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a copy of the introductory song, as it used to be sung by the Wharfdale sword-dancers. It has been transcribed from a MS. in the possession of Mr. Holmes, surgeon, at Grassington, in Craven. At the conclusion of the song a dance ensues, and sometimes a rustic drama is performed. See post, p. 395. Jumping Joan, alluded to in the last verse, is a well-known old country dance tune.]

The spectators being assembled, the Clown enters, and after

drawing a circle with his sword, walks round it, and calls in the actors in the following lines, which are sung to the accompaniment of a violin played outside, or behind the door.

THE

CHE first that enters on the floor,

His name is Captain Brown;
I think he is as smart a youth
As
any

in this town:
In courting of the ladies gay,

He fixes his delight;
He will not stay from them all day,

And is with them all the night.
The next's a tailor by his trade,

Called Obadiah Trim;
You may quickly guess, by his plain dress,

And hat of broadest brim,
That he is of the Quaking sect,

Who would seem to act by merit
Of
yeas
and
nays,

and hums and hahs,
And motions of the spirit.

The next that enters on the floor,

He is a foppish knight;
The first to be in modish dress,

He studies day and night.
Observe his habit round about,-

Even from top to toe;
The fashion late from France was brought,-

He's finer than a beau !

Next I present unto your view

A very worthy man;
He is a vintner, by his trade,

And Love-ale is his name.
If gentlemen propose a glass,

He seldom says 'em nay,
But does always think it's right to drink,

While other people pay.

The next that enters on the floor,

It is my beauteous dame;
Most dearly I do her adore,

And Bridget is her name.
At needlework she does excel

All that e'er learnt to sew,
And when I choose, she'll ne'er refuse,

What I command her do..

And I myself am come long since,

And Thomas is my name;
Though some are pleased to call me Tom,

I think they're much to blame:
Folks should not use their betters thus,

But I value it not a groat,
Though the tailors, too, that botching crew,

Have patched it on my coat.

I
pray

who's this we've met with here,
That tickles his trunk-wame?*
We've picked him up as here we came,

And cannot learn his name:
But sooner than he's go without,

I'll call him my son Tom;
And if he'll play, be it night or day,

We'll dance you Jumping Joan.

• A cant term for a fiddle. In its literal sense, it means trunk, or box-belly.

395

THE SWORD-DANCERS' SONG AND INTERLUDE.

AS NOW PERFORMED AT CHRISTMAS, IN THE COUNTY

OF DURHAM,

[The late Sir Cuthbert Sharp remarks, that 'It is still the practice during the Christmas holidays for companies of fifteen to perform a sort of play or dance, accompanied by song or music.' The following version of the song, or interlude, has been transcribed from Sir C. Sharp's Bishoprick Garland, corrected by collation with a MS. copy recently remitted to the editor by a countryman of Durham. The Devonshire peasants have a version almost identical with this, but laths are used instead of swords, and a few different characters are introduced to suit the locality. The pageant called The Fool Plough, which consists of a number of sword-dancers dragging a plough with music, was anciently observed in the North of England, not only at Christmas time, but also in the beginning of Lent. Wallis thinks that the Sword Dance is the antic dance, or chorus armatus of the Romans. Brand supposes that it is a composition made up of the gleaning of several obsolete customs anciently followed in England and other countries. The Germans still practise the Sword Dance at Christmas and Easter. We once witnessed a Sword Dance in the Eifel mountains, which closely resembled our own, but no interlude, or drama, was performed.]

Enter Dancers, decorated with swords and ribbons; the Cape

TAIN of the band wearing a cocked hat and a peacock's feather in it by way of cockade, and the Clown, or · BESSY,' who acts as treasurer, being decorated with a hairy cap and

a fox's brush dependent. The CAPTAIN forms with his sword a circle, around which he

walks. The Bessy opens the proceedings by singingGOOD gentlemen all, to our captain take heed,

And hear what he's got for to sing ;
He's lived among music these forty long year,

And drunk of the elegant* spring.

* • Helicon,' as vbserved by Sir C. Sharp, is, of course, the truo reading

The CAPTAIN then proceeds as follows, his song being accom.

panied by a violin, generally played by the BESSY

Six actors I have brought

Who were ne'er on a stage before;
But they will do their best,

And they can do no more.
The first that I call in

He is a squire's son;
He's like to lose his sweetheart

Because he is too young.
But though he is too young,

He has money for to rove,
And he will spend it all

Before he'll lose his love.

Chorus. Fal lal de ral, lal de dul, fal lal de ra ral da

Followed by a symphony on the fiddle, during which the intro.

duced actor walks round the circle, The CAPTAIN proceeds

The next that I call in

He is a tailor fine;
What think you of his work?

He made this coat of mine!

Here the CAPTAIN turns round and exhibits his coat, which, of

course, is ragged, and full of holes.

So comes good master Snip,

His best respects to pay:
He joins us in our trip

To drive dull care away.
Chorus and symphony as above.
Here the TAILOR walks round, accompanied by the SQUIRE'S

Son. This form is observed after each subsequent introduction, all the new comers taking a part.

The next I do call in,

The prodigal son is he; By spending of his gold

He's come to poverty.

*

But though he all has spent,

Again he'll wield the plow,
And sing right merrily

As any of us now.
Next comes a skipper bold,

He'll do his part right weel-
A clever blade I'm told

As ever pozed a keel.
He is a bonny lad,
As
you

must understand; It's he can dance on deck,

And you'll see him dance on land.

To join us in this play

Here comes a jolly dog, Who's sober all the day

If be can get no grog.

But though he likes his grog,

As all his friends do say, He always likes it best

When other people pay.

Last I come in myself,

The leader of this crew; And if you'd know my name,

My name it is ‘True Blue.'

* In the introduction of the prodigal son,' we have a relic derived from the old mysteries and moralities. Of late years, the prodigal son' has been left out, and his place supplied by a sailor.'

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