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anything else, and some of the aristocratic dances (as, for example, the passacaglia) were merely a series of posturings to musical accompaniment. The dances of the peasantry, on the other hand, were almost always "round dances," and were of so violent a description that they were sometimes prohibited except on certain specified days or seasons. Often these more common dances were given by couples, as in the waltz, polka, mazurka, etc., of to-day, but frequently they were danced by several participants taking each other's hands and swinging around in a large circle. These "Reigen" have descended to the children, in present days, and are of the most remote antiquity. The dance of the Hebrews around the golden calf, the dance of the ancient Egyptians around the bull-god Apis, the dances of the old sun-worshippers, sometimes around a human sacrifice, all belong to this family.

Naturally enough, we find the most ancient dances in England to be those which the peasantry enjoyed. We have already seen one of these old dances in Sellinger's Round." (See Chapter III.)

Among the oldest dances in England we find one that is frequently alluded to by Shakespeare, - the morris-dance. Antiquaries unite in the belief that this was one of the Spanish dances that arose during the Moorish possession in the middle ages. Its name is derived from "Morisco," a Moor, and it is not

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very far removed from the Spanish fandango of the present. It was known in France in the fifteenth century, and was there called "Morisque." In England its character underwent a change, and it seems to have united with an earlier dance, a sort of pantomime, in which the deeds of Robin Hood and his Merry Men were celebrated. There is good reason, therefore, to suppose that, in spite of the importation of the dance from France or Spain, in the morrisdance was preserved one of the oldest pantomimes of England. Allusions to the morris-dance are found as early as the reign of Henry VII. The chief characters in the early representations were Robin Hood, Maid Marian, and Friar Tuck. There was also sometimes a clown or fool, and of course a musician or two to accompany the dance.

The morris-dance became indissolubly associated with the May-day festivities, in old England. The dancers in the morris frequently indulged in the effort to "dance each other down," so that the exercise often became a trial of physical endurance. Such trials are very common in the folk-dances of various nations, as the jig, the halling, the kamarinskaia, in Ireland, Norway, and Russia. The morrisdance was frequently a sort of progress by leaps and twirls, and we read of dancers keeping this up all the way from one town to another, as William Kemp did in 1599, making the journey from London to Nor

wich in four weeks and dancing the morris for nine days. This same William Kemp, or Kempe, concerns the Shakespearian nearly, for he is asserted to have been the original Dogberry, in "Much Ado About Nothing," and Peter, in "Romeo and Juliet." He made a trip to France to perfect his dancing. He was the most popular clown and comedian of Shakespeare's time, so much so that the author of the "Return from Parnassus says that "he is not counted a gentleman that knows not Will Kempe." A song was written about him, which was set to music by no less a composer than Thomas Weelkes. It ran :

"Since Robin Hood, Maid Marian,
And Little John are gone a;
The Hobby-horse was quite forgot,

When Kempe did dance alone a.
He did labour after the Tabor
For to dance, then into France
He took pains

To skip it.

In hope of gains

He will trip it,

On the toe

Diddle do."

He was a favourite at court and probably a personal friend of Shakespeare.

As a good example of the morris-dance we here reproduce a famous one of the seventeenth century, and one that is alluded to by Shakespeare in "Love's


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