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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official crier of a town, and in the same manner as in games children " cry " forfeits ; but, losing this meaning in this game, children have substituted "weeping," especially as "weeping" with them expresses many M wants " or u woes." The incident of " crying " for a lover, in the sense of wanting a lover, appears in several of these games. I have heard the expression they've been " cried in church" used as meaning the banns have been read. The choosing is sometimes " to the east' and " to the west," instead of u for the best and worst." Now, the expression " for better for worse" is an old marriage formula preserved in the vernacular portion of the ancient English Marriage Service, and I think we have the same formula in this game, especially as the final admonition is to choose the " one loved best." Then comes the very general lines of the marriage formula occurring so frequently in these games, " Now you're married, we wish you joy/' &c.
In " Merry-ma-tansa" the game again consists of a marriage ceremony, with fuller details. The choice of the girl is announced to the assembled circle of friends by a third person, and the friends announce their approval or disapproval. If they disapprove, another choice is made. When they approve, the marriage formula is repeated, and the capacity of the bride to undertake housewifely duties is questioned in verse by the friends (p. 370). All the circle then perform actions imitating sweeping and dusting a house, baking and brewing, shaping and sewing. The marriage formula is sung, and prognostications and wishes for the birth of children are followed by actions denoting the nurs­ing of a baby and going to church, probably for a christening. In one version, too, the bride is lifted into the circle by two of the players. This may indicate the carrying of the bride into her new home, or the lifting of the bride across the threshold, a well-known custom. In another version (Ad­denda, p. 444) after the ceremony the bridegroom is blindfolded and has to catch his bride.
These two games relate undoubtedly to marriage customs,, and to no other ceremony or practice. They are, so to speak, the type forms to which others will assimilate.

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