Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/471

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It is probable that when the practice of archery declined the May- games of Robin Hood were discontinued, and that the morris dance was transferred to the celebration of Whitsuntide, either as connected with the Whitsun ales or as a separate amusement. In the latter instance it appears to have retained one or two of the characters in the May pageants; but no uniformity was or possibly could be observed, as the arrangement would vary in different places according to the humour or convenience of the parties.

In his notes on the morris represented on the painted window at Betley, in Staffordshire, Douce compares this design with a Flemish engraving circa 1460, and argues that the date of the Betley morris is temp. Edward IV. The characters that anciently composed the May game and morris were the following : Robin Hood, Little John, Friar Tuck, Maid Marian, the queen or lady of the May, the fool, the piper, and several morris dancers, habited in various modes. Afterwards a hobby-horse and a dragon were added. By glancing at the dramatis personce of the morceau here printed, it will be seen that only the fool, the piper (here "■ music-man "), the dancers, the hobby- horse, and the dragon have survived. The only link between the present morris and the Robin Hood games is the allugion to the maypole on p. 352.

Douce states that in the reign of Henry VIII. the morris dancers were dressed in gilt leather and silver paper, and sometimes in coats of white spangled fustian. They had purses at their girdles, and garters, to which bells were attached. The latter have been always a part of the furniture of the more active characters in the morris.

At the end of his interesting account Douce has noted some sur- vivals: " Mr. Waldron has informed us that he saw in the summer of 1783, at Richmond, in Surrey, a troop of morris dancers from Abingdon, accompanied by a fool in a motley jacket, who carried in his hand a staff about two feet long, with a blown bladder at the end of it, with which he either buffeted the crowd, to keep them at a proper distance from the dancers, or played tricks for the diversion of the spectators." Ritson noticed morris dancers in -Norfolk and Lancashire, and in the present century a company of morris dancers was seen at Usk, in