Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 5 of 8 from 1860 edition - online book

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ized the victory of Summer over Winter,1 which, beginning at the winter solstice, is completed in the second mouth of Spring; secondly, that the con­quering Summer is represented by the May King, or by the Hobby Horse (as also by the Dragon-slayer, whether St. George, Siegfried, Apollo, or the Sanskrit Indras) ; and thirdly, that the Hobby Horse in particular represents the god Woden, who, as well as Mars2 among the Romans, is the god at once of Spring and of Victory.
The essential point, all this being admitted, is now to establish the identity of Robin Hood and the Hobby Horse. This we think we have shown cannot be done by reasoning founded on the early history of the games under consideration. Kuhn relies principally upon two modern accounts of Christmas pageants. In one of these pageants there is introduced a man on horseback, who carries in
1 More openly exhibited in the mock battle between Sum­mer and Winter celebrated by the Scandinavians in honor of May, a custom still retained in the Isle of Man, where the month is every year ushered in with a contest between the Queen of Summer, and the Qneen of Winter. (Brand's Antiquities, by Ellis, i. 222, 257.) A similar ceremony in Germany, occurring at Christmas, is noticed by Kuhn, p. 478.
2 Hence the Spring begins with March. The connection with Mars suggests a possible etymology for the Morris— which is usually explained, for want of something better, as a Morisco or Moorish dance. There is some resemblance between the Morris and the Salic dance. The Salic games are said to have been instituted by the Veian king Morrius, a name pointing to Mars, the divinity of the Salii. Kuhn, 488-193.