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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252
THREE DUKES
"Five dukes come here a ridin'" was played by five players on each side, and this was continued throughout. When the verses were said, each of the five dukes took a player from the opposite side and danced round with her. Again, in those versions (Symondsbury and Barnes), where when one player is left on the maidens' side without a partner, and all the dukes are mated, the additional verse is sung, and this player is taken over too. Beyond these versions are the large number begin­ning with three or more children singing the formula of " three dukes," and choosing one girl at a time, until all are taken over on to the dukes' side. Finally, there are the versions, more in accord with modern ideas, which commence with one duke coming for a wife, and continue by the girls taken over counting as dukes, the formula changing into two dukes, and so on.
If this correctly represents the line of decadence in this game, those versions in wThich additional verses appear are, I think, instances of the tacking on of verses from the u invitation to the dance" or H May" games; particularly in the cases in which the words " Now I've got my bonny lass" appear. The Earls Heaton version is curious, in that it has several verses which remind us of the old and practically obsolete " Keys of Canterbury " (Halliwell, 96). It may well be that a remembered fragment of that old ballad, which was probably once danced as a dramatic round, has been tacked on to this game. The ex­pression "walk with me," or "walk abroad with me," is signi­ficant of an engaged or betrothed couple. " I'm walking or walking out with so and so" is still an expression used by young men and young women to indicate an engagement. " She did ought to be married now; she've walked wi' him mor'n'er a year now." Some of the versions show still more marked signs of decadence. The altered wording, " Here comes a Jew a riding," " Here comes the Duke of Rideo," "A duck comes a ridin'," and the Scotch u Campsie Dukes a riding ;" a Berkshire version, collected by Miss Thoyts (Anti­quary, xxvii. p. 195), similar to the Shropshire game, but with a portion of the verse of " Milking Pails" added to it, and the refrain of " Ransome, tansome, tismatee;" together







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