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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53o                 MEMOIR ON THE STUDY OF
in the remains of the traditional games we have preserved a form in which we can see the beginning and early development of the drama. When once the line form was firmly established as an indication of two opposite parties, it would be used for such indication wherever it was required, and thus it became the common property of the children's game and the early stage. The remains of the line and circle form, as denoting opponents and friendly communion can, I think, be traced in old plays and old methods of acting.
In old pantomimes, the demons or evil spirits and their followers enter on one side and stand in lines; the good fairy and her followers enter on the opposite side and stand in line; the principal characters advance from the line, and talk defiance to each other. We do not have a circle form on the stage, but a half-circle, seated on the stage, is or was until comparatively lately a method of representing a social or family party. Every one who has seen a mummer's play performed, either in or out of doors, will be aware that the same method obtains in them—the performers are all on the stage or stand together at once, walking forward as each one's name is mentioned, saying his allotted part, and then standing back again, while the next player has his turn.
The action in these plays has remained in stationary form; as far as the method goes there has probably been very little difference in the manner of presenting them for a long period of time.
These traditional games are valuable, therefore, for the information they afford in a direction not hitherto thought of, namely, in the study of the early drama. If the drama can be seen in its infancy anywhere, surely it can be seen in these children's plays.
The study of. children's games takes us, therefore, into several departments of research. Many traces of customs that do not belong to modern life, customs that take us back to very early times indeed, are brought before us. The weapons are bows and arrows, the amusements hunting and hawking; animals are found in such close relationship with human beings, that only very primitive conditions of life would

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