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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484                 MEMOIR ON THE STUDY OF
The evidence of this game, I consider, points to customs which belong to the ancient form of marriage, and to what is technically known as marriage by capture.
In the game of the "Three Dukes" (vol. ii. p. 233-255), it will be noticed that the actions are very spirited. Coquetry, contempt, and annoyance are all expressed in action, and the boys imitate riding and the prancing of horses. I must draw special attention to the remarks I have made in my account of the game, and for convenience in com­paring the line marriage games I will repeat shortly the principal points here.
In some versions, the three dukes each choose a wife at the same time, and when these three are "wived" or "paired" another three do the same. In another version " five " dukes each choose a wife, and all five couples dance round together. But most significant of all is the action of the dukes after selecting the girl, trying to carry her off, and her side trying to prevent it.
In this game, then, I think we have a distinct survival of or remembrance of the tribal marriage—marriage at a period when it was the custom for the men of a clan or village to seek wives from the girls of another clan—both belonging to one tribe. The game is a marriage game of the most matter-of-fact kind. Young men arrive from a place at some distance for the purpose of seeking wives. The maidens are apparently ready and expecting their arrival. They are as willing to become wives as the men are to become husbands. • It is not marriage by force or capture, though the triumphant carrying off of a wife appears. It is exogamous marriage custom. The suggested depreciation of the girls, and their saucy rejoinders, are so much good - humoured chaff and banter exchanged to enhance each other's value. There is no mention of "love" in the game, nor courtship between the boy and girl.* The marriage formula does not appear, nor is there any sign . that a " ceremony " or " sanction " to marry is necessary, nor does "kissing" occur. Another interesting, point about this game is the refrain, " With a rancy, tancy, tee," which refrain, or something similar, accompanies all verses of all versions,







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