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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Traditional Games of England, Scotland,
and Ireland (Vol II of II), by Alice Bertha Gomme

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Title: The Traditional Games of England, Scotland, and Ireland (Vol II of II)
       With Tunes, Singing-Rhymes, and Methods of Playing etc.

Author: Alice Bertha Gomme

Release Date: December 29, 2012 [EBook #41728]

Language: English

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Please see Transcriber’s Notes at the end of this document.

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Title Page

VOL. I.

ACCROSHAY-NUTS IN MAY

Medium 8vo, xix.—424 pp. With numerous Diagrams and Illustrations. Cloth uncut. 12s. 6d. nett.

Some Press Notices

Notes and Queries.—“A work of supreme importance . . . a scholarly, valuable, and delightful work.”

Spectator.—“Interesting and useful to the antiquarian, historian, and philologist, as well as to the student of manners and customs.”

Saturday Review.—“Thorough and conscientious.”

Critic (New York).—“A mine of riches to the student of folk-lore, anthropology, and comparative religion.”

Antiquary.—“The work of collection and comparison has been done with obvious care, and at the same time with a con amore enthusiasm.”

Zeitschrift für vergl. Literaturgeschichte.—“In jeder Beziehung erschöpfend und mustergültig.”

Zeitschrift für Pädagogie.—“Von hoher wissenschaftlicher Bedeutung.”

[All rights reserved]


THE
Traditional Games
Of England, Scotland, and Ireland

WITH
TUNES, SINGING-RHYMES, AND METHODS OF PLAYING
ACCORDING TO THE VARIANTS EXTANT AND
RECORDED IN DIFFERENT PARTS
OF THE KINGDOM

COLLECTED AND ANNOTATED BY
ALICE BERTHA GOMME

VOL. II.
OATS AND BEANS-WOULD YOU KNOW
TOGETHER WITH A MEMOIR ON THE STUDY
OF CHILDREN’S GAMES

LONDON
DAVID NUTT, 270-71 STRAND
1898


Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson & Co.
At the Ballantyne Press


[v]

PREFACE

The completion of the second volume of my Dictionary has been delayed from several unforeseen circumstances, the most important being the death of my most kind and learned friend the Rev. Dr. Gregor. The loss which folk-lore students as a body sustained by this lamented scholar’s death, was in my own case accentuated, not only by many years of kindly communication, but by the very special help which he generously gave me for this collection.

The second volume completes the collection of games on the lines already laid down. It has taken much more space than I originally intended, and I was compelled to add some important variants to the first volume, sent to me during the compilation of the second. I have explained in the memoir that the two volumes practically contain all that is to be collected, all, that is to say, of real importance.

The memoir seeks to show what important evidence is to be derived from separate study of the Traditional Games of England. That games of all classes are shown to contain evidence of ancient custom and belief is remarkable testimony to the anthropological methods of studying folk-lore, which I have followed. The memoir fills a considerable space, although it contains only the analytical portion of what was to have been a comprehensive study of both the analytical and comparative sides of the questions. Dr. Gregor had kindly promised to help me with the study of foreign[vi] parallels to British Games, but before his death it became apparent that this branch of the subject would almost need a separate treatise, and his death decided me to leave it untouched. I do not underrate its importance, but I am disposed to think that the survey I have given of the British evidence will not be materially shaken by the study of the comparative evidence, which will now be made the easier.

I ought perhaps to add, that the “Memoir” at the end of this volume was read as a paper at the evening meeting of the Folk Lore Society, on March 16th, 1898.

I have again to thank my many kind correspondents for their help in collecting the different versions of the games.

A. B. G.

24 Dorset Square, N.W.


[vii]

LIST OF AUTHORITIES
ADDENDUM TO VOL. I.

ENGLAND.
Bedfordshire
  Bedford Mrs. Haddon.
Berkshire
  Welford Mrs. S. Batson.
Buckinghamshire
  Buckingham Midland Garner.
Cambridgeshire Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes.
  Barrington, Girton Dr. A. C. Haddon.
  Cambridge Mrs. Haddon.
Cornwall Miss I. Barclay.
Derbyshire Miss Youngman, Long Ago, vol. i.
Devonshire Miss Chase.
  Chudleigh Knighton Henderson’s Folk-lore of the Northern Counties of England.
Dorsetshire
  Broadwinsor Folk-lore Journal, vol. vii.
Gloucestershire Northall’s English Folk Rhymes.
Hampshire
  Gambledown Mrs. Pinsent.
Hertfordshire
  Harpenden, Stevenage Mrs. Lloyd.
Huntingdonshire
  St. Neots Miss Lumley.
Kent Miss L. Broadwood.
Lancashire
  Manchester Miss Dendy.
  Liverpool Mrs. Harley.
Leicestershire Leicestershire County Folk-lore.
Lincolnshire
  Brigg Miss J. Barker.
  Spilsby Rev. R. Cracroft.
London Dr. Haddon, A. Nutt, Mrs. Gomme.
  Blackheath Mr. M. L. Rouse.
  Hoxton Rev. S. D. Headlam.
  Marylebone Mrs. Gomme.
Middlesex Mrs. Pocklington-Coltman.
Norfolk[viii] Mrs. Haddon.
  Hemsby Mrs. Haddon.
Northumberland Hon. J. Abercromby.
Oxfordshire Miss L. Broadwood.
Staffordshire Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes.
  Wolstanton Miss Bush.
Suffolk Mrs. Haddon.
  Woolpit, near Haughley Mr. M. L. Rouse.
Surrey
  Ash Mrs. Gomme.
Sussex
  Lewes Miss Kimber.
Worcestershire
  Upton on Severn Miss. L. Broadwood.
Yorkshire Miss E. Cadman.
SCOTLAND.
Notes and Queries. Pennant’s Voyage to the Hebrides.
Aberdeenshire
  Aberdeen Mr. M. L. Rouse.
  Aberdeen Training College Rev. Dr. Gregor.
  Corgarff, Fraserburgh, Meiklefolla,
Rosehearty, Tyrie
Rev. Dr. Gregor.
Argyllshire
  Connell Ferry, near Oban Miss Harrison.
Banffshire
  Cullen, Macduff Rev. Dr. Gregor.
Berwickshire A. M. Bell (Antiquary, vol. xxx.).
Elgin and Nairn
  Dyke Rev. Dr. Gregor.
  Strichen
Forfarshire
  Forfar Rev. Dr. Gregor.
Kincardineshire
  Banchory Rev. Dr. Gregor.
Kircudbrightshire
  Auchencairn Miss M. Haddon.
Dr. A. C. Haddon.
  Crossmichael Rev. Dr. Gregor.
  Galloway Mr. J. G. Carter.
  Dalry
  Kirkcudbright Mr. J. Lawson.
  Laurieston
  New Galloway Rev. Dr. Gregor.
Linlithgowshire
  Linlithgow Mrs. Jamieson.
Perthshire
  Auchterarder Miss E. S. Haldane.
  Perth Rev. Dr. Gregor.
Ross-shire[ix] Rev. Dr. Gregor.
Wigtonshire
  Port William School Rev. Dr. Gregor.
IRELAND.
Carleton’s Stories of Irish Peasantry.
Cork
  Cork Mr. I. J. Dennachy.
Down
  St. Andrews Miss H. E. Harvey.
Dublin
  Dublin Mrs. Coffey.
  Howth Miss H. E. Harvey.
Kerry
  Kerry I. J. Dennachy.
  Waterville Mrs. B. B. Green.
Leitrim
  Kiltubbrid Mr. L. L. Duncan.
Waterford
  Waterford Miss H. E. Harvey.
WALES.
Roberts’ Cambrian Popular Antiquities.


[xi]

LIST OF GAMES


ADDENDA


ANALYSIS OF “MEMOIR

Children’s games, a definite branch of folk-lore—Nature of material for the study—Games fall into one of two sections—Classification of the games—Under customs contained in them—Under implements of play—Skill and chance games—Importance of classification—Early custom contained in skill and chance games—In diagram games—Tabu in game of “Touch”—Methods of playing the games—Characteristics of line form—Of circle forms—Of individual form—Of the arch forms—Of winding-up form—Contest games—War-cry used in contest games—Early marriage customs in games of line form—Marriage by capture—By purchase—Without love or courtship—Games formerly played at weddings—Disguising the bride—Hiring servants game—Marriage customs in circle games—Courtship precedes marriage—Marriage connected with water custom—“Crying for a young man” announcing a want—Marriage formula—Approval of friends necessary—Housewifely duties mentioned—Eating of food by bride and bridegroom necessary—Young man’s necessity for a wife—Kiss in the ring—Harvest customs in games—Occupations in games—Funeral customs in games—Use of rushes in games—Sneezing action in game—Connection of spirit of dead person with trees—Perambulation of boundaries—Animals represented—Ballads sung to a dance—Individual form games—Hearth worship—Objection to giving light from a fire—Child-stealing by witch—Obstacles in path when pursuing witch—Contest between animals—Ghosts in games—Arch form of game—Contest between leaders of parties—Foundation sacrifice in games—Encircling a church—Well worship in games—Tug-of-war games—Alarm bell ringing—Passing under a yoke—Creeping through holed stones in games—Under earth sods—Customs in “winding up” games—Tree worship in games—Awaking the earth spirit—Serpentine dances—Burial of maiden—Guessing, a primitive element in games—Dramatic classification—Controlling force which has preserved custom in games—Dramatic faculty in mankind—Child’s faculty for dramatic action—Observation of detail—Children’s games formerly an amusement of adults—Dramatic power in savages—Dramatic dances among the savage and semi-civilised—Summary and conclusion.


[1]

CHILDREN’S GAMES

Oats and Beans and Barley

[Play version 1, version 2]

Music Oats and Beans and Barley Madeley

—Madeley, Shropshire (Miss Burne).

[2]

[Play]

Music Oats and Beans and Barley Northants

Northants Notes and Queries, ii. 161 (R. S. Baker)

[Play]

Music Oats and Beans and Barley Sporle

—Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Matthews).

I.

Oats and beans and barley grow!
Oats and beans and barley grow!
Do you or I or any one know
How oats and beans and barley grow?
First the farmer sows his seed,
Then he stands and takes his ease,
Stamps his foot, and claps his hands,
Then turns round to view the land.
Waiting for a partner, waiting for a partner!
Open the ring and take one in!
Now you are married you must obey,
You must be true to all you say,
[3] You must be kind, you must be good,
And help your wife to chop the wood!

—Much Wenlock (Burne’s Shropshire Folklore, p. 508).

II.

Oats and beans and barley grow!
Does you or I or any one know
Where oats and beans and barley grow?
So the farmer sows his seed;
So he stands and takes his ease;
Stamps his foot and claps his hands,
And turns him round to view the lands.
Waiting for a partner! waiting for a partner!
Now young couple you must obey,
You must be true in all you say,
You must be wise and very good,
And help your wife to chop the wood.

—Monton, Lancashire (Miss Dendy).

III.

Does you or I, or anie one knowe
Where oates and beanes and barlie growe?
Where oates and beanes and barlie growe?
The farmer comes and sowes ye seede,
Then he standes and takes hys ease,
Stamps hys foote, and slappes hys hand,
And turnes hym rounde to viewe ye land.
Waiting for a partner,
Waiting for a partner,
Open the ringe and take mee in,
Make haste and choose youre partner.
Now you’re married you must obey,
Must bee true to alle you saye,
Must bee kinde and verie goode,
And helpe your wyfe to choppe ye woode.

—Raunds (Northants Notes and Queries, i. 163).

IV.

Oats and beans and barley grows,
You or I or any one knows,
You or I or any one knows,
Where oats and beans and barley grows.
[4] Thus the farmer sows his seed,
Stamps his feet and claps his hands,
And turns around to view the land.
Waiting for a partner,
Waiting for a partner,
Now you are married, &c.
[same as Much Wenlock.]

—East Kirkby, Lincolnshire (Miss K. Maughan).

V.

Oats, beans, and barley grows,
You or I or any one knows.
Thus the farmer sows his seed,
Thus he stands and takes his ease,
Stamps his feet and folds his hands,
And turns him round to view the lands.
Oh! waitin’ for a partner,
Waitin’ for a partner.
Now you’re married, &c.
[same as Much Wenlock.]

—Winterton (Miss Fowler).

VI.

Oats and wheat and barley grows,
You and I and every one knows
Where oats and wheat and barley grows.
As the farmer sows his seed,
Folds his arms and takes his ease,
Stamps his feet and claps his hands,
And turns him round to view the land.
Waiting for a partner,
Waiting for a partner,
Waiting for a partner,
To open the ring
And take one in.
Now you’re married, &c.
[same as Much Wenlock.]

—Tean, North Staffs. (Miss Keary).

[5]

VII.

Oats and beans and barley grow,
You and I and every one know;
You and I and every one know
That oats and beans and barley grow.
Thus the farmer sows his seed,
Thus he stands and takes his ease,
Stamps his foot and claps his hands,
And turns him round to view the land.
Waiting for a partner,
Waiting for a partner.
Now you’re married you must obey, &c.
[same as Much Wenlock.]

—Brigg, Lincolnshire (Miss Barker).

VIII.

Oats and beans and barley-corns, you or I or any one else,
You or I or any one else, oats or beans or barley-corns;
Thus the farmer sows his seed,
Thus he stands and takes his ease,
Stamps his foot, and claps his hands,
And turns him round to view the land.
Waiting for a partner, waiting for a partner;
Open the ring and take one in,
Waiting for a partner.
Now you’re married, &c.
[same as Much Wenlock.]

—Nottingham (Miss E. A. Winfield).

IX.

Oats and beans, barley and groats,
Oats and beans, barley and groats;
You, nor I, nor anybody knows
How oats and beans and barley grows.
Thus the farmer sows his seed,
Thus he stands and takes his feed,
Stamps his foot and claps his hand,
And turns around to view the land.
Waiting for a partner, waiting for a partner.
Slip the ring, and take one in,
And kiss her when you get her in;
[6] Now that you’re married you must agree,
You must be kind to all you see;
You must be kind, you must be good,
And help your man [wife] to chop the wood.

—Isle of Man (A. W. Moore).

X.

Wuts and beäns and barley graws,
As you and I and every one knaws.
.......
Waätin’ for a pardner.
Fust the farmer saws his seäds,
Then he stands and taäke his eäse,
Stomps his feät and clops his hands,
And turns him round to view his lands.
Waätin’ for a pardner.
Now you’re married you must obaäy;
Must be trewe to all you saäy;
Must be kind and must be good,
And help your wife to chop the wood.
Waätin’ for a pardner.

—Spilsby, N. Lincs. (Rev. R. Cracroft).

XI.

Oats and beans and barley corn,
Oats and beans and barley corn;
You and I and nobody else,
But oats and beans and barley corn.
As the farmer sows his seed,
As he stands to take us in,
Stamps his feet and claps his hands,
Turns around to field and lands.
Waiting for a partner,
Waiting for a partner,
Open the gate and let her come out,
And see the one you love the best.
Now we’re merry and wish you joy,
First the girl, and then the boy,
Seven years after, seven years past,
Kiss one another and go to your class.

—Hampshire (Miss Mendham).

[7]

XII.

Where the wheat and barley grows,
You and I and nobody knows,
Where the wheat and barley grows,
You and I and nobody knows.
As the farmer sows his seed,
As he stands and takes his ease,
Stamps his foot and claps his hand,
Turns around to view the land.
Waiting for a partner,
Waiting for a partner.
Open the ring, take her in,
Kiss her when you get her in.
Now you’re married you must be good,
To make your husband chop the wood.

—Cowes, Isle of Wight (Miss E. Smith).

XIII.

Oats and beans and barley corns,
You nor I nor any one knows;
You nor I nor any one knows
How oats and beans and barley grows.
As the sower sows his seed,
As he stands he takes his ease,
Stamps his foot and claps his hands,
And turns him round to view the land.
Waiting for a partner,
Open the ring and take one in.
Now you’re married, &c.
[same as Much Wenlock.]

—Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire (Miss Youngman).

XIV.

Hop or beans or barley corn,
You or I or any one all:
First the farmer sows his seed,
Then he stands and takes his ease;
He stamped his foot and he clapped his hand,
And turned around the bugle land,
Waiting for a partner, a partner, a partner,
He opened the ring and called one in,
And now he’s got a partner.
[8] Now you’re married we wish you good joy,
First the girl and then the boy;
Love one another like sister and brother,
And pray each couple to kiss together.

—Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Matthews).

XV.

See the farmer sow his seed,
See he stands and takes them in,
Stamps his foot and claps his hand,
And turns him round to view the land.
O! waiting for a partner,
O! waiting for a partner,
Open the ring and take one in.
Now you’re married, &c.
[same as Much Wenlock.]

—Earls Heaton, Yorks. (H. Hardy).

XVI.

A waitin’ fur a pardner,
A waitin’ fur a pardner,
You an’ I an’ ev’ry one knows
How whoats an’ beans an’ barley grows.
Fost tha farmer saws ’is seeds,
Then he stans’ an’ teks ’is ease,
Stamps ’is feet an’ claps ’is ’ands,
And turns him round to view tha lands.
A waitin’ fur a pardner,
A waitin’ fur a pardner,
You an’ I an’ iv’ry one knows
How whoats an’ beans an’ barley grows.
Now you’re married, &c.
[same as Much Wenlock.]

—Boston, Lincs. (Notes and Queries, 7th series, xii. 493).

XVII.

Oats and beans and barley grows
Not so fine as the farmer sows,
You nor I nor nobody knows
Oats and beans and barley grows.
This is the way the farmer sows,
The farmer sows, the farmer sows,
[9] This is the way the farmer sows.
Here he stands and takes his ease,
Stamps his foot and claps his hands,
And turns around to view the land,
Waiting for a partner, waiting for a partner,
Open the ring and take one in,
And kiss him (or her) as he (or she) enters.

—Aberdeen Training College (Rev. W. Gregor).

XVIII.

Waitin’ for a partner,
Waitin’ for a partner,
Open the ring and take one in,
And now you’ve got your partner.
Now you’re married, &c.
[same as Much Wenlock.]

—Wakefield, Yorks. (Miss Fowler).

(c) The players form a ring by joining hands, with one child, usually a boy, standing in the centre. The ring walks round, singing the first four lines. At the fifth line the ring stands still, and each child suits her actions to the words sung. At “the farmer sows his seed,” each player pretends to scatter seed, then they all fold their arms and “stand at ease,” “stamp their feet,” and “clap their hands” together in order, and finally each child turns herself round. Then they again clasp hands and move round the centre child, who at the words “open the ring and take one in” chooses and takes into the ring with him one player from it. These two stand together while the ring sings the marriage formula. At the end the child first in the centre joins the ring; the second child remaining in the centre, and in her turn choosing another from the ring.

This is the (Much Wenlock) way of playing. Among the variants there are some slight differences. In the Wakefield version (Miss Fowler), a little boy is placed in the centre of the ring first, he chooses a girl out of the ring at the singing of the third line and kisses her. They stand hand in hand while the others sing the next verse. In the Tean version (Miss Keary), the children turn round with their backs to the one[10] in the centre, and stand still when singing “Waiting for a partner.” In the Hampshire (Miss Mendham), Brigg (Miss Barker), and Winterton (Miss Peacock) versions, the children dance round instead of walking. The Rev. Mr. Roberts, in a version from Kirkby-on-the-Bain (N.W. Lincolnshire), says: “There is no proper commencement of this song. The children begin with ‘A waitin’ fur a pardner,’ or ‘Oats and beans,’ just as the spirit moves them, but I think ‘A waitin’’ is the usual beginning here.” In a Sheffield version sent by Mr. S. O. Addy, four young men stand in the middle of the ring with their hands joined. These four dance round singing the first lines. After “views his lands” these four choose sweethearts, or partners, from the ring. The eight join hands and sing the remaining four lines. The four young men then join the larger ring, and the four girls remain in the centre and choose partners next time. The words of this version are almost identical with those of Shropshire. In the Isle of Man version (A. W. Moore), when the kiss is given all the children forming the ring clap their hands. There is no kissing in the Shropshire and many other versions of this game, and the centre child does not in all cases sing the words.

(d) Other versions have been sent from Winterton, Leadenham, and Lincoln, by Miss Peacock, and from Brigg, while the Northamptonshire Notes and Queries, ii. 161, gives another by Mr. R. S. Baker. The words are practically the same as the versions printed above from Lincolnshire and Northants. The words of the Madeley version are the same as the Much Wenlock (No. 1). The Nottingham tune (Miss Youngman), and three others sent with the words, are the same as the Madeley tune printed above.

(e) This interesting game is essentially of rural origin, and probably it is for this reason that Mr. Newell did not obtain any version from England for his Games and Songs of American Children, but his note that it “seems, strangely enough, to be unknown in Great Britain” (p. 80), is effectually disproved by the examples I have collected. There is no need in this case for an analysis of the rhymes. The variants fall into three[11] categories: (1) the questioning form of the words, (2) the affirming form, and (3) the indiscriminate form, as in Nos. xvi. to xviii., and of these I am disposed to consider the first to represent the earliest idea of the game.

If the crops mentioned in the verses be considered, it will be found that the following table represents the different localities:

  North-
ants.
Lanca-
shire.
Lin-
coln-
shire.
Shrop-
shire.
Staf-
ford-
shire.
Not-
ting-
ham.
Isle
of
Man.
Hants. Isle
of
Wight.
Nor-
folk.
Oats + + + + + + + + ... ...
Beans + + + + ... + + + ... +
Barley + + + + + + + + + +
Wheat ... ... ... ... + ... ... ... + ...
Groats ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
Hop ... ... ... ... ... ... + ... ... +

The first three are the more constant words, but it is curious that Norfolk, not a hop county, should have adopted that grain into the game. Hops are grown there on rare occasions, and it is probable that the game may have been introduced from a hop county.

In Northants Notes and Queries, i. 163-164, Mr. R. S. Baker gives a most interesting account of the game (No. iii.) as follows:—“Having been recently invited to join the Annual Christmas Entertainment of the Raunds Church Choir, I noticed that a very favourite pastime of the evening was one which I shall call ‘Choosing Partners.’ The game is played thus: The young men and maidens join hands indiscriminately, and form a ring; within the ring stand a lad and a lass; then they all step round the way the sun goes, to a plain tune. During the singing of the two last lines [of the first part] they all disjoin hands, stop and stamp their feet and clap their hands and turn right round . . . then join hands [while singing the second verse]. The two in the middle at [‘Open the ring’] choose each of them a partner of the opposite sex, which they do by pointing to the one chosen; then they continue round, to the words [sang in next verse], the two pairs of partners crossing hands, first right and then left, and revolving[12] opposite ways alternately. The march round is temporarily suspended for choosing partners. The partners salute [at ‘Now you’re married’], or, rather, each lad kisses his chosen lass; the first two partners go out, the game continues as before, and every one in the ring has chosen and been chosen, and every lad has saluted every lass. The antiquity of the pastime is evidenced by its not mentioning wheat; wheat was in remote times an exceptional crop—the village people lived on oatmeal and barley bread. It also points, possibly, to a period when most of the land lay in grass. Portions of the open fields were cultivated, and after a few years of merciless cropping were laid down again to recuperate. ‘Helping to chop the wood’ recalls the time when coal was not known as fuel. I am indebted for the correct words of the above to a Raunds maiden, Miss B. Finding, a native of the village, who kindly wrote them down for me.” Mr. Baker does not say how Miss Finding got the peculiar spelling of this version. It would be interesting to know whether this form of spelling was used as indicative of the pronunciation of the children, or of the supposed antiquity of the game. The Rev. W. D. Sweeting, also writes at the same reference, “The same game is played at the school feast at Maxey; but the words, as I have taken them down, vary from those given above. We have no mention of any crop except barley, which is largely grown in the district; and the refrain, repeated after the second and sixth lines, is ‘waiting for the harvest.’ A lady suggested to me that the two first lines of the conclusion are addressed to the bride of the game, and the two last, which in our version run, ‘You must be kind and very good,’ apply to the happy swain.”

This interesting note not only suggests, as Mr. Baker and Mr. Sweeting say, the antiquity of the game and its connection with harvest at a time when the farms were all laid in open fields, but it points further to the custom of courtship and marriage being the outcome of village festivals and dances held after spring sowing and harvest gatherings. It seems in Northamptonshire not to have quite reached the stage of the pure children’s game before it was taken note of by[13] Mr. Baker, and this is an important illustration of the descent of children’s games from customs. As soon as it has become a child’s game, however, the process of decadence sets in. Thus, besides verbal alterations, the lines relating to farming have dropped out of the Wakefield version. It is abundantly clear from the more perfect game-rhymes that the waiting for a partner is an episode in the harvest customs, as if, when the outdoor business of the season was finished, the domestic element becomes the next important transaction in the year’s proceedings. The curious four-lined formula applicable to the duties of married life may indeed be a relic of those rhythmical formulæ which are found throughout all early legal ceremonies. A reference to Mr. Ralston’s section on marriage songs, in his Songs of the Russian People, makes it clear that marriages in Russia were contracted at the gatherings called Besyedas (p. 264), which were social gatherings held during October after the completion of the harvest; and the practice is, of course, not confined to Russia.

It is also probable that this game may have preserved the tradition of a formula sung at the sowing of grain, in order to propitiate the earth goddess to promote and quicken the growth of the crops. Turning around or bowing to fields and lands and pantomimic actions in imitation of those actually required, are very general in the history of sympathetic magic among primitive peoples, as reference to Mr. Frazer’s Golden Bough will prove; and taking the rhyming formula together with the imitative action, I am inclined to believe that in this game we may have the last relics of a very ancient agricultural rite.

Obadiah

The players stand in a row. The child at the head of the row says, “My son Obadiah is going to be married, twiddle your thumbs,” suiting the action to the word by clasping the fingers of both hands together, and rapidly “twiddling” the thumbs. The next child repeats both words and actions, and so on all along the row, all the players continuing the “twiddling.” The top child repeats the words, adding (very gravely), “Fall on one knee,” the whole row follows suit as before (still[14] twiddling their thumbs). The top child repeats from the beginning, adding, “Do as you see me,” and the rest of the children follow suit, as before. Just as the last child repeats the words, the top child falls on the child next to her, and all go down like a row of ninepins. The whole is said in a sing-song way. This game was, so far as I can ascertain, truly East Anglian. I have never been able to hear of it in other parts of England or Wales.—Bexley Heath (Miss Morris). Also played in London.

See “Solomon.”

Odd or Even

A boys’ game, played with buttons, marbles, and halfpence. Peacock’s Manley and Corringham Glossary; also mentioned in Brogden’s Provincial Words (Lincolnshire). Mr. Patterson says (Antrim and Down Glossary)—A boy shuts up a few small objects, such as marbles, in one hand, and asks his opponent to guess if the number is odd or even. He then either pays or receives one, according as the guess is right or wrong. Strutt describes this game in the same way, and says it was played in ancient Greece and Rome. Newell (Games, p. 147) also mentions it.

See “Prickie and Jockie.”

Odd-man

A game played with coins. Brogden’s Provincial Words, Lincolnshire.

Old Dame

I.

I’ll away to t’beck to wash my neck,
When I get there, I’ll ask t’ould dame what o’clock it is?
It’s one, and you’ll be hanged at two.
I’ll away to t’beck to wash my neck,
When I get there, I’ll ask t’ould dame what o’clock it is?
It’s two, and you’ll be hanged at three.

[This is repeated until the old woman says, “It’s eleven, and you’ll be hanged at twelve.”]

—Yorkshire (Miss E. Cadman).

[15]

II.

To Beccles, to Beccles,
To buy a bunch of nettles,
Pray, old dame, what’s o’clock?
One, going for two.
To Beccles, to Beccles,
To buy a bunch of nettles,
Pray, old dame, what’s o’clock?
Two, going for three, &c.

[And so on until “eleven going for twelve” is said, then the following:—]

Where have you been?
To the wood.
What for?
To pick up sticks.
What for?
To light my fire.
What for?
To boil my kettle.
What for?
To cook some of your chickens.

—Halliwell, Nursery Rhymes, p. 229.

(b) One child sits upon a little stool. The others march round her in single file, taking hold of each other’s frocks. They say in a sing-song manner the first two lines, and the old woman answers by telling them the hour. The questions and answers are repeated until the old woman says, “It’s eleven, and you’ll be hanged at twelve.” Then the children all run off in different directions and the old woman runs after them. Whoever she catches becomes old woman, and the game is continued.—Yorkshire (Miss E. Cadman). In the version given from Halliwell there is a further dialogue, it will be seen, before the old woman chases.

(c) The use of the Yorkshire word “beck” (“stream”) in the first variant suggests that this may be the original version from which the “Beccles” version has been adapted, a particular place being substituted for the general. The game somewhat resembles “Fox and Goose.”

[16]

Old Roger is Dead

[Play]

Tune Old Roger is Dead Earls Heaton

—Earls Heaton (H. Hardy).

[Play]

Tune Old Roger is Dead Sporle

—Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Matthews).

[Play]

Tune Old Roger is Dead Bath

—Bath (A. B. Gomme).

I.

Old Rogers is dead and is laid in his grave,
Laid in his grave,
Laid in his grave;
Old Rogers is dead and is laid in his grave,
He, hi! laid in his grave.
There grew an old apple tree over his head,
Over his head,
Over his head;
There grew an old apple tree over his head,
He, hi! over his head.
The apples grew ripe, and they all fell off,
They all fell off,
They all fell off;
The apples grew ripe, and they all fell off,
He, hi! they all fell off.
There came an old woman a-picking them up,
Picking them up,
Picking them up;
There came an old woman a-picking them up,
He, hi! picking them up.
[17] Old Rogers jumps up and he gives her a knock,
Gives her a knock,
Gives her a knock;
Old Rogers jumps up and he gives her a knock,
He, hi! gives her a knock.
He makes the old woman go hipperty hop,
Hipperty hop,
Hipperty hop;
He makes the old woman go hipperty hop,
He, hi! hipperty hop.

—Earls Heaton, Yorks. (Herbert Hardy).

II.

Old Roger is dead, and lies in his grave, um, ah! lies in his grave;
There grew an old apple tree over his head, um, ah! over his head.
The apples are ripe and ready to drop, um, ah! ready to drop;
There came an old woman, picking them up.

—Hanbury, Staffs. (Miss Edith Hollis).

III.

Sir Roger is dead and is low in his grave,
Is low in his grave, is low in his grave;
Sir Roger is dead and is low in his grave,
Hey hie! is low in his grave.
They planted an apple tree over his head,
Over his head, over his head;
They planted an apple tree over his head,
Hey hie! over his head.
When they grew ripe they all fell off,
All fell off, all fell off;
When they grew ripe they all fell off,
Hey hie! all fell off.
There came an old woman and gathered them up,
Gathered them up, gathered them up;
There came an old woman and gathered them up,
Hey hie! gathered them up.
[18] Sir Roger got up and gave her a nudge,
Gave her a nudge, gave her a nudge;
Sir Roger got up and gave her a nudge,
Hey hie! gave her a nudge.
Which made her go off with a skip and a hop,
With a skip and a hop, with a skip and a hop;
Which made her go off with a skip and a hop,
Hey hie! with a skip and a hop.

—Ordsall, Nottinghamshire (Miss Matthews).

IV.

Sir Roger is dead and he’s laid in his grave,
Laid in his grave, laid in his grave;
Sir Roger is dead and he’s laid in his grave,
Heigh-ho! laid in his grave.
There grew a fine apple tree over his head,
Over his head, over his head;
There grew a fine apple tree over his head,
Heigh-ho! over his head.
The apples were ripe and they all fell off,
All fell off, all fell off;
The apples were ripe and they all fell off,
Heigh-ho! all fell off.
There came an old woman and picked them all up,
Picked them all up, picked them all up;
There came an old woman and picked them all up,
Heigh-ho! picked them all up.
Sir Roger jumped up and he gave her a push,
Gave her a push, gave her a push;
Sir Roger jumped up and he gave her a push,
Heigh-ho! gave her a push.
Which made the old woman go hickety-hock,
Hickety-hock, hickety-hock;
Which made the old woman go hickety-hock,
Heigh-ho! hickety-hock.

—Brigg, Lincolnshire (Miss J. Barker).

[19]

V.

Sir Roger is dead and laid in his grave,
Hee, haw! laid in his grave.
They planted an apple tree over his head,
Hee, haw! over his head.
The apples are ripe and ready to fall,
Hee, haw! ready to fall.
There came a high wind and blew them all off,
Hee, haw! blew them all off.
There came an old woman to pick them all up,
Hee, haw! pick them all up.
There came a little bird and gave her a tap,
Hee, haw! gave her a tap.
Which made the old woman go hipperty hop,
Hee, haw! hipperty hop.

—Tong, Shropshire (Miss Burne).

VI.

Poor Johnnie is dead and he lies in his grave,
Lies in his grave, lies in his grave;
Poor Johnnie is dead and he lies in his grave,
He-ho! lies in his grave.
They planted an apple tree over his head,
Over his head, over his head;
They planted an apple tree over his head,
He-ho! over his head.
The apples got ripe and they all fell off,
All fell off, all fell off;
The apples got ripe and they all fell off,
He-ho! all fell off.
Here comes an old woman a-picking them up,
A-picking them up, a-picking them up;
Here comes an old woman a-picking them up,
He-ho! a-picking them up.
Poor Johnnie got up and gave her a thump,
And gave her a thump, and gave her a thump;
Poor Johnnie got up and gave her a thump,
He-ho! gave her a thump.
[20] He made the old woman go hippity-hop,
Hippity-hop, hippity-hop!
He made the old woman go hippity-hop,
He-ho! hippity-hop!

—Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Matthews).

VII.

Cock Robin is dead and has gone to his grave;
There grew on old apple tree over his head;
The apples were ripe and ready to drop,
O my, flippity flop!
There came an old woman to pick them all up,
Cock Robin rose up and gave her a knock,
And made the old woman go flippity flop!
O my, flippity flop!

—Deptford, Kent (Miss Chase).

VIII.

Old Roger is dead and gone to his grave,
H’m ha! gone to his grave.
They planted an apple tree over his head,
H’m ha! over his head.
The apples were ripe and ready to fall,
H’m ha! ready to fall.
There came an old woman and picked them all up,
H’m ha! picked them all up.
Old Roger jumped up and gave her a knock,
H’m ha! gave her a knock.
Which made the old woman go hippity hop,
H’m ha! hippity hop!

—Bath, from a Nursemaid (A. B. Gomme).

IX.

Cock Robin is dead and lies in his grave,
Hum-ha! lies in his grave.
Place an old apple tree over his head,
Hum-ha! over his head.
When they were ripe and ready to fall,
Hum-ha! ready to fall.
[21] There comes an old woman a-picking them up,
Hum-ha! a-picking them up.
Cock Robin jumps up and gives her a good knock,
Hum-ha! gives her a good knock.

—Derbyshire (Folk-lore Journal, i. 385).

X.

Poor Roger is dead and lies low in his grave,
Low in his grave, low in his grave,
E. I. low in his grave.
There grew an old apple tree over his head,
Over his head, over his head,
E. I. over his head.
When the apples were ripe they all fell off,
All fell off, all fell off,
E. I. all fell off.
There was an old woman came picking them up,
Picking them up, picking them up,
E. I. picking them up.
Poor Roger jumped up and gave her a nudge,
Gave her a nudge, gave her a nudge,
E. I. gave her a nudge.
Which made the old woman go lippety lop,
Lippety lop, lippety lop,
E. I. lippety lop.

—Newark, Nottinghamshire (S. O. Addy).

XI.

Poor Toby is dead and he lies in his grave,
He lies in his grave, he lies in his grave;
They planted an apple tree over his head,
Over his head, over his head.
The apples grew ripe and beginning to fall,
Beginning to fall, beginning to fall;
The apples grew ripe and beginning to fall,
Beginning to fall, beginning to fall.
There came an old woman picking them up,
Picking them up, picking them up;
Poor Toby rose up and he gave her a kick,
Gave her a kick, gave her a kick.
[22] And the poor old woman went hipperty hop,
Hipperty hop, hipperty hop;
And the poor old woman went hipperty hop,
Hipperty hop along.

—Belfast (W. H. Patterson).

XII.

There was an old woman we buried her here,
Buried her here, buried her here;
There was an old woman we buried her here,
He—ho! buried her here.

—Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Matthews).

(b) A ring is formed by children joining hands; one child, who represents Sir Roger, lays down on the ground in the centre of the ring with his head covered with a handkerchief. The ring stands still and sings the verses. When the second verse is begun, a child from the ring goes into the centre and stands by Sir Roger, to represent the apple tree. At the fourth verse another child goes into the ring, and pretends to pick up the fallen apples. Then the child personating Sir Roger jumps up and knocks the child personating the old woman, beating her out of the ring. She goes off hobbling on one foot, and pretending to be hurt. In the Ordsall game the children dance round when singing the verses instead of standing still, the action of the game being the same. In the Tong version, the action seems to be done by the ring. Miss Burne says the children go through various movements, finally all limping round. The Newark (Notts), and Bath versions are played as first described, Poor Roger being covered with a cloak, or an apron, and laying down in the middle of the ring. A Southampton version has additional features—the ring of children keep their arms crossed, and lay their hands on their chests, bending their heads and bodies backwards and forwards, in a mourning attitude, while they sing; in addition to which, in the Bath version, the child who personates the apple tree during the singing of the third verse raises her arms above her head, and then lets them drop to her sides to show the falling apples.

(c) Various as the game-rhymes are in word detail, they[23] are practically the same in incident. One remarkable feature stands out particularly, namely, the planting a tree over the head of the dead, and the spirit-connection which this tree has with the dead. The robbery of the fruit brings back the dead Sir Roger to protect it, and this must be his ghost or spirit. In popular superstition this incident is not uncommon. Thus Aubrey in his Remains of Gentilisme, notes that “in the parish of Ockley some graves have rose trees planted at the head and feet,” and then proceeds to say, “They planted a tree or a flower on the grave of their friend, and they thought the soule of the party deceased went into the tree or plant” (p. 155). In Scotland a branch falling from an oak, the Edgewell tree, standing near Dalhousie Castle, portended mortality to the family (Dalyell, Darker Superstitions, p. 504). Compare with this a similar superstition noted in Carew’s History of Cornwall, p. 325, and Mr. Keary’s treatment of this cult in his Outlines of Primitive Belief, pp. 66-67. In folk-tales this incident also appears; the spirit of the dead enters the tree and resents robbery of its fruit, possession of which gives power over the soul or spirit of the dead.

The game is, therefore, not merely the acting of a funeral, but more particularly shows the belief that a dead person is cognisant of actions done by the living, and capable of resenting personal wrongs and desecration of the grave. It shows clearly the sacredness of the grave; but what, perhaps to us, is the most interesting feature, is the way in which the game is played. This clearly shows a survival of the method of portraying old plays. The ring of children act the part of “chorus,” and relate the incidents of the play. The three actors say nothing, only act their several parts in dumb show. The raising and lowering of the arms on the part of the child who plays “apple tree,” the quiet of “Old Roger” until he has to jump up, certainly show the early method of actors when details were presented by action instead of words. Children see no absurdity in being a “tree,” or a “wall,” “apple,” or animal. They simply are these things if the game demands it, and they think nothing of incongruities.

I do not, of course, suggest that children have preserved in[24] this game an old play, but I consider that in this and similar games they have preserved methods of acting and detail (now styled traditional), as given in an early or childish period of the drama, as for example in the mumming plays. Traditional methods of acting are discussed by Mr. Ordish, Folk-lore, ii. 334.

Old Soldier

One player personates an old soldier, and begs of all the other players in turn for left-off garments, or anything else he chooses. The formula still used at Barnes by children is, “Here comes an old soldier from the wars [or from town], pray what can you give him?” Another version is

Here comes an old soldier from Botany Bay,
Have you got anything to give him to-day.

—Liverpool (C. C. Bell).

The questioned child replying must be careful to avoid using the words, Yes! No! Nay! and Black, White, or Grey. These words are tabooed, and a forfeit is exacted every time one or other is used. The old soldier walks lame, and carries a stick. He is allowed to ask as many questions, talk as much as he pleases, and to account for his destitute condition.

(c) Some years ago when colours were more limited in number, it was difficult to promise garments for a man’s wear which were neither of these colours tabooed. Miss Burne (Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 526), in describing this game says, “The words Red or Blue are sometimes forbidden, as well as Yes or No,” and adds that “This favourite old game gives scope for great ingenuity on the part of the beggar, and ‘it seems not improbable’ (to use a time-honoured antiquarian phrase!) that the expression ‘To come the old soldier over a person’ may allude to it.” Halliwell (Nursery Rhymes, p. 224) describes the game as above.

Oliver, Oliver, follow the King!

Oliver, Oliver, follow the King!
Oliver, Oliver, last in the ring!
Jim Burguin wants a wife, and a wife he shall have,
Nelly he kissed at the back-cellar door,
Nelly made a pudding, she made it over sweet,
[25] She never stuck a knife in till he came home at night,
So next Monday morning is our wedding-day,
The bells they shall ring, and the music shall play!
Oliver, Oliver, follow the King! (da capo).

—Berrington (Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 508).

(b) The children form a ring and move round, singing the first two lines. Then they curtsey, or “douk down,” all together; the one who is last has to tell her sweetheart’s name. The other lines are then sung and the game is continued. The children’s names are mentioned as each one names his or her sweetheart.

This is apparently the game of which “All the Boys,” “Down in the Valley,” and “Mary Mixed a Pudding up,” are also portions.

One Catch-all

The words “Cowardy, cowardy custard” are repeated by children playing at this game when they advance towards the one who is selected to catch them, and dare or provoke her to capture them. Ray, Localisms, gives Costard, the head; a kind of opprobrious word used by way of contempt. Bailey gives Costead-head, a blockhead; thus elucidating this exclamation which may be interpreted, “You cowardly blockhead, catch me if you dare” (Baker’s Northamptonshire Glossary).

The words used were, as far as I remember,

Cowardy, cowardy custard, eat your father’s mustard,
Catch me if you can.

To compel a person to “eat” something disagreeable is a well-known form of expressing contempt. The rhyme was supposed to be very efficacious in rousing an indifferent or lazy player when playing “touch” (A. B. Gomme).

Oranges and Lemons

[Play]

Tune Oranges and Lemons London

[26]An older and more general version of the last five bars (the tail piece) is as follows:

[Play]

Tune Oranges and Lemons London, Alternative Ending

—London (A. B. Gomme).

[Play]

Tune Oranges and Lemons Yorkshire

—Yorkshire (H. Hardy).

[Play]

Tune Oranges and Lemons Sporle

—Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Matthews).

[27]

I.

Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement’s;
You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin’s;
When will you pay me,
Say the bells of Old Bailey;
When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch;
When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney;
I’m sure I don’t know,
Says the Great Bell of Bow.
Here comes a light to light you to bed;
Here comes a chopper to chop off your head;
The last, last, last, last man’s head.

—London (A. B. Gomme).

II.

Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement’s;
You owe me four farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin’s;
When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey;
When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch;
When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney;
I’m sure I don’t know,
Says the Great Bell of Bow.
Here comes a candle to light you to bed;
Here comes a chopper to chop off your head;
Last, last, last, last, last man’s head.

—Winterton and Leadenham, Lincolnshire; also Nottinghamshire (Miss M. Peacock).

III.

Oranges and lemons,
Says the bells of S. Clemen’s.
Brickdust and tiles,
Says the bells of S. Giles.
[28] You owe me five farthings,
Says the bells of S. Martin’s.
I do not know you,
Says the bells of S. Bow.
When will you pay me?
Says the bells of Old Bailey.
When I get rich,
Says the bells of Shoreditch.
Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
Here comes a chopper to chop off your head.

—Derbyshire (Folk-lore Journal, i. 386).

IV.

Oranges and lemons,
The bells of St. Clemen’s;
You owe me five farthings,
The bells of St. Martin’s;
When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey;
When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch;
When will that be?
Say the bells of Shorlea;
I don’t know,
Says the Great Bell Bow.
Here comes the candle to light you to bed,
Here comes the chop to chop off your head.
Chop, chop, chop, &c.

—Middlesex (Miss Winfield).

V.

Orange or lemon,
The bells of St. Clement’s [or the bells are a clemming].
I owe you five farthings,
And when shall I pay you,
To-day or to-morrow?
To-morrow will do.
Here come some great candles
To light you to bed,
Here come some great choppers
To chop off your head.
[29] Come under, come under,
Come run as you ought;
Come under, come under,
Until you are caught;
Then stand just behind us
And pull either way;
Which side pulls the strongest
That side wins the day.

—Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Matthews).

VI.

Oranges and lemons,
The bells of St. Clement’s.
I owe you three farthings,
When shall I pay you?
When I get rich.
Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
Here comes a hatchet to chop off your head.

—Brigg (from a Lincolnshire friend of Miss Barker).

VII.

Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clemen’s.
I owe you five farthins,
Say the bells of St. Martin’s.
When shall I pay you?
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
Thursday, Friday, Saturday,
Or Sunday?

—Symondsbury, Dorset (Folk-lore Journal, vii. 216).

VIII.

I owe you five farthings.
When will you pay me,
To-day or to-morrow?
Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
Here comes a chopper to chop off your head.

—Broadwinsor, Dorset (Folk-lore Journal, vii. 217).

IX.

Oranges and lemons, the bells of St. Clement’s [or St. Helen’s].
I owe you five farthings. And when will you pay me?
I’m sure I don’t know.
[30] Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
Here comes a chop’n bill to chop off your head—
Chop—chop—chop—chop.
[Or Here comes a chop’n bill to chop off the last man’s head.]

—Earls Heaton, Yorks. (Herbert Hardy).

X.

Lend me five shillings,
Said the bells of St. Helen’s.
When will you pay me?
Said the bells of St. Philip’s.
I do not know,
Said the Great Bell of Bold.
Ring a ding, ding,
Ring a ding, ding,
Ring a ding, ding, ding, ding.

—Earls Heaton (Herbert Hardy, as told him by A. K.).

XI.

Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St. Clement’s;
You owe me five farthings, and when will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.
When I grow rich, say the bells of Shoreditch.
And the last one that comes shall be chop, chop.

—Hersham, Surrey (Folk-lore Record, v. 86).

XII.

Orange and lemon,
Say the bells of St. Martin (or the bells of Sweet Lemon);
I owe you five farthings,
But when shall I pay you?
Here comes a candle
To light you to bed,
Here comes a hatchet
To chop off your head.

—Eckington, Derbyshire (S. O. Addy).

[31]

XIII.

Oranges and lemons,
The bells of St. Clement’s;
I owe you five farthings,
And when will you pay me?
Oh, that I can’t tell you;
Sim, Bim, bim, bow, bay.

—Settle, Yorks. (Rev. W. E. Sykes).

XIV.

Oranges or lemons,
The bells of St. Clement’s;
You owe me five farthings,
Pray, when will you pay me?
Here come the clappers to knock you down backwards, carwoo!

—Suffolk (Mrs. Haddon).

XV.

Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St. Clement’s;
Brick dust and tiles, say the bells of St. Giles;
You owe me three farthings, say the bells of St. Martin’s;
When will you pay me? say the bells of Old Bailey;
When I grow rich, say the bells of Shoreditch;
When will that be? say the bells of Stepney;
I’m sure I don’t know, says the Great Bell of Bow.

—Perth (Rev. W. Gregor).

XVI.

Pancakes and fritters,
Says the bells of St. Peter’s;
Where must we fry ’em?
Says the bells of Cold Higham;
In yonder land thurrow (furrow),
Says the bells of Wellingborough;
You owe me a shilling,
Says the bells of Great Billing;
When will you pay me?
Says the bells of Widdleton Cheney;
When I am able,
Say the bells at Dunstable;
That will never be,
[32] Says the bells at Coventry;
Oh, yes, it will,
Says Northampton Great Bell;
White bread and sop,
Says the bells at Kingsthorp;
Trundle a lantern,
Says the bells at Northampton.

—Northamptonshire (Baker’s Words and Phrases).

(c) This game is generally played as follows:

Two of the taller children stand facing each other, holding up their clasped hands. One is named Orange and the other Lemon. The other players, grasping one another’s dresses, run underneath the raised arms and round Orange, and then under the arms again and round Lemon, while singing the verses. The three concluding lines are sung by “Orange” and “Lemon” in a slow emphatic manner, and at the word “head” they drop their arms over one of the children passing between them, and ask her secretly whether she will be orange or lemon. The captive chooses her side, and stands behind whichever leader she selects, placing her arms round her waist. The game continues till every one engaged in it has ranged herself behind one or other of the chiefs. When the two parties are ranged a “tug of war” takes place until one of the parties breaks down, or is pulled over a given mark.

Playing Oranges and Lemons

[33]In the Middlesex version (Miss Winfield) the children form a ring and go round singing the verses, and apparently there is neither catching the “last man” nor the “tug.” Mr. Emslie says he has seen and played the game in Middlesex, and it always terminated with the cutting off the last man’s head. In the Symondsbury version the players drop their hands when they say “Sunday.” No tug is mentioned in the first Earls Heaton version of the game (Mr. Hardy). In the second version he says bells are represented by children. They should have in their hands, bells, or some article to represent them. All stand in a row. First, second, and third bells stand out in turn to sing. All rush for bells to sing chorus. Miss Barclay writes: The children of the Fernham and Longcot choir, playing on Christmas Eve, 1891, pulled across a handkerchief. In Monton, Lancashire, Miss Dendy says the game is played as elsewhere, but without words. In a Swaffham version (Miss Matthews), the girls sometimes call themselves “Plum pudding and roast beef,” or whatever fancy may suggest, instead of oranges and lemons. They join hands high enough for the others to pass under, which they do to a call of “Ducky, Ducky,” presently the hands come down and catch one, who is asked in confidence which she likes best. The game then proceeds in the usual way, one side trying to pull the other over a marked line. Oranges and lemons at Bocking, Essex, is an abbreviated variant of the rhyme printed by Halliwell (Folk-lore Record, iii., part II., 171). In Nottinghamshire, Miss Peacock says it is sometimes called “Tarts and Cheesecakes.” Moor (Suffolk Words) mentions “Oranges and Lemons” as played by both girls and boys, and adds, “I believe it is nearly the same as ‘Plum Pudding and Roast Beef.’” In the Suffolk version sent by Mrs. Haddon a new word is introduced, “carwoo.” This is the signal for one of the line to be caught. Miss Eddleston, Gainford, Durham, says this game is called

Through and through the shally go,
The last shall be taken.

Mr. Halliwell (Nursery Rhymes, No. cclxxxi.) adopts the verses entitled, “The Merry Bells of London,” from Gammer[34] Gurton’s Garland, 1783, as the origin of this game. In Aberdeen, Mr. M. L. Rouse tells me he has heard Scotch children apparently playing the same game, “Oranges and Lemons, ask, Which would you have, ‘A sack of corn or a sack of coals?’”

(d) This game indicates a contest between two opposing parties, and a punishment, and although in the game the sequence of events is not at all clear, the contest taking place after the supposed execution, these two events stand out very clearly as the chief factors. In the endeavour to ascertain who the contending parties were, one cannot but be struck with the significance of the bells having different saint’s names. Now the only places where it would be probable for bells to be associated with more than one saint’s name within the circuit of a small area are the old parish units of cities and boroughs. Bells were rung on occasions when it was necessary or advisable to call the people together. At the ringing of the “alarm bell” the market places were quickly filled by crowds of citizens; and by turning to the customs of these places in England, it will be found that contest games between parishes, and between the wards of parishes, were very frequent (see Gomme’s Village Community, pp. 241-243). These contests were generally conducted by the aid of the football, and in one or two cases, such as at Ludlow, the contest was with a rope, and, in the case of Derby, it is specially stated that the victors were announced by the joyful ringing of their parish bells. Indeed, Halliwell has preserved the “song on the bells of Derby on football morning” (No. clxix.) as follows:

Pancake and fritters,
Say All Saints and St. Peter’s;
When will the ball come,
Say the bells of St. Alkmun;
At two they will throw,
Says Saint Werabo;
O! very well,
Says little Michel.

This custom is quite sufficient to have originated the game, and the parallel which it supplies is evidence of the connection between the two. Oranges and lemons were, in all probability,[35] originally intended to mean the colours of the two contesting parties, and not fruits of those names. In contests between the people of a town and the authority of baron or earl, the adherents of each side ranged themselves under and wore the colours of their chiefs, as is now done by political partizans.

The rhymes are probably corrupted, but whether from some early cries or calls of the different parishes, or from sentences which the bells were supposed to have said or sung when tolled, it is impossible to say. The “clemming” of the bells in the Norfolk version (No. 5) may have originated “St. Clements,” and the other saints have been added at different times. On the other hand, the general similarity of the rhymes indicates the influence of some particular place, and, judging by the parish names, London seems to be that place. If this is so, the main incident of the rhymes may perhaps be due to the too frequent distribution of a traitor’s head and limbs among different towns who had taken up his cause. The exhibitions of this nature at London were more frequent than at any other place. The procession of a criminal to execution was generally accompanied by the tolling of bells, and by torches. It is not unlikely that the monotonous chant of the last lines, “Here comes a light to light you to bed,” &c., indicates this.[Addendum]

’Otmillo

A boy (A) kneels with his face in another’s (B) lap; the other players standing in the background. They step forward one by one at a signal from B, who says to each in turn

’Otmillo, ’Otmillo,
Where is this poor man to go?

A then designates a place for each one. When all are despatched A removes his face from B’s knees, and standing up exclaims, “Hot! Hot! Hot!” The others then run to him, and the laggard is blinded instead of A.—Warwickshire (Northall’s Folk Rhymes, p. 402).

This is probably the same game as “Hot Cockles,” although it apparently lacks the hitting or buffeting the blinded wizard.

[36]

Over Clover

The name for the game of “Warner” in Oxfordshire. They have a song used in the game commencing

Over clover,
Nine times over.

—Halliwell’s Dictionary.

See “Stag Warning.”

Paddy from Home

[Play]

Tune Paddy from Home

—Long Eaton, Notts. (Miss Youngman).

Paddy from home has never been,
A railway train he’s never seen,
He longs to see the great machine
That travels along the railway.

—Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire borders (Miss Youngman).

(c) The children form a ring, and hold in their hands a string tied at the ends, and on which a ring is strung. They pass the ring from one to another, backwards and forwards. One child stands in the centre, who tries to find the holder of the ring. Whoever is discovered holding it takes the place of the child in the centre.

(d) This game is similar to “Find the Ring.” The verse is, no doubt, modern, though the action and the string and ring are borrowed from an older game. Another verse used for the same game at Earl’s Heaton (Mr. Hardy) is

The ring it is going;
Oh where? oh where?
I don’t care where,
I can’t tell where.

Paip

Three cherry stones are placed together, and another above them. These are all called a castle. The player takes aim with a cherry stone, and when he overturns the castle he claims the spoil.—Jamieson. See “Cob Nut.”

[37]

Pallall

A Scottish name for “Hop Scotch.”—Jamieson.

Pally Ully

See “Hop Scotch.”

Pat-ball

A child’s name for the simple game of throwing a ball from one to another.—Lowsley’s Berkshire Glossary.

Pay-swad

A boys’ game, somewhat similar to “Duckstone.” Each boy, when he threw his stone, had to say “Pay-swad,” or he had to go down himself.—Holland’s Cheshire Glossary.

See “Duckstone.”

Pednameny

A game played with pins: also called “Pinny Ninny,” “Pedna-a mean,” “Heads and Tails,” a game of pins.—Courtenay’s West Cornwall Glossary.

Peesie Weet

The game of “Hide and Seek.” When the object is hidden the word “Peesie-weet” is called out.—Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire (Rev. W. Gregor).

See “Hide and Seek (2).”

Peg and Stick

The players provide themselves with short, stout sticks, and a peg (a piece of wood sharpened at one or both ends). A ring is made, and the peg is placed on the ground so as to balance. One boy then strikes it with his stick to make it spring or bounce up into the air; while in the air he strikes it with his stick, and sends it as far as he possibly can. His opponent declares the number of leaps in which the striker is to cover the distance the peg has gone. If successful, he counts the number of leaps to his score. If he fails, his opponent leaps, and, if successful, the number of leaps count to his score. He strikes the next time, and the same process is gone through.—Earls Heaton, Yorks. (Herbert Hardy).

See “Tip-cat.”

[38]

Peg-fiched

A west country game. The performers in this game are each furnished with a sharp-pointed stake. One of them then strikes it into the ground, and the others, throwing their sticks across it, endeavour to dislodge it. When a stick falls, the owner has to run to a prescribed distance and back, while the rest, placing the stick upright, endeavour to beat it into the ground up to the very top.—Halliwell’s Dictionary.

Peggy Nut

A boyish game with nuts.—Dickinson’s Cumberland Glossary.

Peg-in-the-Ring

A game of “Peg-top.” The object of this game is to spin the top within a certain circle marked out, in which the top is to exhaust itself without once overstepping the bounds prescribed (Halliwell’s Dict. Provincialisms). Holloway (Dictionary) says, “When boys play at ‘Peg-top,’ a ring is formed on the ground, within which each boy is to spin his top. If the top, when it has ceased spinning, does not roll without the circle, it must remain in the ring to be pegged at by the other boys, or he redeems it by putting in an inferior one, which is called a ‘Mull.’ When the top does not roll out, it is said to be ‘mulled.’” Mr. Emslie writes: “When the top fell within the ring the boys cried, ‘One a penny!’ When two had fallen within the ring it was, ‘Two a penny!’ When three, ‘Three a penny, good as any!’ The aim of each spinner was to do what was called ‘drawing,’ i.e., bring his top down into the ring, and at the same time draw the string so as to make the top spin within the ring, and yet come towards the player and out of the ring so as to fall without.”

See “Tops.”

Peg-top

One of the players, chosen by lot, spins his top. The other players endeavour to strike this top with the pegs of their own tops as they fling them down to spin. If any one fails to spin his top in due form, he has to lay his top on the ground for the others to strike at when spinning. The object of each[39] spinner is to split the top which is being aimed at, so as to release the peg, and the boy whose top has succeeded in splitting the other top obtains the peg as his trophy of victory. It is a matter of ambition to obtain as many pegs in this manner as possible.—London (G. L. Gomme).

See “Peg-in-the-Ring,” “Tops.”

Penny Cast

A game played with round flat stones, about four or six inches across, being similar to the game of quoits; sometimes played with pennies when the hobs are a deal higher. It was not played with pennies in 1810.—Easther’s Almondbury Glossary. In an article in Blackwood’s Magazine, August 1821, p. 35, dealing with children’s games, the writer says, Pennystanes are played much in the same manner as the quoits or discus of the ancient Romans, to which warlike people the idle tradesmen of Edinburgh probably owe this favourite game.

See “Penny Prick.”

Penny Hop

A rude dance, which formerly took place in the common taverns of Sheffield, usually held after the bull-baiting.—Wilson’s Notes to Mather’s Songs, p. 74, cited by Addy, Sheffield Glossary.

Penny Prick

“A game consisting of casting oblong pieces of iron at a mark.”—Hunter’s Hallamsh. Gloss., p. 71. Grose explains it, “Throwing at halfpence placed on sticks which are called hobs.”

Their idle houres, I meane all houres beside
Their houres to eate, to drinke, drab, sleepe, and ride,
They spend at shove-boord, or at pennie-pricke.

—Scots’ Philomythie, 1616.

Halliwell gives these references in his Dictionary; Addy, Sheffield Glossary, describes it as above; adding, “An old game once played by people of fashion.”

See “Penny Cast.”

Penny Stanes

See “Penny Cast.”

[40]

Phœbe

The name of a dance mentioned in an old nursery rhyme. A correspondent gave Halliwell the following lines of a very old song, the only ones he recollected:

Cannot you dance the Phœbe?
Don’t you see what pains I take;
Don’t you see how my shoulders shake?
Cannot you dance the Phœbe?

—Halliwell’s Dictionary.

These words are somewhat of the same character as those of “Auntie Loomie,” and are evidently the accompaniment of an old dance.

See “Lubin.”

Pick and Hotch

The game of “Pitch and Toss.”—Brogden’s Provincial Words, Lincolnshire. It is called Pickenhotch in Peacock’s Manley and Corringham Glossary.

Pi-cow

A game in which one half of the players are supposed to keep a castle, while the others go out as a foraging or marauding party. When the latter are all gone out, one of them cries Pee-ku, which is a signal to those within to be on the alert. Then those who are without attempt to get in. If any one of them gets in without being seized by the holders of the castle, he cries to his companions, The hole’s won; and those who are within must yield the fortress. If one of the assailants be taken before getting in he is obliged to change sides and to guard the castle. Sometimes the guards are successful in making prisoners of all the assailants. Also the name given to the game of Hide and Seek.—Jamieson.

Pigeon Walk

A boy’s game [undescribed].—Patterson’s Antrim and Down Glossary.

Pig-ring

A game at marbles where a ring is made about four feet in diameter, and boys “shoot” in turn from any point in the[41] circumference, keeping such marbles as they may knock out of the ring, but loosing their own “taw” if it should stop within.—Lowsley’s Berkshire Glossary. See “Ring Taw.”

Pillie-Winkie

A sport among children in Fife. An egg, an unfledged bird, or a whole nest is placed on a convenient spot. He who has what is called the first pill, retires a few paces, and being provided with a cowt or rung, is blindfolded, or gives his promise to wink hard (whence he is called Winkie), and moves forward in the direction of the object, as he supposes, striking the ground with the stick all the way. He must not shuffle the stick along the ground, but always strike perpendicularly. If he touches the nest without destroying it, or the egg without breaking it, he loses his vice or turn. The same mode is observed by those who succeed him. When one of the party breaks an egg he is entitled to all the rest as his property, or to some other reward that has been previously agreed on. Every art is employed, without removing the nest or egg, to mislead the blindfolded player, who is also called the Pinkie.—Jamieson. See “Blind Man’s Stan.”

Pinch

The game of “Pitch-Halfpenny,” or “Pitch and Hustle.”—Halliwell’s Dictionary. Addy (Sheffield Glossary) says this game consists of pitching halfpence at a mark.

See “Penny Cast,” “Penny Prick.”

Pinny Show

A child’s peep-show. The charge for a peep is a pin, and, under extraordinary circumstances of novelty, two pins.

I remember well being shown how to make a peep or poppet-show. It was made by arranging combinations of colours from flowers under a piece of glass, and then framing it with paper in such a way that a cover was left over the front, which could be raised when any one paid a pin to peep. The following words were said, or rather sung, in a sing-song manner:

A pin to see the poppet-show,
All manner of colours oh!
See the ladies all below.

—(A. B. Gomme).

[42]

Pansies or other flowers are pressed beneath a piece of glass, which is laid upon a piece of paper, a hole or opening, which can be shut at pleasure, being cut in the paper. The charge for looking at the show is a pin. The children say, “A pin to look at a pippy-show.” They also say

A pinnet a piece to look at a show,
All the fine ladies sat in a row.
Blackbirds with blue feet
Walking up a new street;
One behind and one before,
And one beknocking at t’barber’s door.

—Addy’s Sheffield Glossary.

In Perth (Rev. W. Gregor) the rhyme is

A pin to see a poppy show,
A pin to see a die,
A pin to see an old man
Sitting in the sky.

Described also in Holland’s Cheshire Glossary, and Lowsley’s Berkshire Glossary. Atkinson’s Cleveland Glossary describes it as having coloured pictures pasted inside, and an eye-hole at one of the ends. The Leed’s Glossary gives the rhyme as

A pin to look in,
A very fine thing.

Northall (English Folk-rhymes, p. 357), also gives a rhyme.

Pins

On the 1st of January the children beg for some pins, using the words, “Please pay Nab’s New Year’s gift.” They then play “a very childish game,” but I have not succeeded in getting a description of it.—Yorkshire.

See “Prickie and Jockie.”

Pirley Pease-weep

A game played by boys, “and the name demonstrates that it is a native one, for it would require a page of close writing to make it intelligible to an Englishman.” The rhyme used at this play is

Scotsman, Scotsman, lo!
Where shall this poor Scotsman go?
[43] Send him east, or send him west,
Send him to the craw’s nest.

Blackwood’s Magazine, August 1821, p. 37.

The rhyme suggests comparison with the game of “Hot Cockles.”

Pitch

A game played with pennies, or other round discs. The object is to pitch the penny into a hole in the ground from a certain point.—Elworthy, West Somerset Words.

Probably “Pick and Hotch,” mentioned in an article in Blackwood’s Mag., Aug. 1821, p. 35. Common in London streets.

Pitch and Hustle

Chuck-Farthing.” The game of “Pitch and Toss” is very common, being merely the throwing up of halfpence, the result depending on a guess of heads or tails.—Halliwell’s Dictionary.

Pitch and Toss

This game was played by two or more players with “pitchers”—the stakes being buttons. The ordinary bone button, or “scroggy,” being the unit of value. The “pitcher” was made of lead, circular in form, from one and a half inch to two inches in diameter, and about a quarter of an inch thick, with an “H” to stand for “Heads” cut on one side, and a “T” for “Tails” on the other side. An old-fashioned penny was sometimes used, and an old “two-penny” piece I have by me bears the marks of much service in the same cause. A mark having been set up—generally a stone—and the order of play having been fixed, the first player, A, threw his “pitcher” to the mark, from a point six or seven yards distant. If he thought he lay sufficiently near the mark to make it probable that he would be the nearest after the others had thrown, he said he would “lie.” The effect of that was that the players who followed had to lie also, whatever the character of their throw. If A’s throw was a poor one he took up his “pitcher.” B then threw, if he threw well he “lay,” if not he took up his pitcher, in hope of making a better throw, as A had done. C then played in the same manner. D followed and “lay.” E played his pitcher,[44] and had no choice but to lie. F followed in the same way. These being all the players, A threw again, and though his second might have been worse than his first, he has to lie like the others. B and C followed. All the pitchers have been thrown, and are lying round the mark, in the following order of proximity—for that regulates the subsequent play—B’s is nearest, then D’s follows, in order by A, C, F, E. B takes the pitchers, and piles them up one above the other, and tosses them into the air. Three (let us say) fall head up, D’s, A’s, and F’s. These three B keeps in his hand. D, who was next nearest the mark, takes the three remaining pitchers, and in the same manner tosses them into the air. B’s and C’s fall head up, and are retained by D. A, who comes third, takes the remaining pitcher, E’s, and throws it up. If it falls a head he keeps it, and the game is finished except the reckoning; if it falls a tail it passes on to the next player, C, who throws it up. If it falls a head he keeps it, if a tail, it is passed on to F, and from him to E, and on to B, till it turns up a head. Let us suppose that happens when F throws it up. The game is now finished, and the reckoning takes place

  B has three pitchers, D’s, A’s, and F’s.
  D two B’s and C’s.
  F one E’s.
A, C, and E have none.

Strictly speaking, D, A, and F should each pay a button to B. B and C should each pay one to D. E should pay one to F. But in practice it was simpler, F holding one pitcher had, in the language of the game, “freed himself.” D had “freed himself,” and was in addition one to the good. B had “freed himself,” and was two to the good. A, C, and E, not having “freed themselves,” were liable for the one D had won and the two B had won, and settled with D and B, without regard to the actual hand that held the respective pitchers. It simplified the reckoning, though theoretically the reckoning should have followed the more roundabout method. Afterwards the game was begun de novo. E, who was last, having first pitch—the advantage of that place being meant to compensate him[45] in a measure for his ill luck in the former game. The stakes were the plain horn or bone buttons—buttons with nicks were more valuable—a plain one being valued at two “scroggies,” or “scrogs,” the fancy ones, and especially livery buttons, commanding a higher price.—Rev. W. Gregor. See “Buttons.”

Pit-counter

A game played by boys, who roll counters in a small hole. The exact description I have not been able to get.—Halliwell’s Dictionary.

Pits

A game at marbles. The favourite recreation with the young fishermen in West Cornwall. Forty years ago “Pits” and “Towns” were the common games, but the latter only is now played. Boys who hit their nails are looked on with great contempt, and are said “to fire Kibby.” When two are partners, and one in playing accidentally hits the other’s marble, he cries out, “No custance,” meaning that he has a right to put back the marble struck; should he fail to do so, he would be considered “out.”—Folk-lore Journal, v. 60. There is no description of the method of playing. It may be the same as “Cherry Pits,” played with marbles instead of cherry stones (vol. i. p. 66). Mr. Newell, Games and Songs of American Children, p. 187, says “The pits are thrown over the palm; they must fall so far apart that the fingers can be passed between them. Then with a fillip of the thumb the player makes his pit strike the enemy’s and wins both.”

Pize Ball

Sides are picked; as, for example, six on one side and six on the other, and three or four marks or tuts are fixed in a field. Six go out to field, as in cricket, and one of these throws the ball to one of those who remain “at home,” and the one “at home” strikes or pizes it with his hand. After pizing it he runs to one of the “tuts,” but if before he can get to the “tut” he is struck with the ball by one of those in the field, he is said to be burnt, or out. In that case the other side go out to field.—Addy’s Sheffield Glossary.

See “Rounders.”

[46]

Plum Pudding

A game at marbles of two or more boys. Each puts an equal number of marbles in a row close together, a mark is made at some little distance called taw; the distance is varied according to the number of marbles in a row. The first boy tosses at the row in such a way as to pitch just on the marbles, and so strike as many as he can out of the line; all that he strikes out he takes; the rest are put close together again, and two other players take their turn in the same manner, till all the marbles are struck out of the line, when they all stake afresh and the game begins again.—Baker’s Northamptonshire Glossary.

Plum Pudding and Roast Beef

Mentioned by Moor, Suffolk Words and Phrases, as the name of a game. Undescribed, but nearly the same as French and English.

Pointing out a Point

A small mark is made on the wall. The one to point out the point, who must not know what is intended, is blindfolded, and is then sent to put the finger on the point or mark. Another player has taken a place in front of the point, and bites the finger of the blindfolded pointer.—Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire (Rev. W. Gregor).

Poncake

Name of a girl’s game the same as Cheeses.—Holland’s Cheshire Glossary. See “Turn Cheeses, Turn.”

Poor and Rich

An old game mentioned in Taylor’s Motto, sig. D, iv. London, 1622.

Poor Mary sits a-weeping

[Play part 1, part 2]

Tune Poor Mary sits a-weeping

—Barnes (A. B. Gomme).

[47]

I.

Poor Mary sits a-weepin’,
A-weepin’, a-weepin’;
Poor Mary sits a-weepin’
On a bright summer’s day.
Pray, Mary, what’re you weepin’ for,
A-weepin’ for, a-weepin’ for?
Pray, Mary, what’re you weepin’ for?
On a bright summer’s day.
I’m weepin’ for a sweetheart,
A sweetheart, a sweetheart;
I’m weepin’ for a sweetheart,
On a bright summer’s day.
[48] Pray, Mary, choose your lover,
Your lover, your lover;
Pray, Mary, choose your lover
On a bright summer’s day.
Now you’re married, I wish you joy;
First a girl, and then a boy;
Seven years after, son and daughter;
Pray, young couple, come kiss together.
Kiss her once, kiss her twice,
Kiss her three times over.

—Barnes, Surrey (A. B. Gomme).

Game Poor Mary sits a-weeping

“Poor Mary sits a-weeping.”

II.

Poor Mary is weeping, is weeping, is weeping,
Poor Mary is weeping on a bright summer’s day.
Pray tell me what you’re weeping for, weeping for, weeping for,
Pray tell me what you’re weeping for, on a bright summer’s day?
I’m weeping for my true love, my true love, my true love,
I’m weeping for my true love, on a bright summer’s day.
Stand up and choose your lover, your lover, your lover,
Stand up and choose your lover, on a bright summer’s day.
Go to church with your lover, your lover, your lover,
Go to church with your lover, on a bright summer’s day.
Be happy in a ring, love; a ring, love; a ring, love.
Kiss both together, love, on this bright summer’s day.

—Upton-on-Severn, Worcestershire (Miss Broadwood).

III.

Pray, Sally, what are you weeping for—
Weeping for—weeping for?
Pray, Sally, what are you weeping for,
On a bright shiny day?
I am weeping for a sweetheart—
A sweetheart—a sweetheart;
I am weeping for a sweetheart,
On a bright shiny day.
[49] Pray, Sally, go and get one—
Go and get one—get one;
Pray, Sally, go and get one,
On a bright shiny day.
Pray, Sally, now you’ve got one—
You’ve got one—got one;
Pray, Sally, now you’ve got one,
On a bright sunny day.
One kiss will never part you—
Never part you—part you;
One kiss will never part you,
On a bright sunny day.

—Dorsetshire (Folk-lore Journal, vii. 209).

IV.

Poor —— sat a-weeping,
A-weeping, a-weeping;
Poor —— sat a-weeping,
On a bright summer’s day.
I’m weeping for a sweetheart,
A sweetheart, a sweetheart;
I’m weeping for a sweetheart,
On a bright summer’s day.
Oh, pray get up and choose one,
And choose one, and choose one;
Oh, pray get up and choose one,
On a bright summer’s day.
Now you’re married, you must obey;
You must be true to all you say.
You must be kind, you must be good,
And help your wife to chop the wood.

—Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Matthews).

V.

Poor Mary sat a-weeping, a-weeping, a-weeping,
Poor Mary sat a-weeping, down by the sea-side.
By the side of the river, by the side of the river,
She sat down and cried.
[50] Oh, pray get up and choose one, and choose one, and choose one,
Oh, pray get up and choose one, down by the sea-side.
Now you’re married, I wish you joy;
Father and mother you must obey;
Love one another like sister and brother,
And pray, young couple, come kiss one another.

—Colchester (Miss G. M. Frances).

VI.

Poor Mary is a-weeping, a-weeping, a-weeping,
Poor Mary is a-weeping on a fine summer’s day.
What is she weeping for, weeping for, weeping for,
What is she weeping for on a fine summer’s day?
She’s weeping for her sweetheart, her sweetheart, her sweetheart,
She’s weeping for her sweetheart on a fine summer’s day.
Pray get up and choose one, choose one, choose one,
Pray get up and choose one on a fine summer’s day.
Pray go to church, love; church, love; church, love;
Pray go to church, love, on a fine summer’s day.
Pray put the ring on, ring on, ring on,
Pray put the ring on, on a fine summer’s day.
Pray come back, love; back, love; back, love;
Pray come back, love, on a fine summer’s day.
Now you’re married, we wish you joy;
Your father and mother you must obey;
Love one another like sister and brother;
And now it’s time to go away.

—(Suffolk County Folk-lore, pp. 66, 67.)

VII.

Poor Mary sits a-weeping, a-weeping, a-weeping,
Poor Mary sits a-weeping on a bright summer’s day.
Pray tell me what you are weeping for, weeping for, weeping for,
Pray tell me what you are weeping for on a bright summer’s day?
[51] I’m weeping for a sweetheart, a sweetheart, a sweetheart,
I’m weeping for a sweetheart on a bright summer’s day.
Poor Mary’s got a shepherd’s cross, a shepherd’s cross, a shepherd’s cross,
Poor Mary’s got a shepherd’s cross on a bright summer’s day.

—Berkshire (Miss Thoyts, Antiquary, xxvii. 254).

VIII.

Mary sits a-weeping, a-weeping, a-weeping,
Mary sits a-weeping, close by the sea-side.
Mary, what are you weeping for, weeping for, weeping for,
Mary, what are you weeping for, close by the sea-side?
I’m a-weeping for my sweetheart, my sweetheart, my sweetheart,
I’m a-weeping for my sweetheart, close by the sea-side.
Pray get up and choose one, and choose one, and choose one,
Pray get up and choose one, close by the sea-side.

—Winterton and Lincoln (Miss M. Peacock).

IX.

Poor Mary sits a-weeping, a-weeping,
Poor Mary sits a-weeping, on a bright summer’s day.
She is weeping for her lover, her lover,
She is weeping for her lover on a bright summer’s day.
Stand up and choose your lover, your lover,
Stand up and choose your lover, on a bright summer’s day.
And now she’s got a lover, a lover,
And now she’s got a lover, on a bright summer’s day.

—Hanbury, Staffs. (Miss E. Hollis).

X.

Oh, what is Nellie weeping for,
A-weeping for, a-weeping for?
Oh, what is Nellie weeping for,
[52] On a cold and sunshine day?
I’m weeping for my sweetheart,
My sweetheart, my sweetheart;
I’m weeping for my sweetheart
On a cold and sunshine day.
So now stand up and choose the one,
And choose the one, and choose the one;
So now stand up and choose the one,
On a cold and sunshine day.

—Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire (Miss Matthews).

XI.

Poor Mary sits a-weeping, a-weeping, a-weeping,
Poor Mary sits a-weeping, on a bright summer’s day.
Pray what are you a-weeping for, a-weeping for, a-weeping for,
Pray what are you a-weeping for on a bright summer’s day?
She’s weeping for a lover, a lover, a lover,
She’s weeping for a lover, this bright summer’s day.
Rise up and choose your lover, your lover, your lover,
Rise up and choose your lover, this bright summer’s day.
Now Mary she is married, is married, is married,
Now Mary she is married this bright summer’s day.

—Enborne School, Newbury, Berks. (Miss M. Kimber).

XII.

Poor Sarah’s a-weeping,
A-weeping, a-weeping;
Oh, what is she a-weeping for,
A-weeping for, a-weeping for?
I’m weeping for a sweetheart,
A sweetheart, a sweetheart;
I’m weeping for a sweetheart
This bright summer day.
Oh, she shall have a sweetheart,
A sweetheart, a sweetheart;
Oh, she shall have a sweetheart
This bright summer day.
[53] Go to church, loves,
Go to church, loves.
Say your prayers, loves,
Say your prayers, loves.
Kiss your lovers,
Kiss your lovers;
Rise up and choose your love.

—Liphook, Hants. (Miss Fowler).

XIII.

Poor Mary sits weeping, weeping, weeping,
Poor Mary sits weeping on a bright summer’s day;
On the carpet she must kneel till the grass grows on the field.
Stand up straight upon your feet,
And show me the one you love so sweet.
Now you’re married, I wish you joy;
First a girl, and second a boy;
If one don’t kiss, the other must,
So kiss, kiss, kiss.

—Cambridge (Mrs. Haddon).

XIV.

Poor Mary is a-weeping, a-weeping, a-weeping,
Poor Mary is a-weeping on a bright summer’s day;
Pray what is she a-weeping for, a-weeping for, a-weeping for,
Pray what is she a-weeping for, on a bright summer’s day?
I’m weeping for my true love, my true love, my true love,
I’m weeping for my true love, on a bright summer’s day.
Stand up and choose your true love, your true love, your true love,
Stand up and choose your true love, on a bright summer’s day.
Ring a ring o’ roses, o’ roses, o’ roses,
Ring a ring o’ roses; a pocketful of posies.

—Ogbourne, Wilts. (H. S. May).

[54]

XV.

Poor Sally is a-weeping, a-weeping, a-weeping,
Poor Sally is a-weeping, down by the sea-side.
Pray tell me what you’re weeping for, you’re weeping for, you’re weeping for,
Pray tell me what you’re weeping for, down by the sea-side?
I’m weeping for my sweetheart, my sweetheart, my sweetheart,
I’m weeping for my sweetheart, down by the sea-side.
A ring o’ roses,
A pocketful of posies;
Isham! Isham!
We all tumble down.

—Manton, Marlborough, Wilts. (H. S. May).

XVI.

Poor Mary is a-weeping, a-weeping, a-weeping,
On a fine summer’s day;
What is she weeping for, weeping for, weeping for?
She is weeping for her lover, her lover, her lover;
And who is her love, who is her lover?
Johnny Baxter is her lover, Johnny Baxter is her lover;
And where is her lover, where is her lover?
Her lover is a-sleeping, her lover is a-sleeping,
Is a-sleeping at the bottom of the sea.

—South Devon (Notes and Queries, 8th Series, i. 249, Miss R. H. Busk).

XVII.

Poor Mary, what are you weeping for?
You weeping for?
You weeping for?
Poor Mary, what are you weeping for,
On a bright summer’s day?
Pray tell us what you are weeping for?
You are weeping for?
You are weeping for?
[55] Pray tell us what you are weeping for,
On a bright summer’s day.
My father he is dead, sir;
Is dead, sir;
Is dead, sir.
My father he is dead, sir,
On a bright summer’s day.

—Earls Heaton (Herbert Hardy).

XVIII.

Poor Mary is a-weeping, a-weeping, a-weeping,
Poor Mary is a-weeping, on a fine summer’s day.
Pray tell me what you’re weeping for? &c.
Because my father’s dead and gone, is dead and gone, is dead and gone;
Because my father’s dead and gone, on a fine summer’s day.
She is kneeling by her father’s grave, her father’s grave, her father’s grave;
She is kneeling by her father’s grave, on a fine summer’s day.
Stand up and choose your love, choose your love, choose your love;
Stand up and choose your love, on a bright summer’s day.

—(Rev. W. Gregor).

XIX.

Oh, what is Jennie weeping for,
A-weeping for, a-weeping for?
Oh, what is Jennie weeping for,
All on this summer’s day?
I’m weeping for my own true love,
My own true love, my own true love;
I’m weeping for my own true love,
All on this summer’s day.
Rise up and choose another love,
Another love, another love;
Rise up and choose another love,
All on this summer’s day.

—Berwickshire (A. M. Bell, Antiquary, xxx. 16).

[56-
60]

No. Barnes. En-
borne.
Dorset-
shire.
Upton. Sporle. Col-
chester.
Winter-
ton.
Forest of Dean. Lip-
hook.
Earls Heaton. Suf-
folk.
Berk-
shire.
Staf-
ford-
shire.
New-
bury.
South Devon. Cam-
bridge.
Og-
bourne.
Manton. Ber-
wick-
shire.
Scot-
land.
1. Poor Mary sits a-weeping. Poor Mary sits a-weeping. Poor Mary is weeping. Poor [    ] sat a-weeping. Poor Mary sat a-weeping. Mary sits a-weeping. Poor Sarah’s a-weeping. Poor Mary sits a-weeping. Poor Mary sits a-weeping. Poor Mary sits a-weeping. Poor Mary sits a-weeping. Poor Mary is a-weeping. Poor Mary is a-weeping. Poor Mary is a-weeping. Poor Sally is a-weeping. What is Jennie weeping for? Poor Mary is a-weeping.
2. Pray, Mary, what are you weeping for? Pray, what are you a-weeping for? Pray, Sally, what are you weeping for? Pray, tell me what you’re weeping for. Mary, what are you weep’ng for? Oh! what is Nellie weeping for? Oh, what is she a-weeping for? Poor Mary, what are you weeping for? What is she weeping for? Pray what are you weeping for? What is she weeping for? Pray what is she weeping for? Pray tell me what you’re weeping for. Pray tell me what you’re weeping for.
3. Pray tell us what you are weeping for? Pray tell me what she is weeping for?
4. I’m weeping for a sweetheart. She’s weeping for a lover. I’m weeping for a sweetheart. I am weeping for my true love. I’m weeping for a sweetheart. I’m weeping for a sweetheart. I’m weeping for my sweetheart. I’m weeping for a sweetheart. She’s weeping for a sweetheart. I’m weeping for a sweetheart. She’s weeping for her lover. She’s weeping for a lover. She’s weeping for her lover. I’m weeping for my true love. I’m weeping for my sweetheart. I’m weeping for my own true love.
5. On a bright summer’s day. This bright summer’s day. On a bright shiny day. On a bright summer’s day. On a bright summer’s day. This bright summer’s day. On a bright summer’s day. On a fine summer’s day. On a bright summer’s day. On a bright summer’s day. This bright summer’s day. On a fine summer’s day. On a bright summer’s day. All on this summer’s day. On a fine summer’s day.
6. By the side of the river.
7. She sat down and cried.
8. Close by the sea side. [See No. 41.] Down by the seaside.
9. On a cold and sunshine day.
10. Pray, Mary, choose your lover. Rise up and choose your lover. Stand up and choose your lover. Pray, get up and choose one. Pray, get up and choose one. Pray, get up and choose one. Now stand up and choose one. Rise up and choose your lover. Pray get up and choose one. Stand up and choose your lover. Rise up and choose your lover. Stand up upon your feet and show the one you love so sweet. Stand up and choose your true love. Stand up and choose your love.
11. Pray, Sally, go and get one.
12. She shall have a sweetheart. Rise up and choose another love.
13. On the carpet she shall kneel till the grass grows on the field.
14. Now you’re married, I wish you joy. Now Mary she is married. Now you’re married, I wish you joy. Now you’re married, we wish you joy. Now Mary she is married. Now you’re married I wish you joy.
15. First a girl, then a boy. First a girl and second a boy.
16. Seven years after, son and daughter.
17. Pray, Sally, now you’ve got one.
18. Now you’re married you must obey.
19. You must be true to all you say.
20. You must be kind and good.
21. Help wife to chop wood.
22. Father and mother you must obey. Father and mother you must obey.
23. Love one another like sister and brother. Love one another like brother and sister.
24. Pray, young couple, come kiss together. Pray, young couple, come kiss together.
25. One kiss will never part you.
26. Go to church with your lover. Go to church, love. Pray go to church, love.
27. Be happy in a ring, love.
28. Say your prayers, love.
29. Kiss her once, twice, kiss three times over. Kiss both together, love. Kiss your lovers. If one don’t kiss, the other must.
30. My father he is dead, sir. Because my father’s dead and gone.
31. She’s kneeling by her father’s grave.
32. Pray put the ring on.
33. Pray come back, love.
34. Now it’s time to go away.
35. Mary’s got a shepherd’s cross.
36. Now she’s got a lover.
37. Who is her lover?
38. I. O. is her lover.
39. Where is her lover?
40. Her lover is sleeping.
41. At the bottom of the sea.
42. Ring a ring o’ roses a pocketful of posies. A ring of roses a pocketful of posies.
43. We all tumble down.
No. Barnes. Enborne. Dorsetshire. Upton. Sporle. Colchester. Winterton.
1. Poor Mary sits a-weeping. Poor Mary sits a-weeping. Poor Mary is weeping. Poor [    ] sat a-weeping. Poor Mary sat a-weeping. Mary sits a-weeping.
2. Pray, Mary, what are you weeping for? Pray, what are you a-weeping for? Pray, Sally, what are you weeping for? Pray, tell me what you’re weeping for. Mary, what are you weep’ng for?
3.
4. I’m weeping for a sweetheart. She’s weeping for a lover. I’m weeping for a sweetheart. I am weeping for my true love. I’m weeping for a sweetheart. I’m weeping for a sweetheart.
5. On a bright summer’s day. This bright summer’s day. On a bright shiny day. On a bright summer’s day. On a bright summer’s day.
6. By the side of the river.
7. She sat down and cried.
8. Close by the sea side.
9.
10. Pray, Mary, choose your lover. Rise up and choose your lover. Stand up and choose your lover. Pray, get up and choose one. Pray, get up and choose one. Pray, get up and choose one.
11. Pray, Sally, go and get one.
12.
13.
14. Now you’re married, I wish you joy. Now Mary she is married. Now you’re married, I wish you joy.
15. First a girl, then a boy.
16. Seven years after, son and daughter.
17. Pray, Sally, now you’ve got one.
18. Now you’re married you must obey.
19. You must be true to all you say.
20. You must be kind and good.
21. Help wife to chop wood.
22. Father and mother you must obey.
23. Love one another like sister and brother.
24. Pray, young couple, come kiss together. Pray, young couple, come kiss together.
25. One kiss will never part you.
26. Go to church with your lover.
27. Be happy in a ring, love.
28.
29. Kiss her once, twice, kiss three times over. Kiss both together, love.
30.
31.
32.
33.
34.
35.
36.
37.
38.
39.
40.
41.
42.
43.
No. Forest of Dean. Liphook. Earls Heaton. Suffolk. Berkshire. Staffordshire. Newbury.
1. Poor Sarah’s a-weeping. Poor Mary sits a-weeping. Poor Mary sits a-weeping. Poor Mary sits a-weeping. Poor Mary sits a-weeping.
2. Oh! what is Nellie weeping for? Oh, what is she a-weeping for? Poor Mary, what are you weeping for? What is she weeping for? Pray what are you weeping for?
3. Pray tell us what you are weeping for? Pray tell me what she is weeping for?
4. I’m weeping for my sweetheart. I’m weeping for a sweetheart. She’s weeping for a sweetheart. I’m weeping for a sweetheart. She’s weeping for her lover. She’s weeping for a lover.
5. This bright summer’s day. On a bright summer’s day. On a fine summer’s day. On a bright summer’s day. On a bright summer’s day. This bright summer’s day.
6.
7.
8.
9. On a cold and sunshine day.
10. Now stand up and choose one. Rise up and choose your lover. Pray get up and choose one. Stand up and choose your lover. Rise up and choose your lover.
11.
12. She shall have a sweetheart.
13.
14. Now you’re married, we wish you joy. Now Mary she is married.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22. Father and mother you must obey.
23. Love one another like brother and sister.
24.
25.
26. Go to church, love. Pray go to church, love.
27.
28. Say your prayers, love.
29. Kiss your lovers.
30. My father he is dead, sir.
31.
32. Pray put the ring on.
33. Pray come back, love.
34. Now it’s time to go away.
35. Mary’s got a shepherd’s cross.
36. Now she’s got a lover.
37.
38.
39.
40.
41.
42.
43.
No. South Devon. Cambridge. Ogbourne. Manton. Berwickshire. Scotland.
1. Poor Mary is a-weeping. Poor Mary is a-weeping. Poor Mary is a-weeping. Poor Sally is a-weeping. What is Jennie weeping for? Poor Mary is a-weeping.
2. What is she weeping for? Pray what is she weeping for? Pray tell me what you’re weeping for. Pray tell me what you’re weeping for.
3.
4. She’s weeping for her lover. I’m weeping for my true love. I’m weeping for my sweetheart. I’m weeping for my own true love.
5. On a fine summer’s day. On a bright summer’s day. All on this summer’s day. On a fine summer’s day.
6.
7.
8. [See No. 41.] Down by the seaside.
9.
10. Stand up upon your feet and show the one you love so sweet. Stand up and choose your true love. Stand up and choose your love.
11.
12. Rise up and choose another love.
13. On the carpet she shall kneel till the grass grows on the field.
14. Now you’re married I wish you joy.
15. First a girl and second a boy.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27.
28.
29. If one don’t kiss, the other must.
30. Because my father’s dead and gone.
31. She’s kneeling by her father’s grave.
32.
33.
34.
35.
36.
37. Who is her lover?
38. I. O. is her lover.
39. Where is her lover?
40. Her lover is sleeping.
41. At the bottom of the sea.
42. Ring a ring o’ roses a pocketful of posies. A ring of roses a pocketful of posies.
43. We all tumble down.

[61](b) A ring is formed by the children joining hands. One child kneels in the centre, covering her face with her hands. The ring dances round, and sings the first two verses. The kneeling child then takes her hands from her face and sings the next verse, still kneeling. While the ring sings the next verse, she rises and chooses one child out of the ring. They stand together, holding hands while the others sing the marriage formula, and kiss each other at the command. The ring of children dance round quickly while singing this. When finished the first “Mary” takes a place in the ring, and the other child kneels down (Barnes and other places). At Enborne school, Newbury (Miss Kimber), this game is played by boys and girls. All the children in the ring sing the first two verses. Then the boys alone in the ring sing the next verse; all the ring singing the fourth. While singing this the kneeling child rises and holds out her hand to any boy she prefers, who goes into the ring with her. When he is left in the ring at the commencement of the game again, a boy’s name is substituted for that of “Mary.” There appears to be no kissing. In the Liphook version (Miss Fowler), after the girl has chosen her sweetheart the ring breaks, and the two walk out and then kneel down, returning to the ring and kissing each other. A version identical with that of Barnes is played by the girls of Clapham High School. All tunes sent me were similar to that given.

(c) The analysis of the game rhymes is on pp. 56-60.

This analysis shows that the incidents expressed by the rhymes are practically the same in all the versions. In the majority of the cases the weeping is depicted as part of a ceremony, by which it is known that a girl desires a lover; she is enabled then to choose one, and to be married. The marriage formula is the usual one in the Barnes’ version, but follows another set of words in three other versions. In the cases[62] where the marriage is neither expressed by a formula, nor implied by other means (Winterton and Forest of Dean), the versions are evidently fragments only, and probably at one time ended, as in the other cases, with marriage. But in three other cases the ending is not with marriage. The Earls Heaton and Scottish versions represent the cause of weeping as the death of a father, the Berkshire version introduces the apparently unmeaning incident of Mary bearing a shepherd’s cross, and the South Devon version represents the cause of weeping the death of a lover at sea. It is obvious that at places where sailors abound, the incident of weeping for a sailor-lover who is dead would get inserted, and the fact of this change only occurring once in the versions I have collected, tells all the more strongly in favour of the original version having represented marriage and love, and not death, but it does not follow that the marriage formula belongs to the oldest or original form of the game. I am inclined to think this has been added since marriage was thought to be the natural and proper result of choosing a sweetheart.

(d) The change in some of the verses, as in the Cambridge version, is due to corruption and the marked decadence now occurring in these games. No. 13 in the analysis is from the game “Pretty little girl of mine,” and Nos. 42-3 “Ring o’ Roses.”

Poor Widow

I.

Here’s an old widow who lies alone,
Lies alone, lies alone,
Here’s an old widow who lies alone,
She wants a man and can’t get one.
Choose one, choose two, choose the fairest.
The fairest one that I can see
Is [Mary Hamilton], come unto me.
Now she is married and tied to a bag,
She has got a man with a wooden leg.

—Belfast (W. H. Patterson).

II.

There was an old soldier he came from the war,
His age it was sixty and three.
Go you, old soldier, and choose a wife,
Choose a good one or else choose none.
[63] Here’s a poor widow she lives her lone,
She hasn’t a daughter to marry but one.
Come choose to the east, choose to the west,
And choose the very one you love best.
Here’s a couple married in joy,
First a girl and then a boy,
Seven years after, and seven years come,
Pree[1] young couple kiss and have done.

—Belfast (W. H. Patterson).

III.

There was a poor widow left alone,
And all her children dead and gone.
Come, choose you east,
Come, choose you west,
Take the man you love best.
Now they’re married,
I wish them joy,
Every year a girl or a boy,
I hope this couple may kiss each other.

—Nairn (Rev. W. Gregor).

(b) One child is chosen to act the part of the widow. The players join hands and form a circle. The widow takes her stand in the centre of the circle in a posture indicating sorrow. The girls in the circle trip round and round, and sing the first five lines. The widow then chooses one of the ring. The ring then sings the marriage formula, the two kiss each other, and the game is continued, the one chosen to be the mate of the first widow becoming the widow in turn (Nairn).

(c) This game is probably the same as “Silly Old Man.” Two separate versions may have arisen by girls playing by themselves without boys.[Addendum]


[1] Sometimes “pray,” but “pree” seems to be the Scotch for taste:—“pree her moo” = taste her mouth = to kiss.


Pop Goes the Weasel

Half a pound of tup’ny rice,
Half a pound of treacle;
Mix it up and make it nice,
Pop goes the weasel.

—Earls Heaton (Herbert Hardy).

[64](b) Children stand in two rows facing each other, they sing while moving backwards and forwards. At the close one from each side selects a partner, and then, all having partners, they whirl round and round.

(c) An additional verse is sometimes sung with or in place of the above in London.

Up and down the City Road;
In and out the Eagle;
That’s the way the money goes,
Pop goes the weasel.

—(A. Nutt).

Mr. Nutt writes: “The Eagle was (and may be still) a well-known tavern and dancing saloon.”

Pop-the-Bonnet

A game in which two, each putting down a pin on the crown of a hat or bonnet, alternately pop on the bonnet till one of the pins crosses the other; then he at whose pop or tap this takes place, lifts the stakes.—Teviotdale (Jamieson). The same game is now played by boys with steel pens or nibs.

See “Hattie.”

Poppet-Show

See “Pinny Show.”

Port the Helm

This is a boys’ game. Any number may join in it. The players join hands and stand in line. The leader, generally a bigger boy, begins to bend round, at first slowly, then with more speed, drawing the whole line after him. The circular motion is communicated to the whole line, and, unless the boys at the end farthest from the leader run very quickly, the momentum throws them off their feet with a dash if they do not drop their hold.—Keith, Nairn (Rev. W. Gregor).

Pots, or Potts

Throwing a ball against a wall, letting it bounce and catching it, accompanied by the following movements:

1. Simply three times each.

2. Throw, twist hands, and catch.

3. Clap hands in front, behind, in front.

[65]4. Turn round.

5. Beat down ball on ground three times, and catch.

6. Again on ground and catch (once) at end of first “pot,” and twice for second “pot.”

—Hexham (Miss J. Barker).

[Addendum]

Pray, Pretty Miss

I.

Priperty Miss, will you come out,
Will you come out, will you come out?
Priperty Miss, will you come out
To help us with our dancing?
No!
The naughty girl, she won’t come out,
She won’t come out, she won’t come out;
The naughty girl, she won’t come out
To help us with our dancing.
Priperty Miss, will you come out,
Will you come out, will you come out?
Priperty Miss, will you come out
To help us with our dancing?
Yes!
Now we’ve got another girl,
Another girl, another girl;
Now we’ve got another girl
To help us with our dancing.

—Fochabers (Rev. W. Gregor).

II.

Pray, pretty Miss, will you come out,
Will you come out, will you come out?
Pray, pretty Miss, will you come out
To help me in my dancing?
No!
Then you are a naughty Miss!
Then you are a naughty Miss!
Then you are a naughty Miss!
Won’t help me in my dancing.
Pray, pretty Miss, will you come out,
Will you come out, will you come out?
[66] Pray, pretty Miss, will you come out
To help me in my dancing?
Yes!
Now you are a good Miss!
Now you are a good Miss!
Now you are a good Miss!
To help me in my dancing.

—Cornwall (Folk-lore Journal, v. 47, 48).

III.

Pray, pretty Miss, will you come out to help us in our dancing?
No!
Oh, then you are a naughty Miss, won’t help us with our dancing.
Pray, pretty Miss, will you come out to help us in our dancing?
Yes!
Now we’ve got our jolly old lass to help us with our dancing.

—Sheffield, Yorks. (Folk-lore Record, v. 87).

IV.

Oh, will you come and dance with me,
Oh, will you come and dance with me?
No!

[They say as above to the next girl, who says “Yes.”]

Now we’ve got our bonny bunch
To help us with our dancing.

—Hurstmonceux, Sussex (Miss Chase).

(b) The Scottish version of this game is played as follows:—All the players stand in a line except two, who stand facing them. These two join hands crosswise, and then advancing and retiring, sing to the child at the end of the line the first four lines. The first child refuses, and they then dance round, singing the second verse. They sing the first verse again, and on her compliance she joins the two, and all three dance round together, singing the last verse. The three then advance and retire, singing the first verse to another child.

The Cornish version is played differently: a ring is formed, boy and girl standing alternately in the centre. The child in[67] the middle holds a white handkerchief by two of its corners; if a boy he would single out one of the girls, dance backwards and forwards opposite to her, and sing the first verse. If the answer were “No!” spoken with averted head over the left shoulder, he sang the second verse. Occasionally three or four in turn refused. When the request was granted the words were changed to the fourth verse. The handkerchief was then carefully spread on the floor; the couple knelt on it and kissed: the child formerly in the middle joined the ring, and the other took his place, or if he preferred it remained in the centre; in that case the children clasped hands and sang together the first verse over again, the last to enter the ring having the privilege of selecting the next partner.

(c) Miss Courtney says (Folk-lore Journal, v. 47), that this game is quite a thing of the past. Of the Hurstmonceux version, Miss Chase says, “This game is not fully remembered. It was played about 1850.” The words indicate an invitation to the dance similar to those in “Cushion Dance,” “Green Grass.”

Pretty Little Girl of Mine

[Play]

Tune Pretty Little Girl of Mine Monton

—Monton, Lancashire (Miss Dendy).

[Play]

Tune Pretty Little Girl of Mine Tean

—Tean, North Staffordshire (Miss Burne).

[Play]

Tune Pretty Little Girl of Mine Eccleshall

—Eccleshall (Miss Burne).

[68]

[Play part 1, part 2]

Tune Pretty Little Girl of Mine Nottingham

—Nottingham (Miss Youngman).

[Play version 1, version 2]

Tune Pretty Little Girl of Mine Hanbury

—Hanbury, Staffordshire (Edith Hollis).

I.

Here’s a pretty little girl of mine,
She’s brought me many a bottle of wine;
A bottle of wine she gave me too—
See what this little girl can do.
On the carpet she shall kneel
As the grass grows on the fiel’;
Stand upright on your feet,
And choose the one you love so sweet.
Now you are married I wish you joy,
First a girl and then a boy;
Seven years after, son and daughter;
Pray, young couple, kiss together.

—Symondsbury, Dorset (Folk-lore Journal, vii. 207).

II.

Oh, this pretty little girl of mine,
Brought me many a bottle of wine;
A bottle of wine and a guinea, too,
See what my little girl can do.
[69] Down on the carpet she shall kneel,
As the grass grows in the field;
Stand upright on your feet,
And choose the one you love so sweet.
Now I’m married and wish you joy,
First a girl and then a boy;
Seven years after, seven years past,
Kiss one another and go to your class.

—Hampshire (Miss Mendham).

III.

Here’s a pretty little girl of mine,
Who’s brought her bottle and glass of wine;
A glass of wine and a biscuit too,
See what my pretty girl will do.
On the carpet she shall kneel,
While the grass grows in the field;
Stand upright upon your feet,
Choose the one you love so sweet.
When you’re married I wish you joy,
First a girl and second a boy,
Seven years after, son and daughter,
Now, young couple, kiss together.

—Gambledown, Hants (Mrs. Pinsent).

IV.

Oh! this pretty little girl of mine,
Has cost me many a bottle of wine;
A bottle of wine and a guinea or two,
So see what my little girl can do.
Down on the carpet she shall kneel,
While the grass grows on her field;
Stand upright upon your feet,
And choose the one you love so sweet.
Now you are married you must obey,
Must be true in all you say;
You must be kind and very good,
And help your wife to chop the wood.

—Maxey (Northants Notes and Queries, i. 214).

[70]

V.

Here’s a pretty little girl of mine,
She’s cost me many a bottle of wine;
A bottle of wine and a guinea too,
See what my little girl can do.
Down on the carpet she must kneel,
As the grass grows in the field;
Stand upright upon her feet,
And choose the one she loves so sweet.
Now you’re married I wish you joy,
Father and mother you must obey;
Love one another like sister and brother,
And pray, young couple, come kiss one another.

—Colchester (Miss G. M. Frances).

VI.

Oh! this pretty little girl of mine,
She bought me many a bottle of wine,
A bottle of wine she gave me too,
So see what my little girl could do.
Stand up, stand up upon your feet,
And choose the one you love so sweet.

—Liphook, Hants (Miss Fowler).

VII.

See what a pretty little girl have I,
She brings me many a bottle of wi’;
A bottle of wine and a biscuit too,
See what a little girl can do.
On the carpet she shall kneel,
As the grass grows in the fiel’;
Stand upright upon your feet,
And choose the one you love so sweet.
Now you’re married we wish you joy,
First a girl and then a boy,
Seven years after, son and daughter,
May you couple kiss together.

—South Devon (Notes and Queries, 8th series, i. 249; Miss R. H. Busk).

VIII.

See what a pretty little girl I am,
She gave me many a bottle of wine,
[71] Many a bottle of wine, and a biscuit too,
See what a pretty little girl can do.
On the carpet you shall kneel,
Stand up straight all in the field,
Choose the one that you love best.
Now we are married and hope we enjoy,
First a girl and then a boy,
Seven years after and seven years to come,
May young company kiss have done.

—Holywood, Co. Down (Miss C. M. Patterson).

IX.

See what a pretty little girl I am!
Brought me many a bottle o’ wine!
Bottle o’ wine to make me shine!
See what a pretty little girl I am!
Upon the carpets we shall kneel,
As the grass grows in yonder field;
Stand up lightly on your feet,
And choose the one you love so sweet.
Now these two are going to die,
First a girl, and then a boy;
Seven years at afterwards, seven years ago,
And now they are parted with a kiss and a go.

—Monton, Lancashire (Miss Dendy).

X.

See this pretty little maid of mine!
She’s brought me many a bottle of wine;
A bottle of wine, a good thing, too;
See what this pretty maid can do!
Down on the carpet she must kneel,
Till the grass grows on her feet;
Stand up straight upon thy feet,
Choose the very one that you love sweet.
Take her by her lily-white hand,
Lean across the water;
Give a kiss,—one, two, three,—
To Mrs. ——’s daughter.

—Suffolk (Mrs. Haddon).

[72]

XI.

See what a pretty little girl I am!
They brought me many a bottle of wine—
Bottle of wine to make me shine;
See what a pretty little girl I am!
On the carpets we must kneel,
As the grass grows in yonder field;
Rise up lightly on your feet,
And kiss the one you love so sweet.
My sister’s going to get married,
My sister’s going to get married,
My sister’s going to get married,
Ee! Ii! Oh!
  Open your gates as wide as high,
  And let the pretty girls come by,
  And let the -   jolly   - matrons[2] by.
bonny
  One in a bush,
  Two in a bush,
  Ee! Ii! Oh!

—Colleyhurst, Manchester (Miss Dendy).

XII.

  On the carpet you shall kneel
  Where the grass grows fresh and -   green;
clean;
  Stand up, stand up on your pretty feet,
  And show me the one you love so sweet.
  Now Sally’s got married, we wish her good joy,
  First a girl, and then a boy;
  Seven years arter, a son and darter,
  So, young couple, kiss together.

Or,

Seven years now, and seven to come,
Take her and kiss her and send her off home.

—Eccleshall, Staffs. (Miss Burne).

XIII.

On the carpet you shall kneel,
As the grass grows on the field;
[73] Stand up straight upon your feet,
And tell me the one you love so sweet.
—— is married with a good child,
First with a girl and then with a boy;
Seven years after son and daughter,
Play with a couple and kiss together.

—Tean, North Staffs. (from a Monitor in the National School).

XIV.

On the carpet you shall kneel,
As the grass grows in the field;
Stand up, stand up upon your feet,
And tell me whom you love so sweet.
Now you’re married I wish you joy,
First a girl, and then a boy;
Seven years after son and daughter,
Come, young couple, come kiss together.

—Middlesex (Miss Winfield).

XV.

On the carpet you shall kneel,
As the grass grows in the field;
Stand up, stand up on your feet,
Show the girl you love so sweet.
Now you’re married I hope you’ll enjoy
A son and a daughter, so
Kiss and good-bye.

—Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire (Miss Youngman).

XVI.

Down on the carpet you shall kneel,
While the grass grows on your field;[3]
Stand up straight upon your feet,
And choose the one you love so sweet.
Marry couple, married in joy,
First a girl and then a boy;
Seven years after, seven years come,
Please,[4] young couple, kiss and have done.

—Belfast (W. H. Patterson).

[74]

XVII.

On the carpet you shall kneel,
While the grass grows fresh and green;
Stand up straight upon your feet,
And kiss the one you love so sweet.
Now they’re married, love and joy,
First a girl and then a boy;
Seven years after, seven years ago,
Now’s the time to kiss and go.

—Liverpool and neighbourhood (Mrs. Harley).

XVIII.

On the carpet you shall kneel,
As the grass grows in the field;
Stand up, stand up on your feet,
And shew me the girl you love so sweet.
Now Sally’s married I hope she’ll enjoy,
First with a girl and then with a boy;
Seven years old and seven years young,
Pray, young lady, walk out of your ring.

—Derbyshire (Folk-lore Journal, i. 385).

XIX.

On the carpet you shall kneel,
Where the grass grows fresh and green;
Stand up, stand up on your pretty feet,
And show me the one you love so sweet.

—Berrington (Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 509).

[Same ending as Eccleshall version.]

XX.

On the carpitt you shall kneel,
While the grass grows in the field;
Stand up, stand up on your feet,
Pick the one you love so sweet.

—Wakefield, Yorks. (Miss Fowler).

XXI.

King William was King David’s son,
And all the royal race is run;
Choose from the east, choose from the west,
Choose the one you love the best.[5]
[75] Down on this carpet you shall kneel,
While the grass grows in yond field;
Salute your bride and kiss her sweet,
Rise again upon your feet.

—Hanging Heaton, Yorks. (Herbert Hardy).

XXII.

On the carpet you shall kneel, while the grass grows at your feet;
Stand up straight upon your feet, and choose the one you love so sweet.
Now Sally is married, life and joy, first a girl and then a boy;
Seven years after, seven years ago, three on the carpet, kiss and go.

—Hanbury, Staffordshire (Miss Edith Hollis).

XXIII.

I had a bonnet trimmed wi’ blue.
Why dosn’t wëare it? Zo I do;
I’d wëare it where I con,
To tëake a walk wi’ my young mon.
My young mon is a-gone to sea,
When he’d come back he’ll marry me.
Zee what a purty zister is mine,
Doan’t ’e think she’s ter’ble fine?
She’s a most ter’ble cunnèn too,
Just zee what my zister can do.
On the carpet she can kneel,
As the grass grow in the fiel’.
Stand upright upon thy feet,
And choose the prettiest you like, sweet.

—Hazelbury Bryan, Dorset (Folk-lore Journal, vii. 208).

XXIV.

Kneel down on the carpets, we shall kneel;
The grass grows away in yonder fiel’,
Stand up, stand up upon your feet,
And show me the one you love so sweet.
Now they get married, I wish they may joy
Every year a girl or a boy;
[76] Loving together like sister and brother,
Now they are coupled to kiss together.

—Galloway, N.B. (J. G. Carter).

(c) This game is played in the same way in all the different variants I have given, except a slight addition in the Suffolk (Mrs. Haddon). A ring is formed by the children joining hands—one child stands in the centre. The ring dances or moves slowly round, singing the verses. The child in the centre kneels down when the words are sung, rises and chooses a partner from the ring, kisses her when so commanded, and then takes a place in the ring, leaving the other child in the centre. In those cases where the marriage formula is not given, the kissing would probably be omitted.

(d) Of the twenty-four versions given there are not two alike, and this game is distinguished from all others by the singular diversity of its variants; although the original structure of the verses has been preserved to some extent, they seem to have been the sport of the inventive faculty of each different set of players. Lines have been added, left out, and altered in every direction, and in the example from Hazelbury Bryan, in Dorsetshire (No. xxiii.), a portion of an old song or ballad has been added to the game rhyme. These alterations occur not only in different counties, but in the same counties, as may be seen by the Dorset, Hants, Staffordshire, and Northants examples. Mr. Carter says of the Galloway game that the kissing match sometimes degenerates into a spitting match, according to the temper of the parties concerned. In the Suffolk version (Mrs. Haddon), at the words “Lean across the water,” the two in the centre lean over the arms of those forming the ring. These words and action are probably an addition. They belong to the “Rosy Apple, Lemon and Pear” game.

These peculiar characteristics of the game do not permit of much investigation into the original words of the game-rhyme, but they serve to illustrate, in a very forcible manner, the exactly opposite characteristics of nearly all the other games, which preserve, in almost stereotyped fashion, the words of the rhymes. It appears most probable that the verses belonged[77] originally to some independent game like “Sally, Sally Water,” and that, when divorced from their original context, they lent themselves to the various changes which have been made. The minute application of modern ideas is seen in the version from Gambledown, where “A bottle of wine and a guinea, too,” becomes “A bottle of wine and a biscuit, too;” and at West Haddon, in Northamptonshire, a variant of the marriage formula is given in Northants Notes and Queries, ii. 106, as

Now you’re married, we wish you joy,
First a girl and then a boy;
Cups and saucers, sons and daughters,
Now join hands and kiss one another.

Another version from Long Itchington, given in Notes and Queries, 7th series, x. 450, concludes with

Up the kitchen and down the hall,
Choose the fairest of them all;
Seven years now and seven years then,
Kiss poor Sally and part again.

[2] Matron is not a word in common use among Lancashire people.

[3] d not sounded.

[4] Another version has “pree,” which means in Scotch, taste, hence kiss.

[5] At Earls Heaton two verses or lines are added, viz.:

“If she is not here to take her part,
Choose another with all your heart.”

Pretty Miss Pink

Pretty Miss Pink, will you come out,
Will you come out, will you come out?
Pretty Miss Pink, will you come out,
To see the ladies dancing?
No, I won’t.
Pretty Miss Pink, she won’t come out,
Won’t come out, won’t come out, &c.
She will come out.
Pretty Miss Pink, she has come out, &c.

—Winterton, Lincs and Nottinghamshire (Miss M. Peacock.)

(b) The children place themselves in a row. They each choose a colour to represent them. One player must be pink. Another player stands facing them, and dances to and fro, singing the first four lines. The dancer then sings the next two lines, and Miss Pink having answered rushes forward,[78] catches hold of the dancer’s hand, and sings the next verse. Each colour is then taken in turn, but Miss Pink must always be first.

(c) This is clearly a variant of “Pray, Pretty Miss,” colours being used perhaps from a local custom at fairs and May meetings, where girls were called by the colours of the ribbons they wore.

Prick at the Loop

A cheating game, played with a strap and skewer at fairs, &c., by persons of the thimble-rig class, probably the same as the game called “Fast and Loose.”

Prickey Sockey

Christmas morning is ushered in by the little maidens playing at the game of “Prickey Sockey,” as they call it. They are dressed up in their best, with their wrists adorned with rows of pins, and run about from house to house inquiring who will play at the game. The door is opened and one cries out

Prickey sockey for a pin,
I car not whether I loss or win.

The game is played by the one holding between her two forefingers and thumbs a pin, which she clasps tightly to prevent her antagonist seeing either part of it, while her opponent guesses. The head of the pin is “sockey,” and the point is “prickey,” and when the other guesses she touches the end she guesses at, saying, “this for prickey,” or “this for sockey,” At night the other delivers her two pins. Thus the game is played, and when the clock strikes twelve it is declared up; that is, no one can play after that time.—Mirror, 1828, vol. x. p. 443.

See “Headicks and Pinticks.”

Prickie and Jockie

A childish game, played with pins, and similar to “Odds or Evens,”—Teviotdale (Jamieson), but it is more probable that this is the game of “Prickey Sockey,” which Jamieson did not see played.

Priest-Cat (1)

See “Jack’s Alive.”

[79]

Priest-Cat (2)

A peat clod is put into the shell of the crook by one person, who then shuts his eyes. Some one steals it. The other then goes round the circle trying to discover the thief, and addressing particular individuals in a rhyme

Ye’re fair and leal,
Ye canna steal;
Ye’re black and fat,
Ye’re the thief of my priest-cat!

If he guesses wrong he is in a wadd, if right he has found the thief.—Chambers’ Popular Rhymes, p. 128.

This is an entirely different game to the “Priest-Cat” given by Mactaggart (see “Jack’s Alive”), and seems to have originated in the discovery of stolen articles by divination.

Priest of the Parish

William Carleton describes this game as follows:—“One of the boys gets a wig upon himself, goes out on the floor, places the boys in a row, calls on his man Jack, and says to each, ‘What will you be?’ One answers, ‘I’ll be Black Cap,’ another, ‘Red Cap,’ and so on. He then says, ‘The priest of the parish has lost his considering-cap. Some says this, and some says that, but I say my man Jack.’ Man Jack then, to put it off himself, says, ‘Is it me, sir?’ ‘Yes you, sir.’ ‘You lie, sir.’ ‘Who then, sir?’ ‘Black Cap.’ If Black Cap then doesn’t say, ‘Is it me, sir?’ before the priest has time to call him he must put his hand on his ham and get a pelt of the brogue. A boy must be supple with the tongue in it.”—Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry, p. 106 (Tegg’s reprint).

This game is no doubt the original form of the game imperfectly played under the name of “King Plaster Palacey” (see ante, i. 301).

Prisoner’s Base or Bars

The game of “The Country Base” is mentioned by Shakespeare in “Cymbeline”

“He, with two striplings (lads more like to run
The country base, than to commit such slaughter),
Made good the passage.”—Act v., sc. 3.

[80]Also in the tragedy of Hoffman, 1632

“I’ll run a little course
At base, or barley-brake.”

Again, in the Antipodes, 1638

“My men can runne at base.”

Also, in the thirtieth song of Drayton’s “Polyolbion”

“At hood-wink, barley-brake, at tick, or prison-base.”

Again, in Spenser’s “Faerie Queen,” v. 8

“So ran they all as they had been at bace.”

Strutt (Sports and Pastimes, p. 78), says, “This game was much practised in former times. The first mention of this sport that I have met with occurs in the Proclamations at the head of the Parliamentary proceedings, early in the reign of Edward III., where it is spoken of as a childish amusement; and prohibited to be played in the avenues of the palace at Westminster during the Sessions of Parliament, because of the interruption it occasioned to the members and others in passing to and fro. . . . The performance of this pastime requires two parties of equal number, each of them having a base or home, as it is usually called to themselves, at the distance of about twenty or thirty yards. The players then on either side taking hold of hands extend themselves in length and opposite to each other, as far as they conveniently can, always remembering that one of them must touch the base; when any one of them quits the hand of his fellow and runs into the field, which is called giving the chase, he is immediately followed by a second from the former side, and he by a second opponent; and so on alternately, until as many are out as choose to run, every one pursuing the man he first followed and no other; and if he overtake him near enough to touch him, his party claims one toward their game, and both return home. Then they run forth again and again in like manner, until the number is completed that decides the victory; this number is optional. It is to be observed that every person on either side who touches another during the chase, claims one for his party.”

Strutt describes the game in Essex as follows:—“They play[81] this game with the addition of two prisons, which are stakes driven into the ground, parallel with the home boundaries, and about thirty yards from them; and every person who is touched on either side in the chase is sent to one or other of these prisons, where he must remain till the conclusion of the game, if not delivered previously by one of his associates, and this can only be accomplished by touching him, which is a difficult task, requiring the performance of the most skilful players, because the prison belonging to either party is always much nearer to the base of their opponents than to their own; and if the person sent to relieve his confederate be touched by an antagonist before he reaches him, he also becomes a prisoner, and stands in equal need of deliverance.”—Sports and Pastimes, p. 80.

Prisoner's Base Playing Field

But this is not quite the same as it is played in London. There the school ground is divided in the following manner:— The boys being divided into equal sides, with a captain for each, one party takes up its quarters in a, the other in b. Lots are chosen as to which side commences. Then one member of the side so chosen (say b) starts off for the middle of the playground and cries out “Chevy, Chevy Chase, one, two, three;” thereupon it becomes the object of the side b to touch him before reaching home again. If unsuccessful one from side b goes to the middle, and so on until a prisoner is secured from one of the sides. Then the struggle commences in earnest, after the fashion described by Strutt as above. If a boy succeeds in getting to the prison of his side without being touched by an opponent, he releases a prisoner, and brings him back home again to help in the struggle. The object of the respective sides is to place all their opponents in prison, and when that is accomplished they rush over to the empty home and take possession of it. The game then begins again from opposite sides, the winning side counting one towards the victory.—London (G. L. Gomme).

[82]

This was once a favourite game among young men in North Shropshire (and Cheshire). It was played yearly at Norton-in-Hales Wakes, and the winning party were decorated with ribbons. Men-servants, in the last century, were wont to ask a day’s holiday to join or witness a game of “Prison-bars,” arranged beforehand as a cricket-match might be (see Byegones, 2nd May 1883). A form of the game still survives there among the school-children, under the name of “Prison Birds.” The Birds arrange themselves in pairs behind each other, facing a large stone or stump placed at some little distance. Before them, also facing the stone, stands one player, called the Keeper. When he calls, “Last pair out!” the couple next behind him run to the stone and touch hands over it. If they can do so without being touched by the Keeper, they are free, and return to a position behind the other birds; but any one whom he touches must remain behind the stone “in prison.”—Ellesmere (Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 524).

The Ellesmere inhabitants were formerly accustomed to devote their holiday occasions to the game, and in the year 1764 the poet laureate of the town (Mr. David Studley) composed some lines on the game as it was played by the Married v. Single at Ellesmere. They are as follows:

“Ye lovers of pleasure, give ear and attend,
Unto these few lines which here I have penned,
I sing not of sea fights, of battles nor wars,
But of a fine game, which is called ‘Prison Bars.’
This game was admired by men of renown,
And played by the natives of fair Ellesmere town;
On the eighth day of August in the year sixty-four,
These nimble heel’d fellows approached on the moor.
Twenty-two were the number appear’d on the green,
For swiftness and courage none like them were seen;
Eleven were married to females so fair,
The other young gallants bachelors were.
Jacob Hitchen the weaver commands the whole round,
Looks this way, and that way, all over the ground,
[83] Gives proper directions, and sets out his men,
So far go, my lads, and return back again.
Proper stations being fixed, each party advance,
And lead one another a many fine dance.
There’s Gleaves after Ellis, and Platt after he,
Such running before I never did see.
Huzza! for the young men, the fair maids did say,
May heaven protect you to conquer this day,
Now, my brave boys, you’re not to blame,
Take courage, my lads, nine and eight is the game.
Now behold the Breeches makers, master and man,
Saddlers, Slaters, and Joiners, do all they can;
The Tailor so nimble, he brings up the rear,
Cheer up, my brave boys, you need not to fear.
Alas! poor old Jacob, thy hopes are in vain,
Dick Chidley is artful, and spoils all thy schemes.
The Barber is taken, the Currier is down,
The Sawyer is tired, and so is the Clown.”

The moor referred to in the last line of the second verse was the Pitchmoor. The Clown was a nickname for one of the players, who, on hearing the song repeated in the presence of the author, became so exasperated, that, to appease him, the words “the game is our’n” were substituted for the words “so is the Clown “in the last line of the concluding verse.

Puff-the-Dart

A game played with a long needle inserted in some worsted, and blown at a target through a tin tube.—Halliwell’s Dictionary. This game is also mentioned in Baker’s Northamptonshire Glossary.

Pun o’ mair Weight

A rough play among boys, adding their weight one upon another, and all upon the one at the bottom.—Dickinson’s Cumberland Glossary.

[84]

Punch Bowl

I.

Round about the punch bowl,—
One, two, three;
If anybody wants a bonnie lassie,
Just take me.

Another form of words is

The fillan o’ the punch bowl,
That wearies me;
The fillan o’t up, an’ the drinkan’ o’t doon,
An’ the kissan o’ a bonnie lass,
That cheeries me.

—Fochabers (Rev. W. Gregor).

II.

Round about the punch bowl,
Punch bowl, punch bowl;
Round about the punch bowl, one, two, three.
First time never to fall,
Never to fall, never to fall;
First time never to fall, one, two, three.
Second time, the catching time,
Catching time, catching time;
Second time, the catching time, one, two, three.
Third time, the kissing time,
Kissing time, kissing time,
Third time, the kissing time, one, two, three.

—Belfast (W. H. Patterson).

III.

Round about the punch bowl,—one, two, three;
Open the gates and let the bride through.
Half-a-crown to know his name, to know his name, to know his name,
Half-a-crown to know his name,
On a cold and frosty morning.
Ah! (Michael Matthews) is his name, is his name, is his name;
(Michael Matthews) is his name,
On a cold and frosty morning.
[85] Half-a-crown to know her name, to know her name, to know her name,
Half-a-crown to know her name,
On a cold and frosty morning.
(Annie Keenan) is her name, is her name, is her name,
(Annie Keenan) is her name,
On a cold and frosty morning.
They’ll be married in the morning,
Round about the punch bowl, I [? Hi!].

—Annaverna, Ravensdale, Co. Louth, Ireland (Miss R. Stephen).

(b) The Fochabers’ game is played by girls only. The players join hands and form a ring. They dance briskly round, singing the verse. The last word, “me,” is pronounced with strong emphasis, and all the girls jump, and if one falls she has to leave the ring. The game is carried on until all the players fall. In the Belfast game, at the words “one, two, three,” the players drop down in a crouching position for a few seconds. In the Louth (Ireland) game the players all curtsey after the first line, and the one who rises last is the bride. She is led outside the ring by another, and asked to whom she is engaged. She tells without letting those in the ring hear, and the two return to the ring saying the second line. Then all the ring sing the next three lines, and then the girl who has been told the name tells it to the ring, who thereupon sing or say the remaining lines of the verse.

(c) The Louth version has more detail in its movements, and probably represents the oldest form. At all events, it supplies the reason for the words and movements, which are not quite so obvious in the other versions. Many ancient monoliths are known as “Punch Bowls,” and it may be that this game is the relic of an old marriage ceremony, “at the stones.”

Purposes

A kind of game. “The prettie game which we call purposes” (Cotgrave in v. “Opinion”).—Halliwell’s Dictionary.

[86]

Push in the Wash Tub

A ring of girls is formed. Two go in opposite directions outside the ring, and try to get back first to the starting-point; the one succeeding stops there, rejoining the ring, the other girl pushes another girl into the ring, or wash tub, with whom the race is renewed.—Crockham Hill, Kent (Miss Chase).

Push-pin, or Put-pin

A child’s play, in which pins are pushed with an endeavour to cross them. So explained by Ash, but it would seem, from Beaumont and Fletcher, vii. 25, that the game was played by aiming pins at some object.—Halliwell’s Dictionary.

“To see the sonne you would admire,
Goe play at push-pin with his sire.”

Men’s Miracles, 1656, p. 15.

“Love and myselfe, beleeve me on a day,
At childish push-pin for our sport did play.”

—Herrick’s Works, i. 22.

There is an allusion to it under the name of put-pin in Nash’s Apologie, 1593

“That can lay down maidens bedds,
And that can hold ther sickly heds;
That can play at put-pin,
Blow poynte and near lin.”

Two pins are laid upon a table, and the object of each player is to push his pin across his opponent’s pin.—Addy’s Sheffield Glossary.

See “Hattie,” “Pop the Bonnet.”

Push the Business On

I.

I hired a horse and borrowed a gig,
And all the world shall have a jig;
And I’ll do all ’at ever I can
To push the business on.
To push the business on,
To push the business on;
And I’ll do all ’at ever I can
To push the business on.

—North Kelsey, Anderby, and near the Trent, Nottinghamshire (Miss M. Peacock).

[87]

II.

Beeswax and turpentine make the best of plaster,
The more you try to pull it off, it’s sure to stick the faster.
I’ll buy a horse and hire a gig,
And all the world shall have a jig;
And you and I’ll do all we can
To push the business on,
To push the business on;
And we’ll do all that ever we can
To push the business on.

—Brigg, Lincolnshire (Miss Barker, from a Lincolnshire friend).

III.

I’ll buy a horse and steal a gig,
And all the world shall have a jig;
And I’ll do all that ever I can
To pass the business on.
To pass the business on,
To pass the business on;
And I’ll do all that ever I can
To pass the business on.

—Wolstanton, North Staffs. (Miss Bush, Schoolmistress)

IV.

We’ll borrow a horse and steal a gig,
And round the world we’ll have a jig;
And I’ll do all that ever I can
To push the business on.

—Earls Heaton (Herbert Hardy).

V.

I’ll hire a horse and steal a gig,
And all the world shall have a jig;
And I’ll do all that ever I can
To push the business on,
To push the business on, to push the business on,
And I’ll do all that ever I can to push the business on.

—Settle, Yorkshire (Rev. W. S. Sykes).

(b) The players stand in a circle, boy and girl alternately, and sing the lines. At the fourth line they all clap their hands, keeping time with the song. When singing the seventh line each boy takes the girl on his left hand,—dances round with her and places her on his right hand. This is done till[88] each girl has been all round the circle, and has been turned or danced with by each boy. In the Wolstanton version (Miss Bush), after singing the first four lines, the children fall behind one another, march round, clapping their hands and singing; at the seventh line they all join in couples and gallop round very quickly to the end. When they finish, the girls stand at the side of the boys in couples, and change places every time they go round until each girl has partnered each boy. At Hexham there is rather more of the regular dance about the game at the beginning. At the fourth line they set to partners and swing round, the girls changing places at the end, and continuing until they have been all round each time with a different partner.

(c) This game seems of kin to the old-fashioned country dances. Miss Bush writes that this game was introduced into the school playground from Derbyshire a few years ago, and is sung to a simple tune.

Puss in the Corner

Playing Puss in the Corner

The children stand at fixed points: one stands in the middle and chants, “Poor puss wants a corner.” The others beckon with the fore-finger, and calling, “Puss, puss,” run from point to point. Puss runs also to one of the vacant spaces. The one left out becomes puss.—Monton, Lancashire (Miss Dendy).

The players place themselves each in some “coign of vantage,” as the play place allows; one player in the middle is “out.” Those in the corners change places with each other at choice, calling, “Puss, puss, puss,” to attract each other’s attention. The one who is out watches his opportunity to slip into a vacant corner, and oblige some one else to be “out.” A favourite game in the streets of Market Drayton.—Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 523.

[89]When we played this game, the child who was to be “Puss” was invariably decided upon by a counting-out rhyme. He or she being the last of the five players “not he.” The words we used when wishful to change corners were, “Puss, puss, give me a drop of milk.” The players in the corners beckoned with the finger to an opposite player in another corner (A. B. Gomme).

The game in Scotland is called “Moosie in the Corner,” and is played by boys or girls, or by both together, either outside or in a room. Each player takes a corner, and one stands in the middle. On a given signal, usually by calling out the word “Change,” a rush is made from the corners. The aim of the one standing in the middle is to reach a vacant corner. If the game is played in a room, as many chairs, or other seats, are placed as there are players, less one. Each takes a seat, and one is left standing. On the word “Change” being called out, each jumps from the seat and makes for another. The one standing strives to get a seat in the course of the change.—Nairn and Macduff (Rev. W. Gregor).

Pussy’s Ground

Name for Tom Tiddler’s Ground in Norfolk.

See “Tom Tiddler’s Ground.”

Pyramid

A circle of about two feet in diameter is made on the ground, in the centre of which a pyramid is formed by several marbles. Nine are placed as the base, then six, then four, and then one on the top. The keeper of the pyramid then desires the other players to shoot. Each player gives the keeper one marble for leave to shoot at the pyramid, and all that the players can strike out of the circle belong to them.—London streets (A. B. Gomme), and Book of Sports.

See “Castles.”

Quaker

Men and women stand alternately in a circle, and one man begins by placing his left hand on his left knee, and saying, “There was an old Quaker and he went so.” This is repeated all round the circle; the first man then says the same thing[90] again, but this time he places his right hand on his right knee. Then he places his hand on the girl’s shoulder, then round her neck, and on her far shoulder, then looks into her face, and, lastly, kisses her.—Sharleston, Yorks (Miss Fowler).

Quaker’s Wedding

Hast thou ever been to a Quaker’s wedding?
Nay, friend, nay.
Do as I do; twiddle thy thumbs and follow me.

The leader walks round chanting these lines, with her eyes fixed on the ground. Each new comer goes behind till a long train is formed, then they kneel side by side as close together as possible. The leader then gives a vigorous push to the one at the end of the line [next herself, and that one to the next], and the whole line tumble over.—Berkshire (Miss Thoyts in the Antiquary, xxvii. 194).

See “Obadiah,” “Solomon.”

Queen Anne

I.

Lady Queen Ann she sits in her stand,
And a pair of green gloves upon her hand,
As white as a lily, as fair as a swan,
The fairest lady in a’ the land;
Come smell my lily, come smell my rose,
Which of my maidens do you choose?
I choose you one, and I choose you all,
And I pray, Miss (    ), yield up the ball.
The ball is mine, and none of yours,
Go to the woods and gather flowers.
Cats and kittens bide within,
But we young ladies walk out and in.

—Chambers’ Pop. Rhymes, p. 136.

II.

Queen Anne, Queen Anne, who sits on her throne,
As fair as a lily, as white as a swan;
The king sends you three letters,
And begs you’ll read one.
I cannot read one unless I read all,
So pray (    ) deliver the ball.
[91] The ball is mine and none of thine,
So you, proud Queen, may sit on your throne,
While we, your messengers, go and come.

(Or sometimes)

The ball is mine, and none of thine,
You are the fair lady to sit on;
And we’re the black gipsies to go and come.

—Halliwell’s Pop. Rhymes, p. 230.

III.

Queen Anne, Queen Anne, you sit in the sun,
As fair as a lily, as white as a wand,
I send you three letters, and pray read one.
You must read one, if you can’t read all,
So pray, Miss or Master, throw up the ball.

—Halliwell’s Pop. Rhymes, p. 64.

IV.

Here we come a-piping,
First in spring and then in May.
The Queen she sits upon the sand,
Fair as a lily, white as a wand:
King John has sent you letters three,
And begs you’ll read them unto me.
We can’t read one without them all,
So pray, Miss Bridget, deliver the ball.

—Halliwell’s Pop. Rhymes, p. 73.

V.

Queen Anne, Queen Anne,
She sot in the sun;
So fair as a lily,
So white as a nun;
She had a white glove on,
She drew it off, she drew it on.
Turn, ladies, turn.
The more we turn, the more we may,
Queen Anne was born on Midsummer Day;
We have brought dree letters from the Queen,
Wone of these only by thee must be seen.
We can’t rëade wone, we must rëade all,
Please (    ) deliver the ball.

—Dorsetshire (Folk-lore Journal, vii. 229).

[92]

VI.

Here come we to Lady Queen Anne,
With a pair of white gloves to cover our hand;
As white as a lily, as fair as the rose,
But not so fair as you may suppose.
Turn, ladies, turn.
The more we turn the more we may,
Queen Anne was born on Midsummer Day.
The king sent me three letters, I never read them all,
So pray, Miss ——, deliver the ball.
The ball is yours, and not ours,
You must go to the garden and gather the flowers.
The ball is ours, and not yours,
We go out and gather the flowers.

—Cornwall (Folk-lore Journal, v. 52-53).

VII.

Queen Anne, Queen Anne, she sits in the sun,
As fair as a lily, so white and wan;
A pair of kid gloves she holds in her hand,
There’s no such a lady in all the fair land.
Turn all.
The more we turn the better we are,
For we’ve got the ball between us.

—North Kelsey, Lincolnshire (Miss M. Peacock).

VIII.

Lady Queen Anne she sits on a stand [sedan],
She is fair as a lily, she is white as a swan;
A pair of green gloves all over her hand,
She is the fairest lady in all the land.
Come taste my lily, come smell my rose,
Which of my babes do you choose?
I choose not one, but I choose them all,
So please, Miss Nell, give up the ball.
The ball is ours, it is not yours,
We will go to the woods and gather flowers;
We will get pins to pin our clothes,
You will get nails to nail your toes.

—Belfast (W. H. Patterson).

[93]

IX.

Queen Anne, Queen Anne, she sits in the sun,
As fair as a lily, as brown as a bun;
We’ve brought you three letters, pray can you read one?
I can’t read one without I read all,
So pray —— deliver the ball.
You old gipsy, sit in the sun,
And we fair ladies go and come;
The ball is mine, and none o’ thine,
And so good-morning, Valentine.

—Swaffham. Norfolk (Miss Matthews).

X.

Queen Anne, Queen Anne, she sits in the sun,
As fair as a lily, as brown as a bun.
Turn, fair ladies, turn.
We bring you three letters, and pray you read one.
I cannot read one without I read all,
So please (    ) give up the ball.

[If the wrong guess is made the girls say—]

The ball is ours, and none of yours,
And we’ve the right to keep it.

[If the right child is named, they say—]

The ball is yours, and is not ours,
And you’ve the right to take it.

[Some of the children said this rhyme should be—]

The ball is ours, and none of yours,
So you, black gipsies, sit in the sun,
While we the fair ladies go as we come.

—London (A. B. Gomme).

XI.

Queen Anne, Queen Anne, she sits in the sun,
As fair as a lily, as white as a swan;
I bring you three letters, so pray you choose one,
I cannot read one without I read all,
So pray —— give up the ball.

[If the wrong girl is asked, they say—]

The ball is ours, it is not yours,
And we’ve the right to keep it.

[94][When the right one is guessed—]

The ball is yours, it is not ours,
And you’ve the right to keep it.

—Barnes, Surrey (A. B. Gomme).

XII.

The lady Queen Anne she sat in a tan (sedan),
As fair as a lily, as white as a swan;
The Queen of Morocco she sent you a letter,
So please to read one.
I won’t read one except them all,
So please, Miss ——, deliver the ball.

—Hersham, Surrey (Folk-lore Record, v. 87).

XIII.

Queen Ann, Queen Ann,
She sits in the sun,
As fair as a lily, and bright as one;
King George has sent you three letters,
And desires you to read one.
I cannot read one
Without I read all,
So pray, Miss (    ),
Deliver the ball.

[Rhyme when right is seldom in use, and the one when wrong forgotten.]

The ball is ours, and none of yours,
So, black gipsies, sit in the sun,
And we, fair ladies, go as we come.

—Sussex, about 1850 (Miss Chase).

XIV.

Queen Ann, Queen Ann,
She sat in the sun;
A pair of white gloves to cover her hands,
As white as a lily, as red as a rose,
To which young lady do you propose?

—Devon (Miss Chase).

XV.

Here come seven sisters,
And seven milken daughters,
And with the ladies of the land,
And please will you grant us.
[95] I grant you once, I grant you twice,
I grant you three times over;
A for all, and B for ball,
And please [    ] deliver the ball.

—Bocking, Essex (Folk-lore Journal, vi. 211).

Playing Queen Anne

(b) Sides are chosen, and two lines are formed; the words are said by each line alternately. One line, in which is the Queen, standing still or sitting down, the other line advancing and retiring while singing the words. The latter line gives one of their number a ball or some other small object to hold in the hand in such a manner that it cannot be perceived. All the players on this side then assume the same position—either all put their hands behind them or fold their arms, put their hands under their armpits, or under their skirts or pinafores. The object of the other side is to guess which child in the line has the ball. The line which has the ball commences the game by advancing singing or saying the first three or four lines. Queen Anne answers, and then names one of the girls on the opposite side whom she suspects to have the ball, and if she be right in her guess the lines change sides. If she be wrong, the line retires in triumph, the girl who possesses the ball holding it up to show the Queen she is wrong. The children all curtsey when leaving the Queen’s presence. Another girl of the line then takes the ball and the game continues till the right holder of the ball is named. When the Queen tells the line of players to “turn,” they all spin round, coming back to face the Queen, and then stand still again. In the North Kelsey version (Miss Peacock) there is only one player on Queen Anne’s side, the rest form the line. This is also the case with the Cornish game.

(c) The analysis of the game-rhymes is as follows:

[96-
99]

No. Scot-
land (Cham-
bers).
Halli-
well (1).
Halli-
well (2).
Halli-
well (3).
Dor-
set-
shire.
Corn-
wall.
North Kel-
sey.
Bel-
fast.
Swaff-
ham.
London. Barnes. Hersham. Sussex. Devon.
1. Here we come a-piping.
2. First in Spring, then in May.
3. Lady Q. Anne. Q. Anne, Anne. Queen Anne. Queen Anne. Lady Queen Anne. Queen Anne. Lady Queen Anne. Queen Anne. Queen Anne. Queen Anne. Lady Queen Anne. Queen Ann. Queen Ann.
4. Queen.
5. Sits in her stand. Sits upon the sand. Sits on a stand. Sits in a tan.
6. Sits on her throne.
7. Sits in the sun. Sot in the sun. Sits in the sun. Sits in the sun. Sits in the sun. Sits in the sun. Sits in the sun. Sat in the sun.
8. Pair of green gloves on her hand. White glove on. Pair of white gloves to cover our hand. Pair of kid gloves in her hand. Pair of green gloves all over her hand. Pair of white gloves to cover her hand.
9. White as a lily, fair as a swan. Fair as lily, white as swan. White as lily, fair as rose. Fair as lily, white as swan. Fair as lily, white as swan. Fair as lily, white as swan. White as lily, red as rose.
10. Fair as lily, white as wand. Fair as lily, white as wand. Fair as lily, white as nun. Fair as lily, white and wan. Fair as lily, brown as bun. Fair as lily, brown as bun. Fair as lily, bright as one.
11. Fairest lady in the land. No such lady in the land. Fairest lady in the land.
12. Not so fair as you may suppose.
13. Smell my lily, smell my rose. Taste my lily, smell my rose.
14. Which of my maidens do you choose? Which of my babes do you choose? To which young lady do you propose?
15. Turn, ladies. Turn, ladies. Turn all.
16. More we turn, more we may. More we turn, more we may. More we turn, better we are.
17. Queen Anne was born on midsummer day. Q. Anne was born on midsummer day.
18. King sends three letters. I send you three letters. King John has sent three letters. We’ve brought three letters. King sent me three letters. We’ve brought three letters. We bring you three letters. I bring you three letters. Queen of Morocco sent you a letter. King Geo. has sent you three letters.
19. Begs you’ll read one. Pray read one. Begs you’ll read them unto me. Pray can you read one. Pray you read one. Pray you choose one. Please to read one. Desires you to read one.
20. One of these only by you must be seen.
21. Choose you one and choose you all. Cannot read one unless I read all. You must read one, if you can’t all. We can’t read one without all. We can’t read one, must read all. Choose not one but choose all. Cannot read one without all. Cannot read one without all. I won’t read one except all. Cannot read one without all.
22. I never read them all.
23. Pray, Miss, yield up the ball. Pray [    ] deliver the ball. Pray, Miss [    ], throw up the ball. Pray, Miss [    ], deliver the ball. Please [    ] deliver the ball. Pray, Miss [    ], deliver the ball. Please, Miss Nell, give up the ball. Pray deliver the ball. Please give up the ball. Pray give up the ball. Please, Miss [    ], deliver the ball. Pray, Miss [    ], deliver the ball.
24. We’ve got the ball between us.
25. The ball is mine, and none of yours. The ball is mine, and none of thine. The ball is yours, and not ours. You, old gipsy sit in the sun. So, black gipsies, sit in the sun.
26. You, proud Queen, may sit on your throne. We fair ladies, go and come. We fair ladies, go as we come.
27. While we, your messengers, go and come. The ball is ours, it is not yours. The ball is mine, and none of thine. The ball is ours, and none of yours. The ball is ours, it is not yours. The ball is ours, and none of yours.
28. Go to the woods and gather flowers. Go to the garden and gather flowers. We’ll go to the woods and gather flowers.
29. And we’ve the right to keep it. And we’ve the right to keep it.
30. The ball is mine, and none of thine. The ball is ours, and none of yours. The ball is yours, and not ours. The ball is yours, it is not ours.
31. You are the fair lady to sit on. You, black gipsies, sit in the sun.
32. And we’re black gipsies to go and come. While we, fair ladies, go as we come.
33. We must go to the garden and gather flowers.
34. And you’ve the right to keep it.
35. Cats and kittens, bide within.
36. We young ladies walk out and in.
37. We will get pins to pin our clothes.
38. You will get nails to nail your toes.
39. So good morning Valentine.
No. Scotland (Chambers). Halliwell (1). Halliwell (2). Halliwell (3). Dorsetshire. Cornwall. North Kelsey.
1. Here we come a-piping.
2. First in Spring, then in May.
3. Lady Q. Anne. Q. Anne, Anne. Queen Anne. Queen Anne. Lady Queen Anne. Queen Anne.
4. Queen.
5. Sits in her stand. Sits upon the sand.
6. Sits on her throne.
7. Sits in the sun. Sot in the sun. Sits in the sun.
8. Pair of green gloves on her hand. White glove on. Pair of white gloves to cover our hand. Pair of kid gloves in her hand.
9. White as a lily, fair as a swan. Fair as lily, white as swan. White as lily, fair as rose.
10. Fair as lily, white as wand. Fair as lily, white as wand. Fair as lily, white as nun. Fair as lily, white and wan.
11. Fairest lady in the land. No such lady in the land.
12. Not so fair as you may suppose.
13. Smell my lily, smell my rose.
14. Which of my maidens do you choose?
15. Turn, ladies. Turn, ladies. Turn all.
16. More we turn, more we may. More we turn, more we may. More we turn, better we are.
17. Queen Anne was born on midsummer day. Q. Anne was born on midsummer day.
18. King sends three letters. I send you three letters. King John has sent three letters. We’ve brought three letters. King sent me three letters.
19. Begs you’ll read one. Pray read one. Begs you’ll read them unto me.
20. One of these only by you must be seen.
21. Choose you one and choose you all. Cannot read one unless I read all. You must read one, if you can’t all. We can’t read one without all. We can’t read one, must read all.
22. I never read them all.
23. Pray, Miss, yield up the ball. Pray [    ] deliver the ball. Pray, Miss [    ], throw up the ball. Pray, Miss [    ], deliver the ball. Please [    ] deliver the ball. Pray, Miss [    ], deliver the ball.
24. We’ve got the ball between us.
25. The ball is mine, and none of yours. The ball is mine, and none of thine. The ball is yours, and not ours.
26. You, proud Queen, may sit on your throne.
27. While we, your messengers, go and come.
28. Go to the woods and gather flowers. Go to the garden and gather flowers.
29.
30. The ball is mine, and none of thine. The ball is ours, and none of yours.
31. You are the fair lady to sit on.
32. And we’re black gipsies to go and come.
33. We must go to the garden and gather flowers.
34.
35. Cats and kittens, bide within.
36. We young ladies walk out and in.
37.
38.
39.
No. Belfast. Swaffham. London. Barnes. Hersham. Sussex. Devon.
1.
2.
3. Lady Queen Anne. Queen Anne. Queen Anne. Queen Anne. Lady Queen Anne. Queen Ann. Queen Ann.
4.
5. Sits on a stand. Sits in a tan.
6.
7. Sits in the sun. Sits in the sun. Sits in the sun. Sits in the sun. Sat in the sun.
8. Pair of green gloves all over her hand. Pair of white gloves to cover her hand.
9. Fair as lily, white as swan. Fair as lily, white as swan. Fair as lily, white as swan. White as lily, red as rose.
10. Fair as lily, brown as bun. Fair as lily, brown as bun. Fair as lily, bright as one.
11. Fairest lady in the land.
12.
13. Taste my lily, smell my rose.
14. Which of my babes do you choose? To which young lady do you propose?
15.
16.
17.
18. We’ve brought three letters. We bring you three letters. I bring you three letters. Queen of Morocco sent you a letter. King Geo. has sent you three letters.
19. Pray can you read one. Pray you read one. Pray you choose one. Please to read one. Desires you to read one.
20.
21. Choose not one but choose all. Cannot read one without all. Cannot read one without all. I won’t read one except all. Cannot read one without all.
22.
23. Please, Miss Nell, give up the ball. Pray deliver the ball. Please give up the ball. Pray give up the ball. Please, Miss [    ], deliver the ball. Pray, Miss [    ], deliver the ball.
24.
25. You, old gipsy sit in the sun. So, black gipsies, sit in the sun.
26. We fair ladies, go and come. We fair ladies, go as we come.
27. The ball is ours, it is not yours. The ball is mine, and none of thine. The ball is ours, and none of yours. The ball is ours, it is not yours. The ball is ours, and none of yours.
28. We’ll go to the woods and gather flowers.
29. And we’ve the right to keep it. And we’ve the right to keep it.
30. The ball is yours, and not ours. The ball is yours, it is not ours.
31. You, black gipsies, sit in the sun.
32. While we, fair ladies, go as we come.
33.
34. And you’ve the right to keep it.
35.
36.
37. We will get pins to pin our clothes.
38. You will get nails to nail your toes.
39. So good morning Valentine.

[100]

This game appears to be in such a state of decadence that it is difficult to do more than suggest an origin. It may be that “Queen Anne” represents an oracle, and the petition is addressed to her to discover the stolen treasure; but more probably the players represent disguised damsels, one of whom is a bride whose identity has to be found out by her showing or possessing some object which belongs to or has been given previously by her suitor. The “guessing” or “naming” a particular person runs through all the versions, and is undoubtedly the clue to the game. If the Belfast version is the nearest to the original of those at present existing, and there is every probability that this is so, especially as Chambers’ version is so similar, an early form of the game might be restored, and from this its origin may be ascertained. Using the first four lines of one of Halliwell’s versions, and what appear to be the common lines of the other versions, the reading is

Suitor and Friends.
Here we come a-piping,
First in Spring and then in May.
The Queen she sits upon the sand,
Fair as a lily, white as a wand [swan].
Here’s a pair of -   white   - gloves to cover the hands [suitors offer gloves],
green
Of the fairest lady in all the land.
Guardian (or Mother) and Maidens.
Come -   taste   - my lily, come -   taste   - my rose,
smell smell
For which of my maidens do you propose?
Suitors or Queen Anne.
I chose but one, I chose from all,
I pray, Miss (    ), receive the ball [throwing ball to one girl, who catches it].

Or

I pray this hand receive the ball, [putting a ball into the extended hands of one of three girls.]

[101]Guardian then disguises three girls (one with the ball) with veils or other coverings, so that they precisely resemble each other, and returns with the girls to the suitors, saying to the girls

Turn, ladies, turn; turn, ladies, turn;

and to the suitors

Come choose your own, come choose from all.
I’ve brought you three letters, pray can you read one?
Suitor
(touching one of the disguised girls).
I cannot read one without I read all.
I pray, Miss (    ), yield up the ball.
Disguised Maiden
(one who did not receive the ball).
The ball is mine, and none of thine,
And so, good morning, Valentine.
Chorus of Maidens (curtseying).
We will go to the wood and gather flowers,
We will get pins to pin our clothes,
You will get nails to nail your toes.
Cats and kittens bide within,
But we, young maidens, come out and in.

The inference being that the chosen maiden is still free until the suitor can try again, and is fortunate enough to indicate the right maiden.

If this conjectural restoration of the verses be accepted on the evidence, it would suggest that this game originated from one of the not uncommon customs practised at weddings or betrothals—when the suitor has to discriminate between several girls all dressed precisely alike and distinguish his bride by some token. (See “King William.”) This incident of actual primitive custom also obtains in folk tales, thus showing its strong hold upon popular tradition, and hence increasing the probability that it would reappear in games. It must be remembered[102] that the giving of gloves was a significant fact in betrothals.

This game is said by some to have its origin in the use of the sedan chair. A version taken from a newspaper cutting (unfortunately I had not recorded the name and date, but think it was probably the Leeds Mercury some years ago) gives the following rhyme. The writer does not say whether he knows it as a game

Lady Lucan she sits in a sedan,
As fair as a lily, as white as a swan;
A pair of green gloves to doff and to don.
My mistress desires you will read one,
I can’t read one without them all,
So I pray this hand decline the ball.

In this version there is still the puzzle to solve, or riddle to read.[Addendum]

Queen Mary

[Play]

Tune Queen Mary Verses 1, 2 Tune Queen Mary Verses 3, 4, 5

—Hexham (Miss J. Barker).

I.

Queen Mary, Queen Mary, my age is sixteen,
My father’s a farmer on yonder green;
He has plenty of money to dress me in silk—
Come away, my sweet laddie, and take me a walk.
[103] One morning I rose and I looked in the glass,
I thought to myself what a handsome young lass;
My hands by my side, and a gentle ha, ha,
Come away, my sweet lassie, and take me a walk.
Father, mother, may I go, may I go, may I go;
Father, mother, may I go, to buy a bunch of roses?
Oh yes, you may go, you may go, you may go;
Oh yes, you may go, buy a bunch of roses!
Pick up her tail and away she goes, away she goes, away she goes;
Pick up her tail and away she goes, to buy a bunch of roses.

—Sang by the children of Hexham Workhouse (Miss J. Barker).

II.

Queen Mary, Queen Mary, my age is sixteen,
My father’s a farmer on yonder green;
He has plenty of money to keep me sae braw,
Yet nae bonnie laddie will tak’ me awa’.
The morning so early I looked in the glass,
And I said to myself what a handsome young lass;
My hands by my side, and I gave a ha, ha,
Come awa’, bonnie laddie, and tak’ me awa’.

—Berwickshire, A. M. Bell, Antiquary, xxx. 17.

III.

My name is Queen Mary,
My age is sixteen,
My father’s a farmer in Old Aberdeen;
He has plenty of money to dress me in black—
There’s nae [no] bonnie laddie ’ill tack me awa’.
Next mornin’ I wakened and looked in the glass,
I said to myself, what a handsome young lass;
Put your hands to your haunches and give a ha, ha,
For there’s nae bonnie laddie will tack ye awa’.

—N. E. Scotland (Rev. W. Gregor).

IV.

My name is Queen Mary,
My age is sixteen,
[104] My father’s a farmer in yonder green;
He’s plenty of money to dress in silk [fu’ braw’],
For there’s nae bonnie laddie can tack me awa’.
One morning I rose and I looked in the glass,
Says I to myself, I’m a handsome young lass;
My hands by my edges, and I give a ha, ha,
For there’s nae bonnie laddie t’ tack me awa’.

—Cullen (Rev. W. Gregor).

(b) The Scottish game is played by girls. The players join hands, form a circle with one in the centre, and dance round singing. At the words “’ill tack me awa’,” the centre player chooses another one, and the two wheel round. Then the singing proceeds. At the exclamation “ha! ha!” the players suit the action to the words of the line. In the Cullen game the girls stand in a row with one in front, who sings the verses and chooses another player from the line. The two then join hands and go round and round, singing the remaining verses.

Queen of Sheba

Two rows of people sit on chairs face to face on each side of a door, leaving just sufficient space between the lines for a player to pass. At the end of the rows furthest from the door sits the “Queen of Sheba,” with a veil or shawl over her head. A player, hitherto unacquainted with the game, is brought to the door, shown the Queen, and told to go up between the rows, after being blindfolded, to kiss her, taking care, meanwhile, to avoid treading on the toes of the people on each side the alley leading to the lady. While his mind is diverted by these instructions, and by the process of blindfolding, the Queen gives up her seat to “the King,” who has been lurking in the background. He assumes the veil and receives the kiss, to the amusement of every one but the uninitiated player.

—Anderby, Lincolnshire, and near the Trent, Nottinghamshire (Miss M. Peacock).

Ragman

An ancient game, at which persons drew by chance poetical descriptions of their characters, the amusement consisting—as at modern games of a similar kind—in the peculiar application or misapplication of the verses so selected at hazard by the drawers.—Halliwell’s Dictionary. Halliwell goes on to[105] say that the meaning of this term was first developed by Mr. Wright in his Anecdota Literaria, 1844, where he has printed two collections of ancient verses used in the game of “Ragman.” Mr. Wright conjectures that the stanzas were written one after another on a roll of parchment; that to each stanza a string was attached at the side, with a seal or piece of metal or wood at the end; and that when used the parchment was rolled up with all the strings and their seals hanging together, so that the drawer had no reason for choosing one more than another, but drew one of the strings by mere chance, and which he opened to see on what stanza he had fallen. If such were the form of the game, we can very easily imagine why the name was applied to a charter with an unusual number of seals attached to it, which, when rolled up, would present exactly the same appearance. Mr. Wright is borne out in his opinion by an English poem, termed “Ragmane roelle,” printed from MS., Fairfax, 16:

“My ladyes and my maistresses echone,
Lyke hit unto your humbyble wommanhede,
Resave in gré of my sympill persone
This rolle, which, withouten any drede,
Kynge Ragman me bad me sowe in brede,
And cristyned yt the merour of your chaunce;
Drawith a strynge, and that shal streight yow leyde
Unto the verry path of your governaunce.”

That the verses were generally written in a roll may perhaps be gathered from a passage in Douglas’s Virgil:

“With that he raucht me ane roll: to rede I begane,
The royetest ane ragment with mony ratt rime.”

Halliwell also quotes the following:

“Venus, whiche stant withoute lawe,
In non certeyne, but as men drawe
Of Ragemon upon the chaunce,
Sche leyeth no peys in the balaunce.”

—Gower, MS. Society of Antiquaries, 134, 244.

The term rageman is applied to the devil in “Piers Ploughman,” 335.

[106]

Rag-stag

See “Stag Warning.”

Rakes and Roans

A boys’ game, in which the younger ones are chased by the larger boys, and when caught carried home pick-a-back.—Halliwell’s Dictionary.

Moor (Suffolk Words and Phrases) says this game is often called “Rakes” only, and is the same, probably, that is thus alluded to: “To play Reaks, to domineer, to show mad pranks.” The jest of it is to be carried home a pig-back, by the less swift wight who you may catch.

Rakkeps

A game among boys [undescribed].—Dickinson’s Cumberland Glossary.

Range the Bus

Sides are chosen, and a line made across the playground. One of the sides goes up and the other goes down, and throws their bonnets on the ground. Then one side tries to get one of the opposite side across the line and crown him, and one of the opposite side tries to crown him back. If another boy can catch this player before he gets near him, he is crowned also. All the time the one side is trying to take the bonnets.—Old Aberdeen (Rev. W. Gregor).

See “French and English,” “Scotch and English.”

Rax, or Raxie-boxie, King of Scotland

The players, except one, take their stand at one side, and one stands at the other side in front of them. When all are ready, the one in front calls out “Cock,” or “Caron,” when all rush across to the other side, and he tries to catch one of them in crossing. The one caught helps to catch the others as they run back. Each time the players run from the one side to the other the word “Cock,” or “Caron,” is called out, and the change is continued till all are caught—each one as caught becoming a catcher. In Tyrie the game is called “Dyke King” when played by boys, and “Queen” when played by girls.[107] The word “King,” or “Queen,” is called out before each run, according as the game is played by boys or girls.—Ballindalloch (Rev. W. Gregor).

This game is called “Red Rover” in Liverpool (Mr. C. C. Bell). “Red Rover” is shouted out by the catcher when players are ready to rush across.

See “King Cæsar.”

Relievo

This game is played by one child trying to catch the rest. The first prisoner taken joins hands with the captor and helps in the pursuit, and so on till all the playmates have been taken.—Anderby, Lincs. (Miss M. Peacock).

This game is the same as “Chickiddy Hand,” “Stag Warning.”

Religious Church

The children stand in a line. One child on the opposite side, facing them, says

Have you been to a religious church?

Row of children answer

No!
Have I asked you?
No!
Put your fingers on your lips and follow me.

All the row follow behind her to some other part of the ground, where she stands with her back to them, and they form a new row. One child out of the row now steps forward, and standing behind the first girl says

Guess who stands behind you?

If the first girl guesses right she keeps her old place, and they begin again. If she is wrong the child who has come from the row takes her place, and a new game is begun. Of course the child who asks the last question alters its voice as much as possible, so as not to be recognised.—Liphook, Hants. (Miss Fowler).

[108]

Rigs

A game of children in Aberdeenshire, said to be the same as Scotch and English, and also called Rockety Row.—Jamieson’s Dictionary.

Ring

See “Ring-taw.”

Ring a Ring o’ Roses

[Play]

Tune Ring a Ring o' Roses Marlborough

—Marlborough (H. S. May).

[Play]

Tune Ring a Ring o' Roses Yorkshire

—Yorkshire (H. Hardy).

[Play version 1, version 2]

Tune Ring a Ring o' Roses Sporle

—Sporle (Miss Matthews).

I.

Ring a ring o’ roses,
A pocket-full o’ posies;
One for me, and one for you,
And one for little Moses—
Hasher, Hasher, Hasher, all fall down.

—Winterton, Lincoln, and Leadenham (Miss M. Peacock).

II.

A ring, a ring o’ roses,
A pocket-full o’ posies;
One for Jack, and one for Jim, and one for little Moses—
A-tisha! a-tisha! a-tisha!

—Shropshire (Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 511).

III.

A ring, a ring o’ roses,
A pocket-full o’ posies;
A curchey in, and a curchey out,
And a curchey all together.

—Edgmond (Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 571).

[109]

IV.

Ring, a ring o’ roses,
A pocket full o’ posies;
Up-stairs and down-stairs,
In my lady’s chamber—
Husher! Husher! Cuckoo!

—Wakefield, Yorks. (Miss Fowler).

V.

Ring, a ring of roses,
Basket full of posies—
Tisha! Tisha! all fall down.

—Penzance, Cornwall (Mrs. Mabbott).

VI.

Ring, a ring a roses,
A pocketful of posies;
Hush, oh! hush, oh!
All fall down!

—Colchester, Essex (Miss G. M. Frances).

VII.

Ring, a ring a rosy,
A pocket full of posies;
One for you, and one for me,
And one for little Moses—
Atishm! Atishm!

—Beddgelert (Mrs. Williams).

VIII.

A ring, a ring of roses,
A pocket full of posies—
Hist! hush! last down dead!

—Gainford, Durham (Miss A. Eddleston).

IX.

Ring, a ring a row-o,
See the children go-o,
Sit below the goose-berry bush;
Hark! they all cry Hush! hush! hush!
Sitty down, sit down.
Duzzy, duzzy gander,
Sugar, milk, and candy;
Hatch-u, hatch-u, all fall down together.

—South Shields (Miss Blair, aged 9).

[110]

X.

Ringey, ringey rosies,
A pocketful of posies—
Hach-ho, hach-ho, all fall down.

Another version

Hash-ho! Tzhu-ho! all fall down.

—Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Matthews).

XI.

Windy, windy weather,
Cold and frosty weather,
When the wind blows
We all blow together.
I saw Peter!
When did you meet him?
Merrily, cherrily [so pronounced]
All fall down.
A ring, a ring of roses,
A pocketful of posies—
Ashem, ashem, all fall down.

—Sheffield (S. O. Addy).

(b) A ring is formed by the children joining hands. They all dance round, singing the lines. At the word “Hasher” or “Atcha” they all raise their hands [still clasped] up and down, and at “all fall down” they sit suddenly down on the ground. In Lancashire (Morton) they pause and curtsey deeply. The imitation of sneezing is common to all. Miss Peacock says, in Nottinghamshire they say “Hashem! Hashem!” and shake their heads. In the Sheffield version the children sing the first eight lines going round, and all fall down when the eighth is sang. They then form a ring by holding hands, and move round singing the next three lines, and then they all fall either on their knees or flat on their faces.

(c) Versions of this game, identical with the Winterton one, have been sent me by Miss Winfield, Nottingham; others, almost identical with the second Norfolk version, from Monton, Lancashire (Miss Dendy), North Staffs. Potteries, Norbury, Staffs., (Miss A. Keary), Earls Heaton, Yorks. (H. Hardy). Addy, Sheffield Glossary, gives a version almost identical with the last Sporle version.

[111]Addy, Sheffield Glossary, compares the old stories about rose-laughing in Grimm’s Teut. Myth. iii. 1101. “Gifted children of fortune have the power to laugh roses, as Treyja wept gold. Probably in the first instance they were Pagan beings of light, who spread their brightness in the sky over the earth—‘rose children,’ ‘sun children.’” This seems to me to be a very apposite explanation of the game, the rhymes of which are fairly well preserved, though showing in some of the variants that decay towards a practical interpretation which will soon abolish all traces of the mythical origin of game-rhyme. It may, however, simply be the making, or “ringing,” a ring or circle of roses or other flowers and bowing to this. Mr. Addy’s suggestion does not account for the imitation of sneezing, evidently an important incident, which runs through all versions. Sneezing has always been regarded as an important or supernatural event in every-day life, and many superstitious beliefs and practices are connected with it both in savage and civilised life. Newell (Games and Songs of American Children, p. 127) describes “Ring around the Rosie,” apparently this game, but the imitation of sneezing has been lost.

Ring by Ring

Here we go round by ring, by ring,
As ladies do in Yorkshire;
A curtsey here, a curtsey there,
A curtsey to the ground, sir.

—Hersham, Surrey (Folk-lore Record, v. 86).

There is no description of the way this game is played, but it is evidently a similar game to “Ring-a-Ring o’ Roses.”

Ringie, Ringie, Red Belt

Take a small splint of wood, kindle it, and when it is burning turn it rapidly round in a circle, repeating the words

Ringie, ringie, Red Belt, rides wi’ the king,
Nae a penny in’s purse t’buy a gold ring.
Bow—ow—ow, fat dog art thou,
Tam Tinker’s dog, bow—ow—ow.

—Corgarff (Rev. W. Gregor).

[112]

This goes by the name of “Willie Wogie” at Keith, but no words are repeated as the splint is whirled.

See “Jack’s Alive.”

Ring-me-rary

I.

Ring me (1), ring me (2), ring me rary (3),
As I go round (4) ring by ring (5),
A virgin (6) goes a-maying (7);
Here’s a flower (8), and there’s a flower (9),
Growing in my lady’s garden (10).
If you set your foot awry (11),
Gentle John will make you cry (12);
If you set your foot amiss (13),
Gentle John (14) will give you a kiss.
This [lady or gentleman] is none of ours,
Has put [him or her] self in [child’s name] power;
So clap all hands and ring all bells, and make the wedding o’er.

—Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes, p. 67.

II.

As I go round ring by ring,
A maiden goes a-maying;
And here’s a flower, and there’s a flower,
As red as any daisy.
If you set your foot amiss,
Gentle John will give you a kiss.

—Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes, p. 125.

(b) A number of boys and girls stand round one in the middle, who repeats the lines, counting the children until one is counted out by the end of the verse. The child upon whom (14) falls is then taken out and forced to select one of the other sex. The middle child then proceeds to say the three last lines. All the children clap hands during the saying (or singing) of the last line. If the child taken by lot joins in the clapping, the selected child is rejected, and, I believe, takes the middle place. Otherwise, I think there is a salute.—Halliwell.

(c) This game is recorded by no authority except Halliwell, and no version has reached me, so that I suppose it is now[113] obsolete. It is a very good example of the oldest kind of game, choosing partners or lovers by the “lot,” and may be a relic of the May-day festival, when the worship of Flora was accompanied by rites of marriage not in accord with later ideas.

Ring-taw

A rough ring is made on the ground, and the players each place in it an equal share in “stonies,” or alleys. They each bowl to the ring with another marble from a distance. The boy whose marble is nearest has the first chance to “taw;” if he misses a shot the second boy, whose marble was next nearest to the ring, follows, and if he misses, the next, and so on. If one player knocks out a marble, he is entitled to “taw” at the rest in the ring until he misses; and if a sure “tawer” not one of the others may have the chance to taw. Any one’s “taw” staying within the ring after being tawn at the “shots,” is said to be “fat,” and the owner of the “taw” must then replace any marbles he has knocked out in the ring.—Earls Heaton, Yorks. (Herbert Hardy). Halliwell (Dictionary) describes this game very much as above, except that a fine is imposed on those who leave the taw in the ring. Ross and Stead (Holderness Glossary) give this game as follows:—“Two boys place an equal number of marbles in the form of a circle, which are then shot at alternately, each boy pocketing the marbles he hits.” Addy (Sheffield Glossary) says, “Ring-taw” is a marble marked with a red ring used in the game of marbles. This is commonly called “ring” for short. Evans (Leicestershire Glossary) describes the game much the same as above, but adds some further details of interest. “If the game be knuckle-up the player stands and shoots in that position. If the game be knuckle-down he must stoop and shoot with the knuckle of the first finger touching the ground at taw. In both cases, however, the player’s toe must be on taw. The line was thus called taw as marking the place for the toe of the player, and the marble a taw as being the one shot from the taw-line, in contradistinction to those placed passively in[114] the ring-‘line’ in the one case, and ‘marble’ in the other being dropped as superfluous.”—Strutt (Sports and Pastimes, p. 384) alludes to the game.

In Ireland this game is also called “Ring,” and is played with marbles and buttons. A ring is marked out on a level hard place, and every boy puts down a button. The buttons are lightly struck in the centre of the ring, and all play their marbles to the buttons. The nearest to them play first. The line from which they play is generally about eight feet away, and everybody does his best to strike the buttons. Any put out are kept by the boy putting them out, and if a boy strikes a button, or buttons, out, he can play on until he misses.—Waterville, Cos. Kerry and Cork, T. J. Dennachy (through Mrs. B. B. Green of Dublin).

Rin-im-o’er

A game among children, in which one stands in the middle of a street, road, or lane, while others run across it within a certain given distance from the person so placed, and whose business it is to catch one in passing, when he is released, and the captive takes his place.—Teviotdale (Jamieson’s Dictionary).

It nearly resembles “Willie Wastle.”

Robbing the Parson’s Hen-Roost

This game is played by every player, except one (the questioner), choosing a word, and introducing it into his phrase whenever he gives an answer. For example, X, Y, and Z have chosen the words elephant, key-hole, and mouse-trap.

Questioner. “What did you steal from the parson’s hen-roost?”

X. “An elephant.”

Q. “How did you get into the hen-roost?”

Y. “Through the key-hole.”

Q. “Where did you put what was stolen?”

Z. “Into a mouse-trap.”

And so on with the other players.—Lincoln [generally known] (Miss M. Peacock).

[115]The players choose a name, and another player asks them questions, beginning with, “The Parson’s hen-roost was robbed last night, were you there?” To all questions each player must answer by repeating his own name only: if he forgets and says, “Yes” or “No,” he has to take the questioner’s place.—Haxey, Lincolnshire (Mr. C. C. Bell).

Rockety Row

A play in which two persons stand with their backs to each other, one passing his arms under the shoulders of the other, they alternately lift each other from the ground.—Jamieson’s Dictionary.

See “Bag o’ Malt,” “Weigh the Butter.”

Roll up Tobacco

See “Bulliheisle,” “Eller Tree,” “Wind up the Bush Faggot.”

Roly-poly

Roly-poly

A game played with a certain number of pins and a ball, resembling half a cricket ball. One pin is placed in the centre, the rest (with the exception of one called the Jack) are placed in a circle round it; the Jack is placed about a foot or so from the circle, in a line with the one in the circle and the one in the centre. The centre one is called the King, the one between that and the Jack, the Queen. The King counts for three, the Queen two, and each of the other pins for one each, except Jack. The art of the game lies in bowling down all the pins except Jack, for if Jack is bowled down, the player has just so many deducted from his former score as would have been added if he had not struck the Jack (Holloway’s Dict. Provincialisms). This game was formerly called “Half-bowl,” and was prohibited by a statute of Edward IV. (Halliwell’s Dictionary). Brockett (North Country Words and[116] Phrases) says it is a game played at fairs and races. It is, under the name of “Kayles,” well described and illustrated by Strutt (Sports and Pastimes, p. 270, 271), which is reproduced here. It will be seen that Jamieson describes it as played with a pole or cudgel. He says this game no doubt gave origin to the modern one of “Nine-pins;” though primitively the Kayle-pins do not appear to have been confined to any certain number nor shape. . . . The Kayle-pins appear to have been placed in one row only. He also says that “Half-bowl,” played in Hertfordshire, was called “Roly-poly.”

Playing Roly-poly

Jamieson (Dictionary) gives this as “Rollie-poly,” a game of nine-pins, called also Kayles. The name “Rollie-poly” was given to it because it was played with a pole, or cudgel, by which the pins were knocked over. In the West of Scotland, where this game was in great repute in olden times, it formed one of the chief sports of Fastern’s-e’en, and was a favourite amusement at fairs and races. The awards for successful throwing were generally in the form of small cakes of gingerbread, which were powerful incentives to the game, and never failed to attract players in response to the cry, “Wha’ll try the lucky Kayles?”

[117]

Ronin the Bee

A rude game. A cazzie, or cassie, is unexpectedly thrown over the head of a person. When thus blindfolded he is pressed down, and buckets of water are thrown upon the cassie till the victim is thoroughly saturated.—Jamieson’s Dictionary.

See “Carrying the Queen a Letter,” “Ezzeka.”

Rosy Apple, Lemon and Pear

[Play]

Tune Rosy Apple, Lemon and Pear

—Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Matthews).

I.

Rosy apple, lemon, or pear,
Bunch of roses she shall wear;
Gold and silver by her side,
I know who will be the bride.
Take her by her lily-white hand,
Lead her to the altar;
Give her kisses,—one, two, three,—
Mrs. (child’s name) daughter.

—Hersham, Surrey (Folk-lore Record, v. 58).

II.

Rosy apple, lemon, and pear,
A bunch of roses she shall wear;
Gold and silver by her side,
Choose the one shall be her bride.
Take her by her lily-white hand,
Lead her to the altar;
Give her kisses,—one, two, three,—
To old mother’s runaway daughter.

—Symondsbury, Dorsetshire (Folk-lore Journal, vii. 210).

III.

Rosy apple, lemon, and a pear,
A bunch of ribbons she shall wear;
Gold and silver by her side,
I know who will be her bride.
[118] Take her by the lily-white hand,
Lead her over the water;
Give her kisses,—one, two, three,—
For Mrs. —— daughter.

—Maxey, Northants. (Rev. W. D. Sweeting).

IV.

Rosy apple, lemon, and a pear,
Bunch of roses you shall wear;
Gold and silver by your side,
I know who shall be a bride.
Take her by the lily-white hand,
Lead her ’cross the water;
Give her kisses,—one, two, three,—
For Mrs. (So-and-so’s) daughter.

—Deptford, Kent (Miss Chase).

V.

Rosie had an apple and a pear,
A bunch of roses she shall wear;
Gold and silver by her side,
I knows who shall be her bride.
Take her by the lily-white hand,
Lead her across the water;
Give her a kiss, and one, two, three,
Old Mother Sack-a-biddy’s daughter!

—Ogbourne, Wilts. (H. S. May).

VI.

Rosy apples, mellow pears,
Bunch of roses she shall wear;
Gold and silver by her side,
Tell me who shall be her bride.
Take her by her lily-white hand,
Lead her across the ocean;
Give her a kiss, and one, two, three,
Mrs. —— daughter.

—Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Matthews).

VII.

A rosy apple, lemon, and a pear,
A bunch of roses she shall wear;
Gold and silver by your side,
Choose the one to be your bride.
[119] Take her by her lily-white hand,
Lead her to the altar;
Give her a kiss by one, two, three,
Mrs. —— daughter.

—Cowes, I. of Wight (Miss E. Smith).

VIII.

Roses up, and roses down,
Roses in the garden;
I wadna gie ye a bunch o’ flowers
For tenpence halfpenny farden.
Take her by the lily-white hand,
Lead her across the water;
Gie her a kiss, and one, two, three,
For she’s a lady’s daughter.

—Berwickshire (A. M. Bell) Antiquary, xxx. 16.

IX.

Maggie Littlejohn, fresh and fair,
A bunch of roses in her hair;
Gold and silver by her side,
I know who is her bride.
Take her by the lily-white hand,
Lead her over the water;
Give her kisses,—one, two, three,—
For she’s a lady’s daughter.
Roses up, and roses down,
And roses in the garden;
I widna give a bunch of roses
For twopence ha’penny farthing.

—Rev. W. Gregor.

X.

Roses up, and roses down,
And roses in the garden;
I widna gie a bunch o’ roses
For tippence ha’penny farden.
So and so, fresh and fair,
A bunch o’ roses she shall wear;
Gold and silver by her side,
Crying out, “Cheese and bride” (bread).
[120] Take her by the lily-white hand,
Lead her on the water;
Give her kisses,—one, two, three,—
For she’s her mother’s daughter.

—Fraserburgh (Rev. W. Gregor).

XI.

Roses up, and roses down,
And roses in the garden;
I wadna gie a bunch o’ roses
For twopence ha’penny farthin’.
——, fresh and fair,
A bunch of roses she shall wear;
Gold and silver by her side,
I know who’s her bride.
Take her by the lily-white hand,
And lead her o’er the water;
And give her kisses,—one, two, three,—
For she’s the princess’ daughter.

—Cullen (Rev. W. Gregor).

XII.

Maggie Black, fresh and fair,
A bunch of roses she shall wear;
I know who I’ll take.
Give her kisses,—one, two, three,—
For she’s a lady’s daughter.
Roses in, and roses out,
Roses in a garden;
I would not give a bunch of roses
For twopence halfpenny “farden.”

—Nairn (Rev. W. Gregor).

(c) The players form a ring, one child stands in the centre, who chooses a sweetheart from the ring when the fifth line is sung; the two kiss, the first child takes her place in the ring, the second child remains in the centre, and the game begins again. This is the method adopted in most of the versions. The Symondsbury game is slightly different; the first part is the same, but when the last line is sung the child who was first in the middle must run away and take a place in the ring as soon as she can. The second one remains in[121] the centre. The Maxey (Northants.) version is altogether different. All the children but one stand in a row. The one stands in front of them and sings the lines by herself; at the last line she selects one from the line by naming her. These two then sing the lines, “swinging round,” so described by Mr. Sweeting’s informant. They then select a third when singing the last line, and the three then swing round. This is repeated till all the children from the line come into the ring.

In the Scotch versions the players all stand in a line, with one in front, and sing. At the end of the fourth line the one in front chooses one from the line, and all again sing, mentioning the name of the one chosen (Fraserburgh). At Cullen, one child stands out of the line and goes backwards and forwards singing, then chooses her partner, and the two go round the line singing.

(d) A version which I collected in Barnes is not so perfect as those given here, only the four first lines being sung. A Kentish version sent me by Miss Broadwood is almost identical with the Deptford game. Miss Broadwood’s version commences

Rosy apple, miller, miller, pear.

An Ipswich version is almost identical with that of Hersham, Surrey (Lady C. Gurdon’s Suffolk County Folk-lore, p. 64), except that it begins “Golden apple” and ends with the marriage formula

Now you’re married, I wish you joy,
Father and mother you must obey;
Love one another like sister and brother,
And now’s the time to kiss away.

(e) This game is probably derived from the mode of dressing the bride in the marriage ceremony, and is not very ancient. The line “Lead her to the altar” probably indicates the earliest version, corrupted later into “Lead her across the water,” and this would prove a comparatively modern origin. If, however, the “altar” version is a corruption of the “water” version, the game may go back to the pre-Christian marriage ceremony, but of this there is little evidence.

[122]

Roundabout, or Cheshire Round

This is danced by two only, one of each sex; after leading off into the middle of an imaginary circle, and dancing a short time opposite to each other, the one strives by celerity of steps in the circumference of the circle to overtake and chase the other round it; the other in the meantime endeavouring to maintain an opposite situation by equal celerity in receding.—Roberts’ Cambrian Popular Antiquities, p. 46.

Halliwell gives Round, a kind of dance. “The round dance, or the dancing of the rounds.”—Nomenclator, 1585, p. 299. There was a sort of song or ballad also so called.—Dict. Provincialisms.

Round and Round the Village

[Play]

Tune Round and Round the Village Barnes

—Barnes, Surrey (A. B. Gomme).

[Play]

Tune Round and Round the Village Hanbury

—Hanbury, Staff. (Edith Hollis).

I.

Round and round the village,
Round and round the village;
Round and round the village,
As we have done before.
In and out the windows,
In and out the windows;
In and out the windows,
As we have done before.
[123] Stand and face your lover,
Stand and face your lover;
Stand and face your lover,
As we have done before.
Follow her to London,
Follow her to London;
Follow her to London,
As we have done before.
Kiss her before you leave her,
Kiss her before you leave her;
Kiss her before you leave her,
As we have done before.

—Barnes, Surrey (taken down from children of village school—A. B. Gomme).

II.

Round and round the village,
Round and round the village;
Round and round the village,
As you have done before.
In and out the window,
In and out the window;
In and out the window,
As you have done before.
Stand and face your lover,
Stand and face your lover;
Stand and face your lover,
As you have done before.

—Deptford, Kent (Miss Chase).

III.

Round and round the village,
In and out of the window;
Stand and face your lover,
As you have done before.
Stand and face your lover,
Stand and face your lover;
Oh, stand and face your lover,
As you have done before.
[124] Follow me to London,
Follow me to London;
Oh, follow me to London,
As you have done before.

—Wakefield, Yorks. (Miss Fowler).

IV.

Round and round the village,
In and out of the window;
Stand and face your lover,
As you have done before;
Oh, stand and face your lover,
As you have done before, O.
Follow me to London,
Follow me to London;
Follow me to London,
As you have done before.

—Winterton and Bottesford, Lincolnshire (Miss M. Peacock).

V.

Round and round the village,
Round and round the village;
Round and round the village,
As you have done before.
In and out the windows,
In and out the windows;
In and out the windows,
As you have done before.
Stand and face your lover,
Stand and face your lover;
Stand and face your lover,
As you have done before.
Shake hands with your lover,
Shake hands with your lover;
Shake hands with your lover,
As you have done before.

—From girls of Clapham High School (Miss F. D. Richardson).

[125]

VI.

Out and in the villages,
Out and in the villages;
Out and in the villages,
As you have done before.
Out and in the windows,
Out and in the windows;
Out and in the windows,
As you have done before.
Stand before your lover,
Stand before your lover;
Stand before your lover,
As you have done before.

—Cullen (Rev. W. Gregor).

VII.

Go round and round the village,
Go round and round the village,
As we have done before.
Go in and out the window,
Go in and out the window,
As we have done before.
Come in and face your lover,
Come in and face your lover,
As we have done before.
I measure my love to show you,
I measure my love to show you,
As we have done before.
I kneel because I love you,
I kneel because I love you,
As we have done before.
Follow me to London,
Follow me to London,
As we have done before.
Back again to Westerham,
Back again to Westerham,
As we have done before.

—Crockham Hill, Kent (Miss Chase).

[126]

VIII.

Walking round the village,
Walking round the village;
Walking round the village,
As we have done before.
In and out the windows,
In and out the windows;
In and out the windows,
As you have done before.
Stand and face your lover,
Stand and face your lover;
Stand and face your lover,
As you have done before.
Now they go off courting,
Now they go off courting;
Now they go off courting,
As they have done before.
Chase her back to Scotland,
Chase her back to Scotland;
Chase her back to Scotland,
As you have done before.

—Penzance, Cornwall (Mrs. Mabbott).

IX.

Round about the village,
Round about the village;
Round about the village,
As you have done before.
In and out of the windows,
In and out of the windows;
In and out of the windows,
As you have done before.
I stand before my lover,
I stand before my lover;
I stand before my lover,
As I have done before.
[127] Follow me to London,
Follow me to London;
Follow me to London,
As you have done before.
Dance away to Fairyland,
Dance away to Fairyland;
Dance away to Fairyland,
As we have done before.

—Stevenage, Herts. (Mrs. Lloyd, taught to a friend’s children by a nurse from Stevenage).

X.

All round the village,
All round the village;
All round the village,
As we have done before.
In and out of the window,
In and out of the window;
In and out of the window,
As we have done before.
Stand and face your lover,
Stand and face your lover;
Stand and face your lover,
As we have done before.
Kiss her if you love her,
Kiss her if you love her;
Kiss her if you love her,
As we have done before.
Take her off to London,
Take her off to London;
Take her off to London,
As we have done before.

—Earls Heaton, Yorks. (Herbert Hardy).

XI.

All round the village,
All round the village;
All round the village,
As you have done before.
[128] In and out the windows,
In and out the windows;
In and out the windows,
As you have done before.
Stand and face your lover,
Stand and face your lover;
Stand and face your lover,
As you have done before.
Follow her to London,
Follow her to London;
Follow her to London,
As you have done before.

—Tean, North Staffs, (from a Monitor in the School).

XII.

Round and round the village, &c.,
As you have done before.
In and out the windows, as you have done before.
Stand and face your lover, &c.
Follow me to London, &c.

—Roxton, St. Neots (Miss E. Lumley).

XIII.

Out and in the windows,
Out and in the windows;
Out and in the windows,
As you have done before.
Stand before your lover,
Stand before your lover;
Stand before your lover,
As you have done before.
Follow her to London,
Follow her to London;
Follow her to London,
Before the break of day.

—Fraserburgh (Rev. W. Gregor).

[129]

XIV.

In and out of the window,
In and out of the window;
In and out of the window,
As you have done before.
Stand and face your lover,
Stand and face your lover;
Stand and face your lover,
As you have done before.
Give me a kiss, my darling,
Give me a kiss, my darling;
Give me a kiss, my darling,
As you have done before.
Follow me to London,
Follow me to London;
Follow me to London,
As you have done before.

—Hanbury, Staffordshire (Miss E. Hollis).

XV.

Marching round the ladies,
Marching round the ladies, as you have done before.
In and out the windows,
In and out the windows, as you have done before.
Stand and face your lover,
Stand and face your lover, as you have done before.
Follow me to London,
Follow me to London, as you have done before.
Bring me back to Belfast,
Bring me back to Belfast, as you have done before.

—Belfast, Ireland (W. R. Patterson).

XVI.

Come gather again on the old village green,
Come young and come old, who once children have been.
Such frolics and games as ne’er before were seen,
We join in riots and play [? riotous].
Take her off to London,
Take her off to London,
Take her off to London.
[130] In and out the windows,
In and out the windows;
In and out the windows,
As you have gone before.
Round about the village,
Round about the village;
Round about the village,
As you have gone before.
Soon we will get married,
Soon we will get married;
Soon we will get married,
And never more depart.

—Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Matthews).

XVII.

Three jolly sailor boys
Lately come ashore,
Spend their time in drinking lager wine,
As they have done before.
We go round, and round, and round,
As we have done before;
And this is a girl, and a very pretty girl,
A kiss for kneeling there.
Go in and out the window,
Go in and out the window;
Go in and out the window,
As we have done before.
Follow me to London,
Follow me to London;
Follow me to London,
As we have done before.
Go back and face your lover,
Go back and face your lover;
Go back and face your lover,
As we have done before.

—Brigg (from a Lincolnshire friend of Miss J. Barker).

[131]

XVIII.

Up and down the valley,
Up and down the valley;
Up and down the valley,
As I have done before.
In and out the window,
In and out the window;
In and out the window,
As I have done before.
Stand and face your lover,
Stand and face your lover;
Stand and face your lover,
As I have done before.
Follow me to London,
Follow me to London;
Follow me to London,
As I have done before.

—Settle, Yorks. (Rev. W. S. Sykes).

XIX.

XIX. In and out the willows,
In and out the willows;
In and out the willows,
As you have done before.
Stand and face your lover,
Stand and face your lover;
Stand and face your lover,
As you have done before.
Follow me to London,
Follow me to London;
Follow me to London,
As you have done before.

—West Grinstead, Sussex (Notes and Queries, 8th Series, i. 249, Miss Busk).

Playing Round and Round the Village

(c) The children join hands and form a ring with one child standing outside. The ring stands perfectly still throughout this game and sings the verses, the action being confined to at first one child, and then to two together. During the singing of[132] the first verse the outside child dances round the ring on the outside. When the ring commences to sing the second verse the children hold up their arms to form arches, and the child who has been running round outside runs into the ring under one pair of joined hands, and out again under the next pair of arms, continuing this “in and out” movement until the third verse is commenced. The child should try and run in and out under all the joined hands. At the third verse the child stops in the ring and stands facing one, whom she chooses for her lover, until the end of the verse; the chosen child then leaves the ring, followed by the first child, and they walk round the ring, or they walk away a little distance, returning at the commencement of next verse. In the first three versions the second child is chased back and caught by the first child. In the Clapham version the two shake hands in the last verse.[133] The Barnes version has kissing for its finale. The Hanbury also has kissing, but it precedes the following to London. In the Brigg, Lincolnshire (Miss Barker), a child stands in the middle and points with her finger to each one she passes; finally selects one, who leaves the ring and kneels in front of the girl in the middle. At the end of the second verse the kneeling child gets up and the first child goes in and out under the arms of the players, followed by the other. At the fourth they reverse and go back under the arms in the opposite direction, finally stopping in the middle of the ring, when another child is chosen and the first one in goes out. In the Winterton and Bottesford versions (Miss Peacock), at the words “Stand and face your lover,” the child who has been going “in and out” stands before the one she chooses, beckons to her, and sings the next verse. Then the chosen one chases her until she can catch her. In the Crockham Hill version (Miss Chase) the love is measured out with a handkerchief three times, and after kneeling in the road, the chosen partner follows round the ring and reverses for the return.

(d) The analysis of the game-rhymes is on pp. 134-39. This shows that we are dealing with a game which represents a village, and also the houses in it. The village only disappears in six out of the twenty versions. In three of these (Hanbury, Fraserburgh, and West Grinstead) the line has gone altogether. In the fourth (Lincolnshire) it becomes “Round and round and round,” no mention being made of the village. In the fifth (Belfast) the line has become “Marching round the ladies.” In the sixth (Settle) it has become “Up and down the valley,” which also occurs in another imperfect version, of which a note was sent me by Miss Matthews from the Forest of Dean, where the line has become “Round and round the valley.” The substitution of “ladies” for “village” is very significant as evidence that the game, like all its compeers, is in a declining stage, and is, therefore, not the invention of modern times. The idea of a circle of children representing a village would necessarily be the first to die out if the game was no longer supported by the influence of any custom it might represent. The line of decadence becomes in this way an important argument for the discovery of the original form.

[134-
139]

No. Corn-
wall, Pen-
zance.
Kent, Crock-
ham Hill.
Herts, Steven-
age.
Yorks, Earls Heaton. N. Stafford-
shire, Tean.
Surrey, Clapham. Lincoln-
shire.
Surrey, Barnes. Nor-
folk, Sporle.
Staf-
ford-
shire, Han-
bury.
Belfast. Wake-
field.
Lin-
coln-
shire, Winter-
ton.
Dept-
ford.
Cullen. Roxton. Fraser-
burgh.
Settle. West Grin-
stead.
1. Three jolly sailor boys. Come gather again on the old village green.
2. Walking round the village. Go round and round the village. Round about the village. All round the village. All round the village. Round and round the village. Round and round the village. Round about the village. Round and round the village. Round and round the village. Round and round the village. Round and round the village.
3. Up and down the valley.
4. Out and in the villages.
5. We go round and round and round.
6. Marching round the ladies.
7. As we have done before. As we have done before. As you have done before. As we have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As we have done before. As we have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As I have done before.
8. And this a girl and a very pretty girl.
9. A kiss for kneeling here.
10. In and out the windows. Go in and out the windows. In and out of the windows. In and out of the window. In and out the window. In and out the window. Go in and out the window. In and out the windows. In and out the windows. In and out of the windows. In and out the windows. In and out of the window. In and out of the window. In and out the windows. Out and in the windows. In and out the windows. Out and in the windows. In and out the window. In and out the windows.
11.
12. As you have done before. As we have done before. As you have done before. As we have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As we have done before. As we have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As I have done before. As you have done before.
13. Stand and face your lover. Stand before my lover. Stand and face your lover. Stand and face your lover. Stand and face your lover. Stand and face your lover. Stand and face your lover. Stand and face your lover. Stand and face your lover. Stand and face your lover. Stand and face your lover. Stand before your lover. Stand and face your lover. Stand before your lover. Stand and face your lover. Stand and face your lover.
14. Come in and face your lover.
15. Go back and face your lover.
16. As you have done before. As we have done before. As I have done before. As we have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As we have done before. As we have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As I have done before. As you have done before.
17. Now they go off courting.
18. I measure my love to show you.
19. Kiss her if you love her. Kiss her before you leave her.
20. Shake hands with your lover.
21. Soon we will get married.
22. Give me a kiss, my darling.
23. As they have done before. As we have done before. As we have done before. As you have done before. As we have done before. As you have done before.
24. I kneel because I love you.
25. As we have done before.
26. Chase her back to Scotland.
27. Follow me to London. Follow me to London. Follow her to London. Follow me to London. Follow her to London. Follow me to London. Follow me to London. Follow me to London. Follow me to London. Follow me to London. Follow her to London. Follow me to London. Follow me to London.
28. Take her off to London. Take her off to London.
29. As you have done before. As we have done before. As you have done before. As we have done before. As you have done before. As we have done before. As we have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As I have done before. As you have done before.
30. Before the break of day.
31. Back again to Westerham.
32. Dance away to fairyland.
33. Bring me back to Belfast.
34. As we have done before. As we have done before. As you have done before.
No. Cornwall, Penzance. Kent, Crockham Hill. Herts, Stevenage. Yorks, Earls Heaton. N. Staffordshire, Tean. Surrey, Clapham. Lincolnshire.
1. Three jolly sailor boys.
2. Walking round the village. Go round and round the village. Round about the village. All round the village. All round the village. Round and round the village.
3.
4.
5. We go round and round and round.
6.
7. As we have done before. As we have done before. As you have done before. As we have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As we have done before.
8. And this a girl and a very pretty girl.
9. A kiss for kneeling here.
10. In and out the windows. Go in and out the windows. In and out of the windows. In and out of the window. In and out the window. In and out the window. Go in and out the window.
11.
12. As you have done before. As we have done before. As you have done before. As we have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As we have done before.
13. Stand and face your lover. Stand before my lover. Stand and face your lover. Stand and face your lover. Stand and face your lover.
14. Come in and face your lover.
15. Go back and face your lover.
16. As you have done before. As we have done before. As I have done before. As we have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As we have done before.
17. Now they go off courting.
18. I measure my love to show you.
19. Kiss her if you love her.
20. Shake hands with your lover.
21.
22.
23. As they have done before. As we have done before. As we have done before. As you have done before.
24. I kneel because I love you.
25. As we have done before.
26. Chase her back to Scotland.
27. Follow me to London. Follow me to London. Follow her to London. Follow me to London.
28. Take her off to London.
29. As you have done before. As we have done before. As you have done before. As we have done before. As you have done before. As we have done before.
30.
31. Back again to Westerham.
32. Dance away to fairyland.
33.
34. As we have done before. As we have done before.
No. Surrey, Barnes. Norfolk, Sporle. Staffordshire, Hanbury. Belfast. Wakefield. Lincolnshire, Winterton.
1. Come gather again on the old village green.
2. Round and round the village. Round about the village. Round and round the village. Round and round the village.
3.
4.
5.
6. Marching round the ladies.
7. As we have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before.
8.
9.
10. In and out the windows. In and out the windows. In and out of the windows. In and out the windows. In and out of the window. In and out of the window.
11.
12. As we have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before.
13. Stand and face your lover. Stand and face your lover. Stand and face your lover. Stand and face your lover. Stand and face your lover.
14.
15.
16. As we have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before.
17.
18.
19. Kiss her before you leave her.
20.
21. Soon we will get married.
22. Give me a kiss, my darling.
23. As we have done before. As you have done before.
24.
25.
26.
27. Follow her to London. Follow me to London. Follow me to London. Follow me to London. Follow me to London.
28. Take her off to London.
29. As we have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before.
30.
31.
32.
33. Bring me back to Belfast.
34. As you have done before.
No. Deptford. Cullen. Roxton. Fraserburgh. Settle. West Grinstead.
1.
2. Round and round the village. Round and round the village.
3. Up and down the valley.
4. Out and in the villages.
5.
6.
7. As you have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As I have done before.
8.
9.
10. In and out the windows. Out and in the windows. In and out the windows. Out and in the windows. In and out the window. In and out the windows.
11.
12. As you have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As you have done before. As I have done before. As you have done before.
13. Stand and face your lover. Stand before your lover. Stand and face your lover. Stand before your lover. Stand and face your lover. Stand and face your lover.
14.
15.
16. As you have done before. As you have done before. As I have done before. As you have done before.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27. Follow me to London. Follow her to London. Follow me to London. Follow me to London.
28.
29. As I have done before. As you have done before.
30. Before the break of day.
31.
32.
33.
34.

[140]

The next incident, No. 10 of the analysis, goes through all the games except one (West Grinstead), where the very obvious corruption of “willows” for “windows” occurs. This incident takes us to the houses of the village; and thus the two lines show us a procession, first, going round outside the boundary of the village, and, secondly, proceeding in serpentine fashion through the houses. Incident 13 has a few variations which do not point to anything more than verbal alteration, due to the changes which have occurred in the conception of the game. Incidents 17 to 22 are not constant to all the versions, and their variations are of an unimportant character. Incident 27 is an important element in the game. The prevalence of London as the place of assignation is probably due to the influence of that city in the popular mind; but the real significance seems to be that the lover-husband follows his bride to her own village. In only two versions is this incident varied (No. 28) to indicate that the husband took his wife with him, and only three versions have dropped out the incident altogether.

Abnormal incidents occur in only seven versions, and they are not of great significance. The Lincolnshire and Sporle versions have a line of general introduction (No. 1) before the game proper begins. Incidents 8 and 9 occur only in the Lincolnshire version, and do not disturb the general movement beyond indicating that the game has become, or is becoming, an indoor game. Incident 21 is obviously a modern line. Nos. 26 and 31 suggest a chase after a fugitive pair which, as they do not occur in other versions, must be considered as later introductions, belonging, however, to the period when runaway marriages were more frequent than they are now, and thus taking us back to, at least, the beginning of this century; while the significant and pretty variant No. 32 shows that the game has lost touch with the actual life of the people. No. 30 in the Fraserburgh version has a suspicious likeness to a line in the American song “I’m off to Charlestown,” but as it occurs only in this one version it cannot count as an important element in the history of the game.

[141](e) Miss Matthews notes a Forest of Dean version. The children form a ring, singing, “Round and round the valley, where we have been before,” while one child walks round the outside. Then they stand with uplifted hands, joined together, and sing, “In and out of the windows, as we have done before,” while the child threads her way in and out of the ring. Then they sing, “Stand and face your lover, as we have done before;” the child then stands in the centre of the ring and faces some one, whom she afterwards touches, and who succeeds her. A version from North Derbyshire (Mr. S. O. Addy) is practically the same as the Tean, North Staffs. version, except that the third verse is “Run to meet your lover,” instead of “Stand and face your lover.” The first child, during the singing of the third verse, walks round outside the ring, and touches one she chooses, who then runs away. While the fourth verse is being sung she is chased and caught, and the game begins again with the second child walking round the village. So far as Lancashire is concerned, Miss Dendy says, “I have no good evidence as yet that it is a Lancashire play. I think it has been imported here by board-school mistresses from other counties.”

(f) The burden of this game-rhyme is undoubtedly the oldest part that has been preserved to modern times. It runs through all the versions without exception, though variations in the other lines is shown by the analysis to occur. The words of the line, “As we have done before,” convey the idea of a recurring event, and inasmuch as that event is undoubtedly marriage, it seems possible to suggest that we have here a survival of the periodical village festival at which marriages took place. If the incidents in the game compare closely with incidents in village custom, the necessary proof will be supplied, and we will first examine how far the words of the rhyme and the action of the game supply us with incidents; and, secondly, how far these incidents have been kept up in the village custom.

There is nothing in the words to suggest that the incidents which the game depicts belong to a fixed time, but it is an important fact that they are alluded to as having previously taken place. If, then, we have eventually to compare the game[142] with a fixed periodical custom, we can at least say that the rhymes, though not suggesting this, do not oppose it.

This game belongs to the group of “custom games.” The first characteristic which suggests this is that the children, who join hands and form a circle, are always stationary, and do not move about as in dance games. To the minds of the children who play the game, each child in the circle represents something other than human beings, and this “something” is indicated in the first and second verses, which speak of the “windows,” of houses, and a journey round “a village.” In this game, too, the children, who thus represent a village, also act as “chorus,” for they describe in the words they sing the various actions of those who are performing their parts, as in the game of “Old Roger.”

With this evidence from the game itself, without reference to anything outside, it is possible to turn to custom to ascertain if there is anything still extant which might explain the origin of the game. Children copy the manners and customs of their elders. If they saw a custom periodically and often practised with some degree of ceremonial and importance, they would in their own way act in play what their elders do seriously.

Such a custom is the perambulation of boundaries, often associated with festive dances, courtship, and marriage. More particularly indicative of the origin of the game is the Helston Furry Dance—“About the middle of the day the people collect together to dance hand-in-hand round the streets, to the sound of the fiddler playing a particular tune, which they continue to do till it is dark. This is called a ‘Faddy.’ In the afternoon the gentility go to some farmhouse in the neighbourhood to drink tea, syllabab, &c., and return in a morrice-dance to the town, where they form a Faddy and dance through the streets till it is dark, claiming a right of going through any person’s house, in at one door and out at the other.”—Gent. Mag. Lib. Manners and Customs, p. 217. “In one, if not more, of the villages,” says Mr. Gregor (Folk-lore N.E. Scotland, p. 98), “when the marriage takes place in the home of the bride the whole of the marriage party makes the circuit of the village[143].” In South-Eastern Russia, on the eve of marriage the bride goes the round of the village, throwing herself on her knees before the head of each house. In an Indian custom the bride and bridegroom are conveyed in a particular “car” around the village.—Gomme, Folk-lore Relics, pp. 214, 215. According to Valle, a sixteenth century traveller, “At night the married couples passed by, and, according to their mode, went round about the city with a numerous company.”—Valle’s Travels in India (Hakluyt Soc.), p. 31.[6]

In these marriage customs there is ample evidence to suggest that the Indo-European marriage-rite contained just such features as are represented in this game, and the changes from rite to popular custom, from popular custom to children’s game, do much to suggest consideration of the evidence that folk-lore supplies.

This game is not mentioned by Halliwell or Chambers, nor, so far as I am aware, has it been previously printed or recorded in collections of English games. It appears in America as “Go round and round the Valley” (Newell, Games, p. 128).

See “Thread the Needle.”


[6] Among the Ovahererí tribe, at the end of the festive time, the newly-married pair take a walk to visit all the houses of the “Werst.” The husband goes first and the wife closely follows him.—South African Folk-lore Journal, i. 50.


Round and Round went the Gallant Ship

I.

Round and round went the gallant, gallant ship,
And round and round went she;
Round and round went the gallant, gallant ship,
Till she sank to the bottom of the sea, the sea, the sea,
Till she sank to the bottom of the sea.

All go down as the ship sinks.

—Cullen (Rev. W. Gregor).

II.

Three times round goes our gallant ship,
And three times round went she;
Three times round went our gallant ship,
Then she sank to the bottom of the sea.

As the players all “bob” down they cry out “the sea, the sea, the sea.”

—Aberdeen Training College (Rev. W. Gregor).

[Addendum]

[144]

Round Tag

A large ring is formed, two deep, with wide right and left hand intervals between each couple, and one child stands in the ring and another outside. When the play begins the child in the middle runs and places herself in front of one of the groups of two, thus forming a group of three. Thereupon the third child, that is, the one standing on the outer ring, has to run and try to get a place in front of another two before the one outside the ring can catch her. Then she who is at the back of this newly-formed three must be on the alert not to be caught, and must try in her turn to gain a front place. The one catching has all along to keep outside the ring, but those trying to escape her may run in and out and anywhere; whoever is caught has to take the catcher’s place.—Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Matthews).

Playing Round Tag

This game, called “Short Terrace” at East Kirkby, is played in the same way as that described from Sporle, with the exception that three players stand together instead of one in the centre to start the game. The player who stands immediately outside the circle is called the “clapper;” it is his object to hit the player who stands behind two others.—East Kirkby, Lincolnshire (Miss K. Maughan).

“Twos and Threes” is the name by which this game is[145] known in Hampshire, Monton in Lancashire (Miss Dendy), and other places. It is played in precisely the same manner as at Sporle.

Halliwell’s Dictionary says of this game as played in Devon, “A round game, in which they all stand in a ring.”

See “Tag.”[Addendum] [Addendum]

Rounders

This is a boys’ game. A round area is marked out by boundary sticks, and at a chosen point of the boundary the base is fixed. This is marked out independently of the boundary, but inside it. Sides are then chosen. One side are the “ins,” and strike the ball; the other side are the “outs,” and deliver the ball, scout, and endeavour to get their opponents, the “ins,” out as soon as possible. The ball (an indiarubber one) is delivered by the “feeder,” by pitching it to a player, who stands inside the base armed with a short stick. The player endeavours to strike the ball as far away as possible from the fielders or scouts. As soon as the ball is struck away he runs from the base to the first boundary stick, then to the second, and so on. His opponents in the meantime secure the ball and endeavour to hit him with it as he is running from stage to stage. If he succeeds in running completely round the boundary before the ball is returned it counts as one rounder. If he is hit he is out of the game. He can stay at any stage in the boundary as soon as the ball is in hand, getting home again when the next player of his own side has in turn hit the ball away. When a ball is returned the feeder can bounce it within the base, and the player cannot then run to any new stage of the boundary until after the ball has again been hit away by another player. If a player misses a ball when endeavouring to strike at it he has two more chances, but at the third failure he is bound to run to the first boundary stick and take his chance of being hit with the ball. If a ball is caught the whole side is out at once; otherwise, the side keeps in until either all the players have been hit out with the ball or until the base is crowned. This can be done by bouncing the ball in the base whenever there is no player there to receive the delivery from the feeder.[146] When a complete rounder is obtained, the player has the privilege either of counting the rounder to the credit of his side, or of ransoming one of the players who have been hit out, who then takes his part in the game as before. When all but one of the players are “out,” this last player in hitting the ball must hit it away so as to be able to make a rounder, and return to the base before his opponents get back the ball to crown the base.

An elaborate form of this game has become the national game of the United States.

Rounds

See “Roundabout.”

Row-chow-Tobacco

See “Bulliheisle,” “Eller Tree,” “Snail Creep,” “Wind up the Bush Faggot.”

Rowland-Ho

A Christmas game.—Halliwell’s Dictionary.

Rumps

A game with marbles [undescribed].—Dickinson’s Cumberland Glossary.

Rusty

A boys’ game, exactly the same as “Ships.”—Addy’s Sheffield Glossary.

Sacks

A number of children place their closed fists on top of one another in a pile. The leader asks, pointing to the topmost fist, “What’s in that sack?” Answer, Potatoes, or anything the child chooses. The leader tips it off with her finger, saying, “Knock it away,” and so to the very undermost fist, when she asks, “What’s in this sack?” The answer must be, “Bread and cheese;” and then the following dialogue takes place:

Where’s my share?
The mouse eat it.
Where’s the mouse?
The cat killed it.
[147] Where’s the cat?
The dog worried it.
Where’s the dog?
The cow tossed it.
Where’s the cow?
The butcher killed it.
Where’s the butcher?
Behind the door.

And who ever speaks the first word shall get a sound round box on the ear.—Co. Cork (Mrs. B. B. Green).

Saddle the Nag

An equal number of players is chosen on each side. Two chiefs are chosen by lot. One of the chiefs takes his stand by a wall, and all his party bend their backs, joined in a line. One of the opposite side leaps on the back of the one farthest from the one standing at the wall, and tries to make his way over the backs of all the stooping boys, up to the one standing. Those stooping move and wriggle to cast him off, and if they succeed in doing so, he stands aside till all his side have tried. When all have tried and none succeed in crowning the one standing, the sides change. If one or more succeed, then each such has a second chance before the sides change. Each side commonly has six chances. The side that succeeds in oftenest touching the chief’s head wins the game.—Dyke (Rev. W. Gregor).

See “Skin the Goatie.”

Saggy

A game with marbles [undescribed].—Dickinson’s Cumberland Glossary.

Sailor Lad

A sailor lad and a tailor lad,
And they were baith for me;
I wid raither tack the sailor lad,
And lat the tailor be.
[148] What can a tailor laddie dee
Bit sit and sew a cloot,
When the bonnie sailor laddie
Can turn the ship aboot.
He can turn her east, and he can turn her west,
He can turn her far awa’;
He aye tells me t’ keep up my hairt
For the time that he’s awa’.
I saw ’im lower his anchor,
I saw ’im as he sailed;
I saw ’im cast his jacket
To try and catch a whale.
He skips upon the planestanes,
He sails upon the sea;
A fancy man wi’ a curly pow
Is aye the boy for me,
Is aye the boy for me;
A fancy man wi’ a curly pow
Is aye the boy for me.
He daurna brack a biscuit,
He daurna smoke a pipe;
He daurna kiss a bonnie lass
At ten o’clock at night.
I can wash a sailor’s shirt,
And I can wash it clean;
I can wash a sailor’s shirt,
And bleach it on the green.
Come a-rinkle-tinkle, fal-a-la, fal-a-la,
Aboun a man-o’-war.

—Rosehearty (Rev. W. Gregor).

A circle is formed by joining hands. They dance round and sing. Sometimes at Rosehearty two play the game by the one taking hold of the other’s left hand with her right.

[149]

Sally go Round the Moon

Sally go round the moon,
Sally go round the stars;
Sally go round the moon
On a Sunday afternoon.

—Deptford, Kent (Miss E. Chase).

Three or more girls take hold of hands, forming a ring; as they spin round they sing the lines. They then reverse and run round in the other direction with an O! or repeat over again.

This game is mentioned in the Church Reformer, by the Rev. S. D. Headlam, as one being played at Hoxton, but no account of how the game is played is given.

Sally Water

[Play]

Tune Sally Water Yorkshire

—Yorkshire (Mr. H. Hardy).

[Play]

Tune Sally Water Lancashire

—Lancashire (Miss Dendy).

[Play]

Tune Sally Water Enborne

—Enborne (Miss Kimber).

[150]

[Play]

Tune Sally Water Welford

—Welford (Mrs. Stephen Batson).

[Play part 1, part 2]

Tune Sally Water Liverpool

—Liverpool (Mr. C. C. Bell).

[Play]

Tune Sally Water Beddgelert

—Beddgelert, Wales (Mrs. Williams).

[151]

[Play part 1, part 2]

Tune Sally Water Nottingham

—Nottingham (Miss Youngman).

I.

Sally, Sally Water,
Sprinkle in the pan;
Rise, Sally, rise, Sally,
And choose a young man.
Choose [or bow] to the east,
Choose [or bow] to the west,
And choose [or bow to] the pretty girl [or young man]
That you love best.

[Another version has:

Choose for the best one,
Choose for the worst one,
Choose for the pretty girl
That you love best.]
And now you’re married I wish you joy;
First a girl and then a boy;
Seven years after son and daughter;
And now, young people, jump over the water.

—Symondsbury, Dorsetshire (Folk-lore Journal, vii. 207).

[152]

II.

Sally, Sally Walker, sprinkle water in the pan;
Rise, Sally, rise, Sally, and seek your young man;
Turn to the east and turn to the west,
And choose the one that you love best.
Now you’re married we wish you joy,
First a girl and then a boy,
Seven years after a son and a daughter,
So young lovers kiss together.

—Chudleigh Knighton, Devon (Henderson’s Folk-lore of the Northern Counties, p. 27).

III.

Sally, Sally Water,
Sprinkle in the pan;
Hi! Sally; Ho! Sally,
Choose a young man;
Choose for the best,
Choose for the worst,
Choose for the very one you love best.
Now you’re married we wish you joy,
First a girl and then a boy,
Seven years after sister and brother;
Kiss each other and come out of the water.

—Somersetshire, Notes and Queries, 8th series, i. 249 (Miss R. H. Busk).

IV.

Sally Waters, Sally Waters, come sprinkle in the pan;
Rise, Sally; rise, Sally, for a young man!
Choose for the best, choose for the worst,
Choose for the very one you love the best.
Now you are married, we wish you joy;
First a girl and then a boy,
Seven years afterwards son and daughter;
Pray, young couple, kiss together.

—London version (Miss Dendy).

V.

Sally, Sally Walker,
Sprinkling in a pan;
Rise, Sally; rise, Sally,
For a young man.
[153] Come, choose from the east,
Come, choose from the west,
Come, choose out the very one
That you love best.
Now there’s a couple
Married in joy;
First a girl,
And then a boy.
Now you’re married;
You must obey
Every word
Your husband says.
Take a kiss
And walk away,
And remember the promise
You’ve made to-day.

—Fochabers (Rev. W. M’Gregor).

VI.

Sally, Sally Waters,
Sprinkled in the pan;
Rise, Sally, rise, Sally,
For a young man,
Choose the best and choose the worst,
And choose the prettiest you love best.

—Welford, Berks (Mrs. Stephen Batson).

VII.

Sally, Sally Wallflower,
Sprinkled in the pan, &c.,
Now you’re married, &c.,
On the carpet you shall kneel, &c.

Notes and Queries, 5th series, iii.

VIII.

Sallie, Sallie Waters,
Sprinkled in a pan;
Rise, Sallie, rise, Sallie,
Choose a young man.
Choose the best, and
Choose the worst, and
Choose the one that you love best.
[154] Now that you are married,
I’m sure we wish you joy,
First a girl, then a boy;
Seven years after,
Son and daughter,
Pray, young couple, come kiss together.

—Enborne, Berks; Marlborough, Wilts; Lewes, Sussex (Miss Kimber).

IX.

Sally, Sally Waters,
Sprinkle in a pan;
Cry, Sally, cry, Sally,
For a young man.
Come choose the worst,
Come choose the best,
Come choose the young man
That you like the best.
And now you’re married
I wish yer good joy,
Every year a girl and a boy.
Come love one another
Like sister and brother,
And kiss together for joy.
Clash the bells,
Clash the bells.

—Maxey, Northants; and Suffolk (Rev. W. D. Sweeting).

X.

Sally, Sally Water, sprinkle in the pan;
Rise, Sally, rise, Sally, for a young man.
Pick and choose, but choose not me,
Choose the fairest you can see.
Now Sally is married, we wish her much joy,
First a girl and then a boy;
Seven years after a son and a daughter,
Please to come and kiss together.

—Summertown, Oxford (A. H. Franklin in Midland Garner, N. S. ii. 32).

[155]

XI.

Sally, Sally Waters, sprinkle in the pan;
Rise, Sally, rise, Sally, for a young man.
Choose for the worst, choose for the best,[7]
Choose for the prettiest that you loves best.
Now you are married, &c.

—Longcot, Berkshire, (Miss J. Barclay).

XII.

Sally, Sally Waters,
Sprinkle in a pan;
Cry, Sally, cry, Sally,
For a young man.
Rise up, Sally,
Dry your tears;
Choose the one you love the best,
Sally, my dear.

—Earls Heaton, Yorks. (Herbert Hardy).

XIII.

Sally, Sally Water, sprinkle in the pan,
Is not —— a nice young man? and
Is not (girl’s name) as good as he?
They shall be married if they can agree.
I went to her house and I dropped a pin,
I asked if Mrs. ——- was in.
She is not within, she is not without,
She is up in the garret walking about.
Down she comes as white as milk,
With a rose in her bosom as soft as silk.
She off with her glove and showed me her ring,
To-morrow, to-morrow the wedding begins.

—Surrey (Folk-lore Record, v. 88).

XIV.

Sally, Sally Walker, come sprinkle your pan,
For down in the meadows there’s a nice young man;
Rise up, Sally, don’t look sad,
For you shall have a husband, good or bad.
[156] On the carpet you shall kneel
Till the grass grows round your feet;
Stand up straightly on your feet,
And choose the one you love so sweet.
Now Sally’s married, we wish her joy,
First a girl, then a boy;
If it’s a boy, we’ll buy him a cap,
If it’s a girl, we will buy her a hat.
If one won’t do, will buy you two,
If two won’t do, will buy you three,
If three won’t do, will get you four,
If four won’t do, will get no more,
So kiss and shake hands, and come out.

—Tong, Shropshire (Miss C. F. Keary).

XV.

Sally, Sally Water, come sprinkle your pan (or plants),
For down in the meadows there lies a young man.
Rise, Sally, rise, and don’t you look sad,
For you shall have a husband, good or bad.
Choose you one, choose you two,
Choose the fairest you can see!
The fairest one as I can see,
Is Jenny Wood, pray come to me!
Now you are married, I wish you good joy,
First a girl and then a boy;
Seven years now, and seven to come,
Take her and kiss her, and send her off home.

Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 509.

XVI.

Sally, Sally Water (or Slauter),
Come sprinkle in your can,
Why do you get married
To a foolish young man?
Pick the worst, and pick the best,
And pick the one that you love best.
[157] ..........
To a nice young man
..........
So kiss and say good-bye.

[My informant forgets the rest.]

—Nottinghamshire (Miss M. Peacock).

XVII.

Sally Water, Sally Water,
Come sprinkle your can,
Why don’t you rise, Sally,
And choose a young man?
Come choose of the wisest,
Come choose of the best,
Come choose of the young man
That lies in your breast.

—Gloucestershire and Warwickshire (Northall, 378).

XVIII.

Sally Water, Sally Water,
Come, sprinkle your can;
Who do you lie mourning,
All for a young man?
Come, choose of the wisest,
Come, choose of the best,
Come, choose of the young men
The one you love best.

—Addy’s Sheffield Glossary.

XIX.

Sally, Sally Salter,
Sprinkle in some water;
Knock it in a mortar,
And send it in a silver saucer
To —— door.

—Stixwould, Lincolnshire, seventy years ago (Miss M. Peacock).

XX,

Sally Water, Sally Water,
Springin’ in a pan;
Cry, Sally, cry, Sally,
For a young man;
Choose for the worst ’un,
Choose for the best ’un,
Choose the little gell ’at you love the best.
[158] Now you’re married
I wish you joy;
First a girl, and then a boy;
Seven years after
Son and daughter.
Pray, young couple, come kiss together.

—Wakefield, Yorkshire (Miss Fowler).

XXI.

Sally, Sally Water,
Come, water your can,
Such a young lady before a young man;
Rise, Sally Water,
Don’t look so sad,
For you shall have a husband, good or bad.
Now you’re married we wish you joy;
Father and mother, you need not cry;
Kiss and kiss each other again;
Now we’re happy, let’s part again.

—Long Itchington, Warwickshire (Northamptonshire Notes and Queries, ii. 105).

XXII.

Sally, Sally Slarter,
Sitting by the water,
Crying out and weeping
For a young man.
Rise, Sally, rise,
Dry up your eyes;
Turn to the east,
Turn to the west,
Turn to the young man
That you love the best.
So now you’ve got married
I hope you’ll enjoy
Your sons and your daughters,
So kiss and good-bye.

—Addy’s Sheffield Glossary.

XXIII.

Sally, Sally Walker, sprinkled in a pan;
What did she sprinkle for? for a young man;
Sprinkle, sprinkle, daughter, and you shall have a cow;
[159] I cannot sprinkle, mother, because I don’t know how.
Sprinkle, sprinkle, daughter, and you shall have a man;
I cannot sprinkle, mother, but I’ll do the best I can.
Pick and choose, but don’t you pick me;
Pick the fairest you can see.
The fairest one that I can see is ——. Come to me.
Now you’re married I wish you much joy;
Your father and mother you must obey;
Seven long years a girl and a boy;
So hush, a bush, bush, get out of the way.

—Buckingham (Thos. Baker in Midland Garner, New Series, ii. 31).

XXIV.

Little Sally Walker sitting in a sigh,
Weeping and waiting for a young man.
Come choose you east, come choose you west,
The very one that you love best.

—Nairn (Rev. W. Gregor).

XXV.

Little Sally Walker sitting on the sand,
Crying and weeping for a young man.
Rise, Sally, rise, Sally, wipe away your tears,
Try for the east, and try for the west,
Try for the (little) very one you love best.
Now they’re married I wish them joy,
Every year a girl and boy,
Loving each other like sister and brother,
I hope to see them meet again.

—Fraserburgh (Rev. W. Gregor).

XXVI.

Little Sally Sander
Sitting in the sander,
Weeping and crying for her young man.
Rise, Sally, rise
And wipe away your tears;
Choose to the east,
Choose to the west,
And choose to the very one that you love best.
[160] Now you’re married we wish you joy,
First a girl and then a boy;
Twelve months after son and daughter,
All join hands and kiss together.

—Penzance, Cornwall (Mrs. Mabbott).

XXVII.

Sally, Sally Walker, tinkle in a can;
Rise up, Sally, and choose a young man.
Look to the east, and look to the west,
Choose the one that you love the best.

—Settle, Yorkshire (Rev. W. S. Sykes).

XXVIII.

Sally Water, Sally Water,
Come sprinkle your fan;
Sally, Sally Waters, sprinkle in a pan;
Rise, Sally, rise, Sally, for a young man.
Choose to the east, and choose to the west,
And choose the dearest one that you love best.
Now you’re married, we wish you joy,
First a girl and then a boy;
Love one another like sister and brother,
And never lose time by kissing one another.

—West Haddon (Northamptonshire Notes and Queries, ii. 104).

XXIX.

Little Sally Waters, sitting in the sun,
Crying and weeping for her young man.
Rise, Sally, rise, wipe up your tears,
Fly to the east, fly to the west,
Fly to the one that you love the best.

—Brigg, Lincolnshire (Miss Barker).

XXX.

Hie Sally Walker, hie Sally Ken,
Hie Sally Walker, follow young men.
Choose to the east, and choose to the west,
Choose to the very one you love best.
Marriage comfort and marriage joy,
First a girl and then a boy.
Seven years after, seven years to come,
Fire on the mountain, kiss and run.

—Belfast, Ireland (W. H. Patterson).

[161]

XXXI.

Little Alice Sander
Sat upon a cinder,
Weeping and crying for her young man.
Rise up, Alice, dry your tears,
Choose the one that you love best,
Alice my dear.
Now they have got married
I hope they will joy,
Seven years afterwards, seven years ago,
Now is the time to kiss and go.

—Earls Heaton, Yorks. (Herbert Hardy).

XXXII.

Rise, Sally Walker,
Rise if you can,
Rise, Sally Walker, and follow your good man;
Choose to the east, and choose to the west,
Choose to the one you love best.
There is a couple married in joy,
Past a girl and then a boy,
Seven years after, seven years to come,
Kiss you couple, kiss and be done.
A’ the many hours to us a happy life,
Except —— and he wants a wife.
A wife shall he have,
And a widower shall he be,
Except —— that sits on his knee,
A guid fauld hoose and a blacket fireside,
Draw up your gartens and show all your bride.

—(Rev. W. Gregor).

XXXIII.

Arise, Sally Walker, arise, if you can,
Arise, Sally Walker, and follow your good man;
Come choose to the east, come choose to the west,
Come choose to the very one you love best.
This is a couple married with joy;
First a girl and then a boy,
Seven years after and seven years to come,
This young couple married and begun.
[162] [The Christian name of a girl] made a pudding so nice and sweet,
[Boy’s Christian name] took a knife and tasted it.
Taste love, taste love, don’t say No,
The next Sunday morning
To church we shall go.
Clean the brazen candlesticks,
And clean the fireside,
Draw back the curtains.
And lat’s see the bride.
A’ the men in oor toon leads a happy life,
Except [a boy’s full name], and he wants a wife.
A wife shall he hae, and a widow she shall be;
For look at [a girl’s full name] diddling on’s knee.
He paints her cheeks and he curls her hair,
And he kisses the lass at the foot o’ the stair.

—Tyrie (Rev. W. Gregor).

[The form of words at Cullen is the same for the first seven lines, and then the words are:—]

XXXIV.

This young couple be married and be done,
A’ the men in oor toon leads a happy life,
Except —— and he wants a wife.
A wife he shall have, and a widow she shall be,
Except [a girl’s name] that sits on his knee,
Painting her face and curling her hair,
Kissing [a girl’s name] at the foot o’ the stair.

—Cullen (Rev. W. Gregor).

XXXV.

Rise, Sally Walker, rise if you can,
Rise, Sally Walker, follow your gudeman.
Come choose to the east, come choose to the west,
Come choose to the very one that you love best.
Now they’re married I wish them joy,
Every year a girl or boy,
Loving each other like sister and brother,
And so they may be kissed together.
[163] Cheese and bread for gentlemen,
And corn and hay for horses,
A cup of tea for a’ good wives,
And bonnie lads and lassies.
When are we to meet again?
And when are we to marry?
Raffles up, and raffles down, and raffles a’ a dancin’,
The bonniest lassie that ever I saw,
Was [child in the centre] dancin’.

—Aberdeen Training College (Rev. W. Gregor.)

XXXVI.

Sally, Sally Walker, sitting in the sun,
Weeping and wailing for a young man,
Rise, Sally, rise, and wipe away your tears,
Fly to the east, fly to the west,
And fly to the very one that you love best.
Uncle John is very sick,
He goes a courting night and day;
Sword and pistol by his side,
Little Sally is his bride.
He takes her by the lily white hand,
He leads her over the water;
Now they kiss and now they clap,
Mrs. Molly’s daughter.

—Nairn, Perth, Forfar (Rev. W. Gregor).

XXXVII.

Sally, Sally Waters, why are you so sad?
You shall have a husband, either good or bad;
Then rise, Sally Waters, and sprinkle your pan,
For you’re just the young woman to get a nice man.
Now you’re married, we wish you joy,
Father and mother and little boy,
Love one another like sister and brother,
And now, good people, kiss each other.

—Halliwell, Popular Rhymer, p. 229.

[164]

XXXVIII.

Rise, Sally Walker,
Rise if you can (Northumberland),
Sprinkle in the pan (Yorks. and Midlands),
Rise, Sally Walker,
For a young man.
Choose to the east,
Choose to the west,
Choose to the -   very one (Northumberland),
pretty girl (Yorks., &c).
You love best.
Now you’re married,
I wish you joy,
First a girl,
And then a boy.
Seven years after,   - (Northumberland).
Seven years over,
Now’s the time to
Kiss and give over.
Five years after   - (Yorks., &c.)
A son and daughter,
Pray, young couple,
Kiss away.

—Hexham (Miss J. Barker).

XXXIX.

Sally Waters, Sally Waters, come rise if you can,
Come rise in the morning, all for a young man;
Come choose, come choose, come choose if you can,
Come choose a good one or let it alone.

—Monton, Lancashire (Miss Dendy).

XL.

Sally Waters, Sally Waters,
Come rise if you can,
Come rise in the morning,
All for a young man.
First to the east, then to the west,
Then to the bonny lass that you love best.
[165] Now, Sally, you are married,
I hope you’ll agree,
Seven years at afterwards, seven years ago,
And now they are parted with a kiss and a blow.

—Monton, Lancashire (Miss Dendy).

The last two lines were supplied by a girl in a very poor district of Manchester (note by Miss Dendy).

XLI.

Rise, Sally Walker, rise, if you can,
Rise, Sally Walker, and follow your gueedman,
Choose to the east, and choose to the west,
Choose to the one that you love best.
There is a couple married in joy,
First a girl and then a boy,
Seven years after, seven years to come.

—Rosehearty (Rev. W. Gregor).

XLII.

Little Polly Sanders sits on the sand,
Weeping and crying for her young man;
Rise up, Polly, wipe your tears,
Pick the one you love so sweet.
Now Polly’s got married, we hope she’ll have joy,
For ever and ever a girl or a boy.
If one won’t do, she must have two,
So I pray you, young damsels, to kiss two and two.

—Liverpool (C. C. Bell).

XLIII.

Here sits poor Sally on the ground,
Sighing and sobbing for her young man.
Arise, Sally, rise, and wipe your weeping eyes,
And turn to the east, and turn to the west,
And show the little boys that you love best.
A bogie in, a bogie out,
A bogie in the garden,
I wouldn’t part with my young man
For fourpence ha’penny farthing.

—Long Eaton, Nottingham (Miss Youngman).

[166][In London the above is:]

XLIV.

A beau in front and a beau behind,
And a bogie in the garden oh!
I wouldn’t part with my sweetheart
For tuppence (two) ha’penny farthing.

—London (Mrs. Merck).

XLV.

Sally Walker, Sally Walker,
Come spring time and love,
She’s lamenting, she’s lamenting,
All for her young man.
Come choose to the east, come choose to the west,
Come choose the one that you love best.
Here’s a couple got married together,
Father and mother they must agree,
Love each other like sister and brother,
I pray this couple to kiss together.

—Morpeth (Henderson’s Folk-lore of Northern Counties, p. 26).

XLVI.

Rise, Sally Walker, rise if you can,
Rise, Sally Walker, and choose your good man,
Choose to the east, and choose to the west,
And choose the very one you love best.
Now they’re married, wish them joy,
First a girl, and then a boy,
Seven years after, seven years to come,
Now’s the time to kiss and be done.

—Gainford, Durham (Miss A. Edleston).

XLVII.

Little Alexander sitting on the sand,
Weeping and crying for a young man;
Rise up, Sally, and wipe your tears,
Pick the very one that you like best.
Now, Sally, now married, I hope she’ll (or you’ll) enjoy,
For ever and ever with that little boy
(or with her or your young boy).

—Beddgelert, Wales (Mrs. Williams).

[167]

XLVIII.

Rice, Sally Water, rice if you can,
Rice, Sally Water, and choose your young man;
Choose to the east, choose to the west,
Choose to the prettiest that you love.
Now you’re married, we wish you good joy,
First a little girl, and then a little boy;
Seven years after, seven years to come,
Seven years of plenty, and kiss when you done.

—Norfolk (Mrs. Haddon).

(c) A ring is formed by the children joining hands. One girl kneels or sits down in the centre, and covers her face with her hands as if weeping. The ring dances round and sings the words. The child in the centre rises when the command is given, and chooses a boy or girl from the ring, who goes into the centre with her. These two kiss together when the words are said. The child who was first in the centre then joins the ring, the second remaining in the centre, and the game continues.

All versions of this game are played in the same way, except slight variations in a few instances. Kissing does not prevail in all the versions. In the Earls Heaton game, the child who kneels in the centre also pretends to weep and dries her tears before choosing a partner. Miss Burne, in Shropshire Folklore, says the girl kneels disconsolately in the middle of the ring. In the Stixwould version, the child stands in the centre holding in her hands something resembling a saucer; she then pretends to “knock it in a mortar,” and gives the saucer to the one whom she chooses. This one exchanges places with her. In the Northants version, at the words “clash the bells,” the children dash down their joined hands to imitate ringing bells. Addy, Sheffield Glossary, says one girl sits in the middle weeping. When the girl has chosen, the young man remains in the centre, and the word “Sally” is changed to “Billy,” or some other name, and “man” to “girl.” In the Beddgelert version, the centre child wipes her eyes with a handkerchief in the beginning of the game. Several other versions have been sent me, all being the same as those printed here, or varying so slightly, it is unnecessary to repeat them.

(d) The analysis of the game-rhymes is as follows:

[168-
173]

No. Dorset-
shire.
Devon-
shire.
Somer-
set-
shire.
London. Foch-
abers.
Berk-
shire.
Crock-
ham Hill, Kent.
Wilt-
shire.
Nort-
hants.
Oxford. York-
shire.
Surrey. Shrop-
shire (1).
Shrop-
shire (2).
Notts. Glouces-
ter-
shire.
Shef-
field.
Lin-
coln-
shire.
Wake-
field.
War-
wick-
shire.
Shef-
field.
Bucks. Nairn. Fraser-
burgh.
Corn-
wall.
Settle. Nort-
hants.
Brigg. Belfast. Earls Heaton. Scot-
land.
Tyrie. Aber-
deen.
Nairn. Halli-
well.
Hexham. Lanca-
shire.
Rose-
hearty.
Notts. Morpeth. Gainford. Norfolk. Bedd-
gelert.
1. Sally Water. Sally Water. Sally Waters. Sally Waters. Sally Waters. Sally Waters. Sally Water. Sally Waters. Sally Water. Sally Water. Sally Water. Sally Water. Sally Water. Sally Water. Sally Water. Sally Water. Sally Waters. Sally Water. Sally Waters. Sallie [    ]. Sallie [    ]. Sallie [    ].
2. Sally Walker. Sally Walker. Sally Walker. Sally Walker. Sally Walker. Sally Walker. Sally Walker. Sally Walker. Sally Walker. Sally Walker. Sally Walker. Sally Walker. Sally Walker. Sally Walker. Sally Walker. Sally Walker.
3. Sally Wallflowers.
4. Sally Salter. Sally Slarter.
5. Sally Sander. Alice Sander.
6. Sprinkle in pan. Sprinkle water in the pan. Sprinkle in the pan. Sprinkle in the pan. Sprinkling in a pan. Sprinkled in the pan. Sprinkled in the pan. Sprinkled in a pan. Sprinkle in a pan. Sprinkle in the pan. Sprinkle in a pan. Sprinkle in the pan. Sprinkle in your pan. Sprinkle in your pan. Sprinkle in your can. Sprinkle your can. Sprinkle your can. Sprinkled in a pan. Sprinkle in a pan. Sprinkle in the pan.
7. Sprinkle in some water. Water your can. Sitting by the water.
8. Springin’ in a pan.
9. Sitting in a sigh.
10. Sitting on the sand. Sitting in the sander. Sat upon a cinder. Sitting on the ground. Sitting in sand.
11. Tinkle in a can.
12. Sitting in the sun. Sitting in the sun.
13. Rise and choose a young man. Rise and seek a young man. Hi, choose a young man. Rise for a young man. Rise for a young man. Rise for a young man. Rise and choose a young man. Rise for a young man. Rise, for you shall have a husband. Why don’t you rise for a young man. Rise for a husband. Rise and choose a young man. Rise for a young man. Hi for a young man. Rise for a young man. Rise for a young man. Rise for a young man. Rise for a young man. Rise for a young man. Rise for a good man. Rise and choose your good man. Rise and choose.
14. Cry for a young man. Cry for a young man. Who do you lie mourning for a young man. Cry for a young man. Crying for a young man. Weeping for a young man. Weeping for a young man. Weeping for a young man. Crying for a young man. Weeping for a young man. Weeping for a young man. Sobbing for a young man. Lamenting for a young man. Crying for a young man.
15. Is not — a nice young man. Down in the meadow there’s a nice young man. Why do you marry a foolish young man.
16. Send it in a silver saucer to [    ].
17. Sprinkle for a young man. Sprinkle for a young man.
18. Choose east, west. Turn east, west. Choose east, west. Turn east, west. Choose east, west. Try east, west. Choose east, west. Look east, west. Choose east, west. Fly east, west. Choose east, west. Choose east, west. Choose east, west. Choose east, west. Fly east, west. Choose east, west. First east, west. Choose east, west. Turn east, west. Choose east, west. Choose east, west. Choose east, west.
19. Choose best, worst. Choose best, worst. Choose best, worst. Choose best, worst. Choose best, worst. Pick worst, best. Choose wisest, best. Choose wisest, best. Choose worst, best.
20. Choose fairest. Choose fairest. Choose fairest.
21. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the one that lies in your breast. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Fly to the best loved. Choose the best loved. Then to the bestloved. Turn to the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the prettiest. Pick the one you like best.
22. Now you’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c. Now she’s married, &c. Now you’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c. Now they’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c. Married, &c. Now they’re married, &c. Now they are married, &c. Now they’re married, &c. Now they’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c. There’s a couple, &c. Here’s a couple, &c. Now they’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c.
23. You must obey, &c.
24. They shall be married if they agree, &c.
25. On the carpet she shall kneel, &c.
26. Goes courting, &c.
27. A bogie in, &c.
No. Dorsetshire. Devonshire. Somersetshire. London. Fochabers. Berkshire. Crockham Hill, Kent.
1. Sally Water. Sally Water. Sally Waters. Sally Waters.
2. Sally Walker. Sally Walker.
3. Sally Wallflowers.
4.
5.
6. Sprinkle in pan. Sprinkle water in the pan. Sprinkle in the pan. Sprinkle in the pan. Sprinkling in a pan. Sprinkled in the pan. Sprinkled in the pan.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13. Rise and choose a young man. Rise and seek a young man. Hi, choose a young man. Rise for a young man. Rise for a young man. Rise for a young man.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18. Choose east, west. Turn east, west. Choose east, west.
19. Choose best, worst. Choose best, worst. Choose best, worst.
20.
21. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved.
22. Now you’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c.
23. You must obey, &c.
24.
25.
26.
27.
No. Wiltshire. Northants. Oxford. Yorkshire. Surrey. Shropshire (1). Shropshire (2). Notts.
1. Sally Waters. Sally Waters. Sally Water. Sally Waters. Sally Water. Sally Water. Sally Water.
2. Sally Walker.
3.
4.
5.
6. Sprinkled in a pan. Sprinkle in a pan. Sprinkle in the pan. Sprinkle in a pan. Sprinkle in the pan. Sprinkle in your pan. Sprinkle in your pan. Sprinkle in your can.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13. Rise and choose a young man. Rise for a young man. Rise, for you shall have a husband.
14. Cry for a young man. Cry for a young man.
15. Is not — a nice young man. Down in the meadow there’s a nice young man. Why do you marry a foolish young man.
16.
17.
18.
19. Choose best, worst. Choose best, worst. Pick worst, best.
20. Choose fairest. Choose fairest.
21. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved.
22. Now you’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c. Now she’s married, &c. Now you’re married, &c.
23.
24. They shall be married if they agree, &c.
25. On the carpet she shall kneel, &c.
26.
27.
No. Gloucester-
shire.
Sheffield. Lincolnshire. Wakefield. Warwickshire. Sheffield. Bucks.
1. Sally Water. Sally Water. Sally Water. Sally Water.
2. Sally Walker.
3.
4. Sally Salter. Sally Slarter.
5.
6. Sprinkle your can. Sprinkle your can. Sprinkled in a pan.
7. Sprinkle in some water. Water your can. Sitting by the water.
8. Springin’ in a pan.
9.
10.
11.
12.
13. Why don’t you rise for a young man. Rise for a husband.
14. Who do you lie mourning for a young man. Cry for a young man. Crying for a young man.
15.
16. Send it in a silver saucer to [    ].
17. Sprinkle for a young man.
18. Turn east, west.
19. Choose wisest, best. Choose wisest, best. Choose worst, best.
20. Choose fairest.
21. Choose the one that lies in your breast. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved.
22. Now you’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27.
No. Nairn. Fraserburgh. Cornwall. Settle. Northants. Brigg. Belfast.
1. Sally Water. Sally Waters.
2. Sally Walker. Sally Walker. Sally Walker. Sally Walker.
3.
4.
5. Sally Sander.
6. Sprinkle in a pan.
7.
8.
9. Sitting in a sigh.
10. Sitting on the sand. Sitting in the sander.
11. Tinkle in a can.
12. Sitting in the sun.
13. Rise and choose a young man. Rise for a young man. Hi for a young man.
14. Weeping for a young man. Weeping for a young man. Weeping for a young man. Crying for a young man.
15.
16.
17.
18. Choose east, west. Try east, west. Choose east, west. Look east, west. Choose east, west. Fly east, west. Choose east, west.
19.
20.
21. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved.
22. Now they’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c. Married, &c.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27.
No. Earls Heaton. Scotland. Tyrie. Aberdeen. Nairn. Halliwell. Hexham.
1. Sally Water.
2. Sally Walker. Sally Walker. Sally Walker. Sally Walker. Sally Walker.
3.
4.
5. Alice Sander.
6. Sprinkle in the pan.
7.
8.
9.
10. Sat upon a cinder.
11.
12. Sitting in the sun.
13. Rise for a young man. Rise for a young man. Rise for a young man. Rise for a young man.
14. Weeping for a young man. Weeping for a young man.
15.
16.
17. Sprinkle for a young man.
18. Choose east, west. Choose east, west. Choose east, west. Fly east, west. Choose east, west.
19.
20.
21. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Fly to the best loved. Choose the best loved.
22. Now they’re married, &c. Now they are married, &c. Now they’re married, &c. Now they’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c.
23.
24.
25.
26. Goes courting, &c.
27.
No. Lancashire. Rosehearty. Notts. Morpeth. Gainford. Norfolk. Beddgelert.
1. Sally Waters. Sallie [    ]. Sallie [    ]. Sallie [    ].
2. Sally Walker. Sally Walker. Sally Walker.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10. Sitting on the ground. Sitting in sand.
11.
12.
13. Rise for a young man. Rise for a good man. Rise and choose your good man. Rise and choose.
14. Sobbing for a young man. Lamenting for a young man. Crying for a young man.
15.
16.
17.
18. First east, west. Choose east, west. Turn east, west. Choose east, west. Choose east, west. Choose east, west.
19.
20.
21. Then to the bestloved. Turn to the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the best loved. Choose the prettiest. Pick the one you like best.
22. Now you’re married, &c. There’s a couple, &c. Here’s a couple, &c. Now they’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c. Now you’re married, &c.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27. A bogie in, &c.

[174]The first thing to note from this analysis are the words Sally and Water. In twenty-three versions they are Sally Water or Waters, in seventeen versions it is Sally Walker, in six versions it is another name altogether, while in two versions it is Sallie only. The most constant name, therefore, points to Sally Water as the oldest version; and it is noticeable that in the Lincolnshire and Sheffield versions, where the name is not Sally Water, the word water is introduced later on in the line which directs the action of sprinkling water. Is it possible, then, that Sally Water may be a corruption from an earlier form where Sally is some other word, not the name of a girl, as it is usually supposed to be, and the word water is connected, not with the name of the maiden, but with the action of sprinkling which she is called upon to perform? If we could surmise that the early form was “Sallie, Sallie, water sprinkle in the pan,” the accusative being placed before the verb, the problem would be solved in this manner; but there is no warrant for this poetical licence in popular verses, and I prefer to suggest that “water” got attached as a surname by simple transposition, such as the Norfolk and Beddgelert versions allow as evidence. It follows from this that Walker and other names appear as degraded forms of the original, and do not enter into the question of origins, a point which may readily be conceded, considering that the general evidence of all these singing games is, that no special names are ever used, but that names change to suit the players. The next incident in the analysis is the ceremony of “sprinkling the water,” which is constant in twenty-one versions, while the Wakefield “Springin’ in the pan,” the Settle “Tinkle in a can,” Halliwell’s “Sprinkle for a young man,” and the eight versions in which this incident is wholly absent in any form, are evident corruptions. The tendency of the corruption is shown by this to be that the “sprinkling of water” came to be omitted from the verse, and therefore the other variants

are but the steps through which the entire omission of the water incident was finally attained. The third incident is “Rise and choose” a young man, the alternative being “Crying for a young man.” The first indicates a kneeling and reverential attitude before the water, and occurs in twenty-one versions, while the second only occurs in fourteen versions.

The expression “crying” is really to “announce a want,” as “wants” were formerly cried by the official “crier” of every township, and indeed as children still in games “cry” the forfeits; but losing this meaning, the expression came to mean crying in the sense of “weeping,” and appearing to the minds of children as a natural way of expressing a want, would therefore succeed in ousting any more archaic notion. The incident of crying for a lover appears in other singing games, as, for instance, in “Poor Mary.” Especially may this be considered the process which has been going on when it is seen that “choosing” is an actual incident of the game, even in those cases where “crying” has replaced the kneeling. The choosing incident also assumes two forms, namely, with respect to “east and west” in twenty-two versions, and “best and worst” in nine versions. Now, the expression, “for better for worse,” is an old marriage formula preserved in the vernacular portion of the ancient English marriage service (see Palgrave, English Commonwealth, ii., p. cxxxvi.); and I cannot but think that we have the same formula in this game, especially as the final admonition in nearly all the versions is to choose “the one loved best.” Following upon this comes the very general marriage formula noted so frequently in these games. It is slightly varied in some versions, and is replaced by a different formula, but one that also appears in other games, in two or three versions. One feature is very noticeable in the less common versions of this game, viz., the assumption of the marriage being connected with the birth of children, and the[176] indulgences of the lovers, as in the Tong and Scottish versions xxxii., xxxiii., and xxxiv.

(e) In considering the probable origin of the game, the first thing will be to ascertain as far as possible what ideas the words are intended to convey. Taking note of the results of the analysis, so far as they show the corruptions which have taken place in the words, it seems clear that though it is not possible to restore the original words, their original meaning is still preserved. This is, that they accompanied the performance of a marriage ceremony, and that a chief feature of this ceremony was connected with some form of water-worship, or some rite in which water played a chief part. Now it has been noted before that the games of children have preserved, by adaptation, the marriage ceremony of ancient times (e.g., “Merry ma Tansa,” “Nuts in May,” “Poor Mary,” “Round and Round the Village”); but this is the first instance where such an important particularisation as that implied by water-worship qualifies the marriage ceremony. It is therefore necessary to see what this exactly means. Mr. Hartland, in his Perseus (i. 167-9), draws attention to the general significance of the water ceremonial in marriage customs, and Mr. F. B. Jevons, in his introduction to Plutarch’s Romane Questions, and in the Transactions of the Folk-lore Congress, 1891, deals with the subject in reference to the origin of custom obtaining among both Aryan and non-Aryan speaking people. In this connection an important consideration arises. The Esthonian brides, on the morning after the wedding, are taken to make offerings to the water spirit, and they throw offerings into the spring (or a vessel of water), overturn a vessel of water in the house, and sprinkle their bridegrooms with water. The Hindoo offerings of the bride were cast into a water vessel, and the bride sprinkles the court of the new house with water by way of exorcism, and also sprinkles the bridegroom (Jevons, loc. cit., p. 345). Here the parallel between the non-Aryan Esthonian custom and the Aryan Hindoo custom is very close, and it is a part of Mr. Jevons’ argument that, among the Teutons, with whom alone of Aryan speaking peoples the Esthonians came into contact, the custom was limited to the bride simply stepping over a vessel of water. There is[177] certainly something a great deal more than the parallel to the Teutonic custom in the game of “Sally, Sally Water,” and as it equates more nearly to Hindoo and Esthonian custom, the question is, Does it help Mr. Jevons in the important point he raises? I think it does. A custom is very low down among the strata of survivals when it is only to be recognised as part of a children’s singing game, and the proposition it suggests is that children have preserved more of the old custom than was preserved by the people who adopted a portion of it into their marriage ceremony. A custom so treated must be older than the marriage ceremony with which it thus came into contact, and if this is a true conclusion, we have in this children’s game a relic of the pre-Celtic peoples of these islands—a relic therefore going back many centuries for its origin, and which is of inestimable service in discussing some important problems of the ethnic significance of folk-lore. These conclusions are entirely derived from the significant position which this game occupies in relation to Esthonian (non-Aryan) and to Teutonic (Aryan) marriage customs respectively, and therefore it is of considerable importance to note that it entirely fits in with the conclusion which my husband has drawn as to the non-Aryan origin of water-worship (see Gomme’s Ethnology of Folk-lore, pp. 79-105).

There is, however, something further which seems to bring this game into line with non-Aryan marriage customs. The marriage signified by the game is acknowledged and sanctioned by the presence of witnesses; is made between two people who choose each other without any form of compulsion; is accompanied by blessings upon the young couple and prognostications of the birth of children. These points show that the marriage ceremony belongs to a time when the object of the union was to have children, and when its duration was not necessarily for life. It is curious to note that water worship is distinctly connected with the desire to have children (Proc. Roy. Irish Acad., 3rd ser., ii. 9); and that the idea of the temporary character of the marriage status of the lower classes of the people is still extant I have certain evidence of. Early in November of 1895, a man tried for bigamy gave as his defence that he thought his marriage was ended with his first[178] wife, as he had been away seven years. It is a frequently told story. A year and a day and seven years are the two periods for which the popular mind regards marriage binding. “I was faithful to him for seven years, and had more than my two children,” a woman said to me once, as if two children were the required or expected number to be born in that period. If there is a popular belief of this kind, it is strangely borne out by this game-rhyme. “First a girl, and then a boy,” may also be shown to be a result to be desired and prayed for, in the popular belief that a man’s cycle of life is not complete until he is the father of a daughter, who, in her turn, shall have a son. Miss Hawkins Dempster obtained evidence of such a belief from the lips of a man who considered he was entitled to marry another woman, as his wife had only borne him sons, and therefore his life was not (like hers) complete.

The free choice of both woman and man is opposed to the theory of our present marriage ceremony, where permission or authority to marry is only necessary for the woman, the man being able to do as he pleases. This is now regarded as a sign of women’s early subjection to the authority of men and their subordinate place in the household. But it does not follow that this was the relative position of men and women when a ceremony was first found needful and instituted. I am inclined to think it must have been, rather, the importance attached to the woman’s act of ratification, in the presence of witnesses, of her formal promise to bear children to a particular man. Marriage would then consist of contracts between two parties for the purpose of, and which actually resulted in, the birth of children; of concubinage, or the wife consenting to children being born to her husband by another woman in her stead, if she herself failed in this respect (such children being hers and her husband’s jointly); of marriage without ceremony or set purpose, resulting from young people being thrown together at feast times, gathering in of harvests, &c., which might or might not result in the birth of children. These conditions of the marriage rite are at variance with what we know of the Aryan marriage generally and its results; and that they flow from the customs preserved in the game under[179] consideration is further proof of the origin of the game from a marriage rite of the pre-Celtic people of these islands. The “kissing together” of the married couple is the token to the witnesses of their mutual consent to the contract.

Attention has already been directed to the fact that parts of the formula preserved in this game are also found in other games, and it may possibly be assumed therefrom that the same origin must be given to these games as to “Sally Water.” The objection to such a conclusion is mainly that it is impossible to decide to which game the popular marriage formula originally belonged, and from which it has been borrowed by the other games. Seeing how exactly it fits the circumstances of “Sally Water,” it might not be too much to suggest that it rightly belongs to this game. Another point to be noted is that the tune to which the words of the marriage formula are sung is always the same, irrespective of that to which the previous verses are sung, and this rule obtains in all those games in which this formula appears—a further proof of the antiquity of the formula as an outcome of the early marriage ceremony.[Addendum]


[7] Redruth version—

Fly for the east, fly for the west,
Fly for the very one you love best.

Sally Sober

A game among girls [undescribed].—Dickinson’s Cumberland Glossary (Supplement).

Salmon Fishers

I.

Cam’ ye by the salmon fishers,
Cam’ ye by the roperee?
Saw ye a sailor laddie
Sailing on the raging sea?
Oh, dear ——, are ye going to marry?
Yes, indeed, and that I am.
Tell to me your own true lover,
Tell to me your lover’s name?
He’s a bonnie lad, he’s a bonnie fellow,
Oh, he’s a bonnie lad,
Wi’ ribbons blue and yellow,
Stockings of blue silk;
Shoes of patent leather,
Points to tie them up.
[180] A gold ring on his finger.
Did you see the ship he came in?
Did you see it comin’ in?
Every lassie wi’ her laddie,
Every widow wi’ her son.
Mother, struck eight o’clock,
Mother, may I get out?
For my love is waiting
For to get me out.
First he gave me apples,
Then he gave me pears,
Then he gave me a sixpence
To kiss him on the stairs.
Oh, dear me, I wish I had my tea,
To write a letter to my love
To come back and marry me.

—Rosehearty (Rev. W. Gregor).

II.

Cam’ ye by the salmon fishers?
Cam’ ye by the roperee?
Saw ye a sailor laddie
Waiting on the coast for me?
I ken fahr I’m gyain,
I ken fahs gyain wi’ me;
I ha’e a lad o’ my ain,
Ye daurna tack ’im fae me.
Stockings of blue silk,
Shoes of patent leather,
Kid to tie them up,
And gold rings on his finger.
Oh for six o’clock!
Oh for seven I weary!
Oh for eight o’clock!
And then I’ll see my dearie.

—Fochabers (Rev. W. Gregor).

III.

Come ye by the salmon fishers?
Come ye by the roperee?
Saw ye my dear sailor laddie
Sailing on the raging sea?
[181] Tip for gold and tip for silver,
Tip for the bonnie laddie I do adore;
My delight’s for a sailor laddie,
And shall be for evermore.
Sit you down, my lovely Elsie,
Take your baby on your knee;
Drink your health for a jolly sailor,
He will come back and marry you.
He will give you beads and ear-rings,
He will give you diamonds free;
Sailors they are bonnie laddies,
Oh, but they are neat and clean!
They can kiss a bonnie lassie
In the dark, and A, B, C;
When the sailors come home at evening
They take off their tarry clothes,
They put on their light blue jackets,
That is the way the sailors go.

—Rev. W. Gregor.

A circle is formed, and the children dance round singing. Before beginning they agree which of the players is to be named in the fifth line of the Rosehearty version.

Jamieson’s Dictionary (sub voce), “Schamon’s Dance,” says, “Some particular kind of dance anciently used in Scotland.”

Blaw up the bagpyp than,
The schamon’s dance I mon begin,
I trow it sall not pane.

—“Peblis to the Play,” Chronicles of Scottish Poetry, i. 135.

Pinkerton defines salmon as “probably show-man, shaw-man.”

See “Shame Reel, or Shamit Dance.”

Salt Eel

This is something like “Hide and Find.” The name of Salt Eel may have been given it from one of the points of the game, which is to baste the runaway individual, whom you may overtake, all the way home with your handkerchief, twisted hard for that purpose. Salt Eel implies on board ship[182] a rope’s ending, and on shore an equivalent process.—Moor’s Suffolk Words and Phrases.

Save All

Two sides are chosen in this game. An even number of boys, say eight on each side. Half of these run out of the line, and are chased by half of the boys from the other side. If two out of four get “home” to door or lamp-post, they save all the prisoners which have been made; if two out of four are caught before the others get “home,” the side catching them beats.—Deptford (Miss Chase).

Say Girl

A game undescribed, recorded by the Rev. S. D. Headlam as played by some Hoxton school children.—Church Reformer, 1894.

Scat

A paper-knife, or thin slip of wood, is placed by one player on his open palm. Another takes it up quickly, and tries to “scat” his opponent’s hand before he can draw it away. Sometimes a feint of taking the paper-knife is made three or four times before it is really done. When the “scat” is given, the “scatter” in his turn rests the knife on his palm. Scat is the Cornish for “slap.”—Folk-lore Journal, v. 50.

Scop-peril, or Scoperel

Name for teetotum ordinarily manufactured by sticking a pointed peg through a bone button.—Easther’s Almondbury Glossary; also in SW. Lincolnshire, Cole’s Glossary.

See “Totum.”

Scotch-hoppers

In Poor Robin’s Almanack for 1677, in the verses to the reader, on the back of the title-page, concerning the chief matters in the volume, among many other articles of intelligence, the author professes to show

“The time when school boys should play at Scotch-hoppers.”

Another allusion occurs in the same periodical for 1707—“Lawyers and Physitians have little to do this month, and therefore they may (if they will) play at Scotch-hoppers. Some[183] men put their hands into peoples’ pockets open, and extract it clutch’d, of that beware. But counsel without a cure, is a body without a soul.” And again, in 1740—“The fifth house tells ye whether whores be sound or not; when it is good to eat tripes, bloat herrings, fry’d frogs, rotten eggs, and monkey’s tails butter’d, or an ox liver well stuck with fish hooks; when it is the most convenient time for an old man to play at Scotch-hoppers amongst the boys. In it also is found plainly, that the best armour of proof against the fleas, is to go drunk to bed.”

See “Hopscotch,” “Tray-Trip.”

Scots and English

Boys first choose sides. The two chosen leaders join both hands, and raising them high enough to let the others pass through below, cry

Brother Jack, if ye’ll be mine,
I’ll gie ye claret wine;
Claret wine is good and fine,
Through the needle ee, boys.

Letting their arms fall they enclose a boy and ask him to which side he will belong, and he is disposed of according to his own decision. The parties being at length formed, are separated by a real or imaginary line, and place at some distance behind them, in a heap, their hats, coats, &c. They stand opposite to each other, the object being to make a successful incursion over the line into the enemy’s country, and bring off part of the heap of clothes. It requires both address and swiftness of foot to do so without being taken by the foe. The winning of the game is decided by which party first loses all its men or its property. At Hawick, where the legendary mimicry of old Border warfare peculiarly flourishes, the boys are accustomed to use the following rhymes of defiance:

King Covenanter, come out if ye daur venture!
Set your foot on Scots’ ground, English, if ye daur!

—Chambers’ Popular Rhymes, p. 127.

The following version was written down in 1821 under the name of Scotch and English:—Two parties of boys, divided[184] by a fixed line, endeavoured to pull one another across this line, or to seize by bodily strength or nimbleness a “wad” (the coats or hats of the players) from the little heap deposited in the different territories at a convenient distance. The person pulled across or seized in his attempt to rob the camp was made a prisoner and conducted to the enemy’s station, where he remained under the denomination of “stinkard” till relieved by one of the same side, or by a general exchange of prisoners.—Blackwood’s Magazine, August 1821, p. 25. The Denham Tracts, i. 150, gives a version of the game much the same as these, except that the words used by the English are, “Here’s a leap into thy kingdom, dry-bellied Scot.” See also Hutton’s History of Roman Wall (1804), p. 104. Brockett’s account, under the title of “Stealy Clothes, or Watch Webs,” is as follows:—The players divide into two parties and draw a line as the boundary of their respective territories. At an equal distance from this line each player deposits his hat or some other article of his dress. The object of the game is to seize and convey these singly to your own store from that of the enemy, but if you are unfortunately caught in the attempt, you not only restore the plunder but become a prisoner yourself. This evidently takes its origin from the inroads of the English and Scotch; indeed, it is plainly proved from the language used on the occasion, which consists in a great measure of the terms of reproach still common among the Borderers.—Brockett’s North Country Words.

Jamieson, also, describes the game under the title of “English and Scotch,” and says the game has originated from the mutual incursions of the two nations.

See “French and English,” “Prisoner’s Base,” “Rigs.”[Addendum]

Scratch Cradle

The game of “Cat’s Cradle.”

Scrush

A game much like Shinty between two sides of boys, each with bandies (scrushes) trying to knock a roundish stone over the other’s line.—Barnes’ Dorset Glossary. See “Shinney.”

[185]

Scurran-Meggy

A game much in vogue in Cumberland during the last century, and in which a peculiar form of top called a “scurran top” was used.—Halliwell’s Dictionary.

See-Saw

[Play]

Tune See-Saw

—London (A. B. Gomme).

I.

Titty cum tawtay,
The ducks in the water;
Titty cum tawtay,
The geese follow after.

—Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes, p. 213.

II.

See-saw, Margery Daw,
Sold her bed to lie upon straw;
Wasn’t she a dirty slut
To sell her bed to lie upon dirt?

—London (A. B. Gomme).

III.

See-saw, Margery Daw,
Johnny shall have a new master;
He shan’t have but a farthing a day,
Because he can’t work any faster.

—London (G. L. Gomme).

IV.

See-saw, sacradown,
Which is the way to London town?
One boot up, and the other down,
And that is the way to London town.

—Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes, No. cccxxx.

V.

The poor man was digging,
To and fro, to and fro;
And his spade on his shoulder,
To and fro, to and fro.
[186] The poor man was digging,
To and fro, to and fro;
And he caught the black cross,
To and fro, to and fro.

—Isle of Man (A. W. Moore).

A common game, children sitting on either end of a plank supported on its centre, and made to rock up and down. While enjoying this recreation, they sing the verse. Addy, Sheffield Glossary, gives Ranty or Rantypole, a plank or pole balanced evenly, upon which children rock up and down in see-saw fashion. Jamieson, Etymological Dictionary, gives Coup-the-Ladle as the name for See-saw in Aberdeen. Moor, Suffolk Words and Phrases, describes this game, and gives the same words to be sung while playing as Halliwell’s above. Grose gives “Weigh,” to play at See-saw. Holloway, Dictionary of Provincialisms, says, in Norfolk See-saw is called Titti cum Totter; and in Gainford, Durham, Ewiggy Shog. Halliwell gives versions of Nos. II. and III. in his Nursery Rhymes, and also other verses with the opening words “See-saw,” namely, “See-saw, Jack-a-Daw,” “See-saw, Sack-a-day;” but these are not connected with the game by Halliwell, and there is nothing in the words to indicate such a connection. Mactaggart, Gallovidian Encyclopædia, calls the game “Coggle-te-Carry,” but gives no verses, and Strutt calls it “Titter Totter.”—Sports, p. 303. He does not give any rhymes, except to quote Gay’s poem, but it is possible that the rhyme to his game may be No. I. Brogden gives “Hightte” as the game of See-saw. The Manx version has not before been published, and Mr. Moore says is now quite forgotten in the Isle. The game is called “Shuggy-shoo” in Irish, and also “Copple-thurrish,” evidently “Horse and Pig,” as if the two animals were balancing against each other, and alternately becoming elevated and depressed.—Ulster Journ. Arch., vi. 102. The child who stands on the plank in the centre and balances it, is frequently called the “canstick” or “candlestick.”

See-Sim

A children’s game. If one of the party is blindfolded, it is “Blind-Sim.”—Spurden’s East Anglian Glossary.

[187]

Shame Reel, or Shamit Dance

In several counties of Scotland this was the name of the first dance after the celebration of marriages. It was performed by the bride and best man and the bridegroom and best maid. The bride’s partner asked what was to be the “sham spring,” and she commonly answered, “Through the world will I gang wi’ the lad that lo’es me,” which, on being communicated to the fiddlers, was struck up, and the dance went on somewhat punctiliously, while the guests looked on in silence, and greeted the close with applause. This dance was common in Forfarshire twenty years ago.—Jamieson’s Dictionary.

See “Cushion Dance,” “Salmon Fishers.”

She Said, and She Said

This game requires two confederates; one leaves the room, and the other in the secret asks a player in the room to whisper to him whom she (or he) loved; he then calls in his companion, and the following dialogue is carried on:

“She said, and she said!
And what did she say?”
“She said that she loved.”
“And whom did she love?
Suppose she said she loved ——?”
“No! she never said that, whatever she said.”

An indefinite number of names are mentioned before the right one. When that came, to the surprise of the whisperer, the answer is

“Yes! she said that.”

The secret was very simple; the name of a widow or widower known to both players was always given before that whispered.—Cornwall (Folk-lore Journal, v. 50).

Shepherd and Sheep

Children choose, by “counting out,” or otherwise, a Shepherd and a Wolf (or Mother Sheep, and Wolf). The Wolf goes away, and the rest of the players are the Sheep (or Lambs) and stand in a row. The Shepherd counts them—Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, &c. Then

Shepherd—“What shall I bring home for you for dinner, Sunday, I’m going to market?”

[188]Sunday chooses something—roast veal, apple tart, or anything else that she likes. Then Monday, Tuesday, and the rest choose also. Shepherd goes away, saying

“Mind you are all good children.”

The Wolf comes directly the Shepherd goes out of sight, and takes away one of the Sheep. Shepherd comes back and begins to distribute the different things

“Sunday, Monday,——why, where’s Tuesday?” (or Wednesday, as the case may be.)

The Children cry in chorus

“Old Wolf came down the chimney and took him (or her) away.”

This formula is repeated till all the children (sheep) are stolen.

The Shepherd now goes to the Wolf’s house to look for his sheep

Shepherd—“Good morning, have you seen my sheep?”

Wolf—“Yes, they went down Red Lane.”

[Shepherd looks down Red Lane.]

Shepherd—“I’ve been down Red Lane, and they’re not there.”

Wolf—“I’ve just seen them pass, they’re gone down Green Lane,” &c. These questions and answers continue as long as the children’s fancy holds out; then the Shepherd comes back.

Shepherd—“I’ve looked everywhere, and can’t find them. I b’lieve you’ve got them? I smell meat; may I go up and taste your soup?”

Wolf—“You can’t go upstairs, your shoes are too dirty.”

Shepherd—“I’ll take off my shoes” (pretends to take them off).

Wolf—“Your stockings are too dirty.”

Shepherd—“I’ll take off my stockings” (suits the action).

Wolf—“Your feet are too dirty.”

Shepherd—“I’ll cut my feet off” (pretends to cut them off).

(Milder version, “I’ll wash my feet.”)

Wolf—“Then the blood’ll run about.”

(Milder version, “Then they’ll wet my carpet.”)

Shepherd—“I’ll tie up my feet.”

(Or, “I’ll wipe my feet”)

Wolf—-“Well, now you may go up.”

Shepherd—“I smell my sheep.”

[189]The Shepherd then goes to one child, pretends to taste—using fingers of both hands as though holding a spoon and fork—on the top of the child’s head, saying, “That’s my sheep,” “That’s Tuesday,” &c., till he comes to the end of the row, then they all shout out and rush home to the fold, the Wolf with them. A fresh Shepherd and Wolf are chosen, and the game starts once more.—Cornwall (Miss I. Barclay).

One player is chosen to be the Shepherd, another the Thief, and the rest the sheep, who are arranged in a long row. The Shepherd pretends to be asleep; the Thief takes away one of the sheep and hides it; he then says

Thief “Shepherdy, shepherdy, count your sheep!”
Shepherd “I can’t come now, I’m fast asleep.”
Thief “If you don’t come now, they’ll all be gone,
  So shepherdy, shepherdy, come along!”

The Shepherd counts the sheep, and missing one, asks where it is gone. The Thief says, “It is gone to get fat!” The Shepherd goes to sleep again, and the same performance is repeated till all the sheep are hidden; the Shepherd goes in search of them, and when found they join him in the pursuit of the Thief.—Oswestry (Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 520).

Mr. Northall (Folk Rhymes, p. 391) gives a version from Warwickshire, and says he believes the Shepherd’s dog to be the true thief who hides his propensity in the dialogue

Bow, wow, wow, What’s the matter now?
A leg of a louse came over my house,
And stole one of my fat sheep away.

The game is played as in Shropshire. The dialogue in the Cornish game is similar to that of “Witch.” See “Wolf.”

Shepherds

One child stands alone, facing the others in a line opposite. The single child shouts, “Shepherds, shepherds, give warning.” The others reply, “Warn away! warn away!” Then she asks, “How many sheep have you got?” They answer, “More than you can carry away.” She runs and catches one—they two join hands and chase the rest; each one, as caught,[190] joining hands with the chasers until all are caught.—Liverpool (Mr. C. C. Bell.) See “Stag,” “Warney.”

Shinney, or Shinty, or Shinnops

A writer in Blackwood’s Magazine, August 1821, p. 36, says: The boys attempt to drive with curved sticks a ball, or what is more common, part of the vertebral bone of a sheep, in opposite directions. When the object driven along reaches the appointed place in either termination, the cry of hail! stops the play till it is knocked off anew by the boy who was so fortunate as to drive it past the gog. In the Sheffield district it is played as described by Halliwell. During the game the boys call out, “Hun you, shin you.” It is called Shinny in Derbyshire.—Addy’s Sheffield Glossary. Halliwell’s description does not materially differ from the account given above except that when the knur is down over the line it is called a “bye.”—(Dictionary). In Notes and Queries, 8th series, viii. 446; ix. 115 et seq., the game is described as played in Lincolnshire under the name of “Cabsow,” which perhaps accounts for the Barnes game of Crab-sowl.

In Perthshire it is described as a game in which bats somewhat resembling a golf club are used. At every fair or meeting of the country people there were contests at racing, wrestling, putting the stone, &c., and on holidays all the males of a district, young and old, met to play at football, but oftener at shinty.—Perthshire Statistical Account, v. 72; Jamieson’s description is the same.

Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia says: A game described by Scotch writers by the name of Shintie; the shins, or under parts of the legs, are in danger during the game of being struck, hence the name from shin.—Dickinson, Cumberland Glossary, mentions Shinny as a boyish game, also called Scabskew, catty; it is also the name of the crook-ended stick used in the game. Patterson, Antrim and Down Glossary, under name Shinney, says, This game is played with shinneys, i.e., hooked sticks, and a ball or small block of wood called the “Golley,” or “Nag.”

In London this game is called Hockey. It seems to be the same which is designed Not in Gloucestershire; the name[191] being borrowed from the ball, which is made of a knotty piece of wood.—Grose’s Glossary.

It has been said that Shinty and Hockey differ in this respect, that in the latter two goals are erected, each being formed by a piece of stick with both ends stuck in the ground. The players divide into two parties; to each of these the care of one of the goals belongs. The game consists in endeavouring to drive the ball through the goal of the opposite party.—Book of Sports (1810), pp. 11-13. But in Shinty there are also two goals, called hails; the object of each party being to drive the ball beyond their own hail, but there is no hole through which it must be driven. The ball, or knot of wood, is called Shintie.

See “Bandy,” “Camp,” “Chinnup,” “Crab-sowl,” “Doddart,” “Hockey,” “Scrush.”

Ship

A boy’s game. It is played in two ways—(1) Of a single character. One boy bends down against a wall (sometimes another stands pillow for his head), then an opponent jumps on his back, crying “Ships” simply, or “Ships a-sailing, coming on.” If he slips off, he has to bend as the other; but if not, he can remain as long as he pleases, provided he does not laugh or speak. If he forgets to cry “Ships,” he has to bend down. (2) Sometimes sides are chosen; then the whole side go down heads and tails, and all the boys on the other side have to jump on their backs. The game in each case is much the same. The “naming” was formerly “Ships and sailors coming on.”—Easther’s Almondbury Glossary. Mr. H. Hardy sends an account from Earls Heaton, which is practically the same as these.

Ship Sail

A game usually played with marbles. One boy puts his hand into his trousers pocket and takes out as many marbles as he feels inclined; he closes his fingers over them, and holds out his hand with the palm down to the opposite player, saying, “Ship sail, sail fast. How many men on board?” A guess is made by his opponent; if less he has to give as many marbles[192] as will make up the true number; if more, as many as he said over. But should the guess be correct he takes them, and then in his turn says, “Ship sail,” &c.—Cornwall (Folk-lore Journal, v. 59).

See “Handy Dandy,” “Neivvie-nick-nack.”

Shiver the Goose

A boys’ game. Two persons are trussed somewhat like fowls; they then hop about on their “hunkers,” each trying to upset the other.—Patterson’s Antrim and Down Glossary.

See “Curcuddie.”

Shoeing the Auld Mare

A dangerous kind of sport. A beam of wood is slung between two ropes, a person gets on to this and contrives to steady himself until he goes through a number of antics; if he can do this he shoes the auld mare, if he cannot do it he generally tumbles to the ground and gets hurt with the fall.—Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia.

Shue-Gled-Wylie

A game in which the strongest acts as the Gled or Kite, and the next in strength as the mother of a brood of birds; for those under her protection, perhaps to the number of a dozen, keep all in a string behind her, each holding by the tail of one another. The Gled still tries to catch the last of them, while the mother cries “Shue! Shue!” spreading out her arms to keep him off. If he catch all the birds he wins the game.—Fife, Teviotdale (Jamieson).

See “Fox and Geese,” “Gled-Wylie,” “Hen and Chickens.”

Shuttlefeather

This game is generally known as “Battledore and Shuttlecock.” The battledore is a small hand bat, formerly made of wood, then of a skin stretched over a frame, and since of catgut strings stretched over a frame. The shuttlecock consists of a small cork into which feathers of equal size are fixed at even distances. The game may be played by one, two, or more persons. If by one person, it merely consists of batting up the shuttlecock into the air for as long a time as possible; if[193] by two persons, it consists of batting the shuttlecock from one to the other; if by more than two, sides are chosen, and a game has been invented, and known as “Badminton.” This latter game is not a traditional game, and does not therefore concern us now.

Strutt (Sports and Pastimes, p. 303) says this is a sport of long standing, and he gives an illustration, said to be of the fourteenth century, from a MS. in the possession of Mr. F. Douce. This would probably be the earliest mention of the game. It appears to have been a fashionable pastime among grown persons in the reign of James I. In the Two Maids of Moreclacke, 1609, it is said, “To play at Shuttlecock methinkes is the game now,” and among the anecdotes related of Prince Henry, son to James I., is the following: “His Highness playing at shittle-cocke with one farr taller than himself, and hittyng him by chance with the shittle-cock upon the forehead” (Harl. MS., 6391). Among the accounts of money paid for the Earl of Northumberland while he was prisoner in the Tower for supposed complicity in the Gunpowder Plot, is an item for the purchase of shuttlecocks (Hist. MSS. Com., v. p. 354).

But the popular nature of the game is not indicated by these facts. For this we have to turn to the doings of the people. In the villages of the West Riding the streets may be seen on the second Sunday in May full of grown-up men and women playing “Battledore and Shuttlefeathers” (Henderson’s Folk-lore of the Northern Counties, p. 80). In Leicester the approach of Shrove Tuesday (known amongst the youngsters as “Shuttlecock Day”) is signalised by the appearance in the streets of a number of children playing at the game of “Battledore and Shuttlecock.” On the day itself the streets literally swarm with juveniles, and even grown men and women engage in the pastime. Passing through a by-street the other day I heard a little girl singing

Shuttlecock, shuttlecock, tell me true
How many years have I to go through?
One, two, three, four, &c.

Notes and Queries, 3rd series, iii. 87.

[194]

The occurrence of this rhyme suggests that there is some sort of divination in the oldest form of the game, and it appears to me that the origin of the game must be sought for among the ancient practices of divination. An example is found among the customs of the children of Glamorganshire during the cowslip season. The cowslip heads are strung on a piece of thread and tied into a “posty,” and the play is to throw it up a tolerable height, catching it on the distended palm with a blow that sends it up again, while the player sings:

Pisty, posty, four and forty,
How many years shall I live?
One, two, three, four, &c.

Of course, if it falls to the ground uncaught, or even if caught in the clenched hand, there is an end of the player’s “life.” There is a good deal of emulation amongst the children as to who shall live the longest (Notes and Queries, 3rd ser., iii. 172). Miss Burne (Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 530) mentions the same custom, giving the rhyme as

Toss-a-ball, toss-a-ball, tell me true
How many years I’ve got to go through,

and she says the cowslip is thence called a “tissy-ball.” In this custom we have no artificial aids to form a game, but we have a significant form of divination from natural flowers, accompanied by a rhyming formula exactly parallel to the rhymes used in the Leicestershire game of “Shuttlecock,” and I conclude therefore that we have here the true origin of the game. This conclusion is confirmed when it is found that divinatory verses generally accompany the popular form of the game.

At Wakefield the children playing “Battledore and Shuttlecock” take it in turn, and say the following sentences, one clause to each bat, and repeated until the shuttlecock falls:

1st. This year, next year, long time, never.

2nd. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

3rd. Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich man, poor man, beggar-man, thief.

4th. Silk, satin, cotton, rags.

5th. Coach, carriage, wheelbarrow, donkey-cart.—Miss Fowler

[195]

At Deptford the rhymes were

Grandmother, grandmother,
Tell me the truth,
How many years have I been to school?
One, two, three, &c.
Grandmother, grandmother,
Tell me no lie,
How many children
Before I die?
One, two, three, &c.

In the same way the following questions are put and answered:

How old am I?
How long am I going to live?
How many children shall I have?
Black currant,
Red currant,
Raspberry tart,
Tell me the name
Of my sweetheart.
A, B, C, D, &c.

Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, potter’s boy, flour boy, thief.

Silk, satin, cotton, muslin, rags.

Coach, carriage, wheelbarrow, dungcart.

On their buttons they say: “Bought, given, stolen,” to show how acquired.—Miss Chase.

In London the rhymes were

One, two, buckle my shoe,
Three, four, knock at the door,
Five, six, pick up sticks,
Seven, eight, lay them straight,
Nine, ten, a good fat hen,
Eleven, twelve, ring the bell,
Thirteen, fourteen, maids a courting,
Fifteen, sixteen, maids in the kitchen,
Seventeen, eighteen, mistress waiting,
[196] Nineteen, twenty, my plate’s empty.
One, two, three, four,
Mary at the cottage door,
Eating cherries off a plate,
Five, six, seven, eight.
Up the ladder, down the wall,
A twopenny loaf to serve us all;
You buy milk and I’ll buy flour,
And we’ll have pudding in half an hour.
One, two, three, four, five, six, &c.

This year, next year, some time, never, repeated.

A, B, C, D, E, &c., repeated for the initial letter of the future husband’s name.

Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, apothecary, ploughboy, thief, for future husband’s vocation.

Monday, Tuesday, &c., for the wedding day.

Silk, satin, cotton, rags, for the material of the wedding gown.

Coach, carriage, wheelbarrow, dungcart, for conveyance on wedding day.

Big house, little house, pigsty, barn, for future home.—(A. B. Gomme.)

It will be seen that many of these divination formulæ are used in other connections than that of “Shuttlecock,” but this rather emphasises the divinatory character of the game in its original form.—See “Ball,” “Teesty-tosty.”

Shuvvy-Hawle

A boys’ game at marbles. A small hole is made in the ground, and marbles are pushed in turn with the side of the first finger; these are won by the player pushing them into the shuvvy-hawle.—Lowsley’s Berkshire Glossary.

Silly Old Man

[Play]

Tune Silly Old Man Leicester

—Leicester (Miss Ellis).

[197]

[Play]

Tune Silly Old Man Monton

—Monton, Lancashire (Miss Dendy).

I.

Silly old man, he’s all alone,
He wants a wife and can’t get one;
Round and round and choose a good one,
Or else choose none.
This young couple are married together,
Their fathers and mothers they must obey;
Love one another like sister and brother,
And down on their knees and kiss one another.

—Leicester (Miss Ellis).

II.

Silly old man, he walks alone,
He walks alone, he walks alone;
Silly old man, he walks alone,
He wants a wife and can’t get one.
All go round and choose your own,
Choose your own, choose your own;
All go round and choose your own,
And choose a good one or else choose none.
Now young couple you’re married together,
Married together, married together;
Now young couple you’re married together,
Your father and mother you must obey.
So love one another like sister and brother,
And now young couple pray kiss together.

—Lancashire (Notes and Queries, 5th series, iv. 157).

III.

Silly old maid (or man), she walks alone,
She walks alone, she walks alone;
Silly old maid, she walks alone,
She wants a man (or wife) and she can’t get one.
[198] Go around and choose your own,
Choose your own, choose your own;
Go around and choose your own,
And take whoever you like in.
Now these two are married together,
Married together, married together;
Now these two are married together,
I pray love, kiss again.

—Isle of Man (A. W. Moore).

IV.

Here’s a silly ould man that lies all alone,
That lies all alone, that lies all alone;
Here’s a silly ould man that lies all alone,
He wants a wife and he can get none.
Now young couple you’re married together,
You’re married together, you’re married together;
You must obey your father and mother,
And love one another like sister and brother.
I pray, young couple, you’ll kiss together.

—Carleton’s Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry, p. 107.

V.

Silly old man, he walks alone,
Walks alone, walks alone;
Silly old man, he walks alone,
Wants a wife and he canna get one.
All go round and choose your own,
Choose your own, choose your own;
All go round and choose your own,
Choose a good one or let it alone.
Now he’s got married and tied to a peg,
Tied to a peg, tied to a peg;
Now he’s got married and tied to a peg,
Married a wife with a wooden leg.

—Monton, Lancashire (Miss Dendy).

VI.

Silly old maid, she lives alone,
She lives alone, she lives alone;
[Silly old maid, she lives alone,]
Wants a husband but can’t get one.
[199] So now go round and choose your own,
Choose your own, choose your own;
Now go round and choose your own,
Choose the very one you love best.
Now young couple, you’re married for ever,
Your father and mother you must obey;
Love another like sister and brother,
And now young couple, pray kiss together.

—Dublin (Mrs. Lincoln).

(c) The children form a ring, joining hands. A child, usually a boy, stands in the middle. The ring dances round and sings the verses. The boy in the centre chooses a girl when bidden by the ring. These two then stand in the centre and kiss each other at the command. The boy then takes a place in the ring, and the girl remains in the centre and chooses a boy in her turn. In the Dublin and Isle of Man versions a girl is first in the centre; in the Manx version (A. W. Moore) the two children hold hands when in the centre.

(d) In the Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry, Mr. Carleton gives this game as one of those played by young people of both sexes at funeral wakes. It is played in the same way as the game now is; boys and girls stand alternately in a ring holding hands, choosing each other in turn, and kissing. The other versions do not differ materially from each other, except that the Lancashire version described by Miss Dendy has evidently been corrupted quite lately, because a purer form is quoted from the same county in Notes and Queries. The game seems to be one of the group of marriage games arising from the fact that at any gathering of people for the purpose of a ceremonial, whether a funeral or a festival, it was the custom to form matrimonial alliances. The words are used for kiss-in-the-ring games, and also in some marriage games when the last player is left without a partner.

Skin the Goatie

One boy takes his stand in an upright position at a wall. Another boy stoops with his head in the breast of the one standing[200] upright. A third boy jumps stride-leg on his back, and tries to “crown,” i.e., put his hand on the head of the boy at the wall. The boy on whose back he is tries every means by shifting from side to side, and by throwing up his back, to prevent him from doing so, and to cast him off. If he succeeds in doing so, he takes his stand behind the stooping boy in the same position. Another boy then tries to do the same thing over the two stooping boys. If he succeeds in crowning the standing boy, he takes his station at the wall. If not, he takes his stand behind the two stooping boys. The game goes on till a boy “crowns” the one standing at the wall.—Banchory (Rev. W. Gregor).

See “Saddle the Nag.”

Skipping

Strutt says (Sports, p. 383), “This amusement is probably very ancient. Boys often contend for superiority of skill in this game, and he who passes the rope about most times without interruption is the conqueror. In the hop season a hop-stem, stripped of its leaves, is used instead of a rope, and, in my opinion, it is preferable.” On Good Friday on Brighton beach the fisher folk used to play at skipping, six to ten grown-up people skipping at one rope.

Apart from the ordinary, and probably later way of playing, by one child holding a rope in both hands, turning it over the head, and either stepping over it while running, or standing still and jumping until the feet catch the rope and a trip is made, skipping appears to be performed in two ways, jumping or stepping across with (1) more or less complicated movements of the rope and feet, and (2) the ordinary jumping over a turned rope while chanting rhymes, for the purpose of deciding whether the players are to be married or single, occupation of future husband, &c.

Of the first class of game there are the following variants:

“Pepper, salt, mustard, cider, vinegar.”—Two girls turn the rope slowly at first, repeating the above words, then they turn it as quickly as possible until the skipper is tired out, or trips.

[201]

“Rock the Cradle.”—In this the holders of the rope do not throw it completely over, but swing it from side to side with an even motion like the swinging of the pendulum of a clock.

“Chase the Fox.”—One girl is chosen as a leader, or fox. The first runs through the rope, as it is turned towards her, without skipping; the others all follow her; then she runs through from the other side as the rope is turned from her, and the others follow. Then she runs in and jumps or skips once, and the others follow suit; then she skips twice and runs out, then three times, the others all following in turn until one trips or fails. The first one to do this takes the place of one of the turners, the turner taking her place as one of the skippers.

“Visiting.”—One girl turns the rope over herself, and another jumps in and faces her, while skipping in time with the girl she visits. She then runs out again without stopping the rope, and another girl runs in.

“Begging.”—Two girls turn, and two others run and skip together side by side. While still skipping they change places; one says, as she passes, “Give me some bread and butter;” the other answering, “Try my next door neighbour.” This is continued until one trips.

“Winding the Clock.”—Two turn the rope, and the skipper counts one, two, three, up to twelve, turning round each time she jumps or skips.

“Baking Bread.”—Two girls turn, and another runs in with a stone in her hand, which she puts down on the ground, and picks up again while skipping.

“The Ladder.”—The girls run in to skip, first on one foot and then the other, with a stepping motion.

Two other games are as follows:—(1.) Two ropes are used, and a girl holds either end in each hand, turning them alternately; the skipper has to jump or skip over each in turn. When the rope is turned inwards, it is called “double dutch,” when turned outwards, “French dutch.” (2.) The skipper has a short rope which she turns over herself, while two other girls turn a longer rope over her head.

The second class of games consists of those cases where the skipping is accompanied by rhymes, and is used for the purpose[202] of foretelling the future destiny of the skipper. These rhymes are as follows (all collected by Miss Chase):

Ipsey, Pipsey, tell me true
Who shall I be married to?
A, B, C, &c.

Letters—initial of one to whom you’ll be married.—Hurstmonceux, Sussex.

Half pound tuppeny rice,
Half a pound of treacle,
Penny ’orth of spice
To make it nice,
Pop goes the weazle.

—Crockham Hill, Kent.

When I was young and able,
I sat upon the table;
The table broke,
And gave me a poke,
When I was young and able.

[The children now add that when singing

Pass the baker,[8]
Cook the tater,

is the full couplet.]—Deptford.

Every morning at eight o’clock,
You all may hear the postman’s knock.
1, 2, 3, 4. There goes “Polly.”

Girl named running out, and another girl running in directly.—Marylebone.

Up and down the ladder wall,
Ha’penny loaf to feed us all;
A bit for you, and a bit for me,
And a bit for Punch and Judy.

—Paddington Green.

As they run thus, each calls in turn, “Red, yellow, blue, white.” Where you are tripped, the colour stopped on marks that of your wedding gown.—Deptford.

[203]

Each of the two girls turning the rope takes a colour, and as the line of children run through, they guess by shouting, “Red?” “Green?” When wrong nothing happens; they take the place of turner, however, if they hit upon her colour. Another way is to call it “Sweet stuff shop,” or “green grocers,” and guess various candies and fruits until they choose right.—Deptford.

When several girls start running in to skip, they say,

“All in, a bottle of gin,”

and as they leave at a dash, they cry

“All out, a bottle of stout.”

While “in” jumping, the turners time the skippers’ movements by a sing song.

Up and down the city wall,
Ha’penny loaf to feed us all;
I buy milk, you buy flour,
You shall have pepper in half an hour.

—Deptford.

At pepper turn swiftly.

Up and down the ladder wall,
Penny loaf to feed us all;
A bit for you, and a bit for me,
And a bit for all the familee.

—Marylebone.

Up and down the city wall,
In and out “The Eagle,”
That’s the way the money goes,
Pop goes the weazel.

—From “A London Maid.”

Dancing Dolly had no sense,
For to fiddle for eighteenpence;
All the tunes that she could play,
Were “Sally get out of the donkey’s way.”

—Deptford.

My mother said
That the rope must go
Over my head.

—Deptford.

[204]

Andy Pandy,
Sugardy candy,
French almond
Rock.

—Deptford.

B-L-E-S-S-I-N-G.
Roses red, roses white,
Roses in my garden;
I would not part
With my sweetheart
For tuppence hapenny farthing.

A, B, C, &c., to X, Y, Z.—Deptford.

Knife and fork,
Lay the cloth,[9]
Don’t forget the salt,
Mustard, vinegar,
Pepper!

—Deptford.

They sometimes make a girl skip back and forth the long way of the rope, using this dialogue

Girl skipping.—“Father, give me the key.”

Father.—“Go to your mother.”

Girl jumping in opposite direction.—“Mother, give me the key.”

Mother.—“Go to your father.”

Lady, lady, drop your handkerchief,
Lady, lady, pick it up.

Suiting action to the words, still skipping.

Rhyme to time the jumps

Cups and saucers,
Plates and dishes,
My old man wears
Calico breeches.

[8] To change from left to right side, crossing a second skipper, is called “Pass the Baker.”

[9] In Marylebone add here, “Bring me up a leg of pork.”


Skyte the Bob

This game might be played by two, three, or more. A small stone of a squarish form, called the “bob,” was placed[205] on a level piece of ground. On this stone each player placed an old button, for buttons were the stakes. A point was fixed several yards from the stone, and a line was drawn. Along this line, “the stance,” the players took their stand, each holding in his hand a small flat stone named “the pitcher.” This stone was thrown so as to strike “the bob” and make the buttons fall on “the pitcher,” or nearer it than “the bob.” The button or buttons that lay nearer “the pitcher” than “the bob” fell to the lot of the player. The second player did the same, but he had to guard against driving any of the buttons nearer the first player’s stone. If a button was nearer his stone than “the bob,” or the first player’s stone, he claimed it. The third player followed the same course if all the buttons had not been won by the two players. If the buttons were not all won at the first throw, the first player had a second chance, and so on till all the buttons were won. If two played, if each won a button, they alternately began, but if one gained the two buttons, the other began. When three played, if one had two for his share he played last in the following game, and the one that had nothing played first. If the players, when three played, were experts, the one whose lot it was to play second, who was called the “poust,” lost heavily, and to be “pousted” was always looked upon as a misfortune, for the reason that the first player often by the first throw gained the whole stake, and then in the following game the last player became the first, and the gainer in the foregoing game became the last. If this player carried off the whole stake, he in the next game took the last place, and the last took the first, and so between the two good players the “poust” had no chance.—Aberdeenshire (Rev. W. Gregor).—See “Buttons.”

Smuggle the Gig

Mr. Ballantyne describes the game as played in his young days at Biggar as follows:—Two boys would each select his own side. “First pick” was decided by lot. A third boy took two straws, one shorter than the other, and held them between his finger and thumb in such a way that only equal[206] lengths were visible. Each leader drew a straw. The one who drew the longest had “first pick” of all the intended players, the other leader had the next; alternate choice was then made by them until both sides were complete, and were ranged by their leaders. Then lots were again drawn as to which side should go out first. The side going out had to show the Gig; anything easily carried in the hand sufficed. The “outs” went out from the den twenty or thirty yards, sometimes round the end of a house, to “smuggle the Gig”—that is, to give one of their number the Gig to carry, care being taken that the “ins” did not know who had it. During this time the leader of the ins called “out” in a loud voice

Zimerie, twaerie, hickeri seeven,
Aucherie, daucherie, ten and eleven;
Twall ran musha dan
Tweedledum, twadledum, twenty-one. Time’s up!

Outs had all to appear by “Ready” when the chase began. Boundary limits were fixed, beyond which outs could not run and ins could not stand, within a fixed distance of the den. This den was a place marked by a mark or rut in the ground, about four feet by six feet. The outs endeavoured (particularly the one carrying the Gig) to get into the den before any one could catch and “crown” him. The pursued, when caught, was held by the pursuer, his cap taken off, and the palm of the hand was placed on the crown of his head. As he did so the pursuer would say, “Deliver up the Gig.” If he had it not, the pursuer went off after another player. If he had the Gig, and succeeded in getting into the den without being “crowned,” outs won the game; but if the Gig was caught and “crowned,” ins won.

At Fraserburgh the players are divided equally. A spot is marked off, called the Nestie. Any small object known to all is chosen as the Gig. One half of the players receive the Gig and retire, so as not to be seen distinctly by the other half that remains in and near the Nestie. The Gig is concealed on the person of one of the players that retire. When everything is ready those having the Gig move towards the Nestie, and those in the Nestie come to meet them. The aim is to[207] catch the player who has the Gig before reaching the Nestie. If this is done the same players again hide the Gig, but if the Gig is discovered, the players discovering it now hide it.

At Old Aberdeen sides are chosen, then a small article (such as a knife) is made the gig. Then one side, determined by a toss, goes out and smuggles the gig and cries out, “Smuggle the gig.” Then the other side rushes in and tries to catch the one that has the “gig.” If the one that has the gig is free, the same side goes out again.—Rev. W. Gregor.

See “Gegg.”

Snail Creep

In Mid-Cornwall, in the second week of June, at St. Roche, and in one or two adjacent parishes, a curious dance is performed at their annual “feasts.” It enjoys the rather undignified name of “Snail Creep,” but would be more properly called the “Serpent’s Coil.” The following is scarcely a perfect description of it:—“The young people being all assembled in a large meadow, the village band strikes up a simple but lively air and marches forward, followed by the whole assemblage, leading hand-in-hand (or more closely linked in case of engaged couples), the whole keeping time to the tune with a lively step. The band, or head of the serpent, keeps marching in an ever-narrowing circle, whilst its train of dancing followers becomes coiled around it in circle after circle. It is now that the most interesting part of the dance commences, for the band, taking a sharp turn about, begins to retrace the circle, still followed as before, and a number of young men, with long leafy branches in their hands as standards, direct this counter movement with almost military precision.”—W. C. Wade (Western Antiquary, April 1881).

A game similar to the above dance is often played by Sunday school children in West Cornwall, at their out-of-door summer treats, called by them “Roll tobacco.” They join hands in one long line, the taller children at their head. The first child stands still, whilst the others in ever-narrowing circles dance around singing until they are coiled into a tight mass. The outer coil then wheels sharply in a contrary[208] direction, followed by the remainder, retracing their steps.—Courtney’s Cornish Feasts and Folk-lore, p. 39. A Scottish game, “Row Chow Tobacco,” described by Jamieson, is played in the same way, the boy at the extremity being called the “Pin.” A clamorous noise succeeds the “winding up,” the players crying out “Row Chow Tobacco” while giving and receiving the fraternal hug. The words are pronounced Rowity-chowity-bacco. The naming of this game in connection with tobacco is curious. It is undoubtedly the same as “Snail Creep.” I am inclined to think that all these games are connected with an ancient form of Tree-worship, and that the analogy of tobacco-rolling is quite modern.

See “Bulliheisle,” “Eller Tree,” “Tuilyie-waps,” “Wind up the Bush Faggot.”

Snapping Tongs

See “Musical Chairs.”

Snatch Apple

A game similar to “Bob Cherry,” but played with an apple.—Halliwell’s Dictionary.

Snatch Hood

An undescribed boy’s game mentioned in a statute of Edward III.’s time.—Halliwell’s Dictionary.

Soldier

I am an old soldier, I come from the war,
Come from the war;
I am an old soldier, I come from the war,
And my age it is sixty-and-three.
I have but one son and he lies alone, lies alone,
I have but one son and he lies alone;
And he’s still making moan for lying alone.
Son, go choose a wife of your own,
Choose a good one or else choose none,
Or bring none home to me.
Now they’re got married, they’re bound to obey,
Bound to obey in every degree;
And as you go round kiss all but me.

—Belfast, Ireland (W. H. Patterson).

[209]The players form a ring and sing the first three verses. Then one of the players chooses a girl from the ring. The first three verses are again sung until the whole ring is arranged in couples; then the first couple kneels in the middle, and the rest dance round them singing the marriage formula; then the second couple, and so on, each couple kissing.

Solomon

The players knelt in a line; the one at the head, in a very solemn tone, chaunted, “Solomon had a great dog;” the others answered in the same way, “Just so” (this was always the refrain). Then the first speaker made two or three more ridiculous speeches, ending with, “And at last this great dog died, and fell down,” giving at the same time a violent lurch against his next neighbour, who, not expecting it, fell against his, and so on, to the end of the line.—Cornwall (Folk-lore Journal, v. 50).

See “Obadiah,” “Quaker’s Wedding.”

Sort’em-billyort’em

A Lancashire game, very similar to “Hot Peas and Bacon.”—Halliwell’s Dictionary.

Sow-in-the-Kirk

A large hole is made in the ground, surrounded by smaller ones, according to the number of the players, every one of whom has a shintie, or hooked stick. The middle hole is called the kirk. He who takes the lead in the game is called the sow-driver. His object is to drive a small piece of wood or bone, called the sow, into the large hole or kirk; while that of his opponents, every one of whom keeps his shintie in one of the smaller holes, is to frustrate his exertions by driving back the sow. If he succeeds, either in knocking it into one of the small holes, while one of his antagonists is in the act of striking it back, he is released from the drudgery of being driver. In the latter case, the person whose vacancy he has occupied takes the servile station which he formerly held.—Lothian (Jamieson). This is said to be the same game with “Church and Mice” in Fife. Jamieson’s description is not very[210] lucid. It appears that each player must hold his shintie with its end in his hole, and it is only when he takes it out to prevent the sow-driver getting his sow into or towards the kirk, that the sow-driver has the chance of putting the sow into the player’s hole, and so causing that player to take the place of sow-driver.

See “Kirk the Gussie.”

Span Counter

A common game among boys. “You shall finde me playing at Span Counter.”—Dekker’s Northward Hoe. Toone, Etymological Dictionary, mentions this as a juvenile game played with counters.

Boys shall not play
At span counter or blow pipe.

—Donne (Satire iv.).

Dr. Grosart, in noting this passage, says, “I rather think the game is still played by boys when they directly, or by rebound, endeavour to play their button or marble into a hole.” Strutt briefly notes the game as being similar to “Boss Out.”—Sports, p. 384. Halliwell (Dictionary) simply gives the quotation from Donne’s Poems, p. 131, mentioning the game.

See “Boss Out.”

Spang and Purley

A mode resorted to by boys of measuring distances, particularly at the game of marbles. It means a space and something more.—Brockett’s North Country Words.

Spangie

A game played by boys with marbles or halfpence. A marble or halfpenny is struck against the wall. If the second player can bring his so near that of his antagonist as to include both within a span, he claims both as his.—Jamieson.

This is the same game as “Banger,” “Boss Out.” Probably the Old English game of “Span Counter,” or “Span Farthing,” was originally the same.—See Johnson’s Dictionary.

[211]

Spannims

A game at marbles played in the eastern parts of England.—Halliwell’s Dictionary.

Spawnie

The same game as “Spangie.”—Keith (Rev. W. Gregor).

Spinny-Wye

The name of a game among children at Newcastle-upon-Tyne. I suspect this is nearly the same with “Hide and Seek.” “I spye” is the usual exclamation at a childish game called “Hie, spy, hie.”—Brand, ii. 442.

Splints

A game at marbles, in which they are dropped from the hand in heaps.—Easther’s Almondbury Glossary.

Spurn point

An old game (undescribed) mentioned in the play Apollo Shroving, London, 1627, p. 49.

Spy-arm

A game of Hide-and-Seek, with this difference, that when those are found who are hid the finder cries Spy-arm; and if the one discovered can catch the discoverer, he has a ride upon his back to the dools.—Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia.

See “Hide and Seek” (1).

Stacks

A stack in the centre of the stackyard was selected, and round a part of one side a rut was marked in the earth usually by the toe-bit of the ploughman’s boot. This enclosure, not over four feet wide at the broadest part, was called the den. One of the players, selected to be the catcher, stood within this den, and when all the players were ready turned his face to the stack, and counted out loud the numerals from one to twenty, the last with a great shout. During the count the players ran round the stacks out of sight, but no hiding nor leaving the stackyard, this was “not fair.” When twenty was heard one would shout back “Ready!” Then out came the catcher. He was not permitted to stand in or near the den, but went out among the stacks and caught as many players as he could before they[212] reached the den. The great aim of those “out” was to get into the den unseen and untouched. If all the players got in, then the catcher had to try again; but when all were caught (which was seldom or never), the last one caught was catcher for the next game. When one player was touched by the catcher he or she had to remain in the den till the rest were all in.—Biggar (Wm. Ballantyne).

Mr. Ballantyne says, “This game usually ended in a promiscuous ‘catching’ and ‘touching’ game, each lad trying to catch the lass he liked best, and some lads, for the fun of the thing, would try and get a particular girl first, her wishes and will not being considered in the matter; and it seemed to be an unwritten law among them for the lass to ‘gang wi’ the lad that catched her first,’ yet I have known lassies take this opportunity to favour the lad they preferred. It was the correct thing for the people to visit each other’s farms in rotation to play ‘the stacks.’” This game was played when all the crops of grain were in the stackyard under thack and rape (?nape). Then it was customary for the servant lads and lasses of neighbours’ “ferm toons” to gather together and play at this game. Mr. Ballantyne considers it was the third of three festivals formerly held at the ingathering of the crops.

See “Barley Break.”

Stag

A boys’ game. One boy issues forth and tries to “tig” another, previously saying this nominy, or the first two lines

Stag, stag arony,
Ma’ dog’s bony,
Them ’at Aw catch
’Ill ha’ to go wi’ me.

When one boy is tigged (or “tug”) the two issue forth hand in hand, and when more, all hand in hand. The other players have the privilege of breaking the chain, and if they succeed the parties forming it are liable to be ridden back to the den. At Lepton, where the game was publicly played, the boundaries were “Billy tour end, Penny Haas end, and I’ Horsin step.” So played in 1810, and is still.—Easther’s Almondbury Glossary.

In the Sheffield district it is called “Rag Stag,” and is[213] usually played in the playground, or yard, attached to a school. Any number can play. A place is chalked out in a corner or angle formed by the walls or hedges surrounding the playground. This is called the den, and a boy stands within the den. Sometimes the den is formed by chalking an area out upon a footpath, as in the game of “Bedlams.” The boy in the den walks or runs out, crying, “Rag-stag, jinny I over, catching,” and having said this he attempts to catch one of the boys in the playground who have agreed to play the game. Having caught him he takes him back into the den. When they have got into the den they run out hand-in-hand, one of them crying, “Rag-stag, jinny I over, touching,” whilst the other immediately afterwards calls out, “Rag-stag, jinny I over, catching.” They must keep hold of each other’s hands, and whilst doing so the one who cried out “Touching” attempts to touch one of the boys in the playground, whilst the one who cried “Catching” attempts to catch one of such boys. If a boy is caught or touched, the two boys who came out of the den, together with their prisoner, run back as quickly as possible into the den, with their hands separated. If whilst they are running back into the den any boy in the playground can catch any one of the three who are running back, he jumps on his back and rides as far as the den, but he must take care not to ride too far, for when the boys who are already caught enter the den they can seize their riders, and pull them into the den. In this case the riders too are caught. The process is repeated until all are caught.—Addy’s Sheffield Glossary.

Another name for the game is “Stag-out.” One player is Stag, and has a place marked out for his bounds. He stands inside, and then rushes out with his hands clasped together, and endeavours to touch one of the other players, which being accomplished, he has the privilege of riding on the boy’s back to his bounds again.—Book of Sports. In a London version the hands were held above the head, and joined by interlacing the thumbs, the fingers being outspread, the boy had to touch another while in this position.

In Shropshire it is called “Stag-warning.” One boy is chosen Stag; he runs about the playground with his clasped[214] hands held palms together in front of him, trying to tick (= touch) others. Each whom he touches joins hands with him, and they run together in an ever-lengthening chain, sweeping the playground from end to end, the boys at each end of the chain “ticking” others with their disengaged hands, till all are caught but one, who becomes the next “Stag.” The Stag gives notice of his start by exclaiming

Stag-warning, stag-warning,
Come out to-morrow morning!

—Shrewsbury.

Stag a-rag a-rorning
Very frosty morning!
What I cannot catch to-night I’ll catch to-morrow morning!

—Chirbury (Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 523).

The game is mentioned by Mr. Patterson in his Antrim and Down Glossary. Northall’s English Folk Rhymes, p. 392, gives a Warwickshire and Staffordshire version, in which the first player “ticked” or “tagged” becomes Stag when the first game is concluded, all having been caught. The words used are

Stag aloney,
My long poney,
Kick the bucket over.

Halliwell (Dictionary) also describes the game, and indicates its origin. The boy chosen for the game clasps his hands together, and, holding them out, threatens his companions as though pursuing them with horns, and a chase ensues in which the Stag endeavours to strike one of them, who then becomes Stag in his turn. Unfortunately, Halliwell does not, in this instance, give his authority, but if it is taken from the players themselves, it is a sufficient account of the origin of the game, apart from the evidence of the name. All this group of games is evidently to be traced to one original, though in different places the detail of the game has developed somewhat differently. It evidently comes down from the time when stags were hunted not so much for sport as for food.

See “Chickidy Hand,” “Hornie,” “Hunt the Stagie,” “Shepherds,” “Warney.”[Addendum]

[215]

Stagging

A man’s game. Two men have their ankles tied together and their wrists tied behind their backs. They then try to knock each other down.—Patterson’s Antrim Glossary.

See “Hirtschin Hairy.”

Steal the Pigs

The game represents the stealing of a woman’s children and the recovery of them. The mother, before beginning to wash, disposes of her children in a safe place. She proceeds to do her washing. While she is busy a child-snatcher comes and takes away one. The others begin to cry. The mother hears them crying. She goes and asks the reason of their crying, and is told that a woman came and took away one of them. She scolds and beats them all; tells them to be more careful for the time to come, and returns to her washing. Again the children cry, and the mother goes to see what is the matter with them, and is told the same thing. She repeats her admonition and bodily correction, and returns to her work. This process is repeated till all the children are stolen. After finishing her washing, she goes to her children and finds the last one gone. She sets out in search of them, and meets a woman whom she questions if she had seen her children. She denies all knowledge of them. The mother persists, and at last discovers all her stolen children. She demands them back. The stealer refuses, and puts them behind her and stands on her defence. A tussel takes place. The mother in the long run rescues her children.—Fraserburgh (Rev. W. Gregor).

See “Mother, Mother, Pot boils over,” “Witch.”

Stealy Clothes

See “Scots and English.”

Steik and Hide

The game of Hide and Seek.—Aberdeen (Jamieson).

Sticky-stack

A game among young people in running up the face or cut part of a hay-stack to try who can put in a stick the highest.—Brockett’s North Country Words.

[216]

Sticky Toffey

Name of a game (undescribed) recorded by the Rev. S. D. Headlam, as played by Hoxton School children at Hoxton.—Church Reformer, 1894.

Stiff Police

A game (undescribed) recorded by the Rev. S. D. Headlam, as played by Hoxton School children.—Church Reformer, 1894.

Stik-n Snael (Stick and Snell)

Game of cat.—Elworthy, West Somerset Words. The short stick, pointed at both ends, is called a snell.

Stocks

A schoolboys’ game. Two boys pick a side, and there is one den only, and they toss to see which side shall keep it. The side which wins the toss then goes out, and when two boys have got a good distance off they cry “Stocks.” The boys who keep the den run after them to catch them. When one is caught his capturer counts ten while he holds him (in a more primitive but less refined state, spat over his head) and cries Stocks. This prisoner is taken into the den. If they are all caught the other side turns out. But if one of the outer side can manage to run through the den and cry “Stocks,” all the prisoners are relieved, and can go out again.—Easther’s Almondbury Glossary. See “Stacks.”

Stones

A circle of stones is formed according to the number of players, generally five or seven each side. One of the out party stands in the centre of the circle, and lobs at the different stones in rotation; each hit a player gives all his side must change stations, in some places going round to the left and in others to the right. The stones are defended by the hand or a stick, according as a ball or stick is lobbed. All the players are out if the stone is hit, or the ball or stick caught, or one of the players is hit while running. In different counties or places these games are more or less modified.—Dublin, Folk-lore Journal, ii. 264-265.

[217]

Mr. Kinahan, who describes this game, adds a very instructive note, which is worth quoting:

“These games I have seen played over half a century ago, with a lob-stick, but of later years with a ball, long before a cricket club existed, in Trinity College, Dublin, and when the game was quite unknown in a great part of Ireland. At the same time, they may have been introduced by some of the earlier settlers, and afterwards degenerated into the games mentioned above; but I would be inclined to suspect that the Irish are the primitive games, they having since been improved into cricket. At the present day these games nearly everywhere are succeeded by cricket, but often of a very primitive form, the wickets being stones set on end, or a pillar of stones; while the ball is often wooden, and very rudely formed.”

Stool-ball

The first mention of this game is by Smyth in his Berkeley Manuscripts. In the reign of Elizabeth, the Earl of Leicester, with an extraordinary number of attendants and multitudes of country people, and “whom my neighbours parallel to Bartholomew faire in London, came to Wotton, and thence to Michaelwood Lodge, castinge down part of the pales, which like a little park then enclosed the Lodge (for the gates were too narrow to let in his Trayne), and thence went to Wotton Hill, where hee plaid a match at stoball.”—Gloucestershire County Folk-lore, p. 26.

The earliest description of the game, however, is by Aubrey. He says “it is peculiar to North Wilts, North Gloucestershire, and a little part of Somerset near Bath. They smite a ball, stuffed very hard with quills and covered with soale leather, with a staffe, commonly made of withy, about three feet and a half long. Colerne down is the place so famous and so frequented for stobball playing. The turfe is very fine and the rock (freestone) is within an inch and a halfe of the surface which gives the ball so quick a rebound. A stobball ball is of about four inches diameter and as hard as a stone. I do not heare that this game is used anywhere in England but in this part of Wiltshire and Gloucestershire adjoining.” (Aubrey’s Natural[218] History of Wiltshire, p. 117; Collections for North Wilts, p. 77). It is no doubt the same game as Stool-ball, which is alluded to by Herrick in 1648 (Hesperides), and in Poor Robin’s Almanack for 1677 (see Halliwell’s Dictionary). D’Urfey’s Don Quixote, written in 1694, alludes to it as follows:

“Down in a vale, on a summer’s day,
All the lads and lasses met to be merry;
A match for kisses at stool-ball to play,
And for cakes and ale, and cider and perry.”
Chorus;
“Come all, great, small, short, tall—
Away to stool-ball.”

It is also alluded to in Poor Robin’s Almanack for 1740:

“Now milkmaids pails are deckt with flowers,
And men begin to drink in bowers,
The mackarels come up in shoals,
To fill the mouths of hungry souls;
Sweet sillabubs, and lip-lov’d tansey,
For William is prepared by Nancy.
Much time is wasted now away,
At pigeon-holes, and nine-pin play,
Whilst hob-nail Dick, and simpring Frances,
Trip it away in country dances;
At stool-ball and at barley-break,
Wherewith they harmless pastime make.”

It is described by Strutt in Sports and Pastimes, p. 103, as a variety of game more commonly known as “goff” or “bandy ball,” the paganica of the Romans, who also stuffed their balls with feathers. According to Dr. Johnson, the balls are driven from stool to stool, hence the name.

In spite of Aubrey’s opinion as to the limited range of this game, it appears to have been pretty generally played. Thus, Roberts’ Cambrian Antiquities says, “Stool-ball, resembling cricket, except that no bats are used and that a stool was substituted for the wicket, was in my memory also a favourite game on holydays, but it is now seldom or ever played. It[219] generally began on Easter Eve” (p. 123). It was also an old Sussex game. Mr. Parish’s account is that it was “similar in many respects to cricket, played by females. It has lately been revived in East Sussex by the establishment of stool-ball clubs in many villages. The elevens go long distances to play their matches; they practise regularly and frequently, display such perfection of fielding and wicket-keeping as would put most amateur cricketers to shame. The rules are printed and implicitly obeyed.”—Parish’s Dictionary of Sussex Dialect.

Miss Edith Mendham says of the Sussex game, it is supposed to derive its name from being played by milkmaids when they returned from milking. Their stools were (I think) used as wickets, and the rules were as follows:

1. The wickets to be boards one foot square, mounted on a stake, which, when fixed in the ground, must be four feet nine inches from the ground.

2. The wickets to be sixteen yards apart, the bowling crease to be eight yards from the wicket.

3. The bowler to stand with one foot behind the crease, and in bowling must neither jerk nor throw the ball.

4. The ball to be of that kind known as “Best Tennis,” No. 3.

5. The bats to be of wood, and made the same size and shape as battledores.

6. The striker to be out if the ball when bowled hits the wicket, or if the ball be caught in the hands of any of the opposing side, or if in running, preparing to run, or pretending to run, the ball be thrown or touch the wicket before the striker reaches it, and the ball in all cases must strike the face of the wicket, and in running the striker must at each run strike the wicket with her bat.

7. There should be eleven players on each side.

8. Overs to consist of eight balls.

Miss F. Hagden, in her short History of Alfriston, Sussex, says, “In the Jubilee year the game of stool-ball was revived and played in the Tye field. The rules resemble those of cricket, but the wickets are square boards on posts; the bowler stands in the centre of the pitch, the bats used are round boards with a handle. The game in Alfriston seems now to[220] have died out again, but in many villages there are regular clubs for the girls,” p. 43. It also appears to be a game among Lancashire children to this day. A stool is used as a wicket, at which it is attempted to throw the ball; a player stands near the stool, and using his or her hand as a bat, wards off the blow. If the ball hits the stool the thrower takes the place at wicket; or if the ball is caught the catcher becomes the guardian of the stool. Stool-ball, like all ball games, was usually played at Easter for tansy cakes. Mr. Newell (Games and Songs) says this game is recorded by the second governor of Massachusetts as being played under date of the second Christmas of the colony.

See “Bittle-battle,” “Cricket,” “Stool-ball.”

Strik a Licht

A version of hide and seek. One player is chosen to be “it.” The other players go away to a distance and “show a light,” to let “it” understand they are ready. They then hide, and the first one found has to be “it” in place of the previous seeker.—Aberdeen (Rev. W. Gregor).

See “Hide and Seek.”

Stroke

A game at marbles, where each player places a certain number on a line and plays in turns from a distance mark called “scratch,” keeping such as he may knock off.—Lowsley’s Berkshire Glossary.

Stroke Bias

Brome, in his Travels over England, 1700, p. 264, says: “The Kentish men have a peculiar exercise, especially in the eastern parts, which is nowhere else used in any other country, I believe, but their own; it is called ‘Stroke Bias,’ and the manner of it is thus. In the summer time one or two parishes convening make choice of twenty, and sometimes more, of the best runners which they can cull out in their precincts, who send a challenge to an equal number of racers within the liberties of two other parishes, to meet them at a set day upon some neighbouring plain; which challenge, if accepted, they repair to the place appointed, whither also the county resort[221] in great numbers to behold the match, when having stripped themselves at the goal to their shirts and drawers, they begin the course, every one bearing in his eye a particular man at which he aims; but after several traverses and courses on both sides, that side, whose legs are the nimblest to gain the first seven strokes from their antagonists, carry the day and win the prize. Nor is this game only appropriated to the men, but in some places the maids have their set matches too, and are as vigorous and active to obtain a victory.”

Sun and Moon

“A kinde of play wherein two companies of boyes holding hands all on a rowe, doe pull with hard hold one another, till one be overcome.”—Quoted by Halliwell (Dictionary), from Thomasii Dictionarium, London, 1644.

Sunday Night

I.

Sunday night an’ Nancy, oh!
My delight and fancy, oh!
All the world that I should know
If I had a Katey, oh!
“He! ho! my Katey, oh!
My bonny, bonny Katey, oh!
All the world that I should keep
If I had a Katey, oh!”

—Liphook, Hants (Miss Fowler).

II.

Sunday night and brandy, O!
My life and saying so,
My life and saying so,
Call upon me Annie, O!
I Annie, O!
Bonnie, bonnie Annie, O!
She’s the girl that I should like
If I had an Annie, O!

—Earls Heaton, Yorks. (H. Hardy).

(b) The children stand in a row with backs against a wall or fence, whilst one stands out and stepping backwards and forwards to the tune sings the first verse. Then she rushes[222] to pick out one, taking her by the hands and standing face to face with her, sings the other verse. Then the two separate their hands, and standing side by side sing the first verse over again, taking another girl from the row, and so on again.

“Monday night,” or “Pimlico,” is the name of a singing game mentioned by the Rev. S. D. Headlam, in The Church Reformer, as played by children in the schools at Hoxton, which he says was accompanied by a kind of chaunt of a very fascinating kind.[Addendum]

Sun Shines

The sun shines above and the sun shines below,
And a’ the lasses in this school is dying in love I know,
Especially (girl’s name) she’s beautiful and fair;
She’s awa wi’ (a boy’s name) for the curl o’s hair.
In comes (girl’s name) mother with the glass in her han’,
Says—My dearest daughter, I’m glad you’re gettin a man,
I’m glad you’re gettin a man and a cooper to trade,
And let a’ the world say he is a rovin’ blade.

—Fraserburgh (Rev. W. Gregor).

All sing to “especially,” boy chooses girl, and then the two whirl round, and all sing to the end.

Sweer Tree

Two persons sit down feet to feet and catch a stick with their hands; then whoever lifteth the other is the strongest.—Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia.

Compare “Honey pots.”

Swinging

Rhymes were said or sung by children and young people when swinging. They were of the same character, and in many instances the same as those given in “See-saw” and “Shuttlefeather,” and were used formerly for purposes of divination. The following extract, from the Pall Mall Gazette of Sept. 19th, 1895, seems to indicate an early notion connected with swinging. It is taken from one of the articles in that paper upon Jabez Balfour’s diary during his residence in the Argentine Republic:—“On the 2nd November he (Balfour) mentions[223] a curious Bolivian custom on All Souls’ Day, when ‘they erect high swings, and old and young swing all day long, in the hope that while they swing they may approach the spirits of their departed friends as they fly from Purgatory to Paradise.’ Two days later he adds: ‘I have to-day heard another explanation of the Bolivian practice of swinging on All Souls’ Day. They swing as high as they can so as to reach the topmost branches of the trees, and whenever they are thereby able to pull off a branch they release a soul from Purgatory.’”—Notes and Queries, 8th series, vi. 345. With this may be compared one of the methods and words used while swinging which I remember playing, namely, that while swinging, either in a room or garden, the object was to endeavour to touch either a beam in the ceiling or the top branches of a tree, singing at the same time a rhyme of which I only recollect this fragment:

One to earth and one to heaven,
And this to carry my soul to heaven.

The last was said when the effort was made to touch the ceiling or tree with the feet.—(A. B. Gomme.)

Miss Chase has sent me the following rhymes:

I went down the garden
And there I found a farth’ng;
I gave it to my mother
To buy a little brother;
The brother was so cross
I sat him on the horse;
The horse was so bandy
I gave him a drop (or glass) of brandy;
The brandy was so strong
I set him on the pond;
The pond was so deep
I sent him off to sleep;
The sleep was so sound
I set him on the ground;
The ground was so flat
I set him on the cat;
The cat ran away
[224] With the boy on his back;
And a good bounce [A great push here]
Over the high gate wall.

Said while swing stops itself:

Die, pussy, die,
Shut your little eye,
When you wake,
Find a cake;
Die, pussy, die.

—Deptford.

Wingy, wongy,
Days are longy,
Cuckoo and the sparrow;
Little dog has lost his tail,
And he shall be hung to-morrow.

—Marylebone.

The Deptford version is practically the same as known in several parts of the country, and Mr. Gerish has printed a Norfolk version in Folk-lore (vi. 202), which agrees down to the line “sent him off to sleep,” and then finishes with

With a heigh-ho!
Over the bowling green.

When they came to the “heigh-ho” a more energetic push than usual was given to the occupant of the swing, who was then expected to vacate the swing and allow another child a turn. Thus the rhyme served as an allowance of time to each child.

An amusement of boys in Galloway is described as on the slack rope, riding and shoving one another on the curve of the rope: they recite this to the swings

Shuggie show, druggie draw,
Haud the grip, ye canna fa’;
Haud the grup or down ye come,
And danceth on your braid bum.

—Mactaggart’s Gallovidian Encyclopædia.

Brockett (North Country Words) describes as a swing: a long rope fastened at each end, and thrown over a beam, on which young persons seat themselves and are swung backwards and forwards in the manner of a pendulum.

See “Merritot.”

[225]

Tait

The Dorset game of “See-saw.”—Halliwell’s Dictionary.

Teesty-Tosty

The blossoms of cowslips collected together tied in a globular form, and used to toss to and fro for an amusement called “Teesty-Tosty,” or simply sometimes “Tosty.”—Somerset (Holloway’s Dict. of Provincialisms).

A writer in Byegones for July 1890, p. 142, says, “Tuswball” means a bunch. He gives the following rhyme, used when tossing the ball:

Tuswball, tuswball, tell unto me
What my sweetheart’s name shall be.

Then repeating letters of the alphabet until the ball falls, and the letter last called will indicate the sweetheart’s name.

See “Ball,” “Shuttlefeather,” “Trip Trout.”

Teter-cum-Tawter

The East Anglian game of “See-saw.”—Halliwell’s Dictionary.

Tee-to-tum.

See “Totum.”

Thimble Ring

I come with my ringle jingles
Under my lady’s apron strings.
First comes summer, and then comes May,
The queen’s to be married on midsummer day.
Here she sits and here she stands,
As fair as a lily, as white as a swan;
A pair of green gloves to draw on her hands,
As ladies wear in Cumberland.
I’ve brought you three letters, so pray you read one,
I can’t read one unless I read all,
So pray, Miss Nancy, deliver them all.

—Sheffield (S. O. Addy).

A number of young men and women form themselves into an oval ring, and one stands in the centre. A thimble is given[226] to one of those who form the ring, and it is passed round from one to another, so that nobody knows who has it. Then the one who stands in the centre goes to the man at the top of the oval ring and says, “My lady’s lost her gold ring. Have you got it?” He answers “Me, sir? no, sir.” The one in the middle says, “I think you lie, sir, but tell me who has got it.” Then he points out the one who has the thimble, of which he takes possession, and then says the above lines. Then the one who was found to have had the thimble takes the place of the one inside the ring, and the game is repeated.

Halliwell gives a version of this game under the name of Diamond Ring (Nursery Rhymes, p. 223), but the words used consist only of the following lines:

My lady’s lost her diamond ring,
I pitch upon you to find it.

In the two following games from Yorkshire and Lincolnshire there are no words used in rhymes or couplets.

One child stands in the centre of a ring, which is formed by each member clasping the wrist of his or her left hand neighbour with the left hand, thus leaving the right hand free. A thimble is provided, and is held by one of the players in the right hand. No circular movement is necessary, but as the tune is sung, the right hand of each member is placed alternately in that of their right and left hand neighbour, each performing the action in a swinging style, as if they had to pass the ring on, and in such a manner, that the one standing in the centre cannot detect it. The thimble may be detained or passed on just as the players think fit. The words are the following:

The thimble is going,
I don’t know where.

Varied with

It’s first over here,

Or

It’s over there,

as the case may be, or rather may not be, in order to throw the victim in the centre off the scent.—West Riding of Yorkshire (Miss Bush).

The players sit in a row or circle, with their hands held palm[227] to palm in their laps. The leader of the game takes a thimble, and going to every member of the company in turn, pretends to slip it between their fingers, or to hide it in their pinafores, saying as she does so—“I bring you my lady’s thimble, you must hold it fast, and very fast indeed.” Whereon each child thus addressed should assume an air of triumph suitable to the possession of such a treasure. After the whole party have gone through the farce of receiving the thimble, the girl who carried it round calls a player from the circle to discover who holds it. For every wrong guess a fine must be paid. When the searcher discovers the thimble she begins a new round of the game by taking the place of leader; and so on, till the accumulation of forfeits is sufficient to afford amusement in “loosing the tines.” The game is called “Lady’s Thimble.”—Lincoln, Scawby and Stixwould 76 years ago (Miss M. Peacock).

The rhyme used in the Sheffield game is that used in “Queen Anne,” but it appears to have no relevance to this game.

Thing done

A game described by Ben Jonson in his play of Cynthia’s Revels (act iv. scene 1). The passage is as follows:

Phantaste. Nay, we have another sport afore this, of ‘A thing done, and who did it,’ &c.

Philantia. Ay, good Phantaste, let’s have that: distribute the places.

Phantaste. Why, I imagine A thing done; Hedon thinks who did it; Maria, with what it was done; Anaides, where it was done; Argurion, when it was done; Amorphus, for what cause was it done; you, Philantia, what followed upon the doing of it; and this gentleman, who would have done it better. . . .”

Gifford thinks that this sport was probably the diversion of the age, and of the same stamp with our modern “Cross Purposes,” “Questions,” and “Commands,” &c.

[228]

Thread the Needle

[Play]

Tune Thread the Needle Ms. Dendy

—Miss Dendy.

[Play]

Tune Thread the Needle Harpenden

—Harpenden (Miss Lloyd).

I.

Thread my grandmother’s needle!
Thread my grandmother’s needle!
Thread my grandmother’s needle!
Open your gates as wide as high,
And let King George and me go by.
It is so dark I cannot see
To thread my grandmother’s needle!
Who stole the money-box?

—London (Miss Dendy).

II.

Open your gates as wide as I, [high?]
And let King George’s horses by;
For the night is dark and we cannot see,
But thread your long needle and sew.

—Belfast (W. H. Patterson).

III.

Thread the tailor’s needle,
The tailor’s blind, so he can’t see;
So open the gates as wide as wide,
And let King George and his lady pass by.

—Bocking, Essex (Folk-lore Record, iii. 170).

IV.

Thread my grandmother’s needle,
Thread my grandmother’s needle;
It is too dark we cannot see
To thread my grandmother’s needle.

—Harpenden (Mrs. Lloyd).

[229]

V.

Thread the needle,
Thread the needle,
Nine, nine, nine,
Let King George and I pass by.

—Liphook, Hants (Miss Fowler).

VI.

Open the gates as wide as wide,
And let King George go through with his bride;
It is so dark, we cannot see
To threaddle the tailor’s needle.

—Parish Dictionary of the Sussex Dialect.

VII.

Brother Jack, if ye were mine,
I would give you claret wine;
Claret wine’s gude and fine—
Through the needle-e’e, boys!

Blackwood’s Magazine, August 1821.

VIII.

Through the needle-e’e, boys,
One, two, three, boys.

—Ross-shire (Rev. W. Gregor).

IX.

Hop my needle, burn my thread,
Come thread my needle, Jo-hey.

—Lincoln (C. C. Bell).

X.

Come thread a long needle, come thread,
The eye is too little, the needle’s too big.

—Hanbury, Staffs. (Miss Edith Hollis).

XI.

Thread the needle thro’ the skin,
Sometimes out and sometimes in.

—Warwickshire, Northall’s Folk Rhymes, 397.

XII.

Open the gates as wide as the sky,
And let King George and his lady go by.

—Ellesmere, Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 321.

(b.) The children stand in two long rows, each holding the hands of the opposite child, the two last forming an arch. They sing the lines, and while doing so the other children run under the raised arms. When all have passed under, the first two hold up their hands, and so on again and again, each pair in turn becoming the arch. Mrs. Lloyd (Harpenden version) says the two first hold up a handkerchief, and the children all[230] run under, beginning with the last couple. In the London version (Miss Dendy) the “last line is called out in quite different tones from the rest of the rhyme. It is reported to have a most startling effect.” The Warwickshire version is played differently. The players, after passing under the clasped hands, all circle or wind round one of their number, who stands still.

(c.) In some cases the verse, “How many miles to Babylon?” is sung before the verses for “Thread the needle,” and the reference made (ante, vol. i., p. 238) to an old version seems to suggest the origin of the game. This, at all events, goes far to prove that the central idea of the game is not connected with the sewing needle, but with an interesting dance movement, which is called by analogy, Thread the needle. It is, however, impossible to say whether the verses of this game are the fragments of an older and more lengthy original, which included both the words of “How many miles to Babylon” and “Thread the needle,” or whether these two were independent games, which have become joined; but, on the whole, I am inclined to think that “Thread the needle,” at all events, is an independent game, or the central idea of an independent game, and one of some antiquity.

This game is well illustrated by custom. At Trowbridge, in Wilts, a game, known as “Thread the needle,” used to be the favourite sport with the lads and lasses on the evening of Shrove Tuesday festival. The vocal accompaniment was always the following:

Shrove Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, when Jack went to plough,
His mother made pancakes, she didn’t know how;
She tipped them, she tossed them, she made them so black,
She put so much pepper she poisoned poor Jack.

Notes and Queries, 5th series, xi. p. 227.

At Bradford-on-Avon, as soon as the “pancake bell” rang at eleven A.M., the school children had holiday for the remainder of the day, and when the factories closed for the night, at dusk the boys and girls of the town would run through the streets in long strings playing “Thread the needle,” and whooping and hallooing their best as they ran, and so collecting all they[231] could together by seven or eight o’clock, when they would adjourn to the churchyard, where the old sexton had opened the churchyard gates for them; the children would then join hands in a long line until they encompassed the church; they then, with hands still joined, would walk round the church three times; and when dismissed by the old sexton, would return to their homes much pleased that they “Clipped the Church,” and shouting similar lines to those said at Trowbridge.

At South Petherton, in South Somerset, sixty or seventy years ago, it was the practice of the young folk of both sexes to meet in or near the market-place, and there commence “Threading the needle” through the streets, collecting numbers as they went. When this method of recruiting ceased to add to their ranks, they proceeded, still threading the needle, to the church, which they tried to encircle with joined hands; and then, whether successful or not, they returned to their respective homes. Old people, who remember having taken part in the game, say that it always commenced in the afternoon or evening of Shrove Tuesday, “after having eaten of their pancakes.” In Leicestershire County Folk-lore, p. 114, Mr. Billson records that it was formerly the custom on Shrove Tuesday for the lads and lasses to meet in the gallery of the Women’s Ward in Trinity Hospital to play at “Thread the Needle” and similar games.

At Evesham the custom is still more distinctly connected with the game, as the following quotation shows:—“One custom of the town is connected with a sport called ‘Thread my needle,’ a game played here by the children of the town throughout the various streets at sunset upon Easter Monday, and at no other period throughout the year. The players cry while elevating their arms arch-wise

Open the gates as high as the sky,
And let Victoria’s troops pass by.”

—May’s History of Evesham, p. 319.

As all these customs occur in the early spring of the year, there is reason to think that in this game we have a relic of the oldest sacred dances, and it is at least a curious point that[232] in two versions (Bocking and Ellesmere) the Anglo-Saxon title of “Lady” is applied to the Queen.

The writer in Blackwood’s Magazine, who quotes the rhymes as “immemorial,” says: “Another game played by a number of children, with a hold of one another, or ‘tickle tails,’ as it is technically called in Scotland, is ‘Through the needle-e’e.’” Moor (Suffolk Words and Phrases) mentions the game. Patterson (Antrim and Down Glossary) gives it as “Thread the needle and sew.” Barnes (Dorset Glossary) calls it “Dred the wold woman’s needle,” in which two children join hands, and the last leads the train under the lifted arms of the first two. Holloway (Dictionary of Provincialisms) says the children form a ring, holding each other’s hands; then one lets go and passes under the arms of two who still join hands, and the others all follow, holding either by each other’s hands or by a part of their dress. “At Ellesmere,” Miss Burne says, “this game was formerly called ‘Crew Duck.’ It now only survives among little girls, and is only played on a special day.” It is alluded to in Poor Robin’s Almanack for 1738: “The summer quarter follows spring as close as girls do one another when playing at Thread my needle; they tread upon each other’s heels.” Strutt calls this “Threading the Taylor’s needle.” Newell (Games of American Children) gives some verses, and describes it as played in America.

See “How many miles to Babylon,” “Through the Needle ’ee.”

Three Days’ Holidays

Two players hold up their joined hands, the rest pass under one by one, repeating, “Three days’ holidays, three days’ holidays!” They pass under a second time, all repeating, “Bumping day, bumping day!” when the two leaders strike each player on the back in passing. The third time they say, “Catch, catch, catch!” and the leaders catch the last in the train between their arms. He has the choice of “strawberries or grapes,” and is placed behind one of the leaders, according to his answer. When all have been “caught,” the two parties pull against each other.—Berrington (Burne’s Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 522).

[233]“Holidays,” says Miss Burne, “anciently consisted of three days, as at Easter and Whitsuntide, which explains the words of this game;” and the manorial work days were formerly three a week. See “Currants and Raisins.”

Three Dukes

[Play]

Tune Three Dukes Madeley

—Madeley, Shropshire (Miss Burne).

[Play]

Tune Three Dukes Biggar

—Biggar, Lanarkshire (W. Ballantyne).

[Play]

Tune Three Dukes Sporle

—Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Matthews).

[Play]

Tune Three Dukes Isle of Man

—Isle of Man (A. W. Moore).

[234]

I.

Here come three dukes a-riding,
A-riding, a-riding;
Here come three dukes a-riding,
With a rancy, tancy, tay!
What is your good will, sirs?
Will, sirs? will, sirs?
What is your good will, sirs?
With a rancy, tancy, tay!
Our good will is to marry,
To marry, to marry;
Our good will is to marry,
With a rancy, tancy, tay!
Marry one of us, sirs,
Us, sirs, us, sirs;
Marry one of us, sirs,
With a rancy, tancy, tay!
You’re all too black and greasy [or dirty],
Greasy, greasy;
You’re all too black and greasy,
With a rancy, tancy, tay!
We’re good enough for you, sirs,
You, sirs, you, sirs;
We’re good enough for you, sirs,
With a rancy, tancy, tay!
You’re all as stiff as pokers,
Pokers, pokers;
You’re all as stiff as pokers,
With a rancy, tancy, tay!
We can bend as much as you, sirs,
You, sirs, you, sirs;
We can bend as much as you, sirs,
With a rancy, tancy, tay!
[235] Through the kitchen and down the hall,
I choose the fairest of you all;
The fairest one that I can see
Is pretty Miss ——, walk with me.

—Madeley, Salop (Miss Burne), 1891.

[Another Shropshire version has for the fourth verse

Which of us will you choose, sirs?

Or,

Will you marry one of my daughters?]

II.

Here comes three dukes a-riding, a-riding,
With a ransome dansome day!
Pray what is your intent, sirs, intent, sirs?
With a ransome dansome day!
My intent is to marry, to marry!
Will you marry one of my daughters, my daughters?
You are as stiff as pokers, as pokers!
We can bend like you, sir, like you, sir!
You’re all too black and too blowsy, too blowsy,
For a dilly-dally officer!
Good enough for you, sir! for you, sir!
If I must have any, I will have this,
So come along, my pretty miss!

—Chirbury (Shropshire Folk-lore, p. 517).

III.

Here come three dukes a-riding,
A-riding, a-riding;
Here come three dukes a-riding,
With a rancy, tancy, tee!
Pray what is your good will, sirs?
Will, sirs, will, sirs?
Pray what is your good will, sirs?
With a rancy, tancy, tee!
[236] My will is for to marry you,
To marry you, to marry you;
My will is for to marry you,
With a rancy, tancy, tee!
You’re all so black and blousey (blowsy?),
Sitting in the sun so drowsy;
With silver chains about ye,
With a rancy, tancy, tee!

Or,

[With golden chains about your necks,
Which makes you look so frowsy.]
Walk through the kitchen, and through the hall,
And pick the fairest of them all.
This is the fairest I can see,
So pray, Miss ——, walk with me.

—Leicester (Miss Ellis).

IV.

Here come three dukes a-riding, a-riding, a-riding,
Here come three dukes riding, riding, riding;
Ransam, tansam, tisum ma tea (sic).
Pray what is your good will, sir, will, sir, will, sir?
Pray what is your good will, sir?
Ransam, tansam, tisum ma tea!
My will is for to marry, to marry, to marry,
My will is for to marry;
Ransam, tansam, tisum ma tea!
Pray who will you marry, you marry, you marry?
Pray who will you marry?
Ransam, tansam, tisum ma tea!
You’re all too black and too brown for me,
You’re all too black and too brown for me,
Ransam, tansam, tisum ma tea!
We’re quite as white as you, sir; as you, sir; as you, sir;
We’re quite as white as you, sir;
Ransam, tansam, tisum ma tea!
[237] You are all as stiff as pokers, as pokers, as pokers,
You are all, &c.,
Ransam, tansam, tisum ma tea!
We can bend as well as you, sir; as you, sir; as you, sir;
We can bend as well as you, sir;
Ransam, tansam, tisum ma tea!
Go through the kitchen, and through the hall,
And take the fairest of them all;
The fairest one that I can see is “——,”
So come to me.

—Oxfordshire version, brought into Worcestershire (Miss Broadwood).

V.

Here come three dukes a-riding, a-riding, a-riding;
With a ransom, tansom, titty foll-la!
With a ransom, tansom, tay!
And pray what do you want, sirs? want, sirs? want, sirs?
With a ransom, tansom, titty foll-la!
With a ransom, tansom, tay!
I want a handsome wife, sir; wife, sir; wife, sir;
With a ransom, tansom, titty foll-la!
With a ransom, tansom, tay!
I have three daughters fair, sir; fair, sir; fair, sir;
With a ransom, tansom, titty foll-la!
With a ransom, tansom, tay!
They are all too black and too browny,
They sit in the sun so cloudy;
With a ransom, tansom, titty foll-la!
With a ransom, tansom, tay!
Go through my kitchen and my hall,
And find the fairest of them all;
With a ransom, tansom, titty foll-la!
With a ransom, tansom, tay!
The fairest one that I can see,
Is little —— ——, so come to me.

—Monton, Lancashire (Miss Dendy).

[238]

VI.

Here come three dukes a-riding, a-riding, a-riding;
Here come three dukes a-riding, with a ransom, tansom, te!
Pray what is your intention, sir [repeat as above].
My intention is to marry, &c.
Which of us will you choose, sir, &c.
You’re all too black and too browsy, &c.
We’re good enough for you, sir, &c.
Through the kitchen and over the wall,
Pick the fairest of us all.
The fairest is that I can see, pretty Miss ——, come to me.

—East Kirkby, Lincolnshire (Miss K. Maughan).

VII.

Here come three dukes a-riding,
A-riding, a-riding;
Here come three dukes a-riding,
With a dusty, dusty, die!
What do you want with us, sirs? [repeat as above].
We’ve come to choose a wife, Miss, &c.
Which one of us will you have, sirs? &c.
You’re all too black and too browsy,
You sit in the sun so drowsy;
With a golden chain about your neck,
You’re all too black and too browsy.
Quite good enough for you, sirs, &c.
We walk in our chamber,
We sit in our hall,
We choose the fairest of you all;
The fairest one that we can see
Is little —— ——, come to me.

—Wakefield, Yorks. (Miss Fowler).

[239]

VIII.

Here come three dukes a-riding, a-riding, a-riding,
Here come three dukes a-riding;
A randy, dandy, very fine day!
And pray what is your will, sirs? &c. [as above].
We come for one of your daughters, &c.
Which one will you have, sir? &c.
They are all as black as a browsie, browsie, browsie, &c.
One can knit, and one can sew,
One can make a lily-white bow;
One can make a bed for a king,
Please take one of my daughters in.
The fairest one that I can see
Is [    ], come to me.

—Gainford, co. Durham (Miss A. Edleston).

IX.

Here comes a poor duke a-riding, a-riding,
Here comes a poor duke a-riding;
With the ransom, tansom, tee!
Pray who will you have to marry, sir? &c.
You’re all so black and so dirty, &c.
We are quite as clean as you, sir, &c.
Through the kitchen, and through the hall,
Pick the fairest one of all.
The fairest one that I can see
Is ——,
The fairest one that I can see,
With a ransom, tansom, tee!

—Sporle, Norfolk (Miss Matthews).

X.

Here comes one duke a-riding,
A-riding, a-riding;
Here comes one duke a-riding,
With a ransom, tansom, terrimus, hey!
[240] What is your intention, sir? &c. [as above].
My intention is to marry, &c.
Marry one of us, sir? &c.
You’re all too black and dirty (or greasy), &c.
We’re good enough for you, sir, &c.
You’re all as stiff as pokers, &c.
We can bend as much as you, sir, &c.
Through the kitchen and through the hall,
I choose the fairest of you all;
The fairest one as I can see
Is pretty —— ——, come to me.
Now I’ve got my bonny lass,
Bonny lass, bonny lass;
Now I’ve got my bonny lass
To help us with our dancing.

—Barnes, Surrey (A. B. Gomme).

XI.

Here comes one duke a-riding, a-riding, a-riding;
Here comes one duke a-riding
On a ransom, dansom bay!
You’re all so black and dirty, &c.
Pray which of us will you choose, sir, &c.
Up in the kitchen, down in the hall,
And choose the fairest one of all.
The fairest one that I can see
Is pretty Miss ——, so come to me.

—Bocking, Essex (Folk-lore Record, vol. iii., pt. ii., pp. 170-171).

XII.

Here comes one duke a-riding, a-riding, a-riding,
Here comes one duke a-riding, with a ransom, tansom, ta!
Pray which of us will you choose, sir? &c.
You’re all so black and so blousey, &c.
We’re quite as white as you, sir, &c.
[241] Up of the kitchen, down of the hall,
Pick the fairest girl of all;
The fairest one that I can see
Is —— ——, come to me.

—Suffolk (Mrs. Haddon).

XIII.

Here comes the Duke of Rideo,
Of Rideo, of Rideo;
Here comes the Duke of Rideo,
Of a cold and frosty morning.
My will is for to get married, &c.
Will any of my fair daughters do? &c.
[The word “do” must be said in a drawling way.]
They are all too black or too proudy,
They sit in the sun so cloudy;
With golden chains around their necks,
That makes them look so proudy.
They’re good enough for you, sir! &c.
I’ll walk the kitchen and the hall,
And take the fairest of them all;
The fairest one that I can see
Is Miss ——
So Miss ——, come to me.
Now we’ve got this pretty girl,
This pretty girl, this pretty girl;
Now we’ve got this pretty girl,
Of a cold and frosty morning.

—Symondsbury, Dorsetshire (Folk-lore Journal, vii. 222-223).

XIV.

Here come three dukes a-riding, a-riding, a-riding,
Here come three dukes a-riding;
With a ransom, tansom, tisamy, tea!
What is your good will, sirs? &c.
My good will is to marry, &c.
One of my fair daughters? &c.
You’re all too black and browsy, &c.
[242] Quite as good as you, sirs, &c.
[The dukes select a girl who refuses to go to them.]
O, naughty maid! O, naughty maid!
You won’t come out to me!
You shall see a blackbird,
A blackbird and a swan;
You should see a nice young man
Persuading you to come.

—Wrotham, Kent (Miss Dora Kimball).

XV.

Here comes a duke a-riding, a-riding, a-riding;
Here comes a duke a-riding, to my nancy, pancy, disimi, oh!
Which of us will you have, sir? &c.
You’re all so fat and greasy, &c.
We’re all as clean as you, sir, &c.
Come down to my kitchen, come down to my hall,
I’ll pick the finest of you all. The fairest is that girl
I shall say, “Come to me.”
I will buy a silk and satin dress, to trail a yard as we go to church,
Madam, will you walk? madam, will you talk?
Madam, will you marry me?
I will buy you a gold watch and chain, to hang by your side as we go to church;
Madam, will you walk? madam, will you talk?
Madam, will you marry me?
I will buy you the key of the house, to enter in when my son’s out;
Madam, will you walk? madam, will you talk?
Madam, will you marry me?

—Earls Heaton, Yorks. (H. Hardy).

XVI.

Here comes one duke a-riding,
With a rancey, tancey, tiddy boys, O!
Rancey, tancey, tay!
[243] Pray which will you take of us, sir? &c.
You’re all as dark as gipsies, &c.
Quite good enough for you, &c.
Then we’ll take this one, &c.

[After all are taken, the dukes say]

Now we’ve got this bonny bunch, &c.

—Hurstmonceux, Sussex, about 1880 (Miss E. Chase).

[A Devon variant gives for the third verse

You are all too black and ugly, and ugly, and ugly.

And

You are all too black and browsie, &c.

With the additional verse

I walked through the kitchen,
I walked through the hall,
For the prettiest and fairest
Of you all.

Ending with

Now I have got my bonny lass, &c.

And something like

Will you come and dance with me?

—Devon (Miss E. Chase)].

XVII.

Here comes a duke a-riding, a-riding, a-riding;
Here comes a duke a-riding to the ransy, tansy, tay!
Pray what do you come riding for? &c.
For one of your fairy [? fair] daughters, &c.
Will either one of these do? &c.
They’re all too black and too dirty, &c.
They’re quite as clean as you, sir, &c.
Suppose, then, I take you, Miss, &c.

—Clapham, London (Mrs. Herbertson).

[Another version is played by the duke announcing that he wants a wife. The circle of maids and duke then reply to each other as follows:

[244]

Open the door and let him in.
They’re all as stiff as pokers.
Quite as good as you, sir.
I suppose I must take one of them?
Not unless you like, sir.
I choose the fairest of you all,
The fairest one that I can see
Is ——, come to me.

—Clapham Middle-class Girls School (Mrs. Herbertson)].

XVIII.

Here comes the duke a-riding,
With my rantum, tantum, tantum, tee!
Here comes the duke a-riding,
With my rantum, tantum, tee!
What does the duke a-riding want?
With his rantum, tantum, tantum, tee, &c.
The youngest and fairest daughter you’ve got, &c.

—Dublin (Mrs. Coffey).

XIX.

Here comes a duke a-riding, a-riding, a-riding;
Here comes a duke a-riding, a ransom, tansom, tee!
What is your good will, sir, &c.
My will is for to marry, &c.
Will ever a one of us do? &c.
You’re all so black and so browsy.
You sit in the sun and get frowsy,
With golden chains about your necks,
You’re all so black and so browsy.
Quite as good as you, sir, &c.

[There is more of this, but it has been forgotten by my authority.]

—Thos. Baker, junr. (Midland Garner, N. S., ii. 32).

XX.

Here comes a duke a-riding,
With a ransom, tansom, titta passee!
Here comes a duke a-riding,
With a ransom, tansom, tee!
[245] Pray what is your good will, sir?
With a ransom, tansom, titta passee!
Pray what is your good will, sir?
With a ransom, tansom, tee!
My will is for to marry you (as above).
Pray which of us will you have, sir? &c.
Through the gardens and through the hall,
With a ransom, tansom, titta passee!
I choose the fairest of you all,
With a ransom, tansom, tee!

—Settle, Yorks. (Rev. W. G. Sykes).

XXI.

There came three dukes a-riding, ride, ride, riding;
There came three dukes a-riding,
With a tinsy, tinsy, tee!
Come away, fair lady, there is no time to spare;
Let us dance, let us sing,
Let us join the wedding ring.

—West of Scotland (Folk-lore Record, iv. 174).

XXII.

Here come three dukes a-riding,
A-riding, a-riding.
.....
They will give you pots and pans,
They will give you brass;
They will give you pots and pans
For a pretty lass.

—Penzance, Cornwall (Mrs. Mabbott).

XXIII.

Here come four dukes a-riding,
Ring a me, ding a me, ding.
What is your good will, sirs?
Ring a me, ding a me, ding.
Our good will’s to marry, &c.
Marry one of us then, &c.
You’re too poor and shabby, &c.
We’re quite as good as you are, &c.
[246] Suppose we have one of you then, &c.
Which one will you have, &c.
We’ll have —— to marry, &c.
Who will you send to fetch her, &c.
We’ll send —— to fetch her.

—Roxton, St. Neots (Miss E. Lumley).

XXIV.

Here come three dukes a-riding,
With me rancy, tansy, tissimy tee,
Here come three dukes a-riding,
With a ransom, tansom, tissimy tee.
Here come three dukes a-riding,
With a ransom, tansom, tissimy tee.
Pray which of us will you have, sir (repeat as above).
I think I will have this one (repeat).
......

[Forgotten, but the girls evidently decline to part with one of their number.]

You are all too black and too blousy (repeat).
We’re far too good for you, sir (repeat).

—Isle of Man (A. W. Moore). Played at a Manx Vicarage nearly sixty years ago (Rev. T. G. Brown).

XXV.

Here comes a Jew a riding,
With the ransom, tansom, tissimi, O!
And pray what is your will, sir? (as above).
Then pray take one of my daughters, &c.
They are all too black and too browsy, &c.
They are good enough for you, sir, &c.
My house is lined with silver, &c.
But ours is lined with gold, sir, &c.
Then I’ll take one of your daughters, &c.

—Forest of Dean, Gloucester (Miss Matthews).

[247]

XXVI.

The Campsie dukes a-riding, a-riding, a-riding;
The Campsie dukes a riding, come a rincey, dincey, dee.

—Biggar (Wm. Ballantyne).

XXVII.

Five dukes comes here a-ridin’,
A-ridin’ fast one day;
Five dukes comes here a-riding,
With a hansom, dansom day.
What do you want with us, sirs,
With us, sirs, &c.
We want some wives to marry us,
To marry us, to marry us, &c.
Will you marry us, Miss Nancy,
Miss Nancy, Miss Nancy, &c.
We won’t marry you to-day, sirs, &c.
Will you marry us to-day, Miss? &c. (to another girl).
We will marry you to-day, sirs, &c.

—London, Regent’s Park (A. B. Gomme).

XXVIII.

There’s three dukes a-riding, a-riding,
There’s three dukes a-riding,
Come a ransin, tansin, my gude wife.
Come a ransin, tansin te-dee,
Before I take my evening walk,
I’ll have a handsome lady,
The fairest one that I do see.

—Rosehearty, Pitsligo (Rev. W. Gregor).

XXIX.

One duck comes a-ridin’, sir, a-ridin’, sir,
A-ridin’ to marry you.
And what do you want with me, sir?
I come to marry you two.
There’s some of us ready to dance, sir;
Ready to dance and sing;
There’s some of us ready to dance, sir,
And ready to marry you.
Then come to me, my darlin’, my darlin’, darlin’ day,
With a ransom, tansom, tansom, tansom tay.

—London, Regent’s Park (A. B. Gomme).

[248]

XXX.

There’s a young man that wants a sweetheart—
Wants a sweetheart—wants a sweetheart—
There’s a young man that wants a sweetheart,
To the ransom tansom tidi-de-o.
Let him come out and choose his own,
Choose his own, choose his own;
Let him come out and choose his own,
To the ransom tansom tidi-de-o.
Will any of my fine daughters do, &c.
They are all too black and brawny,
They sit in the sun uncloudy,
With golden chains around their necks,
They are too black and brawny.
Quite good enough for you, sir! &c.
I’ll walk in the kitchen, and walk in the hall,
I’ll take the fairest among you all;
The fairest of all that I can see,
Is pretty Miss Watts, come out to me.
Will you come out?
Oh, no! oh, no!
Naughty Miss Watts she won’t come out,
She won’t come out, she won’t come out;
Naughty Miss Watts she won’t come out,
To help us in our dancing.
Won’t you come out?
Oh, yes! oh, yes!

—Dorsetshire (Folk-lore Journal, vii. 223-224).

(c.) Three children, generally boys, are chosen to represent the three dukes. The rest of the players represent maidens. The three dukes stand in line facing the maidens, who hold hands, and also stand in line. Sufficient space is left between the two lines to admit of each line in turn advancing and retiring. The three dukes commence by singing the first verse, advancing and retiring in line while doing so. The line of maidens then advances singing the second verse. The alternate verses[249] demanding and answering are thus sung. The maidens make curtseys and look coquettishly at the dukes when singing the fourth verse, and draw themselves up stiffly and indignantly when singing the sixth, bending and bowing lowly at the eighth. The dukes look contemptuously and criticisingly at the girls while singing the fifth and seventh verses; at the ninth or last verse they “name” one of the girls, who then crosses over and joins hands with them. The game then continues by all four singing “Here come four dukes a-riding,” and goes on until all the maidens are ranged on the dukes’ side.

This method of playing obtains in most versions of the game, though there are variations and additions in some places. In the Bocking, Barnes, Dublin, Hurstmonceux, Settle, Symondsbury, Sporle, Earls Heaton, and Clapham versions, where the verses begin with “Here comes one Duke a-riding,” one boy stands facing the girls, and sings the first verse advancing and retiring with a dancing step, or with a step to imitate riding. In some instances the “three Dukes” advance in this way. In the Barnes version, when the chosen girl has walked over to the duke, he takes her hands and dances round with her, while singing the tenth verse. In the Symondsbury (Dorset) version the players stand in a group, the duke standing opposite, and when singing the sixth verse, advances to choose the girl. When there is only one player left on the maidens’ side the dukes all sing the seventh verse; they then come forward and claim the last girl, and embrace her as soon as they get her over to their side. In the Hurstmonceux version, when the girls are all on the dukes’ side, they sing the last verse. Miss Chase does not say whether this is accompanied by dancing round, but it probably would be. In the Dublin version, after the third verse, the duke tries to carry off the youngest girl, and her side try to save her. In the Wrotham version, after the girls’ retort, “Quite as good, as you, sir,” the dukes select a girl, who refuses to go to them: they then sing the last six lines when the girl goes over. In the second Dorset version (which appeared in the Yarmouth Register, Mass., 1874) the players[250] consisted of a dozen boys standing in line in the usual way, and a dozen girls on the opposite side facing them. The boys sing the first two verses alternately; the girl at first refuses and then consents to go. Dancing round probably accompanies this, but there is no mention of it. In Roxton, St. Neots, after the verses are sung, the duke and the selected girl clasp hands, and he pulls her across to the opposite side, as in “Nuts in May.” In Settle (Yorks.) the game is called “The Dukes of York and Lancaster.” The first duke advances with a dancing step. The game is then played in the usual way until all the players are ranged on the dukes’ side; then the two original dukes, one of whom is “red” and the other “white,” join hands, and the other players pass under their raised hands. The dukes ask each of them, in a whisper, “red?” or “white?” The player then goes behind the one he or she has chosen, clasping the duke’s waist. When all the players have chosen, a tug-of-war ensues between the two sides. In the Earls Heaton version, the duke sings the verses, offering gifts to the girl when she has been selected. In the Oxfordshire version (Miss Broadwood) one player sings the words of the verse, and all join in the refrain as chorus. In the Monton (Lancashire) version the duke sings the last verse, and then takes a girl from the opposite side; and in another version from Barnes, in which the words of the last verse are the same as these, one of the dukes’ side crosses over and fetches the girl. The duke bows lowly before the chosen girl in the Liphook version before she joins his side. In the East Kirkby, Lincolnshire, version, when the dukes sing the last verse, they advance towards the opposite side, who, when they see the direction in which they are coming, form two arches, by three of the players holding up their arms, the dukes’ side going through one arch and returning through the other, bringing the chosen girl with them. One Clapham version is played in a totally different manner: the maidens form a circle instead of a line, and the duke stands outside this until he is admitted at the line which says, “let him in.” At the conclusion of the dialogue he breaks in and carries one player off. This is an unusual form; I have only met with one other instance of it.

[251](d.) The action in many of these versions is described as very spirited: coquetry, contempt, and annoyance being all expressed in action as the words of the game demands. The dancing movement of the boys in the first verse to imitate riding, though belonging to the earlier forms, is, with the exception of two or three versions, only retained in those which are commenced by one player, partly, perhaps, because of the difficulty three or more players experience in “riding” or “prancing” while holding each other’s hands in line form. I have seen the game played when the “prancing” of the dukes (in a game where there were a dozen or more players on each side at starting, as in the Dorset version) was as important a feature as the maidens’ actions in the other verses. I think the oldest form of the game is that played by a fairly equal number of players on each side, boys on one side and girls on the other, rather than that of “one” or “three” players on the dukes’ side, and all the others opposite. The game then began with the present words, “Here come three dukes;” these three each chose a girl at the same time, and when these three were wived, another three “dukes” would pair with three more of the girls, and after that another three, and so on. This form would account for the modern idea that the number of dukes increases on every occasion that the verses are sung, after the first wife has been taken over, and until all the girls have been thus chosen. This idea is expressed in some versions by the change of words: “Here’s a fourth [or fifth, and so on] duke come a riding” to take a wife, the chosen maiden becoming a duke as soon as she has passed over on to the dukes’ side. The process of innovation may be traced by the methods of playing. Thus, in one version played at Barnes (similar in other respects to No. 10), beginning “three dukes a riding,” three girls were chosen by the three first dukes, one by each, at the same time, and all three girls walked across with the three dukes to the boys’ line, and stood next their respective partners. In two imperfect versions I have obtained in Regent’s Park, London, the same principle occurs. One girl began—“One duck comes a ridin’,” and two girls from the opposite side walked across; the other[252] “Five dukes come here a ridin’” was played by five players on each side, and this was continued throughout. When the verses were said, each of the five dukes took a player from the opposite side and danced round with her. Again, in those versions (Symondsbury and Barnes), where when one player is left on the maidens’ side without a partner, and all the dukes are mated, the additional verse is sung, and this player is taken over too. Beyond these versions are the large number beginning with three or more children singing the formula of “three dukes,” and choosing one girl at a time, until all are taken over on to the dukes’ side. Finally, there are the versions, more in accord with modern ideas, which commence with one duke coming for a wife, and continue by the girls taken over counting as dukes, the formula changing into two dukes, and so on.

If this correctly represents the line of decadence in this game, those versions in which additional verses appear are, I think, instances of the tacking on of verses from the “invitation to the dance” or “May” games; particularly in the cases in which the words “Now I’ve got my bonny lass” appear. The Earls Heaton version is curious, in that it has several verses which remind us of the old and practically obsolete “Keys of Canterbury” (Halliwell, 96). It may well be that a remembered fragment of that old ballad, which was probably once danced as a dramatic round, has been tacked on to this game. The expression “walk with me,” or “walk abroad with me,” is significant of an engaged or betrothed couple. “I’m walking or walking out with so and so” is still an expression used by young men and young women to indicate an engagement. “She did ought to be married now; she’ve walked wi’ him mor’n’er a year now.” Some of the versions show still more marked signs of decadence. The altered wording, “Here comes a Jew a riding,” “Here comes the Duke of Rideo,” “A duck comes a ridin’,” and the Scotch “Campsie Dukes a riding;” a Berkshire version, collected by Miss Thoyts (Antiquary, xxvii. p. 195), similar to the Shropshire game, but with a portion of the verse of “Milking Pails” added to it, and the refrain of “Ransome, tansome, tismatee;” together[253] with the disappearance of some of the verses, are all evidently the results of the words being learnt orally, and imperfectly understood, or not understood at all.

In this game, said in Lancashire to be the “oldest play of all,” judging both by the words and method of playing, we have, I believe, a distinct survival or remembrance of the tribal marriage—marriage at a period when it was the custom for men of a clan to seek wives from the girls of another clan, both clans belonging to one tribe. The game is a purely marriage game, and marriage in a matter-of-fact way. Young men of a clan or village arrive at the abode of another clan for the purpose of seeking wives, probably at a feast or fair time. The maidens are apparently ready and expecting their arrival. They are as willing to become wives as the dukes are to become husbands. It is not marriage by force or capture, though the triumphant carrying off of a wife appears in some versions. It is exogamous marriage custom, after the tribe had settled down and arranged their system of marriage in lieu of a former more rude system of capture. The suggested depreciation of the girls, and their saucy rejoinders, may be looked upon as so much good-humoured chaff and banter exchanged between the two parties to enhance each other’s value, and to display their wit. While it does not follow that the respective parties were complete strangers to one another, these lines may indicate that each individual wished “to have as good a look round as possible” before accepting the offer made. It will be seen that there is no mention of “love” in the game, nor is there any individual courtship between boy and girl. The marriage formula does not appear, nor is there any sign that a “ceremony” or “sanction” to conclude the marriage was necessary, nor does kissing occur in the game.

There is evidence of the tribal marriage system in the survivals of exogamy and marriage by capture occasionally to be noted in traditional local custom. Thus the custom recorded by Chambers (Book of Days, i. 722) of the East Anglians (Suffolk), where whole parishes have intermarried to such an extent that almost everybody is related to or connected with everybody else, is distinctly a case in point, the[254] intermarrying of “parishes” for a long series of years necessarily resulting in close inter-relationship. One curious effect of this is that no one is counted as a “relation” beyond first cousins; for if “relationship” went further than that it might “almost as well include the whole parish.” The old proverb (also from East Anglia):

“To change the name, and not the letter,
Is a change for the worse, and not for the better;”

that is, it is unlucky for a woman to marry a man whose surname begins with the same letter as her own, also indicates a survival of the necessity of marrying into another clan or tribal family.

Another interesting point in the game is the refrain, “With a rancy, tancy, tay,” which with variations accompanies all versions, and separates this game from some otherwise akin to it. There is little doubt that this refrain represents an old tribal war cry, from which “slogans” or family “cries” were derived. These cries were not only used in times of warfare, tribes were assembled by them, each leader of a clan or party having a distinguishing cry and blast of a horn peculiar to himself, and the sounding of this particular blast or cry would be recognised by men of the same party, who would go to each other’s assistance if need were. The refrain is sung by all the players in Oxfordshire and Lancashire, and in some versions the players in this game put their hands to their mouths as if imitating a blast from a horn, and a Lancashire version (about 1820-1830), quoted by Miss Burne, has for the refrain, “With a rancy, tancy, terry boys horn, with a rancy, tancy, tee.” “The burden,” says Miss Burne, “evidently represented a flourish of trumpets.” The Barnes version, “With a rancy, tancy, terrimus hey!” and many others confirm this.

An interesting article by Dr. Karl Blind (Antiquary, ix. 63-72), on the Hawick riding song, “Teribus ye Teri Odin,” points out that this slogan, which occurs in the “Hawick Common-Riding Song,” a song used at the annual Riding of the Marches of the Common, is an ancient Germanic war-cry. Dr. Blind, quoting from a pamphlet, Flodden Field and New Version of the Common Riding Song, says, “It is most likely[255] that the inspiring strains of ‘Terribus’ would be the marching tune of our ancestors when on their way for Flodden Field and other border battles, feuds, and frays. The words of the common-riding song have been changed at various periods, according to the taste and capacity of poets and minstrels, but the refrain has remained little altered. . . . The origin of the ancient and, at one time, imperative ceremony of the common-riding is lost in antiquity, and this old, no longer understood, exclamation, ‘Teribus ye Teri Odin,’ has (says Dr. Blind) all through ages in the meanwhile clung to that ceremony.”

If we can fairly claim that the words of this game have preserved an old slogan or tribal cry, an additional piece of evidence is supplied to the suggestion that the game is a reflection of the tribal marriage—a reflection preserved by children of to-day by means of oral tradition from the children of a thousand years ago or more, who played at games in imitation of the serious and ordinary actions of their elders.[Addendum] [Addendum]

Three Flowers

My mistress sent me unto thine,
Wi’ three young flowers baith fair and fine—
The Pink, the Rose, and the Gilliflower:
And as they here do stand,
Whilk will ye sink, whilk will ye swim,
And whilk bring hame to land?

A group of lads and lasses being assembled round the fire, two leave the party and consult apart as to the names of three others, young men or girls, whom they designate Red Rose, the Pink, and the Gilliflower. If lads are first pitched upon, the two return to the fireside circle, and having selected a lass, they say the above verse to her. The maiden must choose one of the flowers named, on which she passes some approving epithet, adding, at the same time, a disapproving rejection of the other two; for instance, I will sink the Pink, swim the Rose, and bring home the Gilliflower to land. The two young men then disclose the names of the parties upon whom they had fixed those appellations respectively, when of course it may chance that she has slighted the person she is understood[256] to be most attached to, or chosen him whom she is believed to regard with aversion; either of which events is sure to throw the company into a state of outrageous merriment.—Chambers’ Popular Rhymes, p. 127. Mr. W. Ballantyne has given me a description of this game as played at Biggar when he was a boy, which is practically the same as this.

Three Holes

Three Holes

Three holes were made in the ground by the players driving the heels of their boots into the earth, and then pirouetting. The game was played with the large marbles (about the size of racket balls) known as “bouncers,” sometimes as “bucks.” The first boy stood at “taw,” and bowled his marble along the ground into 1. (It was bad form to make the holes too large; they were then “wash-hand basins,” and made the game too easy.) Taking the marble in his hand, and placing his foot against 1, he bowled the marble into 2. He was now “going up for his firsts.” Starting at 2, he bowled the marble into 3, and had now “taken off his firsts,” and was “coming down for his seconds.” He then bowled the marble back again into 2, and afterwards into 1. He then “went up for his thirds,” bowling the marble into 2, and afterwards into 3, and had then won the game. When he won in this fashion, he was said to have “taken off the game.” But he didn’t often do this. In going up for his firsts, perhaps his marble, instead of going into 2, stopped at A; then the second boy started from taw, and, having sent his marble into 1, bowled at A; if he hit the marble, he started for 2, from where his marble stopped; if he missed, or didn’t gain the hole he was making for, or knocked his antagonist’s marble into a hole, the first boy played again, hitting the other marble, if it brought him nearer to the hole he was making for, or else going on. In such a case as I have supposed, it would be the player’s aim to knock A on to B, or some place between 2 and 3, so as to enter 2, and then strike again so as to near 3, enter 3, and strike on his way down for his seconds,[257] and near 2 again. These were the chances of the game; but if the boy who started went through the game without his antagonist having a chance, he was said “to take off the game.”—London (J. P. Emslie).

Three Jolly Welshmen

One child is supposed to be taking care of others, who take hold of her or of each other. Three children personate the Welshmen. These try to rob the mother or caretaker of her children. They each try to capture as many as they can, and I think the one who gets most is to be mother next time.—Beddgelert (Mrs. Williams).

See “Gipsy,” “Mother, Mother,” “Shepherd and Sheep,” “Witch.”

Three Knights from Spain

I.

Here come two dukes all out of Spain,
A courting to your daughter Jane.
My daughter Jane, she is so young,
She can’t abide your flattering tongue.
Let her be young, or let her be old,
It is the price, she must be sold,
Either for silver or for gold.
So fare you well, my lady gay,
For I must turn another way.
Turn back, turn back, you Spanish knight,
And rub your spurs till they be bright.
My spurs they are of a costliest wrought,
And in this town they were not bought,
Nor in this town they won’t be sold,
Neither for silver, nor for gold.
So fare you well, my lady gay,
For I must turn another way.
Through the kitchen, and through the hall,
And take the fairest of them all;
The fairest is, as I can see,
Pretty Jane—come here to me.
[258] Now I’ve got my pretty fair maid,
Now I’ve got my pretty fair maid,
To dance along with me,
To dance along with me!

—Eccleshall, Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes, p. 222.

II.

Here comes three lords dressed all in green,
For the sake of your daughter Jane.
My daughter Jane, she is so young,
She learns to talk with a flattering tongue.
Let her be young, or let her be old,
For her beauty she must be sold.
My mead’s not made, my cake’s not baked,
And you cannot have my daughter Jane.

—Cambridgeshire, Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes, p. 222.

III.

We are three brethren out of Spain,
Come to court your daughter Jane.
My daughter Jane, she is too young,
And has not learned her mother tongue.
Be she young, or be she old,
For her beauty she must be sold.
So fare you well, my lady gay,
We’ll call again another day.
Turn back, turn back, thou scornful knight,
And rub thy spurs till they be bright.
Of my spurs take you no thought,
For in this town they were not bought.
So fare you well, my lady gay,
We’ll call again another day.
Turn back, turn back, thou scornful knight,
And take the fairest in your sight.
The fairest maid that I can see,
Is pretty Nancy—come to me.
[259] Here comes your daughter, safe and sound,
Every pocket with a thousand pound,
Every finger with a gay gold ring,
Please to take your daughter in.

—Halliwell’s Nursery Rhymes, cccxxxiii.

IV.

We are three brethren come from Spain,
All in French garlands;
We are come to court your daughter Jean,
And adieu to you, my darlings.
My daughter Jean, she is too young,
All in French garlands;
She cannot bide your flattering tongue,
And adieu to you, my darlings.
Be she young, or be she old,
All in French garlands;
It’s for a bride she must be sold,
And adieu to you, my darlings.
A bride, a bride, she shall not be,
All in French garlands;
Till she go through this world with me,
And adieu to you, my darlings.

[There is here a hiatus, the reply of the lovers being wanting.]

Come back, come back, you courteous knights,
All in French garlands;
Clear up your spurs, and make them bright,
And adieu to you, my darlings.

[Another hiatus.]