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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250
THREE DUKES
consisted of a dozen boys standing in line in the usual way, and a dozen girls on the opposite side facing them. The boys sing the first two verses alternately; the girl at first refuses and then consents to go. Dancing round probably accompanies this, but there is no mention of it. In Roxton, St. Neots, after the verses are sung, the duke and the selected girl clasp hands, and he pulls her across to the opposite side, as in "Nuts in May." In Settle (Yorks.) the game is called "The Dukes of York and Lancaster." The first duke advances with a dancing step. The game is then played in the usual way until all the players are ranged on the dukes' side; then the two original dukes, one of whom is " red " and the other " white," join hands, and the other players pass under their raised hands. The dukes ask each of them, in a whisper, "red?" or "white?" The player then goes behind the one he or she has chosen, clasping the duke's waist. When all the players have chosen, a tug-of-war ensues between the two sides. In the Earls Heaton ver­sion, the duke sings the verses, offering gifts to the girl when she has been selected. In the Oxfordshire version (Miss Broadwood) one player sings the words of the verse, and all join in the refrain as chorus. In the Monton (Lancashire) version the duke sings the last verse, and then takes a girl from the opposite side; and in another version from Barnes, in which the words of the last verse are the same as these, one of the dukes' side crosses over and fetches the girl. The duke bows lowly before the chosen girl in the Liphook version before she joins his side. In the East Kirkby, Lincolnshire, version, when the dukes sing the last verse, they advance towards the opposite side, who, when they see the direction in which they are coming, form two arches, by three of the players holding up their arms, the dukes' side going through one arch and returning through the other, bringing the chosen girl with them. One Clapham version is played in a totally different manner: the maidens form a circle instead of a line, and the duke stands outside this until he is admitted at the line which says, " let him in." At the conclusion of the dialogue he breaks in and carries one player off. This is an unusual form; I have only met with one other instance of it.







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