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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ioo                                 QUEEN ANNE
This game appears to be in such a state of decadence that it is difficult to do more than suggest an origin. It may be that "Queen Anne" represents an oracle, and the petition is addressed to her to discover the stolen treasure; but more probably the players represent disguised damsels, one of whom is a bride whose identity has to be found out by her showing or possessing some object which belongs to or has been given previously by her suitor. The "guessing" or " naming" a particular person runs through all the versions, and is un­doubtedly the clue to the game. If the Belfast version is the nearest to the original of those at present existing, and there is every probability that this is so, especially as Chambers' version is so similar, an early form of the game might be restored, and from this its origin may be ascertained. Using the first four lines of one of Halliwell's versions, and what appear to be the common lines of the other versions, the
reading is—
Suitor and Friends.
Here we come a-piping, First in Spring and then in May. The Queen she sits upon the sand, Fair as a lily, white as a wand [swan].
[suitors offer gloves], Of the fairest lady in all the land.
Guardian (or Mother) and Maidens.
For which of my maidens do you propose ? Suitors or Queen Anne.
[I pray this hand receive the ball], putting a ball into
the extended hands of one of three girls.

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