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.

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
when that custom became one of the forms of amusement at weddings.
The remaining love and marriage games mostly consist of lines said in praise of some particular girl or young man, the necessity of him or her possessing a sweetheart, and their being married. These are probably fragments of the more complete forms preserved in the other games of this class. Marriage games, preceded by courtship or love-making, are played in the second method of the circle form.
Among the games played in the first method of the circle form, "Oats and Beans and Barley," and "Would you know how doth the Peasant," show harvest customs. The first of these (vol. ii. pp. I—13) shows us a time when oats, beans, and barley were the principal crops grown, before wheat—now, and for some time, one of the principal crops—came into such general culti­vation as at present. All the players join in singing the words and performing the actions. They imitate sowing of seed, folding arms and standing at ease while the corn is growing, clap hands and stamp on the ground to awake the earth goddess, and turning round and bowing, to propitiate the spirit and do reverence to her. 'In "Would you know how doth the Peasant" (ii. 399-401) we find actions performed showing sowing, reaping, threshing, kneeling, and praying, and then resting and sleeping. These actions are in both games accompanied by dancing round hand in hand. These two games, then, take us back to a time when a ceremony was performed by all engaged in sowing and reaping grain ; when it was thought necessary to the proper growth of the crops that a religious ceremony should be performed to pro­pitiate the earth spirit. I believe these games preserve the tradition of the formula sung and danced at the spring festivals, about which Mr. Frazer has written so fully.
" Oats and Beans and Barley" also preserves a marriage formula, and after the religious formula has been sung and danced, courting and marriage follows. A partner is said to be wanted, is chosen, and the marriage ceremony follows. The addition of this ceremony to the agricultural custom is of considerable significance, especially as the period is that of

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III