Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 5 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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INTRODUCTION.
XXIX
was annexed to the company. Under these cir­cumstances we cannot be surprised to find the principal performers in the May pageants passing the one into the other; to find the May King, whose occupation was gone when the fascinating outlaw had supplanted him in the favor of the Lady, assuming the part of the Hobby Horse,1 Robin Hood usurping the title of King of the May,2 and the Hobby Horse entering into a contest with the Dragon, as St. George.
We feel obliged to regard this interchange of functions among the characters in the English May pageants as fortuitous, notwithstanding the co­incidence of the May King sometimes appearing on horseback in Germany, and notwithstanding our conviction that Kuhn is right in maintain­ing that the May King, the Hobby Horse, and the Dragon-slayer, are symbols of one mythical idea. This idea we are compelled by want of space barely to state, with the certainty of doing injustice to the learning and ingenuity with which the author has supported his views. Kuhn has shown it to be extremely probable, first, that the Christmas games, which both in Germany and England haver a close resemblance to those of Spring, are to be considered as a prelude to the May sports, and that they both originally symbol-
1 As in Tollett's window.
2 In Lord Hailes's Extracts from the Booh of the Universal Kirk.







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