THE MORRIS BOOK, Online Version

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dancers in England—and Japan. We have aimed at simplicity, brevity and clearness in the description.
As to the extent of the demand and its constant tendency to increase, so far, there can be no doubt. As to the permanence of the demand, as to whether the Morris dance is likely to become again, as once it was, a feature of our national life, one can only surmise. For ourselves, we believe absolutely in the permanence of this revival, and that these astounding results of our efforts hitherto are evidence, not of a fleeting phase or vogue but of no less than that we have restored to our own people a rightful inheritance, a means and method of self-expression in movement, native and sincere, such as is offered by no other form of dancing known to us.
The outstanding feature of all our English institutions is their continuity: to have continuity you must have age and a hallowed tradition: these we have in everything national, save only in our songs and dances. These, although we are anything but an imitative race, we have imported from un-English lands, with the inevitable result that in dance and music we express everybody but ourselves. We shall go on doing so until the treasure-house of our Folk-music and dances— now for several generations mysteriously closed to us—shall be re-opened. In this handbook we have tried to do something towards restoring that forsaken repository to its rightful pre-eminence.
We claim for this sketch no completeness: we are chiefly concerned with the Morris as a lapsed yet living art, calling, as we hold, for revival; we look to the Morris-men, not primarily as subject-matter for the industrious archćologist, but as heralds to the sweetening of the town life of England and the re-peopling of her forsaken countryside. We have nevertheless taken some trouble in our search for all that is interesting and genuine as concerns the Morris, in the literature of our own country, and others. For the benefit of those inclined to follow the subject farther in its historical aspect than it is herein treated, we have appended a list of books in which we have found items of interest.
So far as we can discover, there is no single work devoted to the topic: all that is to be gleaned of it from books consists only in scraps of information, most of them very brief, some contradictory; as a rule almost casually introduced in works upon dancing, ancient games and customs, and such like.
Even the origin of the name Morris and the true source of the dance are not to be traced with absolute certainty. Most authorities accept, or assert, that the dance is Moorish in origin: some again bring evidence to show that the English Morris (or Morrice) owed nothing whatever to the Moors. Still, the weight of testimony must be held to show Morocco as the fount and origin, no matter if the genius of our own folk—so very far removed from anything native to Africa—has, in the process of the centuries, altered it until it bears, in spirit, little resemblance to the parent stock.
If the spirit has been Anglicised, the steps remain. Tabourot, for instance, a very quaint and interesting writer on dancing, tells us that when he was a youth—that would be early in the 16th century—it was the custom in good society for a boy to come into the hall after supper with his face blackened, his forehead bound with white or yellow taffeta, and bells tied to his legs. He

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