Popular Music Of The Olden Time Vol 2

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REIGN OF QUEEN ANNE TO GEORGE II.                                629
I Now as to jigs and reels. Jigs seem to have been danced at Court until the crown passed to the house of Hanover. There are jigs named after every king and Queen from Charles II. to Queen Anne, and many from noblemen of the Court. I have not observed them enumerated among the dances on state occasions, and imagine therefore that they were only used for relaxation. Jigs were also danced upon the stage, for, in the epilogue to The Chances, a play which the Duke of Buckingham altered from Beaumont and Fletcher, he speaks of dramatists appropriating to themselves the applause intended for Nell Gwynne,— " Besides the author dreads the strut and mien Of new-prais'd poets, having often seen Some of his fellows, who have writ before, When Nell has danc'd her jig, steal to the door, Hear the pit clap, and with conceit of that, Swell, and believe themselves the Lord knows what." In speaking of the reel it is necessary to include the hay, for dancing a reel is but one of the ways of dancing the hay.
Strutt describes the hay as " a rustic dance, where they lay hold of hands and darice round in a ring;" but I think this a very imperfect, if not an incorrect definition. The hay was danced in a line as well as in a circle, and it was by , no means a rule that hands should be given in passing. To dance the hey or hay became a proverbial expression signifying to twist about, or wind in and out without making any advance. So in Hackluyt's Voyages, iii. 200, " Some of ; the mariners thought we were in the Bristow Channell, and other in Silly ' Channell; so that, through variety of judgements and evill marinership, we were ! faine to dance the hay foure dayes together, sometimes running to the north-east, sometimes to the south-east, and again to the east, and east north-east." In Sir John Davies's Orchestra, " He taught them rounds and winding keys to tread."* (In the margin he explains " rounds and winding heys " to be country-dances,) In The Dancing Master the hey is one of the figures of most frequent occur­rence. In one country-dance," the women stand still, the men going the hey between them." This is evidently winding in and out. In another, two men and one woman dance the hey,—like a reel. In a third, three men dance this hey, and three women at the same time—like a double reel. In Dargason, where many stand in one long line, the direction is " the single hey, all handing as you pass, till you come to your places." When the hand was to be given in passing, it was always so directed; but the hey was more frequently danced without "handing." In " the square dances," the two opposite couples dance the single hey twice to their places, the woman standing before her partner at starting. When danced by many in a circle, if hands were given, it was like the " grande chaine " of a quadrille.
Old dance and ballad tunes were greatly revived at the commencement of the
1 " ■■ Thus, when at first Love had them marshalled,               As the two Bears, whom the First Mover flings,
As erst he did the shapeless mass of things,                     With a short turn, ahout Heaven's axle-tree,
He taught them rounds and winding heys to tread,         In a round dance for ever wheeling be." And ahout trees to cast themselves in rings :







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