The Traditional Children's Games of England Scotland
& Ireland In Dictionary Form - Volume 2

With Tunes(sheet music), Singing-rhymes(lyrics), Methods Of Playing with diagrams and illustrations.

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24             OLD SOLDIER—OLIVER, OLIVER, &c
this game an old play, but I consider that in this and similar games they have preserved methods of acting and detail (now styled traditional), as given in an early or childish period of the drama, as for example in the mumming plays. Traditional methods of acting are discussed by Mr. Ordish, Folk-lore, ii. 334.
Old Soldier
One player personates an old soldier, and begs of all the other players in turn for left-off garments, or anything else he chooses. The formula still used at Barnes by children is, " Here comes an old soldier from the wars [or from town], pray what can you give him ? " Another version is— Here comes an old soldier from Botany Bay, Have you got anything to give him to-day.
—Liverpool (C. C. Bell).
The questioned child replying must be careful to avoid using the words, Yes ! No ! Nay ! and Black, White, or Grey. These words are tabooed, and a forfeit is exacted every time one or other is used. The old soldier walks lame, and carries a stick. He is allowed to ask as many questions, talk as much as he pleases, and to account for his destitute condition.
(c) Some years ago when colours were more limited in number, it was difficult to promise garments for a man's wear which were neither of these colours tabooed. Miss Burne (Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 526), in describing this game says, " The words Red or Blue are sometimes forbidden, as well as Yes or No," and adds that "This favourite old game gives scope for great ingenuity on the part of the beggar, and ' it seems not improbable' (to use a time-honoured antiquarian phrase!) that the expression ' To come the old soldier over a person ' may allude to it." H alii well (Nursery Rhymes, p. 224) describes the game as above.
Oliver, Oliver, follow the King!
Oliver, Oliver, follow the King!
Oliver, Oliver, last in the ring! Jim Burguin wants a wife, and a wife he shall have, Nelly he kissed at the back-cellar door, Nelly made a pudding, she made it over sweet,

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