry here. Still we are brave jovial boys And takes delight in Christmas joys."

There is a distinct allusion to Christmas at p. 344. The Fool says he took his children " home again this good time of Christmas."

(b.) The Hobby-horse. This device — a man carrying the image of a horse between his legs, made of thin boards — was seen so recently as the Jubilee Celebration (1887). The man capers about as if he were bestriding a spirited and restive horse. In early records the rider of the hobby is represented as having a bow and arrow ; the latter, passing through a hole in the bow, and stopping on a shoulder, made a snapping noise when drawn to and fro, keeping time with the music. The allusion is probably to Robin Hood on horseback. Refe- rences to the Hobby-horse are very numerous. The introduction of this element in the performance under consideration tends to differen- tiate it from the typical Christmas play.

(c.) The Fool Plough. The allusion in the title, The Plow Boys or Morris Dancers," is to the diversion called " The Fool Plough," which was indulged in on Plough Monday, the Monday after Twelfth Day. But this date is at variance with our present performance (October 20.) Another distinction is that while the fool plough consisted of a number of sword dancers dragging a plough, with music, in this Revesby piece the plough is absent, although the other features, the sword dance and music, are present. The fool plough and sword dance combined was peculiar to the northern counties ; the absence of the plough seems to be another mark of the Lincolnshire variant.

(d,) Sword Dance. The chief features are (1) the locking of the swords together to form a looking glass ; (2) the " short dance " called *' Jack the brisk young Drummer " (p. 846); and the dance

2 I 2