Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/472

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Monmouthshire, which included a boy Maid Marian, a hobby-horse, and a fool. They professed to have kept up the ceremony at that place for three hundred years. Gutch in his book on Robin Hood (1847) mentions that he "witnessed a numerous retinue of morris dancers, remarkably well habited, skilfully performing their evolutions to the tune of a tabor and pipe, in the streets of Oxford University; and he is credibly informed that at Chipping Norton and other towns in Oxfordshire a band of dancers traverse the neighbourhood for many days at Whitsuntide. At Droitwich, also, in Worcestershire, on the 27th of June, a large party of morris dancers still continue to parade the town and neighbourhood, it is said, in commemoration of a discovery of some extensive salt-mines."

(f.) The Dragon. The earliest mention of the dragon as a part of the morris dance is in Stubbes's Anatomie of Abuse; and he is likewise introduced in a morris in Sampson's play of the Vowbreaker, or fayre maid of Clifton, 1633, where a fellow says, "I'll be a, fiery dragon;" on which another, who had undertaken the hobby-horse, observes that he will be "a thund'ring Saint George as ever rode on horseback."

(g.) The Bonny Wild Worm. This is a device which was probably added at a late date. It may be considered a sign of decadence.

Having glanced at the elements observable in the piece, it may be noted that we have here —

(1.) A survival of the Fool Plough.

(2.) A form of Christmas Mumming Play.

(3.) The Morris and other dances as adjuncts.

The composite character of the piece is due to the effect of time and of political change. The effect of time is normal, and may be noted without comment. Political change has borne heavily upon all popular amusements in this country. The steady growth of the Puritan movement throughout the reign of Charles I. must have tended to depress and check the popular diversions. The King interfered in their behalf by a warrant dated October 18, 1633, in which he directs that "for his good people's lawful recreation after the end of Divine Service his good people be not disturbed letted or discouraged