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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528
MEMOIR ON THE STUDY OF
to become repeated and stereotyped, and the same form would be used for other gods, other occasions, and other customs where the requirements were similar or the same. The circle dance, for instance, after being performed several times would necessarily become a part of the religious customs or ceremony, and form a part of the ordinary religious observance. It would become particularly associated with the place where it was first instituted, and might be used to inaugurate other festivals. We know that the early Christians when taking over to their use the temples and altars of their so-called heathen predeces­sors, or when erecting a church where a temple had previously stood, held their worship there and performed their dances to their God as the heathens had done to theirs. The custom of encircling a church on its festival day existed until lately in several parishes in England, and this could only be a descendant of the custom once held sacred by all the followers of one belief, demonstrating by their action in group form the fact that they all believed in the same thing and held together, by the clasp of hands and the dance round, their determination to hold to and keep to it.
If these customary dances obtained and have survived in religious ritual to the present day, is it not to be expected that we should find survivals*in dance form of non-religious customs which also impressed themselves strongly on the minds of the people ? Births, marriages, deaths, the sowing and gathering in of the crops; the protection of cattle from disease and animals of prey; the necessity for water and fire; the protection of the house and the village—have all helped to surround these events with ceremonials which have lasted, and been trans­mitted from generation to generation, altering to suit later ideas, it is true, but preserving through all some trace of the events which first called them into existence.
It is because of this tendency to believe more in the power of expression by action, than in the power of expression by language alone, that dramatic action and gesture have formed such a necessary part of representation of custom as to become an integral part of it. Limited as is our knowledge of the popular plays performed about the country by troops of strol-







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