Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 5 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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INTRODUCTION.
xxvii
The liberation of Cloudesly by Adam Bel and Clym of the Clough is also achieved " on a merry morning of May."
Robin Hood is moreover intimately associated with the month of May through the games which were celebrated at that time of the year. The history of these games is unfortunately very de­fective, and hardly extends beyond the beginning of the 16th century. By that time their primitive character seems to have been corrupted, or at least their significance was so far forgotten, that distinct pastimes and ceremonials were capriciously intermixed. At the beginning of the 16th cen­tury the May sports in vogue were, besides a contest of archery, four pageants,—the Kingham, or election of a Lord and Lady of the May, other­wise called Summer King and Queen, the Morris Dance, the Hobby Horse, and the " Robin Hood." Though these pageants were diverse in their origin, they had, at the epoch of which we write, begun to be confounded; and the Morris exhibited a ten­dency to absorb and blend them all, as, from its character, being a procession interspersed with dancing, it easily might do. We shall hardly find the Morris pure and simple in the English May-game ; but from a comparison of the two earliest representations which we have of this sport, the Flemish print given by Douce in his Illustrations of Shakespeare, and Tollett's celebrated painted window, (described in Johnson and Steevens's







E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III