Imagens das páginas

Labour's Lost" (Act iv. Sc. 2) where Holofernes says to Jaquenetta: "Trip and go, my sweet," "Trip and Go" being the title of one of the cheeriest of morris-dances.

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Shakespeare also mentions the dance and its season, very effectively, in "All's Well That Ends Well" (Act ii. Sc. 2), where the clown speaks of the fitness of his answers to the countess :

"As fit as a pancake for Shrove Tuesday, or a morris for a May-day."

In "Henry V." (Act ii. Sc. 4), the Dauphin speaks of the boldness with which the French should proceed against the English, with the words:

"And let us do it with no show of fear;

No, with no more than if we heard that England
Were busied with a Whitsun morris-dance."

That the morris-dance was known to Shakespeare, and that he may have seen it danced, often enough, may be taken for granted.

Oliphant, in his "Musa Madrigalesca" (p. 71), quotes Laneham's letter to Humphrey Martin, Mercer, in London, concerning the festivities at Kenilworth, in 1575, before Queen Elizabeth, in which occurred a morris-dance.

"Thus they were marshalled: first all the lusty lads and bold Bachelors of the parish, sutablie every wight with his blue buckram bride-lace upon a branch of green broom (because Rosemary is scant there) tied on his left arm, (for on that side lies the heart) in martial order ranged on before, two and two in a rank; some with a hat, some in a cap; some a coat, some a jerkin; some for lightness in his doublet and

hose; some boots and no spurs, some spurs and no boots, and some neither nother. Then the Bridegroom foremost, in his tawney worsted jacket (for his friends were fain that he should be a Bridegroom before the Queen,) and a fair strawn hat with a capital crown, steeplewise on his head.

"Well, sir, after these a lively Morris dance according to the ancient manner; six dancers, Maid Marian, and the Fool. Then three pretty puzels' as bright as a breast of bacon, of thirty year old apiece, that carried three special spice-cakes of a bushel of wheat, (they had it by measure out of my Lord's bakehouse,) before the bride, with set countenance, and lips so demurely simpering as it had been a mare cropping a thistle. After these comes a freckle-faced, red-headed lubber, whose office was to bear the bride-cup all seemly besilvered and parcel (partly) gilt, adorned with a beautiful bunch of broom gaily begilded for memory. This gentle cupbearer yet had his freckled phizonemy somewhat unhappily infested as he went, by the busy flies that flocked about the bride cup for the sweetness of the sucket that it savoured of; but he like a tall fellow, withstood them stoutly, beat them away, killed them by scores, stood to his charge, and marched on in good order. Then followed the worshipful bride, led (after the country manner) between two ancient parishioners, honest townsmen; a thirty-year-old, of colour brown bay, not very beautiful indeed, but ugly, foul, and ill favoured; yet marvellous fain of the office, because she heard say she should dance before the Queen, in which feat she thought she would foot it as finely as the best."

The very

Many of the old dances were sung. word "ballad" may have been derived from ballare (Italian), to dance, and some of the old song-dances

'Maids-from the French pucelle.

were called "ballets." In one of Morley's "ballets," Thyrsis and Chloris are described :

“... They danced to and fro, and finely flaunted it,
And then both met again, and thus they chaunted it."

One of Weelkes's refrains runs

"All shepherds in a ring,
Shall dancing ever sing."

It must have been a pretty sight to watch the singers giving expression, not only to the character of the music, but also to the words which accompanied many (but by no means all) of the old dances, and Bottom is not inaccurate in "Midsummer-Night's Dream" (Act v. Sc. 2), when he invites the duke to "hear a Bergomask dance." As long ago as the time of the troubadours and minnesingers there were dances with poetry attached to them, and in France, especially, these dances were often of the most graceful description. We give an example of such a dance which was popular in France before Shakespeare's time; this dance probably became known even in the English courts, for the romanesca was a species of galliard, a dance to which Shakespeare alludes more than once.

But there were also dances of more boisterous character, with words attached. We have already spoken of the great antiquity of the circle dances

Alltto modto. (Metr: = 88).

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Air de Danse.


Aux échos des bois, Aux soupirs du feuilWhen the woods are gay, And the zephyrs are


Et par vos accords, Sur la ver-te fou-ge - re
Echoes shall awake, At the tone so entrancing


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