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Full text of "The Mediaeval Stage Vol I"

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OSMANIA UNIVERSITY LIBRARY 
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FROM MINIATURES BY JEHAN DE GRISE (t 1344) IN 

BODLEIAN MS. 264 (Li romcins (TAlixcwdre) 



THE MEDIAEVAL STAGE 
B Y E. K. CHAMBERS. VOL. I 



OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 
M.CMl'll 



Impression of 1923 
First Edition igo) 

This impression lias been prbluctd photographically by the 
MUSTON COMPANY, from sheets of the first Edition 



Printed wholly in England for the MUSTON COMPANY 

By LOWE & BRYDONE, PRINTERS, LTD. 
PARK STREET, CAM DEN TOWN, LONDON, N.W. * 



TO N. C. 



PREFACE 

SOME years ago I was thinking of a little book, which now 
may or may not ever get itself finished, about Shakespeare 
and the conditions, literary and dramatic, under which Shake- 
speare wrote. My proper task would have begun with the 
middle of the sixteenth century. But it seemed natural to 
put first some short account of the origins of play-acting in 
England and of its development during the Middle Ages. 
Unfortunately it soon became apparent that the basis for 
such a narrative was wanting. The history of the mediaeval 
theatre had never, from an English point of view, been 
written. The initial chapter of Collier's Annals of the Stage 
is even less adequate than is usual with this slovenly and 
dishonest antiquary. It is with some satisfaction that, in 
spite of the barrier set up by an incorrect reference, I have 
resolved one dramatic representation elaborately described 
by Collier into a soteltie or sweetmeat. More scholarly 
writers, such as Dr. A. W. Ward, while dealing excellently 
with the mediaeval drama as literature, have shown themselves 
but little curious about the social and economic facts upon 
which the mediaeval drama rested. Yet from a study of such 
facts, I am sure, any literary history, which does not confine 
itself solely to the analysis of genius, must make a start. 

An attempt of my own to fill the gap has grown into these 
two volumes, which have, I fear, been unduly swelled by the 
inclusion of new interests as, from time to time, they took 
hold upon me ; an interest, for example, in the light-hearted 
and coloured life of those poverelli of letters, the minstrel 
folk ; a very deep interest in the track across the ages of 
certain customs and symbols of rural gaiety which bear with 
them the inheritance of a remote and ancestral heathenism. 
I can only hope that this disproportionate treatment of parts 
has not wholly destroyed the unity of purpose at which, after 
all, I aimed. If I may venture to define for myself the 
formula of my work, I would say that it endeavours to state 



vi PREFACE 

and explain the pre-existing conditions which, by the latter 
half of the sixteenth century, made the great Shakespearean 
stage possible. The story is one of a sudden dissolution and 
a slow upbuilding. I have arranged the material in four Books. 
The First Book shows how the organization of the Graeco- 
Roman theatre broke down before the onslaught of Christianity 
and the indifference of barbarism, and how the actors became 
wandering minstrels, merging with the gleemen of their 
Teutonic conquerors, entertaining all classes of mediaeval 
society with spectacula in which the dramatic element was of 
the slightest, and in the end, after long endurance, coming to 
a practical compromise with the hostility of the Church. In 
the Second Book I pass to spectacula of another type, which 
also had to struggle against ecclesiastical disfavour, and 
which also made their ultimate peace with all but the most 
austere forms of the dominant religion. These are the ludi 
of the village feasts, bearing witness, not only to their origin 
in heathen ritual, but also, by their constant tendency to break 
out into primitive forms of drama, to the deep-rooted mhnetic 
instinct of the folk. The Third Book is a study of the process 
by which the Church itself, through the introduction of 
dramatic elements into its liturgy, came to make its own 
appeal to this same mimetic instinct ; and of that by which, 
from such beginnings, grew up the great popular religious 
drama of the miracle-plays, with its offshoots in the moralities 
and the dramatic pageants. The Fourth and final Book deals 
summarily with the transformation of the mediaeval stage, on 
the literary side under the influence of humanism, on the 
social and economic side by the emergence from amongst 
the ruins of minstrelsy of a new class of professional players, 
in whose hands the theatre was destined to recover a stable 
organization upon lines which had been departed from since 
the days of Tertullian. 

I am very conscious of the manifold imperfections of these 
volumes. They are the work, not of a professed student, but 
of one who only plays at scholarship in the rare intervals of a 
busy administrative life. They owe much to the long-suffering 
officials of the British Museum and the London Library, and 
more recently to the aid and encouragement of the Delegates 



PREFACE vii 

of the Clarendon Press and their accomplished staff. The 
literary side of the mediaeval drama, about which much 
remains to be said, I have almost wholly neglected. I shall 
not, I hope, be accused of attaching too much importance in 
the first volume to the vague and uncertain results of folk-lore 
research. One cannot be always giving expression to the 
minuter shades of probability. But in any investigation 
the validity of the inferences must be relative to the nature 
of the subject-matter ; and, whether I qualify it in words or 
not, I do not, of course, make a statement about the intention, 
say, of primitive sacrifice, with the same confidence which 
attaches to one about matters of historic record. The burden 
of my notes and appendices sometimes appears to me 
intolerable. My excuse is that I wanted to collect, once for 
all, as many facts with as precise references as possible. 
These may, perhaps, have a value independent of any con- 
clusions which I have founded upon them. And even now 
I do not suppose that I have been either exhaustive or accurate. 
The remorseless ideal of the historian's duties laid down in the 
Introduction aux tudes Historiques of MM. Langlois and 
Seignobos floats before me like an accusing spirit. I know 
how very far I am from having reached that austere standard 
of scientific completeness. To begin with, I had not the 
necessary training. Oxford, my most kindly nurse, maintained 
in my day no cole des Chartes, and I had to discover the 
rules of method as I went along. But the greater difficulty has 
been the want of leisure and the spacious life. Shades of Duke 
Humphrey's library, how often, as I jostled for my turn at the 
crowded catalogue-shelves of the British Museum, have I not 
envied those whose lot it is to tread your ample corridors and 
to bend over your yellowing folios! Amongst such happy 
scholars, the canons of Clio may claim implicit obedience. 
A silent company, they 'class' their documents and 'try' 
their sources from morn to eve, disturbed in the pleasant ways 
of research only by the green flicker of leaves in the Exeter 
garden, or by the statutory inconvenience of a terminal lec- 
ture. 

* Tanagra ! think not I forget ! ' 

E. K. C 
LONDON, May, 1903. 



CONTENTS 

VOLUME I 

PAGE 

PREFACE v 

LIST OF AUTHORITIES xiii 

BOOK I. MINSTRELSY 

CHAP. 

I. THE FALL OF THE THEATRES i 

II. MIMUS AND Scdp ........ 23 

III. THE MINSTREL LIFE 42 

IV. THE MINSTREL REPERTORY 70 

BOOK II. FOLK DRAMA 

V. THE RELIGION OF THE FOLK . . . ... 89 

VI. VILLAGE FESTIVALS 116 

VII. FESTIVAL PLAY 146 

VIII. THE MAY-GAME 160 

IX. THE SWORD-DANCE 182 

X. THE MUMMERS' PLAY 205 

XL THE BEGINNING OF WINTER 228 

XII. NEW YEAR CUSTOMS 249 

XIII. THE FEAST OF FOOLS 274 

XIV. THE FEAST OF FOOLS (continued) . . . -301 
XV. THE BOY BISHOP 33 6 

XVI. GUILD FOOLS AND COURT FOOLS 372 

XVII. MASKS AND MISRULE 390 

VOLUME II 

BOOK III. RELIGIOUS DRAMA 

XVIIL LITURGICAL PLAYS i 

XIX. LITURGICAL PLAYS (continued) 41 

XX. THE SECULARIZATION OF THE PLAYS .... 68 

XXI. GUILD PLAYS AND PARISH PLAYS . . . .106 

XXII. GUILD PLAYS AND PARISH PLAYS (continued) . .124 

XXIII. MORAUTIE?, PUPPET-PLAYS, AND PAGEANTS . . 149 



CONTENTS 



BOOK IV. THE INTERLUDE 

CHAP. PAGE 

XXIV. PLATERS OF INTERLUDES 179 

XXV. HUMANISM AND MKDIAEVALISM 199 



APPENDICES 

A. THE TRIBUNUS VOLUPTATUM 229 

B. TOTA loCULATORUM SCENA . . . . . .230 

C. COURT MINSTRELSY IN 1306 234 

D. THE MINSTREL HIERARCHY 238 

E. EXTRACTS FROM ACCOUNT BOOKS 240 

I. Durham Priory 240 

II. Maxstoke Priory 244 

III. Thetford Priory 245 

IV. Winchester College 246 

V. Magdalen College, Oxford 248 

VI. Shrewsbury Corporation . . . . .250 

VII. The Howards of Stoke-by-Nayland, Essex . . 255 

VIH. The English Court 256 

F. MINSTREL GUILDS 258 

G. THOMAS DE CABHAM 262 

H. PRINCELY PLEASURES AT KENILWORTH . . . .263 

I. A Squire Minstrel 263 

IL The Coventry Hock-Tuesday Show . . . 264 

I. THE INDIAN VILLAGE FEAST 266 

J. SWORD-DANCES 270 

I. Sweden (sixteenth century). . . . .270 

II. Shetland (eighteenth century) . . . .271 

K. THE LUTTERWORTH ST. GEORGE PLAY .... 276 

L. THE PROSE OF THE Ass 279 

M. THE BOY BISHOP 282 

I. The Sarum Office ...... 282 

H. The York Computes 287 

N. WINTER PROHIBITIONS . . . . . . .290 

O. THE REGULARIS CONCORDIA OF ST. ETHELWOLD . . 306 

P. THE DURHAM SEPULCHRUM 320 

Q. THE SARUM SEPULCHRUM . 312 

R. THE DUBLIN QUEM QUAERITIS 3x5 



CONTENTS xi 

APT. PACE 

S. THE AUREA MBSA OF TOURNAI 318 

T. SUBJECTS or THE CYCLICAL MIRACLES . . . .321 

U. INTERLUDIUM DE CLERICO ET PUELLA '. 324 

V. TERENTIUS ET DELUSOR 326 

W. REPRESENTATIONS OF MEDIAEVAL PLAYS .... 329 

X. TEXTS OF MEDIAEVAL PLAYS AND INTERLUDES . . . 407 

I. Miracle-Plays 407 

II. Popular Moralities 436 

III. Tudor Makers of Interludes 443 

IV. List of Early Tudor Interludes . . . . 453 

SUBJECT INDEX 462 



LIST OF AUTHORITIES 

[General Bibliographical Note. I mention here only a few works of 
wide range, which may be taken as authorities throughout these two 
volumes. Others, more limited in their scope, are named in the 
preliminary notes to the sections of the book on whose subject-matter 
they bear. An admirable general history of the modern drama is 
W. Creizenach's still incomplete Geschichte des neueren Dramas (Band i, 
Mittelalter und FrUhrenai 'stance, 1893; Bande ii, iii, Renaissance und 
Reformation, 1901-3), R. Prdlss, Geschichte des neueren Dramas 
(1881-3), is slighter. The earlier work of J. L. Klein, Geschichte des 
Dramas (13 vols. 1865-76), is diffuse, inconvenient, and now partly 
obsolete. A valuable study is expected from J. M. Manly in vol. iii 
of his Specimens of the P re- Shakespearean Drama, of which two 
volumes, containing selected texts, appeared in 1897. C. Hastings, 
Le Thtdtre frangais et anglais (1900, Eng. trans. 1901), is a 
compilation of little merit. Prof. Creizenach may be supplemented 
for Germany by R. Froning, Das Drama des Mittelalters (1891). For 
France there are the exhaustive and excellent volumes of L. Petit de 
Julleville's Histoire du Thtdtre en France au Moyen Age (Les Mysteres, 
1880; Les Come'diens en France au Moyen Age, 1885; La Come'die et 
les Mceurs en France au Moyen Age, 1886; Repertoire du Thtdtre 
comique au Moyen Age, 1886). G. Bapst, Essai sur T Histoire du 
Thtdtre (1893), adds some useful material on the history of the stage. 
For Italy A. d' Ancona, Origini del Teatro italiano (and ed., 1891), is 
also excellent. The best English book is A. W. Ward's History of 
English Dramatic Literature to the death of Queen Anne (and ed., 
1899). J. P. Collier, History of English Dramatic Poetry (new ed., 
1879), is full of matter, but, for various reasons, not wholly trust- 
worthy. J. J. Jusserand, Le The'dtre en Angleterre (and ed., 1881), 
J. A. Symonds, Shakespeare's Predecessors in the English Drama 
(1884), and G. M. Gayley, Representative English Comedies (i93) 
are of value. Texts will be found in Manly's and Gayley's books, 
and in A. W. Pollard, English Miracle Plays, Moralities and 
Interludes (3rd ed., 1898); W. C. Hazlitt, Dodsley's Old Plays 
(15 vols. 1874-6); A. Brandl, Quellen des weltlichen Dramas in 
England (1898). F. H. Stoddard, References for Students of Miracle 
Plays anZ Mysteries (1887), and K. L. Bates and L. B. Godfrey, 
English Drama; a Working Basis (1896), are rough attempts at 



xtv LIST OF AUTHORITIES 

bibliographies. In addition the drama of course finds treatment in 
the general histories of literature. The best are: for Germany, 
R. KSgel, Geschichte der deutschen Liter atur bis sum Ausgange des 
MitUlalters (1894-7, a fragment); K. Gttdeke, Grundriss zur 
Geschichte der deutschen Dichtung aus den Quellen (and ed., 1884- 
1900); W. Scherer, Geschichte der deutschen Litteratur (8th ed., 
1899): for France, L. Petit de Julleville (editor), Histoire de la 
Langue et de la Literature franfaises (1896-1900); G. Paris, La 
Littfrature franfaise au Moyen Age (2nd ed., 1890): for Italy, 
A. Gaspary, Geschichte der italienischen Litteratur (1884-9, Eng. 
transl. 1901): for England, T. Warton, History of English Poetry 
(ed. W. C. Hazlitt, 1871); B. Ten Brink, History of English 
Literature (Eng. trans. 1893-6); J. J. Jusserand, Literary History 
of the English People (vol. i. 1895); W. J. Courthope, History of 
English Poetry (vols. i, ii. 1895-7); G. Saintsbury, Short History of 
English Literature (1898), and, especially for bibliography, G.K6rting, 
Grundriss der Geschichte der englischen Litteratur (3rd ed., 1899). 
The Periods of European Literature, edited by Prof. Saintsbury, 
especially G. Gregory Smith, The Transition Period (1900), and the 
two great Grundrisse, H. Paul, Grundriss der germanischen Philologie 
(and ed., 1896-1903), and G. Grttber, Grundriss der romanischen 
Philologie (1888-1903), should also be consulted. The beginnings 
of the mediaeval drama are closely bound up with liturgy, and the 
nature of the liturgical books referred to is explained by W. Maskell, 
A Dissertation upon the Ancient Service-Books of the Church of 
England (in Monumenta Ritualia Eccksiae Anglicanae, 2nd ed., 1882, 
vol. iii) ; H. B. Swete, Church Services and Service-Books before the 
Reformation (1896); Procter-Frere, New History of the Book of 
Common Prayer (1901). The beginnings of Catholic ritual are 
studied by L. Duchesne, Qrigines du Culte chrttien (3rd ed., 1902, 
Eng. trans. 1903), and its mediaeval forms described by D. Rock, 
The Church of our Fathers (1849-53), ***& J. D. Chambers, Divine 
Worship in England in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries (1877). 
The following list of books is mainly intended to elucidate the 
references in the footnotes, and has no claim to bibliographical 
completeness or accuracy. I have included the titles of a few German 
and French dissertations of which I have not been able to make use.] 

Aberdeen Records. Extracts from the Council Register of the Burgh of 

Aberdeen. Edited by J. Stuart, a vols. 1844-8. \Spalding CM, xii, xix.] 

Acta SS. Acta Sanctorum quotquot toto orbe coluntur, quas collegit 



LIST OF AUTHORITIES xv 

I. Bollandus. Opcram continuavit G. Henschenius [ct alii], 1734-1894. 
[In progress.] 

AHN. English Mysteries and Miracle Plays* By Dr. Ahn. Trier, 
1867. [Not consulted.] 

ALCUIN. See DUMMLER. 

ALLARD. Julien I'Apostat Par P. Allard. 3 vols. 1900-3. 

ALLEN. The Evolution of the Idea of God : an Enquiry into the 
Origins of Religion. By Grant Allen, 1897. 

ALT. Theater und Kirche in ihrem gegenseitigen Verhaltniss. Von 
H. Alt, 1846. 

Anal. Hymn. Analecta Hymnica Medii Aevi. Ediderunt C. Blume et 
G. M. Dreves. 37 parts, 1886-1901. [In progress.] 

ANCONA. Origin! del Teatro italiano. Per A. d'Ancona, 2nd ed. 
2 vols. 1891. 

ANCONA, Sacr. Rappr. Sacre Rappresentazioni dei secoli xiv, xv e xvi, 
raccolte e illustrate per cura di A. d'Ancona, 1872. 

Anglia. Anglia : Zeitschrift fur englische Philologie. 24 vols. 1878- 
1903. [In progress.] 

Ann. Arch. Annales Archlologiques, dingoes par Didron ame*. 28 
vols. 1844-81. 

Antiquarian Repertory. The Antiquarian Repertory : A Miscellaneous 
assemblage of Topography, History, Biography, Customs and Manners. 
Compiled by F. Grose and T. Astle. 2nd ed. 4 vols. 1807. 

ARBOIS DE JUBAINVILLE, Civ. Celt. La Civilisation des Celtes et celle 
de l'pope home*rique. Par H. d'Arbois de Jubainville, 1899. [VoL vi 
of Cours de litterature celtique.] 

ARBOIS DE JUBAINVILLE, Cycl. Myth. Le Cycle mythologique irlandais 
et la Mythologie celtique. Par H. d'Arbois de Jubainville, 1884. [VoL ii 
of same.] 

Archacologia. Archaeologia : or Miscellaneous Tracts relating to 
Antiquity. Published by the Society of Antiquaries of London. 57 vols. 
1770-1901. [In progress.] 

ARNOLD. The Customs of London, otherwise Arnold's Chronicle. 
Edited by F. Douce, 1811. 

ASHTON. A Righte Merrie Christmasse 1 ! ! By J. Ashton, n. d. 

BAHLMANN, Ern. Die Erneuerer des antiken Dramas und ihre 
ersten dramatischen Versuche: 1314-1478. Von P. Bahlmann, 1806. 

BAHLMANN, L. D. Die lateinischen Dramen von Wimpbeling's 
Stylpho bis zur Mittc des sechzehnten Jahrhunderts : 1480-1550. Von 
P. Bahlmann, 1893. 

BALE. Scriptorum illustrium maioris Britanniae, quam nunc Angliam 
et Scotiam vocant, Catalogus. Autore loanne Baleo Sudouolgio Anglo. 
2 vols. Basileae, Oporinus, 1557-9. [Enlarged from the edition in one 
vol. of 1548.] 

BALE, Index. Index Britanniae Scriptorum quos ex variis bibliothecis 
non parvo labore collegit loannes Baleus. Edited by R. L. Poole and 



xvi LIST OF AUTHORITIES 

M. Bateson, 1902. \Anecdota Oxoniensia, Mediaeval and Modern 
Series, ix, from a MS. compiled 1549-1557.] 

BAPST. Essai sur 1'Histoire du Th^tre. Par G. Bapst, 1893. 
BARBAZAN-MON. Fabliaux et Contes des Poetes frangois des xi, xii, 
xiii, xiv et xv sifccles. Publics par E. Barbazan. Nouvelle Edition, par 
M. Me*on. 4 vols. 1808. 

BARRETT. Riding Skimmington and Riding the Stang. By C. R. B. 
Barrett, 1895. [Journal of British Archaeological Association, N. S. 
vol. i.] 

BARTHLEMY. Rational ou Manuel des divins Offices de Guillaume 
Durand, vque de Mende au treizi&me sfecle. Traduit par M. C. 
Barthlemy. 5 vols. 1854. 

BARTSCH. Altfranzosische Romanzen und Pastourellen. Par K. 
Bartsch, 1870. 

BATES. The English Religious Drama. By K. L. Bates, 1893. 
BATES-GODFREY. English Drama: a Working Basis. By K. L. 
Bates and L. B. Godfrey, 1896. 

BEDE, Z>. T. /?. Venerabilis Bedae Opera quae Supersunt Omnia. 
Edidit J. A. Giles. 12 vols. 1843-4. [The De Temporum Ratione forms 
part of vol. vi.] 

BEDE, E. H. See PLUMMER. 

B&DIER. Les Fabliaux. 6tudes de Literature populaire et d'Histoire 
litteraire du Moyen Age. Par J. B^dier, 2nd ed. 1895. 

BELETHUS. Rationale Divinorum Officiorum Auctore Joanne Beletho 
Theologo Parisiensi, 1855. [In P. L. ccii.] 

BELL. Ancient Poems, Ballads, and Songs of the Peasantry of 
England. Edited by R. Bell, 1857. 

BRENGER-FRAUD. Superstitions et Survivances &udie*es au point 
de vue de leur Origine et de leurs Transformations. Par L. J. B. 
Be'renger-Fe'raud. 4 vols. 1896. 

BERNHARD. Recherches sur THistoire de la Corporation des M&id- 
triers ou Joueurs d' Instruments de la Ville de Paris. Par B. Bernhard. 
[BibL de rcole des Charles, iii. 377, iv. 525, v. 254, 339.] 

BERTRAND. Nos Origines : iv. La Religion des Gaulois ; Les Druides 
et le Druidisme. Par A. Bertrand, 1897. 

BibL des Chartes. Bibliothfcque de 1'Ecole des Chartes. Revue 
d' Erudition consacre*e sp^cialement a I'&ude du Moyen Age. [I quote 
the numbers of the annual volumes, without regard to the Series.] 

BINGHAM. The Works of Joseph Bingham. Edited by R. Bingham. 
New ed. 10 vols. 

BLOMEFIELD. An Essay towards a Topographical History of the 
County of Norfolk. By F. Blomefield. 2nd ed. II vols. 1805-10. 

BOHCK. Die Anfange des englischen Dramas. Von Dr. Bohck, 1890. 
[Not consulted.] 

BOLTON. The Counting-Out Rhymes of Children. By M. C. Bolton, 
1888. 



LIST OF AUTHORITIES xvit 

BORETIUS. Capitularia Regum Francorum. Ediderunt A. Boretius et 
V. Krause. 2 vols. 1883-7. [M. G. H. Leges, Sectio il.j 

BOURQUELOT. Office de la Fte des Fous. Public" par F. Bourquelot, 
1858. [Bulletin de la Socie'tt archtologique de Sens, vol. vi. Not con- 
sulted at first hand.] 

BOWER. The Elevation and Procession of the Ceri at Gubbio. By 
H. M. Bower, 1897. [F. L. S.} 

BRAND. Observations on Popular Antiquities, chiefly illustrating the 
Origin of our Vulgar Customs, Ceremonies, and Superstitions. By 
J. Brand. Enlarged by Sir H. Ellis. 3 vols. 1841-2. 

BRAND-HAZLITT. Observations on Popular Antiquities. By J. Brand. 
Edited with additions by W. C. Hazlitt. 3 vols. 1870. 

BRANDL. Quellen des weltlichen Dramas in England vor Shakespeare. 
Ein Erganzungsband zu Dodsley's Old English Plays. Herausgegeben 
von A. Brandl, 1898. [Quellen und Forschungen, Ixxx.] 

BREWER. Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, of the Reign of 
Henry VIII. Arranged and catalogued by J. S. Brewer [and afterwards 
J. Gairdner and R. H. Brodie]. 18 vols. 1862-1902. {Calendars of State 
Papers^ 

BROOKE. The History of Early English Literature: being the History 
of English Poetry to the Accession of King Alfred. By S. A. Brooke. 
2 vols. 1892. 

BROOKE, Eng. Lit. English Literature from the Beginning to the 
Norman Conquest. By S. A. Brooke, 1898. 

BROTANEK. Die englischen Maskenspiele. Von R. Brotanek, 1902. 
[ Wiener Beitrage zur englischen Philologie, xv.] 

BROWN. Calendar of State Papers and Manuscripts relating to English 
Affairs, in the Archives and Collections of Venice and in other Libraries 
of North Italy. Edited by H. F. Brown and R. Brown. 10 vols. 1864- 
1900. 

BRYLINGER. Comoediae et Tragoediae aliquot ex Novo et Vetere 
Testamento desumptae. Basileae, Brylinger, 1540. 

BURCHARDUS. Burchardi Wormaciencis Ecclesiae Episcopi Deere- 
torum Libri xx, 1853. [In P. L. cxl.] 

BURNE- JACKSON. Shropshire Folk-lore: A Sheaf of Gleanings. 
Edited by C. S. Burne, from the collections of G. F. Jackson, 1883. 

BURNET. A History of the Reformation of the Church of England. 
By G. Burnet. Edited by N. Pocock, 7 vols. 1865. 

BURTON. Rushbearing. By A. Burton, 1891. 

BURY-GIBBON. See GIBBON. 

CAMPBELL. Materials for a History of the Reign of Henry VII, from 
documents in the Public Record Office. By W. Campbell. 2 vols. 1873-7. 
[X. S. lx.] 

CANEL. Recherches historiques sur les Fous des Rois de France. 
Par A. Cane\ 1873. 

Captain Cox. See LANEHAM. 

CHAMBERS. I K 



xviii LIST OF AUTHORITIES 

Carmina Burana. See SCHMELLER. 

CASPARI. Eine Augustin falschlich beilegte Homilia de Sacrilegiis. 
Herausgegeben von C. P. Caspar!, 1886. \Gesellschaft der Wissen- 
schaften su Christiania^\ 

CASSIODORUS. Cassiodori Senatoris Variae. Recensuit Theodorus 
Mommsen, 1894. [M. G. H. Auctores Antiquissimi, vol. xii.] 

Catholicon Anglicum. Catholicon Anglicum : an English-Latin Word- 
book (1483). Edited by S. J. Herrtage, 1881. [C 5. N. S. xxx.] 

CAVENDISH. The Life of Cardinal Wolsey. By J. Cavendish. Edited 
by S. W. Singer. 2 vols. 1825. 

CHAMBERS. Divine Worship in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Cen- 
turies, contrasted with the Nineteenth. By J. D. Chambers, 1877. 

CHAMPOLLION-FIGEAC. See HILARIUS. 

CHAPPELL. Old English Popular Music. By W. Chappell. A new 
edition by H. E. Wooldridge. 2 vols. 1893. 

C. H. 23. Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae. Editio emendatior, 
consilio B. G. Niebuhrii instituta, 1828-97. 

CHREST. Nouvelles Recherches sur la Fte des Innocents et la F6te 
des Fous. Par A. Ch^rest, 1853. [Bulletin de la SoriM des Sciences de 
r Yonne, vol. vii.] 

CHILD. The English and Scottish Popular Ballads. Edited by F. J. 
Child. lo vols. 1882-98. 

Christmas Prince. See HlGGS. 

C.L C. Corpus luris Civilis. Editio altera, 1877-95. [Vol. i contains 
the Institutions , ed. P. Krueger, and the Digesta, ed. Th. Mommsen ; 
vol. ii the Codex lustiniani, ed. P. Krueger; vol. iii the Novellae 
lustiniani, ed. Schoell and Kroll.] 

C.L Can. Corpus luris Canonici. Editio Lipsiensis secunda: post 
A. L. Richter curas . . . instruxit A. Friedberg. 2 vols. 1879-81. [Con- 
tains the Decretum of Gratian (tii39), the Decretales of Gregory IX 
(1234), the Liber Sextus of Boniface VIII (1298), the Decretales of Cle- 
ment V and John XXII (1317), and the Extravagantes (down to 1484).] 

Civis. Minutes, collected from the ancient Records and Accounts in 
the Chamber of Canterbury. [By C. R. Bunce or W. Welfitt. These 
documents, bound in B. M. under press-mark 10,358, h. i., appear to be 
reprints or proof-sheets of articles, signed Ciins 9 in the Kentish Chronicle 
for 1 80 1 -2.] 

CLARKE. The Miracle Play in England, an account of the Early 
Religious Drama. By S. W. Clarke, n. d. 

CLDAT. Le Theatre en France au Moyen Age. Par L.Cl&Iat, 1896. 
\Classiques Populaires.\ 

CLEMENT. Histoire gnrale de la Musique religieiise. Par F. 
Clement, 1860. 

CLMENT-HMERY. Histoire des Ftes civiles et religieuses du D6- 
partement du Nord. Par Mme Clement (ne'e H&nery), 1832. 

CLOETTA. Beitrage zur Litteraturgeschichte des Mitteialters und der 



LIST OF AUTHORITIES xix 

Renaissance. Von W. Cloetta. i. Komodie und Tragddie im Mittel- 
alter, 1890. ii. Die Anfange der Renaissancetragodie, 1892. 

Cod. Th. Codex Theodosianus. Edidit G. Haenel, 1844. {Corpus 
fun's Romani Ante-Iustiniani, vol. ii.] 

COLLIER. The History of English Dramatic Poetry to the Time of 
Shakespeare : and Annals of the Stage to the Restoration. By J. P. 
Collier. New ed. 1879. 

COLLIER, Five Plays. Five Miracle Plays, or Scriptural Dramas. 
Edited by J. P. Collier, 1836. 

COLLIER, P. J. Punch and Judy, with illustrations by G. Cruikshank. 
Accompanied by the Dialogue of the Puppet-Show, an account of its 
Origin, and of Puppet-Plays in England. [By J. P. Collier.] 5th ed. 1870. 

CONYBEARE. The History of Christmas. By F. C. Conybeare, 1899 
[Journal of American Theology r , vol. Hi.] 

CONYBEARE, Key of Truth. The Key of Truth : a Manual of the 
Paulician Church. Edited and translated by F. C. Conybeare, 1898. 

CORTEX. Essai sur les Fetes religieuses, et les Traditions populaires 
qui s'y rattachent. Par E. Cortet, 1867. 

COTGRAVE. A French-English Dictionary, with another in English 
and French. By R. Cotgrave, 1650. 

County Folk-Lore. Examples of printed Folk-Lore. Vol. i (Glouces- 
tershire, Suffolk, Leicestershire, and Rutland), 1892-5. Vol. ii (North 
Riding of Yorkshire, York, and the Ainsty), 1901. \F. L. S.] 

COURTHOPE. A History of English Poetry. By W. J. Courthope. 
Vols. i, ii. 1895-7. [In progress.] 

COUSSEMAKER. Drames liturgiques du Moyen Age. Par E. de 
Coussemaker, 1860. 

COUSSEMAKER, Harm. Histoire de THarmonie au Moyen Age. Par 
E. de Coussemaker, 1852. 

Cox. Introduction to Folk- Lore. By M. R. Cox. 2nd ed. 1897. 

C. P. B. Corpus Poeticum Boreale : the Poetry of the Old Northern 
Tongue from the Earliest Times to the Thirteenth Century. Edited by 
G. Vigfusson and F. Y. Powell. 2 vols. 1883. 

CREIZENACH. Geschichte des neueren Dramas. Von W. Creizenach. 
Vols i-iii, 1893-1903. [In progress.] 

CROWEST. The Story of British Music, from the Earliest Times to 
the Tudor Period. By F. J. Crowest, 1896. 

C. S. Camden Society, now incorporated with the Royal Historical 
Society. 

C. S. E. L. Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum. Editum 
consilio Academiae Litterarum Caesareae Vindobonensis. 41 vols. 1 866- 
1900. [In progress.] 

CUMONT. Textes et Monuments figure's relatifs aux Mysteres de 
Mithra. Par F. Cumont. 2 vols. 1896-9. 

CUNLIFFE. The Influence of Seneca on Elizabethan Tragedy. An 
Essay by J. W. Cunliffe, 1893. [Manchester dissertation.] 



xx LIST OF AUTHORITIES 

CUNNINGHAM. Extracts from the Accounts of Revels at Court in the 
Reigns of Queen Elizabeth and King James I. By P. Cunningham, 1842. 
[Shakespeare Society.} 

CUSHMAN. The Devil and the Vice in the English Dramatic Literature 
before Shakespeare. By L. W. Cushman, 1900. \Studien zur englischen 
Philologie, vi.] 

CUTTS. Parish Priests and their People in the Middle Ages in England. 
By E. L. Cutts, 1898. 

DANK6. Die Feier des Osterfestes. Von J. Dank6, 1872. [Not 
consulted.] 

DANK.6, ffyntn. Vetus Hymnarium Ecclesiasticum Hungariae. Edidit 
J. Dank6, 1893. 

DAVID. Etudes historiques sur la Poe'sie et la Musique dans la Cambric. 
Par E. David, 1884. 

DAVIDSON. Studies in the English Mystery Plays. By C. Davidson, 
1892. [Yale dissertation, in Transactions of Connecticut Academy ', ix. I.] 

DAVIES. Extracts from the Municipal Records of the City of York 
during the Reigns of Edward IV, Edward V, and Richard III. By 
R. Davies, 1843. 

DAWSON. Christmas : Its Origin and Associations. By W. F. Dawson, 
1902. 

D. C. A. A Dictionary of Christian Antiquities. Edited by Sir W. 
Smith and S. Cheetham. 2 vols. 1875-80. 

DEIMLING. The Chester Plays. Re-edited from the MSS, by the late 
H. Deimling, 1893. [E. E. T. 5., Part i, with Plays 1-13, only published.] 

DE LA FONS-MEUCOCQ. Ce're'monies dramatiques et anciens Usages 
dans les glises du Nord de la France. Par A. de la Fons-Melicocq, 1850. 

DENIFLE. Chartularium Universitatis Parisiensis. Collegit H. Denifle. 
4 vols. 1889-97. 

DESJARDINS. Histoire de la Cathe'drale de Beauvais. ParG.Desjardins, 
1865. 

DESLYONS. Traitez singuliers et nouveaux centre le Paganisme du 
Roy Boit. Par J. Deslyons, 1670. 

DEVRIENT. Geschichte der deutschen Schauspielkunst. Von E. 
Devrient. 2 vols. 1848. 

DIDRON. See Annales Archtologiques. 

DIETERICH. Pulcinella; pompejanische Wandbilder und romische 
Satyrspiele. Von A. Dieterich, 1897. 

X)IEZ. Die Poesie der Troubadours. Von F. C. Dies, 1826. 

DIEZ-BARTSCH. Leben und Werke der Troubadours. Von F. C. Diez. 
Zweite Auflage, von K. Bartsch, 1882. 

Digby Plays. See FuRNlVALL ; SHARP. 

DILL. Roman Society in the last Century of the Western Empire. By 
S. Dill. 2nd ed. 1899. 

DITCHFIELD. Old English Customs extant at the present^ Time. By 
P. H. Ditchfield, 1896. 



LIST OF AUTHORITIES xxi 

DIXON. A History of the Church of England from the Abolition of the 
Roman Jurisdiction. By R: W. Dixon. 6 vols. 1878-1902. 

D. N. B. Dictionary of National Biography. Edited by L. Stephen 
and S. Lee. 66 vols. 1885-1901. 

DORAN. A History of Court Fools. By J. Doran, 1858. 

DOUCE. Illustrations of Shakspeare, and of Ancient Manners : with 
Dissertations on the Clowns and Fools of Shakspeare, and on the English 
Morris Dance. By F. Douce, 1839. 

DOUHET. Dictionnaire des Mysteres. Par Jules, Comte de Douhet, 
1854. Q. P. Migne, Encyclopedic Thtologigue, Series II, vol. xliii.] 

DRAKE. Shakespeare and his Times. By N. Drake. Paris, 1838. 

DREUX DE RADIER. Histoire des Fous en titre d'Office. Par 
J. F. Dreux de Radier, 1768. [In Recreations Historigues.] 

DREVES. Zur Geschichte der Fete des Fous. Von G. M. Dreves, 
1894. \Stimmen aus Maria-Laach^ vol. xlvii.] 

See also Analecta Hymnica. 

DUCANGE. Glossarium mediae et infimae Latinitatis conditum a Du 
Cangio, auctum a monachis Ordinis S. Benedicti, cum supplements 
Carpenterii suisque digessit G. A. L. Henschel. Editio nova, aucta a 
L. Favre. 10 vols. 1883-7. 

DUCHESNE. Origines du Culte chre'tien : tude sur la Liturgie avant 
Charlemagne. Par l'Abb L. Duchesne. 2nd ed. 1898. [A 3rd ed. was 
published in 1902, and a translation, by M. L. McLure, under the title of 
Christian Worship: its Origin and Evolution, in 1903.] 

DUGDALE. Origines luridiciales : or, Historical Memorials of the 
English Laws . . . Inns of Court and Chancery. By W. Dugdale. 2nd 
ed. 1671. 

DUGDALE, Monasticon. Monasticon Anglicanum : or, the History of 
the Ancient Abbies and other Monasteries, Hospitals, Cathedral and 
Collegiate Churches in England and Wales. By Sir W, Dugdale. A 
new edition by J. Caley, Sir H. Ellis, and the Rev. B. Bandinel. 6 vols. 1846. 

Du MRIL. Origines latmes du Theatre moderne, pubhe'es et annote'es 
par M. ddlestand Du Me*ril, 1849. [Has also a Latin title-page, Theatri 
Liturgici quae Latina superstant Monumenta, etc. A facsimile reprint 
was issued in 1896.] 

Du MRIL, La Com. Histoire de la Comedie. Par 6. du Me'ril. 
Period e primitive, 1864. [All published.] 

DUMMLER. Epistolae Merowingici et Karolini Aevi. Recensuit E. L. 
Dlimmler. 3 vols. 1892-9. [M. G. H. Epistolae, iii-v. The 2nd vol. 
contains Alcuin's letters.] 

DURANDUS. Rationale Divinorum Officiorum editum per .... 
Gulielmum Duranti. Haec editio a multis erroribus diligenter correcta. 
[Edidit N. Doard.] Antwerpiae, 1614. See BARTHLEMY. 

Durham Accounts. Extracts from the Account Rolls of the Abbey of 
Durham. Edited by Canon Fowler. 3 vols. 1898-1901. \Surtees Soc. 
xcix, c, ciii.] 



xxii LIST OF AUTHORITIES 

DURR. Commentatio Historica de Episcopo Puerorum, vulgo von 
Schul Bischoff. Von F. A. Diirr, 1755. [In J. Schmidt, Thesaurus fun's 
Ecclesiastici (1774), iii. 58.] 

Du TILLIOT. Mmoires pour servir a 1'Histoire de la Fte des Foux. 
Par M. Du Tilliot, Gentilhomme Ordinaire de S. A. R. Monseigneur le 
Due de Berry, 1751. 

DYER. British Popular Customs, Present and Past. By T. F. 
Thiselton Dyer, 1876. 

EBERT. Die englischen Mysterien. Von A. Ebert, 1859. [Jahrbuch 
fur romanische und englische Literatur^ vol. i.] 

ECKHARDT. Die lustige Person im alteren englischen Drama (bis 
1642). Von E. Eckhardt, 1903. [Palaestra, xvii ; not consulted.] 

E. H. Review. The English Historical Review. 18 vols. 1886-1903. 
[In progress.] 

ELTON. Origins of English History. By C. I. Elton. 2nd ed. 1890. 

EVANS. English Masques. With an introduction by H. A. Evans, 
1897. [ Warwick Library^ 

FABIAN. The New Chronicles of England and France. By R. Fabyan. 
Edited by H. Ellis, 1811. 

FAIRHOLT. Lord Mayor's Pageants. Edited by F. W. Fairholt. 
2 vols. 1843-4. [Percy Soc. xxxviii, xlviii.] 

FEASEY. Ancient English Holy Week CeremoniaL By H. J. Feasey, 
1897. 

FISCHER. Zur Kunstentwickelung der englischen Tragodie von ihren 
ersten Anfangen bis zu Shakespeare. Von R. Fischer, 1893. 

FITCH. Norwich Pageants. The Grocers' Play. From a manuscript 
in possession of R. Fitch, 1856. [Extract from Norfolk Archaeology, 
vol. v.] 

F. L. Folk-Lore : a Quarterly Review of Myth, Tradition, Institution, 
and Custom. 14 vols. 1890-1903. [Organ of F, L. S., in progress.] 

F. L. Congress. The International Folk-Lore Congress, 1891. Papers 
and Transactions. Edited by J. Jacobs and A. Nutt, 1892. 

F. L. Journal. The Folk-Lore Journal, 7 vols. 1883-9. [Organ of 
F. L. S.] 

F.L. Record. The Folk- Lore Record. 5 vols. 1878-82. [Organ of .F.Z.S.] 

FLEAY. C. H. A Chronicle History of the London Stage, 1559-1642. 
By F. G. Fleay, 1890. 

FLOGEL. Geschichte der Hofnarren. Von C. F. Flogel, 1789. 

F. L. S.= Folk-Lore Society. 

FOWLER. The Roman Festivals of the Period of the Republic : an 
Introduction to the Study of the Religion of the Romans. By W. W. 
Fowler, 1899. [Handbooks of Archaeology and Antiquities.] 

FOURN JER. Le Theatre fran^ais avant la Renaissance. Par E. Fournier, 
1872. 

FOXE. The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe. With* a Life of the 
Martyrologist by G. Townsend. [Edited by S. R. Cattley.] 8 vols. 1843-9. 



LIST OF AUTHORITIES xxiii 

FRAZER. The Golden Bough : a Study in Comparative Religion. By 
J. G. Frazer. 2nd ed. 3 vols. 1900. 

FRAZER, Pausanias. Pausanias's Description of Greece. Translated 
with a commentary by J. G. Frazer. 6 vols. 1898. 

FRERE. The Winchester Troper. Edited by W. H. Frere, 1894. 
[Henry Bradshaw Society. "\ 

FRERE, Use of S arum. The Use of Sarum. Edited by W. H. Frere. 

2 vols. 1898-1901. 

See also PROCTER-FRERE. 

FREYMOND. Jongleurs und Menestrels. Von E. Freymond, 1883 
[Halle dissertation.] 

FRIEDLANDER. Darstellungen aus der Sittengeschichte Roms in der 
Zeit von August bis zum Ausgang der Antonine. Von L. Friedlander. 
6th ed. 3 vols. 1888-90. [Das 7^heater is in vol. ii.] 

FRONING. Das Drama des Mittelalters. Herausgegeben von R.Froning. 

3 Parts, 1891. [Deutsche National- Litteratur, xiv.] 

FROUDE. History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Defeat 
of the Spanish Armada. By J. A. Froude. 2nd ed. 1889-95. 

FURNIVALL. The Digby Plays, with an Incomplete Morality of 
Wisdom, who is Christ. Edited by F. J. Furnivall, 1882. [JV. S. S. 
Series vii, I : re-issue for E. E. T. S. 1896.] 

See also LANEHAM, MANNYNG, STAFFORD, STUBBES. 

Furnivall Miscellany. An English Miscellany Presented to Dr. 
Furnivall in Honour of his Seventy-fifth Birthday, 1901. 

GAIDOZ. Etudes de Mythologie gauloise. Par H. Gaidoz. I. Le Dieu 
gaulois du Soleil et le Symbolisme de la Roue, 1886. [Extrait de la 
Revue Archtologique, 1884-85.] 

GASPARY. The History of Early Italian Literature to the Death of 
Dante. Translated from the German of A. Gaspary, by H. Oelsner, 1901. 

GASTE. Les Drames liturgiques de la Cathe"drale de Rouen. Par 
A. Caste*, 1893. [Extrait de la Revue Catholique de Norntandie.] 

GAUTIER. Les Iipope'es franchises. Par L. Gautier, vol. ii. 2nd edition, 
1892. [Lib. ii. chh. xvii-xxi form the section on Les Propagateurs des 
Chansons de Geste. References to this work may be distinguished from 
those to Les Tropaires by the presence of a volume-number.] 

GAUTIER, Bibl. Bibliographic des Chansons de Geste. Par L. Gautier, 
1897. [A section on Les Propagateurs des Chansons de Geste.] 

GAUTIER, Orig. Origines du Th&Ure moderne. Par L. Gautier, 1872. 
[In Le Monde.] 

GAUTIER, Tropaires. Histoire de la Podsie liturgique au Moyen Age. 
Par L. Gautier. Vol. i. Les Tropaires, 1886. [All published.] 

GAYLEY. Representative English Comedies : from the Beginnings to 
Shakespeare. Edited by C. M. Gayley, 1903. 

GAZEAU. Les Bouffons. Par A. Gazeau, 1882. 

GENE. Die englischen Mirakelspiele und Moralitaten als Voriaufer 
des englischen Dramas. Von R. Gene*e, 1878. [Serie xiii, Heft 305 of 



xxiv LIST OF AUTHORITIES 

Sammlung gemeinverstdndlicher wissenschaftlicher Vortrage, heraus- 
gegeben von R. Virchow und Fr. v. Holtzendorff.] 

GIBBON. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. 
By E. Gibbon. Edited by J. B. Bury. 7 vols. 1897-1900. 

GILPIN. The Beehive of the Romish Church. By G. Gilpin, 1579. 
[Translated from Isaac Rabbotenu, of Louvain, 1569,] 

Gloucester F.L. See County Folk- Lore. 

GOEDEKE. Grundrfss zur Geschichte der deutschen Dichtung, aus den 
Quellen, Von K. Goedeke. 2nd ed. 7 vols. 1884-1900. [In progress.] 

Golden Legend. The Golden Legend : or, Lives of the Saints, as 
Englished by W. Caxton. Edited by F. S. Ellis, 1900, &c. [Temple 
Classics.] 

GOLTHER. Handbuch der germanischen Mythologie. Von W. Golther, 

1895. 

GOMME. Ethnology in Folk-lore. By G. L. Gomme, 1892. 

GOMME, Brit. Ass. On the Method of determining the Value of Folk- 
lore as Ethnological Data. By G. L. Gomme, 1896. [In Report of British 
Association for the Advancement of Science. \ 

GOMME, Nature. Christmas Mummers. By G. L. Gomme, 1897. 
\Nature, vol. Ivii.] 

GOMME, Vill. Comm. The Village Community : with special Reference 
to the Origin and Form of its Survivals in Britain. By G. L. Gomme, 1890. 
[Contemporary Science Series.] 

GOMME, MRS. The Traditional Games of England, Scotland, and 
Ireland, with Tunes. Collected and annotated by A. B. Gomme. 2 vols. 
1894-8. [Part i of Dictionary of British Folk- Lore, Edited by G. L. 
Gomme.] 

GOOGE. See KlRCHMAYER. 

GRACIE. The Presentation in the Temple : A Pageant, as originally 
represented by the Corporation of Weavers in Coventry, 1836. [Edited 
by J. B. Gracie for the Abbotsford ^ 7 ub.] 

GRASS. Das Adamsspiel : anglonormannisches Gedicht des xii. Jahr- 
hunderts. Mit einem Anhang ' Die funfzehn Zeichen des jiingsten Gerichts.' 
Herausgegeben von K. Grass, 1891. [Roit^anische Bibliothek^ vi.] 

GRATIAN. See C. I. Can. 

GREEN IDGE. Infamia : Its Place in Roman Public and Private Law. 
By A. H. J. Greenidge, 1894. 

GREG, Masques. A list of Masques, Pageants, &c. Supplementary to 
a list of English Plays. By W. W. Greg, 1902. {Bibliographical Society I\ 

GREG, Plays. A List of English Plays written before 1643, and 
published before 1700. By W. W. Greg, 1900. [Bibliographical Society^ 

GREGORY. Gregorii Posthuma : on Certain Learned Tracts written 
by John Gregory. Published by his Dearest Friend J. G. 1683. [Part II 
of his Works'. A separate title-page for Episcopus Puerorum in Die 
Innocentium : or, A Discovery of an Ancient Custom in th$. Church of 
Sarum, of making an Anniversary Bishop among the Choristers^ 



LIST OF AUTHORITIES xxv 

Gregory's Chronicle. The Historical Collections of a Citizen of London 
in the Fifteenth Century. Edited by J. Gairdner, III, William Gregory's 
Chronicle of London. [C. S. N. S. xvii.] 

GREIN-WOLCKER. Bibliothek der angelsachsischen Poesie. Heraus- 
gegeben von C. W. M. Grein. Neu bearbeitet, vermehrt und heraus- 
gegeben von R. P. Wiilcker. 3 vols. 1883-98. 

GRENIER. Introduction a 1'Histoire ge*ne*rale de la Province de Picardie. 
Par Dom Grenier, 1856. [Me f moires de la Socittt des Antiquaires de 
Picardie. Documents in^dits^ iii.] 

GRIMM. Teutonic Mythology. By J. Grimm. Translated from the 
4th ed. with notes and appendix by J. S. Stallybrass. 4 vols. 1 880-8. 

GROBER. Zur Volkskunde aus Concilbeschliissen und Capitularien. 
Von G. Grober. 1894. 

GROBER, Grundriss. Grundriss der romanischen Philologie. Heraus- 
gegeben von G. Grober. 1888-1902. [In progress. Vol. ii has article 
by G. Grober on Franzosische Litteratur^\ 

GROGS. Play of Animals. The Play of Animals : a Study of Animal 
Life and Instinct. By K. Groos. Translated by E. L. Baldwin, 1898. 

GROOS. Play of Man. The Play of Man. By *K. Gross. Translated 
by E. L. Baldwin, 1901. 

GROSSE. Les Debuts de PArt. Par E. Grosse. Traduit par E. Dirr. 
Introduction par L. Marillier, 1902. \Bibliotheque Scientifique Interna- 
tionale^ 

GROVE. Dancing. By L. Grove, and other writers. With Musical 
examples. 1895. {Badminton Library^ 

GUMMERE, B. P. The Beginnings of Poetry. By F. B. Gummere, 
1901. 

GUMMERE, G. O. Germanic Origins : a Study in Primitive Culture. 
By F. B. Gummere, 1892. 

GUTCH. A Lytell Geste of Robin Hood, with other Ballads relative to 
Robin Hood. Edited by J. M. Gutch. 2 vols. 1847. 

Guv. Essai sur la Vie et les (Euvres litt^raires du Trouvere Adan de 
le Hale. Par H. Guy, 1898. 

HADDAN-STUBBS. Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents relating to 
Great Britain and Ireland. Edited, after Spelman and Wilkins, by A. W. 
Haddan and W. Stubbs. 3 vols. 1869-78. 

HADDON. The Study of Man. By A. C, Haddon, 1898. [Progres- 
sive Science Series.] 

HAIGH. The Tragic Drama of the Greeks. By A, E. Haigh, 1896. 

HALL. The Union of the Families of Lancaster and York. By 
E. Hall. Edited by H. Ellis. 1809. 

HALLIWELL-PHILLIPPS. Outlines of the Life of Shakespeare. By J. 
O. Halliwell-Phillipps. 9th ed. 2 vols. 1890. 

HALLIWELL-PHILLIPS. Revels. A Collection of Ancient Documents 
respecting tfie Office of Master of the Revels, and other Papers relating 
to the Early English Theatre. [By J. O. Halliwell-Phillipps.] 1870. 



xxvi LIST OF AUTHORITIES 

HAMPSON. Medii Aevi Kalendarium : or Dates. Charters and 
Customs of the Middle Ages, &c. By R. T. H amps on. 2 vols. 1841. 

Handlyng Synne. See MANNYNG. 

HARLAND. Lancashire Folk-Lore. By J. Harland and T. T. Wilkin- 
son, 1867. 

HARRIS. Life in an Old English Town : a History of Coventry from 
the Earliest Times. Compiled from Official Records by M. D. Harris, 
1 898. {Social England Series .] 

HARTLAND. The Legend of Perseus : a Study of Tradition in Story, 
Custom and Belief. By E. S. Hartland. 3 vols. 1894-6. 

HARTLAND. Fairy Tales. The Science of Fairy Tales : an Inquiry 
into Fairy Mythology. By E. S. Hartland, 1891. {Contemporary 
Science Series.] 

HARTZHEIM. See SCHANNAT. 

HASE. Miracle Plays and Sacred Dramas. By C A. Hase. Trans- 
lated by A. W. Jackson, 1880. 

HASTINGS. Le The'atre francos et anglais : ses Origines grecques 
et latines. Par C. Hastings, 1900. 

HASTINGS. The Theatre : its Development in France and England. 
By C. Hastings. Translated by F. A. Welby, 1901. 

HAUCK. Kirchengeschichte Deutschlands. Von A. Hauck. 2nd ed. 
3 vols. 1896-1900. 

HAVARD. Les Fetes de nos Peres. Par O. Havard, 1898. 

HAZLITT. Remains of the Early Popular Poetry of England. Collected 
and edited, with introductions and notes, by W. Carew Hazlitt. 4 vols. 
1864-6. [Library of Old Authors.] 

HAZLITT, E. D. S. The English Drama and Stage under the Tudor and 
Stuart Princes, 1543-1664, illustrated by a series of Documents, Treatises, 
and Poems. Edited by W. C. Hazlitt, 1869. {Roxburghe Library^ 

HAZLITT, Liv. The Livery Companies of London. By W. C. Hazlitt, 
1892. 

HAZLITT, Manual. A Manual for the Collector and Amateur of Old 
English Plays. By W. C. Hazlitt, 1892. 

HAZLITT-DODSLEY. A Select Collection of Old Plays. By R. Dodsley. 
Chronologically arranged, revised and enlarged by W. C. Hazlitt. 4th ed. 
15 vols. 1874-6. 

HAZLITT- WARTON. History of English Poetry, from the Twelfth to 
the close of the Sixteenth Century. By T. Warton. Edited by W. C. 
Hazlitt. 4 vols. 1871. 

H. B. S. = Henry Bradshaw Society. 

HEALES. Easter Sepulchres : their Object, Nature, and History. By 
A. Heales, 1868. {Archaeologia, vol. xlii.] 

HEINZEL. Beschreibung des geistlichen Schauspiels im deutschen 
Mittelalter. Von R. Heinzel, 1898. {Beitrage zur A 'sthetik, iv.] 

HENDERSON. Notes on the Folk-Lore of the Northern* Counties of 
England and the Borders. By W. Henderson. 2nd ed. 1879. [F. L. S.] 



LIST OF AUTHORITIES xxvii 

HERBERT. Antiquities of the Inns of Court and Chancery. By W. 
Herbert, 1804. 

HERBERT, Liv. History of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of 
London. By W. Herbert. 2 vols. 1836-7. 

Hereford Missal. Missale ad usum percelebris Ecclesiae Herfordensis. 
Edidit W. G. Henderson, 1874. 

HERFORD. The Literary Relations of England and Germany in the 
Sixteenth Century. By C. H. Herford, 1886. 

HERRTRICH. Studien zu den York Plays. Von O. Herrtrich, 1886. 
[Breslau dissertation ; not consulted.] 

HlGGS. The Christmas Prince. By Griffin Higgs, 1607. [In Miscel- 
lanea Antigua Anglicana, 1816.] 

HILARIUS. Hilarii Versus et Ludi. Edidit J. J. Champollion-Figeac, 
1838. 

HIRN. The Origins of Art: a Psychological and Sociological Enquiry. 
By Yrjo Hirn, 1900. 

Hist. cTAutun. Histoire de l'glise d'Autun. Autun, 1774. 

Hist. Litt. Histoire litte'raire de la France. Par des Religieux be'ne'- 
dictins de la Congregation de S. Maur. Continue'e par des Membres de 
rinstitut. 32 vols. 1733-1898. [In progress.] 

Hist. AfSS. Reports of the Historical Manuscripts Commission, 1883- 
1902. [In progress.] 

HOBHOUSE. Churchwardens' Accounts of Croscombe, Pilton, Yatton, 
Tintinhull, Morebath, and St. Michael's, Bath, 1349-1560. Edited by E. 
Hobhouse, 1890. [Somerset Record Society, vol. iv.] 

HODGKIN. Italy and her Invaders. By T. Hodgkin. 8 vols. 1892-9. 

HOHLFELD. Die altenglischen Kollektivmisterien, unter besonderer 
Beriicksichtigung des Verhaltnisses der York- und Towneley-Spiele. Von 
A. Hohlfeld, 1889. [Anglia, vol. xi.] 

HOLINSHED. Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and 
Ireland. 6 vols. 1807-8. 

HOLTHAUSEN. Noah's Ark : or, the Shipwright's Ancient Play or 
Dirge. Edited by F. Holthausen, 1897. [Extract from Goteborgs Hog- 
skola's Arsskrift^\ 

HONE. Ancient Mysteries described, especially the English Miracle 
Plays, founded on Apocryphal New Testament Story, extant among the 
unpublished Manuscripts in the British Museum. By W. Hone, 1823. 

HONE, E. D. B. The Every Day Book and Table Book. By W. Hone. 
3 vols. 1838. 

Household Ordinances. A Collection of Ordinances and Regulations 
for the Government of the Royal Household, made in divers Reigns from 
King Edward III to King William and Mary, 1790. [Society of Antiquaries 
of London, ,] 

HROTSVITHA. Hrotsvithae Opera. Recensuit et emendavit P. de 
Winterfelc?, 1902. [In Scrip tores Rerum Germanicarum in usum Schola- 
rum ex Mnnumentis Germaniae Historicis separatim 



xxviii LIST OF AUTHORITIES 

HUBATSCH. Die lateinischen Vagantenlieder des Mittelalters. Von 
O. Hubatsch, 1870. 

Indiculus. See SAUPE. 

JAHN. Die deutschen Opfergebrauche bei Ackerbau und Viehzucht. 
Em Beitrag von U. Jahn, 1884. \Germanistische Abhandlungen, heraus- 
gegeben von Karl Weinhold, iii.] 

JEANROY. Les Origines de la Poe'sie lyrique en France au Moyen 
Age : Etudes de Litte'rature franchise et compare*e, suivies de Textes 
ine'dits. Par A. Jeanroy, 1889. 

JEVONS. An Introduction to the History of Religion. By F. B. Jevons, 
1896. 

JEVONS, Plutarch. Plutarch's Romane Questions. Translated A.D. 
1603 by Philemon Holland, Now again edited by F. B. Jevons. With 
Dissertations on Italian Cults, 1892. 

See also SCHRADER. 

JONES, Fasti. Fasti Ecclesiae Sarisburiensis, or A Calendar of the 
Bishops, Deans, Archdeacons, and Members of the Cathedral Body at 
Salisbury, from the Earliest Times to the Present. By W. H. Jones, 1881. 
[Pages 295-301 contain an account of the Boy Bishop at Salisbury.] 

JORDAN. The Creation of the World. By W. Jordan. Edited with a 
translation by Whitley Stokes, 1863. {Transactions of Philological 
Society^ 

JUBINAL. Jongleurs et Trouvres : Choix de Pieces des xiii* et xiv* 
Siecles. Par M. L. A. Jubinal, 1835. 

JUBINAL, Myst. My^teres ine'di's du xv e Si&cle. Par M. L. A. Jubinal. 
2 vols. 1837. 

JUBINAL, N. R. Nouveau Recueil de Contes, Dits, Fabliaux, et autres 
Pieces incites des xiii, xiv, et xv Socles. Par M. L. A. JUBINAL. 
2 vols. 1839-42. 

JULIAN. luliani Imperatoris quae supersunt. Recensuit F. C. Hert- 
lein. 2 vols. 1875-6. 

JULLEVILLE. See PETIT DE JULLEVILLE. 

JUSSERAND. Le Th^itre en Angleterre depuis la Conqudte jusqu'aux 
Pr^d^cesseurs imm^diats de Shakespeare. Par J. J. Jusserand. 2nd ed, 
1881. 

JUSSERAND, E. L. A Literary History of the English People from the 
Origins to the Renaissance. By J. J. Juascrand. Vol. i, 1895. [In 
progress.] 

JUSSERAND, E. W.L. English Wayfaring Life in the Middle Ages. 
By J. J. Jusserand. Translated by L. T. Smith. 4th ed. 1892. [The 
English translation has valuable illustrations.] 

KEARY. The Vikings in Western Christendom: A.D. 789 to A.D. 888. 
By C. F. Keary, 1891. 

KELLER. Fastnachtspiele aus dem 15. Jahrhundert. Von A. von 
Keller, 1853-8. , 

KELLY. Notices Illustrative of the Drama, and other Popular Amuse- 



LIST OF AUTHORITIES xxix 

ments, chiefly in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, incidentally 
illustrating Shakespeare and his Contemporaries; extracted from the 
Chamberlain's Accounts and other Manuscripts of the Borough of Leices- 
ter. With an introduction and notes by W. Kelly, 1865. 

KEMBLE. The Saxons in England : a History of the English Common- 
wealth till the Period of the Norman Conquest By J. M. Kemble. 2 vols. 
1849. 

KEMPE. Manuscripts and other rare Documents from the Reign of 
Henry VIII to that of James I, preserved in the Muniment Room at 
Loseley House. Edited by A. J. Kempe, 1835. 

KIRCHMAYER. The Popish Kingdom, or reigne of Antichrist, written 
in Latine verse by Thomas Naogeorgus (or Kirchmayer), and englyshed 
by Barnabe Googe, 1570. [See STUBBES.] 

KLEIN. Geschichte des Dramas. Von J. L. Klein. 13 vols. 1865-76. 
Register-Band von T. Ebner, 1886. [Vol. ii contains * Das Drama der 
Rdmer/ vol. iii * Die lateinischen Schauspiele/ vols. xii, xiii ' Das englische 
Drama.'] 

KNAPPERT. Le Christianisme et le Paganisme dans PHistoire eccle*- 
siastique de Bede le Ve"ne>able. Par L. Knappert, 1897. [In Revue de 
t Histoire des Religions, vol xxxv.] 

K6GEL. Geschichte der deutschen Litteratur bis zum Ausgange des 
Mittelalters. Von R. Kogel. 2 vols. 1894-7. [All published.] 

KOPPEN. Beitrage zur Geschichte der deutschen Weihnachtsspiele. 
Von W. Koppen, 1893. 

KORTING. Geschichte des Theaters in seinen Beziehungen zur Kunst- 
entwickelung der dramatischen Dichtkunst. Erster Band: Geschichte 
des griechischen undromischen Theaters, Von G. Korting, 1897. 

KORTING, Grundriss. Grundriss der Geschichte der englischen Litte- 
ratur von ihren Anfangen bis zur Gegenwart. Von G. Korting. 3rd ed. 1899. 

KRAMER. Sprache und Heimath der Coventry-Plays. Von M. Kramer. 
[Not consulted.] 

KRUMBACHER. Geschichte der byzantinischen Litteratur von Justinian 
bis zum Ende des ostromischen Reiches (527-1423). Von K. Krumbacher. 
2nd ed. 1897. [Vol. ix. Pt I of Handbuch der klassiscken Altertums- 
ivissenschaft) herausgegeben von Dr. I. von Muller.] 

LABB^ Sacrosanct a Concilia. Studio Philippi Lab be i et Gabrielis 
Cossartii. 17 vols. 1671-2. 

LACROIX. Dissertation sur les Fous des Rois de France. Par P. 
Lacroix. [pseud. P. L. Jacob.] 

LANEHAM. Captain Cox, his Ballads and Books: or Robert Laneham's 
Letter. Re-edited by F. J. Furnivall, 1871. [Ballad Society, vii. Re- 
printed with slight alterations for N.S. S., series vi. 14 in 1890.] 

Lang, et Litt. Histoire de la Langue et de la Literature franchise, 
des Origines a 1900. Publics sous la direction de L. Petit de Julleville, 
1896-1900. JTom. i, in two parts, covers the Moyen Age : the articles 
are by various specialists.] 



xxx LIST OF AUTHORITIES 

LANG, M. of R. The Making of Religion. By A. Lang. 2nd ed. 
1900. 

LANG, M.R.R. Myth, Ritual, and Religion. By A. Lang. 2 vols. 
1887. 2nd ed. 1899. 

LANGE. Die lateinischen Osterfeiern : Untersuchungen liber den Ur- 
sprung und die Entwickelung der liturgisch-dramatischen Auferstehungs- 
feier. Von C. Lange, 1887. 

LAVOIX. La Musique au Siecle de Saint-Louis. Par H. Lavoix. 
[Contributed to G. Raynaud, Recueil de Motets franqais, vol. ii.] 

LEACH. The Schoolboys' Feast. By A. F. Leach, 1896. [Fortnightly 
Review, vol. lix.] 

LEACH, Beverley MSS. Report on the Manuscripts of the Corporation 
of Beverley. By A. F. Leach, 1900. [Hist. MSS.] 

LEBER. Collection des meilleures Dissertations, Notices, et Trace's 
particuliers, relatifs a 1'Histoire de France. Par C. Leber, J. B. Salgues 
et J. Cohen. 20 vols. 1826-38. 

Leicester F. L. See Country Folk-Lore. 

LELAND. lohannis Lelandi de Rebus Britannicis Collectanea. Cum 
T. Hearnii praefationibus, notis, &c. Accedunt de Rebus Anglicis Opu- 
scula varia. 2nd ed. 6 vols. 1774. 

LE ROY. Etudes sur les Mysteres. Par O. Le Roy, 1837. 

L.H. T. Accounts. Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland. 
Edited by Thomas Dickson (vol. i, 1473-1498) and Sir J. B. Paul (vols. ii, 
1500-1504; iii, 1506-1507), 1877-1901. 

Lincoln Statutes. Statutes of Lincoln Cathedral. Arranged by 
H. Bradshaw ; with Illustrative Documents, edited by C. Wordsworth. 
2 vols. 1892-7. 

LIPENIUS. Martini Lipenii Strenarum Historia, 1699 [in J. G. Graevius. 
Thesaurus Antiquitatum Romanarum, xii. 409.] 

LOLIE. La Fte des Fous. Par F. Loli^e, 1898. [In Revue des 
Revues, vol. xxv.] 

London Chronicle. A Chronicle of London, from 1089 to 1483. [Edited 
by N. H. Nicolas or Edward Tyrrell], 1827. 

Ludus Coventriae. Ludus Coventriae. A Collection of Mysteries, 
formerly represented at Coventry on the Feast of Corpus Christi. Edited 
by J. O. Halliwell, 1841 [Shakespeare Society]. 

LUICK. Zur Geschichte des englischen Dramas im xvi. Jahrhundert. 
Von K. Luick, 1898. [In Forschungen zur neueren Litter aturges chicht e : 
Festgabe fur Richard Heinzel^\ 

MAASSEN. Concilia Aevi Merovingici. Recensuit F. Maassen, 1893. 
[M. G. H. Leges, Sectio iii.] 

MACHYN. The Diary of Henry Machyn, Citizen and Merchant-Taylor 
of London, 1550-63. Edited by J. G. Nichols, 1848. [C. S. O. S. xlii.] 

MACLAGAN. The Games and Diversions of Argyleshire. By R. C. 
Maclagan, 1901. [F. L. S.] 

MAGNIN. Les Origines du Theatre moderne, ou Histoite du Ge*nie 



LIST OF AUTHORITIES xxxi 

dramatique depuis le I** jusqu'au xvi 6 Sifccle. Par C. Magnin, 1838. 
[Vol. i only published, containing introductory ' Etudes sur les Origines 
du Theatre antique.' Notes of Magnin's lectures in the Journal gtntral 
de F Instruction publique (1834-6) and reviews in the Journal des Savants 
(1846-7) partly cover the ground of the missing volumes.] 

MAGNIN, Marionnettes. Histoire des Marionnettes en Europe. Par 
C. Magnin. 2nd ed. 1862. 

MALLESON-TUKER. Handbook to Christian and Ecclesiastical Rome. 
By H. Mfalleson] and M. A. R. T[uker]. 3 vols. 1897-1900. 

MANLY. Specimens of the Pre-Shaksperean Drama. With an intro- 
duction, notes, and a glossary. By J. M. Manly. 3 vols. 1897. 
\AthencBum Press Series ; 2 vols. only yet published.] 

MANNHARDT. Waid- und Feld-Kulte. Von W. Mannhardt. 2 vols. 

1875-7- 

MANNING. Oxfordshire Seasonal Festivals. By P. Manning, 1897. 

[Folk- Lore, vol. viii.] 

MANNYNG. Roberd [Mannyng] of Brunne's Handlyng Synne. Edited 
by F. J. Furnivall, 1862. [Roxbvrghe Club ; a new edition promised for 
E. E. T. S.} 

MANSI. Sacrorum Conciliorum Nova et Amplissima Collectio. Editio 
novissima a patre J. D. Mansi. 30 vols. Florence, 1769-92. 

MAP. See WRIGHT. 

MARKLAND. Chester Mysteries. De deluvio Noe, De occisione in- 
nocentium. Edited by J. H. Markland, 1818. \Roxburghe Club.} 

MARQUARDT-MOMMSEN. Handbuch der romischen Alterthiimer. 
Von J. Marquardt und T. Mommsen. 3rd ed. 7 vols. 1881-8. 

MARRIOTT. A Collection of English Miracle- Plays or Mysteries. 
Edited by W. Marriott. Basle, 1838. 

MARTENE. De Antiquis Ecclesiae Ritibus Libri Tres collecti atque 
exornati ab Edmundo Martene. Editio novissima, 1783. [This edition 
has a 4th vol., De Monachorum Ritibus.] 

MARTIN OF BRAGA. Martin von Bracara's Schrift : De Correctione 
Rusticorum, herausgegeben von C. P. Caspari, 1883. [ Videnskabs-Selskab 
of Christiania.] 

MARTIN ENGO-CESARESCO. Essays in the Study of Folk-Songs. By 
the Countess E. Martinengo-Cesaresco, 1886. 

MARTONNE. La Pie*t du Moyen Age. Par A. de Martonne, 1855. 

MASKELL. The Ancient Liturgy of the Church of England according 
to the Uses of Sarum, York, Hereford, Bangor, and the Roman Liturgy. 
By W. Maskell. 3rd ed. 1882. 

MASKELL, Mon. Rtt. Monumenta Ritualia Ecclesiae Anglicanae. 
Occasional Offices according to the ancient Use of Salisbury, &c. By 
W. Maskell. 2nd ed. 3 vols. 1882. 

MAUGRAS. Les Comddiens bors la Loi. Par G. Maugras, 1887. 

MAYER. Ein deutsches Schwerttanzspiel aus Ungarn. Von F. A. 
Mayer, 1889. {Zeitschrift fur Volkerpsychologie^ 



xxxii LIST OF AUTHORITIES 

Mtlusine. Melusine: Recueil de Mythologie, Literature popilairc, 
Traditions et Usages, 1878, 1883, &c. 

MERBOT. Aesthetische Studien zur angelsiichsischen Poesie. Von 
R. Merbot, 1883. 

Merc. Fr. Le Mercure de France. 974 vols. 1724-91. 

MEYER. Fragmenta Burana. Herausgegeben von W. Meyer aus 
Speyer, 1901. [Sonderabdruck aus der Festschrift zur Feier des 150 
jahrigen Bestehens der Kbniglichen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu 
Gottingen^ 

MEYER, Germ. Myth. Germanische Mythologie. Par E. H. Meyer, 1891. 

M. G. H. Monumenta Germaniae Historiae. Auspiciis Societatis 
Aperiendis Fontibus Rerum Germanicarum Medii Aevi. Edidit G. H, 
Pertz, T. Mommsen, et alii, 1826-1902. [In progress, under various series, 
as Auctores Antiquissimi, Efistolae, Leges, Scriptores, &c. Indices, 1 890.] 

MICHELS. Studien iiber die altesten deutschen Fastnachtspiele. Von 
V. Michels, 1896. [Quellen und Forschungcn, Ixxvii.] 

MICKLETHWAITE. The Ornaments of the Rubric. By J. T. Mickle- 
thwaite, 1897. [Alcuin Club Tracts, I.] 

MILCHSACK. DieOster-und Passionsspiele: literar-historische Unter- 
suchungen iiber den Ursprung und die Entwickelung derselben bis zum 
siebenzehnten Jahrhundert, vornehmlich in Deutschland. Von G. Milch- 
sack, i, Die lateinischen Osterfeiern, 1880. [All published.] 

Miracles de Nostre Dame. Miracles de Nostre Dame par Personnages. 
Public's d'apres le manuscrit de la Bibliotheque Nationale par G. Paris et 
U. Robert. 8 vols. 1876-93. [SociM des Anciens Textes Franfais.] 

MOGK. Mythologie. Von E. Mogk. 2nd ed. 1897-8. [In Paul, 
Grundriss, 2nd ed. vol. iii.] 

MOMMSEN, C. I. L. Inscriptiones Latinae Antiquissimae. Editio 
Altera. Pars Prior. Cura Theodori Mommsen [et aliorum], 1893. 
[Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, vol. i. part i.] 

See MARQUARDT-MOMMSEN. 

MONACI. Appunti per la Storia del Teatro italiano. Per E. Monaci, 
1872-5. \Rivista di Filologia Romama, i, ii.] 

Monasticon. See DUGDALE. 

MONE. Schauspiele des Mittelalters, Herausgegeben und erkiart von 
F. J. Mone. 2 vols. 1846. 

MONE. Altteutsche Schauspiele. Herausgegeben von F. J. Mone, 1 835. 

MoNMERQU&MlCHEL. Theatre francais au Moyen Age. Public' 
d'apres les Manuscrits de la Bibliotheque du Roi par L. J. N. Monmerque' 
ct F. Michel, 1839. 

MONTAIGLON-RAYNAUD. Recueil ge*ne*ral et complet des Fabliaux 
des treizieme et quatorzieme Siecles. Par A. de Montaiglon et G. Ray- 
naud. 6 vols. 1872-90. 

MONTAIGLON-ROTHSCHILO. Recueil de Poesies francjaises des quin- 
zieme et seizieme Siecles. Par A. de Montaiglon et J. de JRothschild. 
13 vols. 1855-78. 



LIST OF AUTHORITIES xxxiii 

MOREAU. Fous et Bouffons. tude physiologique, psychologique et 
historique par P. Moreau, 1885. 

MORLEY. Memoirs of Bartholomew Fair. By H. Morley, 1859. 

MORLEY, E. W. English Writers : an Attempt towards a History of 
English Literature. By H. Morley. n vols. 1887-95. 

MORRIS. Chester in the Plantagenet and Tudor Reigns. By Rupert 
Morris, 1893. 

MORTENSEN, Medeltidsdramat i Frankrike. By Dr. Mortensen, 1899. 
[Not consulted.] 

MULLEN HOFF. Ueber den Schwerttanz. Von K. Miillenhoff, 1871. 
[In Festgabenfiir Gustav Homey er, zum 28. Juli 1871 (Berlin). Miillen- 
hofTs essay is contained in pages in to 147 ; he published additions to 
it in Zeitschriftfitr devtsches Alterthum, xviii. 9 ; xx. 10.] 

Mt)LLER, E. Le Jour de 1'An et les trennes, chez tous ies Peuples 
dans tous les Temps. Par E. Muller, n. d. 

MULLER, P. E. Commentatio Historica de Genio, Moribus et Luxu 
Aevi Theodosiani. By P. E. Muller. 2 parts, 1797-8. 

N. E. D. A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles, founded 
mainly on the Materials collected by the Philological Society. Edited 
by J. A. H. Murray, H. Bradley, and W. A. Craigie. Vols. 1-6, 1888-1903. 
[In progress,] 

NEWELL. Gamesand Songs of American Children. ByW.W.Newell,i884. 

NICHOLS, Elizabeth. Progresses and Public Processions of Queen 
Elizabeth. With historical notes, &c., by J. Nichols. 2nd ed. 3 vols. 1823. 

NiCHOLS, James I. Progresses, Processions, and Festivities of James I, 
his Court, &c. By J. Nichols. 4 vols. 1828. 

NICHOLS, Pageants. London Pageants. By J. G. Nichols, 1837. 

NICHOLSON. Golspie : Contributions to its Folklore. Edited by 
E. W. B. Nicholson, 1897. 

NICK. Hof- und Volksnarren. Von A. F. Nick, 1861. 

Noctes Shaksperianae. Noctes Shaksperianae : Papers edited by 
C. H. Hawkins, 1887. {Winchester College Shakespere Society.} 

NOLDECHEN. Tertullian und das Theater. Von E. Noldechen, 1894. 
\Zeitschriftfur Kirchengeschichte^ xv. 161.] 

Norf. Arch. Norfolk Archaeology : or, Miscellaneous Tracts relating 
to the Antiquities of the County of Norfolk, 1847-1903. [In progress : 
transactions of Norfolk and Norwich Archaeological Society. ~\ 

N ORRIS. The Ancient Cornish Drama. Edited and translated by 
E. Norris. 2 vols. 1859. 

NORTHALL, English Folk-Rhymes: a Collection of Traditional Verses 
relating to Places and Persons, Customs, Superstitions, &c. By G. F. 
Northall, 1892. 

Northern F. L. See HENDERSON. 

N. Q. Notes and Queries: a Medium of Intercommunication for 
Literary Men and General Readers. 107 vols. 1850-1903. [Ninth 
decennial series in progress.] 



CHAMBERS. I 



xxxiv LIST OF AUTHORITIES 

N. S. S. -s New Shakspere Society. 

OLRIK. Middelalderens vandrende Spillemaend. By A. Olrik, 1887. 
[In Opuscula Philologica, Copenhagen ; not consulted.] 

OPORINUS. Dramata Sacra, Comoediae et Tragoediae aliquot e Veteri 
Testamento desumptae. 2 vols. Basileae, Oporinus, 1 547. 

ORDISH. English Folk-Drama. By T. F. Ordish, 1891-3. [Folk- 
Lore ', vols. ii, iv.] 

OROSIUS. Pauli Orosii Historiarum adversus Paganos libri vii. 
Recensuit C. Zangemeister, 1882. [C. S. E. L. vol. v.] 

OWEN- BLAKE WAY. A History of Shrewsbury. [By H. Owen and 
J. B. Blakeway.] 2 vols. 1825. 

PADELFORD. Old English Musical Terms. By F. M. Padelford, 1899. 

PARIS. La LitteYature fransaise au Moyen Age. Par G. Paris. 
2nd edition, 1890. [A volume of the Manuel (Pancien Fran$ais.~] 

PARIS, Orig. Les Origines de la Poe*sie lyrique en France au Moyen 
Age. Par G. Paris, 1892. [Extrait du Journal des Savants.} 

Paston Letters. The Paston Letters; 1422-1509 A. D. Edited by 
J. Gairdner. 2nd ed. 4 vols. 1900. 

PAUL, Grundriss. Grundriss der germanischen Philologie. Heraus- 
gegeben von H. Paul. 2nd ed. 1896-1902. [In progress.] 

PEARSON. The Chances of Death and other Studies in Evolution. 
By K. Pearson. 2 vols. 1897. 

PERCY. Reliques of Ancient English Poetry. By Thomas Percy. 
Edited by H. B. Wheatley. 3 vols. 1876. [Vol. i contains an Essay on 
the Ancient Minstrels in England.] 

PERCY, N. H. B. The Regulations and Establishment of the House- 
hold of Henry Algernon Percy, the fifth Earl of Northumberland, &c. 
Edited by T. Percy, 1827. 

PERTZ. See M. G. H. 

PETIT DE JULLEVILLE. Les Mysteres. Par L. Petit de Julleville. 
2 vols. 1880. [Forms, with three following, the Histoire du Theatre en 
France.] 

PETIT DE JULLEVILLE, La Com. La Come*die et les Moeurs en France 
au Moyen Age. Par L. Petit de Julleville, 1886. 

PETIT DE JULLEVILLE, Les Com. Les Come'diens en France au Moyen 
Age. Par L. Petit de Julleville, 1889. 

PETIT DE JULLEVILLE, Rty. Com. Repertoire du Theatre Comique 
en France au Moyen Age. Par L. Petit de Juileville, 1886. 

See also Lang, et Litt. 

PFANNENSCHMIDT. Germanische Erntefeste im heidnischen und 
christlichen Cultus mit besonderer Beziehung auf Niedersachsen. Von H. 
Pfannenschmidt, 1878. 

P. G. Patrologiae Cursus Completus, seu Bibliotheca Universalis, 
Integra, Unifonnis, Commoda, Oeconomica, Omnium SS. Patrum, Do- 
ctorum Scriptorumve Ecclesiasticorum, &c. ; Series Graecaff Accurante 
J. P. Migne. 161 vols. 1857-66. 



LIST OF AUTHORITIES xxxv 

PHILPOT. The Sacred Tree : or the Tree in Religion and Myth. By 
Mrs. J. H. Philpot, 1897. 

PiCOT. La Sottie en France. Par E. Picot, 1878. [In Romania, 
vol. vii.] 

PILOT DE THOREY. Usages, Fetes, et Coutumes, existant ou ayant 
existd en Dauphine*. Par J. J. A. Pilot de Thorey. 2 vols. 1884. 

P. L. Patrologiae Cursus Completes, &c. Series Latina. Accurante 
J. P. Migne. 221 vols. 1844-64. 

PLUMMER. See BEDE, E. H. 

POLLARD. English Miracle Plays, Moralities, and Interludes : Speci- 
mens of the Pre-Elizabethan Drama. Edited by A. W. Pollard. 3rd ed. 
1898. 

See also Toivneley Plays. 

PRELLER. Romische Mythologie. Von L. Preller. 3rd ed. by 
H. Jordan. 2 vols. 1881-3. 

PROCTER-FRERE. A New History of the Book of Common Prayer. 
By F. Procter. Revised and rewritten by W. H. Frere, 1901. 

PROLSS. Geschichte des neueren Dramas. Von R. Prolss. 3 vols. 
1881-3. 

Proinptorium Parvulorum. Promptorium Parvulorum seu Clericorum : 
Lexicon Anglo-Latinum Princeps, Auctore Fratre Galfrido Grammatico 
Dicto, circa 1440. Recensuit A. Way. 3 vols. 1843-65. [C. S. O. s. xxv, 
liv, Ixxxix.] 

PRYNNE. Histrio-Mastix. The Players Scourge or Actors Tragedie. 
By W. Prynne, 1633. 

PUECH. St. Jean Chrysostome et les Moeurs de son Temps. Par 
A. Puech, 1891. 

RAMSAY, f. E. The Foundations of England, or Twelve Centuries of 
British History; B.C. 55-A.D. 1154. By Sir J. H. Ramsay. 2 vols. 
1898. 

RAMSAY, L. Y. Lancaster and York: 1399-1485. By Sir J. H. 
Ramsay. 2 vols. 1892. 

RASHDALL. The Universities of the Middle Ages. By H. Rashdall. 
2 vols. 1895. 

RAYNAUD. Recueil de Motets fran^ais des douzieme et treizieme 
Siecles, avec notes, &c., par G. Raynaud. Suivi d'une Iitude sur la Mu- 
sique au Siecle de S. Louis par H. Lavoix fils. 2 vols. 1881-3. 

Regularis Concordia. De Consuetudine Monachorum. Herausgegeben 
von W. S. Logemann, 1891-3. [Anglia, vols. xiii, xv.] 

REIDT. Das geistliche Schauspiel des Mittelalters in Deutschland. 
Von H. Reidt, 1868. 

REINERS. Die Tropen-, Prosen- und Prafations-Gesange des feierlichen 
Hochamtes im Mittelalter. Von A. Reiners, 1884. [Not consulted.] 

Reliquiae Antiquae. See WRIGHT-HALLIWELL. 

Rev. Celt. Revue Celtique, dirige'e par H. Gaidoz [afterwards H. 
D*Arbois de Jubainville], 24 vols. 1890-1903. [In progress.] 

C 2 



xxxvi LIST OF AUTHORITIES 

Rev. Hist. ReL Annales du Muse'e Guimet. Revue de 1'Histoire des 
Religions. 46 vols. 1880-1902. [In progress.] 

Rev. T. P. Revue des Traditions populaires, 1 886, &c. [Organ of 
ScriMe 1 des Traditions populaires^ 

RHYS, C. F. Celtic Folklore : Welsh and Manx. By J.Rhys. 2 vols. 1901. 

RHYS, C. H. Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion as 
illustrated by Celtic Heathendom. By J. Rhys, 1888. [The Hibbert 
Lectures for 1886.] 

RIBTON-TURNER. A History of Vagrants and Vagrancy. By C. J. 
Ribton-Turner, 1887. 

RIGOLLOT. Monnaies inconnues des Eve"ques des Innocens, des Fous, 
et de quelques autres Associations singulieres du meme Temps. Par 
M. J. R[igollot] d'Amiens. Avec une introduction par C. Lfeber]. 2 vols. 
(Texte et Planches), 1837. ' 

RILEY. Memorials of London and London Life : a series of Extracts 
from the Archives of the City of London, 1276-1419. Translated and 
edited by H. T. Riley, 1868. 

RIMBAULT. Two Sermons Preached by the Boy Bishop. Edited by 
J. G. Nichols. With an introduction giving an account of the Festival 
of the Boy Bishop in England. By E. F. Rimbault, 1875. \Camden 
Miscellany ', vol. vii. C. S.] 

RlTSON. Ancient English Metrical Romancees. Selected and published 
by J. Ritson. 2 vols. 1802. [Vol. I contains a Dissertation on Romance 
and Minstrelsy^ 

RJTSON, Bibl. Poet. Bibliographia Poetica : a Catalogue of English 
Poets, from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries, with an account of their 
Works. By J. Ritson, 1802. 

RITSON, Robin Hood. Robin Hood : a Collection of all the Ancient 
Poems, Songs, and Ballads now extant, relative to that Outlaw. Edited 
by J. Ritson, 1795. 

RITSON, Songs. Ancient Songs and Ballads, from Henry II to the 
Revolution. By J. Ritson. 3rd ed., revised by W. C. Hazlitt, 1877. 

Ritual Commission. Second Report of the Commissioners Appointed 
to Inquire into the Rubrics, Orders, and Directions for Regulating the 
Course and Conduct of Public Worship, &c., 1868. [A Parliamentary 
paper. Appendix E (pp. 399-685) is a reprint of Injunctions and Visita- 
tion Articles from 1561 to 1730.] 

ROCK. The Church of our Fathers, in St. Osmund's Rite for Salisbury, 
&c. By D. Rock. 3 vols. 1849-53. 

Romania. Romania : Recueil trimestriel consacre* a 1'litude des Langues 
et des Litte*ratures romanes. 32 vols. 1872-1903. [In progress.] 

ROSCHER, Lexicon. Ausfuhrliches Lexicon der griechischen und 
romischen Mythologie. Herausgegeben von W. H. Roscher, 1884-97. 
[In progress.] 

ROVENHAGEN. Alt-englische Dramen. I. Die geistlichen^Schauspiele. 
Von Prof. Dr. Rovenhagen, 1879. 



LIST OF AUTHORITIES xxxvii 

R. 5.=Remm Britannicarum Medii Aevi Scriptores, or, Chronicles 
and Memorials of Great Britain and Ireland during the Middle Ages. 
Published under the direction of the Master of the Rolls, 1858-99. [Rolls 
Series.} 

RYMER. Foedera, Conventiones, Literae, et cuiuscumque generis Acta 
Publica. Accurante Thoma Rymer. 20 vols. 1704-35. 

SAINTSBURY. A Short History of English Literature. By G. Saintsbury, 
1898. 

SAINTSBURY, Ren. The Earlier Renaissance. By G. Saintsbury, 1901. 
[Periods of European Literature , v.] 

SALVIAN. Salviani Presbyteri Massiliensis Opera Omnia. Recensuit 
Franciscus Pauly, 1883. [C.S.E.L. viii. The references in the text are 
to the De Gubernatione Dei.} 

SANDYS. Christmastide : its History, Festivities, and Carols. By W. 
Sandys, n. d. 

SANDYS, Carols. Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern, &c. With 
an introduction and notes by W. Sandys, 1833. 

Sarum Breviary. Breviarium ad usum insignis Ecclesiae Sarum. 
Labore F. Procter et C. Wordsworth. 3 vols. 1882-6. 

Sarum Manual. See York Manual. 

Sarum Missal. Missale ad usum insignis et praeclarae Ecclesiae 
Sarum. Labore et studio F. H. Dickinson, 1861-83. 

Sarum Processional. Processionale ad usum Sarum. Edited by W. 
G. Henderson, 1882. [From Rouen edition of 1508.] See WORDSWORTH, 
Proc. 

SATHAS. 'Ierropucoi> doKt/uop Trcpi roO Qfdrpov KOI TTJ? /xouatKrjy rS>v &vavrivd>l> . 
By K. N. Sathas, Venice, 1878. 

SAUPE. Der Indiculus Superstitionum et Paganiarum : ein Verzeichnis 
heidnischer und aberglaubischer Gebrauche und Meinungen aus der Zeit 
Karls des Grossen. Von H. A. Saupe, 1891. [Leipziger Programm.] 

SCHACK. Geschichte der dramatischen Litteraturund Kunst in Spanien. 
Von A. F. von Schack. 3 vols. 1845-6. 

SCHAFF. History of the Christian Church. By P. Schaff. 2nd ed. 
12 vols. 1883-93. 

SCHAFFER. Geschichte des spanischen Nationaldramas. Von A. 
Schaffer, 1890. 

SCHANNAT. Concilia Germaniae, quae J. F. Schannat primum collegit, 
deinde J. Hartzheim auxit. n vols. 1759-90. 

SCHELLJNG. The English Chronicle Play : a Study in the Popular 
Historical Literature environing Shakespeare. By F. E. Schelling, 1902. 

SCHERER. Geschichte der deutschen Litteratur. Von W. Scherer. 
8th ed. 1899. [Eng. transl. from 3rd ed. by Mrs. F. C. Conybeare, 
1886.] 

SCHMELLER. Carmina Burana : lateinische und deutsche Lieder und 
Gedichte emer Handschrift des xiii. Jahrhunderts aus Benedictbeuem. 
Herausgegeben von J. A. Schmeller, 3rd edition, 1894. 



xxxviii LIST OF AUTHORITIES 

SCHMIDT. Die Digby-Spiele. Von K. Schmidt, 1884. [Berlin dis- 
sertation : continued in Anglia, vol. viii.] 

SCHMITZ. Die Bussbucher und die Bussdisciplin der Kirche. Von 
H. J. Schmitz, 1883. 

SCHONBACH. Ober die Marienklagen. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte 
der geistlichen Dichtung in Deutschland. Von A. E. Schonbach, 1874. 

SCHRADER. Reallexicon der indo-germanischen Altertumskunde. Von 
O. Schrader, 1901. 

SCHRADER-JEVONS. Prehistoric Antiquities of the Aryan People. 
Translated from the * Sprachvergleichung und Urgeschichte ' of O. Schrader 
by F. B. Jevons, 1890. 

SCHUCKING. Studien iiber die stofTlichen Beziehungen der englischen 
Komodie zur italienischen bis Lilly, Von L. L. Schucking, 1901. [Studien 
zur englischen Philologie, ix.] 

SCHULTZ. Das hofische Leben zur Zeit der Minnesinger. Von 
A. Schultz. 2 vols. 2nd edition, 1889. 

SEIFERT. Wit-und-Science Moralitaten. Von J. Seifert, 1892. [Not 
consulted.] 

SEPET. Les Prophetes du Christ. tude sur les Origines du Theatre 
au Moyen Age. Par Marius Sepet, 1878. [First published in Bibl. des 
Charles, vols. xxviii, xxix, xxxviii, from which I quote.] 

SEPET, D. C. Le Drame Chretien au Moyen Age. Par Marius Sepet, 
1878. 

SEPET, Or. Origines catholiques du Theatre moderne. Par Marius 
Sepet, 1901. 

SHARP. A Dissertation on the Pageants or Dramatic Mysteries, 
anciently performed at Coventry. By T. Sharp, 1825. 

SHARP. Dtgby Plays. Ancient Mysteries from the Digby Manuscripts 
in the Bodleian. Edited by T. Sharp, 1835. [Abbotsford Club.] 

Sh.-Jahrbuch. Jahrbuch der Deutschen Shakespeare-Gesellschaft. 
38 vols. 1865-1902. 

SIMPSON. The Buddhist Pray ing- wheel : a Collection of Material 
bearing upon the Symbolism of the Wheel and Circular Movements in 
Custom and Religious Ritual. By W. Simpson, 1896. 

SlTTL. Die Gebarden der Griechen und Romer. Von C. Sittl, 1890. 

SMITH, GREGORY. The Transition Period. By G. Gregory Smith, 
1900. [Periods of European Literature^ 

SMITH, ROBERTSON. Lectures on the Religion of the Semites : First 
Series, The Fundamental Institutions. By W. Robertson Smith. 2nd ed. 
1894. 

SMITH, TOULMIN. English Gilds : Original Ordinances of more than 
a Hundred Gilds. Edited with notes by J. T. Smith, 1870. [. .T.S.x\.] 

SORGEL. Die englischen Maskenspiele. Von G. Sorgel, 1882. 
[Halle dissertation.] 

S. P. Dom. Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series, of the Reigns 
of Edward VI, Mary, Elizabeth, and James I. 12 vols. 1856-72. 



LIST OF AUTHORITIES xxxix 

SPECHT. Geschichte des Unterrichtswesens in Deutschland. Von 
F. A. Specht, 1885. 

SPENCE. Shetland Folk-Lore. By J. Spence, 1899. 

STAFFORD. A Compendious or Brief Examination of Certain Ordinary 
Complaints. By W. Stafford, 1581. Edited by F. J. Furnivall, 1876. 
[AT. S. S. Series vi. 3.] 

STEPHENS- HUNT. A History of the English Church. Edited by 
W. R. W. Stephens and W. Hunt. 4 vols. 1899-1902. [In progress.] 

STODDARD. References for Students of Miracle Plays and Mysteries. 
By F. H. Stoddard, 1887. {University of California Library Bidletin, 
No. viii.] 

STOWE, Annals. Annales, or a general Chronicle of England. By 
J. Stowe. Continued to the end of 1631 by E. Howes, 1631. 

STOWE, Survey. A Survey of London. By J. Stowe. Edited by 
W. J. Thorns, 1876. 

STRUTT. The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England : in- 
cluding the Rural and Domestic Recreations, May Games, Mummeries, 
Shows, Processions, Pageants, and Pompous Spectacles, from the earliest 
Period to the present Time. By J. Strutt. New ed. by W. Hone, 1833. 

STUBBES. The Anatomic of Abuses. By Phillip Stubbes, 1583. 
Edited by F. J. Furnivall, 1877-82. [W. 6". S. Series vi. 4, 6, 12. Part I 
contains Barnaby Googe's translation (1570) of Kirchmayer's Regnum 
Papismi (1553), Bk. iv.] 

Suffolk F. L. See County Folk-Lore. 

SWETE. Church Services and Service-Books before the Reformation. 
By H. B. Swete, 1896. 

SWOBODA. John Heywood als Dramatiker. Ein Beitrag zur Entwick- 
lungsgeschichte des englischen Dramas. Von W. Swoboda, 1888. [ Wiener 
Beitrage zur deutschen und englischen Philologie^ iii : not consulted.] 

SYMONDS. Shakspere's Predecessors in the English Drama. By 
J. A. Symonds, 1884. 

TABOUROT. Orche'sographie ; par Thoinot Arbeau [pseud, for Jehan 
Tabourot], 1588. Re'impression pre'ce'de'e d'une notice sur les Danses du 
xvi e Siecle, par Laure Fonta, 1888. 

TEN BRINK. History of English Literature. By B. Ten Brink. 
Translated from the German. 3 vols. 1893-6. [All published; a 2nd 
German edition, by A. Brandl, in progress.] 

TERTULLIAN. Quinti Septimi Florentis Tertulliani Opera. Ex re- 
censione Augusti Reifferscheid et Georgii Wissowa. Pars i. 1890 [vol. xx 
of Corpus Scrip forum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum. The De Spectacuhs 
Wb&Deldololatria are in this vol., and are translated, with ft&Apologeticus, 
in vol. xi of the Ante-Nicene Christian Library, 1869. The complete 
works of Tertullian are also in P. L. vols. i and ii.] 

TEUFFEL.^ Teuffel's History of Roman Literature. Revised and en- 
larged by L. Schwabe. Authorized translation from the 5th German 
edition by G. C. W. Warr. 2 vols. 1891. 



xl LIST OF AUTHORITIES 

THIERS. lohannis Baptistae Thiers, de Festorum Dierum Imminu- 
tione Liber, 1668. 

THIERS. Traits' des Jeux et des Divertissemens qui peuvent tre 
permis. Par J.-B. Thiers, 1686. 

TICKNOR. History of Spanish Literature. By G. Ticknor. 6th 
American ed. 3 vols. 1888. 

TIERSOT. Histoire de la Chanson populaire en France. Par J. Tiersot, 
1889. 

TILLE, D. W. Die Geschichte der deutschen Weihnacht. Von 
A. Tille, 1893. 

TILLE, Y and C. Yule and Christmas : Their Place in the Germanic 
Year. By G. Tille, 1899. 

TORRACA. II Teatro italiano dei Secoli xiii, xiv, e xv. Per F. Torraca, 
1885. 

Towneley Plays. The Towneley Mysteries. Edited by J. Raine, with 
preface by J. Hunter and glossary by J. Gordon, 1836. [Surtees Soc. iii.] 

Towneley Plays. Re-edited from the unique MS. by G. England, with 
side-notes and introduction by A. W. Pollard, 1897. [E. E. T.S. E.S. 
Ixxi.] 

Trad. La Tradition : Revue ge*ne*rale des Contes, L^gendes, Chants, 
Usages, Traditions et Arts populates. 

UNGEMACHT. Die Quellen der fiinf ersten Chester Plays. Von H. 
Ungemacht, 1890. 

USENER. Religionsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen. Von H. Usener. 
3 vols. 1889-99. 

Use of S arum. See FRERE. 

VACANDARD. L'Idolatrie dans la Gaule. Par E. Vacandard, 1899. 
[In Revue des Questions historiques, vol. Ixv.] 

Variorum. The Plays and Poems of William Shakespeare. With 
a Life of the Poet and an Enlarged History of the Stage. By the late 
E. Malone. Edited by J. Boswell. 21 vols. 1821. 

VAUX. Church Folklore. By the Rev. J. E. Vaur, 1894. [A 2nd ed. 
was published in 1902.] 

Venetian Papers. See BROWN. 

Viel Testament. Le Mistere du Viel Testament. Publie' avec intro- 
duction, notes et glossaire par le Baron J. de Rothschild. 6 vols. 1878-91. 
[SotiM des Anciens Textes Frangais.] 

VIOLLET-LE-DUC. Ancien Theatre fra^ois : depuis les Mystfcres 
jusqu'a Corneille. Par E. L. N. Viollet-le-Duc. 10 vols. 1854-7. 

VOGT. Leben und Dichten der deutschen Spielleute im Mittelalter. 
Von F. Vogt, 1876. 

WACKERNAGEL. Geschichte der deutschen Litteratur. Ein Hand- 
buch von W. Wackernagel. 2nd ed. by E. Martin, 1879. 

WACKERNELL. Altdeutsche Passionsspiele aus Tirol. Von T E 
Wackernell, 1897. 

WAIXASCHEK. Primitive Music: an Inquiry into the Origin and 



LIST OF AUTHORITIES xli 

Development of Music, Songs, Instruments, Dances, and Pantomimes of 
Savage Races. By R. Wallaschek, 1893. 

WALTER. Das Eselsfest Von A. Walter, 1885. [In Caedlicn- 
KaUender, 75.] 

WARD. A History of English Dramatic Literature to the Death of 
Queen Anne. By A. W. Ward. 2nd ed. 3 vols. 1899. 

WARTON. See HAZLITT-WARTON. 

WASSERSCHLEBEN. Die Bussordnungen der abendlandischen Kirche. 
Von F. W. H. Wasserschleben, 1851. 

WEBER. Geistliches Schauspiel und kirchliche Kunst in ihrem Ver- 
haltnis erlautert an einer Ikonographie der Kirche und Synagoge. Von 
P. Weber, 1894. 

WECHSSLER. Die romanischen Marienklagen. Ein Beitrag zur Ge- 
schichte des Dramas im Mittelalter. Von E. Wechssler, 1893. 

WESTERMARCK. A History of Human Marriage. By E. Wester - 
marck. 2nd ed. 1 894. 

WETZER-WELTE. Kirchenlexicon. Von H. J. Weczer und B. Welte. 
2nd ed. by J. Hergenrother and F. Kaulen. 12 vols. 1882-1900. [In 
progress.] 

WlECK. Der Teufel auf der mittelalterlichen Mysterienbiihne. Von 
H. Wieck, 1887. [Marburg dissertation : not consulted.] 

WlLKEN. Geschichte der geistlichen Spiele in Deutschland. Von E, 
Wilken, 1872. 

WILKJNS. Concilia Magnae Britanniae et Hiberniae, 446-1717. 
Accedunt Constitutiones et alia ad Historiam Ecclesiae Anglicanae Spe- 
ctantia. 4 vols. 1737. 

WlLMOTTE. Les Passions allemandes du Rhin dans leur Rapport 
avec 1'ancien Theatre franc.ais. Par M. Wilmotte, 1898. [Ouvrages 
couronnts et autres Memoir es publics par rAccuttmie Roy ale de Bel- 
gique, lv.] 

Winchester Troper. See FRERE. 

WIRTH. Die Oster- und Passionsspiele bis zum xvi. Jahrhundert. Von 
L. Wirth, 1889. 

WISSOWA. Religion und Kultus der Romer. Von G. Wissowa, 1902. 
[Vol. v, Part 4 of I. von Miiller's Handbuch der classischen Altertums- 
wissenschaft '.] 

WOOD, Athenae. Athenae Oxonienses, an Exact History of all Writers 
and Bishops who have had their Education in the University of Oxford. 
By Anthony k Wood. 2nd ed. by P. Bliss. 4 vols. 1813-20. 

WOOD, Hist. Univ. History and Antiquities of the University of 
Oxford. By Anthony a Wood. Now first published in English with con- 
tinuation by J. Gutch. 2 vols. 1792-6. 

WOOD-MARTIN. Traces of the Elder Faiths of Ireland. By W. G. 
Wood-Martin. 2 vols. 1902. 

WORDSWORTH. Notes on Mediaeval Services in England, with an 
index of Lincoln Ceremonies. By C. Wordsworth, 1898. 



xlii LIST OF AUTHORITIES 

WORDSWORTH, Proc. Ceremonies and Processions of the Cathedral 
Church of Salisbury. Edited by C. Wordsworth, 1901. [From Salisbury 
Chapter MS. 148 of 1 1445, a book for use by the principalis persona in 
the choir, and supplementary to the printed Processional.] 

WRIGHT. Early Mysteries and other Latin Poems of the Twelfth and 
Thirteenth Centuries. By T. Wright, 1838. 

WRIGHT, Chester Plays. The Chester Plays. Edited by Thomas 
Wright. 2 vols. 1843. \_Shakespeare Society^ 

WRIGHT, Map. The Latin Poems commonly attributed to Walter 
Mapes. Collected and edited by T. Wright, 1841. [C. S. O. S. xvii.] 

WRIGHT-HALLIWELL. Reliquiae Antiquae: Scraps from Ancient 
Manuscripts, illustrating chiefly Early English Literature and the English 
Language. By T. Wright and J. O. Halliwell. 2 vols. 1841. 

WRIGHT-WULCKER. Anglo-Saxon and Old English Vocabularies. By 
T. Wright. Edited and collated by R. P. Wiilcker. 2 vols. 1884. 

WULCKER. Grundriss zur Geschichte der angelsachsischen Litteratur: 
mit einer Obersicht der angelsachsischen Sprachwissenschaft. Von R. 
Wiilcker, 1885. 

WYLIE. A History of England under Henry IV. By J. H. Wylie. 
4 vols. 1884-98. 

York Breviary. Breviarium ad usum insignis Ecclesiae Eboracensis. 
Edidit S. W. Lawley. 2 vols. 1880-2. \Surtees Soc. Ixxi, Ixxv.] 

York Manual. Manuale et Processionale ad usum insignis Ecclesiae 
Eboracensis. Edidit W. G. Henderson, 1875. \Surtees Soc. Ixiii. Con- 
tains also Sarum Manual.} 

York Missal. Missale ad usum insignis Ecclesiae Eboracensis. Edidit 
W. G. Henderson. 2 vols. 1874. \Surlees Soc. lix, lx.] 

York Plays. The Plays performed by the Crafts or Mysteries of York 
on the Day of Corpus Christi. Edited by L. T. Smith, 1885. 

Z.f. a. A. Zeitschrift fur deutsches Alterthum {afterwards added und 
deutsche Literatur], 1841-1903. [In progress.] 

Z.f. rom. Phil, ^eitschrift fur romanische Philologie, 1877-1903. [In 
progress.] 

ZSCHECH. Die Anfange dcs cnglischen Dramas. Von Dr. Zschecb, 
1886. [Not consulted.] 



BOOK I 

MINSTRELSY 



C'est une etrange entreprise que celle de faire rire les 
honnetes gens. J.-B. POQUELIN DE 



Moliere est un infame histrion. J.-B. BOSSUET. 



CHAPTER I 

THE FALL OF THE THEATRES 

[Bibliographical Note. A convenient sketch of the history of the 
Roman stage will be found in G. Korting, Geschichte des griechischcn 
und romisihen Theaters (1897). The details given in L. Friedlander, 
Sittengeschichte Roms in der Zeit von August bis zum Ausgang der 
Antonine (vol. ii, 7th ed. 1901), and the same writer's article on Die 
Spiele in vol. vi of Marquardt and Mommsen's Handbuch der romischcn 
Alterthumer (2nd ed. 1885), may be supplemented from E. Noluechen's 
article Tettullian ttnd das Theater in Zcitschrift fitr Kirthengeschtchte, 
xv (1894), 161, for the fabulae Atellanae from A. Dieterich, Pulcinelta 
(1897), chs. 4-8, and for the pantomimi from C. Sittl, Die Gebarden 
drr Gnechen und Rbmer (1890), ch. 13. The account in C. Magnin, 
Les Origines du ThSAfre moderne (vol. i, all published, 1838), is by 
no means obsolete. Teuffel and Schwabe, History of Latin Litcra- 
ture, vol. i, 3-18 (trans. G. C. \V. Warr, 1891), contains a mass of 
imperfectly arranged material. The later history of the Greek stage is 
dealt with by P. E. Muller, Commentatio historica de genio, moribus et 
luxu aevi 7 heodosiani (1798), vol. ii, and A. E. Haigh, Tragic Drama of 
the Greeks (1896), ch. 6. The ecclesiastical prohibitions are collected by 
W. Prynne, Htstriomastix (1633^, and J. de Douhet, Dictionnaire dcs 
Mystires (1854), and their general attitude summarized by H.Alt, Theater 
und Kirche in ihrein gegenscitigen Verhaltniss (1846). S. Dill^ Roman 
Society in the Last Century of the Roman Empire (2nd ed. 1899), should 
be consulted for an admirable study of the conditions under which the 
pre-mediaeval stage came to an end.] 
*** 

CHRISTIANITY, emerging from Syria with a prejudice 
against disguisings *, found the Roman world full of scenici. 
The mimetic instinct, which no race of ma kind is wholly 
without, appears to have been unusually strong amongst the 
peoples of the Mediterranean stock. A literary drama came 
into being in Athens during the sixth century, and estab- 
lished itself in city after city. Theatres were built, and 
tragedies and comedies acted on the Attic model, wherever 
a Greek foot trod, from Hipola in Spain tp Tigranocerta in 
Armenia. The great capitals of the later Greece, Alexandria, 

1 Deuteronomy, xxii. 5, a com- /.) asserts, *non amat falsum 

monplace of anti-stage controversy auctor veritatis ; aduiterium est 

fromTertulliaA(^i?5/^/^//J,c.23) apud ilium omne quod fingitur.' 
to Histrio-Mastix. Tertullian (loc. 



CHAMBERS. I 



2 MINSTRELSY 

Antioch, Pergamum, rivalled Athens itself in their devotion 
to the stage. Another development of drama, independent 
of Athens, in Sicily and Magna Graecia, may be distinguished 
as farcical rather than comic. After receiving literary treat- 
ment at the hands of Epicharmus and Sophron in the fifth 
century, it continued its existence under the name of mime 
(/ui/^o?), upon a more popular level. Like many forms of 
popular drama, it seems to have combined the elements of 
farce and morality. Its exponents are described as buffoons 
t, 7rcuyyioy/>a<(n) and dealers in indecencies (aj/cu- 
) y and again as concerning themselves with ques- 
tions of character and manners (7j0oAo'yoi, dperaAoyoi). They 
even produced what sound singularly like problem plays 
(v7ro0ras). Both qualities may have sprung from a common 
root in the observation and audacious portrayal of contem- 
porary life. The mime was still flourishing in and about 
Tarentum in the third century *. 

Probably the Romans were not of the Mediterranean stock, 
and their native ludi were athletic rather than mimetic. But 
the drama gradually filtered in from the neighbouring peoples. 
Its earliest stirrings in the rude farce of the satura are 
attributed by Livy to Etruscan influence 2 . From Campania 
came another type of farce, the Oscum ludicrum or fabula 
Atcllana, with its standing masks of Maccus and Bucco, 
Pappus and Dossennus, in whom it is hard not to find a 
kinship to the traditional personages of the Neapolitan corn- 
media dell arte. About 240 B.C. the Greek Livius Andro- 
nicus introduced tragedy and comedy. The play now 
became a regular element in the spectacula of the Roman 
festivals, only subordinate in interest to the chariot-race and 
the gladiatorial show. Permanent theatres were built in the 
closing years of the Republic by Pompey and others, and 
the number of days annually devoted to ludi scenici was con- 
stantly on the increase. From 48 under Augustus they 
grew to 101 under Constantius. Throughout the period of 

1 J. Denis, La Cpmtdie grccque not intended for representation 

(iS86) T i. 50, 106 ; ii. 535. The so- (Croiset, Hist, de la Lift, grecque, 

called mimes of Herodas (third v. 174). 

cent. B. c.) are literary pieces, based 2 Livy, vii. 2 ; Valerius Maximus, 

probably on the popular mime but ii. 4. 4 (364 B. C.). 



THE FALL OF THE THEATRES 3 

the Empire, indeed, the theatre was of no small political 
importance. On the one hand it was the rallying point of 
all disturbers of the peace and the last stronghold of a 
public opinion debarred from the senate and the forum ; on 
the other it was a potent means for winning the affect-ion of 
the populace and diverting its attention from dynastic 
questions. The scenici might be thorns in the side of the 
government, but they were quite indispensable to it. If their 
perversities drove them from Italy, the clamour of the mob 
soon brought them back again. Trajan revealed one of the 
arcana imperil when he declared that the annona and the 
spectacula controlled Rome 1 . And what was true of Rome 
was true of Byzantium, and in a lesser degree of the smaller 
provincial cities. So long as the Empire itself held together, 
the provision firstly of corn and secondly of novel htdi re- 
mained one of the chief preoccupations of many a highly 
placed official. 

The vast popular audiences of the period under consider- 
ation cared but little for the literary drama. In the theatre 
of Pompey, thronged with slaves and foreigners of every 
tongue, the finer histrionic effects must necessarily have been 
lost 2 . Something more spectacular and sensuous, something 
appealing to a cruder sense of humour, almost inevitably took 
their place. There is evidence indeed that, while the theatres 
stood, tragedy and comedy never wholly disappeared from 
their boards 3 . But it was probably only the ancient master- 
pieces that got a hearing. Even in Greece performances of 
new plays on classical models cannot be traced beyond about 
the time of Hadrian. And in Rome the tragic poets had long 
before then learnt to content themselves with recitations and 
to rely for victims on the good nature, frequently inadequate, 
of their friends 4 . The stilted dramas of Seneca were the 

1 Juvenal, x. 81 ; Dion Chryso- given at from 17,580 to 40,000, that 

stom, Or. xxxii. 370, 18 M.; Fronto, of the theatre of Balbus at from 

Princip. hist. v. 13. A fourth-cen- 11,510 to 30,085, that of the theatre 

tury inscription (Bull. d. Commis. of Marcellus as 20,000. 
arch. comun.di Rom a, 1891,342)00^ 8 Friedlander, ii. 100 ; Haigh, 

tai ns a list of small Roman tabernarii 457; Krumbacher, 646 ; Welcker, 

enti tied tQlocuyt spectaculis etpanem. Die gricchischen Tragbdien ( 1 84 1 ), 

f The holding capacity of the iii. 1472. 
theatre of Pompey is variously * Juvenal, i. I ; Pliny, Efist. vi. 

B 3 



4 MINSTRELSY 

delight of the Renaissance, but it is improbable that, until 
the Renaissance, they were ever dignified with representation. 
Roughly speaking, for comedy and tragedy the Empire sub- 
stituted farce and pantomime. 

Farce, as has been noticed, was the earliest traffic of the 
Roman stage. The Atellane, relegated during the brief 
vogue of comedy and tragedy to the position of an interlude 
or an afterpiece, now once more asserted its independence. 
But already during the Republic the Atellane, with its some- 
what conventional and limited methods, was beginning to 
give way to a more flexible and vital type of farce. This 
was none other than the old mime of Magna Graecia, which 
now entered on a fresh phase of existence and overran both 
West and East. That it underwent considerable modifi- 
cations, and probably absorbed much both of Atellane and 
of Attic comedy, may be taken for granted. Certainly it 
extended its scope to mythological themes. But its leading 
characteristics remained unchanged. The ethical element, 
one may fear, sank somewhat into the background, although 
it was by no means absent from the work of the better mime- 
writers, such as Laberius and Publilius Syrus 1 . But that 
the note of shamelessness was preserved there is no doubt 
whatever 2 . The favourite theme, which is common indeed 
to farce of all ages, was that of conjugal infidelity 3 . Un- 
chaste scenes were represented with an astonishing realism 4 . 



15 ; vii. 17 ; Tacitus, de Oratori- * Incerti ( fourth century) ad 

bus, 9, 1 1. Tcrentium (ed. Giles, i. xix) * mimos 

1 The Scntentiae of Publilius ab diuturna imitatione vihum rerum 

Syrus were collected from his et levium personarum.' Diomedes 

mimes in the first century A. D., and (fifth century), Ars Grammatical^ 

enlarged from other sources during iii. 488 ' mimus est sermonis 

the Middle Ages (Teuffel-Schwabe, cuiuslibet imitatio et motus sine 

212). Cf. the edition by W. reverentia, vel factorum et dictorum 

Meyer, 1880. The other fragments turpium cum lascivia imitatio. 1 

of the mimographs are included in s Ovid, Tristia^ n. 497: 

O. Ribbeck, Comicorum Romano- 'quid, si scripsissem mimos ob- 

rum Fragmenta (3rd ed. 1898). scoena iocantes, 

Philistion of Bithyma, about the qui semper vetiti crimen amoris 

time of Tiberius, gave the mime habent.' 

a literary form once more in his * Hist. August a , Vita Helioga- 

Ktt/updicu fitoXoyiKai (J. Denis, La bali^ 25 'in mimicis ^adulteriis ea 

Com., grecque, ii. 544; Croiset, Hist, quae solent simulate 'fieri effici ad 

de la Litt. grecque, v. 449). verum iussit' ; cf. the pyrrichat 



THE FALL OF THE THEATRES 5 

Contrary to the earlier custom of the classical stage, women 
took part in the performances, and at the Floralia, loosest 
of Roman festivals, the spectators seem to have claimed it 
as their right that the mimae should play naked 1 . The 
mimus for the same term designates both piece and actor 
was just the kind of entertainer whom a democratic audience 
loves. Clad in a parti-coloured centunculus, with no mask 
to conceal the play of facial gesture, and planipes, with no 
borrowed dignity of sock or buskin, he rattled through his 
side-splitting scenes of low life, and eked out his text with 
an inexhaustible variety of rude dancing, buffoonery and 
horse-play 2 . Originally the mimes seem to have performed 
in monologues, and the action of their pieces continued to 
be generally dominated by a single personage, the archi- 
mimus, who was provided with certain stupidi and parasiti 
to act as foils and butts for his wit. A satirical intention 
was frequently present in both mimes and Atellanes, and 
their outspoken allusions are more than once recorded to 
have wrung the withers of persons of importance and to have 
brought serious retribution on the actors themselves. Cali- 
gula, for instance, with characteristic brutality, had a ribald 
playwright burnt alive in the amphitheatre 3 . 

The farce was the diversion of the proletariat and the 
bourgeoisie of Rome. Petronius, with all the insolence of 
the literary rran, makes Trimalchio buy a troupe of comedians, 
and insist on their playing an Atellane 4 . The golden and 

described by Suetonius, Nero, 12. to be traced here. 

The Roman taste for bloodshed was 2 The 'mimus' type is exactly re- 

sometimes gratified by mimes given produced by more than one popular 

in the amphitheatre, and designed performer on the modern * variety ' 

to introduce the actual execution or * burlesque ' stage. 

of a criminal. Martial, de Specta- 3 Macrobius, Sat. ii. 7 ; Cicero, 

cults, 7, mentions the worrying and ad Atticum, xiv. 3 ; Suetonius, Au~ 

crucifixion of a brigand in the mime gustus, 45, 68 ; Tiberius ; 45 ; Cali- 

Laureolus, by order of Domitian : gula, 27 ; Nero, 39 ; Galba, 13 ; 

*cudaCaledonio sic pectoraprae- Vespasian, 19; Domitian, 10 ; 

buit urso Hist. Augusta, Vita Marc. AureL 

non falsa pendens in cruce Lau- 8. 29 ; Vita Commodi, 3 ; Vita 

reolus.' Maximini, 9. 

1 Martial, i. I ; Ausonius, Eel. 4 Petronius, Satyricon, liii ; cf. 

xviii. 25; Iiactantius (t3<x>), de Taming of the Shrew, i. i. 258 

Inst. div. i. 20. 10. Probably the * 'Tis a very excellent piece of work, 

influence of a piece of folk-ritual is madam lady ; would 'twere done ! ' 



6 MINSTRELSY 

cultured classes preferred the pantomimic dance. This arose 
out of the ruins of the literary drama. On the Roman stage 
grew up a custom, unknown in Greece, by which the lyric 
portions of the text (canticd) were entrusted to a singer who 
stood with the flute-player at the side of the stage, while 
the actor confined himself to dancing in silence with appro- 
priate dumb show. The dialogue (divcrbia) continued to 
be spoken by the actors. The next step was to drop the 
diverbia altogether ; and thus came the pantomimns who 
undertook to indicate the whole development of a plot in 
a series of dramatic dances, during the course of which he 
often represented several distinct roles. Instead of the single 
flute-player and singer a full choir now supplied the musical 
accompaniment, and great poets Lucan and Statius among 
the number did not disdain to provide texts for the fabulae 
salticae. Many of the pantomimi attained to an extreme 
refinement in their degenerate and sensuous art. They were, 
as Lucian said, xipoVo<oi, erudite of gesture *. Their subjects 
were, for the most part, mythological and erotic, not to say 
lascivious, in character 2 . Pylades the Cilician, who, with 
his great rival Bathyllus the Alexandrian, brought the dance 
to its first perfection under Augustus, favoured satyric 
themes ; but this mode does not appear to have endured. 
Practically the dancers were the tragedians, and the mimes 
were the comedians, of the Empire. The old Etruscan name 
for an actor, histrio, came to be almost synonymous with 
pantomimus*. Rome, which could lash itself into a fury 
over the contests between the Whites and Reds or the 
Blues and Greens in the circus, was not slow to take sides 
upon the respective merits of its scenic entertainers. The 

1 Lucian, de Saltatione, 69. origin of the name, cf. Livy, vii. 2 

2 Juvenal, Sat. vi. 63 ; Zosimus * ister Tusco verbo ludius vocaba- 
(450-501 A. D.), i. 6 (Corp. Script, tur.' Besides ludhts, actor is good 
Hist. Byz. xx. 12) rj T< yap Trai/ro- Latin. But it is generally used in 

op\ricris v tittivois eltryxfy T0 ' lf some such phrase as actor prima- 

. . . iro\\>v a*na yryovora ruin personarttm, protagonist, and 

G&c KOKWV. by itself often means dominus 

This is not wholly so, at any gregis> manager of the grex or 

rate in Tacitus, who seems to in- company. Mimus signifies both 

elude the players both of mimes performer and performance, panto- 

and of Atellanes amongst histriones mimus the performer only. He is 

(Ann. i. 73 ; iv. 14). For the said salt are fabu las. 



THE FALL OF THE THEATRES 7 

histrionalis favor led again and again to brawls which set 
the rulers of the city wondering whether after all the panto- 
mimi were worth while. Augustus had found it to his 
advantage that the spirit of partisanship should attach itself 
to a Pylades or a Bathyllus rather than to more illustrious 
antagonists *. But the personal instincts of Tiberius were 
not so genial as those of Augustus. Early in his principate 
he attempted to restrain the undignified court paid by 
senators and knights to popular dancers, and when this 
measure failed, he expelled the histriones from Italy -'. The 
example was followed by more than one of his successors, 
but Rome clamoured fiercely for its toys, and the period 
of exile was never a long one 3 . 

Both mimi and pantoinimi had their vogue in private, at the 
banquets and weddings of the great, as well as in public. The 
class of scenici further included a heterogeneous variety of 
lesser performers. There were the rhapsodes who sung the 
tragic cantica, torn from their context, upon the stage. There 
were musicians and dancers of every order and from every 
land 4 . There were jugglers {praestigiatorcs, acctabuli}, rope- 
walkers (fuuambitli), stilt- walkers (grallatores), tumblers 
(cernui, petauristae, petaminarii\ buffoons (sanniones^ scitrrac)^ 
beast-tamers and strong men. The pick of them did their 
' turns ' in the theatre or the amphitheatre ; the more humble 
were content with modest audiences at street corners or in the 
vestibule of the circus. From Rome the entertainers of 
the imperial race naturally found their way into the theatres 
of the provinces. Tragedy and comedy no doubt held their 
own longer in Greece, but the stage of Constantinople under 
Justinian does not seem to have differed notably from the stage 
of Rome under Nero. Marseilles alone distinguished itself by 
the honourable austerity which forbade the mimi its gates 5 . 

1 Dion Cassius, liv. 17. Hadriani^ 19; Vifa Alex. Scvcri, 

2 Tacitus, AnnaleS) i. 77; iv. 14; 34. 

Dion Cassius, Ivii. 21 ; Suetonius, 4 The pyrricha^ a Greek con- 

Tiberins, 37. certed dance, probably of folk 

3 Tacitus, Annales, xiii. 25 ; xiv. origin (cf. ch. ix), was often given a 
21 ; Dion Cassius, hx. 2 ; L\i. 8 ; mythological argumcntttm. It was 
Ixviii. 10 ; Sivtomus, AVn>, 16, 26 ; danced in the amphitheatre. 
T//I/J, 7 ; Vomitian^ 7 ; Pliny, 6 Valerius Maximus, ii. 6. 7 
Paneg. 46; Hist. Augusta^ Vita *eadem civitas severitatis custos 



8 MINSTRELSY 

It must not be supposed that the profession of the scenici 
ever became an honourable one in the eyes of the Roman law. 
They were for the most part slaves or at best freedmen. They 
were deliberately branded with infamia or incapacity for civil 
rights. This infamia was of two kinds, depending respectively 
upon the action of the censors as guardians of public dignity 
and that of the praetors as presidents in the law courts. The 
censors habitually excluded actors from the ins stiff ragii and 
the ins honormn, the rights of voting and of holding sena- 
torial or equestrian rank ; the praetors refused to allow them, 
if men, to appear as attorneys, if women, to appoint attorneys, 
in civil suits *. The legislation of Julius Caesar and of Augustus 
added some statutory disabilities. The lex Inlia municipalis 
forbade actors to hold municipal honor es 2 : the lex htlia dc 
adidtcriis set the example of denying them the right to bring 
criminal actions 3 ; the lex Inlia ct Papia Poppaca limited 
their privileges when freed, and in particular forbade senators 
or the sons of senators to take to wife women who had been, 
or whose parents had been, on the stage 4 . On the other hand 
Augustus confined the ins virgartim> which the praetors had 
formerly had over scenici, to the actual place and time of 
performances 6 ; and so far as the censorian infamia was con- 
cerned, the whole tendency of the late Republic and early 
Empire was to relax its application to actors. It came to be 
possible for senators and knights to appear on the stage with- 
out losing caste. It was a grievous insult when Julius Caesar 

acerrima est : nullum aditum in further exemption for persons ap- 

scenam mimis dando, quorum argu- pearing in their minority ( C 7. C. 

menta maiore in parte stuprorum Cod. lust. ri. 11. 21). The censors, 

continent act us ; ne taha spectandi on the oth^r hand, spared the 

ronsuKtudo ctiam imitandi been- Atclhini y whose performances had 

tiam sumat. 7 a traditional connexion with re- 

1 A. H. J. Greenidge, Itifanua ligious rites. 

(passim) ; liouche-Leclercq, Man- * 2 C.f.L. i. 122. 

vcl des Institute/is rowatntS) 352, * C. I. C. Digest, xlviii. 5. 25. A 

449; Edictum pi.ictc.ris in C. I. C. husband may kill an actor with 

Digest^ iii. 2. i * infamia notatur qui whom his wife is guilty. 

. . . art is ludicrae pronuntiandi\e 4 Ibid, xxiii. 2. 42, 44 ; xxxviiu I. 

tausa in scaenam prodierit.' The 37; Ulpian, Frtigin. xni. 

jurists limited the application of 5 Tacitus, Anndies, i. 77, An 

the rule to professional actors. Thy- attempt to restore t^e old usage 

melici) or orchestral musicians, under Tiberius was unsuccessful. 
were exempt. Diocletian made a 



THE FALL OF THE THEATRES 9 

compelled the mimograph Laberius to appear in one of his 
own pieces. But after all Caesar restored Laberius to his 
rank of eques> a dignity which at a still earlier date Sulla had 
bestowed on Roscius l . Later the restriction broke down 
altogether, although not without an occasional reforming effort 
to restore it 2 . Nero himself was not ashamed to take the 
boards as a singer of cantica 3 . And even an infamis, if he 
were the boon companion of a prince, might be appointed to 
a post directly depending on the imperial dignity. Thus 
Caracalla sent a pantomimus to hold a military command on 
the frontier, and Heliogabalus made another praefectus urbi in 
Rome itself 4 . Under Constantino a reaction set in, and a new 
decree formally excluded scenici from all dignitatcs 5 . The 
severe class legislation received only reluctant and piecemeal 
modification, and the praetorian iufamia outlived the Empire 
itself, and left its mark upon Carolingian jurisprudence 6 . 

The relaxation of the old Roman austerity implied in the 
popularity of the mimi and histriones did not pass uncensured 
by even the pagan moralists of the Empire. The stage has 
a share in the denunciations of Tacitus and Juvenal, both of 
whom lament that princes and patricians should condescend 
to practise arts once relegated to the infames. Martial's 
hypocrite rails at the times and the theatres. Three centuries 
later the soldierly Ammianus Marcellinus finds in the 
gyrations of the dancing-girls, three thousand of whom were 
allowed to remain in Rome when it was starving, a blot 
upon the fame of the state ; and Macrobius contrasts the 
sober evenings of Praetextatus and his friends with revels 
dependent for their mirth on the song and wanton motions of 

1 Caesar was tolerably magnani- Domitian^ 8. 

rnous, fnr Laberius had already * Suetonius, Nero, 21 ; Tacitus, 

taken his revenge in a scurrilous Ann. xiv. 14 ; Juvenal, viii. 198 ; 

prologue. It had its touch of pathos, Pseudo-Lucian, Nero, 9. 

too: * Dion Cassius, Ixxvii. 21 ; Hist. 

*eques Romanus lare egressus August 'a, Vita Helwgabali^ 12. 

meo Yet in the time of Severus a soldier 

domum revertar mimus.' going on the stage was liable to 

2 Cicero, ad Fam. x. 32 ; Dion death (C. /. C. Digest^ xlviii. 19. 
Cassius, xlviii. 33; liii. 31 ; liv. 2; 14). 

Ivi. 47; Ivii..i4; lix. 10; Ixi. 9; fi C. L C. Cod. lust. xii. I. 2. 
bcv. 6 ; Tacitus, Ann. xiv. 20 ; Hist. 6 Cf. p. 38. 
ii. 62 ; Suetonius, Augustus^ 45 ; 



10 MINSTRELSY 

the psaltria or the jests of sabulo and planipes 1 . Policy 
compelled the emperors to encourage spectacula, but even they 
were not always blind to the ethical questions involved. 
Tiberius based his expulsion of the histriones^ at least in part, 
on moral grounds. Marcus Aurelius, with a philosophic 
regret that the high lessons of comedy had sunk to mere 
mimic dexterity, sat publicly in his box and averted his eyes 
to a state-paper or a book 2 . Julian, weaned by his tutor 
Mardonius from a boyish love of the stage, issued strict 
injunctions to the priests of the Sun to avoid a theatre which 
he despaired of reforming 3 . Christian teachers, unconcerned 
with the interests of a dynasty, and claiming to represent 
a higher morality than that either of Marcus Aurelius or of 
Julian, naturally took even stronger ground. Moreover, they 
had their special reasons for hostility to the stage. That the 
actors should mock at the pagan religion, with whose ludi their 
own performances were intimately connected, made a good 
dialectical point. But the connexion itself was unpardonable, 
and still more so the part taken by the mimes during the war 
of creeds, in parodying and holding up to ridicule the most 
sacred symbols and mysteries of the church. This feeling is 
reflected in the legends of St. Genesius, St. Pelagia and other 
holy folk, who are represented as turning from the scenic 
profession to embrace Christianity, the conversion in some 
cases taking place on the very boards of the theatre itself 4 . 

1 Tacitus, Ann. xiv. 20 ; Juvenal, He also thinks that the moral lay- 
vi. 60 ; viii. 183 ; Martial, ix. 28. 9 ; man should avoid the theatre 
Ammianus Marcellinus, xiv. 6. 18 ; (Misopogon, p. 343 c). 

xxviii. 4. 32 ; Macrobius, ii. I. 5, 9. * On the critical problem offered 

2 M. Aurelius, Comm.yA. 6; Hist. by such vitae cf. Prof. Bury in 
Augusta^ Vita M. Aurel. 15. This Gibbon, i. 1. B. von der Lage, 
refers directly to the circus. Studien zur Genesius - legende 

3 Gibbon, ii. 447; Schaflf, v. 49; (1898), attempts to show that the 
Dill, 34, 100 ; P. Allard, Julien legends of St. Genesius (Acta SS. 
rApostat, i. 272 ; Alice Gardner, Aug.v. 122), St. Gelasius (Acta SS. 
Julian theApostatCyivi ; G. H. Ren- Feb. iii. 680), St. Ardalio (Acta SS. 
dall, The Emperor Julian (1879), Apr. ii. 213), St. Porphyrius (Acta 
1 06. The most interesting passage SS. Sept. v. 37), and another St. 
is a fragmentary * pastoral letter ' Porphyrius (Acta SS. Nov. ii. 230) 
to a priest (ed. Hertlein, Fragm. are all variants of a Greek story 
Ep. p. 304 P> ; cf. Ep. 49, p. 430 Jj ) ; originally told of an anonymous 
Julian requires the priests to ab- mimus. The Passio o/ St. Genesius 
stain even from reading the Old represents him as a magister ntiini- 
Comedy (Fragm. Ep. p. 300 D). themelae artts> converted while he 



THE FALL OF THE THEATRES 11 

So far as the direct attack upon the stage is concerned, the 
key-note of patristic eloquence is struck in the characteristic 
and uncompromising treatise De Spectaculis of Tertullian. 
Here theatre, circus, and amphitheatre are joined in a three- 
fold condemnation. Tertullian holds that the Christian has 
explicitly forsworn spectacula^ when he renounced the devil 
and all his works and vanities at baptism. What are these 
but idolatry, and where is idolatry, if not in the spectacula, 
which not only minister to lust, but take place at the festivals 
and in the holy places of Venus and Bacchus ? The story is 
told of the demon who entered a woman in the theatre and 
excused himself at exorcism, because he had found her in his 
own demesne. A fervid exhortation follows. To worldly 
pleasures Christians have no claim. If they need spectacula 
they can find them in the exercises of their Church. Here are 
nobler poetry, sweeter voices, maxims more sage, melodies 
more dulcet, than any comedy can boast, and withal, here is 
truth instead of fiction. Moreover, for Christians is reserved 
the last great spectaculum of all. ' Then,' says Tertullian, 
'will be the time to listen to the tragedians, whose lamenta- 
tions will be more poignant for their proper pain. Then will 
the comedians turn and twist, rendered nimbler than ever by 
the sting of the fire that is not quenched V With Tertullian 
asceticism is always a passion, but the vivid African rhetoric 
is no unfair sample of a catena of outspoken comment which 
extends across the third century from Tatian to Lactantius 2 . 

was mimicking a baptism before Apol0geticus,\$(P.L.\.3$7). The 

Diocletian and martyred. It pro- information as to the contemporary 

fesscs to give part of the dialogue of stage scattered through Tertullian's 

the mime. The legends of St. Phile- works is collected by E. Noldechen, 

mon (Menologium Bastlii, ii. 59; Tertullian und das Theater (Z. f. 

cf. Act A SS. Mar. i. 751) and St. Kirchengeschichte (1894), xv. 161). 

Pelagia or Margarita (A eta SS. Oct. An anonymous De Spectaculis, for- 

iv. 248) appear to be distinct. Pal- merly ascribed to St. Cyprian, 

ludius. Vita Chrysostonii^ 8, records follows on Tertullian's lines (P. L. 

how the stage of Antioch in the iv. 779, transl. in Ante-Nicene 

fifth century rang with the scandals Christian Libr. xiii. 221). 

caused by the patriarch Severus 2 Tatian, ad Graecos, 22 (P. G. 

and other Monophysite heretics. vi. 856) ; Minucius Felix, < )ct<ii'fus 9 

1 Tertullian, De Spect^ especially 27 (P. L. iii. 352) ; Cyprian, Epist. 

cc. 4, 26, 30. Schaff, iv. 833, dates i. 8 (P. L. iv. 207) ; Lactantius, tie 

the treatise f2oo. An earlier Jnst. div. vi. 20 (P. L. vi. 710), ' quid 

Greek writing by Tertullian on the de mimis loquar, corruptelarum 

same subject is lost ; cf. also his praeferentibus disciplinam, qui do- 



12 



MINSTRELSY 



The judgement of the Fathers finds more cautious expression 
in the disciplinary regulations of the Church. An early formal 
condemnation of actors is included in the so-called Canons of 
Hippolytus a , and the relations of converts to the stage were 
discussed during the fourth century by the councils of Elvira 
(306) and of Aries (314) and by the third and fourth councils 
of Carthage (397-398) 2 . It was hardly possible for practical 
legislators to take the extreme step of forbidding Christian 
laymen to enter the theatre at all. No doubt that would be the 
counsel of perfection, but in dealing with a deep-seated popular 
instinct something of a compromise was necessary 3 . An 
absolute prohibition was only established for the clergy: so 
far as the laity were concerned, it was limited to Sundays and 
ecclesiastical festivals, and on those days it was enforced by 
a threat of excommunication 4 . No Christian, however, might 
be a scenicus or a scenic a, or might marry one ; and if a member 
of the unhallowed profession sought to be baptized, the 
preliminary of abandoning his calling was essential 5 . 

cent adulteria, dam fingunt, et 
simulatis erudiunt ad vcra ? ' ; cf. 
Du Me"ril, Or. Lat. 6 ; Schaff, iii. 
339. A remarkable collection of 
all conceivable authorities against 
the stage is given by Prynne, 566, 
685, &c. 

1 Canones Hippolyti, 67 (Du- 
chesne, 509) 4 Quicumque fit 0ea- 
rpiKos vel gladiator et qui currit vel 
docet voluptates vel [illegible] vel 
[illegible] vel Kwrjyof vel tTTTroftpo- 
^of [?], vel qui cum bestiis pugnat 
vel idolorum sacerdos, hi omnes 
non admittuntur ad sermones 
sacros nisi prius ab illis immundis 
open bus purgentur/ This is from 
an Arabic translation of a lost 



Greek original. M. Duchesne says 
* ce recueil de prescriptions litur- 
giques et disciplmaires est surement 
anterieur au iv e siecle, et rien ne 
s'opppse a ce qu'il remonte a la 
date indique"e par le nom d'Hippo- 
lyte'[t 198-2 36]. 

2 Cone. hub. cc. 62, 67 (Mansi, 
ii. 1 6) ; Cone. Arelat. c. 5 (Mansi, 
ii. 471) ; 3 Cone. Carth. cc. II, 35 
(Mansi, iii. 882, 885) ; 4 Cone. 
Carth. cc. 86, 88 (Mansi, iii. 958). 



8 The strongest pronouncement 
is that of Augustine and others in 
3 Cone. Carth. c. II * ut filii epi~ 
scoporum vel clericorum spectacula 
saecularia non exhibeant, sed non 
spectent, quandoquidem ab specta- 
culo et omnes laici prohibeantur. 
Semper enim Christiajiis omnibus 
hoc mterdictum est, ut ubi blasphe- 
mi sunt, non accedant.' 

* 4 Lone. Carth. c. 88 * Qui die 
solenni, praetermisso solenni eccle- 
siae conventu, ad spectacula vadit, 
excommunicetur.' 

6 D.C.A. s.w. Actor, Theatre; 
Bingham, vi. 212, 373, 439 ; Alt, 
310; Prynne, 556. Some, how- 
ever, of the pronouncements of the 
fathers came to have equal force 
with the decrees of councils in 
canon law. The Code of Gratian 
(til 39). besides 3 Cone. Carth. 
c. 35 'scenicis atque ystrionibus, 
ceterisque huiusmodi personis, vel 
apostaticis conversis, vel reversis 
ad Deum, gratia vel reconcilia- 
tio non negetur* (C. I. Can. iii. 
2. 96) and 7 Cone. Carth. (419) c. 2 
(Mansi, iv. 437) ' omnes etiam infa- 
miae maculis aspersi, id est histrio- 



THE FALL OF THE THEATRES 13 

It is curious to notice that a certain sympathy with the 
stage seems to have been characteristic of one of the great 
heresiarchs. This was none other than Arius, who is said to 
have had designs of setting up a Christian theatre in rivalry 
to those of paganism, and his strange work, the Thaleia, may 
perhaps have been intended to further the scheme. At any 
rate an orthodox controversialist takes occasion to brand his 
Arian opponents and their works as * thymelic ' or ' stagy' 1 . 
But it would probably be dangerous to lay undue stress upon 
what, after all, is as likely as not to be merely a dialectical 
metaphor. 

After the edict of Milan (313), and still more after the end 
of the pagan reaction with the death of Julian (363), Christian 
influences began to make themselves felt in the civil legislation 
of the Empire. But if the councils themselves were chary of 
utterly forbidding the theatre, a stronger line was not likely 
to be taken in rescripts from Constantinople or Ravenna. 
The emperors were, indeed, in a difficult position. They 
stood between bishops pleading for decency and humanity 
and populaces now traditionally entitled to their pattern et 
spcctacula. The theatrical legislation preserved in the Code of 
Theodosius is not without traces of this embarrassment 2 . It 

nes . . . ab accusatione prohibentur ' Monophysitas ac Monothelitas 

(C. I. Can. ii. 4. I. i), includes two (Mai, Coll. Nov. Script. Vet. vii. 

patristic citations. One is Cyprian, 202), speaks of the avyypappara 

Ep. Ixi. (P. L. iv. 362), which is * de of the Arians as dupe Xixaff <- 

ystrione et mago illo, qui apud vos /3Xovr, and calls the Arian Euno- 

constitutus adhuc in suae artis mius Trp^rocrTarrjs TTJS 'Apei'ov Ovpe- 

dedecore perseverat/ and forbids XtKrjs- op^ijoTpar. I doubt if these 

' sacra communio cum ceteris phrases should be taken too liter- 

Christianis dari ' (C. L Can. iii. 2. ally ; possibly they are not more 

95); the other Augustine, Tract, than a criticism of the buffoonery 

C. ad c. 16 lohannis (P. Z. xxxv. and levity which the fragments of 

1891) 'donare res suas histrionibus the edXaa display. Krumbacher 

vitium est immane, non virtus' (C. mentions an orthodox 'Ajrt&iAeia 

L Can. \. 86. 7). Gratian adds Isi- of which no more seems to be 

dorus Hispalensis, de Eccl. Off. ii. 2 known. 

(P. L. Ixxxiii. 778) * his igitur lege a Alt, 310 ; Bingham, vi. 273 ; 

Patrum cavetur, ut a vulgari vita Schaff, v. 106, 125; Haigh, 460; 

seclusi a mundi voluptatibus sese Dill, 56; P.Allard,y/*># VApostat. 

abstineant ; non spectaculis, non i. 230. The Codex Theodosianus^ 

pompis intersint* (C /. Can. i. drawn up and accepted for both 

23. 3). empires t435, contains imperial 

1 Sathas, 7 ; Krumbacher, 644. edicts from the time of Constantine 

Anastasius Sinaita (bp. of An- onwards, 
tioch, 564) in his tract, Adversus 



14 MINSTRELSY 

is rather an interesting study. The views of the Church were 
met upon two points. One series of rescripts forbade perform- 
ances on Sundays or during the more sacred periods of the 
Christian calendar l : another relaxed in favour of Christians 
the strict caste laws which sternly forbade actresses or their 
daughters to quit the unhappy profession in which they were 
born 2 . Moreover, certain sumptuary regulations were passed, 
which must have proved a severe restriction on the popularity 
as well as the liberty of actors. They were forbidden to wear 
gold or rich fabrics, or to ape the dress of nuns. They must 
avoid the company of Christian women and boys. They must 
not come into the public places or walk the streets attended 
by slaves with folding chairs 3 . Some of the rescripts contain 
phrases pointed with the bitterest contempt and detestation of 
their victims 4 . Theodosius will not have the portraits of 
scenici polluting the neighbourhood of his own imagines 5 . It 
is made very clear that the old court favourites are now to 
be merely tolerated. But they are to be tolerated. The idea 
of suppressing them is never entertained. On the contrary 
the provision of spectacula and of performers for them 
remains one of the preoccupations of the government 6 . The 
praetor is expected to be lavish on this item of his budget 7 , 

1 Spectacula are forbidden on the concessions, in the interest of 

Sunday, unless it is the emperor's the public voluptates, but this may 

birthday, by C. Th. xv. 5. 2 (386), have been only a temporary or local 

which also forbids judges to rise measure. 

for them, except on special occa- s C. Th. xv. 7. II (393) ; xv. 7. 12 

sions, and C. Th. ii. 8. 23 (399)- (394) 5 xv. 13. i (396). 

The exception is removed by C. Th. * C. Th. iv. 6. 3 (336) ( scenicae 

ii. 8. 25 (409) and C. lust. iii. 12. 9 ... quarum venenis inficiuntur 

(469). The Christian feasts and animi perditorum'; xv. 7. 8 (381), 

fasts, Christmas, Epiphany, the of the relapsing scenica, l perma- 

first week in Lent, Passion and neat donee anus ridicula, senectute 

Easter weeks are added by C. Th. deformis, nee tune quidem absolu- 

ii. 8. 23 (400) and C. Th. xv. 5. 5 tione potiatur, cum aliud quam 

(425). According to some MSS. casta esse non possit.' 

this was done by C. Th. ii. 8. 19 e C. Th. xv. 7. 12 (394). 

(389), but the events of 399 recorded * C. Th. xv. 6. 2 (399) is explicit, 

below seem to show that 400 is the * ludicras artes concedimus agitari, 

right date. ne ex nimia harum restrictione 

* C. Th. xv. 7. I, 2 (371) ; xv. 7. tristitia generetur.' 

4 (380); xv. 7. 9 (381). Historians 7 C. Th. vi. 4. 2 (327) ; vi. 4. 4 

have seen in some of these rescripts (339) ; vi. 4. 29 (396) ; vi. 4. 32 (397). 

which are dated from Milan the It appears from the decree of 396 

influence of St. Ambrose. C. Th. that the'theatralisdispensio' of the 

xv. 7. 13 (414) seems to withdraw praetors had been diverted to the 



THE FALL OF THE THEATRES 15 

and special municipal officers, the tribuni voluptatum^ are 
appointed to superintend the arrangements *. Private indi- 
viduals and rival cities must not deport actors, or withdraw 
them from the public service 2 . The bonds of caste, except 
for the few freed by their faith, are drawn as tight as ever 3 , 
and when pagan worship ceases the shrines are preserved 
from demolition for the sake of the theatres built therein 4 . 

The love of even professing Christians for spectaczda proved 
hard to combat. There are no documents which throw more 
light on the society of the Eastern Empire at the close of the 
fourth century than the works of St. Chrysostom ; and to 
St. Chrysostom, both as a priest at Antioch before 397 and as 
patriarch of Constantinople after that year, the stage is as 
present a danger as it was to Tertullian two centuries earlier 5 . 
A sermon preached on Easter-day, 399, is good evidence of 
this. St. Chrysostom had been attacking the stage for 
a whole year, and his exhortations had just come to nought. 
Early in Holy Week there was a great storm, and the people 
joined the rogatory processions. But it was a week of ludi. 
On Good Friday the circus, and on Holy Saturday the theatre, 
were thronged and the churches were empty. The Easter 
sermon was an impassioned harangue, in which the preacher 
dwelt once more on the inevitable corruption bound up with 
things theatrical, and ended with a threat to enforce the sen- 
tence of excommunication, prescribed only a few months before 
by the council of Carthage, upon whoever should again ven- 
ture to defy the Church's law in like fashion on Sunday or 
holy day 6 . Perhaps one may trace the controversy which 

building of an aqueduct ; they are sacrifice or superstition. 
now to give 'scemcas voluptates* B A. Puech, St. Jean Chrysostome 

again. Symmachus, Ef. vi. 42, et les Mceurs de son Temps (1891), 

describes his difficulties in getting 266, has an interesting chapter on the 

scenici for his son's praetorship, spectacula. He refers to Horn, in 

which cost him ,80,000. They Matt. 6, 7, 37, 48 ; Horn, in loann. 

were lost at sea ; cf. Dill, 151. 18 ; Horn, in Ep. I ad Thess. 5 ; 

1 See Appendix A. Horn, de Dav. et Saut, 3 ; Horn, in 

2 C. Th. xv. 7. 5 (380) ; xv. 7. IO Prtsc.etAguil.i,&:c. Most of these 
(385) ; C. Just. xi. 41. 5 (409). works belong to the Antioch period ; 

8 C. Th. xv. 7. 8 (381) ; xiv. 7. 3 cf. also Allard, i. 229. In de Sacer- 

(412). dotio I, Chrysostom, like Augustine, 

* C. Th. xvi. 10. 3 (346). But records his own delight in the stage 

C. Th. xvi. 10. 17 (399) forbids as a young man. 

' voluptates ' to be connected with 6 P. G. Ivi. 263. 



16 MINSTRELSY 

St. Chrysostom's deliverance must have awakened, on the one 
hand in the rescript of the autumn of 399 pointedly laying 
down that the ludicrae artes must be maintained, on the other 
in the prohibition of the following year against performances 
in Holy week, and similar solemn tides. 

More than a century after the exile and death of 
St. Chrysostom the theatre was still receiving state recog- 
nition at Constantinople. A regulation of Justinian as to 
the liidi to be given by newly elected consuls specified a per- 
formance on the stage ominously designated as the 'Harlots' 1 . 
By this date the status of the theatrical profession had at last 
undergone further and noticeable modification. The ancient 
Roman prohibition against the marriage of men of noble birth 
with sccnicae or other infames or the daughters of such, had 
been re-enacted under Constantine. A partial repeal in 454 
had not extended to the sccnicae 2 . During the first half of 
the sixth century, however, a series of decrees removed their 
disability on condition of their quitting the stage, and further 
made it an offence to compel slaves or freed women to per- 
form against their will 3 . In these humane relaxations of the 
rigid laws of theatrical caste has often been traced the hand of 
the empress Theodora, who, according to the contemporary 
gossip of Procopius, was herself, before her conversion, one of 
the most shameless of mimes. But it must be noted that the 
most important of the decrees in question preceded the acces- 
sion of Justinian, although it may possibly have been intended 
to facilitate his own marriage 4 . The history of the stage in 

1 C. L C. Nov. lust. cv. I (536) sureties of actresses who hinder 

' faciet processum qui ad theatrum them from conversion and quitting 

ducit, quern pornas vocant, ubi in the stage. For similar legislation 

scena ridiculorum est locus tragoe- cf. Nov. li ; Ixxxix. 15; cxvii. 4. 

dis et thymelicis choris' ; cf. Chori- By Nov. cxvii. 8. 6 a man is per- 

cius, Apology for Alimes, ed. Ch. mitted to turn his wife out of doors 

Graux, in R. d. Philologie, i. 209 ; and afterwards repudiate her, if she 

Krumbacher, 646. goes to theatre, circus, or amphi- 

3 C. Th. iv. 6. 3 (336) ; C. lust, theatre without his knowledge or 

v. 5. 7 (454). against his will. 

* C. lust. v. 4. 23 (520-3) allows 4 Gibbon,, iv. 212, 516 (with 
the marriage on condition of an Prof. Bury's additions) ; C. E. Mai- 
imperial rescript and a dotale in- let in E. //. Kwirw, ii. i ; A. Debi- 
strumentum. C. lust. i. 4. 33 (534) dour, L* Imptratrice Thtodora, 59. 
waives the rescript. It also im- Neither Prof. Bury nor the editor 
poses penalties on fideiussores or of the C /. C. accepts M. Debi- 



THE FALL OF THE THEATRES 17 

the East cannot be traced much further with any certainty. 
The canons of the Quinisextine council, which met in the 
Trullan chamber to codify ecclesiastical discipline in 692, 
appear to contemplate the possibility of performances still 
being given *. A modern Greek scholar, M. Sathas, has made 
an ingenious attempt to establish the existence of a Byzantine 
theatrical tradition right through the Middle Ages ; but 
Dr. Krumbacher, the most learned historian of Byzantine 
literature, is against him, and holds that, so far as our know- 
ledge goes, the theatre must be considered to have perished 
during the stress of the Saracen invasions which, in the 
seventh and eighth centuries, devastated the East 2 . 

The ending of the theatre in the West was in very similar 
fashion. Chrysostom's great Latin contemporaries, Augustine 
and Jerome, are at one with him and with each other in their 
condemnation of the evils of the public stage as they knew it 3 . 
Their divergent attitude on a minor point may perhaps be 
explained by a difference of temperament. The fifth century 
saw a marked revival of literary interests from which even 
dignitaries of the Church did not hold themselves wholly aloof. 
Ausonius urged his grandson to the study of Menander. 
Sidonius, a bishop and no undevout one, read both Menander 
and Terence with his son 4 . With this movement Augustine 
had some sympathy. In a well-known passage of the Con- 
fessions he records the powerful influence exercised by tragedy, 

dour's dating of C. lust. v. 4. 23 pagan religious festivals of a semi- 

under Justinian in 534. theatrical character ; cf. ch. xiv. 

1 Mansi, xi. 943. Canon 3 ex- C. 66 forbids the circus or any fiij- 

cludes one who has married a /xw^^s- $*'a in Easter week. 
o-KijviKTj from orders. C., 24 forbids 2 Sathas, passim ; Krumbacher, 

priests and monks 6vm\\.*.<i*v rrat- 644. 

ywW dpcxecr&ii, and confirms a de- 'Jerome, in Ezcchicl (410-15) 

cree of the council of Laodicea 'a spectaculis removeamus oculos 

(cf. p. 24, n. 4) obliging them, if arenae circi theatri ' (P. L. xxv. 

present at a wedding, to leave the 189) ; Augustine, de Fide et Sym- 

room before TO nniyvia are intro- bolo (393) * in theatris labes morum, 

duced. C. 51 condemns, both for discere turpia, audire inhonesta, 

clergy and laity, TOU* Ac-yo/AcVous videre perniciosa ' (P. L. xl. 639 ; 

pLpovs KOI ra TOVTW fa'arpa and ras cf. the sermon quoted in Appendix 

eiri CTKTIVVV opx^at. For clergy the N, N. x. 

penalty is degradation, for laity ex- * Ausonius, Idyl. \v. 46 ; Sido- 

cpmmunication. C. 61 provides a nius, Ep. iv. 12 * legebamus, pariter 

six-years' excommunication for bear- laudabamus, iocabamurque.' 
leaders and such. C. 62 deals with 



CHAMBERS. 1 



18 MINSTRELSY 

and particularly erotic tragedy, over his tempestuous youth l . 
And in the City of God he draws a careful distinction between 
the higher and the lower forms of drama, and if he does not 
approve, at least does not condemn, the use of tragedies and 
comedies in a humane education 2 . Jerome, on the other hand, 
although himself like Augustine a good scholar, takes a more 
ascetic line, and a letter of his protesting against the reading 
of comedies by priests ultimately came to be quoted as an 
authority in Roman canon law 3 . 

The references to the stage in the works of two somewhat 
younger ecclesiastical writers are of exceptional interest. 
Orosius was a pupil of both Jerome and Augustine ; and 
Orosius, endeavouring a few years after the sack of Rome by 
the Goths to prove that that startling disaster was not due to 
Christianity, lays great and indeed exaggerated importance 
on the share of the theatre in promoting the decay of the 
Empire 4 . About the middle of the fifth century the same 
note is struck by Salvian in his remarkable treatise De Guber- 
nationc Dei 5 . The sixth book of his work is almost entirely 
devoted to the spectacula. Like Tertullian, Salvian insists on 
the definite renunciation of spectacula by Christians in their 
baptismal vow a . Like Orosius, he traces to the weakening of 

1 Augustine, Conf. iii. 2, 3 (P. L. facere voluptatis ' (C. /. Can. i. 

xxxii. 683). The whim took him 37. 2). 

once * theatrici carminis certamen * Orosius, Hist. adv. Paganos 

inire.' (4*7)> i v - 21. 5 'theatra incusanda, 

'-' Aug. de Civ. Dei, ii. 8 (P. L. non temporal On the character of 

xli. 53) *et haec sunt scenico- the treatise of Orosius cf. Dill, 312; 

rum tolerabiliora ludorum, comoe- Gibbon, iii. 490. Mr. Dill shows 

diae scilicet et tragoediae ; hoc est, in the third book of his admirable 

fabulae poetarum agendae in spec- work that bad government and bad 

taculis, multa rerum turpitudine sed finance had much more to do with 

nulla saltern sicut alia multa ver- the breakdown of the Empire than 

borum obscoenitate compositae; the bad morals of the stage, 
quasetiam inter studia quae honesta 6 Dill, 58, 137; Hodgkin, i. 930. 

,ic liberalia vocantur pueri legere et Salvian was a priest of Marseilles, 

discere coguntur a senibus.' and wrote between 439 and 451. 

9 Jerome, J : .p. 21 (alii 146) ad * Salvian, vi. 31 'quae est enim 

Damasuni) written 383 (P. L. xxii. in baptismo salutari Christianorum 

386) 'at mine etiam sacerdotes prima confessio ? quae scilicet nisi 

Dei, omissise\ angeliis et prophetis, ut renuntiare se diabolo ac pompis 

videmus comoedias legere, amatoria eius et spectaculis atque operibus 

bucolicorum versuum verba canere, protestentur ? ' The natural intcr- 

tenere Vcrgilium, et id quod in pretation of this is that the word 
pueris necessitatis est, crimen in se spectaculis ' actually occurred in 



THE FALL OF THE THEATRES 19 

moral fibre by these accursed amusements the failure of the West 
to resist the barbarians. Moritnr et ridct is his epigram on the 
Roman world. The citizens of Treves, three times destroyed, 
still called upon their rulers for races and a theatre. With the 
Vandals at the very gates of Cirta and of Carthage, ccclesia 
Carthaginiensis insaniebat in circis, luxuriebat in thcatris *. 
Incidentally Salvian gives some valuable information as to 
the survival of the stage in his day. Already in 400 Augustine 
had been able to say that the theatres were falling on every 
side 2 . Salvian, fifty years later, confirms the testimony, but 
he adds the reason. It was not because Christians had learnt 
to be faithful to their vows and to the teachings of the Church ; 
but because the barbarians, who despised spectacula, and therein 
set a good example to degenerate Romans 3 , had sacked half 
the cities, while in the rest the impoverished citizens could no 
longer pay the bills. He adds that at Rome a circus was still 
open and a theatre at Ravenna, and that these were thronged 
with delighted travellers from all parts of the Empire 4 . There 
must, however, have been a theatre at Rome as well, for 
Sidonius found it there when he visited the city, twelve years 
after it had been sacked for the second time, in 467. He was 
appointed prefect of the city, and in one of his letters expresses 
a fear lest, if the corn-supply fail, the thunders of the theatre 
may burst upon his head 6 . In a poem written a few years 
earlier he describes the spectacula thcatri of mimes, panto- 
rmmes, and acrobats as still flourishing at Narbonne 6 . 

The next and the latest records of the stage in the West 

the formula abrenuntiationis. Was pene civitates cadunt theatra . . . 

this so? It was not when Tertul- cadunt et fora vel moenia, in quibus 

lian wrote (t2oo). He gives the demonia colebantur. Unde enim 

formula as 'renunciare diabolo et cadunt, nisi inopia rerum, quarum 

pompae et angelis eius,' and goes lascivo et sacrilego usu constructa 

on to argue that visiting ' spectacula ' sunt.' 

amounts to 'idolatna,' or worship of 3 This point was made also by 

the ' diabolus ' (de Spectaculis, c. 4). Chrysostom in the Easter-day ser- 

Nor is the word used in any of the mon, already cited on p. 15. 

numerous versions of the formula * Salvian, vi. 39, 42, 49. 

given by Schaffjiii. 248; Duchesne, 5 Sidonius, Ep. i. 10. 2 ' vereor 

293 ; Martene, i. 44 ; Martin von autem ne famem Populi Romani 

Bracara, de Caeremoniis (ed. Cas- theatralis caveae fragor insonet et 

pari), c. 15. infortunio meo publica deputetur 

1 Salvian, vi. 69, 87. esuries ' ; cf. Ep. i. 5. 10. 

2 Augustine, de Cons. Evang. i. 6 Sidonius, Carm. xxiii. 265 
33 (P. JL. xxxiv. 1068) 'per omnes (t46o) ; cf. Ep. ix. 13. 5. 

C 2 



20 MINSTRELSY 

date from the earlier part of the sixth cer**iry, when the 
Ostrogoths held sway in Italy. They are to be found in 
the Variac of Cassiodorus, who held important official posts 
under the new lords of Rome, and they go to confirm the in- 
ference which the complaint of Salvian already suggests that 
a greater menace to the continuance of the theatre lay in the 
taste of the barbarians than even in the ethics of Christianity. 
The Ostrogoths had long dwelt within the frontiers of the 
Empire, and Theodoric, ruling as ' King of the Goths and 
Romans in Italy,' over a mixed multitude of Italians and 
Italianate Germans, found it necessary to continue the 
spectac2da % which in his heart he despised. There are many 
indications of this in the state-papers preserved in the Variae> 
which may doubtless be taken to express the policy and temper 
of the masters of Cassiodorus in the rhetorical trappings of 
the secretary himself. The scenici are rarely mentioned with- 
out a sneer, but their performances and those of the aurigae^ 
or circus-drivers, who have now come to be included under 
the all-embracing designation of histriones^ are carefully 
regulated l . The gladiators have, indeed, at last disappeared, 
two centuries after Constantine had had the grace to sup- 
press them in the East 2 . There is a letter from Theodoric 
to an architect, requiring him to repair the theatre of Pompey, 
and digressing into an historical sketch, imperfectly erudite, 
of the history of the drama, its invention by the Greeks, and 
its degradation by the Romans 3 . A number of documents 
deal with the choice of a pantomimus to represent t\ic prasini 
or ' Greens/ and show that the rivalry of the theatre-factions 

1 Cassiodorus, Variae, iii. 51 xv. 12. I * cruenta spectacula in 
4 quantum histrionibus rara con- otio civili et domestica quiete non 
stantia honestumque votum, tanto placent ; quapropter omninogladia- 
pretiosior est, cum' in eis probabilis tores esse prohibemus (325).* 
monstratur aflfectus ' ; this is illus- 8 Cassiodorus, Var. iv. 51. Of 
trated by the conduct of one the mime is said ' mimus etiam, 
'Thomas Auriga'; Var.\\. 8 ' Sa- qui nunc moclo derisui habetur, 
binus auriga . . . quamvis histrio tanta Phihstionis cautela repertus 
honesta nos supplicatione per- est uteiusactus poneretur inhtteris 1 
movit'; Var. vi. 4 'tanta enim est (cf. p. 4, n. i); of the pantomime, 
vis gloriosae veritatis, ut etiam in ' orchestrarum loquacissimae ma- 
rebus scenicis aequitas desideretur.' nus, linguosi digiti, silentium cla- 

* Schaff, v. 122; Dill, 55, The mosum, expositio tacita.' 
rescript of Constantine is C 7)4. 



THE FALL OF THE THEATRES 21 

remained as fierce as it had been in the days of Bathyllus and 
Pylades. Helladius is given the preference over Thorodon, 
and a special proclamation exhorts the people to keep the 
peace I . Still more interesting is the formula^ preserved by 
Cassiodorus, which was used in the appointment of the 
tribunus volnptatum, an official whom we have already come 
across in the rescripts of the emperors of the fourth century. 
This is so characteristic, in its contemptuous references to the 
nature of the functions which it confers, of the whole German 
attitude in the matter of spectacula, that it seems worth while 
to print it in an appendix 2 . The passages hitherto quoted 
from the Variae all seem to belong to the period between 507 
and 511, when Cassiodorus was quaestor and secretary to 
Theodoric at Rome. A single letter written about 533 in the 
reign of Athalaric shows that the populace was still looking 
to its Gothic rulers for spcctacitla, and still being gratified 3 . 
Beyond this the Roman theatre has not been traced. The 
Goths passed in 553, and Italy was reabsorbed in the Empire. 
In 568 came the Lombards, raw Germans who had been but 
little under southern influence, and were far less ready than 
their predecessors to adopt Roman manners. Rome and 
Ravenna alone remained as outposts of the older civilization, 
the latter under an exarch appointed from Constantinople, the 
former under its bishop. At Ravenna the theatre may con- 
ceivably have endured ; at Rome, the Rome of Gregory the 
Great, it assuredly did not. An alleged mention of a theatre 
at Barcelona in Spain during the seventh century resolves 
itself into either a survival of pagan ritual or a bull-fight 4 . 

1 Cassiodorus, Var. i. 20, 31-3. cision to the bishop. He says, 

2 Cf. Appendix A. * obiectum hoc, quod de ludis thea- 
8 Cassiodorus, Var. ix. 21 ' opes triis taurorum, scilicet, mmisterio 

nostras scaenicis pro populi oble- sis adeptus nulli videtur incertum ; 

ctatione largimur.' quis non videat quod etiam videre 

4 Du Meril, Or. Lat. 13, quotes roeniteat.' But I cannot find in 

from Mariana, Hist, of Spain > vi. 3, Sisebut or in Mariana, who writes 

the statement that Sisebut, king of Spanish, the \\ords quoted by Du 

the Visigoths, deposed Eusebms, Me'ril. For 'taurorum' one MS. 

bishop ot Barcelona, in 6 1 8, ' quod has ' phanorum.' I suspect the 

in theatro quaedam agi concessisset former is right. A bull-fight sounds 

quae ex vana deorum superstitione so Spanish, and such festivals of 

traducta aures Chnstianae abhor- heathen origin as the Kalends (cl. 

rere videantur/ Sisebuthus, Ep. vi ch. xi) were not held in theatres. 

(P. L. Ixxx. 370), conveys his de- A. Gassier, Le TMdtre espagnvl 



22 MINSTRELSY 

Isidore of Seville has his learned chapters on the stage, but 
they are written in the imperfect tense, as of what is past and 
gone l . The bishops and the barbarians had triumphed. 

(1898), 14, thinks such a festival is (ch. xiii). In any case there is no 

intended ; if so, 'theatriis' probably question of * scenici.' 
means not literally, 'in a theatre,' l Isidorus Hispalensis, Etymo- 

but merely 'theatrical'; cf. the 'ludi logiarum (600-636), xviii. 42 (P. L. 

theatrales 3 of the Feast of Fools IxxxiL 658). 



CHAPTER II 
MIMUS AND SCOP 

{Bibliographical Note (for chs. ii-iv). By far the best account of 
minstrelsy is the section on Les Propagateurs des Chansons dc Gestes in 
voJ. ii of L. Gautier, Les poptes franqaiscs (2nd ed. 1892), bk. ii, chs. 
xvii-xxi. It may be supplemented by the chapter devoted to the subject 
in J. Bddier, Les Fabliaux (2nd ed. 1895), and by the dissertation of 
E. Freymond, Jongleurs und Me nestrals (Halle, 1883). I have not seen 
A. Olrik, MiddelcUderens vandrende Spillem&nd (Opuscula Philolsgica, 
Copenhagen, 1887). Some German facts are added by F. Vogt, Lebtn 
und Dichten der deutschen Spielleute im Mittelalter (1876), and A. Schultz, 
Das hoftsche Leben zur Zeit der Minnesinger (2nd ed. 1889), i. 565, who 
gives further references. The English books are not good, and probably 
the most reliable account of English minstrelsy is that in the following 
pages ; but materials may be found in J. Strutt, Sports and Past<mes of 
the People of England (1801, ed. W. Hone, 1830) ; T. Percy, Reliqttes of 
Ancient Englzsh Poetry (ed. H. B. Wheatley, 1876, ed. Schroer, 1889); 
J. Ritson, Ancient English Metrical Romances (1802), Ancient Songs 
and Ballads (1829) ; W. Chappell, Old English Popular Music (ed. H. E. 
Wooldridge, 1893) ; F. J. Crowest, The Story of British Music, from the 
Earliest Times to the Tudor Period ( 1 896) ; J. J. Jusserand, English Way- 
faring Life in the Middle Ages (trans. L. T. Smith, 4th ed. 1 892) . The early 
English data are discussed by R. Merbot, Aesthetische Stiidien zitr angel- 
sdchsischen Poesie (1883), and F. M. Padelford, Old English Musical Terms 
(1899). F. B. Gummere, The Beginnings of Poetry (1901), should be con- 
sulted on the relations of minstrelsy to communal poetry ; and other special 
points are dealt with by O. Hubatsch, Die lateinischen Vagantenlieder des 
Mittelalters (1870) ; G. Maugras, Les Come'diens hors la Loi (1887), and 
H. Lavoix, La Musique au Siecle de Saint-Louis (in G. Raynaud, Recueil 
de Motets franqais, 1883, vol. ii). To the above list of authorities should 
of course be added the histories of literature and of the drama enu- 
merated in the General Bibliographical Note.~\ 

THE fall of the theatres by no means implied the complete 
extinction of the scenici. They had outlived tragedy and 
comedy : they were destined to outlive the stage itself. 
Private performances, especially of pantomimi and other 
dancers, had enjoyed great popularity under the Empire, 
and had become an invariable adjunct of all banquets and 
other festivities. At such revels, as at the decadence of the 
theatre and of public morals generally, the graver pagans had 



24 MINSTRELSY 

looked askance x : the Church naturally included them in its 
universal condemnation of spectacula. Chrysostom in the 
East 2 , Jerome in the West 3 , are hostile to them, and a 
canon of the fourth-century council of Laodicea, requiring 
the clergy who might be present at weddings and similar 
rejoicings to rise and leave the room before the actors were 
introduced, was adopted by council after council and took its 
place as part of the ecclesiastical law 4 . The permanence of 
the regulation proves the strength of the habit, which indeed 
the Church might ban, but was not able to subdue, and which 
seems to have commended itself, far more than the theatre, to 
Teutonic manners. Such irregular performances proved a 
refuge for the dispossessed scenici. Driven from their theatres, 
they had still a vogue, not only at banquets, but at popular 
merry-makings or wherever in street or country they could 
gather together the remnant of their old audiences. Adversity 
and change of masters modified many of their characteristics. 
The pantomimi, in particular, fell upon evil times. Their 
subtle art had had its origin in an exquisite if corrupt taste, 
and adapted itself with difficulty to the ruder conditions of 
the new civilizations 5 . The inimi had always appealed to 
a common and gross humanity. But even they must now 
rub shoulders and contend for denarii with jugglers and with 
rope-dancers, with out-at-elbows gladiators and beast-tamers. 
More than ever they learnt to turn their hand to anything 
that might amuse ; learnt to tumble, for instance ; learnt to 
tell the long stories which the Teutons loved. Nevertheless, 
in essentials they remained the same ; still jesters and buffoons, 

1 Macrobius, Saturnalia, ii. 1. 5, 9. Cone, of Aix- la- Chape lie (8 16) c. 83 

2 Chrysostom, Horn, in Ep. ad (Mansi, vii. 1361) ; and finally, C. /. 
Col. cap. I, Horn. i. cc. 5, 6 (P. G. Can. iii. 5. 37 'non oportet ministros 
Ixii. 306). altaris vel quoslibet clericos specta- 

8 Jerome, Ep. 117 (P. L. xxii. culls aliquibus, quae aut in nuptiis 

957) 'difficile inter epulas servatur aut scenis exhibentur, interesse, sed 

pudicitia'; cf. Dill, no. ante, quam thymelici ingrediantur, 

* Cone, of Laodicea (t 343-81) surgere eos de convivio et abire.' It 

can. 54(Mansi, 11.574) on ovdfllepari- is noteworthy that * scenis ' here 

Kovy f) K\rjpiK.ovs rtvas Geapias Qcoopriv translates dflrrvois. 
tv ydfjiotf TI SfLtrvois, a\\a npo row 6 Muratori,y4#//<p.//tf/./l/^/.y47/. 

cicrcpxc 0-dcu rous 6vfj.c\titovs eytipevtiai ii. 847* traces the pantomitni in the 

avrovf KOU avax&peiv. Cf. Cone, of Italian mattaccini. 
Braga (t572) c. 60 (Mansi, v. 912), 



MIMUS AND SC6P 25 

still irrepressible, still obscene. In little companies of two 
or three, they padded the hoof along the roads, travelling 
from gathering to gathering, making their own welcome in 
castle or tavern, or, if need were, sleeping in some grange or 
beneath a wayside hedge in the white moonlight. They were, 
in fact, absorbed into that vast body of nomad entertainers on 
whom so much of the gaiety of the Middle Ages depended. 
They became iocnlatorcs^jouglcurs^ minstrels 1 . 

The features of the minstrels as we trace them obscurely 
from the sixth to the eleventh century, and then more clearly 
from the eleventh to the sixteenth, are very largely the 
features of the Roman mimi as they go under, whelmed in 
the flood which bore away Latin civilization. But to regard 
them as nothing else than mimi would be a serious mistake. 
On another side they have a very different and a far more 
reputable ancestry. Like other factors in mediaeval society, 
they represent a merging of Latin and the Teutonic elements. 
They inherit the tradition of the mimus : they inherit also 
the tradition of the German scop 2 . The earliest Teutonic 
poetry, so far as can be gathered, knew no scof. As will be 
shown in a later chapter, it was communal in character, closely 
bound up with the festal dance, or with the rhythmic move- 
ments of labour. It was genuine folk-song, the utterance 
of no select caste of singers, but of whoever in the ring of 
worshippers or workers had the impulse and the gift to link 
the common movements to articulate words. At the festivals 
such a spokesman would be he who, for whatever reason, took 
the lead in the ceremonial rites, the vatcs, germ at once of 
priest and bard. The subject-matter of communal song was 
naturally determined by the interests ruling on the occasions 
when it was made. That of daily life would turn largely on 
the activities of labour itself: that of the high days on the 
emotions of religion, feasting, and love which were evoked by 
the primitive revels of a pastoral or agricultural folk. 

Presently the movements of the populations of Europe 
brought the Germanic tribes, after separating from their 
Scandinavian kinsmen, into contact with Kelts, with Huns, 

1 Cf. Appendix B. Romania (1876), 260 ; G. Paris, 

* Ten Brink, i. n ; P. Meyer in 36 ; Gautier, ii. 6 ; Kbgel, i. 2. 191. 



26 MINSTRELSY 

with the Roman Empire, and, in the inevitable recoil, with 
each other. Then for the first time war assumed a prerogative 
place in their life. To war, the old habits and the old poetry 
adapted themselves. Tiwaz, once primarily the god of bene- 
ficent heaven, became the god of battles. The chant of prayer 
before the onset, the chant of triumph and thanksgiving after 
the victory, made themselves heard l . From these were dis- 
engaged, as a distinct species of poetry, songs in praise of the 
deeds and deaths of great captains and popular heroes. Tacitus 
tells us that poetry served the Germans of his day for both 
chronology and history 2 . Jordanis, four centuries later, has 
a similar account to give of the Ostrogoths 3 . Arminius, the 
vanquisher of a Roman army, became the subject of heroic 
songs 4 : Athalaric has no higher word of praise for Gensimund 
than cantabilis 5 . The glories of Alboin the Lombard 6 , of 
Charlemagne himself 7 , found celebration in verse, and Charle- 
magne was at the pains to collect and record the still earlier 
cantilenae which were the chronicle of his race. Such his- 
torical cantilenae, mingled with more primitive ones of mytho- 
logical import, form the basis of the great legendary epics 8 . 
But the process of epic-making is one of self-conscious and de- 
liberate art, and implies a considerable advance from primitive 
modes of literary composition. No doubt the earliest heroic 
cantilenae were still communal in character. They were rondes 
footed and sung at festivals by bands of young men and maidens. 
Nor was such folk-song quick to disappear. Still in the 

1 Tacitus, Ann. i. 65 ; iv. 47 ; adhuc barbaras apud gentes.' 
Hist. ii. 22 ; iv. 18 ; v. 15 ; Germ. Cassiodorus, Var. viii. 9. 

3 ; Ammianus Marcellinus, xvi. 12. e Kogel, i. i. 122, quoting Paulus 

43 ; xxxi. 7. n ; Vegetius, de re Diaconus, i. 27. 

militarism. 18; cf. Kogel, i. I. 12, 7 Kogel, i. i. 122; i. 2. 220; 

58, in; Mullenhoff, Germania, Gautier, i. 72 ; G. Pans, Hist. Pott. 

ch. 3. The barditus or barritus of de Charlemagne, 50 ; cf. Poeta Saxo 

the Germans, whatever the name (t89o) in M. G. H. Scriptores,\. 268 

exactly means, seems to have been 'est quoque iam notum; vulgaria 

articulate, and not a mere noise. carmina magnis laudibus eius avos 

2 Tacitus, Germ. 2 * quod unum et proavos celebrant. Pippinos, 
apud illos memoriae et annalium Karolos, Hludiwicos et Theodricos, 
genus est. J et Carlomannos Hlothariosque ca- 

8 Jordanis, de orig. Getarum (in nunt.' 

M. G. H.), c. 4 * in priscis eorum 8 Gautier, i. 37 ; Gr8ber,h. 1.447. 

carmimbus pene storico ritu in com- The shades of opinion on the exact 

munerecolitur.' relation of the cantilenae to the 

* Tacitus, Ann. ii. 88 'canitur chansons de gestes are numerous. 



MIMUS AND SCOP 27 

eleventh century the deeds of St. William of Orange resounded 
amongst the chori iuvenum 1 - \ and spinning- room and village 
green were destined to hear similar strains for many centuries 
more 2 . But long before this the cantilenae had entered upon 
another and more productive course of development : they 
were in the mouths, not only of the folk, but also of a body 
of professional singers, the fashioners of the epic that was 
to be 3 . Like heroic song itself, the professional singers owed 



1 Vita 5. Willelmi (Acta SS. 
Maii, vi. 80 1 ) ' qui chori iuve- 
num, qui conventus populorum, 
praecipue militum ac nobihum 
virorum, quae \igiliae sanctorum 
dulce non resonant, et modulatis 
vocibus decantant qualis et quantus 
fuerit ' ; cf. Gautier, i. 66. The 
merest fragments of such folk-song 
heroic cantilenne are left. A German 
one, the Ludvv igslied, on the battle 
of Saucourt (88 1) is in Mullenhoff 
und Scherer, Denkmaler deutscher 
Poesie und Prosa (1892), N. xi : cf. 
Kogel, i. 2. 86 ; Gautier, i. 62. And 
a few lines of a (probably) French 
one on an event in the reign of 
Clotaire ( i 620) are translated into 
Latin in Helgarius ( f 853-76), 
Vita S. Faronis (Historiens de 
France, in. 505 ; Mabillon, Acta 
SS. Bcnedictinorum, ii. 610). Hel- 
garius calls the song a ' carmen 
rusticum' and says 'ex qua victoria 
carmen publicum iuxta rusticitatem 
per omnium pene volitabat ora ita 
canentium, feminaeque chores inde 
plaudendo componebant.' The 
Vita S. Faronis in Acta SS. Ix. 
612, which is possibly an abridge- 
ment of Helgarius, says * carmine 
rustico . . . suavi cantilena de- 
cantabatur ' ; cf. Gautier, i. 47 ; 
Grober, ii. i. 446. 

a Ten Brink, i. 148, quotes from 
Hist. Ely, ii. 27 (tl 166), a fragment 
of a song on Canute, ' quae usque 
hodie in choris publice cantantur,' 
and mentions another instance from 
Win. of Malmesbury. Cf. de Gtstis 
HereivardiSaxoms (Michel, Chron. 
Anglo- Norm. ii. 6) * mulieres et 
puellae de eo in choris canebant,' 
and for Scotland the song on Ban- 
nockburn (131 4) which, says Fabyan, 



Chronicle (ed. Ellis), 420, 'was after 
many days sungyn in dances, in 
carolles of ye maydens and myn- 
strellys of Scotlande ' ; cf. also 
Gummere, B. P. 265. 

8 It is important to recognize that 
the cantilenas of the folk and those 
of the professional singers existed 
side by side. Both are, I think, 
implied in the account of the St. 
William songs quoted above : the 
folk sung them in choruses and on 
wake-days, the professional singers 
in the assemblies of warriors. At 
any rate, in the next (twelfth) cent. 
Ordericus Vitalis, vi. 3 (ed. Soc. 
de FHist. de France, iii. 5), says of 
the same Willelmus, * Vulgo canitur 
a ioculatoribus de illo cantilena. 1 
M. Gautier (ii. 6) will not admit the 
filiation of the ioculatores to the 
scopas, and therefore he is led to 
suppose (i. 78) that the cantilenae 
and vulgaria carmina were all folk- 
song up to the end of the tenth cent, 
and that then the ioculatores got 
hold of them and lengthened them 
into chansons de gestes* But, as we- 
shall see (p. 34), the Franks certainly 
had their professional singers as 
early as' Clovis, and these cannot 
well have "sung anything but heroic 
lays. Therefore the cantilenae and 
Bulgaria carniina of the Mero- 
vingian and Carolingian periods 
may have been either folk-song, or 
5r<5^-song, or, more probably, both 
(Grober, ii. i . 449). Cantilena really 
means no more than * chant ' of any 
kind ; it includes ecclesiastical 
chant. So Alcuin uses it (e. g. Ef. 
civ irr Diimmler, ii. 169) ; and what 
Gautier, ii. 65, prints as a folk-song 
cantilena of S. Eulalia is treated 
by Grober, ii. i. 442, as a sequence. 



28 MINSTRELSY 

their origin to war, and to the prominence of the individual, 
the hero, which war entailed. Around the person of a great 
leader gathered his individual following or comitattis, bound 
to him by ties of mutual loyalty, by interchange of service 
and reward 1 . Amongst the comitatus room was found for 
one who was no spearman, but who, none the less honoured 
for that, became the poet of the group and took over from the 
less gifted chorus the duty of celebrating the praises of the 
chieftain. These he sung to the accompaniment, no longer 
of flying feet, but of the harp, struck when the meal was over 
in tent or hall. Such a harper is the characteristically Ger- 
manic type of professional entertainer. He has his affinities 
with the Demodokos of a Homeric king. Rich in dignities 
and guerdons, sitting at the foot of the leader, consorting on 
equal terms with the warriors, he differs wholly from the 
scenicus infamis, who was the plaything and the scorn of 
Rome. Precisely when the shifting of social conditions brought 
him into being it is hard to say. Tacitus does not mention 
him, which is no proof, but a presumption, that amongst the 
tribes on the frontier he had not yet made his appearance 
in the first century of the Empire. By the fifth century he 
was thoroughly established, and the earliest records point to 
his existence at least as early as the fourth. These are not to 
be found in Latin sources, but in those early English poems 
which, although probably written in their extant forms after the 
invasion of these islands, seem to date back in substance to 
the age when the Angles still dwelt in a continental home around 
the base of the Jutish peninsula. The English remained to a 
comparatively late stage of their history remote from Roman 
influence, and it is in their literature that both the original 
development of the Teutonic scop and his subsequent con- 
tamination by the Roman mimns can most easily be studied. 
The earliest of all English poems is almost certainly 
Widsith, the 'far-traveller/ This has been edited and 
interpolated in Christian England, but the kernel of it is 
heathen and continental 2 . It is an autobiographic sketch 
of the life of Widsith, who was himself an actual or ideal scop, 
or rather gledmon^ for the precise term scop is not used in the 
1 Gummere, G. O. 260. 2 Grein, i. i. 



MIMUS AND SCOP 29 

poem. Widsith was of the Myrgings, a small folk who dwelt 
hard by the Angles. In his youth he went with Ealhhild, the 
* weaver of peace/ on a mission to Eormanric the Ostrogoth. 
Eormanric is the Hermanric of legend, and his death in 
375 A.D. gives an approximate date to the events narrated. 
Then Widsith became a wanderer upon the face of the earth, 
one who could * sing and say a story 1 in the ' mead-hall.' He 
describes the nations and rulers he has known. Eormanric 
gave him a collar of beaten gold, and Guthhere the Burgundian 
a ring. He has been with Caesar, lord of jocund cities, and 
has seen Franks and Lombards, Finns and Huns, Picts and 
Scots, Hebrews, Indians, Egyptians, Medes and Persians. At 
the last he has returned to the land of the Myrgings, and with 
his fellow Scilling has sung loud to the harp the praises of 
his lord Eadgils and of Ealhhild the daughter of Eadwine. 
Eadgils has given him land, the inheritance of his fathers. 
The poem concludes with an eulogy of the life of gleemen. 
They wander through realm upon realm, voice their needs, 
and have but to give thanks. In every land they find a lord 
to whom songs are dear, and whose bounty is open to the 
exalters of his name. Of less undeniable antiquity than Widsith 
are the lines known as the Complaint of Deor. These touch 
the seamy side of the singer's life. Deor has been the scop 
of the Heodenings many winters through. But one more 
skilled, Heorrenda by name the Horant of the Gudrun 
saga has outdone him in song, and has been granted the 
land-right that once was Deor's. He finds his consolation in 
the woes of the heroes of old. ' They have endured : may 
not I endure 1 ?' The outline drawn in Widsith and in Deor 
is completed by various passages in the epic of Beowulf, which 
may be taken as representing the social conditions of the sixth 
or early seventh century. In Heorot, the hall of Hrothgar, 
there was sound of harp, the gleewood. Sweetly sang the 
scop after the mead -bench. The lay was sung, the gleeman's 
gyd told. Hrothgar's thanes, even Hrothgar himself, took 
their turns to unfold the wondrous tale. On the other hand, 
when a folk is in sorrow, no harp is heard, the glee-beam is 
silent in the halls 2 . In these three poems, then, is fully 
1 Grein, L 278. * Beowulf, 89, 499, 869, 1064, 1162, 2106, 2259, 2449. 



30 MINSTRELSY 

limned the singer of Teutonic heathenism. He is a man 
of repute, the equal of thanes. He holds land, even the 
land of his fathers. He receives gifts of gold from princes 
for the praise he does them. As yet no distinction appears 
between scdp and glcomon. Widsith is at one time the resident 
singer of a court ; at another, as the mood takes him, a wanderer 
to the ends of the earth. And though the scop leads the song, 
the warriors and the king himself do not disdain to take part 
in it. This is noteworthy, because it gives the real measure 
of the difference between the Teutonic and the Roman enter- 
tainer. For a Nero to perform amongst the scenici was to 
descend : for a Hrothgar to touch the harp was a customary 
and an honourable act. 

The singing did not cease when the English came to these 
islands. The long struggle with the Britons which succeeded 
the invasions assuredly gave rise to many new lays, both in 
Northumbria and Wessex. ' England/ says Mr. Stopford 
Brooke, r was conquered to the music of verse, and settled 
to the sound of the harp/ But though Alfred and Dunstan 
knew such songs, they are nearly all lost, or only dimly 
discerned as the basis of chronicles. At the end of the sixth 
century, just as the conquest was completed, came Christianity- 
The natural development of English poetry was to some 
extent deflected. A religious literature grew up at the hands 
of priests. Eadhelm, who, anticipating a notion of St. Francis 
of Assisi, used to stand on a bridge as if he were a gleeman, 
and waylay the folk as they hurried back from mass, himself 
wrote pious songs. One of these, a carmen trivial?, was still 
sung in the twelfth century 1 . This was in Wessex. In 
Northumbria, always the most literary district of early 
England, the lay brother Caedmon founded a school of divine 
poetry. But even amongst the disciples of Caedmon, some, 
such as the author of the very martial Judith, seem to have 
designed their work for the mead-hall as well as the monas- 
tery 2 . And the regular scop by no means vanished. The 
Wanderer ', a semi-heathen elegiac poem of the early eighth 

1 William of Malmesbury, de ... sensim inter ludicra verbis 
gestis Pontif. AngL (R. S.), 336 scripturarum insertis.' 
' quasi artem cantitandi professum, 2 Grain, ii. 294. 



MIMUS AND SCOP 31 

century, seems to be the lament of a scop driven from his 
haunts, not by Christianity, but by the tumults of the day 1 . 
The great poet of the next generation, Cynewulf, himself 
took treasure of appled gold in the mead-hall. A riddle 
on 'the wandering singer* is ascribed to him 2 , and various 
poems of his school on the fates or the crafts of man bear 
witness to the continued existence of the class 3 . With 
the eighth century, except for the songs of war quoted 
or paraphrased in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the extant 
Early English poetry reaches a somewhat inexplicable end. 
But history comes to the rescue, and enables us still to trace 
the scdp. It is in the guise of a harp-player that Alfred is 
reported to have fooled the Danes, and Anlaf in his turn to 
have fooled the Saxons 4 : and mythical as these stories may 
be, they would not have even been plausible, had not the 
presence of such folk by the camp-fire been a natural and 
common event. 

Certainly the scdp survived heathenism, and many Christian 
bishops and pious laymen, such as Alfred 6 , were not ashamed 
of their sympathy with secular song. Nevertheless, the enter- 
tainers of the English folk did not find favour in the eyes of 
the Church as a whole. The stricter ecclesiastics especially 
attacked the practice of harbouring them in religious houses. 
Decrees condemning this were made by the council on English 
affairs which sat at Rome in 679 6 , and by the council of 
Clovesho in 747 7 . Bede, writing at about the latter date on the 

1 Grein, i. 284. A similar poem book was a'Saxonicum poematicae 
is The Sea-farer (Grein, i. 290). artis librum/ and 'Saxonicos libros 

2 Cynewulf, Elene, 1259 (Grein, recitareetmaximecarminaSaxonica 
ii. 135) ; Riddle Ixxxix (Grein, iii. memoriter discere non desinebat.' 
i. 183). But A. S. Cook, The Christ c Haddan-Stubbs, ni. 133 'Statui- 
(1900), Iv, Ixxxiii, thinks that Cyne- mus atque decernimus ut episcopi 
wulf was a thane, and denies him vel quicunque ecclesiastic! ordinis 
the Riddle. religiosam vitam professi sunt . . . 

8 Cynewulf, Christ (ed. GollanczJ, nee citharoedas habeant, vel quae- 

668 ; Gifts o c Men (Grein, iii. 1. 140); cunque sytnphoniaca, nee quoscun- 

Fates of Men (Grein, iii. I. 148). que iocos vel ludos ante se permit- 

4 William of Malmesbury, Gesta tant, quia omnia haec dis< iplina 

Reg. Angl. (R. S.), i. 126, 143. sanctae ecclesiae sacerdotes fideles 

* Asserius, de rebus gestis Aifredi suos habere non sinit.' 

(Petrie- Sharp, Man. Hist. Brit. i. 7 Ibid. iii. 369 (can. 20) * ut 

473). Alfred was slow to learn as a monasteria . . . non sint ludicra- 

boy, but loved ' Saxonica poemata,' rum artium receptacula, hoc est, 

and remembered them. His first poetarum, citharistarum, musico- 



32 



MINSTRELSY 



condition of church affairs in Northumbria complains of those 
who make mirth in the dwellings of bishops l ; and the com- 
plaint is curiously illustrated by a letter of Gutbercht, abbot 
of Newcastle, to an episcopal friend on the continent, in which 
he asks him for a citharista competent to play upon the cithara 
or rot fa which he already possesses 2 . At the end of the eighth 
century, Alcuin wrote a letter to Higbald, bishop of Lindisfarne, 
warning him against the snares of citharistae and histriones 3 : 
and some two hundred years later, when Edgar and Dunstan 4 
were setting themselves to reform the religious communities 
of the land, the favour shown to such ribald folk was one of 
the abuses which called for correction 5 . This hostile attitude 
of the rulers of the Church is not quite explained by anything 
in the poetry of the scdpas, so far as it is left to us. This had 
very readily exchanged its pagan for a Christian colouring : it 
cannot be fairly accused of immorality or even coarseness, and 



rum, scurrorum.' Can. 12 shows 
a fear of the influence of the scdp 
on ritual : 'ut presbyteri saecularium 
poetarum modo in ecclesia non 
garriant, ne tragicp sono sacrorum 
verborum compositionem et dis- 
tmctionem corrumpant vel con- 
fundant.' Cf. the twelfth-century 
account of church singers who used 
' histrionicis quibusdam gestis,' 
quoted by Jusserand, ../,. 455, from 
the Speculum Cantatis of Abbot 
^Ired of Rievaulx. 

1 Bede to Egbert in 734 (Haddan- 
Stubbs, iii. 315) *de quibusdam 
episcopis fama vulgatum est . . . 
quod ipsi . . . secum habeant . . . 
illos qui risui, iocis, fabulis . . . 
subigantur.' 

* Gutberchtus to Lullus in 764 
(Dummler, Epist. Mer. ct Car. in 
M. G. H. i. 406). 

3 Alcuin, Ep. 124 (797) 'melius 
est pauperes edere de mensa tua 
cjuam istriones vel luxuriosos quos- 
libet . . . verba Dei legantur in 
sacerdotali convivio. ibi decet lec- 
torem audiri, non citharistam ; ser- 
mones patrum, non carmina gen- 
tium, quid Hinieldus cum Christo ? 
angusta est dpmus ; utrosque te- 
nere non poterit . . . voces legentium 



audire in domibus tuis, non riden- 
tium turbam in plateis.' The allu- 
sion to a lost epic cycle of Hiniel- 
dus (Ingeld) is highly interesting; 
on it cf. Haupt in Z.f. d. A. xv. 314. 

* The Vitae of Dunstan (Stubbs, 
Memorials of Dunstan^ R. S. II, 20, 
80, 257) record that he himself 
learnt the *ars citharizandi.' One 
day he hung * citharam suam quam 
lingua paterna hearpam vocamus ' 
on the wall, and it discoursed an 
anthem by itself. Anthems, doubt- 
less, were his mature recreation, but 
as a young clerk he was accused 
'non saluti animae profutura sed 
avitae gentilitatis vanissima didi- 
cisse carmina, et historiarum frivo- 
vplas colere incantation um nae- 
nias.' 

6 Anglo-Saxon Canons of Edgar 
(906), can. 58 (Wilkins, i. 228), sic 
Latine, ' dpcemus artem, ut nullus 
sacerdos sit cerevisanus, nee aliquo 
mpdo scurram agat secum ipso, vel 
aliis * ; Oratio Edgari Regis (969) 
pro tnonachatu propaganda (Wil- 
Icins, i. 246) * ut iam domus cleri- 
corum putentut . . . conciliabulum 
histrionum . . . mimi cantant et sal- 
tant.' 



MIMUS AND SCOP 33 

the Christian sentiment of the time is not likely to have been 
much offended by the prevailing theme of battle and deeds of 
blood. The probable explanation is a double one. There is 
the ascetic tendency to regard even harmless forms of secular 
amusement as barely compatible with the religious life. .And 
there is the fact, which the language of the prohibitions them- 
selves makes plain, that a degeneration of the old Teutonic 
gleemen had set in. To singing and harping were now added 
novel and far less desirable arts. Certainly the prohibitions 
make no exception for poetae and musici ; but the full strength 
of their condemnation seems to be directed against scurrae and 
their ioca, and against the mimi and histriones who danced as 
well as sang. These are new figures in English life, and they 
point to the fact that the merging of the Teutonic with the 
Latin entertainer had begun. To some extent, the Church 
itself was responsible for this. The conversion of England 
opened the remote islands to Latin civilization in general : 
and it is not to be wondered at, that the mimi^ no less than 
the priests, flocked into the new fields of enterprise. If this 
was the case already in the eighth century, we can hardly 
doubt that it was still more so during the next two hundred 
years of which the literary records are so scanty. Such 
a view is supported by the numerous miniatures of dancers 
and tumblers, jugglers and bear-leaders, in both Latin and 
Early English manuscripts 0T this period l , and by the glosses 
which translate such terms as mimus, iocista, scurra, panto- 
mimus by gligmon, reserving sc&p for the dignified poeta*. 

1 Strutt, 172 and passim. poet is opposed to the skirnun or 

8 Wright-Wiilker, 150, 311, 539. t&mard^ scurra or mimus. The 

A synonym for sc6p is leodwyrhta. buffoon is looked askance at by the 

On 1 88 tyricus is glossed scdp. But dignified Scandinavian men of let- 

the distinctive use of scdp is not ters (Saxo Grammaticus, Hist. 

in all cases maintained, e.g. tragi- Danica, transl. Elton, vi. 186) ; and 

cus vel comicus umvurfi scdp(\%%)> Keltic bardism stands equally aloof 

comicus scdp (283), comicus id est fromthe<r/*rwr(cf.p. 76). Of course 

qui comedia scribit, cantator vel Kelts and Teutons might conceiv- 

artifex canticorum seculorum y idem ably have developed their buffoons 

satyricusi i. sc6p^ ioculator^ poet a for themselves, independently of 

(206). Other western peoples in Roman influence, but so far as the 

contact with Latin civilization came Germans go, Tacitus, Germ. 24, 

to make the same classification of knows no spectaculum but the 

poet and buffoon. Wackernagel, i. swcorda-gcldc or sword-dance (ch. 

5 1 , says that the German liuderi or ix). 

CHAMBERS. I D 



34 MINSTRELSY 

This distinction I regard as quite a late one, consequent 
upon the degeneracy introduced by mimi from south Europe 
into the lower ranks of the gleemen. Some writers, indeed, 
think that it existed from the beginning, and that the scdp 
was always the resident court poet, whereas the gledmon was 
the wandering singer, often a borrower rather than a maker of 
songs, who appealed to the smaller folk 1 . But the theory 
is inconsistent with the data of Widsith. The poet there 
described is sometimes a wanderer, sometimes stationary. 
He is evidently at the height of his profession, and has sung 
before every crowned head in Europe, but he calls himself 
a gledmon. Nor does the etymology of the words sc6p and 
gledmon suggest any vital difference of signification 2 . 

The literary records of the continental Teutons are far 
scantier than those of the English. But amongst them also 
Latin and barbaric traditions seem to have merged in the 
ioculator. Ancestral deeds were sung to the harp, and there- 
fore, it may be supposed, by a scdp, and not a chorus^ before 
the Ostrogoths in Italy, at the beginning of the sixth century 8 . 
In the year 507 Clovis the Frank sent to Theodoric for 
a citharoedus trained in the musical science of the South, and 
Boethius was commissioned to make the selection 4 . On the 
other hand, little as the barbarians loved the theatre, the mimi 
and scurrac of the conquered lands seem to have tickled their 
fancy as they sat over their wine. At the banquet with which 
Attila entertained the imperial ambassadors in 448, the guests 

1 Brooke, i. 12 ; Merbot, 1 1. The are from the same root seg (Kogel, 
gledmon, according to Merbot, be- i. I. 140). Gledmon is from gleo, 
came mixed with the plegman or gleow, gliw, g^g^ 'glee,' 'mirth.' 
mimus. I n the glosses pleja ludus The harp, in Beowulf "and elsewhere, 
in the widest sense, including ath- is the ' glee-beam/ * glee-wood.' 
letics; and plej-stowe = amphi- s Jordanis, de hist. Get. (in 
theatrum (Wright- Wulker, 342). A M.G.H.), c. 5 'ante quos etiam 
synonym of ple}a is the etymo- cantu maiorum facta modulatio- 
logical equivalent of ludus, Idc (cf. nibus citharisque cantabant.' 

ch. viii). Spil is not A. S., spilian, * Cassiodorus, Variae, ii. 40, 41. 

a loan-word (Kogel, i. I. 1 1). Kogel, i. 1. 130, thinks that the pro- 

2 Sc6p y the O. H. G. scop} 'or scof fessional singer, as distinct from the 
is the * shaper/ * maker/ from ska- chorus^ first became known to the 
pan^ * to make ' ; it is only a West- Franks on this occasion. But one 
German word, and is distinct from may rather infer from Theodorids 
scopf, a 'scoff/ 'mock/ and also letter to Boethius that the citha- 
from O.N. skald. This is not West- roedus was to replace barbaric by 
German, but both ' sing ' and ' say ' civilized music. 



MIMUS AND SCOP 35 

were first moved to martial ardour and to tears by the recital 
of ancient deeds of prowess, and then stirred to laughter by 
the antics of a Scythian and a Moorish buffoon 1 . Attila 
was a Hun and no German ; but the Vandals who invaded 
Africa in 429 are recorded to have taken to the spcctacula so 
extravagantly popular there 2 , and Sidonius tells how mimici 
sale*) chastened in view of barbaric conceptions of decency, 
found a place in the festivities of another Theodoric, king from 
462 to 466 of the Visigoths in Gaul 3 . Three centuries later, 
under Charlemagne, the blending of both types of entertainer 
under the common designation of ioculator seems to be com- 
plete. And, as in contemporary England, the animosity of 
the Church to the scenici is transferred wholesale to the 
ioculatores, without much formal attempt to discriminate 
between the different grades of the profession. Alcuin may 
perhaps be taken as representing the position of the more 
rigid disciplinarians on this point. His letter to the English 
bishop, Higbald, does not stand alone. In several others he 
warns his pupils against the dangers lurking in ludi and 
spectacula*) and he shows himself particularly exercised by 

1 Priscus, Hist. Goth. (ed. Bonn) feriatur.' There are no musicians, 
205 cTnycvoiAcvTjs & fcrjrpaf dad*? 'rege solum illis fidibus delenito, 

0T}(rav, bvo dc avrucpv rov AT- quibus non minus mulcet virtus 

Trap(\06vTff pdpfiapoi qo-para animum quam cantus auditum.' 

rjfjicva cXryov, vitas avrov KOI ras In Carm. xii Sidonius mentions 

Kara ir&\*\iov qdovrcs operas' cs ots Gothic songs, without specifying 

01 rrjs- cvwxt'ar aW/SXcTrov, jcat ol ptv whether they are professional or 

fjdoVTO Tots TTOtrjfMKTlVf Ol $ TO>V 7ToX- ChonC. 

potv avapinvij(TK6p*voi Sirjytipovro rols * Alcuin, Ep. cclxxxi (793-804), 
<f>povrifj.acrtv, oXXoi 8e e^twpouv cV fid- to a disciple in Italy, 'melius est 
Kpva, 2>v v?r6 TOV XP VOV ^<r^cvt TO Deo placere quam histrionibus, pau- 
crco/xa ical f)crv)(dftv 6 6vp,os rjvayKa- perum habere curam quam mimo- 
fTo. fitra de ra aa-fuira SKV^IJ* ns rum'; Ep. ccl (t8oi), to the monks 
7rapt\6ut> <t>pvoft\dftr)s t . . . er ycXwra of Fulda, ' non sint [adulescentuli] 
iravras irapca-iccvafrc irapfXQttv. peff luxuriosi, non ebrietati servientes, 
&v . . . ZfpKw 6 Mavpovcrios . . . rrdv- non contemptaosi, non inanes se- 
ra* . . . r ao-faaTov 6pfj.rj(Tai yeXwra quentes ludos ' ; Ep. ccxliv (t8oi), 
7rapTK(vacrf, ir\rjv 'Am;Xa. Cf. Gib- to Fredegis, master of the palace 
bon, iii. 440 ; Hodgkin, ii. 86 ; school, * non veniant coronatae co- 
Kogel, i. I. 114. lumbae ad fenestras tuas, quae 

2 Procopius, de bell. Vandal, ii. volant per cameras palatii, nee equi 
6 ; Victor Vitensis, de persec. Van- indomiti inrumpant ostia camerae ; 
dal. i. 15. 47. nee tibi sit ursorum saltantium 

3 Sidonius, Ep. i. 2. 9 'sane in- cura, sed clericorum psallentium.' 
tromittuntur, ejuanquam raro, inter The ' coronatae columbae ' were 
coenandum mimici sales, ita ut nul- Charlemagne's wanton daughters, 
lus conviva mordacis linguae felle Diimmler (Ep. Mer. et Car. ii. 541) 

D 2 



36 



MINSTRELSY 



the favour which they found with Angilbert, the literary and 
far from strict-lived abbot of St. Richer 1 . The influence 
of Alcuin with Charlemagne was considerable, and so far 
as ecclesiastical rule went, he had his way. A capitulary 
(t?^;) excluded the Italian clergy from uncanonical sports 2 . 
In 789 bishops, abbots, and abbesses were forbidden to keep 
ioculatorcs*^ and in 802 a decree applying to all in orders 
required abstinence from idle and secular amusements 4 . 
These prohibitions were confirmed in the last year of Charle- 
magne's reign (813) by the council of Tours 5 . But as enter- 
tainers of the lay folk, the minstrels rather gained than lost 
status at the hands of Charlemagne. Personally he took 
a distinct interest in their performances. He treasured up 
the heroic cantilenac of his race 6 , and attempted in vain to 

prints a responsio of Leidradus, tarn sapiens animus non intellexisset 
Abp. of Lyons, to Charles. This is reprehensibilia dignitati suae facere 
interesting, because it contrasts the et non laudabilia.' Angilbert also 
*mobilitas histrionum' which tempts 
the eye, with the 'carmina poetarum 
et comediarum mimorumque urba- 
nitates et strophae,' which tempt 
the ear. This looks as if histriones, 
in the sense of pantominri, were 
still known, but the piece also men- 
tions c teatrorum moles' and ' cir- 
censes/ and is, I suspect, quite 
antiquarian. 

1 Ep. clxxv (799), to Adalhart, 
Bp. of Old Corbey, 'Vereor, ne 
Homerus [Angilbert] irascatur con- 
tra cartam prohibentem spectacula 

et diabolica figmenta. quae omnes clxxv, and I know of no other which 
sanctae scripturae prohibent, in it can be, Dummler's date for the 



seems to have had relations unbe- 
coming an abbot \\ith one of the 
' coronatae columbae.' 

2 Capit. of Mantua (Boretius, i. 
195), can. 6 'neque ulla iocorum 
genera ante se fieri permittant quae 
contra canonum auctoritatem eve- 
niunt.' 

3 Capit. Generate (Boretius, i. 64 ; 
P. L. xcvii. 1 88), c. 31 * ut episcopi 
et abbates et abbatissae cupplas 
canum non habeant, nee falcones, 
nee accipitres, nee ioculatores.' If 
this is the carta of Alcuin's Ep. 



tantum ut legebam sanctum dicere 
Augustinum, " nescit homo, qui hi- 
striones et mimos et saltatorcs in- 



letter of 799 seems too late. Mabil- 
lon's 791 is nearer the mark. 

4 Capit. Gen. (Boretius, i. 96), 



troducit in domum suam, quam can. 23 l cleri . . . non inanis Jusibus 

magna eos immundorum sequitur vel convivhs secularibus vel canticis 

turba spirituum.'' sed absit ut in 

domo Christiana diabolus habeat 

potestatem ' (the quotation from 

Augustine cannot be identified) : 

Ep. ccxxxvii (801), also to Adalhart, 

' quod de emendatis moribus H omeri 

mei scripsisti, satis placuit oculis 

meis . . . unum fuit de histrionibus, 

quorum vanitatibus sciebam non 



vel luxuriosis usum habeant.' 

6 Cone, of Tours (Mansi, xiv. 84), 
c. 7 * histrionum quoque turpium et 
obscoenorum insolent iis iocorum et 
ipsi [sacerdotes] animo effugere 
caeterisque sacerdotibus effugienda 
praedicare debent.' 

6 Emhard, Vtta Caroli Magni, 
c. 29 * barbara et antiquissima car- 



parvum animae sui periculum im- mina, quibus veterum regum actus 



minere, quod mihi non placuit 



et bella canebantur, scripsit me- 



mirumque mihi visum est, quomodo moriaeque mandavit.' 



MIMUS AND SCOP 



37 



inspire the saevitia of his sons with his own enthusiasm for 
these *. The chroniclers more than once relate how his 
policy was shaped or modified by the chance words of a iocu- 
lator or scurra 2 . The later tradition of the jongleurs looked 
back to him as the great patron of their order, who had given 
them all the fair land of Provence in fee 3 : and it is clear that 
the songs written at his court form the basis not only of the 
chansons de gestes> but also, as we found to be the case with 
the English war-songs, of many passages in the chronicles 
themselves*. After Charlemagne's death the minstrels fell 
for a time on evil days. Louis the Pious by no means shared 
his father's love for them. He attempted to suppress the 
cantilenae on which he had been brought up, and when the 
tnimi jested at court would turn away his head and refuse to 
smile 6 . To his reign may perhaps be ascribed a decree 
contained in the somewhat dubious collection of Benedictus 
Levita, forbidding idle dances, songs and tales in public places 
and at crossways on Sundays c , and another which continued 



1 Alcuin, Ep. cxlix (798), to Char- 
lemagne, ' ut puerorum saevitia ves- 
trorum cumslibet carminis dulcedine 
mitigaretur, voluistis ' ; Alcuin, \\lio 
doubtless had to menager Charle- 
magne a little, is apparently to \\rite 
the poem himself. 

8 Kogel. i. 2. 222. The Chroni- 
con No-i'alit.iensC) in. 10, describes 
how after crossing Mt. Cems in 773, 
Charlemagne was guided by a Lom- 
bard ioLulator\\\\Q sung a 4 cantiun- 
culam a se compositam de cadem 
re rotando in conspectu suorum.' 
As a re\\ ard the ioculator had all the 
land over which his tuba sounded on 
a hill could be heard. The Momi- 
chus S. Ga/li (JafftS, Bibl. rcr. Germ. 
iv), i. 13, tells how ^783) a s<.urra 
brought about a reconciliation be- 
tween Charlemagne and his brother- 
in-law Uodalrich. The same u riter 
(i. 33) mentions an * incomparabilis 
clericus' of the 'glonosissimus Ka- 
rolus,' \\ho * scientia . . . cantilenae 
ecclesiasticae vel locularis novaque 
carminum compositione sive modti- 
latione . . . cunctos praecelleret. 1 

8 Philippe Mouskes, de Poetis 



(quoted Ducange, 



'Quar quant li buens Rois Karle- 

maigne 

Ot toute mise a son demame 
Provence, qui mult iert plentive 
DC \ms, de bois, d'aigue, de n\e, 
As lecours, as mcnestreus, 
yui sont auques luxurious, 
Le donna toute et departi.' 
* Koj^t'l, i. 2. 220. 

5 Theganu i, ife gcsli ^huJnviciPi i 
(J/. (.7. //. $(fipforcs t ii. 594), c. 19 
' Poctica carmina gentilia, quae in 
iuventute didicerat, respuit, r.ec 
le^ r ere ncc audire nee docerc voluit,' 
and 4 nun(iu,im in nsu exaltavit 
vocem huam, nee quando in festivi- 
tatibus ad lactitiam populi proce- 
dcl^ant thymehci, scurrae, et mimi 
cum rhoraulis et citharistis ad men- 
s<tm coram eo, tone ad mr nsu ram 
ridebat populus coram on, ilie nun- 
(juam vel denies cumhdos suos m 
risu ostcndit.' The ( carmina gen- 
tilia,' so much disliked by Louis, 
were probably Prankish and not 
classic poeiiib. 

6 Benedictus Levita, vi. 205 



38 



MINSTRELSY 



for the benefit of the minstrels the legal incapacity of the 
Roman sccnici, and excluded histriones and scurrae from all 
privilege of pleading in courts of justice l . 

The ill-will of a Louis the Pious could hardly affect the hold 
which the minstrels had established on society. For good or 
for bad, they were part of the mediaeval order of things. But 
their popularity had to maintain itself against an undying 
ecclesiastical prejudice. They had succeeded irrevocably to the 
heritage of hate handed down from the scenici inf antes. To be 
present at their performances was a sin in a clerk, and merely 
tolerated in a layman. Largesse to them was declared tanta- 
mount to robbery of the poor 2 . It may be fairly said that 
until the eleventh century at least the history of minstrelsy is 
written in the attacks of ecclesiastical legislators, and in the 
exultant notices of monkish chroniclers when this or that 
monarch was austere enough to follow the example of Louis 
the Pious, and let the men of sin go empty away 3 . Through- 
out the Middle Ages proper the same standpoint was officially 
maintained 4 . The canon law, as codified by Gratian, treats 



( J/. G. H. Leges, 11". 2. 83), ' ne in illo 
sancto die vanis fabuhs aut locti- 
tionibus sive cantationibus vcl sal- 
tationibus stando in biviis ct plateis 
ut solet inscrviant.' On this collec- 
tion see Schaff, v. 272. 

1 This capitulary is of doubtful 
date, but belongs to the reign either 
of Louis the Pious, or Lothair 
(Boretius, i. 334 ; Pertz, i. 324 ; lien. 
Levita, ii. 49) ' ut in palatiis nostris 
ad accusandum et iudicandum et 
testimomum faciendum non se ex- 
hibeant viles personae et infames, 
histriones scilicet, nugatores, man- 
zercs, scurrae, concubmarii, . . . aut 
servi aut criminosi ' ; cf. R. Sohm, 
7>*j frank. Reich s- nnd Gerichts- 
verfassung) 354. 

2 For ninth-century prohibitions 
see Statutes of Haito, Bp. of Basle 
(807-23), c. ii (Boretius, i. 364); 
Lone, of Maintz (847), c. 13 (Bore- 
tius, ii. 179) ; Cone, of Maintz (852), 
c. 6 (Boretius, ii. 1871; Capit. 
of Walter of Orleans (858), c. 17 
(Mansi, xv. 507), Capit. of Hincmar 



of Rheims (P. L. cxxv. 776) ; and 
cf. Prynne, 556. Stress is often laid 
on the claims of the poor ; e. g. 
Agobardus (^836), de Dispens. Ec- 
cles. Rer. 30 (P. L. civ. 249) ' satiat 
praeterea et inebriat histriones, 
mimos, turpissi mosque et vanis- 
simos ioculares, cum pauperes 
ecclesiae fame discruciati inter- 
eant.' 

8 Otto Frisingensis, Chronicon, vi. 
32, records of the Emperor Henry 
III in 1045 that ' quumque ex more 
regio nuptias Inglinheim celebraret, 
omne balatronurn et histrionum 
collegium, quod, ut assolet, eo con- 
fluxerat, vacuum abire permisit, 
pauperibusque ea quae membris 
diaboli subtraxerat, large distribuit.' 
After the death of the EmperorH enry 
I of Germany his widow Matilda 
* neminem voluit audire carmina sae- 
' 



Antiquior in M.G.H. Script ores, 
iv. 294). 

4 Honorius Augustoduncnsis, 
Elucidarium (tioo,2), ii. 18 (P. L. 



MIMUS AND SCOP 



39 



as applicable to minstrels the pronouncements of fathers and 
councils against the scenici, and adds to them others more 
recent, in which clergy who attend spectacula, or in any way 
by word or deed play the iocidator^ are uncompromisingly 
condemned *. This temper of the Church did not fail to find 
its expression in post-Conquest England. The council of 
Oxford in 1222 adopted for this country the restatement of 
the traditional rule by the Lateran council of I2I5 2 ; and the 
stricter disciplinary authorities at least attempted to enforce 
the decision. Bishop Grosseteste of Lincoln, for instance, 
pressed it upon his clergy in or about 1238 3 . The reforming 
provisions of Oxford in 1259 fc"d down that, although minstrels 
might receive charitable doles in monasteries, their spcctacula 
must not be given 4 ; and a similar prohibition, couched in very 



clxxii. 1148) * Habent spem iocu- 
latores ? nullam ; tota namque in- 
tentione stint ministri Satanae ' ; on 
the vogue of this book cf. FumivcUl 
Miscellany ', 88. 

1 The following passages of the 
Decretunt Gratiani y besides those 
already quoted, bear on the subject : 
(a) i. 23. 3, ex hid. de Eccl. OJfietis, 
ii. 2 * His igitur lege Patrum 
cavetur, ut a vulgari vita seclusi 
a mundi voluptatibus sese absti- 
neant ; non spectaculis, non pom- 
pis intersint ' : () i. 44. 7, ex Cone. 
Nannetensi ' Nullus presbyterorum 
. . . quando ad collectam presbyteri 
convenerit . . . plausus et risus in- 
conditos,et fabulas inanes ibi referre 
aut cantare praesumat, aut turpia 
i oca vel urso vel tornatricibus ante se 
fieri patiatur'; I cannot identify the 
Council of Nantes referred to : the 
canon is not amongst those supposed 
to belong to the Council of 660, and 
given by Mansi, xviii. 166 : (c) i. 46. 
6, ex Cone. Cart hag. iv. c. 60 [398. 
Mansi, iii. 956] ' Clericum scur- 
rilem et verbis turpibus ioculatorem 
ab officio retrahendum censemus ' : 
(d) ii. 4. i. i, ex Cone. Carthag. vii 
(419) 'Omnes etiam infamiae macu- 
lis aspersi, id est histriones . . . ab 
accusatione prohibentur.' The 
Decretum Gratiani was drawn up 
t 1 139. The Decretales of Gregory 
IX (1234) incorporate can. 16 of 



the Lateran Council (Mansi, xxii. 



intendant ' ; and the Liber Sextus 
of Boniface VIII (1298) adds the 
following decree of that Pope (Sext. 
Deer. iii. i. i) * Clerici qui, clericalis 
ordinis dignitati non modicum de- 
trahentes, se ioculatores seu goliar- 
dos faciunt aut bufones,si per annum 
artem illam ignominiosam exer- 
cuerint, ipso iure, si autem tempore 
breviori, et tertio moniti non resi- 
puerint, careant omni privilegio 
clericali/ 

2 Wilkins, i. 585. For can. 16 
of the Lateran council see last 
note. The prohibition is again 
confirmed by can. 17 of the Synod 
of Exeter in 1287 (Wilkins, ii. 129). 

8 Constitutions of Bp. Grosse- 
teste in his Epistolae (R. S.), 159 
. ' ne mimis, ioculatoribus, aut histrio- 
nibus intendant.* In 1230, Grosse- 
teste 's predecessor, Hugh of Wells, 
had bid his archdeacons inquire, 
'an all qui intendant histriombus ' 
(Wilkins, i. 627). 

4 Annales de Burton (Ann. 
Monast. R. S. i. 485) ' histrionibus 
potest dari cibus, quia pauperes 
sunt, non quia histriones ; et eorum 
ludi non videantur, vel audiantur, 
vel permittantur fieri coram abbate 
vel monachis.' 



40 



MINSTRELSY 



uncomplimentary terms, finds a place in the new statutes 
drawn up in 1319 for the cathedral church of Sarum by Roger 
de Mortival l m A few years later the statutes of St. Albans 
follow suit 2 , while in 1312 a charge of breaking the canons in 
this respect brought against the minor clergy of Ripon minster 
had formed the subject of an inquiry by Archbishop Green- 
field 3 . Such notices might be multiplied 4 ; and the tenor of 
them is echoed in the treatises of the more strait-laced amongst 
monkish writers. John of Salisbury 6 , William Fitz Stephen 6 , 
Robert Mannyng of Brunne 7 , are at one in their disapproval 
of ioculatores. As the fourteenth century draws to its close, 
and the Wyclifite spirit gets abroad, the frqer critics of church 



1 Const, of Roger de Mortival, 
46 (Dayman and Jones, Sarum 
Statutes, 76) 'licet robustos cor- 
pore, labprem ad quern homo nasci- 
tur subire contemnentes, et in 
delicate otio sibi victum quaerere 
sub inepta laetitia saeculi eligentes, 
qui " menestralli " et quandoque 
'Mudorum homines" vulgar! eloquio 
nuncupantur, non quia tales sunt, 
sed quia opus Dei nostramque 
naturam conspicimus in eisdem, 
nostris domibus refectionis gratia 
aliquotiens toleremus,' yet no money 
or goods convertible into money 
may be given them ; 'nee ad fabulas 
cjuas referunt, et quae in detracta- 
tionibus, turpiloquio, scurrilitate 
consistunt, ullus voluntarium prae- 
beat auditum, nee ad eas audiendas 
aures habeat prurientes, sed per 
obauditionem ab huiusmpdi re- 
latibus, quin potius latratibus, in 
quantum fieri poterit, excludantur, 
tamen nemo libenter invito referat 
auditor!,' They may, if they are not 
women, have their dole of bread, 
and keep peace from evil words. 
' Nee debet de huiusmodi persona- 
rum, quae infames sunt, laude, 
immo verius fraude, seu obloquio, 
aut alias vanae laudis praeconio, 
ecclesiasticus vir curare, cum nihil 
eo miserius sit praelato, qui luporum 
laudibus gloriatur.' The statute is 
headed 'De maledicis, adulatoribus, 
histrionibus, et detractoribus re- 
spuendis.' 



3 Thomas Walsingham, Gesta 
Abbatum S. Albani (ed. Riley, 
R. S. ii. 469) ' illicita spectacula 
prorsus evitent ' (1326-35). 

8 J. T. Fowler, Memorials of 
Ripon Minster, ii. 68 (Surtees Soc.) ; 
the charge was that * vicarii, capel- 
lani, et caeteri ministri . . . specta- 
culis publicis, ludibriis et coreis, 
immo teatricalibus ludis inter laicos 
frequentius se immiscent.' 

4 The Statutes, i. 5. 4, of St. Paul's, 
as late as ti45o, direct the beadles 
1 quod menestrallps coram altaribus 
Virginis et Crucis indevote strepi- 
tantes arceant et eiiciant* (W. S. 
Simpson, Register of St. Paul's^ 
72). 

6 John of Salisbury, Polycraticus 
(t 1 159), i. 8 (P.L. cxcix. 406) *satius 
enim fuerat otiari quam turpiter 
occupari. Hinc mimi, salii vcl 
saliares, balatrones, aemiliani, 
gladiatores, palaestritae, gignadii, 
praestigiatores, malefici quoque 
multi, et tota iocuJatorum scena 
procedit.' 

6 Cf. Representations, s.v. Lon- 
don. 

7 R. Mannyng de Brunne (t 1 303), 
Handlyng Synne (ed. Furnivall), 
148. ' Here doyng ys ful perylous ' 
he translates William of Wadington's 
* Qe unt trop perilus mester ' ; and 
tells a tale of divine judgement on 
'a mynstralJe, a gulardous/ who 
disturbed a priest at mass. 



MIMUS AND SCOP 41 

and state, such as William Langland l or the imagined author 
of Chaucer's Parson's Tale 2 , take up the same argument. 
And they in their turn hand it on to the interminable pam- 
phleteering of the Calvinistic Puritans 3 . 

1 Piers the Plowman^ C. text^ whiche beth godes myn- 

viii. 97: strales.' 

* Clerkus and knyjtes * wel- 9 Cant. Tales (ed. Skeat), 69 

cometh kynges mynstrales, c Soothly, what thing that he yeveth 

And for loue of here lordes for veyne glorie, as to minstrals and 

lithen hem at festes ; to folk, for to beren his renoun in the 

Muchemore,methenketh*riche world, he hath sinne ther-of, and 

men auhte noon almesse.' 

Haue beggars by-fore hem" * e. g. Stubbes, Anatomy, i. 169. 



CHAPTER III 
THE MINSTREL LIFE 

THE perpetual infamia of the minstrels is variously reflected 
in the literature of their production. Sometimes they take 
their condemnation lightly enough, dismissing it with a jest or 
a touch of bravado. In Aucassin et Nicolete> that marvellous 
romance of the viel caitif, when the hero is warned that if he 
takes a mistress he must go to hell, he replies that, to hell will 
he go, for thither go all the goodly things of the world. 
1 Thither go the gold and the silver, and the vair and the grey, 
and thither too go harpers and minstrels and the kings of the 
world. With these will I go, so that I have Nicolete, my 
most sweet friend, with me 11 . At other times they show 
a wistful sense of the pathos of their secular lot. They tell 
little stories in which heaven proves more merciful than the 
vice-gerents of heaven upon earth, and Virgin or saint 
bestows upon a minstrel the sign of grace which the priest 
denies 2 . But often, again, they turn upon their persecutors 

1 Aucassin et Nicolete (tiiso- Coincy), Miracles de Nostre Dame 
1200), ed. Bourdillon (1897), 22. (t 1223, ed. Poquet, 1859), and Le 
The term ' caitif ' has puzzled the Harpeor de Roncestre (Mfchel, 
editors. Surely the minstrel has in Roms., Conies, Dits^ Fabl. ii. 108). 
mind the abusive epithets with Saint Pierre et le Jongleur (Mon- 
which the clergy bespattered his taiglon Raynaud, v. 117) is a witty 
profession. See Appendix B. tale, in which a minstrel, left in 

2 See especially Le Tombeor de charge of hell, loses so many souls to 
Notre Dame (Romania, <ii. 315). St. Peter at dice, that no minstrel 
Movati (Rom. xxv. 591) refers to a has been allowed there since. B. 
passage quoted by Augustine, de Joannes Bonus (Acta SS. Oct. 
Civ. Dei, vi. 10, from the lost work ix. 693) was a minstrel in his youth, 
of Seneca, d* Superstitionibus , but the patron saints of the min- 
* doctus archimimus, senex iam de- strels were always St. Genesius the 
crepitus, cotidie in Capitolio mimum mime (cf. p. 10), and St. Julian 
agebat, quasi dii libenter spectarent Hospitator (Acta SS.Jan. iii. 589), 
quern illi homines desierant/ Some- who built a hospital and once en- 
what similar are Don Cierge qui tertained an angel unawares. 
descendi au Jougleour (Gautier de 



THE MINSTREL LIFE 43 

and rend them with the merciless satire of the fabliatix, wherein 
it is the clerk, the theologian, who is eternally called upon to 
play the indecent or ridiculous part *. 

Under spiritual disabilities the minstrels may have been, but 
so far as substantial popularity amongst all classes went, they 
had no cause from the eleventh to the fourteenth century to 
envy the monks. As a social and literary force they figure 
largely both on the continent and in England. The distinc- 
tively Anglo-Saxon types of scop and glcomon of course dis- 
appear at the Conquest. They do not cease to exist ; but they 
go under ground, singing their defiant lays of Hereward J ; and 
they pursue a more or less subterranean career until the four- 
teenth century brings the English tongue to its own again. 
But minstrelsy was no less popular with the invaders than 
with the invaded. Whether the skald had yet developed 
amongst the Scandinavian pirates who landed with Rollo on 
the coasts of France may perhaps be left undetermined 3 : for 
a century and a half had sufficed to turn the Northmen into 
Norman French, and with the other elements of the borrowed 
civilization had certainly come the ioculator. In the very van 
of William's army at Senlac strutted the minstrel Taillefer, 
and went to his death exercising the double arts of his hybrid 
profession, juggling with his sword, and chanting an heroic 
lay of Roncesvalles 4 . Twenty years later, Domesday Book 
records how Berdic the ioculator rcgis held three vills and 
five carucates of land in Gloucestershire, and how in Hamp- 



1 Paris, 113; Bdier, 333. 4 Guy of Amiens, de Bella Hast in- 

2 Brooke, Eng. Lit. 305; Ten gensi (t 1068), 391, 399 : 

Brink, i. 149. * Histrio, cor audax nimium quern 

* Sophus Bugge, in Bidrag til nobifitabat . . . 

den aeldste Skaldedigtnings His- . . . Incisor-ferri mimuscogno- 

torie (1894; cf. L. Duvau in Rev. mine dictus.' 

Celt. xvii. 113), holds that Skaldic Wace, Roman de Rou (tiiyo) 

poetry began in the Viking raids of (ed. Andresen, iii. 8035) : 

the eighth and ninth centuries, under ' Tailiefer, ki mult bien chantout, 

the influence of the Irishy?//V/. The Sor un chevalki tost alout, 

tenth-century skald as described in Devant le due alout chantant 

the Raven-Song of Hornklofi at the De Karlemaigne et de Rolant 

court of Harold Fair-hair is very Et d'Oliver et des vassals 

like the scdp (C.P.B. i. 254), and Qui morurent en Rencevals.' 

here too tumblers and buffoons have Cf. Freeman, Norman Conquest, 

found their way. Cf. Kogel, i. 1. 1 1 1 ; iii. 477. 
E. Mogk,inPaul, Grundriss* ',iii. 248. 



44 MINSTRELSY 

shire Adelinda, a ioculatrix, held a virgate, which Earl Roger 
had given her *. During the reigns of the Angevin and Plan- 
tagenet kings the minstrels were ubiquitous. They wandered 
at their will from castle to castle, and in time from borough 
to borough, sure of their ready welcome alike in the village 
tavern, the guildhall, and the baron's keep 2 . They sang and 
jested in the market-places, stopping cunningly at a critical 
moment in the performance, to gather their harvest of small 
coin from the bystanders 3 . In the great castles, while lords 
and ladies supped or sat around the fire, it was theirs to while 
away many a long bookless evening with courtly geste or witty 
sally. At wedding or betrothal, baptism or knight-dubbing, 
treaty or tournament, their presence was indispensable. The 
greater festivities saw them literally in their hundreds 4 , and 
rich was their reward in money and in jewels, in costly gar- 
ments 5 , and in broad acres. They were licensed vagabonds, 
with free right of entry into the presence-chambers of the 
land 6 . You might know them from afar by their coats of 
many colours, gaudier than any knight might respectably 
wear 7 , by the instruments upon their backs and those of their 

1 Domesday Book, Glee. f. 162 ; pro quibus forsan viginti vel triginta 
Hants, f. 38 (b). Before the Con- marcas argenti consumpserant, vix 
quest, not to speak of Widsith revolutis septem diebus, histrioni- 
and Deor, Edmund Ironside had bus, ministris scilicet diaboli, ad 
given the hills of Chartham primam vocem dedisse.' 

and Walworth ' cuidam ioculatori 6 The Annales (t 1330) of Johannes 

suo nomine Hitardo' (Somner- de Trokelowe (R. S.), 98, tell s. a. 

Battely, Antiq. of Canterbury ^ app. 1317, how when Edward II was 

39). Hitardus, wishing to visit keeping Pentecost in Westminster 

Rome, gave it to Christ Church, 'quaedam mulier, ornatu histrionali 

Canterbury. redimita, equum bonum, histrionali- 

2 Bernhard, iii. 378, gives a thir- ter phaleratum, ascensa, dictam 
teen th - century regulation for the aulam intravit, mensas more hi- 
Petit Pont entry of Paris : ' Et ausi strionum circuivit.' She rode to the 
tot li jougleur sunt quite por i ver king, placed an insulting letter in 
de chanson. 1 his hands, and retired. The * iani- 

3 Gautier, ii. 124. tores et hostiarii,' when blamed, 
* There were 426 at the wedding declared * non esse moris regii, ali- 

of Margaret of England with John cui menestrallo, palatium intrare 

of Brabant in 1290 (Chappell, i. 15, volenti, in tanta solemnitate aditum 

from Wardrobe Bk. 1 8 Edw. I). denegare ' ; cf. Walsmgham, Hist. 

5 Rigordus, de gcstis Philippi Angl. (R. >.) i. 149. 

Augusti (1186) 'vidimus quondam 7 Strutt, 189, has a fourteenth- 

quosdam principes qui vestes diu century story of a youth rebuked for 

excogitatas et variis florum pictura- coming to a feast in a coat bardy, 

tionibus artificiossisimis elaboratas, cut German fashion like a minstrel's; 



THE MINSTREL LIFE 45 

servants, and by the shaven faces, close-clipped hair and flat 
shoes proper to their profession l . This kenspeckle appear- 
ance, together with the privilege of easy access, made the 
minstrel's dress a favourite disguise in ages when disguise was 
often imperative. The device attributed by the chroniclers to 
Alfred and to Anlaf becomes in the romances one of the com- 
monest of clichts 2 . The readiness with which the minstrels 
won the popular ear made them a power in the land. William 
de Longchamp, the little-loved chancellor of Richard I, 
found it worth his while to bring a number of them over 
from France, that they might sing his praises abroad in the 
public places 3 . Nor were they less in request for satire than 
for eulogy. The English speaking minstrels, in particular, 
were responsible for many songs in derision of unpopular 
causes and personalities * ; and we need not doubt that ' the lay 
that Sir Dinadan made by King Mark, which was the worst 
lay that ever harper sang with harp or with any other instru- 
ments/ must have had its precise counterparts in actual life 5 . 
The Sarum statutes of 1319 lay especial stress on the flattery 
and the evil speaking with which the minstrels rewarded their 



cf. the complaint against knights in tonsure. The flat shoe had been 

A Poem on the times of Edward II a mark of the mimi planipedes at 

(Percy Soc. Ixxxii), 23 : Rome. 

* Now thei beth disgysed, 2 Gautier, ii. 105. Thus Nicolete 

So diverselych i-di;t, (Aucassin et Nicolete, ed. Bpur- 

That no man may knowe dillon, 120) 'prist une herbe, si en 

A mynstrel from a kny}t oinst son cief et son visage, si qu'ele 

Wei ny.' fu tote noire et tainte. Et ele fist 

The miniatures show minstrels in faire cote et mantel et cemisse et 

short coats to the knees and some- braies,sis'atornaaguisedejogleor'; 

times short capes with hoods. The cf. King Horn (ed. Hall, 1901), 

Act of Apparel (1463, 3 Ediv. IV, c. 1471-2 : 

5)excepts minstrels and * players in 'Hi sede, hi weren harpurs, 

their interludes.* The Franciscan And sume were gigours/ 

story (p. 57) shows that some of the 8 Roger de Hoveden, Chronicon 

humbler minstrels went shabby (R. S), iii. 143 ' De regno Francorum 

enough. cantores et ioculatores muneribus 

1 Klein, iii. 635 ; Du MeYil, Or. allexerat, ut de illo canerent in pla- 

Laf. 30 ; Gautier, ii. 104 ; Geoffrey teis ; et iam dicebatur quod non erat 

of Monmouth, Historia Britonum, talis in orbe.' 

ix. I *rasit capillos suos et barbam, * Ten Brink, i. 314. 

cultumque ioculatoris cum cithara 6 Malory, Morte tTArthur, x. 

cepit. * Cf. the canon quoted on 27, 31. Even King Mark let the 

p. 6 1 requiring Goliardic clerks to minstrel go quit, because he was a 

be shorn or shaven, to obliterate the minstrel. 



46 MINSTRELSY 

entertainers 1 . Sometimes, indeed, they over-reached them- 
selves, for Henry I is related to have put out the eyes of 
Lucas de Barre, a Norman jongleur , or perhaps rather trou- 
vrc, who made and sang songs against him 2 . But Lucas de 
Barre s rank probably aggravated his offence, and as a rule the 
minstrels went scot-free. A wiser churchman here and there 
was not slow to perceive how the unexampled hold of min- 
strelsy on the popular ear might be turned to the service of 
religion. Eadhelm, standing in gleeman's attire on an English 
bridge to mingle words of serious wisdom with- his carmina 
trivialia, is one instance 3 . And in the same spirit St. Francis, 
himself half a troubadour in youth, would call his Minorites 
ioculatores Domini, and send them singing over the world to 
beg for their fee the repentance and spiritual joy of their 
hearers 4 . A popular hymn-writer of the present day is alleged 
to have thought it * hard that the devil should have all the good 
tunes ' ; but already in the Middle Ages religious words were 
being set to secular music, and graced with the secular imagery 
of youth and spring 5 . 

But if the minstrels were on the one hand a force among 
the people, on the other they had the ear of kings. The 

1 Cf. p. 40. nerari a vobis, videlicet ut stetis in 

* Ordericus Vitalis, Hist. Eccles. vera paenitentia," Et ait : " Quid 

xii. 19 * pro derisoriis cantionibus . . . enim sunt servi Dei nisi quidam 

quin etiam indecentes de me canti- ioculatores eius qui corda hominum 

lenas facetus chorauJa composuit, erigere debent et movere ad laeti- 

ad iniuriam mei palam cantavit, ma- tiam spiritualem." ' Cf. Sabatier, 

levolosque mihi hostes ad cachinnos Life of St. Francis, 9, 51, 307. 

ita saepe provocavit.' Lucas de Perhaps Francis may have heard of 

Barre seems to have been of noble Joachim of Flora, his contemporary, 

birth, but * palam cantavit cantile- who wrote in his Commentary on 

nas.' the Apocalypse ', f. 183. a. 2 'qui 

8 Cf. p. 30. vere mpnachus est nihil reputat esse 

4 Speculum Perfectionis (ed. Sa- suum nisi citharam.' 

batier), 197. When Francis had fin- 6 The MS. of the famous thir- 

ished his Canticle of the Sun, he teenth-century canon Sumer is icu- 

thought for a moment of summon- men in has religious words written 

ing * frater Pacificus qui in saeculo beneath the profane ones ; cf. Wool- 

vocabatur rex versuum et fuit valde dridge, Oxford Hist, of Music, i. 

curialis doctor cantorum,' and giving 326. Several religious adaptations 

him a band of friars who might sing of common motives of profane lyric 

it to the people at the end of are amongst the English thirteenth- 

their sermons : ' finitis autem laudi- century poems preserved in Harl. 

bus volebat quod praedicator diceret MS. 2253 {Specimens of Lyrical 

populo : "Nos sumus ioculatores Poetry: Percy Soc, 1842, no. 19, 

Domini, et pro his volumus remu- and ed. Boddeker, Berlin, 1878). 



THE MINSTREL LIFE 47 

English court, to judge by the payments recorded in the 
exchequer books, must have been full of them *. The fullest 
and most curious document on the subject dates from the 
reign of Edward I. It is a roll of payments made on the 
occasion of a Whitsuntide feast held in London in the year 
1306, and a very large number of the minstrels recorded are 
mentioned by name 2 . At the head of the list come five min- 
strels with the high-sounding title of le roy 8 , and these get five 
marks apiece. A number of others follow, who received sums 
varying from one mark upwards. Most of these have French 
names, and many are said to be in the company of this or that 
noble or reverend guest at the feast Finally, two hundred 
marks were distributed in smaller sums amongst the inferior 
minstrels, les autres menestraus de la commune^ and some of 
these seem to have been of English birth. Below the roys rank 
two minstrels, Adam le Boscu and another, who are dignified 
with the title of maistre y which probably signifies that they 
were clerks 4 . The other names are mainly descriptive, 'Janin 
le Lutour/ 'Gillotin le Sautreour/ 'Baudec le Taboureur,' and 
the like ; a few are jesting stage names, such as the inferior per* 
formers of our music halls bear to-day 5 . Such are * Guillaume 
sanz Maniere,' ' Reginaldus le Menteur,' ' le Petit Gauteron/ 
'ParvusWillielmus,' and those of the attractive comedians Perle 
in the Eghe, and Matill ' Makejoye. The last, by the way, is 
the only woman performer named. The resources of Edward 
I could no doubt stand the strain of rewarding with royal 
magnificence the entertainers of his guests. There is plenty 
of evidence, however, that even on secular grounds the dia- 
tribes of the moralists against the minstrels were often enough 
justified. To the lavish and unthrifty of purse they became 

1 Jusserand, E. W. L. 195, 199, wrote a lament for his death in 1288. 

215 ; Strutt, 194-5 , 210 , 227 ; He quotes Hist. IMt. xx. 666, as to 

Hazliit-Warton, ii. 119; Chappell, this. 

i. 15; Collier, i. 22; Wardrobe 5 Gautier, ii. 103; B&iier, 405, 

AccountsofEdwardI(Soc.Aitf.\<\.), quote many similar names; e.g. 

163, 1 66, 1 68. Quatre CEufs, Malebouche, Ronge- 

* Cf. Appendix C. foie, Tourne-en-fuie, Courtebarbe, 
8 Cf. Appendix D. Porte-Hotte, Mai Quarrel, Songe- 

* This cannot be the famous Adan Feste a la grant viele, Mal-ap- 
de le Hale (cf. ch. viii), known as pareillie*, Pel6, B rise-Pot, Simple 
Me Bossu,' if Guy, 178, is right in d* Amour, Chevrete, Passereau. 
saying that his nephew, Jean Mados, 



48 MINSTRELSY 

blood-suckers. Matilda, the wife of Henry I, is said to have 
squandered most of her revenues upon them 1 ; while the 
unfortunate Robert of Normandy, if no less a chronicler than 
Ordericus Vitalis may be believed, was stripped by these 
rapacious gentry to the very skin 2 . Yet for all the days of 
honour and all the rich gifts the minstrel life must have had its 
darker side. Easily won, easily parted with ; and the lands and 
laced mantles did not last long, when the elbow itched for the 
dice-box. This was the incurable ruin of the minstrel folk 3 . 
And even that life of the road, so alluring to the fever in the 
blood, must have been a hard one in the rigours of an English 
climate. To tramp long miles in wind and rain, to stand wet 
to the skin and hungry and footsore, making the slow bour- 
geois laugh while the heart was bitter within ; such must have 
been the daily fate of many amongst the humbler minstrels at 
least 4 . And at the end to die like a dog in a ditch, under 
the ban of the Church and with the prospect of eternal damna- 
tion before the soul. 

Kings and nobles were not accustomed to depend for their 
entertainment merely upon the stray visits of wandering 
minstrels. Others more or less domiciled formed a permanent 
part of the household. These indeed are the minstrels in the 
stricter sense of thaw term minis tri, minis teriales. In Domes- 
day Book, as we have seen, one Berdic bears the title of 
the ioculator regis. Shortly afterwards Henry I had his 
mimus regis, by name Raherus, who made large sums by his 
suavitas iocularis^ and founded the great priory of St. Bar- 
tholomew at Smithfield 5 . Laying aside his parti-coloured 

1 William of Malrncsbury, Gesta works by Jubinal and Kressner, and 

Reg. Angl. (R. S.), ii. 494. the biography by Ctedat in the 

* Ordericus Vitalis, v.i 2, &c. On series of Grands Ecrivains fran- 

one occasion 'ad ecclesiam, quia fats. 

nudus erat, non pervenit.' 6 Morley, Bartholomew Fair, i- 

' B&lier, 359. 25, from Liber Fundacionis in Cott. 

4 Gautier, chs. xx, xxi, gives an Vesp. B. *>; Leland, Collectanea^ 

admirable account of ib&jougleur's x, 61, 99 ; Dugdale, Monasticon, ii. 

daily life, and its seamy side is 1 66; Stow, Survey ^ 140; C. Knight, 

brought out by B&iier, 399-418. London, ii. 34; Percy, 406. No min- 

A typical jougleur figure is that of strels, however, appear in the formal 

the poet Rutebeuf, a man of genius, list of Henry I's Norman Household 

but often near death's door from (tii35), which seems to have been 

starvation. See the editions of his the nucleus of the English Royal 



THE MINSTREL LIFE 49 

coat, he even became himself the first prior of the new 
community. The old spirit remained with him, however ; 
and it is recorded that the fame of the house was largely 
magnified by means of some feigned miracles which Raherus 
put forth. Richard I was a noted lover of song, and the 
names of more than one minstrel of his are preserved. 
There was Ambroise, who was present at Richard's coro- 
nation in 1189 and at the siege of Acre in 1191, and who 
wrote a history, still extant, of the third crusade 1 . And 
there was that Blondiaux or Blondel de Nesle, the story 
of whose discovery of his captive master, apocryphal though 
it may be, is in all the history books 2 . Henry III had his 
magister Henricus versificator in 1251 8 , and his magister 
Ricardus citharista in 1252*. A harper was also amongst 
the ministri of Prince Edward in the Holy War 6 , and when 
the prince became Edward I, he still retained one in his 
service. He is mentioned as Walter de Stourton, the king's 
harper, in I29O 6 , and as the citharista regis in I3OO 7 . 
Edward II had several minstrels, to one of whom, William 
de Morlee, known as Roy. de North, he made a grant of land 8 . 
By this time the royal minstrels seem to have become a 
regular establishment of no inconsiderable numbers. Under 
Edward III they received 1\d. a day 9 . A little later in the 
reign, between 1344 and 1347, there were nineteen who 
received isrf. a day in war, when they doubtless formed 
a military band, and 205. a year in peace. These included 
five trumpeters, one citoler, five pipers, one tabouretter, two 
clarions, one nakerer, and one fiddler, together with three 

Household as it existed up to 1782 * Chappell, i. 15, from Wardrobe 

(Hall, Red Book of 'Exchequer ,R.S., Book, 18 Edw. I. 

iii. cclxxxvii, 807). 7 Wardrobe Accounts of Edw. I 

1 Gautier, ii. 47, 54 ; G. Paris, (Soc. Antiq.), 323. 

88 ; Ambroise, IJEstoire de la 8 Anstis, Register of Order of the 

Guerre Sainte, ed. G. Paris (Docu- Garter^ ii. 303, from Pat. de (err. 

ments intdits sur FHist. de France, forisfact. 16 Edw. III. Cf. Gesta 

1807). Edw. de Carnarvon in Chron. of 

* Percy, 358. Edw. I and II (R. S.), ii. 91 'ad- 

8 Madox, Hist, of Exchequer^ haesit cantoribus, tragoedis, aurigis, 

268. navigiis et aliis huiuscemodi artifi- 

4 Percy, 365. ciis mechanicis.'- 

6 Walter Hemmingford, Chroni- 9 Strutt, 194; Issue Roll of Tho- 

con, c. 35 ( Vet. Hist. Angl. Script, mas de Brantingham (ed. Devon), 

ii- 590- 54-57, 296-8. 



50 MINSTRELSY 

additional minstrels, known as waits 1 . The leader of the 
minstrels bore the title of rex 4 for in 1387 we find a licence 
given by Richard II to his rex ministrallorum, John Caumz, 
permitting him to pass the seas 2 . Henry V had fifteen 
minstrels when he invaded France in 1415, and at a later date 
eighteen, who received \id. a day apiece 8 . At the end of 
his reign his minstrels received loos, a year, and this annuity 
was continued under Henry VI, who in 1455 had twelve of 
them, besides a wait. In the next year this kihg issued 
a commission for the impressing of boys to fill vacancies in 
the body 4 . Edward IV had thirteen minstrels and a wait 6 . 
By 1469 these had been cut down to eight. At their head 
was a chief, who was now called, not as in Richard II's time 
rex> but marescallus 6 . The eight king's minstrels and their 
marescallus can be traced through the reign of Henry VII, 
and so on into the sixteenth century 7 . 

Nor was the royal household singular in the main- 
tenance of a permanent body of minstrels. The citharista 
of Margaret, queen of Edward I, is mentioned in 1300, 
and her is trio in 1302*. Philippa, queen of Edward III, 
had her minstrels in I337 9 , and those of Queen Elizabeth 
were a regular establishment in the reign of Henry VII 10 . 
The Scottish court, too, had its recognized troupe, known by 
the early years of the sixteenth century as the * minstrels 
of the chekkar n .' As with kings and queens so with lesser 
men. The list of minstrels at court in 1306 includes the 
harpers and other musicians of several lords, both English 
and foreign 12 . In 1308 the earl of Lancaster had a body 
of menestralli and an armiger menestrallorum. During 

Household Ordinances, 4, n 542, 572 ; ii. 68, 84, 176. 

Rymer, vii. 555. Jl The entry * ad solvendum 

Ibid. ix. 255, 260, 336. histrionibus ' occurs in 1364 (Com- 

Ibid. x. 287 ; xi. 375. pott Camerarii Scot. i. 422). The 

Household Ordinances, 48. Exchequer Rolls from 1433-50 

Rymer, xi. 642 ; cf. Appendix D. contain payments to the ' mimi/ 

Ibid. xiii. 705; Collier, i. 45; ' histriones,' 'ioculatores reps'; 

Campbell, i. 407, 5 1 6, 570; ii. 100.224. and in 1507-8 for the 'histnones 

8 Wardrobe Accounts of Edw. / in scaccario' or 'minstrels of the 

(Soc. Antiq.), 7, 95; Calendar of chekkar' (Accounts of Treasurer 

Anc. Deeds, ii. A, 2050, 2068, 2076. of Scotland, i. xx, cxcix ; ii. Ixxi). 

* Strutt, 189. " Cf. Appendix C. 

10 Collier, i. 46; Campbell, L 407, 1S Collier, i. 21, from Lan$d.MS.i. 



THE MINSTREL LIFE 51 

the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries entries of payments 
to the minstrels of a vast number of domini, small and 
great, are common in the account books 1 . Henry, carl 
of Derby, took minstrels with him in his expeditions abroad 
of 1390 and 1392 2 ; while the Household Book of the carl of 
Northumberland (^1512) shows that he was accustomed to 
entertain ' a Taberett, a Luyte, and a Rebecc,' as well as six 
* trompettes 3 .' Minstrels are also found, from the beginning 
of the fifteenth century, in the service of the municipal cor- 
porations. London, Coventry, Bristol, Shrewsbury, Norwich, 
Chester, York, Beverley, Leicester, Lynn, Canterbury had 
them, to name no others. They received fixed fees or dues, 
wore the town livery and badge of a silver scutcheon, played 
at all local celebrations and festivities, and were commonly 
known as waits 4 . This term we have already found in use 
at court, and the ' Black Book,' which contains the household 
regulations of Edward IV, informs us that the primary duty 
of a wait was to * pipe the watch,' summer and winter, at 
certain fixed hours of the night \ 

It must not be supposed that established minstrels, whether 
royal, noble, or municipal, were always in constant attendance 
on their lords. Certain fixed services were required of them, 

Two of this lord's wencstriers were Gautier, ii. 57, describes the corn- 
entertained by Robert of Artois, munal cantor mi of Perugia, from 
who also had his own (Guy, 154*. the fourteenth to the sixteenth cen- 

1 Gautier, ii. 51 ; cf. the extracts tury. The usual Latin term for 
from various conipitti in Appendix the Ueverley waits is spcculatorcs ; 
E. There are many entries also in but they are also called ministr-alli, 
the accounts of King's Lynn (Hist. histrioncs and nnmi* Apparently 
MSS. xi. 3.213) ; Beverley (Leach, waits are intended by the satrapi 
Beverley At SS. 171), (Lc. of the Winchester Accounts I'App. 

2 L. T. Smith, Derby Accounts E. (iv)). Elsewhere histnnnes is 
(C. S.), xcvi. the most usual term. The signa- 

8 Percy, N. H. B. 42, 344. tories to the 1321 statutes of the 

4 Stowe, Survey, 39 (London) ; Paris guild include several guttcs 

Smith, English 'Guilds, 423, 447 (Bernhard, iii. 402). 

(Bristol, Norwich); Davies, 14 '' Household Ordinances, 48 'A 

(York); Kelly, 131 (Leicester); Wayte, that nyghtly, from Mighel- 

Morris, 348 (Chester) ; Civis, No. masse till Sherfc-Thursday, pipeth 

xxi (Canterbury) ; Sharpe, 207 the watchc within this courtc fower 

(Coventry); Hist. MSS. xi. 3. 163 tymes, and in the somer nyghtes 

(Lynn) ; Leach, fiwcrlcy MSS. three tymes.' He is also to attend 

105, &c. (Beverley); for Shrewsbury the new Knights of the Bath when 

cf. Appendix . Qn Waits* Badges % they keep watch in the chapel the 

cf. LI. Jewitt, in Reliquary ^ xii. 145. night before they are dubbed. 

E 2 



52 MINSTRELSY 

which were not very serious, except in the case of waits 1 ; 
for the rest of their time they were free. This same c Black 
Book' of Edward IV is very explicit on the point The 
minstrels are to receive a yearly fee and a livery 2 . They 
must attend at court for the five great feasts of the year. At 
other times, two or three out of their number, or more if the 
king desire it, are to be in waiting. The last regulation on 
the subject is curious. The king forbids his minstrels 
to be too presumptuous or familiar in asking rewards of 
any lord of the land ; and in support of this he quotes a 
similar prohibition by the Emperor Henry II 3 . Doubtless, 
in the intervals of their services, the household minstrels 



1 The Lynn waits had to go 
through the town from All Saints 
to Candlemas. Those of Coventry 
had similar duties, and in 1467 were 
forbidden 'to pass this Cite but to 
Abbotts and Priors within x myles 
of this Cite. 1 

2 The six minstrels of the Earl 
of Derby in 1391 had a livery of 
' blod ray cloth and tanne facings ' 
(Wylie, iv. 160). 

8 Household Ordinances, 48: 
' Mynstrelles, xiii, whereof one is 
verger, that directeth them all in 
festivall dayes to theyre stations, to 
bloweings and pipynges, to suche 
offices as must be warned to pre- 
pare for the king and his houshold 
at metes and soupers, to be the 
more readie in all servyces ; and all 
these sittinge in the hall togyder ; 
whereof sume use trumpettes, sume 
shalmuse and small pipes, and 
sume as strengemen, comyng to 
this courte at five festes of the yere, 
and then to take theyre wages of 
houshold after iiij d ob. a day, if they 
be present in courte, and then they 
to avoyde the next day after the 
festes be done. Besides eche of 
them anothyr reward yerely, taking 
of the king in the resceyte of the 
chekker, and clothing wynter and 
somer, or xx" a piece, and lyverey 
in courte, at evyn amonges them 
all, iiij gallons ale ; and for wynter 
season, iij candels wax, vj candells 
peris 1 , iiij talwood, and sufficiaunt 



logging by the herberger, for them 
and theyre horses, nygh to the 
courte. Also havyng into courte 
ij servauntes honest, to beare theyre 
trumpettes, pipes, and other instru- 
mentes, and a torche for wynter 
nyghts, whyles theyblowe to souper, 
and other revelles, delyvered at the 
chaundrey ; and allway ij of these 
persons to continue in courte in 
wages, beyng present towarne at the 
kinge's rydinges, when he goeth to 
horse backe, as ofte as it shall require, 
and by theyre blowinges the hous- 
hold meny may follow in the coun- 
tries. And if any of these two 
minstrelles be sickg in courte, he 
taketh ij loves, one messe of grete 
mete, one gallon ale. They have 
no part of any rewardes gevyn to 
the houshold. And if it please the 
kinge to have ii strenge Minstrelles 
to contynue in like wise. The kinge 
wull not for his worshipp that his 
Minstrelles be too presumptuous, 
nor too familier toaske any rewardes 
of the lordes of his londe, remem- 
bring De Henrico secundo im- 
peratore [1002 - 24] qui omnes 
loculatores suos et Armatures mo- 
nuerit, ut nullus eorum in eius 
nomine vel dummodo steterint in 
servicio suo nihil ab aliquo in regno 
suo deberent petere donandum ; 
sed quod ipsi domini donatores pro 
Regis amore citius pauperibus ero- 
garent.' 



THE MINSTREL LIFE 53 

travelled, like their unattached brethren of the road, but with 
the added advantage of a letter of recommendation from their 
lord, which ensured them the hospitality of his friends 1 . 
Such letters were indeed often given, both to the minstrels 
of a man's own household and as testimonials to other 
minstrels who may have especially pleased the giver. Those 
interesting collections of mediaeval epistolary formulae, the 
summae dictaminis, contain many models for them, and judging 
by the lavish eulogy which they employ, the minstrels them- 
selves must have had a hand in drawing them up 2 . Many 
minstrels probably confined themselves to short tours in the 
vicinity of their head quarters ; others, like Widsith, the Anglo- 
Saxon scdp, were far travellers. John Caumz received a licence 
from Richard II to cross the seas, and in 1483 we find 
Richard III entertaining minstrels of the dukes of Austria 
and Bavaria 3 . Possibly the object of John Caumz was to 
visit one of the scolae ministrallorum in France, where experi- 
ences might be exchanged and new songs learnt. Beau- 
vais, Lyon, Cambrai were famous for these schools, which 
were held year by year in Lent, when performances were 
stopped; and the wardrobe accounts of Edward III record 
grants of licences and expenses to Barbor and Morlan, two bag- 
pipers, to visit the scolas ministrallis inpartibus trans 



1 Percy, N. H. B. (ti5i2), 339. mus, quatinus aliquid subsidium 

The king's shawms, if they came grade specialis eidem impendere 

yearly, got lew., the king's jugler debeatis.' Collier, i. 42, gives a 

and the king's or queen's bearward, letter of Richard III for his bear- 

6s. %d. ; a duke's or earl's trumpeters, ward. 

if they came six together, also got * Collier, i. 41. 

6s. &, an earPs minstrels only $s. %d. * Strutt, 194; Gautier, ii. 173-8; 

If the troupe came only once in two H. Lavoix, ii. 198. They are 

or three years, and belonged to a called Scolae ministrorum, Scolae 

' speciall Lorde, Friende, or Kyns- mimorum. They can be traced to 

man 1 of the earl, the rate was the fourteenth century. Geneve 

higher. and Bourg-en-Bresse also had 

* Gautier, ii. 107, from Bibl. dc them. The Paris statutes of 1407 

? Arsenal MS. 854; e.g. ' Depreca- (cf. Appendix F) require a licence 

tio pro dono instrioni impendendo. from the roi des mdnestrels for such 

Salutem et amoris perpetui firmi- an assembly. A Beauvais com- 

tatem. R. latorem praesentium, putus (1402) has ' Dati sunt de 

egregium instrionem qui nuper gratia panes ducenti capitulares 

meis interfuit nuptiis, ubi suum mi in is in hac civitate de diversis 

officium exercuit eleganter, ad vos partibus pro cantilenis novis addi- 

cum magna confidentia destinamus, scendis confluentibus.' 
rogantes precibus, quibus possu- 



54 MINSTRELSY 

From the fourteenth century it is possible to trace the 
growth of the household minstrels as a privileged class at 
the expense of their less fortunate rivals. The freedom 
of access enjoyed by the entertainers of earlier days was 
obviously open to abuse. We have seen that in 1317 it led 
to the offering of an insult to Edward II by an emissary 
clad as a minstrel at his own table. It was only two 
years before that a royal proclamation had considerably 
restrained the liberty of the minstrels. In view of the number 
of idle persons who * under colour of mynstrelsie ' claimed 
food, drink, and gifts in private houses, it was ordered ' that 
to the houses of prelates earls and barons none resort to 
meate and drynke, unless he be a mynstrel, and of these 
mynstrels that there come none except it be three or four 
minstrels of honour at the most in one day, unlesse he be 
desired of the lorde of the house.' The houses of meaner 
men are to be altogether exempt, except at their desire 1 . 
I think it is probable that by ' minstrels of honour J we must 
here understand 'household minstrels 2 '; and that the severity 
of the ordinance must have come upon those irresponsible 
vagrants who had not the shelter of a great man's name. With 
the Statutes of Labourers in the middle of the fourteenth cen- 
tury begins a history of legislation against 'vacabonds and 
valiant beggars/ which put further and serious difficulties in 
the way of the free movement of the migratory classes through 
the country 3 . Minstrels, indeed, are not specifically declared 
to be' vacabonds' until this legislation was codified by William 
Cecil in 1572 4 ; but there is evidence that they were none 

1 Hearnc, Appendix ad Lelandi and other idlers and vagabonds* 
Collectanea, vi. 36 ; Percy, 367. who live on the gifts called Cym- 
The proclamation is dated Aug. 6, mortha/ and the Act of 1402 
9 Edw. II (i. e. 1315). (4 Hen. IV, c. 27) in the same sense, 

2 No technical term seems, how- seem only to refer to the Welsh 
ever, intended in Launfal (ed. bards (cf. p. 77). 

Ritson), 668 : * Ribton-Turner, 107 (14 Elis. 

* They hadde menstrales of moch c. 5). Whipping is provided for 

honours, ' all Fencers Bearewardes Comon 

Feelers, sytolyrs, and trom- Players in Enterludes & Min- 

jDours.' strels, not belonging to any Baron 

8 C. J. Ribton-Turner, Vagrants of this Realme or towards any other 

and Vagrancy, chs. 3, 4, 5. The honourable personage of greater 

proclamation of 1284 against Degree; all Juglers Pedlars Tyn- 

*Westours, Bards, and Rhymers kers and Petye Chapmen; whiche 



THE MINSTREL LIFE 55 

the less liable to be treated as such, unless they had some 
protection in the shape of livery or licence. At Chester 
from the early thirteenth century, and at Tutbury in Stafford- 
shire from 1380, there existed courts of minstrelsy which 
claimed to issue licences to all performers within their pur- 
view. It is not probable that this jurisdiction was very 
effective. But a step taken by Edward IV in 1469 had for 
its avowed object to strengthen the hands of what may be 
called official minstrelsy. Representation had been made 
to the king that certain rude husbandmen and artificers 
had usurped the title and livery of his minstrels, and had 
thus been enabled to gather an illegitimate harvest of fees. 
He therefore created or revived a regular guild or fraternity 
of minstrels, putting his own household performers with 
their marescallus at the head of it, and giving its officers 
a disciplinary authority over the profession throughout the 
country, with the exception of Chester. It is not improbable, 
although it is not distinctly stated, that admission into the 
guild was practically confined to * minstrels of honour/ Cer- 
tainly one of the later local guilds which grew up in the 
sixteenth century, that of Beverley, limited its membership to 
such as could claim to be ' mynstrell to some man of honour or 
worship or waite of some towne corporate or other ancient town, 
or else of such honestye and conyng as shalbe thought laudable 
and pleasant to the hearers V In any case the whole drift of 
social development was to make things difficult for the inde- 
pendent minstrels and to restrict the area of their wanderings. 
The widespread popularity of the minstrels amongst the 
mediaeval laity, whether courtiers, burghers, or peasants, needs 
no further labouring. It is more curious to find that in spite 
of the formal anathemas of the Church upon their art, they 
were not, as a matter of fact, rigorously held at arm's length 
by the clergy. We find them taking a prominent part in the 

said Fencers Bearewardes comon Quorum, wher and in what Shier 

Players in Enterludes Myn- they shall happen to wander.' The 

strels Juglers Pedlars Tynkers & terms of 39 Eliz. c. 4 (1597-8) arc 

Petye Chapmen, shall wander very similar, but I Jac, /, c. 7 

abroade and have not Ly cense of (1603-4), took away the exemption 

two Justices of the Peace at the for noblemen's servants, 

leaste, whereof one to be of the * Appendix F. 



56 



MINSTRELSY 



holyday festivities of religious guilds 1 ; we find them solacing 
the slow progress of the pilgrimages with their ready wit and 
copious narrative or song 2 ; we find them received with favour 
by bishops, even upon their visitations 8 , and not excluded 
from a welcome in the hall of many a monastery. As early 
as 1 1 80, one Galfridus, a citharoedus^ held a 'corrody/ or right 
to a daily commons of food and drink in the abbey of Hyde 
at Winchester 4 . And payments for performances are frequent 
in the accounts of the Augustinian priories at Canterbury *, 
Bicester, and Maxtoke, and the great Benedictine houses of 
Durham, Norwich, Thetford, and St. S wi thin 's, Winchester *, 
and doubtless in those of many another cloistered retreat. The 

chaumbre was 



1 Gautier, ii. 1 56 ; Ducange, s.v. 
Ministelli. 

1 Gautier, ii. 158. Strutt, 195, 
quotes from Cott. MS. Nero, c. viii 
a payment of Edw. Ill 'ministrallo 
facienti ministralsiam suam coram 
imagine Beatae Mariae in Veltam, 
rege praesente.' Chaucer's pil- 
grims had no professional minstrels, 
but the miller did as well : 

' He was a janglere and a goliar- 

deys, . . . 
... A baggepype wel koude he 

blowe and sowne, 
And therwithal he broghte us 

out of towne.' 

It was in the absence of regular 
minstrels that the pilgrims fell to 
telling one another stories. 

8 Gautier, ii. 160. Richard Swin- 
field, bishop of Hereford, more 
than once rewarded minstrels on 
his episcopal rounds (I. Webb, 
Household Expenses of Richard 
de Swinfield, C. S. i. 152, 155). 
The bishops of Durham in 135$, 
Norwich in 1362, and Winchester in 
1 374, 1422, and 1481 had ' minstrels 
of honour, 1 like any secular noble 
(see Appendix E, &c.). Even the 
austere Robert Grosseteste had 
his private harper, if we may credit 
Mannyng, 150: 
'He louede moche to here the 

harpe ; 
For mannys wyt hyt makyth 

sharpe. 

Next hys chaumbre, besyde hys 
stody, 



Hys harpers 
fast therby.' 
Mannyng represents Grosseteste as 
excusing his predilection by a refer- 
ence to King David. 

4 Madox, Hist, of Exchequer^ 
251. 

fi Norfolk Archaeology, xi. 339 
(Norwich) ; Hazlitt-Warton, ii. 97 ; 
Kennet, Parochial Antiq. ii. 259 
(Bicester) ; Decent Scriptores, 2011 
(Canterbury) ; for the rest cf. Ap- 
pendix E. 

6 Hazlitt-Warton, ii. 97 ; iii. 118, 
quotes from the Register of St. 
Swithin's amongst the Wolvesey 
MSS.; in 1338 *cantabat ioculator 
quidam nomine Herebertus canti- 
cum Colbrondi, necdum gestum 
Emmae reginae a iudicio ignis 
liberatae, in aula prioris ' : in 1374 
* In festo Alwynis episcopi ... in 
aula conventus sex ministralli, cum 
quatuor citharisatoribus, faciebant 
ministralcias suas. t post cenam, 
in magna camera arcuata domini 
Prioris, cantabant idem gestum . . . 
Veniebant autem died ioculatores 
a castello domini regis et ex familia 
episcopi.' The 'canticum Colbrondi' 
was doubtless a romance of Guy of 
Warwick, of which Winchester is 
the locality. Fragments of early 
fourteenth-century English versions 
exist (Ten Brink, i. 246 ; Jusserand, 
E. L. i. 224 ; Zupitza, Guy of War- 
wick, E. E. T. S.; G. L. Morrill, 
Speculum Gy de Warewyke, E. E. 
T.S. bcxxi). 



THE MINSTREL LIFE 67 

Minorite chroniclers relate, how at the time of the coming of 
the friars in 1224 two of them were mistaken for minstrels by 
the porter of a Benedictine grange near Abingdon, received 
by the prior and brethren with unbecoming glee, and when 
the error was discovered, turned out with contumely 1 . At 
such semi-religious foundations also, as the college of St. Mary 
at Winchester, or Waynflete's great house of St. Mary 
Magdalen in Oxford, minstrels of all degrees found, at least 
by the fifteenth century, ready and liberal entertainment 2 . 

How, then, is one to reconcile this discrepancy between the 
actual practice of the monasteries and the strict, the uncom- 
promising prohibition of minstrelsy in rule and canon ? An 
incomplete answer readily presents itself. The monks being 
merely human, fell short of the ideal prescribed for them. 
We do not now learn for the first time, that the ambitions 
of the pious founder, the ecclesiastical law-giver, the patristic 
preacher, were one thing ; the effective daily life of churchmen 
in many respects quite another. Here, as in matters of even 
more moment, did mediaeval monasticism ' dream from deed 
dissever ' 

' The reule of Seint Maure or of Seint Beneit, 
By-cause that it was old and som-del streit 
This ilke monk leet olde thinges pace, 
And held after the newe world the space/ 
True enough, but not the whole truth. It doubtless explains 
the behaviour of the Benedictines of Abingdon ; but we can 
hardly suppose that when Robert de Grosseteste, the sworn 
enemy of ecclesiastical abuses, kept his harper's chamber next 
his own, he was surreptitiously allowing himself an illegitimate 
gratification which he denied to his clergy. The fact is that the 
condemnations of the Church, transferred, as we have seen, 
wholesale from the mimi and histriones of the decaying 

1 Bartholomaeus(Albizzi)dePisis * See Appendix E* At Paris the 

(1385-99), Liber Conformitatum Statutes of Cornouaille College 

(ed. 1590, i. 94 b ) ; Antoninus Episc. (1380) required abstinence from 

Florentiae (1389-1459), Chronicon 'ludis mimorum, ioculatorum, hi- 

(ed. 1586, iii. 752) 'alterius linguae strionum, goliardorum, et consimi- 

ioculatores eos existimans ' ; cf. A. Hum.' Bulaeus, v. 782, gives another 

Wood, Hist, et Antiq. Univ. Oxon. Paris regulation allowing * niimi, ad 

(1674), i. 69 : City of Oxford summum duo ' on Twelfth Night 

(O. H. S.), iL 349. (Rashdall, ii. 674)- 



58 MINSTRELSY 

Empire, were honestly not applicable without qualification, 
even from the ecclesiastical point of view, to their successors, 
the mimi and histriones of the Middle Ages. The traditions 
of the Roman stage, its manners, its topics, its ethical code, 
became indeed a large part of the direct inheritance of min- 
strelsy. But, as we have seen, they were far from being the 
whole of that inheritance. The Teutonic as well as the Latin 
element in the civilization of western Europe must be taken 
into account. The minstrel derives from the disreputable 
planipes ; he derives also from the sc6p> and has not altogether 
renounced the very different social and ethical position which 
the scdp enjoyed. After all, nine-tenths of the secular music 
and literature, something even of the religious literature, of 
the Middle Ages had its origin in minstrelsy. Practically, 
if not theoretically, the Church had to look facts in the face, 
and to draw a distinction between the different elements and 
tendencies that bore a single name. The formularies, of course, 
continued to confound all minstrels under the common con- 
demnation of ioculatores. The Church has never been good 
at altering its formularies to suit altered conditions. But 
it has generally been good at practical compromises. And 
in the case of minstrelsy, a practical compromise, rough 
enough, was easily arrived at. 

The effective conscience of the thirteenth-century Church 
had clearly come to recognize degrees in the ethical status of 
the minstrels. No more authoritative exponent of the official 
morals of his day can be desired than St. Thomas Aquinas, 
and St. Thomas Aquinas is very far from pronouncing an 
unqualified condemnation of all secular entertainment. The 
profession of an kistrio, he declares, is by no means in itself 
unlawful. It was ordained for the reasonable solace of 
humanity, and the histrio who exercises it at a fitting time 
and in a fitting manner is not on that account to be regarded 
as a sinner *. Another contemporary document is still more 

1 Thomas Aquina.s,Summa Theo- manae, deputari possunt aliqua offi- 

logiae (1-1274), ii. 2, quaest. 168, cia licita. et ideo etiam officiura 

an. 3 ' Sicut dictum est, ludus histrionum, quod ordinatur ad sola- 

est necessarius ad conversationem tium hominibus exhibendum, non 

vitae humanae. ad omnia autem, est secundum se illicitum, nee sunt 

quae sunt utilia conversation! hu- in statu peccati : dummodo moderate 



THE MINSTREL LIFE 59 

explicit. This is the Penitential written at the close of the 
thirteenth century by Thomas de Cabham, sub-dean of Salis- 
bury and subsequently archbishop of Canterbury 1 . In the 
course of his analysis of human frailty, Thomas de Cabham 
makes a careful classification from the ethical point of view, 
of minstrels. There are those who wear horrible masks, or 
entertain by indecent dance and gesture. There are those 
again who follow the courts of the great, and amuse by satire 
and by raillery. Both these classes are altogether damnable. 
Those that remain are distinguished by their use of musical 
instruments. Some sing wanton songs at banquets. These 
too are damnable, no less than the satirists and posture- 
mongers. Others, however, sing of the deeds of princes, 
and the lives of the saints. To these it is that the name 
ioculatores more strictly belongs, and they, on no less an 
authority than that of Pope Alexander himself 2 , may be 
tolerated. 

Of the three main groups of minstrels distinguished by 
Thomas de Cabham, two correspond roughly to the two 
broad types which, from the point of view of racial tradition, 
we have already differentiated. His musicians correspond 
to the Teutonic gleemen and their successors ; his posture- 
mongers and buffoons to the Roman mimi and their successors. 

ludo utantur, id est, non utendo interdixit.' In c. 49 of the same 

aliquibus illicitis verbis vel factis ad work Petrus Cantor inveighs learn- 

ludum, et non adhibendo ludum edly Contra dantes htstrionibus. 

negotiis et temporibus indebitis . . . Doubtless the Alexander in ques- 

unde illi, qui moderate iis subveni- tion is Alexander III (1159-81), 

unt, non peccant, sed iusta faciunt, though the (Alex. Ill) above may 

mercedem ministerii eorum iis at- be due to the seventeenth-century 

tribuendo. si qui autem superflue editor, Galopinus. A hasty glance 

sua in tales consumunt, vel etiam at the voluminous and practically 

sustentant illos histriones qui illici- unindexed decrees and letters of 

tis ludis utuntur, peccant, quasi eos Alexander III in P. L. cc. and 

in peccatis foventes. unde Augus- Jarre*, Regesta Pontificum Roma- 

tinus dicit, super loan, quoddonare norum (ed. 2, 1885-8), ii. 145-418, 

res suas histrionibus vitium est has not revealed the source of the 

immanel &c., &c. story ; and I doubt whether the 

1 Cf. Appendix G. Pope's decision, if it was ever given, 

2 Another version of this story is is to be found in black and white. 
given by Petrus Cantor (ob. 1197), The two reports of it by Thomas 
Verbum Abbreviatum, c. 84 (P. L. de Cabham and Petrus Cantor are 
ccv. 254) * loculatori cuidam papa barely consistent. In any case, it 
Alexander (Alex. Ill) nee concessit never got into the Gregorian De- 
vivere de officio suo, nee ei penitus cretals. 



60 MINSTRELSY 

Who then are Thomas de Cabham's third and intermediate 
group, the satirists whose lampoons beset the courts of the 
great ? Well, raillery and invective, as we have seen, were 
common features of minstrelsy ; but Gautier may very likely 
be right when he surmises that Thomas de Cabham has par- 
ticularly in mind the scolares vagantes^ who brought so much 
scandal upon the Church during the twelfth and thirteenth 
centuries *. Some of these were actually out at elbows and 
disfrocked clerks ; others were scholars drifting from univer- 
sity to university, and making their living meantime by their 
wits ; most of them were probably at least in minor orders. 
But practically they lived the life of the minstrels, tramping 
the road with them, sharing the same temptations of wine, 
women, and dice, and bringing into the profession a trained 
facility of composition, and at least a flavour of classical learn- 
ing 2 . They were indeed the main intermediaries between the 
learned and the vernacular letters of their day ; the spilth of 
their wit and wisdom is to be found in the burlesque Latin verse 
of such collections as the Carmina Burana, riotous lines, by no 
means devoid of poetry, with their half-humorous half-pathetic 
burden, 

6 In taberna quando sumus 
Non curamus quid sit humus 3 / 

And especially they were satirists, satirists mainly of the 
hypocrisy, cupidity and evil living of those in the high places 
of the Church, for whom they conceived a grotesque expression 
in Bishop Golias, a type of materialistic prelate, in whose 
name they wrote and whose pueri or discipuli they declared 
themselves to be 4 . Goliardi, goliardenses, their reputation in 

1 Gautier, ii. 42 ; B&lier, 389 ; verse are Schmeller, Carmina 

Ten Brink, i. 186; Ducange, s.vv. J3urana(ed. 3, 1894), and T.Wright, 

Golia, &c; O. Hubatsch, Lot. Va- Latin Poems attributed to Walter 

gantenliederdesMittelalters(\ty6). Mapes (C. S. 1841): for others cf. 

1 Le Dtyartement des Livre$ Hubatsch, 16. Latin was not un- 

(M&m, N. R. i. 404) : known amongst lay minstrels : cf. 

' A Bouvines delez Dinant Deus Bordeors Ribauz (Montai- 

Li perdi-je Ovide le grant . . . glon-Raynaud, i. 3) : 
Mon Lucan et mon Juvenal * Mais ge sai aussi bien center, 

Oubliai-je a Bonival, Et en roumanz et en latin.' 

Eustace le grant et Virgile 4 Hubatsch, 15. The origin, 

Perdi aus dez a Abeville.' precise meaning, and mutual rela- 

9 The chief collections of goliardic tions of the terms G olios > goliardi 



THE MINSTREL LIFE 



61 



the eyes of the ecclesiastical authorities was of the worst, and 
their ill practices are coupled with those of the minstrels in 
many a condemnatory decree l . 

It is not with the goliardi then, that Thomas de Cabham's 
relaxation of the strict ecclesiastical rigours is concerned. 
Neither is it, naturally enough, with the lower minstrels of the 
mimus tradition. Towards these Thomas de Cabham, like 
his predecessors, is inexorable. And even of the higher min- 
strels the musicians and singers, his toleration has its limits. 
He discriminates. In a sense, a social and professional sense, 
all these higher minstrels fall into the same class. But from 
the ethical point of view there is a very marked distinction 
amongst them. Some there are who haunt taverns and merry- 



are uncertain. Probably the goli- 
ardic literature arose in France, 
rather than in England with Walter 
Mapes, the attribution to whom of 
many of the poems is perhaps due 
to a confusion of G[oliasJ with 
Gfuafcerus] in the MSS. Giraldus 
Cambrensis (ob. 1217), Speculum 
Ecclesiae, says ' Parasitus quidam 
Golias nomine nostris diebus gulo- 
sitate pariter et leccacitate famosis- 
simus ... in papam et curiam 
Romanam carmina famosa . . . evo- 
muit': but the following note points 
to a much earlier origih for Golias 
and his/#<?*7, and this is upheld by 
W. Scherer, Gesck. d. deutech. Dich- 
tung im II. und iz.Jahrh. 16. 

1 Early decrees forbidding the 
clergy to be ioculatores are given on 
p. 39. More precise is the order 
of Gautier of Sens (t 913) in his 
Constttutiones, c. 13 (Mansi, xviii. 
324) * Statuimus quod clerici ribaldi, 
maxime qui dicuntur de familia 
Goliae, per epi scopes, archidiaconos, 
officiates, et decanos Christ! an itatis, 
tonderi praecipiantur vel etiam radi, 
ita quod eis non remaneat tonsura 
clericalis: ita tamen quod sine 
periculo et scandalo ita riant.' If 
Mansi's date is right, this precedes 
by three centuries the almost iden- 
tical Cone, of Rouen, c. 8 (Mansi, 
xxiii. 215), and Cone, of Castle 
Gonther (Tours), c. 21 (Mansi, 



xxiii. 237), both in 1231. Gautier, 
Les Tropaires, i. 186, dwells on 
the influence of the goliardi on the 
late and ribald development of the 
tropes, and quotes Cone, of Treves 
(1227), c. 9 (Mansi, xxiii. 33) * prae- 
cipimus ut omnes sacerdotes non 
permittant trutannos et alios vagos 
scholares aut goliardos cantare 
versus super Sanctus et Agnus Dei. 9 
On their probable share in the Feast 
of Fools cf. ch. xiv. For later legis- 
lation cf. Hubatsch, 14, 95, and the 
passage from the Liber Sextus of 
Boniface VIII on p. 39. It lasts to 
the Cone. Frisingense (1440) * sta- 
tuimus ne clerici mimis, iocula- 
toribus, histrionibus, buffonibus, 
galliardis, largiantur' (Labbe, xiii. 
1 286). By this time *goliard ' seems 
little more than a synonym for 
'minstrel. 1 The ' mynstralle, a 
gulardous,' of Mannyng, 148, does 
not appear to be a clerk, while 
Chaucer's ' goliardeys ' is the Miller 
(C T. prol. 560). On the other 
hand, Langland's 'Goliardeys, a 
glotoun of wordes* (Piers PJowman, 
prol. 139)9 speaks Latin. Another 
name for the goliardi occurs in an 
Epistola Guidonis S. Laurentii in 
Lucina Cardinalis,wi (1266, Hartz- 
heim, iii. 807) against ' vagi scolares, 
qui Eberdini vocantur,' and who 
'divinum invertunt officium, unde 
laici scandalizantur.' 



62 MINSTRELSY 

makings with loose songs of love and dalliance. These it is 
not to be expected that the holy mother Church should in any 
way countenance. Her toleration must be reserved for those 
more reputable performers who find material for their verse 
either in the life and conversation of the saints and martyrs 
themselves, or at least in the noble and inspiring deeds of 
national heroes and champions. Legends of the saints and 
gests of princes : if the minstrels will confine themselves to 
the celebration of these, then, secure in the pronouncement of 
a pope, they may claim a hearing even from the devout. It 
would be rash to assert that even the comparatively liberal 
theory of Thomas de Cabham certainly justified in all cases 
the practice of the monasteries. But it is at least noteworthy 
that in several instances where the subjects of the minstrelsy 
presented for the delectation of a cowled audience remain 
upon record, they do fall precisely within the twofold defini- 
tion which he lays down. At Winchester in 1338 the minstrel 
Herbert sang the song of Colbrond (or Guy of Warwick), and 
the gest of the miraculous deliverance of Queen Emma ; 
while at Bicester in 1432 it was the legend of the Seven 
Sleepers of Ephesus that made the Epiphany entertainment 
of the assembled canons. 

If now we set aside the very special class of ribald galiardi^ 
and if we set aside also the distinction drawn by Thomas de 
Cabham on purely ethical grounds between the minstrels of 
the love-songs and the minstrels of saintly or heroic gest, the 
net result is the twofold classification of higher and lower 
minstrels already familiar to us. Roughly it must always be 
borne in mind how roughly it corresponds on the one hand 
to the difference between the Teutonic and the Roman tradi- 
tion, on the other to the distinction between the established 
( minstrel of honour J and his unattached rival of the road. 
And there is abundant evidence that such a distinction was 
generally present, and occasionally became acute, in the con- 
sciousness of the minstrels themselves. The aristocrats of 
minstrelsy, a Baudouin or a Jean de Conde, or a Watriquet de 
Couvin, have very exalted ideas as to the dignity of their 
profession. They will not let you, if they can help it, put the 
grans menestrens on the same level with every-day Jang'- 



THE MINSTREL LIFE 63 

leur of poor attainments and still poorer repute l . In the Dit 
des Taboureurs again it is a whole class, the joueurs de melle, 
who arise to vindicate their dignity and to pour scorn upon 
the humble and uninstructed drummers 2 . But the most in- 
structive and curious evidence comes from Provence. It was 
in 1373, when the amazing growth of Proven9al poetry was 
approaching its sudden decay, that the last of the great trouba- 
dours, Guiraut de Riquier, addressed a verse Supplicatio to 
Alphonso X of Castile on the state of minstrelsy. He points 
out the confusion caused by the indiscriminate grouping of 
poets, singers, and entertainers of all degrees under the title 
ofjeg/ars, and begs the king, as high patron of letters, to take 
order for it. A reply from Alphonso, also in verse, and also, 
one may suspect, due to the fertile pen of Guiraut Riquier, 
is extant. Herein he establishes or confirms a fourfold 
hierarchy. At the head come two classes, the doctors de 
trobar and the trobaires^ who are composers, the former of 
didactic, the latter of ordinary songs and melodies. Beneath 
these are the joglars proper, instrumentalists and 'reciters of 
delightful stories, and beneath these again the bufos, the enter- 
tainers of common folk, who have really no claim to be con- 
sidered as joglars at all 3 . One of the distinctions here made 
is new to us. The difference between doctor de trobar and 
trobaire is perhaps negligible. But that between the trobaire 

1 Baudouinde Condemn his CV?/*r ( Menestriex se doit maintenir 

des Hiraus contrasts the 'grans Plus simplement c'une pu- 

menestreus,' the cele, . . . 

' Maistres de sa menestrandie, Menestrel qui veut son droit 

Qui bien viele ou ki bien die faire 

De bouce J Ne doit le jangleur contrefaire, 

with the * felons et honteux,' who Mais en sa bouche avoir tous dis 

win pence, Douces paroles et biaus dis, 

Tun por faire 1'ivre, Estre ne"s, vivre purement.' 

L'autre le cat, le tiers le sot,' These three writers belong to the 

while in Les tats du Monde his end of the thirteenth and the begin- 

son Jean sets up a high standard ning of the fourteenth century. 

of behaviour for the true minstrels : * A. Jubinal, Jongleurs et Trou- 

* Soies de cuer nes et polis, v^res^ 165. Cf. Gadtier, ii. 78 ; 

Courtois, envoisies, et jolis, Bedier, 418. 

Pour les boinnes gens solacier ' * F. Diaz, Poesie der Trouba- 

(Scheler, Dits et Conies de Bau- dours (ed. Bartsch),63; K.Bartsch, 

douin de Condt et de son fits Jean Grundriss der provenzalischen 

deCondt, i. 1^4; il 377). Cf.Watri- Literatur, 25; F. Hueffer, The 

quet de Couvm, Dis dufol menestrd Troubadours, 63. Diaz, op* cit. 297, 

(ed. Scheler, 367) : prints the documents. 



64 MINSTRELSY 

or composer and the joglar or executant of poetry, is an 
important one. It is not, however, so far as the Teutonic 
element in minstrelsy goes, primitive. The scdpas and the 
French or Anglo-Norman ioculatores up to the twelfth century 
composed their verses as a class, and sang them as well *. In 
Provence, however, the Teutonic element in minstrelsy must 
have been of the slightest, and perhaps the Roman tradition, 
illustrated by the story of Laberius, of a marked barrier 
between composing and executing, had vaguely lingered. At 
any rate it is in Provence, in the eleventh century, that the 
distinction between trobaire and joglar makes its appearance. 
It never became a very complete one. The trobaire was 
generally, not always, of gentle or burgess birth ; sometimes 
actually a king or noble. In the latter case he contented 
himself with writing his songs, and let the joglar -s spread them 
abroad. But the bulk of the trobaires lived by their art. 
They wandered from castle to castle, alone with a welle, or 
vnfa joglar s in their train, and although they mingled with their 
hosts on fairly equal terms, they did not disdain to take their 
rewards of horse or mantle or jewel, just like any common 
performer. Moreover, they confined themselves to lyric 
poetry, leaving the writing of epic, so far as epic was abroad in 
Provence, to Ohejoglars*. From Provence, the trobaire spread 
to other countries, reappearing in the north of France and 
England as the trouvtre. We seem to trace an early trouvtre 
in Lucas de Barre in the time of Henry I. But it is Eleanor 
of Poitiers, daughter of the trobaire count William of Poitiers, 
and mother of the trouvtre Richard Cceur de Lion, who 
appears as the chief intermediary between north and south. 
The intrusion of the trouvtre was the first step in the degrada- 
tion of minstrelsy. Amongst the Anglo-Saxons, even apart 
from the cantilenae of the folk, the professional singer had 
no monopoly of song. Hrothgar and Alfred harped with their 
scdpas. But if there had been a similar tendency amongst the 

1 There is nothing to show that ii. 2. 15; Gautier, il 45, 58. The 

Settling, the companion of Widsith commonest of phrases in trouba- 

(Widsith, 104), was of an inferior dour biography is 'cantet ettrobet/ 

grade. The term trobador is properly the 

* Hueffer, 2 ; G. Paris, 182: accusative case of trobaire. 
A. Stimming in Grober's Grundriss, 



THE MINSTREL LIFE 65 

continental Teutons who merged in the French and Norman- 
French, it had been checked by the complete absorption of 
all literary energies, outside the minstrel class, in neo-Latin. 
It was not until the twelfth century, and as has been 
said, under Proven9al influence, that secular-minded clerks, 
and exceptionally educated nobles, merchants, or officials, 
began to devote themselves to the vernacular, and by so doing 
to develop the trouvere type. The trouvere had the advan- 
tage of the minstrel in learning and independence, if not in 
leisure ; and though the latter long held his own by the side 
of his rival, he was fated in the end to give way, and to con- 
tent himself with the humbler task of spreading abroad what 
the trouvere wrote \ By the second quarter of the fourteenth 
century, the conquest of literature by the bourgeoisie was com- 
plete. The interest had shifted from the minstrel on the hall 
floor to the burgher or clerk in the puy ; the prize of a success- 
ful poem was no longer a royal mantle, but a laureate crown or 
the golden violet of the jeuxfioraux ; and its destiny less to 
be recited at the banquet, than read in the bower. In England 
the completion of the process perhaps came a little later, and 
was coincident with the triumph of English, the tongue of the 
bourgeois, over French, the tongue of the noble. The full 
flower of minstrelsy had been the out-at-elbows vagabond, 
Rutebeuf. The full flower of the trouvere is the comptroller 
of the customs and subsidies of the port of London, Geoffrey 
Chaucer, 

The first distinction, then, made by Guiraut Riquier, that 
between trobaire andjeg/ar, implies a development from within 
minstrelsy itself that was destined one day to overwhelm it. 
But the second, that between thejoglar and the bufo> is precisely 
the one already familiar to us, between the minstrels of the 

1 Petrarch, Epist. Rerunt Senil, cuniasquaerunt,et vestesetmunera/ 

v. 3 ' sunt homines non magni inge- Fulke of Marseilles, afterwards 

nii, magnaevero memoriae, magnae- bishop of Toulouse, wrote songs in 

que diligentiae, sed maioris auda- his youth. He became an austere 

ciae, qui regum ac pptentum aulas Cistercian ; but the songs had got 

frequentant, de proprio nudi, vestiti abroad, and whenever he heard one 

autem carminibus alienis, duroque of them sung by a joglar, he would 

quid ab hoc, aut ab illo exquisitius eat only bread and water (Sermoof 

materno praesertim charactere die- Robert de Sorbonne in Haureau, 

turn sit, ingenti expressione pronun- Man. Fr. xxiv. 2. 286). 
ciant, gratiam sibi nobilium, et pe- 

CHAMBKK0. I F 



66 MINSTRELSY 

scdp and the minstrels of the mimus tradition. And, as has 
been said, it is partly, if not entirely, identical with that 
which grew up in course of time between the protected 
minstrels of the court and of great men's houses, and their 
vagrant brethren of the road. This general antithesis between 
the higher and lower mintrelsy may now, perhaps, be regarded 
as established. It was the neglect of it, surely, that led to 
that curious and barren logomachy between Percy and Ritson, 
in which neither of the disputants can be said to have had 
hold of more than a bare half of the truth 1 . And it runs 
through the whole history of minstrelsy. It became acute, 
no doubt, with the growth in importance of the minstrels 
of honour in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. But 
it had probably been just as acute, if not more so, at the 
very beginning of things, when the clash of Teutonic and 
Roman civilization first brought the bard face to face with the 
serious rivalry of the mime. Bard and mime merged without 
ever becoming quite identical ; and even at the moment when 
this process was most nearly complete, say in the eleventh 
century, the jouglerie scigncuriale , to use Magnin's happy 
terms, was never quite the same thing as the jouglcr ie foraine 
et populairc 2 , least of all in a country like England where 
differences of tongue went to perpetuate and emphasize the 
breach. 

Nevertheless, the antithesis may easily be pushed too far. 
After all, the minstrels were entertainers, and therefore their 
business was to entertain. Did the lord yawn over a gest or a 
saintly legend ?-the discreet minstrel would be well advised to 

1 In the first edition of his Reliques the two, for neither appreciated the 

(1765), Percy gave the mediaeval wide variety covered by a common 

minstrel as high a status as the name. On the controversy, cf. 

Norse scald or Anglo-Saxon scop* Minto in Enc. Brit. s. v. Minstrels, 

This led to an acrid criticism by Courthope, i. 426-31, and H. B. 

Ritson who, in his essay On the Wheatley's Introduction to his edi- 

ancient English Minstrels in An" tion of Percy's Reliques^ xiii-xv. 

citnt Songs and Ballads (1829), Percy in his later editions profited 

easily showed the low repute in largely by Ritson's criticism ; a 

which many minstrels were held, careful collation of these is given 

See also his elaborate Dissertation in Schroer's edition (1889). 

on Romance and Minstrelsy in his a Magnin, Journal des Savants 

A ncient English Metrical Romances ( 1 846) , 545 . 
(1802). The truth really lay between 



THE MINSTREL LIFE 67 

drop high art, and to substitute some less exacting, even if 
less refined fashion of passing the time. The instincts of boor 
and baron were not then, of course, so far apart as they are 
nowadays. And as a matter of fact we find many of the 
most eminent minstrels boasting of the width and variety of 
their accomplishments. Thus of Baudouin II, count of Guisnes 
(1169-1206), it is recorded that he might have matched the 
most celebrated professionals, not only in chansons de gcsUs 
and romans cEaventure but also in \h& fabliaux which formed 
the delight of the vulgar bourgeoisie *. Less aristocratic per- 
formers descended even lower than Baudouin de Guisnes. If 
we study the repertoires of such jongleurs as the diabolic one in 
Gautier de Coincy's miracle 2 , or Daurel in the romance of 
Daurel ct Be ton 3 , or the disputants who vaunt their respective 
proficiencies in Des Dens Bordcors Ribauz*, we shall find that 
they cover not only every conceivable form of minstrel literature 
proper, but also tricks with knives and strings, sleight of hand, 
dancing and tumbling. Even in Provence, the Enseignamcns 
for joglars warn their readers to learn the arts of imitating 
birds, throwing knives, leaping through hoops, showing off per- 
forming asses and dogs, and dangling marionettes 5 . So that 

1 Lambertus Ardensis, Chronicon, Pueis pres l[a] arpa, a .ij. laisses 
c. 8 1 (ed. Godefroy Menilglaise, 175) notatz, 

' quid plura ? tot et tantorum ditatus Et ab la viola a los gen depor- 

est copia librorum ut Augustinum tat[z], 

in theologia, Areopagitam Diony- Sauta e tomba ; tuh s'en son alc- 

sium in philosophia, Milcsium fabu- gratz.' 

larium in naeniis gentium, in canti- * Montaiglon-Raynaud, i. I : 

lenis gestoriis, sive in eventuris * Ge sai contes, ge sai fiabeax ; 

nobilium, sive etiam in fabellis igno- Ge sai center beax dix noveax, 

biliuni, ioculatores quosque nomi- Rotruenges viez et novcles, 

natissimos aequiparare putaretur.' Pit sirventois et pastorels. 

2 Freymond,y077vtewr.r et Mencs- Ge sai le flabel du Denier, 
treh) 34 : 

* 11 est de tout bons menesterieux : Si sai de Parceval 1'estoire, 
II set peschier, il set chacier, ..... 

11 set trop bien genz solacier ; Ge sai joer des baasteax, 

11 set chansons, sonnez et fables, lit si sai joer des costeax, 

II set d'cschez, il set des tables, Et dc la cordc et de la fonde, 

II set d'arbalestre et d'airon.' Kt detoz les beax giex du monde, 

3 Daurel et Beton (ed. Meyer, 

Soc. (tes anc. texlcs fr. 1886), 1206 : De tot^s les chansons do geste.' 

* El va enant, a lor des jocz mos- 6 Three of these Enseignamens^ 

tratz, by Guiraut de Cabreira^ t- 1 170), 

Dels us e dels altres, qu'el ne Guiraut de Caianso (r 1200), and 

sap pro asatz. Lertran de Paris ( h 1250;, are 

F a 



68 MINSTRELSY 

one discerns the difference between the lower and the higher 
minstrels to have been not so much that the one did not sink 
so low, as that the other, for lack of capacity and education, 
did not rise so high. 

The palmy days of minstrelsy were the eleventh, twelfth and 
thirteenth centuries. The germ of decay, however, which 
appeared when the separation grew up between trouvtre and 
jongleur^ and when men began to read books instead of listen- 
ing to recitations, was further developed by the invention of 
printing. For then, while the trouvtre could adapt himself 
readily enough to the new order of things, the jougleur's occu- 
pation was gone. Like Benedick he might still be talking, but 
nobody marked him. Eyes cast down over a page of Chaucer 
or of Caxton had no further glitter or tear for him to win *. 
The fifteenth, and still more the sixteenth century, witness the 
complete break-up of minstrelsy in its mediaeval form. The 
mimes of course endured. They survived the overthrow of 
mediaeval ism, as they had survived the overthrow of the 
Empire 2 . The Tudor kings and nobles had still their jugglers, 
their bearwards, their domestic buffoons, jesters or fools 3 . 
Bearbaiting in Elizabethan London rivalled the drama in its 
vogue. Acrobats and miscellaneous entertainers never ceased 
to crowd to every fair, and there is applause even to-day in 



printed by K. Bartsch, Denkmdler adds : * At hie tamen in praeceptore 

der pravenzalischen Litteratur, 8?- arcendo diligens, libenter patitur 

loi. Cf. Bartsch, Grundriss der scurras et mimos (qui digna lupanari 

prov. Lit. 25 ; Hueffer, The Trou- in sacro cubiculo coram pnncipc 

badours, 66; -#&* Litt* xvii. 581. cantillent)admitti ' (Nichols, Memoir 

1 Bern hard, iii. 397, gives some of Henry Fitsroy in Camden Miscel- 
French references, one dated 1395, "**X> "* xxxviii). 

for ' menestriers de touches,' a * For the ioculater regis, cf. Ap- 

term signifying minstrels who sang p>endix E, and Leach, ^^z//r/<ryJ/55'. 

as well as played instruments. 179. He is called 'jugler' in N.H. 3. 

2 There are numerous payments 67. Is he distinct from the royal 
to jugglers, tumblers and dancers hi gestator (gestour, jester] 1 Both 
the Household Accounts of Henry appear in the Shrewsbury accounts 
VII (Bentley, Excerpt a Historic^ (s. ann. 1521, 1549). In 1554 both 
85-113 ; Collier, i. 50). A letter to // jugler and le gester were enter* 
Wolsey of July 6, 1527, from R. tained. The gestator seems to have 
Croke, the tutor of Henry VIII's merged in the stultus or court fool 
natural son, the Duke of Richmond, (ch. xvi). The accounts in App. 
complains of difficulties put in his often mention the royal bearward, 
way by R. Cotton, the Clerk-comp- who remained an important official 
troller of the duke's household, and under Elizabeth. 



THE MINSTREL LIFE 69 

circus and music-hall for the old jests and the old somersaults 
that have already done duty for upwards of twenty centuries. 
But the jougleur as the thirteenth century knew him was by 
the sixteenth century no more. Professional musicians there 
were in plenty ; 'Sneak's noise ' haunted the taverns of East- 
cheap 1 , and instrumentalists and vocalists in royal palaces 
and noble mansions still kept the name and style of minstrels. 
But they were not minstrels in the old sense, for with the pro- 
duction of literature, except perhaps for a song here and there, 
they had no longer anything to do. That had passed into 
other hands, and even the lineaments of the trouvtre are 
barely recognizable in the new types of poets and men of letters 
whom the Renaissance produced. The old fashioned minstrel 
in his style and habit as he lived, was to be presented before 
Elizabeth at Kenilworth as an interesting anachronism 2 . Some 
of the discarded entertainers, as we shall see, were absorbed into 
the growing profession of stage-players ; others sunk to be ballad 
singers. For to the illiterate the story-teller still continued to 
appeal. The ballad indeed, at least on one side of it, was the 
detritus, as the lai had been the germ, of romance 3 , and at 
the very moment when Spenser was reviving romance as 
a conscious archaism, it was still possible for a blind fiddler 
with a ballad to offend the irritable susceptibilities of a Puritan, 
or to touch the sensitive heart-strings of a Sidney 4 . But as 
a social and literary force, the glory of minstrelsy had 
departed 5 . 

1 2 Hen. fV, ii. 4. 12. trumpet. And yet is it sung but by 

2 Cf. Appendix H (i). some blind Crowder, with no rougher 
8 Courthope, i. 445 ; A. Lang, voice than rude style. 1 For the 

s.v. Ballad in Enc. Brit, and in A Puritan view, see Stubbes, i. 169. 

Collection of Ballads, xi ; Quarterly 5 Ritson, ccxxiv, quotes the follow- 

Review (July, 1898) ; Henderson, ing lines, ascribed to Dr. Bull 

335; G. Smith, 180. But I think (f 1597), from a HarLMS.,*s the 

that Gummere, B. P. passim^ sue- epitaph of minstrelsy : 

ceeds in showing that the element of 'When Jesus went to J aims' 

folk-poetry in balladry is stronger house 

than some of the above writers re- (Whose daughter was about to 

cognize. dye), 

4 Sidney, Apologie for Poetrie He turned the minstrels out of 

(ed. Arber), 46 * Certainly I must doors, 

confess my own barbarousness. I Among the rascal company : 

never heard the old song of Percy Beggars they are, with one 

and Douglas^ that I found not my consent, 

heart moved more than with a And rogues,by Act of Parliament.' 



CHAPTER IV 



THE MINSTREL REPERTORY 

THE floor of a mediaeval court, thronged with minstrels of 
every degree, provided at least as various an entertainment 
as the Roman stage itself *. The performances of the mimes, 
to the accompaniment of their despised tabor or wry-necked 
fife, undoubtedly made up in versatility for what they lacked 
in decorum. There were the tcinbcors, tombcstercs or tumblcrcs^ 
acrobats and contortionists, who twisted themselves into incre- 
dible attitudes, leapt through hoops, turned somersaults, walked 
on their heads, balanced themselves in perilous positions. 
Female tumblers, tornatriccs. took part in these feats, and 
several districts had their own characteristic modes of tumbling, 
such as Ic tour fran$aiS) Ic tour remain. Ic tour dc Champcnois*? 
Amongst the tombcors must be reckoned the rarer funambuli 

1 Du Vilain an Buffet (Mont- F * lawman , Passus xvi. 205 : 

aigl<<n-Ra>naud, iii. 202) : * Ich can nat tabre ne trompe ne 

" Li qucnb inancla leb menestrels, telJe faire gestes, 

I.t M a let cncr cntr'els Farten, ne fithelen "at festes, ne 

Oui la mcillor truffe s.iuroit harpen, 

Dire nc fere, qu'il auroit lapen ne iogelen ne gentel- 

Sa robe d'escarlate nucve. liche pipe, 

L'uns nienestrels a 1'autre rueve Nother sailen ne sautrien ne 

Fere son mestier, tel qu'il sot, singe with the giterne.' 

L'uns fet 1'ivre, 1'autre le sot ; a Gautier, ii. 63 ; Strutt, 207, 

Li unschante, li autres note, L. T. Smith, Derby Accounts (Cani- 

Kt li autres dit la riote, den Soc.), 109, records a payment 

Et li autres la jen^lerie ; by Henry of Bolingbrohe when in 

Cil qui seven t de jouglerie Prussia in 1390-1 ' cuidam tum- 

Vielent par devant le conte ; blere facienti ministralciam suam.' 

Aucuns i a qui fabliaus conte, See miniatures of nimbler* (Strutt, 

Ou il ot mainte gaberie, 211, 212), stilt-dancing (ibid. 226;, 

Et li autres dit VErberie> hoop-vaulting (ibid. 229), balancing 

La ou il ot mainte risde.' (ibid. 232-4), a contortionist (ibid. 

Cf. p. 67 ; also the similar list in 235). 
Wace, Brut, 10823, and Piers 



THE MINSTREL REPERTORY 71 

or rope-walkers, such as he whom the Corvei annals record 
to have met with a sorry accident in the twelfth century 1 , 
or he who created such a furore in the thirteenth by his 
aerial descent from the cathedral at Basle 2 . Nor are they 
very distinct from the crowd of dancers, male and female, who 
are variously designated as sal tat ores and sal tatr ices, ' sau- 
tours/ * sailyours,' * hoppesteres.' Indeed, in many medi- 
aeval miniatures, the daughter of Herodias, dancing before 
Herod, is represented rather as tumbling or standing on her 
head than in any more subtle pose 3 . A second group includes 
the jugglers in the narrower sense, thejeuers des costcax who 
tossed and caught knives and balls 4 , and the practitioners of 
sleight of hand, who generally claimed to proceed by nigre- 
mance or sorcery 5 . The two seem to have shared the names 
of prestigiatorcs or tregetours 6 . Other mimes, the bastaxi, 
or joucrs des bastcax, brought round, like the Punch and Judy 
men of our own day, little wooden performing puppets or 
marionettes 7 . Others, to whom Thomas de Cabham more 
particularly refers, came in masked as animals, and played the 
dog, the ass or the bird with appropriate noises and behaviour 8 . 

1 Annales Corbeienses, s.a. 1135 before Ed w. II. Collier, i. 30, quotes 

(Leibnitz, Rer. Brunsv. Script, ii. Lydgate, ->###* dfe Macabre OA.*x\. 

307) 'funambulus inter lusus suos 116): 

in terram deiectus.' * Maister John Rykell, sometyme 

8 Gautier, ii. 64, quotes Annales tregitoure 

Basilienses, s.a. 1276 'Basileam Of noble Henry kynge of Eng- 

quidam corpore debilis venit, qui londe, 

funem protensum de campanili And of Fraunce the myghty 
maioris ecclesiae ad domum can- conqueroure, 
toris manibus et pedibus descende- For all the sleightes and turn- 
bat ' ; for later English examples yngs of thyne honde, 
cf. ch. xxiv. Thou must come nere this 

8 Strutt, 172, 176, 209; Jusserand, daunce to understonde. 

i. 214, and E. W. L. 23. 

4 Strutt, 173, 197; Jusserand, Lygarde de mayne now helpeth 
E. W. L. 212 ; Wright, 33-7. me right nought.' 

5 Gautier, ii. 67, quotes Joufrois, 7 Ducange, s.v. bastaxi\ Gau- 
1 146 : tier, ii. 1 1 ; C. Magnin, Hist, des 

4 Ainz veissiez toz avant traire Marionnettesen Europe (ed.2,i862); 

Les jogleors et maint jou faire. cf. ch. xxiv. Bastaxus seems to be 

Li uns danc,oit . . . the origin of the modern bateleur, 

Li autre ovrent de nigremance.' used in a wide sense of travelling 

8 Strutt, 194, quotes from Cott. entertainers. 

MS. Nero, c. viii, a payment 'Ja- * Du Me*ril, Com. 74; Strutt, 

nins le Cheveretter (bagpiper) 253; Jusserand, E. W. L. vi. 218. 

called le Tregettour,' for playing Amongst the letters commendatory 



72 MINSTRELSY 

Others, again, led round real animals ; generally bears or apes, 
occasionally also horses, cocks, hares, dogs, camels and even 
lions l . Sometimes these beasts did tricks ; too often they were 
baited 2 , and from time to time a man, lineal descendant of the 
imperial gladiators, would step forward to fight with them 3 . To 
the gladiatorial shows may perhaps also be traced the fight 
with wooden swords which often formed a part of the fun. 4 And, 
finally, whatever the staple of the performance, there was the 
parade or preliminary patter to call the audience together, and 
throughout the ' carping/ a continuous flow of rough witticism 
and repartee, such as one is accustomed to hear Joey, the 
clown, in the pauses of a circus, pass off on Mr. Harris, the 
ring-master 5 . Here came in the especial talents of the 
scurra, bordeor or japere, to whom the moralists took such 
marked exception. ' L'uns fet tivre, tautre le sot? says the 
fabliau ; and indeed we do not need the testimony of Thomas 
de Cabham or of John of Salisbury to conclude that such 
buffoonery was likely to be of a ribald type 6 . 

Even in the high places of minstrelsy there was some mea- 
sure of variety. A glance at the pay-sheet of Edward I's 

of minstrels quoted by Gautier, ii. The minstrelles synge, the joge- 

109, is one ' De illo qui scit volucrum lours carpe.' 

exprimere cantilenas et voces asi- ' John of Salisbury, Polycraticus> 

ninas/ Baudouin de Conde' men- i. 8 * Quorum adeo error invaluit, 

tions a minstrel who 'fait le cat' ut a praeclaris domibus non arcean- 

(cf. p. 63, n. i). tur, etiam illi qui obscenis partibus 

1 See figures of bears (Strutt, corporis oculis omnium cam inge- 

176, 214, 239, 240), apes (ibid. 240, runt turpitudinem, quam erubescat 

241 ; Jusserand, E. W* L. 218), videre vel cynicus. Quodque magis 

horses (Strutt, 243, 244), dog (ibid, mirere, nee tune eiiciuntur, quando 

246, 249), hare (ibid. 248), cock tumultuantes inferius crebro sonitu 

(ibid. 249). For the ursarius and aerem foedant, et turpiter inclusum 

for lion, marmoset, &c., cf. pp. 53, turpiusprodunt'; Adam of Bremen 

68. and Appendix E. ( M. G. //), iii. 38 ' Pantomimi, qui 

* Strutt, 256. A horse-baiting is obscoenis corporis motibus oble- 

figured in Strutt, 243. ctare vulgus solent/ Raine, Hist. 

' Strutt, 244, figures a combat Papers from Northern Registers 

between man and horse. Gautier, (R. S.), 398, prints a letter of 

ii. 66, cites Acta SS. Jan. iii. 257 Archbishop Zouche of York on the 

for the intervention of St. Poppo indecent behaviour of some clerks 

when a naked man smeared with of the bishop of Durham in York 

honey was to fight bears before the Minster on Feb. 6, 1349, ' subtus 

emperor Henry IV (t 1048). imaginem crucifixi ventositates per 

4 Strutt, 260, 262. posteri pra dorsi cum foedo strepitu 

8 Adam Dame (t 1312): more ribaldorum emittere fecerunt 

1 Merry it is in halle to here the pluries ac turpiter et sonore.' 

harpe, 



THE MINSTREL REPERTORY 73 

Whitsuntide feast will show that the minstrels who aspired to 
be musicians were habitually distinguished by the name of the 
musical instrument on which they played. They are vidula- 
tores, citharistae> trumpatores, vilours, gigours, crouderes, 
harpoiirs, citolers, lutours^ trumfours, taboreurs and the like. 
The harp (cithara), played by twitching the strings, had been 
the old instrument of the Teutons, but in the Middle Ages it 
came second in popularity to the vieile (vidula), which was 
also a string instrument, but, like the modern fiddle, was played 
with a bow. The drum (tympanum, tabour) was, as we have 
seen, somewhat despised, and relegated to the mimes. The 
trumpeters appear less often singly than in twos and threes, 
and it is possible that their performances may have been 
mainly ceremonial and of a purely instrumental order. But 
the use of music otherwise than to accompany the voice does 
not seem to have gone, before the end of the thirteenth century, 
much beyond the signals, flourishes and fanfares required for 
wars, triumphs and processions. Concerted instrumental 
music was a later development 1 . The ordinary function of 
the harp or vieile in minstrelsy was to assist the voice of the 
minstrel in one of the many forms of poetry which the middle 
ages knew. These were both lyric and narrative. The distinc- 
tion is roughly parallel to that made by Thomas de Cabham 
when he subdivides his highest grades of minstrels into those 
who sing wanton songs at taverns, and those more properly 
called ioculatores who solace the hearts of men with reciting 
the deeds of the heroes and the lives of the saints. The 
themes of mediaeval lyric, as of all lyric, are largely wanton- 
ness and wine ; but it must be borne in mind that Thomas de 
Cabham's classification is primarily an ethical one, and does 
not necessarily imply any marked difference of professional 
status between the two classes. The haunters of taverns and 
the solacers of the virtuous were after all the same minstrels, 
or at least minstrels of the same order. That the chansons, 
in their innumerable varieties, caught up from folk-song, or 
devised by Provencal ingenuity, were largely in the mouths 
of the minstrels, may be taken for granted. It was here, 

3 Gautier, ii. 69 ; Lavoix, La Musique au Sticle de Saint-Louis, 
i. 315; cf. Appendix C. 



74 MINSTRELSY 

however, that the competition of trobaire and trouvlrc began 
earliest, and proved most triumphant, and the supreme minstrel 
genre was undoubtedly the narrative. This was, in a sense, 
their creation, and in it they held their own, until the laity 
learned to read and the tronvtrcs became able to eke out the 
shortness of their memories by writing down or printing their 
stories. With narrative, no doubt, the minstrels of highest 
repute mainly occupied themselves. Harp or mclle in hand 
they beguiled many a long hour for knight and chdtclaine with 
the interminable chansons de gcstes in honour of Charlemagne 
and his heroic band l , or, when the vogue of these waned, as in 
time it did, with the less primitive r of nans (Tavcnture, of which 
those that clustered round the Keltic Arthur were the widest 
famed. Even so their repertory was not exhausted. They had 
lais, dits and contcs of every kind ; the devout contcs that 
Thomas dc Cabham loved, historical contcs ', romantic contcs 
of less alarming proportions than the genuine romans. And 
for the bourgeoisie they had those improper, witty fabliaux > so 
racy of the French soil, in which the esprit gaulois, as we know 
it, found its first and not its least characteristic expression. 
In most of these types the music of the instrument bore its 
part. The shorter lais were often accompanied musically 
throughout -. The longer poems were delivered in a chant or 
recitative, the monotony of which was broken at intervals by 
a phrase or two of intercalated melody, while during the rest 
of the performance a few perfunctory notes served to sustain 
the voice 3 . And at times, especially in the later days of 
minstrelsy, the harp or vicllc was laid aside altogether, and the 
singer became a mere story-teller. The antithesis, no infrequent 
one, between minstrel,and/tf///tf/0r, narrator > fableor, conteor^ 

1 W. Mapes, de Nugis Curia- (B. N. f. fr. 2168) of Aucassin et 
Hum (Camden Soc.), dist. v. prol., Nicolete preserves the musical 
* Caesar Lucani, Aeneas Maronis, notation of the verse sections. Only 
multis vivunt in laudibus, plurimum three musical phrases, with very 
suis meritis et non minimum vigi- slight variations, are used. Two of 
lantia poetarum ; nobis divinam these were probably repeated, alter- 
Karolorum et Pepinprum nobilita- nately or at the singer's fancy, 
tern vulgaribus rithmis sola mimo- throughout the tirade; the third 
rum concelebrat nugacitas.' provided a cadence for the clos- 

2 Lavoix, ii. 295. ing line (Bourdillon, Aucassin et 
8 Ibid. ii. 344. The Paris MS. Nicolette (1897), 157). 



THE MINSTREL REPERTORY 75 

gestour, disour, segger> though all these are themselves else- 
where classed as minstrels, sufficiently suggests this l . It was 
principally, one may surmise, the dits and fabliaux that lent 
themselves to unmusical narration ; and when prose crept in, 
as in time it did, even before reading became universal, it can 
hardly have been sung. An interesting example is afforded 
by Aucassin ct Nicoletc^ which is what is known as a cantc- 
fable. That is to say, it is written in alternate sections of 
verse and prose. The former have, in the Paris manuscript, 
a musical accompaniment, and are introduced with the words 

* Or se cantc ' ; the latter have no music, and the introduction 

* Or content ct dicnt ct fablcnt* 

A further differentiation amongst minstrels was of linguistic 
origin. This was especially apparent in England. The mime 
is essentially cosmopolitan. In whatever land he finds him- 
self the few sentences of patter needful to introduce his tour 
or his nigrcmance are readily picked up. It is not so with 
any entertainer whose performances claim to rank, however 
humbly, as literature. And the Conquest in England brought 
into existence a class of minstrels who, though they were by 
no means mimes, were yet obliged to compete with mimes, 
making their appeal solely to the bourgeoisie and the peasants, 
because their speech was not that of the Anglo-Norman lords 
and ladies who formed the more profitable audiences of the 
castles. The native English glcemen were eclipsed at courts 
by the Taillefers and Raheres of the invading host. But they 
still held the road side by side with their rivals, shorn of their 
dignities, and winning a precarious livelihood from the shrunken 

1 Chaucer, House of Fame ^ 1197: (Opera, v. col. 958) 'Apud Anglos 
' Of alle maner of minstrales, est simile genus hominum, quales 
And gestiours, that tellen tales, apud Italos sunt circulatores, de 
Bothe of vveping and of game.' quibus modo dictum est; qui irrum- 
Cf. Sir '1 hop as, 134; and Gower, punt in convivia magnatum, aut in 
Confessio A mantis ^ vii. 2424 : cauponas vinarias ; et argumentum 
* And every menstral hadde pleid, aliquod, quod edidicerunt, recitant ; 
And every disour hadde seid.' puta mortem omnibus dominari, 
The evidence of Erasmus is late, of aut laudem matrimonii. Sed quo- 
course, for the hey-day of min- niam ea lingua monosyllabis fere 
strelsy, but in his time there were constat, quemadmodum Germanica ; 
certainly English minstrels who atque illi studio vitant cantum, 
merely recited, without musical nobis latrare videntur verius quam 
accompaniment ; cf. Ecclesiastes loqui.' 



76 MINSTRELSY 

purses of those of their own blood and tongue 1 . It was they 
who sang the unavailing heroisms of Hereward, and, if we 
may judge by the scanty fragments and records that have 
come down to us, they remained for long the natural focus and 
mouthpiece of popular discontent and anti-court sentiment. 
In the reign of Edward III a gleeman of this type, Laurence 
Minot, comes to the front, voicing the spirit of an England 
united in its nationalism by the war against France ; the rest 
are, for the most part, nameless 2 . Naturally the English 
gleemen did not remain for ever a proscribed and isolated 
folk. One may suspect that at the outset many of them 
became bilingual. At any rate they learnt to mingle with 
their Anglo-Norman confreres : they borrowed the themes of 
continental minstrelsy, translating roman^ fabliau and chanson 
into the metres and dialects of the vernacular ; and had their 
share in that gradual fusion of the racial elements of the land, 
whose completion was the preparation for Chaucer. 

Besides the Saxons, there were the Kelts. In the provinces 
of France that bordered on Armorica, in the English counties 
that marched with Wales, the Keltic harper is no unusual or 
negligible figure. Whether such minstrels ranked very high 
in the bardic hierarchy of their own peoples may be doubted ; 
but amid alien folk they achieved popularity 3 . Both Giraldus 

1 Ten Brink, i. 193, 225, 235, isolated corner of Europe, little 
314, 322 ; Jusserand, i. 219. The touched by Latin influences, the 
Old gleeman tradition was prob- bards long retained the social and 
ably less interfered with in the national position which it is pro- 
lowlands of Scotland than in Eng- bable they once had held in all the 
land proper; cf. Henderson, Scot- Aryan peoples. Their status is 
fish Vernacular Literature, 16. defined in the laws of Howel Dha 

2 Ten Brink, i. 322 ; Jusserand, (t 920) and in those of Gruffyd ab 
i. 360 ; Courthope, i. 197. Minors Cynan (noo). The latter code 
poems have been edited by J. Hall distinguishes three orders of bards 
(Oxford, 1887). See also Wright, proper, the Pryddyd or Chair bards, 
Political Songs (C.S.) and Political the Teuluwr or Palace bards, and 
Poems and Songs (R.S.). Many of the Arwyddfardd or heralds, also 
these, however, are Latin. called Storiawr, the cantores hi- 

9 On Welsh bardism see H. storici of Giraldus Cambrensis. The 

d'Arbois de Jubainville, Intr. a Pryddyd and Teuluwr differ pre- 

rtude de la Litt. celtique^ 63; cisely as poets and executants, 

Stephens, Literature oftheKymry, trouveres and jougleurs. Below 

84, 93> 97, 102 ; Ernest David, all these come the Clerwr, against 

Etudes historiques sur la Poe*sie et whom official bardism from the 

la Musique dans la Cambrie^ 13, sixth to the thirteenth century 

62-103, 147^64. In Wales, an showed an inveterate animosity. 



THE MINSTREL REPERTORY 77 

Cambrensis and Thomas the author of Tristan speak of a 
certain famosus fabulator of this class, Bledhericus or Breri 
by name 1 . Through Breri and his like the Keltic traditions 
filtered into Romance literature, and an important body of 
scholars are prepared to find in lais sung to a Welsh or Breton 
harp the origines of Arthurian romance 2 . In England the 
Welsh, like the English-speaking minstrels, had a political, as 
well as a literary significance. They were the means by which 
the spirit of Welsh disaffection under English rule was kept 
alive, and at times fanned into a blaze. The fable of the 
massacre of the bards by Edward I is now discredited, but an 
ordinance of his against Keltic ' bards and rhymers ' is upon 
record, and was subsequently repeated under Henry IV 3 . 

An important question now presents itself. How far, in 
this heterogeneous welter of mediaeval minstrelsy, is it possible 
to distinguish any elements which can properly be called 
dramatic? The minstrels were entertainers in mvny genres. 
Were they also actors? An answer may be sought first of 
all in their literary remains. The first condition of drama is 
dialogue, and dialogue is found both in lyric and in narrative 
minstrelsy. Naturally, it is scantiest in lyric. But there is 
a group of chansons common to northern France and to 
southern France or Provence, which at least tended to 
develop in this direction. There are the chansons a danser> 
which are frequently a semi-dialogue between a soloist and 
a chorus, the one singing the verses, the other breaking into 

These are an unattached wandering Tristan (t 1 1 70, ed. Michel, ii. 847) : 

folk, players on flutes, tambourines, ' Mes sulum 90 que j'ai oy 

and other instruments meaner than N'el dient pas sulum Breri, 

the telyn or harp, and the crwth or Ky solt les gestes e les cuntes 

viol which alone the bards proper De tuz les reis, de tuz les cuntes 

deigned to use. Many of them had Ki orent este' en Bretaingne.' 

also picked up the mime-tricks of * G. Paris, in Hist. Litt. xxx. x- 

the foreigners. It was probably 22 ; Litt. Fr. 53-5 ; Nutt, 

with these Clerwr that the English Legend of the Holy Grail, 228 ; 

and French neighbours of the Kelts Rhys, Arthurian Legend, 370-90. 

came mainly into contact. Padel- These views have been vigorously 

ford, 5, puts this contact as early as criticized by Prof. Zimmer in Got- 

the Anglo-Saxon period. tingische gelehrte Anzeigen (1891), 

1 Giraldus Cambrensis, Descriptio 488, 785, and elsewhere. 

Cambriae,i. 17 'famosus ille fabu- * David, op. cit. 13, 235 ; cf. 

lator Bledhericus, qui tempora p. 54. 
nostra paulo praevenit.' Thomas, 



78 MINSTRELSY 

a burden or refrain. There are the chansons d personnages or 
chansons de mat marine, complaints of unhappy wives, which 
often take the form of a dialogue between the woman and her 
husband, her friend or, it may be, the poet, occasionally that 
of a discussion on courtly love in general. There are the 
aubes, of which the type is the morning dialogue between 
woman and lover adapted by Shakespeare with such splendid 
effect in the third act of Romeo and Juliet. And finally 
there are the pastourelles, which are generally dialogues 
between a knight and a shepherdess, in which the knight 
makes love and, successful or repulsed, rides away. All these 
chansons, like the chansons d'histoire or de toile, which did not 
develop into dialogues, are, in the form in which we have 
them, of minstrel origin. But behind them are probably folk- 
songs of similar character, and M. Gaston Paris is perhaps 
right in tracing them to the f$tes du mat, those agricultural 
festivals of immemorial antiquity in which women traditionally 
took so large a part. A further word will have to be said of 
their ultimate contribution to drama in a future chapter J . 

Other lyrical dialogues of very different type found their 
way into the literature of northern France from that of Pro- 
vence. These were the elaborate disputes about abstract 
questions, generally of love, so dear to the artistic and scholas- 
tic mind of the trobaire. There was the tenso (Fr. tendon) in 
which two speakers freely discussed a given subject, each 
taking the point of view which seems good to him. And 
there was \hzjoc-partitz or partimen (Fr.jeu-parti or parture\ 
in which the challenger proposed a theme, indicated two 
opposed attitudes towards it, and gave his opponent his choice 
to maintain one or other 2 . Originally, no doubt the tensons 
and the Joes-par tits were, as they professed to be, improvised 
verbal tournaments : afterwards they became little more than 
academic exercises 3 . To the drama they have nothing to say. 

1 Paris, 118, 122, and Orig. * Paris, 126; Orig. (passim) \ 

(passim) ; Jeanroy, i, 84, 102, 387 ; Jeanroy, 45, and in Lang, et Litt. 

Lang, et Litt. i. 345 ; cf. ch. viii. i. 384 ; Bartsch, Grundriss der 

Texts of chansons d personnages prov. Lit. 34 ; Hueffer, The Trou- 

and pastourelles in Bartsch, Alt- badours, 112; Stimming in Grober's 

fransbsische Romanzen und Pas- Grundriss, ii. 2. 24. 

tourellen; of aubes in Bartsch, 3 In 1386 we hear of des com- 

Chrestomathie de Pancienfran$ais. paingnons, pour de jeux de parture 



THE MINSTREL REPERTORY 79 

The dialogue elements in lyric minstrelsy thus exhausted, 
we turn to the wider field of narrative. But over the greater 
space of this field we look in vain. If there is anything of 
dialogue in the chansons de gestes and the remans it is merely 
reported dialogue such as every form of narrative poetry con- 
tains, and is not to the purpose. It is not until we come to 
the humbler branches of narrative, the unimportant contcs and 
dits, that we find ourselves in the presence of dialogue proper. 
Dits and fabliaux dialogues are not rare *. There is the already 
quoted Deus Bordeors Ribauz in which two jougleurs meet 
and vaunt in turn their rival proficiencies in the various 
branches of their common art 2 . There is Rutebeuf s Chariot 
et le Barbier^ a similar ' flyting ' between two gentlemen of the 
road 3 . There is Courtois a" Arras, a version of the Prodigal 
Son story 4 . There is Le Roi d* Angle ter re et le Jongleur 
d*Ely, a specimen of witty minstrel repartee, of which more 
will be said immediately. These dialogues naturally tend to 
become of the nature of disputes, and they merge into that 
special kind of dit, the dtbat or disputoison proper. The dtbat 
is a kind of poetical controversy put into the mouths of two 
types or two personified abstractions, each of which pleads 
the cause of its own superiority, while in the end the decision 
is not infrequently referred to an umpire in the fashion familiar 
in the eclogues of Theocritus 5 . The drtats thus bear a strong 

juer et esbattre' at Douai (Julie- * Rutebeuf (ed. Kressner), 99. 

ville, AY/. Com. 323), which looks 4 Barbazan-Meon,i. 356. Bedier, 

as if, by the end of the fourteenth 33, considers Courtois d* Arras as 

century, the partures were being the oldest French comedy, a jcu 

professionally performed. dramatique with intercalated narra- 

1 Paris, 109; Bddier, 31. A tive by a mcneur de jeu. But the 
fabliau is properly a *conte a rire fact that it ends with the woids Te 

en vers * ; the term dit is applied Deum leads one to look upon it as 

more generally to a number of an adaptation of a religious play ; 

short poems which deal, * souvent cf. ch. xix. 

avecagrement,dessujetsempruntes c On the dtbats in general, see 

a la vie quotidienne.' Some dits Hist. Lift, xxiii. 216 sqq. ; Paris, 

are satirical, others eulogistic of Litt.fr. no, 155 ; Arthur Piaget, 

a class or profession, others descrip- Literature didactique in Lang. 

tive. But the distinction is not very et Litt. ii. 208 ; Jeanroy, 48 ; R. 

well defined, and the fabliaux are Hirzel, Der Dialog^ ii. 382 ; Litera- 

often called dits in the MSS. ^ turblatt (1887), 76. A full list is 

2 Montaiglon-Raynaud, i. I ; ii. given by Petit, Rfy. Com. 405-9. 
257. The dit is also called La The dtbats merge into such alle- 

JengleauRibautet la Centre jengle. gorical poems as Henri d'Andeli's 



80 



MINSTRELSY 



resemblance to the lyric tendons and jeux-partis already men- 
tioned. Like the chansons^ they probably owe something to 
the folk festivals with their ' flytings ' and seasonal songs. In 
any case they are common ground to minstrelsy and to the 
clerkly literature of the Middle Ages. Many of the most famous 
of them, such as the Dtbat de I Hiver et de ?*/, the Dttat 
du Vin et de FEau, the D/bat du Corps et de lAme, exist in 
neo-Latin forms, the intermediaries being naturally enough 
those vagantes or wandering scholars, to whom so much of the 
interaction of learned and of popular literature must be due x . 
And in their turn many of the dtbats were translated sooner or 
later into English. English literature, indeed, had had from 
Anglo-Saxon days a natural affinity for the dialogue form 2 , 



Bataille des Vins (Barbazon-MeVm, 
i. 152)" or Le Mariage des Sept Arts 
etdes Sept Vertus (Jubinal, CEuvres 
de Rutebeufc ii. 415) ; cf. Paris, 
Litt.fr. 158. 

1 Ten Brink, i. 215; Hubatsch, 
24; Gummere, B. P. 200, 306. The 
Dlbat de f Yver et de ?EsU has the 
nearest folk-lore origin ; cf. ch. ix. 
Paris, Origines,?&i mentions several 
Greek and Latin versions beginning 
with Aesop (Halm, 414). The most 
important is the ninth-century Con- 
fiictus Verts et Hiemis (Riese, 
Anth. Lat. i. 2. 145), variously 
ascribed to Bede (Wernsdorff, 
Poetae Latini Minores, ii. 239), 
Alcuin (Ale. Opera y ed. Froben, ii. 
612) and others. French versions 
are printed in Montaiglon- Roth- 
schild, Anc. Pots. fr. vi. 190, x. 
4 1 , and J ubinal, N. j\>. i i. 40. There 
are imitations in all tongues : cf. 
M. fimile Picot's note in Mont.- 
Rothsch. op. tit. x. 49 ; Hist. Litt. 
xxiii. 231 ; Douhet, 1441. La Dis- 
putoison du Vin et de riaue is 
printed in Jubinal, N. R. i. 293 ; 
Wright, Lat. Paems of Walter 
Mape$) 299 ; Carmina Bur ana , 232. 
It is based on the Goliae Dialogus 
inter Aquam et Vinum (Wright, 
loc. cit. 87) ; cf. Hist. Litt. xxiii. 
228; Romania^ xvi. 366. On the 
complicated history of the Dtbatdu 
Corps et de FAme, see T. Batiouch- 
kof in Romania, xx. I, 513; G. 



Kleinert, Ueber den Streit von Leib 
und Seele\ Hist. Litt. xxii. 162; 
P. de Julleville, Repertoire Comique, 
5, 300, 347 ; Wright, Latin Poems ; 
xxiii. 95, 321. Latin, French and 
other versions are given by Wright, 
and by Viollet-Leduc, Anc. Th4.fr. 
iii. 325. Phillis et Flora, or De 
Phyllis qui aime un chevalier et de 
Flora qui aime un pr&tre, is also 
referred by Paris, Orig. 28, to a folk- 
song beginning ; cf. H. L. xxii. 138, 
165 ; Romania^ xxii. 536. Latin 
versions are in Carmina Burana^ 
155; Wright, Latin Poems of W. 
Mapes, 258. A possible influence 
of the Theocritean and Virgilian 
eclogues upon these dtbats, through 
their neo-Latin forms, must be borne 
in mind. 

* Wiilker, 384; Brooke, i. 139, ii. 
93, 221, 268 ; Jusserand, i. 75, 443. 
The passages of dialogue dwelt on 
by these writers mostly belong to the 
work of Cynewulf and his school. 
It has been suggested that some of 
them, e.g. the A.-S. Descent into 
Hell (Grein, iii. 175 ; cf. Anglia, xix. 
137), or the dialogue between Mary 
and Joseph in Cynewulfs Christ, 
163 (ed. Gollancz, p. 16), may have 
been intended for liturgical use by 
half-choirs ; but of this there is 
really no proof. Wiilker, loc. cit., 
shows dearly that the notion of a 
dramatic representation was unfa- 
miliar to the Anglo-Saxons. 



THE MINSTREL REPERTORY 81 

and presents side by side with the translated d/bats others 
strifs or estrifs is the English term of native origin l . The 
thirteenth-century Harrowing of Hell is an estrif on a subject 
familiar in the miracle plays : and for an early miracle play it 
has sometimes been mistaken 2 . Two or three other estrifs 
of English origin are remarkable, because the interlocutors 
are not exactly abstractions, but species of birds and 
animals 3 . 

Dialogue then, in one shape or another, was part of the 
minstrel's regular stock-in-trade. But dialogue by itself is not 
drama. The notion of drama does not, perhaps, necessarily 
imply scenery on a regular stage, but it does imply impersona- 
tion and a distribution of r61es between at least two performers. 
Is there anything to be traced in minstrelsy that satisfies these 
conditions ? So far as impersonation is concerned, there are 
several scattered notices which seem to show that it was not 
altogether unknown. In the twelfth century for instance, 
^Elred, abbot of Rievaulx, commenting on certain unpleasing 
innovations in the church services of the day, complains that 
the singers use gestures just like those of histriones, fit rather 
for a theatrum than for a house of prayer 4 . The word theatrum 

1 Ten Brink, i. 312. Several ritatis, ii. 23 (P. L. cxcv. 571) ' Vi- 

English versions of the Debate be- deas aliquando hominem aperto ore 

tween Body and Soul are given by quasi intercluso halitu expirare, 

Wright, loc. cit. 334. An English non cantare, ac ridiculosa quadam 

Debate and Stryfe betivene Somer vocis interceptione quasi minitari 

and Wynter is in W. C. Hazlitt, si lenti um ; nunc agones m orient ium, 

Early Popular Poetry, iii. 29. vel extasim patientium imitari. Inte- 

* Cf. ch. xx. rim histrionicis quibusdam gestibus 

8 Ten Brink, i. 214, 309. The totum corpus agitatur, torquentur 

Owl and the Nightingale (c. 1216- labia. rotant, ludunt humeri ; et ad 

72), was printed by J. Stevenson singulas quasque notas digitorum 

(Roxburghe Club) ; the Thrush and flexus responded Et haec ridicu- 

the Nightingale and the Fox and losa dissolutio vocatur religio ! . . . 

the Wolf, by W. C. Hazlitt, Early Vulgus . . . miratur . . . sed lasci- 

Popular Poetry, i. 50, 58. There vas cantantium gesticulationes, me- 

are also a Debate of the Carpenter's retricias vocum alternationes et 

Tools (Hazlitt, i. 79) and an English infractiones, non sine cachinno risu- 

version of a Latin Disputacio inter que intuetur, ut cos non ad orato- 

Mariam et Crvcem (R. Morris, rium sed ad theatrum, non ad oran- 

Legends of the Holy Rood> 131); dum, sed ad spectandum aestimes 

cf. Ten Brink, i. 259, 312. An A.-S. convenisse.' Cf. op. cit. ii. 17 ' Cum 

version of the Debate between Body enim in tragediis vanisve carminibus 

and Soul is in the Exeter Book quisquam iniuriatus fingitur, vel 

(Grein, ii. 92). oppressus ... si quis haec, vel cum 

4 vElred (t 1 1 66), Speculum Cha- canuntur audiens, vel ccrnens si 



82 



MINSTRELSY 



is, however, a little suspicious, for an actual theatre in the 
twelfth century is hardly thinkable, and with a learned eccle- 
siastic one can never be sure that he is not drawing his 
illustrations rather from his knowledge of classical literature 
than from the real life around him. It is more conclusive, 
perhaps, when, fabliaux or contes speak of minstrels as * doing ' 
tivre, or Ic cat, or le sot 1 ', or when it appears from con- 
temporary accounts that at a performance in Savoy the 
manners of England and Brittany were mimicked 2 . In Pro- 
vence contra faze dor seems to have been a regular name for 
a minstrel 8 ; and the facts that the minstrels wore masks 
* with intent to deceive ' 4 , and were forbidden to wear eccle- 
siastical dresses 6 , also point to something in the way of rudi- 
mentary impersonation. 

As for the distribution of r61es, all that can be said, so far 
as the dtbats and dits dialogues go, is, that while some of them 



recitentur . . . moveatur' ; and 
Johannes de Janua, s.v. persona 
(cited Creizenach, i. 381) ' Item per- 
sona dicitur histrio, repraesentator 
com oedi arum, qui diversis modis 
personal diversas repraesentando 
personas.' All these passages, like 
the ninth-century responsio of arch- 
bishop Leidradus referred to on 
p. 36, may be suspected of learning 
rather than actuality. As for the 
epitaph of the mime Vitalis (Riese, 
Anth. Lat. \. 2. 143 ; Baehrens, 
P. L. M. iii. 245), sometimes quoted 
in this connexion, it appears to be 
classical and not mediaeval at all ; 
cf. Teuffel-Schwabe, 8. 11 ; 32. 6. 
Probably this is also the case with 
the lines De Mimo iam Sene in 
Wright, Anecdota Literaria^ 100, 
where again * theatra * are men- 
tioned. 

1 Cf. p. 71. The mention of a 
'Disare that played the sheppart' 
at the English court in 1502 (Nico- 
las, Pt ivy Purse Expenses of Eli- 
zabeth of York] is too late to be of 
importance here. 

* Creizenach, i. 383, citing at 
second-hand from fourteenth-cen- 
tury accounts of a Savoy treasurer 
' rappresentando i cost urn i delle 



compagnie inglesi e bretoni.' 

* Creizenach, i. 380. 

* Thomas de Cabham mentions 
the horribiles larvae of some 
minstrels. A. Lecoy de la Marche, 
La Chaire franqaise (ed. 2, 1886), 
444, quotes a sermon of Etienne 
de Bourbon in MS. B. N. Lat. 
I 597 f* 35 2 <ad similitudinem 
illorum ioculatorum qui ferunt 
fades depictas quae dicuntur arti- 
ficia gallice, cum quibus ludunt et 
homines deludunt.' Cf. Liudprand, 
iii. 15 (Pertz, iii. 310) 'histnonum 
mimorumve more incedere, qui, ut 
ad risum facile turbas illiciant, 
variis sese depingunt coloribus.' 
The monstra laruarum, however, 
of various ecclesiastical prohibitions 
I take to refer specifically to the 
Feast of Fools (cf. ch. xiii) . 

5 Schack, Gesch. der dram. Litt. 
und Kunst in Spanien^ i. 30, quotes 
a Carolingian capitulary, from Hei- 
neccius, Cafit. lib. v. c. 388 ' si quis 
ex scenicis vestem sacerdotalem aut 
monasticam vel mulieris religiosae 
vel qualicunque ecclesiastico statu 
similem indutus fuerit, corporali 
poena subsistat et exilio tradatur.' 
This prohibition is as old as the 
Codex Theodosianus ; cf. p. 14. 



THE MINSTREL REPERTORY 83 

may conceivably have been represented by more than one 
performer, none of them need necessarily have been so, and 
some of them certainly were not. There is generally a narrative 
introduction and often a sprinkling of narrative interspersed 
amongst the dialogue. These parts may have been pronounced 
by an auctor or by one of the interlocutors acting as auctor, 
and some such device must have been occasionally necessitated 
in the religious drama. But there is really no difficulty in 
supposing the whole of these pieces to have been recited by 
a single minstrel with appropriate changes of gesture and 
intonation, and in The Harrowing of Hell, which begins * A 
strif will I tellen of/ this was clearly the case. The evidences 
of impersonation given above are of course quite consistent 
with such an arrangement ; or, for the matter of that, with 
sheer monologue. The minstrel who recited Rutebeuf s Dit 
de tErberie may readily be supposed to have got himself up 
in the character of a quack *. 

But the possibilities of secular mediaeval drama are not 
quite exhausted by the dtbats and dits dialogues. For after 
all, the written literature which the minstrels have left us 
belongs almost entirely to those higher strata of their complex 
fraternity which derived from the thoroughly undrarnatic 
Teutonic sc&p. But if mediaeval farce there were, it would 
not be here that we should look for it. It would belong to 
the inheritance, not of the scdp, but of the tnimus. The Roman 
mimus was essentially a player of farces ; that and little else. 
It is of course open to any one to suppose that the mimus 
went down in the seventh century playing farces, and that his 
like appeared in the fifteenth century playing farces, and that, 
not a farce was played between. But is it not more probable 
on the whole that, while occupying himself largely with other 
matters, he preserved at least the rudiments of the art of 
acting, and that when the appointed time came, the despised 
and forgotten farce, under the stimulus of new conditions, 
blossomed forth once more as a vital and effective form of 
literature? In the absence of data we are reduced to con- 
jecture. But the mere absence of data itself does not render 

1 CEuvresde Rutebeuf (ed. Kress- Julleville, Les Com. 24; R4p. Com. 
ner), 115; cf. Romania, xvi. 496; 407. 

G a 



84 MINSTRELSY 

the conjecture untenable. For if such rudimentary, or, if you 
please, degenerate farces as I have in mind, ever existed in 
the Middle Ages, the chances were all against their literary 
survival. They were assuredly very brief, very crude, often 
improvised, and rarely, if ever, written down. They belonged 
to an order of minstrels far below that which made literature 1 . 
And one little bit of evidence which has not yet been brought 
forward seems to point to the existence of something in the 
way of a secular as well as a religious mediaeval drama. In 
the well-known Wyclifite sermon against miracle plays, an 
imaginary opponent of the preacher's argument is made to 
say that after all it is ' Jesse yvels that thei have thyre recrea- 
ccon by pleyinge of myraclis than bi pleyinge of other japis'j 
and again that * to pley in rebaudye ' is worse than ' to pley 
in myricIisV Now, there is of course no necessary dramatic 
connotation either in the word * pley * or in the word * japis/ 
which, like c bourde' or * gab ' is frequently used of any kind 
of rowdy merriment, or of the lower types of minstrelsy in 
general 3 . But on the other hand the whole tone of the passage 
seems to draw a very close parallel between the 'japis' and 
the undeniably dramatic * myriclis/ and to imply something 
in the former a little beyond the mere recitation, even with 
the help of impersonation, of a solitary mime. 

Such rude farces or 'japis' as we are considering, if they 

1 Creizenach, i. 386, further points term in a more technical sense, 

out that a stage was not indispens- Activa Vita in Piers Plowman , xvi. 

able to the Latin wiwus, who habi- 207, is no minstrel, because * Ich can 

tually played before the curtain and not . . . japen ne jogelen.' No 

probably with very little setting; doubt a 'jape* would include a 

that the favourite situations of fabliau. It is equivalent etymo- 

fifteenth -century French farce close- logically to 'gab,' and Be'dier, 33, 

ly resemble those of the mimes ; points out that the jougleurs use 

and that the use of marionettes gabet, as well as bourde, trvfe, and 

is a proof of some knowledge of rise** for a fabliau* The use of 

dramatic methods amongst the 'pleye' as 'jest* may be illus- 

minstrels. trated by Chaucer, Pardoner's Tale 

* On this treatise, cf. ch. xx. (C. T. 12712) * My wit is greet, 

8 A ' japer ' is often an idle talker, though that I bourde and pleye/ 

like a *jangler' which is clearly The * japis ' of the Tretise are pro- 

sometimes confused with a ' jon- bably the ' knakkes ' of the passage 

gleur'; cf. Chaucer, Parser? s 7 a/e t on 'japeris' in Parstm's Tale, 651 

89 ' He is a japere and a gabber * right so conforten the vileyns 

and no verray repentant that eft- wordes and knakkes of japeris hem 

soone dooth thing for which hym that travaillen in the service of the 

oghte repente.' Langland uses the devel.' 



THE MINSTREL REPERTORY 85 

formed part of the travelling equipment of the humbler mimes, 
could only get into literature by an accident ; in the event, that 
is to say, of some minstrel of a higher class taking it into his 
head to experiment in the form or to adapt it to the purposes 
of his own art. And this is precisely what appears to have 
happened. A very natural use of the farce would be in the 
parade or preliminary patter, merely about himself and his 
proficiency, which at all times has served the itinerant enter- 
tainer as a means whereby to attract his audiences. And just 
as the very similar boniment or patter of the mountebank- 
charlatan at a fair became the model for Rutebeufs Dit de 
rErbcric, so the parade may be traced as the underlying motive 
of other dits or fabliaux. The Deus Bordcors Ribauz is itself 
little other than a glorified parade, and another, very slightly 
disguised, may be found in the discomfiture of the king by 
the characteristic repartees of the wandering minstrel in Le 
Roi dAngleterre et le Jouglcur cCEly 1 . The parade, also, 
seems to be the origin of a certain familiar type of dramatic 
prologue in which the author or the presenters of a play 
appear in their own persons. The earliest example of this is 
perhaps that enigmatic Terentius et Dclusor piece which some 
have thought to point to a representation of Terence some- 
where in the dark ages between the seventh and the eleventh 
century 2 . And there is a later one in the Jeu dzt P tier in 
which was written about 1288 to precede Adan de la Male's 
Jeu de Robin et Marion. 

The renascence of farce in the fifteenth century will call 
for consideration in a later 'chapter. It is possible that, as is 
here suggested, that renascence was but the coming to light 
again of an earth-bourne of dramatic tradition that had 

1 Montaiglon-Raynaud, ii. 243. with which the jougleur meets the 

Cf. Hist. Litt. xxiii. 103 ; Jusserand, king's questions. Thus, in La Riote 

Lit. Hist. i. 442. A shorter prose du Monde : ' Dont ies tu? Je suis 

form of the story is found in La de no vile. U est te vile ? Entor 

Riote du Monde (ed. Fr. Michel, le moustier. U est li moustiers ? 

1834), a popular fat, Mie of which En 1'atre. U est li atres ? Sor 

both French and Anglo-Norman terre. U siet cele terre? Sor 

versions exist ; cf. Paris, Lift. fr. 1'iaue. Comment lapiel-on 1'iaue ? 

153. And a Latin form, De Mimo On ne Papiele nient ; ele vient 

et Rege Francorum is in Wright, bien sans apieler.' 

Latin Stoties, No. 137. The point * Cf. Appendix V. 
consists in the quibbling replies 



86 MINSTRELSY 

worked its way beneath the ground ever since the theatres 
of the Empire fell. In any case, rare documents of earlier 
date survive to show that it was at least no absolutely sudden 
and unprecedented thing. The jeux of Adan de la Hale, 
indeed, are somewhat irrelevant here. They were not farces, 
and will fall to be dealt with in the discussion of the popular 
fetes from which they derive their origin 1 . But the French 
farce of Le Gar$on et tAveugle, ascribed to the second half of 
the thirteenth century, is over a hundred years older than any 
of its extant successors 2 . And even more interesting to us, 
because it is of English provenance and in the English tongue, 
is a fragment found in an early fourteenth-century manuscript 
of a dramatic version of the popular mediaeval tale of Dame 
Siriz 3 . This bears the heading Hie incipit inter ludium de 
Clcrico ct Puella. But the significance of this fateful word 
inter ludium must be left for study at a later period, when the 
history of the secular drama is resumed from the point at 
which it must now be dropped. 

1 Cf. ch. viii. for the earlier non-dramatic versions 

2 Ed. P. Meyer, in Jahrbuch fur in Latin, French, and English of 
romanische und englische Liter a- the story are given by Jusserand, 
tur, vi. 163. The piece was pro- Lit. Hist. i. 447. A Cornish dra- 
bably written in Flanders, between matic fragment of the fourteenth 
1266 and 1290. Cf. Creizenach, i. century is printed in the Athenaum 
398. for Dec. i, 1877, and Revue celtique, 

8 See Appendix U. References iv. 259; cf. Creizenach, i. 401. 



BOOK II 

FOLK DRAMA 

Stultorum infinitus est numerus. 

ECCLESIASTES. 



CHAPTER V 
THE RELIGION OF THE FOLK 

{Bibliographical Note. The conversion of heathen England is described 
in ^^.Ecclesiastical History of Bede (C. Plummer, Baedae Opera Histortca^ 
1896). Stress is laid on the imperfect character of the process by 
L. Knappert, Le Christianisme et le Paganisme dans tHistoire eccttsias- 
tique de Bede le Ve'ne'rable (in Revue de rHistoire des Religions > 1897, 
vol. xxxv). A similar study for Gaul is E. Vacandard, L'Idolatrie dans 
la Gaule (in Revue des Questions historiques^ 1899, vol. Ixv). Witness 
is borne to the continued presence of pre-Christian elements in the folk- 
civilization of western Europe both by the general results of folk-lore 
research and by the ecclesiastical documents of the early Middle Ages. 
Of these the most important in this respect are (i) the Decrees of 
Councils, collected generally in P. Labbe and G. Cossart, Sacrosancta 
Concilia (1671-2), and J. D. Mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et 
amplissima Collectio (1759-98), and for England in particular in 
D. Wilkins, Concilia Magnae Britanniae et Hiberniae (1737) and A. W. 
Haddan and W. Stubbs, Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents relating 
to Great Britain and Ireland (1869-78). An interesting series of 
extracts is given by G. Grober, Zur Volkskunde aits Concilbeschlussen 
und Capitularien (1894) : (2) the Penitential*, or catalogues of sins and 
their penalties drawn up for the guidance of confessors. The most 
important English example is the Penitential of Theodore (668-90), 
on which the Penitentials of Bede and of Egbert are based. Authentic 
texts are given by Haddan and Stubbs, vol. iii, and, with others of con- 
tinental origin, in F. W. H. Wasserschleben, Die Bussordnungen der 
abendldndischen Kirche (1851), and H. J. Schmitz, Die Bussbucker und 
die Bussdisciplin der Kirche (1883). The most interesting for its heathen 
survivals is the eleventh-century Collectio Decretorum of Burchardus 
of Worms (Migne, P. L. cxl, extracts in J. Grimm, Teutonic Mythology^ 
iv. 1740): (3) Homilies or Sermons, such as the Sermo ascribed to the 
seventh-century St. Eligius (P. L. Ixxxvii. 524, transl. Grimm, iv. 1737), 
and the eighth-century Prankish pseudo-Augustinian Homilia de Sacri- 
legits (ed. C. P. Caspari, 1886): (4) the Vitae of the apostles of the 
West, St. Boniface, St. Columban, St. Gall, and others. A critical edition 
of these is looked for from M. Knappert. The Epistolae of Boniface are 
in P. L. Ixxxix. 593 : (5) Miscellaneous Documents -, including the sixth- 
century De correctione Rusticorum of Bishop Martin of Braga in Spain 
(ed. C. P. Caspari, 1883) and the so-called Induulus Superstitionum et 
Paganiarum (ed. H. A. Saupe, 1891), a list of heathen customs probably 
drawn up in eighth-century Saxony. The view of primitive religion taken 
in this book is largely, although not altogether in detail, that of J. G. 
Frazer, The Golden Bough (1890, 2nd ed. 1900), which itself owes much 
to E. B. Tylor, Primitive Culture (1871); W. Robertson Smith, 
Religion of the Semites (2nd ed. 1894) ; W. Mannhardt, Der Baumkultus 
der Germanen (1875) ; 'Antike Wald- und Feldkulte (1875-7). A more 



90 FOLK DRAMA 

systematic work on similar lines is F. B. Jevons, An Introduction to the 
History of Religion (1896) : and amongst many others may be mentioned 
A. Lang, Myth, Ritual, and Religion ( 1 887, 2nd ed. 1899), the conclusions 
of which are somewhat modified in the same writer's The Making of 
Religion (1898) ; Grant Allen, The Evolution of the Idea of God (1897) ; 
E. S. Hartland, The Legend ot Perseus (1894-6); J. Rhys, The Origin 
and Growth of Religion as illustrated by Celtic Heathendom (1888). 
The last of these deals especially with Keltic data, which may be further 
studied in H. D'Arbois de Jubainville, Le Cycle mythologique irlandais 
ct la Mythologie celtique (1884), together with the chapter on La Religion 
in the same writer's La Civilisation des Celtes et celle de ffcpope'e 
home'rique (1899) and A. Bert rand, La Religion des Gaulois (1897). 
Teutonic religion has been more completely investigated. Recent works 
of authority are E. H. Meyer, Germanische Mythologie (1891) ; W. Golther, 
Handbuch der germanischen Mythologie (1895) ; and the article by E. Mogk 
on Mythologie in H. Paul's Grundriss der germanischen Philologie, vol. iii 
(2nd ed. 1 897). The collection of material in J. Grimm's Teutonic Mythology 
(transl. J. S. Stallybrass, 1 880-8) is still of the greatest value. The general 
facts of early German civilization are given by F. B. Gummere, Germanic 
Origins (1892), and for the Aryan-speaking peoples in general by 
O. Schrader, Prehistoric Antiquities of the Aryan Peoples (transl. F. B. 
Jevons, 1890), and Reallexicon der indo-germanischen Altertumskunde 
(1901). In dealing with the primitive calendar I have mainly, but not wholly, 
followed the valuable researches of A. Tille, Deutsche Weihnacht (1893) 
and Yule and Christmas (1899), a scholar the loss of whom to this country 
is one of the lamentable results of the recent war.] 

MINSTRELSY was an institution of the folk, no less than of 
the court and the bourgeoisie. At many a village festival, one 
may be sure, the taberers and buffoons played their conspicuous 
part, ravishing the souls of Dorcas and Mopsa with merry and 
doleful ballads,and tumbling through their amazing programme 
of monkey tricks before the ring of wide-mouthed rustics on 
the green. Yet the soul and centre of such revels always lay, 
not in these alien professional spectacula, but in other entertain- 
ments, home-grown and racy of the soil, wherein the peasants 
shared, not as onlookers only, but as performers, even as 
their fathers and mothers, from immemorial antiquity, had 
done before them. A full consideration of the village ludi 
is important to the scheme of the present book for more than 
one reason. They shared with the ludi of the minstrels the 
hostility of the Church. They bear witness, at point after 
point, to the deep-lying dramatic instincts of the folk. And 
their substantial contribution to mediaeval and Renaissance 
drama and dramatic spectacle is greater than has been fully 
recognized. 

Historically, the ludi of the folk come into prominence with 
the attacks made upon them by the reforming ecclesiastics of 



THE RELIGION OF THE FOLK 



91 



the thirteenth century and in particular by Robert Grosseteste, 
bishop of Lincoln 1 . Between 1 236 and 1244 Grosseteste issued 
a series of disciplinary pronouncements, in which he condemned 
many customs prevalent in his diocese. Amongst these are 
included miracle plays, * scotales ' or drinking-bouts, ' ram- 
raisings ' and other contests of athletic prowess, together with 
ceremonies known respectively as the festunt stultorum and 
the Indiictio Mail sive Autuntni 2 . Very similar are the 
prohibitions contained in the Constitutions (1240) of Walter 
de Chanteloup, bishop of Worcester 3 . These particularly 
specify the ludus dc Rege et Regina, a term which may be 
taken as generally applicable to the typical English folk- 
festival, of which the Inductio Maii sive Autumni> the 
' May- game ' and ' mell-supper/ mentioned by Grosseteste, 
are varieties 4 . Both this ludus^ in its various forms, and the 



1 Stephens-Hunt, ii. 301 ; F. S. 
Stevenson, Robert Grosseteste^ 126. 
The disciplinary attack seems 
to have begun with Grosseteste's 
predecessor, Hugh de Wells, in 
1230 (Wilkins, i. 627), but he, like 
Roger Weseham, bishop of Coventry 
and Lichfield, in 1252 (AnnalesMo- 
nastici, R. S. i. 296), merely con- 
demns ludi) a term which may mean 
folk-festivals or minstrelsy, or both. 
A similar ambiguity attaches to the 
obligation of the anchoresses of 
Tarrant Keyneston not to look on 
at a ludus (pleouwe) in the church- 
yard (Ancren Riwle, C. S. 318). 

a In 1236 Grosseteste wrote to his 
archdeacons forbidding ' an e turn 
super ligna et rotas elevationes, 
caeterosque ludos consimiles, in quo 
decertatur pro bravio ; cum huius- 
modi ludorum tarn actores quam 
spectatores, sicut evidenter demon- 
strat Isidorus, immolant daemoni- 
bus, . . . et cum etiam huiusmodi ludi 
frequenter dant pccasiones irae,odii, 
pugnae, et homicidii. 1 His Consti- 
tutiones of 1238 say 'Praecipimus 
etiam ut in singulis ecclesiis denun- 
cietur solenniter ne quisquam levet 
arietes super rotas, vel alios ludos 
statuat, in quibus decertatur pro 
bravio: nee huiusmodi ludis quis- 
quam intersi t, &c.' About 1244 he 



wrote again to the archdeacons : 
' Faciunt etiam, ut audivimus, clerici 
ludos quos vocant miracula: et 
alios ludos quos vocant Inductionem 
Maii sive Autumni; et laici scotales 
. . . miracula etiam et ludos supra 
nominates et scotales, quod est in 
vestra potestate facili, omnino exter- 
minetis ' (Luard, Letters of Robert 
Grosseteste (R. S.) Efip. xxii, Hi, cvii, 
pp. 74, 162, 317). For his condem- 
nations of the Feast of Fools cf. ch. 
xiv. 

8 Const. Walt, de Cantilupp 
(Wilkins, i. 673) * prohibemus cleri- 
ci s ... nee sustineant ludos fieri 
de Rege et Regina, nee arietas 
levari, nee palaestras publicas fieri, 
nee gildales in hones tas.' The clergy 
must also abstain and dissuade the 
laity from * compotationibus quae 
vocantur scottales* (Wilkins, i. 
672). On * ram-raisings,' &c., cf. 
ch. vii ; on ' gildales ' and ' scotales ' 
ch. viii. 

4 Surely the reference is to the 
mock kings and queens of the village 
festivals, and not, as Guy, 521 ; 
Jusserand,Zi'//. Hist. i. 444, suggest, 
to the question-and-answer game of 
Le Rot qui ne ment described in 
Jean de Condi's Sentier Bat* 
(Montaiglon-Raynaud, iii. 248), 
although this is called playing * as 



92 



FOLK DRAMA 



less strictly popular festum stultorum, will find ample illus- 
tration in the sequel. Walter de Chanteloup also lays stress 
upon an aggravation of the ludi inhonesti by the perform- 
ance of them in churchyards and other holy places, and on 
Sundays or the vigils and days of saints *. 

The decrees of the two bishops already cited do not stand 
alone. About 1250 the University of Oxford found it necessary 
to forbid the routs of masked and garlanded students in the 
churches and open places of the city 2 . These appear to have 
been held in connexion with the feasts of the ' nations ' into 
which a mediaeval university was divided. Articles of visitation 
drawn up in connexion with the provisions of Oxford in 1253 
made inquiry as to several of the obnoxious ludi and as to 
the measures adopted to check them throughout the country 8 . 
Prohibitions are upon record by the synod of Exeter in 1287*, 
and during the next century by the synod of York in 1367 5 , 
and by William of Wykeham, bishop of Winchester, in 
1384; while the denunciations of the rulers of the church 



rois et as reines' in Adan de la 
Rale's Robin et Marion (ed. Mon- 
merque*- Michel, 121) and elsewhere 
(cf. Guy, 222), and possibly grew 
out of the festival custom. Yet 
another game of King and Queen, 
of the practical joke order, is de- 
sciibed as played at Golspie by 
Nicholson, 119. 

1 Wilkins, i. 666. 

2 Anstey, Muntmenta Academica 
(R. S.), i. 1 8 ' ne quis choreas cum 
larvis seu strepitu aliquo in ecclesiis 
vel plateis ducat, vel sertatus, vel 
coronatus corona ex foliis arborum, 
vel florum vel aliunde composita 
alicubi incedat . . . prohibemus.' 

8 Inquisitiones . . . de vita et con- 
versatione clencorum et laicorum 
\nAnnalesdeBurton (Ann.Monast. 
R. S. i. 307) 'an aliqui laici mercata, 
vel ludos, seu placita peculiaria fieri 
faciant in locis sacris, et an haec 
fuerint prohibita ex parte episcopi 
... An aliqui laici elevaverint 
arietes, vel fieri faciant schothales, 
vel decertaverint de praeeundo cum 
vexillis in visitatione matricis eccle- 
siae.' 



4 Wilkins, ii. 129 *c. 13 ... Ne 
quisquam luctas, choreas, vel alios 
ludos inhonestos in coemeteriis 
exercere praesumat ; praecipue in 
vigiliis et festis sanctorum, cum 
huiusmodi ludos theatrales et ludi- 
briorium spectacula introductos 
per quos ecclesiarum coinquinatur 
honestas, sacri ordines detestan- 
tur.' 

6 Wilkins, iii. 68 'c. 2 ... nee 
in ipsis [locis sacris] fiant lucta- 
tiones, sagittationes, vel ludi.' A 
special caution is given against ludi 
1 in sanctorum vigiliis ' and * in exe- 
quiis defunctorum.' 

T. F. Kirby, Wykehants Regis- 
ter (Hampshire Record Soc.), ii. 
410, forbids ' ad pilas ludere, iacta- 
ciones lapidum facere . . . coreas 
facere dissolutas, et interdum canere 
cantilenas, ludibriorum spectacula 
facere, saltaciones et alios ludos 
inhonestos frequentare, ac multas 
alias insolencias perpetrare, ex qui- 
bus cimeterii huiusmodi execracio 
seu pollucio frequencius verisimiliter 
formidetur.' 



THE RELIGION OF THE FOLK 93 

find an unofficial echo in that handbook of ecclesiastical 
morality, Robert Mannyng of Brunne's Handlyng Synne 1 . 
There is, however, reason to suppose that the attitude thus 
taken up hardly represents that of the average ecclesiastical 
authority, still less that of the average parish priest, towards 
the ludi in question. The condemnatory decrees should 
probably be looked upon as the individual pronouncements 
of men of austere or reforming temper against customs which 
the laxer discipline of their fellows failed to touch ; perhaps 
it should rather be said, which the wiser discipline of their 
fellows found it better to regulate than to ban. At any rate 
there is evidence to show that the village ludi, as distinct 
from the spectacula of the minstrels, were accepted, and even 
to some extent directed, by the Church. They became part 
of the parochial organization, and were conducted through the 
parochial machinery. Doubtless this was the course of practical 
wisdom. But the moralist would find it difficult to deny that 
Robert Grosseteste and Walter de Chanteloup had, after all, 
some reason on their side. On the one hand they could point 
to the ethical lapses of which the ludi were undoubtedly the 
cause the drunkenness, the quarrels, the wantonings, by which 
they were disgraced 2 . And on the other they could if they 

1 Handlyng Synne (ed. Furnivall), Or entyrludes, or syngynge, 

p. 148, 1. 4684 : Or tabure bete, or oj>er pypyngc, 

' Daunces, karols, somour games, AJle swyche \ yng forbodyn es, 

Of many swych come many Whyle be prest stondej) at 

shames. 1 messe ; 

This poem is a free adaptation where the Manuel de Pe'che' has 

(ti3<>3) of the thirteenth-century ' Karoles ne lutes nul deit fere, 

Anglo-Norman Manuel de Pe'che', En seint eglise qe me veut 

which is probably by William de crere ; 

Wadington, but has been ascribed Car en cymiter neis karoler 

to Bishop Grosseteste himself. The Est outrage grant, ou luter : 

corresponding lines in this are Souent lur est mes auenu 

* Muses et tieles musardries, Qe la fet tel maner de iu ; 

Trippes, dances, et teles folies.' Qe grant peche est, desturber 

Cf. also Handlyng Synnc, p. 278, Le prestre quant deit celebrer.' 

L 8989 : a The Puritan Fetherston, in his 

' Karolles, wrastlynges, or somour Dialogue agaynst light ', lewde^ and 

games, lascivious Dancing (1583), sign. D. 

Who so euer hauntej) any swyche 7, says that he has ' hearde of tenne 

shames, maidens which went to set May, and 

Yy cherche, o}>er yn cherche- nine of them came home wit hchilde.' 

^erde, Stubbes, i. 149, has a very similar 

Of sacrylage he may be a ferde ; observation. Cf. the adventures of 



94 FOLK DRAMA 

were historically minded recall the origin of the objectionable 
rites in some of those obscure survivals of heathenism in the 
rustic blood, which half a dozen centuries of Christianity had 
failed to purge 1 . For if the comparative study of religions 
proves anything it is, that the traditional beliefs and customs 
of the mediaeval or modern peasant are in nine cases out of 
ten but the detritus of heathen mythology and heathen worship, 
enduring with but little external change in the shadow of an 
hostile creed. This is notably true of the village festivals 
and their ludi. Their full significance only appears when they 
are regarded as fragments of forgotten cults, the naTve cults 
addressed by a primitive folk to the beneficent deities of field 
and wood and river, or the shadowy populace of its own 
dreams. Not that when even the mediaeval peasant set up 
his Maypole at the approach of summer or drove his cattle 
through the bonfire on Midsummer eve, the real character of 
his act was at all explicit in his consciousness. To him, as to 
his descendant of to-day, the festival was at once a practice 
sanctioned by tradition and the rare amusement of a strenuous 
life : it was not, save perhaps in some unplumbed recesses of 
his being, anything more definitely sacred. At most it was 
held to be ' for luck/ and in some vague general way, to the 
interest of a fruitful year in field and fold. The scientific 
anthropologist, however, from his very different point of view, 
cannot regard the conversion to Christianity as a complete 
solution of continuity in the spiritual and social life of western 
Europe. This conversion, indeed, was clearly a much slower 
and 'more incomplete process than the ecclesiastical chroniclers 
quite plainly state. It was so even on the shores of the 
Mediterranean. But there the triumph of Christianity began 
from below. Long before the edict of Milan, the new religion, 
in spite of persecutions, had got its firm hold upon the masses 
of the great cities of the Empire. And when, less than a 

Dr. Fitzpiers and Suke Damson on (560-6 &})Etymologiarum,x.v\\\. 27, 

Midsummer Eve in Thomas Hardy's De ludis circensibus (P. L. Ixxxii. 

novel, The Woodlanders, ch. xx. 653). This, of course, refers directly 

1 Grosseteste, in 1236, quotes to the religious associations of 

'Isidorus' as to the pagan origin Roman rather than Celto-Teutonic 

of ' ludi, in quo decertatur de bravio.' ludi. 
The reference is to Isidore of Seville 



THE RELIGION OF THE FOLK 95 

century later, Theodosius made the public profession of any 
other faith a crime, he was but formally acknowledging 
a chose jugte. But even in these lands of the first ardour the 
old beliefs and, above all, the old rituals died hard. Lingering 
unacknowledged in the country, the pagan, districts, they 
passed silently into the dim realm of folk-lore. How could 
this but be more so when Christianity came with the mission- 
aries of Rome or of lona to the peoples of the West ? For 
with them conversion was hardly a spontaneous, an individual 
thing. As a rule, the baptism of the king was the starting- 
point and motive for that of his followers : and the bulk of 
the people adopted wonderingly an alien cult in an alien 
tongue imposed upon them by the will of their rulers. 
Such a Christianity could at best be only nominal. Ancient 
beliefs are not so easily surrendered : nor are habits and 
instincts, deep-rooted in the lives of a folk, thus lightly laid 
down for ever, at the word of a king. The churches of the 
West had, therefore, to dispose somehow of a vast body of 
practical heathenism surviving in all essentials beneath a new 
faith which was but skin-deep. The conflict which followed 
is faintly adumbrated in the pages of Bede : something more 
may be guessed of its fortunes by a comparison of the 
customs and superstitions recorded in early documents of 
church discipline with those which, after all, the peasantry 
long retained, or even now retain. 

Two letters of Gregory the Great, written at the time of the 
mission of St. Augustine, are a key to the methods adopted 
by the apostles of the West. In June 601, writing to Ethelbert 
of Kent by the hands of abbot Mellitus, Gregory bade the 
new convert show zeal in suppressing the worship of idols, and 
throwing down their fanes 1 . Having written thus, the pope 
changed his mind. Before Mellitus could reach England, he 
received a letter instructing him to expound to Augustine 
a new policy. * Do not, after all/ wrote Gregory, ' pull down 
the fanes. Destroy the idols ; purify the buildings with holy 
water ; set relics there ; and let them become temples of the 
true God. So the people will have no need to change their 

2 Haddan-Stubbs, iii. 30 ' idolorum cultus insequere, fanorum aedificia 
everate. 1 



96 



FOLK DRAMA 



places of concourse, and where of old they were wont to 
sacrifice cattle to demons, thither let them continue to resort 
on the day of the saint to whom the church is dedicated, and 
slay their beasts no longer as a sacrifice, but for a social meal 
in honour of Him whom they now worship V There can be 
little doubt that the conversion of England proceeded in the 
main on the lines thus laid down by Gregory. Tradition has 
it that the church of Saint Pancras outside the walls of Canter- 
bury stands on the site of a fane at which Ethelbert himself 
once worshipped 2 ; and that in London St. Paul's replaced 
a temple and grove of Diana, by whom the equivalent 
Teutonic wood-goddess, Freyja, is doubtless intended 8 . 
Gregory's directions were, perhaps, not always carried out 
quite so literally as this. When, for instance, the priest Coifi, 
on horseback and sword in hand, led the onslaught against 
the gods of Northumbria, he bade his followers set fire to the 
fane and to all the hedges that girt it round 4 . On the other 
hand, Reduald, king of East Anglia, must have kept his fane 
standing, and indeed he carried the policy of amalgamation 



1 Bede, Hist. EccL \. 30 ; Haddan- 
Stubbs, iii. 37 ' Dicite [Augustino], 
quid diu mecum de causa Anglorum 
cogitans tractavi : videlicet quia 
fana idolorum destrui in eadem 
gente minime debeant ; sed ipsa 
quae in illis sunt idola destruantur, 
aqua benedicta fiat, in eisdem fanis 
aspergatur, altaria construantur, 
reliquiae ponantur : quia si fana 
eadem bene constructa sunt, ne- 
cesse est ut a cultu daemonum in 
obsequium veri Dei debeant com- 
mutari, ut dum gens ipsa eadem 
fana sua non videt destrui, de corde 
errorem deponat, et Deum verum 
cognoscens ac adorans, ad loca, 
quae consuevit, familiarius con- 
currat. Et quia boves sclent in 
sacrificio daemonum multos occi- 
dere, debet eis etiam hac de re 
aliqua solemnitas immutari : ut die 
dedications, vel natalitii sanctorum 
martyrum quorum illic reliquiae 
ponuntur, tabernacula sibi circa eas- 
dem ecclesias quae ex fanis com- 
mutatae sunt, de ramis arborum 
faciant,et religiosis conviviis sollem- 



nitatem celebrent ; nee diabolo iam 
animalia immolent, sed ad laudem 
Dei in esum suum animalia occidant, 
et donatori omnium de satietate sua 
gratias referant : ut dum eis aliqua 
exterius gaudia reservantur, ad inte- 
riora gaudia consentire facilius va- 
leant. Nam duris mentibus simul 
omnia abscindere impossible esse 
non dubium est, quia et is qui 
summum locum ascendere nititur 
gradibus vel passibus non autem 
saltibus elevatur '. . . 

* Stanley, Memorials of Canter- 
bury, 37. 

* H. B. Wheatley, London, Past 
and Present, iii. 39 ; Donne, Poems 
(Muses' Library), ii. 23. 

4 Bede, ii. 13 ' iussit sociis de- 
struere ac succenderc fanum cum 
omnibus septis suis.' In Essex in 
a time of plague and famine (664), 
Sigheri and his people ' coeperunt 
fana, quae derelicta sunt, rest au rare, 
et adorare simulacra.' Bp.Jaruman 
induced them to reopen the churches, 
'relictis sive destructis fanis aris- 
que ' (Bede, iii. 30). 



THE RELIGION OF THE FOLK 97 

further than its author intended, for he wavered faint-heartedly 
between the old religion and the new, and maintained in one 
building an altar e for Christian worship and an arula for 
sacrifice to demons 1 . Speaking generally, it would seem to 
have been the endeavour of the Christian missionaries to effect 
the change of creed with as little dislocation of popular senti- 
ment as possible. If they could extirpate the essentials, or 
what they considered as the essentials, of heathenism, they 
were willing enough to leave the accidentals to be worn away 
by the slow process of time. They did not, probably, quite 
realize how long it would take. And what happened in 
England, happened also, no doubt, on the continent, save 
perhaps in such districts as Saxony, where Christianity was 
introduced in et armis, and therefore in a more wholesale, if 
not in the end a more effectual fashion 2 . 

The measure of surviving heathenism under Christianity 
must have varied considerably from district to district. Much 
would depend on the natural temper of the converts, on the 
tact of the clergy and on the influence they were able to 
secure. Roughly speaking, the old worships left their trace 
upon the new society in two ways. Certain central practices, 
the deliberate invocation of the discarded gods, the deliberate 
acknowledgement of their divinity by sacrifice, were bound to 
be altogether proscribed 3 . And these, if they did not precisely 

1 Bede, ii. 15. So too in eighth- Poesie und Prosa aus dcm 8.-I2. 
century Germany there were priests Jahrhundert, 1892, No. li) speci- 
who were equally ready to sacrifice fically renounces ' Thuner ende 
to Wuotan and to administer the Uuoden ende Saxndte ende allum 
sacrament of baptism (Gummere, thm unholdutn th hira gendtas 
342). See also Grimm, i. 7, and sint.' Anglo-Saxon laws and council 
the letter of Gregory the Great to decrees contain frequent references 
queen Brunichildis in M. G. H. to sacrifices and other lingering 
Epist. ii. i. 7 'pervenit ad nos, remnants of heathenism. Cf. Coun- 
quod multi Christianorum et ad oils of Pincanhale and Cealcythe 
ecclesias occurrant, et a culturis (787), c. 19 (Haddan-Stubbs, iii. 
daemonum non abscedant.' 458) ' si quid ex ritu paganorum 

2 Willibald (Gesch.-Schreiber der remansit, avellatur, contemnatur, 
deutschcn Vorzeit, 27) relates that abiiciatur. ' Council of Gratlea 
in Germany, when Boniface felled (928), c. 3 (Wilkins, i. 205) 'dixi- 
the sacred oak of Thor (robur lovis) mus . . . de sacrificiis barbaris . . . 
he built the wood into a church. si quis aliquem occiderit . . . ut 

* A Saxon formula abrcnuntia- vitam suam perdat.' Council of 
tionis of the ninth century (Mullen- London (1075) (Wilkins, i. 363) ' nc 
hoff-Scherer, Denkmdler deutscher oflfa mortuorum animalium, quasi 

H 



98 



FOLK DRAMA 



vanish, at least went underground, coming to light only as 
shameful secrets of the confessional 1 or the witch-trial 2 , or 
when the dominant faith received a rude shock in times of 
especial distress, famine or pestilence 3 . Others again were 
absorbed into the scheme of Christianity itself. Many of the 
protective functions, for instance, of the old pantheon were 
taken over bodily by the Virgin Mary, by St. John, St. Michael, 
St. Martin, St. Nicholas, and other personages of the new 
dispensation 4 . And in particular, as we have seen shadowed 
forth in Pope Gregory's policy, the festal customs of heathenism, 
purified so far as might be, received a generous amount of 
toleration. The chief thing required was that the outward 
and visible signs of the connexion with the hostile religion 



pro vitanda animalium peste, ali- 
cubi suspendantur ; nee sortes, vel 
aruspicia, seu divinationes, vel ali- 
qua huiusmodi opera diaboli ab 
aliquo exerceantur.' Also Leges of 
Wihtred of Kent (696), c. 12 
(Haddan-Stubbs, iii. 235), and other 
A.-S. laws quoted by Kemble, i. 

5 2 3- 

1 Penitential of Theodore (Had- 
dan-Stubbs, iii. 189), i. 15, de Cut- 
iura Idolorum ; Penitential of Eg- 
bert (H.-f>. iii. 424), 8, de Auguriis 
i>el Di vinationibus. 

2 Pearson, ii. i (Essay on . Wo- 
man as Witch} \ cf. A.-S. spells in 
Kemble, i. 528, and Cockayne, 
Leechdonis (R. S.), iii. 35, 55. Early 
and mediaeval Christianity did not 
deny the existence of the heathen 
gods, but treated them as evil 
spirits, demons. 

8 An Essex case of 664 has just 
been quoted. Kemble, i. 358, gives 
two later ones from the Lhronicle 
of L<inertost. In 1268 * cum hoc 
anno in Laodonia pestis grassaretur 
in pecudes armenti, quam vocant 
usitate Lungessouth, quidam bestia- 
les, habitu claustrales non animo, 
docebant idiotas patriae ignem con- 
frictione de lignis educere et simula- 
chrum Priapi statuere, et per haec 
bestiis succurrere.' In 1282 * sacer- 
dos parochial is, nomine Johannes, 
Priapi prophana par an s, congrega- 
tis ex villa puellulis, cogebat eis, 



choreis factis, .Libero patri circuire.' 
By Priapus-Liber is probably 
meant Freyr, the only Teutonic 
god known to have had Priapic 
characteristics (Adam of Bremen, 
Gesta Hammaburgensis Eccies. 
Pontif. iv. 26 in M. G. H. Script. 
vii. 267). 

* Grimm, i. 5, II, 64, 174; iii. 
xxxiv-xlv ; Keary, 90 ; Pearson, ii. 
16, 32, 42, 243, 285, 350. The Vir- 
gin Mary succeeds to the place of 
the old Teutonic goddess of fertility, 
Freyja, Nerthus. So elsewhere 
does St. Walpurg. The toasts or 
minni drunk to Odin and Freyja 
are transferred to St. John and St. 
Gertrude. The travels of Odin and 
Loki become the travels of Christ 
and St. Peter. Many examples of 
the adaptation of pre-existing cus- 
toms to Christianity will be found 
in the course of this book. A capi- 
tulary of Karlmann, drawn up in 
742 after the synod of Ratisbon 
held by Boniface in Germany, 
speaks of 'hostias immolatitias,quas 
stulti homines iuxta ecclesias ritu 
pagano faciunt sub nomine sancto- 
rum martyrum vel confessorum * 
(Boretius, Capitularia Reg. Franc. 
i. 24 in M. G. H. ; Mansi, xii. 367). 
At Kirkcudbright in the twelfth 
century bulls were killed * as an 
alms and oblation to St. Cuthbert 
(F. L. x. 353). 



THE RELIGION OF THE FOLK 99 

should be abandoned. Nor was this such a difficult matter. 
Cult, the sum of what man feels it obligatory upon him to do 
in virtue of his relation to the unseen powers, is notoriously 
a more enduring thing than belief, the speculative, or mythology, 
the imaginative statement of those relations. And it was of 
the customs themselves that the people were tenacious, not 
of the meaning, so far as there was still a meaning, attached 
to them, or of the names which their priests had been wont to 
invoke. Leave them but their familiar revels, and the ritual 
so indissolubly bound up with their hopes of fertility for their 
flocks and crops, they would not stick upon the explicit 
consciousness that they drank or danced in the might of 
Eostre or of Freyr. And in time, as the Christian inter- 
pretation of life became an everyday thing, it passed out of 
sight that the customs had been ritual at all. At the most 
a general sense of their ' lucky ' influence survived. But to 
stop doing them ; that was not likely to suggest itself to the 
rustic mind. And so the church and the open space around 
the church continued to be, what the temple and the temple 
precinct had been, the centre, both secular and religious, of the 
village life. From the Christian point of view, the arrange- 
ment had its obvious advantages. It had also this disadvantage, 
that so far as obnoxious elements still clung to the festivals, 
so far as the darker practices of heathenism still lingered, it 
was precisely the most sacred spot that they defiled. Were 
incantations and spells still muttered secretly for the good 
will of the deposed divinities? it was the churchyard that 
was sure to be selected as the nocturnal scene of the unhallowed 
ceremony. Were the clergy unable to cleanse the yearly 
wake of wanton dance and song ? it was the church itself, 
by Gregory's own decree, that became the focus of the 
riot. 

The partial survival of the village ceremonies under Christi- 
anity will appear less surprising when it is borne in mind that 
the heathenism which Christianity combated was itself only 
the final term of a long process of evolution. The worshippers 
of the Keltic or Teutonic deities already practised a traditional 
ritual, probably without any very clear conception of the 
rationale on which some at least of the acts which they per- 

H 3 



100 FOLK DRAMA 

formed were based. These acts had their origin far back in 
the history of the religious consciousness ; and it must not be 
supposed, because modern scholarship, with its comparative 
methods, is able to some extent to reconstruct the mental 
conditions out of which they arose, that these conditions were 
still wholly operative in the sixth, any more than in the 
thirteenth or the twentieth century. Side by side with 
customs which had still their definite and intelligible signi- 
ficance, religious conservatism had certainly preserved others 
of a very primitive type, some of which survived as mere 
fossils, while others had undergone that transformation of 
intention, that pouring of new wine into old bottles, which is 
one of the most familiar features in the history of institutions. 
The heathenism of western Europe must be regarded, there- 
fore, as a group of religious practices originating in very 
different strata of civilization, and only fused together in the 
continuity of tradition. Its permanence lay in the law of 
association through which a piece of ritual originally devised 
by the folk to secure their practical well-being remained, even 
after the initial meaning grew obscure, irrevocably bound up 
with their expectations of that well-being. Its interest to the 
student is that of a development, rather than that of a system. 
Only the briefest outline of the direction taken by this 
development can be here indicated. But it must first be 
pointed out that, whether from a common derivation, or 
through a similar intellectual structure reacting upon similar 
conditions of life, it seems, at least up to the point of emer- 
gence of the fully formed village cult, to have proceeded on 
uniform lines, not only amongst the Teutonic and Keltic tribes 
who inhabited western and northern Europe and these islands, 
but also amongst all the Aryan -speaking peoples. In par- 
ticular, although the Teutonic and the Keltic priests and 
bards elaborated, probably in comparatively late stages of 
their history, very different god-names and very different 
mythologies, yet these are but the superstructure of religion ; 
and it is possible to infer, both from the results of folk-lore 
and from the more scanty documentary evidence, a substantial 
identity throughout the whole Ielto-Teutonic group, of the 
underlying institutions of ritual and of the fundamental 



THE RELIGION OF THE FOLK 



101 



theological conceptions 1 . I am aware that it is no longer 
permissible to sum up all the facts of European civilization in 
an Aryan formula. Ethnology has satisfactorily established 
the existence on the continent of at least two important racial 
strains besides that of the blonde invader from Latham -land 2 . 
But I do not think that any of the attempts hitherto made to 
distinguish Aryan from pre-Aryan elements in folk-lore have 
met with any measure of success 3 . Nor is it quite clear that 
any such distinction need have been implied by the difference 
of blood. Archaeologists speak of a remarkable uniformity 
of material culture throughout the whole of Europe during 
the neolithic period ; and there appears to be no special 
reason why this uniformity may not have extended to the 
comparatively simple notions which man was led to form of 
the not-man by his early contacts with his environment. In 
any case the social amalgamation of Aryan and pre-Aryan 



1 In the present state of Gaulish 
and still more of Irish studies, only 
a glimmering of possible equations 
between Teutonic and Keltic gods 
is apparent. 

2 Recent ethnological research is 
summed up in G. Vacher de La- 
pouge, LAryen (1899); W. Z. 
Ripley, 7 he Races of Europe (1900) ; 
A. H. Keane, Ethnology (1896) ; 
Man, Past and Present (1899); 
J. Deniker, The Races of Man 
(1900) ; G. Sergi, The Mediterra- 
nean Race (1901). The three ra- 
cial types that, in many pure and 
hybrid forms, mainly compose the 
population of Europe may be distin- 
guished as (l) homo Europae-HS) 
the tall blonde long-headed (doli- 
chocephalic) race of north Europe, 
(including Teutons and red-haired 
* Kelts '), to which the Aryan speech 
seems primarily to have belonged ; 
(2) Homo alpinus^ the medium 
coloured and sized brachycephalic 
(round-headed) race of central Eu- 
rope ; (3) Homo meridionalis (La- 
pougej or mediterranensis (Keane), 
the small dark dolichocephalic race 
of the Mediterranean oasm and 
the western isles ( including dark 
' Kelts '). During the formative pe- 



riod of European culture (2) was 
probably of little importance, and 
(i) and (3) are possibly of closer 
racial affinity to each other tha.n 
either of them is to (2). 

3 Gomme, Ethnology in Folk- 
lore, 21 ; Village Community, 69; 
Report of Brit. Ass. (1896), 626 ; 
F. L. Congress^ 348 ; F. L. x. 129, 
ascribes the fire customs of Europe 
to Aryans and the water customs 
to the pre-Aryans. A. Bertrand, 
Religion ties (jaulois^ 68, considers 
human sacrifice characteristically 
pre-Aryan. There seems to me 
more hope of arriving at a know- 
ledge of specific Mediterranean cults, 
before the Aryan intermixture, from 
a study of the stone amulets and 
cup-markings of the megaliths (Ber- 
trand, op. cit* 42) or from such 
investigations into * Mycenaean ' 
antiquity as that of A. J. Evans, 
Mycenaean Tree and Pillar Cult 
(1901). The speculations of Nietz- 
sche, in A Genealogy of Morals arid 
elsewhere, as to the altruistic * slave ' 
morality of the pre-Aryan and the 
self-regarding morality of the con- 
quering Aryan ' blond beast * are 
amusing or pitiful reading, accord- 
ing to one's mood. 



102 FOLK DRAMA 

was a process already complete by the Middle Ages ; and for 
the purpose of this investigation it seems justifiable, and in 
the present state of knowledge even necessary, to treat the 
village customs as roughly speaking homogeneous throughout 
the whole of the Kelto-Teutonic area. 

An analysis of these customs suggests a mental history 
somewhat as follows. The first relations of man to the not- 
man are, it need hardly be said, of a practical rather than 
a sentimental or a philosophic character. They arise out of 
an endeavour to procure certain goods which depend, in part 
at least, upon natural processes beyond man's own control. 
The chief of these goods is, of course, food ; that is to say, in 
a primitive state of civilization, success in hunting, whether of 
berries, mussels and ' witchetty grubs/ or of more elusive and 
difficult game ; and later, when hunting ceases to be the main- 
stay of existence, the continued fertility of the flocks and 
herds, which form the support of a pastoral race, and of the 
cornfields and orchards which in their turn come to supple- 
ment these, on the appearance of agriculture. Food once 
supplied, the little tale of primitive man's limited conception 
of the desirable is soon completed. Fire and a roof-tree are 
his already. But he asks for physical health, for success in 
love and in the begetting of offspring, and for the power to 
anticipate by divination that future about which he is always so 
childishly curious. In the pursuit, then, of these simple goods 
man endeavours to control nature. But his earliest essays in 
this direction are, as Dr. Frazer has recently pointed out, not 
properly to be called religion l . The magical charms by 

1 Frazer, G. J3. i. 9 ' The fun- at pleasure and at any distance 

damental principles on which it any person of whom, or any thing 

[savage magic] is based would seem of which, he possesses a particle, 

to be reducible to two : first, that Magic of the latter sort, resting as 

like produces like, or that an effect it does on the belief in a certain 

resembles its cause ; and second, secret sympathy which unites indis- 

that things which have once been solubly things that have once been 

in contact, but have ceased to be connected with each other may 

so, continue to act upon each other appropriately be termed sympathe- 

as if the contact still persisted, tic in the strict sense of the term. 

From the first of these principles, Magic of the former kind, in which 

the savage infers that he can pro- the supposed cause resembles or 

duce any desired effect merely by simulates the supposed effect, may 

imitating it; from the second he conveniently be described as inii- 

concludes that he can influence tative or mimetic.' Cf. Jevons, 31 



THE RELIGION OF THE FOLK 103 

which he attempts to make the sun burn, and the waters fall, 
and the wind blow as it pleases him, certainly do not imply 
that recognition of a quasi-human personality outside himself, 
which any religious definition may be supposed to require as 
a minimum. They are rather to be regarded as applications 
of primitive science, for they depend upon a vague general 
notion of the relations of cause and effect. To assume that 
you can influence a thing through what is similar to it, or 
through what has been in contact with it, which, according to 
Dr. Frazer, are the postulates of magic in its mimetic and its 
sympathetic form respectively, may be bad science, but at 
least it is science of a sort, and not religion. 

The magical charms play a large part in the village ritual, 
and will be illustrated in the following chapter. Presently, 
however, the scientific spirit is modified by that tendency of 
animism through which man comes to look upon the external 
world not as mere more or less resisting matter to be moved 
hither or thither, but rather as a debateable land peopled with 
spirits in some sense alive. These spirits are the active forces 
dimly discerned by human imagination as at work behind the 
shifting and often mysterious natural phenomena forces of 
the moving winds and waters, of the skies now clear, now 
overcast, of the animal races of hill and plain, of the growth 
waxing and waning year by year in field and woodland. The 
control of nature now means the control of these powers, and 
to this object the charms are directed. In particular, I think, 

* The savage makes the generaliza- term for this sort of savage science, 

tion that like produces like; and In its ordinary sense 'the 'black 

then he is provided with the means art '), it certainly contains a Ltrge 

of bringing about anything he element of what Dr. Frazer dis- 

wishes, for to produce an effect he tinguishes from magic as religion, 

has only to imitate it. To cause a * a propitiation or conciliation of 

wind to blow, he flaps a blanket, as powers superior to man which are 

the sailor still whistles to bring a believed to direct and control the 

whistling gale. ... If the vegeta- course of nature and of human 

tion requires rain, all that is needed life.' True, these powers are not 

is to dip a branch in water, and to whom the orthodox religion is 

with it to sprinkle the ground. Or directed, but the approach to them is 

a spray of water squirted from the religious in the sense of the above 

mouth will produce a mist suffi- definition. Such magic is in fact 

ciently like the mist required to an amalgam of charms, which are 

produce the desired effect ; or black Dr. Frazer's 'magic,' and spells, 

clouds of smoke will be followed by which are his * religion.' But so 

black clouds of rain.' I do not feel are many more recognized cults, 
that magic is altogether a happy 



104 FOLK DRAMA 

at this stage of his development, man conceives a spirit of that 
food which still remains in the very forefront of his aspirations, 
of his actual food-plant, or of the animal species which he 
habitually hunts 1 . Of this spirit he initiates a cult, which 
rests upon the old magical principle of the mastering efficacy 
of direct contact. He binds the spirit literally to him by 
wearing it as a garment, or absorbs it into himself in a solemn 
meal, hoping by either process to acquire an influence or 
power over it. Naturally, at this stage, the spirit becomes 
to the eye of his imagination phytomorphic or theriomorphic 
in aspect. He may conceive it as especially incarnate in a 
single sacred plant or animal. But the most critical moment 
in the history of animism is that at which the elemental spirits 
come to be looked trpornis anthropomorphic, made in the 
likeness of ronti himself. 'This is perhaps due to the identifica- 
tion of them with those other quasi-human spirits, of whose 
existence man has by an independent line of thought also 
become aware. These are the ghostly spirits of departed 
kinsmen, still in some shadowy way inhabiting or revisiting 
the house-place. The change does not merely mean that 
the visible phytomorphic and theriomorphic embodiments of 
mental forces sink into subordination ; the plants and animals 
becoming no more than symbols and appurtenances of the 
anthropomorphic spirit, or temporary forms with which from 
time to time he invests himself. A transformation of the 
whole character of the cult is involved, for man must now 
approach the spirits, not merely by charms, although con- 
servatism preserves these as an element in ritual, but with 
modifications of the modes in which he approaches his fellow 
man. He must beg their favour with submissive speech or 
buy it with bribes. And here, with prayer and oblation, 
religion in the stricter sense makes its appearance. 

The next step of man is from the crowd of animistic spirits 
to isolate the god. The notion of a god is much the old 
notion of an anthropomorphic elemental spirit, widened, 

1 Some facts of European animal F. L. xi. 227. The relation of such 

worship are dealt with in two impor- worship to the group of savage social 

tant recent papers, one by S. Kei- institutions classed as totemism is a 

nach in Revue celtique^ xxi. 269, difficult and far from solved problem, 

the other by N. W. Thomas, in which cannot be touched upon here. 



THE RELIGION OF THE FOLK 105 

exalted, and further removed from sense. Instead of a local 
and limited home, the god has his dwelling in the whole 
expanse of heaven or in some distant region of space. He 
transcends and as an object of cult supplants the more 
bounded and more concrete personifications of natural forces 
out of which he has been evolved. But he does not annul 
these : they survive in popular credence as his servants and 
ministers. It is indeed on the analogy of the position of the 
human chief amongst his comitatns that, in all probability, 
the conception of the god is largely arrived at. Comparative 
philology seems to show that the belief in gods is common to 
the Aryan-speaking peoples, and that at the root of all the 
cognate mythologies there lies a single fundamental divinity. 
This is the Dyaus of the Indians, the Zeus of the Greeks, the 
Jupiter of the Romans, the Tiwaz (O.H.G. Ziu, O.N. Tyr, 
A.-S. Tiw) of the Teutons. He is an embodiment of the 
great clear sunlit heavens, the dispenser of light to the hunts- 
man, and of warmth and moisture to the crops. Side by side 
with the conception of the heaven-god comes that of his female 
counterpart, who is also, though less clearly, indicated in all 
the mythologies. In her earliest aspect she is the lady of the 
woods and of the blossoming fruitful earth- This primary 
dualism is an extremely important factor in the explanation of 
early religion. The all-father, the heaven, and the mother- 
goddess, the earth, are distinct personalities from the begin- 
ning. It does not appear possible to resolve one into a mere 
doublet or derivative of the other. Certainly the marriage of 
earth and heaven in the showers that fertilize the crops is one 
of the oldest and most natural of myths. But it is generally 
admitted that myth is determined by and does not determine 
the forms of cult The heaven-god and the earth-goddess 
must have already had their separate existence before the 
priests could hymn their marriage. An explanation of the 
dualism is probably to be traced in the merging of two cults 
originally distinct. These will have been sex-cults. Tillage 
is, of course, little esteemed by primitive man. It was so with 
the Germans, even up to the point at which they first came 
into contact with the Romans 1 . Yet all the Aryan languages 
1 Gummere, 39 ; Caesar, de B. C. iv. I. 7 ; vi. 22. 2 ; Tacitus, Germ. 26. 



106 FOLK DRAMA 

show some acquaintance with the use of grains l . The analogy 
with existing savages suggests that European agriculture in 
its early stages was an affair of the women. While the men 
hunted or afterwards tended their droves of cattle and horses, 
the women grubbed for roots, and presently learnt to scratch 
the surface of the ground, to scatter the seed, and painfully to 
garner and grind the scanty produce 2 . As the avocations of 
the sexes were distinct, so would their magic or their religion 
be. Each would develop rites of its own of a type strictly 
determined by its practical ambitions, and each would stand 
apart from the rites of the other. The interest of the men 
would centre in the boar or stag, that of the women in the 
fruit-tree or the wheat-sheaf. To the former the stone altar 
on the open hill-top would be holy ; to the latter the dim 
recesses of the impenetrable grove. Presently when the god 
concept appeared, the men's divinity would be a personifica- 
tion of the illimitable and mysterious heavens beneath which 
they hunted and herded, from which the pools were filled with 
water, and at times the pestilence was darted in the sun rays ; 
the women's of the wooded and deep-bosomed earth out of 
which their wealth sprang. This would as naturally take 
a female as that a male form. Agriculture, however, was 
not for ever left solely to the women. In time pasturage and 
tillage came to be carried on as two branches of a single pur- 
suit, and the independent sex-cults which had sprung out of 
them coalesced in the common village worship of later days. 
Certain features of the primitive differentiation can still be 
obscurely distinguished. Here and there one or the other sex 

1 Schrader-Jevons, 281, says that the soil and the narrowed space 
the Indo-Europeans begin their for pasturage. On the other hand, 
history * acquainted with the rudi- V. Hehn, Culturpflanzen ttnd 
ments of agriculture,' but * still Haustiere, and Mommsen, Hist, of 
possessed with nomadic tendencies.' Rome, i. 16, find the traces of agri- 
He adds that considerable progress culture amongst the undivided 
must have been made before the Indo-Europeans very slight ; the 
dispersion of the European branches, word ydva-(ta 9 which is common 
and points out that agriculture to the tongues, need mean nothing 
would naturally develop when the more than a wild cereal, 
migratory hordes from the steppes a Jevons, 240, 25 5 ; Pearson, ii. 
reached the great forests of central 42 ; O. T. Mason, Womaris Share 
Europe. For this there would be in Primitive Culture, 14. 
two reasons, the greater fertility of 



THE RELIGION OF THE FOLK 107 

is barred from particular ceremonies, or a male priest must 
perform his mystic functions in woman's garb. The heaven- 
god perhaps remains the especial protector of the cattle, and 
the earth-goddess of the corn. But generally speaking they 
have all the interests of the farm in a joint tutelage. The 
stone altar is set up in the sacred grove ; the mystic tree is 
planted on the hill-top l . Theriomorphic and phytomorphic 
symbols shadow forth a single godhead 2 . The earth-mother 
becomes a divinity of light. The heaven-father takes up his 
abode in the spreading oak. 

The historic religions of heathenism have not preserved 
either the primitive dualistic monotheism, if the phrase may be 
permitted, or the simplicity of divine functions here sketched. 
With the advance of civilization the objects of worship must 
necessarily take upon them new responsibilities. If a tribe 
has its home by the sea, sooner or later it trusts frail barks to 
the waters, and to its gods is committed the charge of sea- 
faring. When handicrafts are invented, these also become 
their care. When the pressure of tribe upon tribe leads to 
war, they champion the host in battle. Moral ideas emerge 
and attach themselves to their service : and ultimately they 
become identified with the rulers of the dead, and reign in the 
shadowy world beyond the tomb. Another set of processes 
combine to produce what is known as polytheism. The con- 
stant application of fixed epithets to the godhead tends in the 
long run to break up its unity. Special aspects of it begin to 
take on an independent existence. Thus amongst the Teutonic 
peoples Tiwaz-Thunaraz, the thunderous sky, gives rise to 
Thunar or Thor, and Tiwaz-Frawiaz, the bounteous sky, to 
Freyr. And so the ancient heaven-god is replaced by dis- 
tinct gods of rain and sunshine, who, with the mother-goddess, 
form that triad of divinities so prominent in several European 
cults 3 . Again as tribes come into contact with each other, 

1 Burne-Jackson, 352, 362 ; Rhys, 'mound' at Marlborough were piled 

C. F. i. 312 ; F. L. v. 339 ; Dyer, up. 

133; Ditchfield, 70; cf. ch. vi. 2 Frazer, ii. 261, deals very fully 

One of the hills so visited is the with the theriomorphic corn-spirits 

artificial one of Silbury, and perhaps of folk belief. 

the custom points to the object 3 On these triads and others in 

with which this and the similar which three male or three female 



108 FOLK DRAMA 

there is a borrowing of religious conceptions, and the tribal 
deities are duplicated by others who are really the same in 
origin, but have different names. The mythological specula- 
tions of priests and bards cause further elaboration. The 
friendly national gods are contrasted with the dark hostile 
deities of foreign enemies. A belief in the culture-hero or 
semi-divine man, who wrests the gifts of civilization from the 
older gods, makes its appearance. Certain cults, such as that 
of Druidism, become the starting-point for even more philo- 
sophic conceptions. The personal predilection of an important 
worshipper or group of worshippers for this or that deity 
extends his vogue. The great event in the later history of 
Teutonic heathenism is the overshadowing of earlier cults by 
that of Odin or Wodan, who seems to have been originally 
a ruler of the dead, or perhaps a culture-hero, and not an 
elemental god at all *. The multiplicity of forms under which 
essentially the same divinity presents itself in history and in 
popular belief may be illustrated by the mother-goddess of 
the Teutons. As Freyja she is the female counterpart of 
Freyr ; as Nerthus of Freyr's northern doublet, Njordr. When 
Wodan largely absorbs the elemental functions, she becomes 
his wife, as Frija or Frigg. Through her association with the 
heaven-gods, she is herself a heaven- as well as an earth- 
goddess 2 , the Eostre of Bede J , as well as the Erce of the 
Anglo-Saxon ploughing charm 4 . She is probably the Tanfana 

figures appear, cf. Bertrand, 341 ; vocabatur, et cui in illo festa cele- 

A. Maury, Croyances et LJgendcs brabant, nomen habuit ; a cuius 

du MoycnAge(\%qfr)i&\ Matronen- nomine mine paschale tempus co- 

Kultus in Zeitschrift d. Vercins gnominant, consueto anticjuae ob- 

f. Volkskultur, ii. 24. I have not servationis vocabulo gaudia novae 

yet seen L. L. Paine, The Ethnic solemnitatisvocantes/ There seems. 

Trinities and their Relation to the no reason for thinking with Golther 

Christian Trinity (1901). and Tille, that Bede made a mis- 

1 Mogk, iii. 333 ; Golther, 298 ; take. Charlemagne took the name 

Grimm, iv. 1709; Kemble, i. 335 ; Ostarmanoth for April, perhaps 

Rhys, C. H. 282 ; H. M. Chadwick, only out of compliment to the 

Cult of Othin ( 1 899). English, such as Alcuin, at his court. 

1 Mogk, iii. 366 ; Golther, 428. * A Charm for unfruitful or 

8 Mogk, iii. 374; Golther, 488; bewitched land (O.Cockayne, Leech- 

Tille, y. and C. 1 44 ; Bede , de temp, doms of Early England, R. S . i. 399) ; 

ratione, c. 1 5 ( Opera , ed. Giles, vi. cf. Grimm, i. 253; Golther, 455; 

179) * Eostur-monath qui nunc pas- Kogel, i. I. 39. The ceremony has 

chalis mensis interpretatur, quon- taken on a Christian colouring, but 

dam a dea illorum, quae Eostre retains many primitive features. 



THE RELIGION OF THE FOLK 109 

of Tacitus and the Nehellenia of the Romano-Germanic votive 
stones. If so, she must have become a goddess of mariners, 
for Nehellenia seems to be the Isis of the interprctatio Romana, 
As earth-goddess she comes naturally into relation with the 
dead, and like Odin is a leader of the rout of souls. In 
German peasant-lore she survives under various names, of 
which Perchta is the most important ; in witch-lore, as Diana, 
and by a curious mediaeval identification, as Herodias l . And 
her more primitive functions are largely inherited by the 
Virgin, by St. Walpurg and by countless local saints. 

Most of the imaginative and mythological superstructure so 
briefly sketched in the last paragraph must be considered as 
subsequent in order of development to the typical village cult. 
Both before and in more fragmentary shape after the death 
of the old Keltic and Teutonic gods, that continued to be in 
great measure an amalgam of traditional rites of forgotten 
magical or pre-religious import. So far as the conscious- 
ness of the mediaeval or modern peasant directed it to unseen 
powers at all, which was but little, it was rather to some of 
these more local and bounded spirits who remained in the 
train of the gods, than to the gods themselves. For the pur- 
poses of the present discussion, it is sufficient to think of it 
quite generally as a cult of the spirits of fertilization, without 
attaching a very precise connotation to that term. Unlike 
the domestic cult of the ancestral ghosts, conducted for each 
household by the house-father at the hearth, it was communal 
in character. Whatever the tenure of land may have been, 

Strips of turf are removed, and under the first furrow. Kogel con- 
masses said over them. They are siders Erce to be derived from cro^ 
replaced after oil, honey, barm, * earth.' Brooke, i. 217, states on 
miJk of every kind of cattle, twigs the authority of Montanus that a 
of every tree, and holy water have version of the prayer preserved in 
been put on the spot. Seed is a convent at Corvei begins * Eostar, 
bought at a double price from Eostar, Eordhan modor. ' He adds: 
almsmen and poured into a hole ' nothing seems to follow from this 
in the plough with salt and herbs, clerical error.' But why an error ? 
Various invocations are used, in- The equation Erce-Eostre is con- 
cluding one which calls on 'Erce, sistent with the fundamental identity 
Erce, Erce, Eorthan modor,' and of the light-goddess and the earth- 
implores the Almighty to grant her goddess. 

fertility. Then the plough is driven, ' Tacitus, Ann. i. 51 ; Mogk, 

and a loaf, made of every kind of iii. 373 ; Golther, 458 ; c. ch. xii. 
corn with milk and holy water, laid 



110 FOLK DRAMA 

there seems no doubt that up to a late period ' co-aration,' or 
co-operative ploughing in open fields, remained the normal 
method of tillage, while the cattle of the community roamed 
in charge of a public herd over unenclosed pastures and forest 
lands 1 . The farm, as a self-sufficing agricultural unit, is 
a comparatively recent institution, the development of which 
has done much to render the village festivals obsolete. 
Originally the critical moments of the agricultural year were 
the same for the whole village, and the observances which 
they entailed were shared in by all. 

The observances in question, or rather broken fragments of 
them, have now attached themselves to a number of different 
outstanding dates in the Christian calendar, and the recon- 
struction of the original year, with its seasonal feasts, is 
a matter of some difficulty 2 . The earliest year that can be 
traced amongst the Aryan-speaking peoples was a bipartite 
one, made up of only two seasons, winter and summer. For 
some reason that eludes research, winter preceded summer, 
just as night, in the primitive reckoning, preceded day. The 
divisions seem to have been determined by the conditions of 
a pastoral existence passed in the regularly recurring seasons 
of central Europe. .Winter began when snow blocked the 
pastures and the cattle had to be brought home to the stall : 
summer when the grass grew green again and there was once 
more fodder in the open. Approximately these dates would 
correspond to mid-November and mid-March 8 . Actually, in 
the absence of a calendar, they would vary a little from year 

1 Gomme, Village Community, deutschen Mittelalters (1891). 

157 ; B. C. A. Windle, Life in * In Scandinavia the winter 

Early Britain, 200 ; F. W. Mait- naturally began earlier and ended 

land, Domesday Book and Beyond^ later. Throughout, Scandinavian 

I4 2 > 337 346- seasons diverged from those of 

* I have followed in many points Germany and the British Isles. In 

the views on Teutonic chronology particular the high summer feast 

oi1\\\^Deutsches Weihnackt(\^^) and the consequent tripartition of 

and Yule and Christmas (1899), the year do not seem to have estab- 

which are accepted in the main by lished themselves (C. P. B. i. 430). 

O. Schrader, Reallexicon der indo- Further south the period of stall- 

germanischenAltertumskunde,$.vv. feeding was extended when a better 

Jahr, Jahreszeiten, and partly cor- supply of fodder made it possible 

rect those of Weinhold, Ueber die (Tille, Y. and C. 56, 62 ; Burnc- 

deutsche Jahrtheilung (1862), and Jackson, 380). 
Grotefend, Die Zeitrechnung des 



THE RELIGION OF THE FOLK 111 

to year and would perhaps depend on some significant annual 
event, such as the first snowstorm in the one case 1 , in the 
other the appearance of the first violet, butterfly or cockchafer, 
or of one of those migratory birds which still in popular belief 
bring good fortune and the summer, the swallow, cuckoo or 
stork 2 . Both dates would give occasion for religious cere- 
monies, together with the natural accompaniment of feasting 
and revel. More especially would this be the case at mid- 
November, when a great slaughtering of cattle was rendered 
economically necessary by the difficulty of stallrfeeding the 
whole herd throughout the winter. Presently, however, 
new conditions established themselves. Agriculture grew 
in importance, and the crops rather than the cattle became 
the central interest of the village life. Fresh feasts sprang up 
side by side with the primitive ones, one at the beginning of 
ploughing about mid-February, another at the end of harvest, 
about mid-September. At the same time the increased 
supply of dry fodder tended to drive the annual slaughtering 
farther on into the winter. More or- less contemporaneously 
with these processes, the old bipartite year was changed into 
a tripartite one by the growth of yet another new feast during 
that dangerous period when the due succession of rain and 
sun for the crops becomes a matter of the greatest moment to 
the farmer. Early summer, or spring, was thus set apart 
from late summer, or summer proper 3 . This development 

1 Cf. ch. xi, where the winter languages. . The Keltic seasons, in 
feasts are discussed in more detail. particular, seem to be closely 

2 Grimm, ii. 675, 693, 762, notes parallel to the Teutonic. Of the 
the heralds of summer. three great Keltic feasts described 

8 Jahn, 34 ; Mogk, iii. 387 ; by Rhys, C. H. 409, 5 1 3, 676 ; C. F. 

Golther, 572 ; Schrader-Jevons, i. 308, the Lugnassad was probably 

303. The Germans still knew three the harvest feast, the Samhain the 

seasons only when they came into old beginning of winter feast, and 

contact with theRomans ; cf. Tacitus, the Beltain the high summer feast. 

Gerin. 26 * annum quoque ipsum The meaning of * Beltain ' (cf. 

non in totidem digerunt species : N. E. D. s.v. Beltane) seems quite 

hiems et ver et aestas intellectual uncertain. A connexion is possible 

acvocabulahabent,autumniperinde but certainly unproved with the 

nomen ac bona ignorantur.' I do Abelio of the Pyrenean inscriptions, 

not acjree with Tille, Y. and C. 6, the Belenus-Apollo of those of the 

that the tripartition of the year, in eastern Alps, and, more rarely, 

this pre-calendar form, was 'of Provence (Ro'scher, Lexicon^ s.v. 

foreign extraction.' Schrader shows Belenus ; Holder, Alt-c"ltischer 

that it is common to the Aryan SprachschatZ)$*\v. Belenus, Abelio; 



112 FOLK DRAMA 

also may be traced to the influence of agriculture, whose 
interest runs in a curve, while that of herding keeps compara- 
tively a straight course. But as too much sun or too much 
wet not only spoils the crops but brings a murrain on the cattle, 
the herdsmen fell into line and took their share in the high 
summer rites. At first, no doubt, this last feast was a sporadic 
affair, held for propitiation of the unfavourable fertilization 
spirits when the elders of the village thought it called for. 
And to the end resort may have been had to exceptional 
acts of cult in times of especial distress. But gradually the 
occasional ceremony became an annual one, held as soon as 
the corn was thick in the green blade and the critical days 
were at hand. 

So far, there has been no need to assume the existence of 
a calendar. How long the actual climatic conditions con- 
tinued to determine the dates of the annual feasts can hardly 
be said. But when a calendar did make its appearance, the 
five feasts adapted themselves without much difficulty to it. 
The earliest calendar that can be inferred in central Europe 
was one, either of Oriental or possibly of Mediterranean 
provenance, which divided the year into six tides of three- 
score days each 1 . The beginnings of these tides almost 
certainly fell at about the middle of corresponding months 
of the Roman calendar 2 . The first would thus be marked 
by the beginning of winter feast in mid-November; two 
others by the beginning of summer feast and the harvest 
feast in mid-March and mid-August respectively. A little 
accommodation of the seasonal feasts of the farm would be 
required to adapt them to the remaining three. And here 
begins a process of dislocation of the original dates of 
customs, now becoming traditional rather than vital, which 

Ausonius, Professores, iv. 7), or the Ecclesiological Society, i. 83. 

Bel of Bohemia mentioned by Allso x Tille, Y. andC. 7, 148, suggests 

(ch.xii). The Semitic Baal, although an Egyptian or Babylonian origin, 

a cult of Belus, found its way into but the equation of the Gothic 

the Roman world (cf. Appendix N, Jiuleis and the Cypriote JXafoc, 

No. xxxii, and Wissowa, 302), is lovXaiog, iovXiipr, lovXtos as names 

naturally even a less plausible re- for winter periods makes a Mediter- 

lation. But it is dear to the folk- ranean connexion seem possible, 

etymologist; cf. e.g. S. M. Mayhew, * Cf. ch. xi. 
Baalism in Trans, of St. Parts 



THE RELIGION OF THE FOLK 113 

was afterwards extended by successive stages to a bewildering 
degree. By this time, with the greater permanence of agri- 
culture, the system of autumn ploughing had perhaps been 
invented. The spring ploughing festival was therefore of less 
importance, and bore to be shifted back to mid-January 
instead of mid-February. Four of the six tides are now 
provided with initial feasts. These are mid-November, mid- 
January, mid-March, and mid-September. There are, however, 
still mid-May and mid-July, and only the high summer feast 
to divide between them. I am inclined to believe that a 
division is precisely what took place, and that the hitherto 
fluctuating date of the summer feast was determined in some 
localities to mid-May, in others to mid-July l . 

The European three-score-day-tide calendar is rather an 
ingenious conjecture than an ascertained fact of history. 
When the Germano-Keltic peoples came under the influence 
of Roman civilization, they adopted amongst other things the 
Roman calendar, first in its primitive form and then in the 
more scientific one given to it under Julius Caesar. The latter 
divided the year into four quarters and twelve months, and 
carried with it a knowledge of the solstices, at which the 
astronomy neither of Kelts nor of Germans seems to have pre- 
viously arrived 2 . The feasts again underwent a process of dis- 

1 Grimm, ii. 6 1 5, notes that Easter and this Sermo may have been 
fires are normal in the north, Mid- interpolated .in the eighth century 
summer fires in the south of (O. Reich, Uber Attdi'frfs Lebens- 
Germany. The Beltane fires both beschreibung des heiligcn Eligius 
of Scotland and Ireland are usually (1872), cited in Rm. celtique, ix. 
on May i, but some of the Irish 433). It is not clear that the 
examples collected by J. Jamieson, un-Romanized Teuton or Kelt made 
Etym. Diet, of the Scottish Lan- a god of the sun, as distinct from 
guagc, s. v., are at midsummer. the heaven-god, who of course has 

2 Tille, y. and C. 71 ; Rhys, C. ff. solar attributes and emblems. In 
419. The primitive yearwas thermo- the same Sermo Eligius says 'nullus 
metric, not astronomic, its critical dominos solem aut lunam vocet, 
moments, not the solstices, a know- neque per eos iuret.' But the notion 
ledge of which means science, but of * domini ' may be post-Roman, 
the sensible increase and diminution and the oath is by the permanent, 
of heat in spring and autumn. The rather than the divine,; cf. A. de 
solstices came through Rome. Jubainville, Intr. d r Etude de la 
The Sermo Eligii (Grimm, iv. 1737) IMt. celt. 181. It is noticeable that 
has ' nullus in festivitate S. loannis German names for the sun are 
vel quibuslibet sanctorum solemni- originally feminine and for the moon 
tatibus solstitia . . . exerceat,'but Eli- masculine. 

gius was a seventh-century bishop, 

CHAMBERS. I T 



114 FOLK DRAMA 

location in order to harmonize them with the new arrangement. 
The ceremonies of the winter feast were pulled back to Novem- 
ber i or pushed forward to January i. The high summer feast 
was attracted from mid-May and mid- July respectively to 
the important Roman dates of the Floralia on May i and the 
summer solstice on June 24. Last of all, to complete the con- 
fusion, came, on the top of three-score-day-tide calendar and 
Roman calendar alike, the scheme of Christianity with its 
host of major and minor ecclesiastical festivals, some of them 
fixed, others movable. Inevitably these in their turn began 
to absorb the agricultural customs. The present distribution 
of the five original feasts, therefore, is somewhat as follows. 
The winter feast is spread over all the winter half of the year 
from All Souls day to Twelfth night. A later chapter will 
illustrate its destiny more in detail. The ploughing feast is 
to be sought mainly in Plough Monday, in Candlemas and 
in Shrovetide or Carnival * ; the beginning of summer feast in 
Palm Sunday, Easter and St. Mark's day ; the early variety 
of the high summer feast probably also in Easter, and certainly 
in May-day, St. George's day, Ascensiontide with its Roga- 
tions, Whitsuntide and Trinity Sunday ; the later variety of 
the same feast in Midsummer day and Lammastide ; and the 
harvest feast in Michaelmas. These are days of more or less 
general observance. Locally, in strict accordance with the 
policy of Gregory the Great as expounded to Mellitus, the 
floating customs have often settled upon conveniently neigh- 
bouring dates of wakes, rushbearings, kirmesses and other 
forms of vigil or dedication festivals 2 ; and even, in the utter 

1 Mogk, iii. 393; Golther, 584; 'shoot.' Bcde, de temp. rat. c. 15, 

Jahn, 84; Caspari, 35; Saupe, 7; calls February Sol-monath, which he 

Hauck, ii. 357 ; Michels, 93. The explains as ' mensis placentarum.' 

ploughing feast is probably the September, the month of the harvest - 

spurmlia of the Indiculus and of festival, is Haleg-monath, or* mensis 

Eadhelm, de laudibus virginitatis^ sacrorum/ 

.25, and the dies spurci of the 2 Pfannenschmidt, 244 ; Brand, 
Horn, de Sacrilegiis* This term ii. I ; Ditchfield, 130; Burne- Jack- 
appears in the later German name son, 439 ; Burton, Rush bear ing, 
for February, Sporkelc. It seems 147 ; Schaff, vi. 544 ; Duchesne, 
to be founded on Roman analogy 385. The dedication f churches 
from spurcuS) ' unclean.' Pearson, was solemnly carried Otft from the 
ii. 159, would, however, trace it to an fourth century, and tfce anniver- 
Aryan root spherag, swell,' ' burst/ sary observed. Gregory the Great 



THE RELIGION OF THE FOLK 



115 



oblivion of their primitive significance, upon the anniversaries 
of historical events, such as Royal Oak day on May 29 *, or 
Gunpowder day. Finally it may be noted, that of the five 
feasts that of high summer is the one most fully preserved in 
modern survivals. This is partly because it comes at a con- 
venient time of year for the out-of-door holiday-making which 
serves as a preservative for the traditional rites ; partly also 
because, while the pastoral element in the feasts of the 
beginnings of winter and summer soon became comparatively 
unimportant through the subordination of pasturage to tillage, 
and the ploughing and harvest feasts tended more and more 
to become affairs of the individual farm carried out in close 
connexion with those operations themselves, the summer feast 
retained its communal character and continued to be cele- 
brated by the whole village for the benefit of everybody's 
crops and trees, and everybody's flocks and herds 2 . It is 
therefore mainly, although not wholly, upon the summer feast 
that the analysis of the agricultural ritual to be given in the 
next chapter will be based.* 



ordered * solemnitates ecclesiarum 
dedicationum per singulos annos 
sunt celebrandae.' The A.-S. Canons 
of Edgar (960), c. 28 (Wilkins, i. 227), 
require them to be kept with sobriety. 
Originally the anniversary, as well 
as the actual dedication day, was 
observed with an all night watch, 
whence the name irigilia, wakes. 
Belethus, de rat. offic. (P. L. ccii. 
141), c. 137, says that the custom 
was abolished owing to the immo- 
rality to which it led. But the * eve ' 
of these and other feasts continued 
to share in the sanctity of the * day,' 
a practice in harmony with the 
European sense of the precedence 
of night over day (cf. Schrader- 
Jevons, 311; Bertrand, 267, 354, 



413). An Act of Convocation in 
1536 (Wilkins, iii. 823) required all 
wakes to be held on the first Sunday 
in October, but it does not appear 
to have been very effectual. 

1 S. O. Addy, in F. L. xii. 394, 
has a full account of ' Garland day* 
at Castleton, Derbyshire, on May 29; 
cf. F. L. xii. 76 (Wishford, Wilts) ; 
Burne-Jackson, 365. 

2 The classification of agricultural 
feasts in U. Jahn, Die detttschen 
Opfergebrauche, seems through- 
out to be based less on the facts 
of primitive communal agriculture, 
than on those of the more elaborate 
methods of the later farms with their 
variety of crops. 



I a 



CHAPTER VI 
VILLAGE FESTIVALS 

[Bibliographical Note. A systematic calendar of English festival usages 
by a competent folk-lorist is much needed. J. Brand, Observations on 
Popular Antiquities (1777), based on H. Bourne, Antiquitates Vulgares 
(17251, and edited, first by Sir Henry Ellis in 1813, 1841-2 and 1849, and 
then -by W. C. Hazlitt in 1870, is full of valuable material, but belongs to the 
age of pre-scientific antiquarianism. R. T. Hampson, Mcdii Aevi Kalen- 
dariuni (1841), is no less unsatisfactory. In default of anything better, 
T. F. T. Dyer, British Popular Customs (1891), is a useful compilation 
from printed sources, and P. H. Ditchfield, Old English Customs (1896), 
a gossipy account of contemporary survivals. These may be supplemented 
from collections of more limited range, such as H. J. Feasey, Ancient 
English Holy Week Ceremonial (1897), and J. E. Vaux, Church Folk- Lore 
(1894) ; by treatises on local folk-lore, of which W. Henderson, Notes 
on the Folk-Lore of the Northern Counties of England and the Borders 
(2nd ed. 1879), C. S. Burne and G. F. Jackson, Shropshire Folk-Lore 
(1883-5), an d J- Rhys, Celtic Folk- Lore, Welsh and Many (1901), are the 
best ; and by the variQus publications of the Folk- Lore Society, especially 
the series of County Folk-Lore (1895-9) and the successive periodicals, 
The Folk-Lore Record (1878-82), Folk-Lore Journal (1883-9), and Folk- 
Lore (1890-1903). Popular accounts of French /#*.? are given by E. Cortet, 
Essai sur les Fetes religieuses (1867), and O. Havard, Les Fetes de nos 
Peres (1898). L. J. B. Be*renger-Fe>aud, Superstitions et Survivanccs 
(1896), is more pretentious, but not really scholarly. C. Leber, Disserta- 
tions relatives a r Histoire de France (1826-3 8), vol. ix, contains interesting 
material of an historical character, largely drawn from papers in the 
eighteenth-century periodical Le Mercure de France. Amongst German 
books, J. Grimm, Teutonic Mythology (transl. J. S Stallybrass, 1 880-8), 
H. Pfannenschmidt, Germanische Erntefeste (1878), and U. Jahn, Die 
deutschen Opfergcbrduche bei Ackerbau und Viehzucht (1884*, are all 
excellent. Many of the books mentioned in the bibliographical note to 
the last chapter remain useful for the present and following ones ; in 
particular J. G. Frazer, 1 he Golden Bmtgh (2nd ed. 1900), is, of course, 
invaluable. I have only included in the above list such works of general 
range as I have actually made most use of. Many others dealing with 
special points are cited in the notes. A fuller guide to folk-lore literature 
will be found in M. R. Cox, Introduction to Folklore (2nd ed. 1897).] 

THE central fact of the agricultural festivals is the presence 
in the village of the fertilization spirit in the visible and 
tangible form of flowers and green foliage or of the fruits of 
the earth. Thus, when the peasants do their ' observaunce to 
a morn of May,' great boughs of hawthorn are cut before 



VILLAGE FESTIVALS 117 

daybreak in the woods, and carried, with other seasonable 
leafage and blossom, into the village street. Lads plant 
branches before the doors of their mistresses. The folk deck 
themselves, their houses, and the church in green. Some of 
them are clad almost entirely in wreaths and tutties, and be- 
come walking bushes, ' Jacks i' the green/ The revel centres 
in dance and song around a young tree set up in some open 
space of the village, or a more permanent May-pole adorned 
for the occasion with fresh garlands. A large garland, often 
with an anthropomorphic representation of the fertilization 
spirit in the form of a doll, parades the streets, and is accom- 
panied by a ' king ' or * queen,' or a ' king ' and ' queen ' 
together. Such a garland finds its place at all the seasonal 
feasts ; but whereas in spring and summer it is naturally 
made of the new vegetation, at harvest it as naturally takes 
the form of a sheaf, often the last sheaf cut, of the corn. 
Then it is known as the * harvest-May ' or the * neck/ or if it is 
anthropomorphic in character, as the ' kern-baby.' Summer 
and harvest garlands alike are not destroyed when the festival 
is over, but remain hung up on the May-pole or the church 
or the barn-door until the season for their annual renewing 
comes round. And sometimes the grain of the 'harvest-May' 
is mingled in the spring with the seed-corn l . 

The rationale of such customs is fairly simple. They 
depend upon a notion of sympathetic magic carried on into 
the animistic stage of belief. Their object is to secure the 
beneficent influence of the fertilization spirit by bringing 
the persons or places to be benefited into direct contact with 
the physical embodiment of that spirit. In the burgeoning 
quick set up on the village green is the divine presence. 
The worshipper clad in leaves and flowers has made himself 
a garment of the god, and is therefore in a very special sense 
under his protection. Thus efficacy in folk-belief of physical 
contact may be illustrated by another set of practices in 
which recourse is had to the fertilization spirit for the cure of 
disease. A child suffering from croup, convulsions, rickets, 

1 Frazer, i. 193 ; ii. 96 ; Brand, is minutely studied by S. O. Addy, 

i. 125 ; Dyer, 223 ; Ditchfield, 95 ; Garland Day at Castteton> in F. L. 

Philpot, 144 ; Grimm, ii. 762 ; &c., xii. 394. 
&c. A single example of the custom 



118 FOLK DRAMA 

or other ailment, is passed through a hole in a split tree, 
or beneath a bramble rooted at both ends, or a strip of turf 
partly raised from the ground. It is the actual touch of 
earth or stem that works the healing 1 . 

May-pole or church may represent a focus of the cult at 
some specially sacred tree or grove in the heathen village. 
But the ceremony, though it centres at these, is not con- 
fined to them, for its whole purpose is to distribute the 
benign influence over the entire community, every field, fold, 
pasture, orchard close and homestead thereof. At plough- 
ing, the driving of the first furrow ; at harvest, the home- 
coming of the last wain, is attended with ritual. Probably all 
the primitive festivals, and certainly that of high summer, 
included a lustration, in which the image or tree which stood 
for the fertilization spirit was borne in solemn procession from 
dwelling to dwelling and round all the boundaries of the 
village. Tacitus records the progress of the earth-goddess 
Nerthus amongst the German tribes about the mouth of the 
Elbe, and the dipping of the goddess and the drowning of 
her slaves in a lake at the term of the ceremony 2 . So too 
at Upsala in Sweden the statue of Freyr went round when 
winter was at an end 8 ; while Sozomenes tells how, when 
Ulfilas was preaching Christianity to the Visigoths, Atha- 
naric sent the image of his god abroad in a wagon, and burnt 
the houses of all who refused to bow down and sacrifice*. 
Such lustrations continue to be a prominent feature of the 
folk survivals. They are preserved in a number of pro- 
cessional customs in all parts of England ; in the municipal 
' ridings/ ' shows,' or * watches ' on St. George V or Midsummer* 

1 A. B. Gomme, ii. 507 ; Hartland, Martini, c. 12, by Sulpicius Severus 

Perseus, ii. 187; Grimm, iv. 1738, (Opera, ed Halm, in Corp. Script. 

1747 ; Gaidoz, Un vieux rite mtdi- Eccl. Hi$t* i. 122) 'quia cssct haec 

cal ( 1 893). Gallorum rustici* consuetude, simu- 

9 Tacitus, Gcrmania, 40. lacra daemon urn, can didotectavela- 

* Vigfusson and Ungar, Flatey- mine, miiera per agros suos circum- 

jarbok, i. 337; Grimm, i. 107; Gum- ferre dementia,' and Alsso's account 

mere, G. O. 433 ; Mogk, iii. 321 ; of the fifteenth- century calendisa- 

Golther, 228. tiones in Bohemia (ch. xii). 

4 Sozomenes, Hist. Eccles. vi. 37. * Cf. cb. x. 

Cf. also Indicvlus (ed. Saupe, 32) 6 Cf. Representations (Chester, 

'de simulacro, quod per campos London, York). There were similar 

portant,' the fifth-century Vita S. watches at Nottingham (Deering, 



VILLAGE FESTIVALS 119 

days ; in the * Godiva * procession at Coventry *, the c Bezant * 
procession at Shaftesbury 2 . Hardly a rural merry-making or 
wake, indeed, is without its procession ; if it is only in the 
simple form of the qu$te which the children consider them- 
selves entitled to make, with their May-garland, or on some 
other traditional pretext, at various seasons of the calendar. 
Obviously in becoming mere quotes, collections of eggs, cakes 
and so forth, or even of small coins, as well as in falling 
entirely into the hands of the children, the processions have 
to some extent lost their original character. But the notion 
that the visit is to bring good fortune, or the * May * or the 
'summer' to the household, is not wholly forgotten in the 
rhymes used 3 . An interesting version of the ceremony is 
the 'furry' or * faddy* dance formerly used at Helston 
wake; for in this the oak-decked dancers claimed the right 
to pass in at one door and out at another through every 
house in the village 4 . 

Room has been found for the summer lustrations in the 
scheme of the Church. In Catholic countries the statue of 
the local saint is commonly carried round the village, either 
annually on his feast-day or in times of exceptional trouble 5 . 
The inter-relations of ecclesiastical and folk-ritual in this re- 
spect are singularly illustrated by the celebration of St.Ubaldo's 
eve (May 15) at Gubbio in Umbria. The folk procession of 
the Ceri is a very complete variety of the summer festival. 
After vespers the clergy also hold a procession in honour of 
the saint. At a certain point the two companies meet. An 
interchange of courtesies takes place. The priest elevates 
the host ; the bearers of the Ceri bow them to the ground ; 
and each procession passes on its way 6 . In England the 
summer lustrations take an ecclesiastical form in the Roga- 

Hist. of Nott. 123), Worcester * Cf. ch. viii. 

(Smith, English Gilds, 408), Lydd * Dyer, 275 ; Ditchfield, in ; cf. 

and Bristol (Green, Town Life in the phrase * in and out the windows ' 



the Fifteenth Century \ i. 148), and of the singing game Round and 
on St. Thomas's day (July 7) at Round the Village (A. B. Gomme, 
Canterbury (Arch. Cant. xii. 34 ; s. v.). 



Hist. MSS. ix. i. 148). * M. Deloche, Le Tour de la 

1 Harris, 7 ; Hartland, Fairy Lunade, in Rev. celtique, ix. 425 ; 

Tales ) 71. B^renger-F^raud, i. 423 ; iii. 167. 

* Dyer, 205. Bower, 13. 



120 



FOLK DRAMA 



tions or ' bannering ' of ' Gang-week,' a ceremony which itself 
appears to be based on very similar folk-customs of southern 
Europe 1 . Since the Reformation the Rogations have come 
to be regarded as little more than a ' beating of the bounds/ 
But the declared intention of them was originally to call for 
a blessing upon the fruits of the earth ; and it is not difficult 
to trace folk-elements in the ' gospel oaks ' and ' gospel wells ' 
at which station was made and the gospel read, in the peeled 
willow wands borne by the boys who accompany the pro- 
cession, in the whipping or * bumping ' of the said boys at the 
stations, and in the choice of ( Gang-week ' for such agri- 
cultural rites as ' youling ' and ' well-dressing V 

Some anthropomorphic representation of the fertilization 
spirit is a common, though not an invariable element in the 
lustration. A doll is set on the garland, or some popular 
1 giant ' or other image is carried round 3 . Nor is it sur- 
prising that at the early spring festival which survives in 



1 Duchesne, 276 ; Usener, i. 293 ; 
Tille, Y. ami C. 51 ; W. W. Fowler, 
124; Boissier, La Religion romaine, 
i. 323. The Rogations or litaniae 
minores represent in Italy the Am- 
barvalia on May 29. But they are 
of Gallican origin, were begun by 
Mamertus, bishop of Vienne (t47o), 
adapted by the Council of Orleans 
(511), c. 27 (Mansi, viii. 355), and 
required by the English Council of 
Cloves ho (747), c. 1 6 (Haddan- 
Stubbs, iii. 368), to be held *non 
admixtis vanitatibus, uti mos est 
plurimis, vel negligentibus, vel im- 
pends, id est in ludis et equorum 
cursibus, et epulis maioribus.' Jahn, 
147, quotes the German abbess 
Marcsuith (940), who describes 
them as ' pro gentilicio Ambarvali,' 
and adds, 'confido autem de Patroni 
huius misericord ia, quod sic ab eo 
gyrade terrae semina uberius pro- 
venient, et variae aeris inclemen- 
tiae cessent.' Mediaeval Rogation 
litanies are in Sarum Processional, 
103, and York Processional (York 
Manual, 182). The more strictly 
Roman litania major on St. Mark's 
day (March 25) takes the place of 
the Robiqalia) but is not of great 



importance in English folk-custom. 

* Injunctions, ch. xix, of 1559 
(Gee- Hardy, Docts. illustrative of 
English Church History, 426). 
Thanks are to be given to God 'for 
the increase and abundance of his 
fruits upon the face of the earth/ 
The Book of Homilies contains an 
exhortation to be used on the occa- 
sion. The episcopal injunctions and 
interrogatories in Ritual Commis- 
sion, 404, 409, 416, &c., endeavour 
to preserve the Rogations, and to 
eliminate * superstition ' from them ; 
for the development of the notion 
of * beating of bounds/ cf. the 
eighteenth-century notices in Dyer, 
Old English Social Life, 196. 

8 The image is represented by 
the doll of the May-garland, which 
has sometimes, according to Ditch- 
field, 102, become the Virgin Mary, 
with a child doll in its arms, and at 
other times (e.g. Castleton, F. L. 
xii. 469) has disappeared, leaving 
the name of ' queen ' to a particular 
bunch of flowers ; also by the 'giant* 
of the midsummer watch. The 
Salisbury giant, St. Christopher, 
with his hobby-horse, Hob-nob, is 
described in Rev. d. T. P. iv. 601. 



VILLAGE FESTIVALS 121 

Plough Monday, the plough itself, the central instrument of 
the opening labour, figures. A variant of this custom may 
be traced in certain maritime districts, where the functions of 
the agricultural deities have been extended to include the 
oversight of seafaring. Here it is not a plough but a boat 
or ship that makes its rounds, when the fishing season is 
about to begin. Ship processions are to be found in various 
parts of Germany 1 ; at Minehead, Plymouth, and Devonport 
in the west of England, and probably also at Hull in the 
north 2 . 

The magical notions which, in part at least, explain the 
garland customs of the agricultural festival, are still more 
strongly at work in some of its subsidiary rites. These 
declare themselves, when understood, to be of an essentially 
practical character, charms designed to influence the weather, 
and to secure the proper alternation of moisture and warmth 
which is needed alike for the growth and ripening of the 
crops and for the welfare of the cattle. They are probably 
even older than the garland -customs, for they do not imply 
the animistic conception of a fertilization spirit immanent in 
leaf and blossom ; and they depend not only upon the 
* sympathetic ' principle of influence by direct contact already 
illustrated, but also upon that other principle of similarity 
distinguished by Dr. Frazer as the basis of what he calls 
'mimetic* magic. To the primitive mind the obvious way 
of obtaining a result in nature is to make an imitation of it 
on a small scale. To achieve rain, water must be splashed 
about, or some other characteristic of a storm or shower must 
be reproduced. To achieve sunshine, a fire must be lit, or 
some other representation of the appearance and motion of 
the sun must be devised. Both rain-charms and sun-charms 
are very clearly recognizable in the village ritual. 

As rain-charms, conscious or unconscious, must be classified 

1 Grimm, i. 257 ; Golther, 463; the currus navalis used by Roman 

Mogk, iii. 374 ; Hahn, Demeter und women. A modern survival at 

Baubo, 38 ; Usenet, Die Sintfluth- Fr^jus is described in F. L. xii. 307. 

sagen, 115. There are parallels a Ditchfield, 103; Transactions 

in south European custom, both of Devonshire Association, xv. 104; 

classical and modern, and Usener cf. the Noah's ship procession at 

even derives the term * carnival,' Hull (Representations, s. v.). 
not from carnem levare^ but from 



122 FOLK DRAMA 

the many festival customs in which bathing or sprinkling holds 
an important place. The image or bough which represents 
the fertilization spirit is solemnly dipped in or drenched with 
water. Here is the explanation of the ceremonial bathing 
of the goddess Nerthus recorded by Tacitus. It has its 
parallels in the dipping of the images of saints in the feast- 
day processions of many Catholic villages, and in the buckets 
of water sometimes thrown over May-pole or harvest-May. 
Nor is the dipping or drenching confined to the fertilization 
spirit. In order that the beneficent influences of the rite 
may be spread widely abroad, water is thrown on the fields 
and on the plough, while the worshippers themselves, or 
a representative chosen from among them, are sprinkled or 
immersed. To this practice many survivals bear evidence ; 
the virtues persistently ascribed to dew gathered on May 
morning, the ceremonial bathing of women annually or in 
times of drought with the expressed purpose of bringing 
fruitfulness on man or beast or crop, the * ducking f customs 
which play no inconsiderable part in the traditions of many 
a rural merry-making. Naturally enough, the original sense 
of the rite has been generally perverted. The * ducking ' has 
become either mere horse-play or else a rough-and-ready 
form of punishment for offences, real or imaginary, against 
the rustic code of conduct. The churl who will not stop 
working or will not wear green on the feast-day must be 
c ducked,' and under the form of the ' cucking-stool,' the 
ceremony has almost worked its way into formal juris- 
prudence as an appropriate treatment for feminine offenders. 
So, too, it has been with the ' ducking ' of the divinity. When 
the modern French peasant throws the image of his saint 
into the water, he believes himself to be doing it, not as 
a mimetic rain-charm, but as a punishment to compel a 
power obdurate to prayer to grant through fear the required 
boon. 

The rain-charms took place, doubtless, at such wells, 
springs, or brooks as the lustral procession passed in its 
progress round the village. It is also possible that there may 
have been, sometimes or always, a well within the sacred 
grove itself and hard by the sacred tree. The sanctity 



VILLAGE FESTIVALS 123 

derived by such wells and streams from the use of them in 
the cult of the fertilization spirit is probably what is really 
intended by the water-worship so often ascribed to the 
heathen of western Europe, and coupled closely with tree- 
worship in the Christian discipline-books. The goddess of 
the tree was also the goddess of the well. At the con- 
version her wells were taken over by the new religion. They 
became holy wells, under the protection of the Virgin or one 
of the saints. And they continued to be approached with 
the same rites as of old, for the purpose of obtaining the 
ancient boons for which the fertilization spirit had always 
been invoked. It will not be forgotten that, besides the public 
cult of the fertilization spirit for the welfare of the crops 
and herds, there was also a private cult, which aimed at 
such more personal objects of desire as health, success in 
love and marriage, and divination of the future. It is this 
private cult that is most markedly preserved in modern holy 
well customs. These may be briefly summarized as follows l . 
The wells are sought for procuring a husband or children, 
for healing diseases, especially eye-ailments or warts, and for 
omens, these too most often in relation to wedlock. The 
worshipper bathes wholly or in part, or drinks the water. 
Silence is often enjoined, or a motion deasil, that is, with 
the sun's course, round the well. Occasionally cakes are 
eaten, or sugar and water drunk, or the well-water is splashed 
on a stone. Very commonly rags or bits of wool or hair are 
laid under a pebble or hung on a bush near the well, or pins, 
more rarely coins or even articles of food, are thrown into it. 
The objects so left are not probably to be regarded as offerings ; 
the intention is rather to bring the worshipper, through the 
medium of his hair or clothes, or some object belonging to 
him, into direct contact with the divinity. The close con- 
nexion between tree- and well-cult is shown by the use of 
the neighbouring bush on which to hang the rags. And the 

1 Brand, ii. 223 ; Grimm, ii. 584 ; Couch, Ancient and Holy Wells of 

Elton, 284 ; G*>rnm<t,Ethnology, 73 ; Cornwall (1894) ; J. Rhys, C. F. i. 

Hart land, Perseus, ii. 175 ; Haddon, 332, 354, and in F. L. iii. 74, iv. 55 ; 

362 ; Vaux, 269 ; Wood-Martin, ii. A. W. Moore, in F. L. v. 212 ; H. C. 

46 ; B^renger-F^raud, iii. 291; R. C. March, in F. L. x. 479 (Dorset). 
Hope, Holy Wells \ M.-L. Quiller- 



124 FOLK DRAMA 

practice of dropping pins into the well is almost exactly 
paralleled by that of driving nails * for luck ' into a sacred tree 
or its later representative, a cross or saintly image. The theory 
may be hazarded that originally the sacred well was never 
found without the sacred tree beside it. This is by no means 
the case now ; but it must be remembered that a tree is much 
more perishable than a well. The tree once gone, its part in 
the ceremony would drop out, or be transferred to the well. 
But the original rite would include them both. The visitant, 
for instance, would dip in the well, and then creep under 
or through the tree, a double ritual which seems to survive in 
the most curious of all the dramatic games of children, ' Draw 
a Pail of Water V 

The private cult of the fertilization spirit is not, of course, 
tied to fixed seasons. Its occasion is determined by the 
needs of the worshipper. But it is noteworthy that the 
efficacy of some holy wells is greatest on particular days, 
such as Easter or the first three Sundays in May. And in 
many places the wells, whether ordinarily held ' holy ' or not, 
take an important place in the ceremonies of the village festival. 
The * gospel wells' of the Rogation processions, and the well 
to which the 'Bezant* procession goes at Shaftesbury are 
cases in point ; while in Derbyshire the 'well-dressings ' corre- 
spond to the ' wakes/ ' rushbearings/ and ' Mayings ' of other 
districts. Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, as well as the 
Rogation days, are in a measure Christian versions of the 
heathen agricultural feasts, and it is not, therefore, surprising 
to find an extensive use of holy water in ecclesiastical ritual, 
and a special rite of Benedictio Pentium included amongst 
the Easter ceremonies 2 . But the Christian custom has been 
moralized, and its avowed aim is purification rather than 
prosperity. 

The ordinary form of heat-charm was to build, in semblance 

1 A. B. Gomme, s.v. ; H addon, lichen Cultus (1869). The Bene- 
362. dictio Fontium took place on Easter 

2 Schaff, iii. 247 ; Duchesne, 281, Saturday, in preparation for the 
385 ; Rock, iii. 2. 101, 180; Maskell, baptism which in the earliest times 
i. cccxi ; Feasey, 235 ; Wordsworth, was a characteristic Easter rite. The 
24; Pfannenschmidt, Das Weih- formulae are in York Missal, i. 121; 
wasser im heidnischen und christ- Sarum Missal, 350 ; Maskell, i. 13. 



VILLAGE FESTIVALS 125 

of the sun, the source of heat, a great fire 1 . Just as in the 
rain-charm the worshippers must be literally sprinkled with 
water, so, in order that they may receive the full benefits of 
the heat-charm, they must come into direct physical contact 
with the fire, by standing in the smoke, or even leaping 
through the flames, or by smearing their faces with the 
charred ashes 2 . The cattle too must be driven through the fire, 
in order that they may be fertile and free from pestilence 
throughout the summer ; and a whole series of observances 
had for their especial object the distribution of the preserving 
influence over the farms. The fires were built on high ground, 
that they might be visible far and wide. Or they were built 
in a circle round the fields, or to windward, so that the smoke 
might blow across the corn. Blazing arrows were shot in the 
air, or blazing torches carried about. Ashes were sprinkled 
over the fields, or mingled with the seed corn or the fodder 
in the stall 3 . Charred brands were buried or stuck upright in 
the furrows. Further, by a simple symbolism, the shape and 
motion of the sun were mimicked with circular rotating 
bodies. A fiery barrel or a fiery wheel was rolled down the 
hill on the top of which the ceremony took place. The 
lighted torches were whirled in the air, or replaced by lighted 
disks of wood, flung on high. All these customs still linger 
in these islands or in other parts of western Europe, and often 
the popular imagination finds in their successful performance 
an omen for the fertility of the year. 

On a priori grounds one might have expected two agricul- 
tural festivals during the summer ; one in the earlier part of 
it, when moisture was all-important, accompanied with rain- 
charms ; the other later on, when the crops were well grown 

1 Frazer, iii. 237; Gomme, in7?rz"/. chimney-sweeps' holidny. 

Ass. Rep. (1898), 626; Simpson, 8 The reasons given are various, 

195 ; Grenier, 380; Gaidoz, 16 ; Ber- * to keep off hail * (whence the term 

trand, 98 ; Gummere, G. O. 400 ; Hagelfeiier mentioned by Pfannen- 

Grimm, ii. 601; Jahn, 25; Brand, schmidt, 67), 'vermin, '* caterpillars, 1 

i. 127, 166; Dyer, 269, 311, 332; * blight,' * to make the fields fertile/ 

Ditchfield, 141 ; Cortet, 21 1. In Bavaria torches are carried round 

* To this custom may possibly the fields * to drive away the wicked 

be traced the black-a-vised figures sower' (of tares ?). In North umber- 

who are persistent in the folk ludi, land raids are made on the ashes of 

and also the curious tradition neighbouring villages (Dyer, 332). 
which makes May-day especially the 



126 



FOLK DRAMA 



and heat was required to ripen them, accompanied with sun- 
charms. But the evidence is rather in favour of a single 
original festival determined, in the dislocation caused by 
a calendar, to different dates in different localities *. The 
Midsummer or St. John's fires are perhaps the most widely 
spread and best known of surviving heat-charms. But they 
can be paralleled by others distributed all over the summer 
cycle of festivals, at Easter 2 and on May-day, and in con- 
nexion with the ploughing celebrations on Epiphany, Candle- 
mas, Shrovetide, Quadragesima, and St. Blaize's day. It is 
indeed at Easter and Candlemas that the Benedictiones, 
which are the ecclesiastical versions of the ceremony, appear 
in the ritual-books 3 . On the other hand, although, perhaps 
owing to the later notion of the solstice, the fires are greatly 
prominent on St. John's day, and are explained with con- 
siderable ingenuity by the monkish writers 4 , yet this day 
was never a fire-festival and nothing else. Garland customs 
are common upon it, and there is even evidence, though slight 



1 Cf. p. 113. 

a I know of no English Easter 
folk-fires, but St. Patrick is said to 
have lit one on the hiJl of Slane, 
opposite Tara, on Easter Eve, 433 
(Feasey, 180). 

3 Schaff, v. 403 ; Duchesne, 240 ; 
Rock, Hi. 2. 71, 94, 98, 107, 244; 
Feasey, 184; Wordsworth, 204; 
Frazer, iii. 245 ; Jahn, 129 ; Grimm, 
ii.6i6 ; Simpson, 198. The formulae 
of the benedictio ignis and benedictio 
cereorum at Candlemas, and the 
benedictio ignis, benedictio incensi> 
and benedictio cerei on Easter Eve, 
are in Sarum Missal, 334, 697 ; 
York Missal, i. 109; ii. 17. One 
York MS. has ' Paschae ignis de 
berillo vel de silice exceptus . . . 
accenditur.' The correspondence 
between Pope Zacharias and St. 
Boniface shows that the lighting of 
the ignis by a crystal instead of 
from a lamp kept secretly burning 
distinguished Gallican from Roman 
ceremonial in the eighth century 
(Jarre*, 2291). All the lights in the 
church are previously put out, and 
this itself has become a ceremony 
in the Tenebrae. Ecclesiastical 



symbolism explained the extinction 
and rekindling of lights as typifying 
the Resurrection. Sometimes the 
ignis provides a light for the folk- 
fire outside. 

4 Belethus (t 1162), de Div. Offic. 
c. 137 (P. L. ccii. 141), gives three 
customs of St. John's Eve. Bones 
are burnt, because (i) there are 
dragons in air, earth, and water, 
and when these * in acre ad libidi- 
nem concitantur, quod fere fit, saepe 
ipsum sperma vel in puteos vel in 
aquas fiuviales eiiciunt, ex quo le- 
thalis sequitur annus,' but the smoke 
of the bonfires drives them away; 
and (2) because St. John's bones 
were burnt in Sebasta. Torches 
are carried, because St. John was 
a shining light. A wheel is rolled, 
because of the solstice, which is 
made appropriate to St. John by St. 
John iii. 30. The account of Bele- 
thus is amplified by Durandus, Ra- 
tionale Diu. Offic. (ed. corr. Antwerp, 
1614) vii. 14, and taken in turn from 
Durandus by a fifteenth-century 
monk of Wincheiscombe in a ser- 
mon preserved in HarL MS. 234$, 
{. 49 (b). 



VILLAGE FESTIVALS 127 

evidence, for rain-charms l . It is perhaps justifiable to infer 
that the crystallization of the rain- and heat-charms, which 
doubtless were originally used only when the actual condition 
of the weather made them necessary, into annual festivals, 
took place after the exact rationale of them had been lost, 
and they had both come to be looked upon, rather vaguely, 
as weather-charms. 

Apart from the festival-fires, a superstitious use of sun- 
charms endured in England to an extraordinarily late date. This 
was in times of drought and pestilence as a magical remedy 
against mortality amongst the cattle. A fire was built, and, 
as on the festivals, the cattle were made to pass through the 
smoke and flames 2 . On such occasions, and often at the 
festival-fires themselves, it was held requisite that, just as 
the water used in the rain-charms would be fresh water from 
the spring, so the fire must be fresh fire. That is to say, 
it must not be lit from any pre-existing fire, but must be 
made anew. And, so conservative is cult, this must be done, 
not with the modern device of matches, or even with flint 
and steel, but by the primitive method of causing friction in 
dry work. Such fire is known as ' need-fire ' or * forced fire/ 
and is produced in various ways, by rubbing two pieces of 
wood together, by turning a drill in a solid block, or by rapidly 
rotating a wheel upon an axle. Often certain precautions are 
observed, as that nine men must work at the job, or chaste 
boys ; and often all the hearth-fires in the village are first 
extinguished, to be rekindled by the new flame 3 . 

The custom of foiling a burning wheel downhill from the 

1 Gaidoz, 24, 109 j Bertrand, 122 ; feuer. It is variously derived from 

Dyer, 323 ; Stubbes, i. 339, from ndt ' need,' niuwan ' rub,' or hnio- 

KaogeOrgos; Uarener, ii. 81; and the tan * press.' If the last is right, 

mediaeval calendar in Brand, i. 179. the English form should perhaps 

* Gomme y inJ?rit.j4ss.JRejp.(iS96), be knead-fire (Grimm, ii. 607, 609; 

636 (Moray, Mull); F. L. bt. 280 Golther, 570). Another German 

(Caithness, with illustration of wood term is Wildfeuer* The Gaelic 

used) ; Kemble, i. 360 (Perthshire tin-egin is from tin ' fire,' and egin 

in 1826, Dey on shire). 'violence* (Grimm, ii. 609). For 

8 Grimm, ii. 603 ; Kemble, i. ecclesiastical prohibitions cf. Indi- 

359 , Elton, 293; Frazer, iii. 301; cu/us (Saupe, 20) *de igne fricato 

Gaidoz, 22; Jahn, 26; Simpson, de ligno, i.e. nodfyr* \ Capit.Karl- 

196; Bertrand, 107; Golther, 570. manni (742), c. J (Grimm, ii. 604) 

The English term is need/ire, 'illos sacrileges ignes quos niedfyr 

Scotch neidfyre> German Noth- vocant.' 



128 



FOLK DRAMA 



festival-fire amongst the vineyards has been noted. The 
wheel is, of course, by no means an uncommon solar emblem l . 
Sometimes round bannocks or hard-boiled eggs are similarly 
rolled downhill. The use of both of these may be sacrificial 
in its nature. But the egg plays such a large part in festival 
customs, especially at Easter, when it is reddened, or gilt, or 
coloured yellow with furze or broom flowers, and popularly 
regarded as a symbol of the Resurrection, that one is tempted 
to ask whether it does not stand for the sun itself 2 . And 
are we to find the sun in the * parish top V or i n the ball with 
which, even in cathedrals, ceremonial games were played 4 ? 



1 Gaidoz, i ; Bertrand, 109, 140; 
Simpson, 109, 240 ; Rhys, C. H. 54. 
The commonest form of the symbol 
is the swastika, but others appear to 
be found in the 'hammer* of Thor, 
and on the altars and statues of 
a Gaulish deity equated in the 
interpretatti* Romana with Jupiter. 
There is a wheel decoration on the 
barellc or cars of the Gubbio ceri 
(Bower, 4). 

2 Brand, i. 97 ; Dyer, 159 ; Ditch- 
field, 78. Kggs are used cere- 
monially at the Scotch Beltane fires 
(Frazer, iii. 261 ; Simpson, 285). 
Strings of birds' eggs are hung on 
the Lynn May garland (F. L. x. 
443). In Dan phi ne an omelette is 
made when the sun rises on St. 
John's day (Cortet, 217). In Ger- 
many children are sent to look for 
the Easter eggs in the nest of a 
hare, a very divine animal. Among 
the miscellaneous Benedictions in 
the Sarum Manual, with the Ben. 
Seminis and the Ben. Pomorum iiv 
die S n Jacobi are a Ben. Carnis 
Case i Bittyri Ovorum SITC Pastil- 
larum in PascJui and a Ben. Agni 
Past'/iitiz's, Oiwum et Ilerbaruni in 
die Paschae. These Benedictions 
are little more than graces. The 
Durham Accounts, i. 71-174, con- 
tain entries of fifteenth- and sixteenth- 
century payments 'fratnbus el soro- 
ribus de Wytton pro eorum Egsilver 
erga festum pasche.' 

* Tw. N. i. 3. 42 ' He's a coward 
anda coystrill,that will not drink to 



my niece till his brains turn o' the 
toe like a parish-top.* Steevens 
says * a large top was formerly kept 
in every village, to be whipt in frosty 
weather, that the peasants might be 
kept warm by exercise and out of 
mischief while they could not work.' 
This is evidently a ' fake ' of the 
' Puck of commentators.' Hone, 
E. D.B. i. 199, says 'According to 
a story (whether true or false), in 
one of the churches of Paris, a choir 
boy used to whip a top marked 
with A lleluia, written in gold letters, 
from one end of the choir to the 
other/ The * burial of Alleluia* is 
shown later on to be a mediaeval 
perversion of an agricultural rite. 
On the whole question of tops, see 
Haddon, 255 ; A. B. Gomme, s. v. 
4 Leber, ix. 391 ; Barthelemy, iv. 
447 ; Du Tilliot, 30 ; Grenier, 385 ; 
Be'renger-Fdraud, iii. 427; Belethus, 
c. 120 ' Sunt nonnullae ecclesiae 
in quibus usitatum est, ut vel etiam 
episcopi etan hiepiscopimcoenobiis 
cum . suis ludant subditis, ita ut 
etiam se ad lusum pilae demit- 
tant. atque haec quidem libertas 
ideo dicta est decembrica. . . . quam- 
quam vero magnae ecclesiae, ut 
est Remensis, hanc ludcndi con- 
suetudinem observent, videtur ta- 
men laudabilius esse non ludere ' ; 
Durandus, vi. 86 * In quibusdam 
locis hac die, in aliis in Natali, 
praelati cum suis clericis ludunt, 
vel in claustris, vel in domibus epi- 
scopalibus ; ita ut etiam descendant 



VILLAGE FESTIVALS 



129 



If so, perhaps this game of ball may be connected with the 
curious belief that if you get up early enough on Easter 
morning you may see the sun dance 1 . 

In any case sun-charms, quite independent of the fires, may 
probably be traced in the circular movements which so often 
appear invested with a religious significance, and which some- 
times form part of the festivals 2 . It would be rash to regard 
such movements as the basis of every circular dance or ronde 
on such an occasion ; a ring is too obviously the form which 
a crowd of spectators round any object, sacred or otherwise, 
must take. But there are many circumambulatory rites in 
which stress is laid on the necessity for the motion to be 
deasily or with the right hand to the centre, in accordance 
with the course of the sun, and not in the opposite direction, 
carttiaithcail or withershins 3 . And these, perhaps, may be 
legitimately considered as of magical origin. 



ad ludum pilae, vel etiam ad choreas 
et cantus, &c.' Often the ball play 
was outside the church, but the ca- 
nons of Evreux on their return from 
\htprocession noire of May I , played 
' ad quillas super voltas ecclesiae ' ; 
and the Easter pilota of Auxerre 
which lasted to 1538, took place 
in the nave before vespers. Full 
accounts of this ceremony have 
been preserved. The dean and 
canons danced and tossed the ball, 
singing the Victimae pasihali. For 
examples of Easter hand-ball or 
marbles in English folk-custom, cf. 
Brand, i. 103 ; Vaux, 240 ; F. L. 
xii. 75 ; Mrs. Gomme, s. v. Hand- 
ball. 

1 Brand, i. 93 ; Burne- Jackson, 
335. A Norfolk version (F. L. vii. 
90) has ' dances as if in agony. 1 
On the Mendips (F. L. v. 339) what 
is expected is * a lamb in the sun.' 
The moon, and perhaps the sun also, 
is sometimes * wobbly,' 'jumping* 
or ' skipping/ owing to the presence 
of strata of air differing in humidity 
or temperature, and so changing 
the index of refraction (Nicholson, 
Golspie, 1 86). At Pontesford Hill 
in Shropshire (Burne- Jackson, 330) 
the pilgrimage was on Palm Sunday, 
actually to pluck a sprig from a 

CHAMBERS. Z 



haunted yew, traditionally ' to look 
for the golden arrow,' which must 
be solar. In the Isle of Man hills, 
on which are sacred wells, are 
visited on the Lugnassad, to gather 
ling-berries. Others say that it 
is because of Jephthah's daughter, 
who went up and down on the 
mountains and bewailed her vir- 
ginity. And the old folk now stop 
at home and read Judges xi (Rhys, 
C. F. i. 312). On the place of hill- 
tops in agricultural religion cf. p. 
1 06, and for the use of elevated spots 
for sun-worship at Rome, ch. xi. 

2 Simpson, passim ; cf. F. L, vi. 
1 68 ; xi. 220. Deasil\s from Gaelic 
deas, * right,' 'south.' Mediaeval 
ecclesiastical processions went 
' contra sol is cursum et morem eccle- 
siasticum ' only in seasons of woe 
or sadness (Rock, iii. 2. 182). 

8 Dr. Murray kindly informs me 
that the etymology of withershins 
(A.-S. wifiersynes) is uncertain. It 
is from wiper, ' against/ and either 
some lost noun, or one derived from 
ston^ ' to see,' or sinfi, ' course.' 
The original sense is simply ' back- 
wards/ and the equivalence with dea- 
sil not earlier than the seventeenth 
century. A folk-etymology from 
shine may account for the aspirate. 



130 FOLK DRAMA 

With the growth of animistic or spiritual religion, the mental 
tendencies, out of which magical practices or charms arise, 
gradually cease to be operative in the consciousness of the 
worshippers. The charms themselves, however, are preserved 
by the conservative instinct of cult. In part they survive as 
mere bits of traditional ritual, for which no particular reason 
is given or demanded ; in part also they become material for 
that other instinct, itself no less inveterate in the human 
mind, by which the relics of the past are constantly in process 
of being re-explained and brought into new relations with the 
present. The sprinkling with holy water, for instance, which 
was originally of the nature of a rain-charm, comes to be 
regarded as a rite symbolical of spiritual purification and 
regeneration. An even more striking example of such trans- 
formation of intention is to be found in the practice, hardly 
yet referred to in this account of the agricultural festivals, of 
sacrifice. In the ordinary acceptation of the term, sacrifice 
implies not merely an animistic, but an anthropomorphic 
conception of the object of cult. The offering or oblation 
with which man approaches his god is an extension of the 
gift with which, as suppliant, he approaches his fellow men. 
But the oblational aspect of sacrifice is not the only one. 
In his remarkable book upon The Religion of the Semites > 
Professor Robertson Smith has formulated another, which 
may be distinguished as ' sacramental/ In this the sacrifice 
is regarded as the renewal of a special tie between the god 
and his worshippers, analogous to the blood-bond which 
exists amongst those worshippers themselves. The victim 
is not an offering made to the god ; on the contrary, the 
god himself is, or is present in, the victim. It is his blood 
which is shed, and by means of the sacrificial banquet and 
its subsidiary rites, his personality becomes, as it were, 
incorporated in those of his clansmen 1 . It is not necessary 
to determine here the general priority of the two types or 

1 Robertson Smith, Religion of distinguished the ' alimentary ' sao 

the Semites , 196; J evens, 130; rifice of food and other things made 

Frazer, ii. 352; Grant Allen, 318; to the dead. This rests on the 

Hartland, ii. 236 ; Turnbull, The belief in the continuance of the 

Blood Covenant. Perhaps, as a mortal life with its needs and desires 

third type of sacrifice, should be after death. 



VILLAGE FESTIVALS 131 

conceptions of sacrifice described. But, while it is probable 
that the Kelts and Teutons of the time of the conversion 
consciously looked upon sacrifice as an oblation, there is also 
reason to believe that, at an earlier period, the notion of 
a sacrament had been the predominant one. For the 
sacrificial ritual of these peoples, and especially that used 
in the agricultural cult, so far as it can be traced, is only 
explicable as an elaborate process of just that physical 
incorporation of the deity in the worshippers and their 
belongings, which it was the precise object of the sacramental 
sacrifice to bring about It will be clear that sacrifice, so 
regarded, enters precisely into that category of ideas which 
has been defined as magical. It is but one more example 
of that belief in the efficacy of direct contact which lies at 
the root of sympathetic magic. As in the case of the garland 
customs, this belief, originally pre-animistic, has endured into 
an animistic stage of thought. Through the garland and the 
posies the worshipper sought contact with the fertilization 
spirit in its phytomorphic form ; through sacrifice he 
approaches it in its theriomorphic form also. The earliest 
sacrificial animals, then, were themselves regarded as divine, 
and were naturally enough the food animals of the folk. The 
use made by the Kelto-Teutonic peoples of oxen, sheep, goats, 
swine, deer, geese, and fowls requires no explanation. A 
common victirp was also the horse, which the Germans seem, 
up to a late date, to have kept in droves and used for food. 
The strong opposition of the Church to the sacrificial use of 
horse-flesh may possibly account for the prejudice against 
it as a food-stuff in modern Europe 1 . A similar prejudice, 
however, in the case of the hare, an animal of great impor- 
tance in folk belief, already existed in the time of Caesar *. 
It is a little more puzzling to find distinct traces of sacrificial 

1 Grimm, i. 47; Golther, 565; Stubbs, 111.458) 'equos ctiam ple- 

Gummere, G. .40,457. Gregory II I rique in vobis comedunt, quodnullus 

wrote (f73 1 ) to Boniface (/*... Ixxxix. Chris tianorum in Orientalibus facit.' 

577) ( inter cetera agrestem cabal- The decking of horses is a familiar 

lum aliquantos comedere ad- feature of May-day in London and 

iunxisti plerosque et domesticum. elsewhere. 

hoc nequaquam fieri deinceps si- * C. J. Billson, The Easter Harc^ 

nas,' cf. Councils of Cealcythe and in F. L. iii. 441. 
PincanhaU (787), c. 19 (Haddan- 

K 2 



133 FOLK DRAMA 

customs in connexion with animals, such as the dog, cat, wolf, 
fox, squirrel, owl, wren, and so forth, which are not now 
food animals l . But they may once have been such, or the 
explanation may lie in an extension of the sacrificial practice 
after the first rationale of it was lost. 

At every agricultural festival, then, animal sacrifice may be 
assumed as an element. The analogy of the relation between 
the fertilization spirit and his worshippers to the human blood 
bond makes it probable that originally the rite was always 
a bloody one 2 . Some of the blood was poured on the sacred 
tree. Some was sprinkled upon the worshippers, or smeared 
over their faces, or solemnly drunk by them 3 . Hides, horns, 
and entrails were also hung upon the tree 4 , or worn as festival 
trappings 5 . The flesh was, of course, solemnly eaten in the 
sacrificial meal 6 . The crops, as well as their cultivators, must 
benefit by the rites ; and therefore the fields, and doubtless 
also the cattle, had their sprinkling of blood, while heads or 
pieces of flesh were buried in the furrows, or at the threshold 
of the byre 7 . A fair notion of the whole proceeding may be 
obtained from the account of the similar Indian worship of 
the earth-goddess given in Appendix I. The intention of the 
ceremonies will be obvious by a comparison with those 
already explained. The wearing of the skins of the victims 
is precisely parallel to the wearing of the green vegetation, 
the sprinkling with blood to the sprinkling with lustral water, 
the burial in the fields of flesh and skulls to the burial of 



1 N. W. Thomas in F.L. xi. 227. phic larva or mask (Frazer, Pau- 

1 Grimm, i. 55; Golther, 559, sanias, iv. 239). 

575; Gummere, G. O. 456. The 8 Grimm, i. 46, 57 ; Golther, 576; 

universal Teutonic term for sacri- Frazer, ii. 318, 353; Jevons, 144; 

ficing is blotan. Grant Allen, 325. Savages believe 

3 razzT t Pausanias,\\\. 20; Jevons, that by eating an animal they will 
130,191. Does the modern hunts- acquire its bodily and mental 
man know why he 'bloods' a qualities. 

novice? 7 Jahn, 14, and for classical pa- 

4 Grimm, i. 47,57,77; Jahn, 24 ; rallels Frazer, ii. 315 ; Pausanias^ 
Gummere, G. O. 459. Hence the iii. 288 ; Jevons, Plutarch, Ixix. 
theriomorphic * image.' 143. Grant Allen, 292, was told as 

5 Robertson Smith, 414, 448; a boy in Normandy that at certain 
Jevons, 102, 285; Frazer, ii. 448; lustrations 'a portion of the Host 
Lang, M. R. R* ii. 73, 80, 106, 214, (stolen or concealed, I imagine) was 
226 ; Grant Allen, 335 ; Du Me*ril, sometimes buried in each field,' 
Com. i. 75. Hence the theriomor- 



VILLAGE FESTIVALS 133 

brands from the festival-fire. In each case the belief in the 
necessity of direct physical contact to convey the beneficent 
influence is at the bottom of the practice. It need hardly be 
said that of such physical contact the most complete example 
is in the sacramental banquet itself. 

It is entirely consistent with the view here taken of the 
primitive nature of sacrifice, that the fertilization spirit was 
sacrificed at the village festivals in its vegetable as well as in 
its animal form. There were bread -offerings as well as meat- 
offerings *. Sacramental cakes were prepared with curious 
rituals which attest their primitive character. Like the 
tcharnican or Beltane cakes, they were kneaded and moulded 
by hand and not upon a board 2 ; like the loaf in the Anglo- 
Saxon charm, they were compounded of all sorts of grain 
in order that they might be representative of every crop in 
the field 3 . At the harvest they would naturally be made, 
wholly or in part, of the last sheaf cut. The use of them 
corresponded closely to that made of the flesh of the sacrificial 
victim. Some were laid on a branch of the sacred tree 4 ; 
others flung into the sacred well or the festival-fire ; others 
again buried in the furrows, or crumbled up and mingled with 
the seed-corn 6 . And like the flesh they were solemnly eaten 
by the worshippers themselves at the sacrificial banquet. 
With the sacrificial cake went the sacrificial draught, also 
made out of the fruits of the earth, in the southern lands wine, 
but in the vineless north ale, or cider, or that mead which 
Pytheas described the Britons as brewing out of honey and 
wheat 6 . Of this, too, the trees and crops received their share, 
while it filled the cup for those toasts or minnes to the dead and 
to Odin and Freyja their rulers, which were afterwards trans- 
ferred by Christian Germany to St. John and St. Gertrude 7 . 

The animal and the cereal sacrifices seem plausible enough, 
but they do not exhaust the problem. One has to face the 
fact that human sacrifice, as Victor Hehn puts it, 'peers 

1 Frazer, ii. 318 ; Grant Allen, 2) a bit of the bannock is reserved 
337 > Jevons, 206. for the ' cuack ' or cuckoo, here 

2 F.L. vi. i. doubtless the inheritor of the gods. 
8 Frazer, ii. 319; Jevons, 214; 6 Grimm, iii. 1240. 

cf. the irdva-ircppa at the Athenian 6 Elton, 428. 
Pyanepsia. 7 Grimm, i. 59; Gummere, G. O. 

4 In the Beltane rite (F. L. vi. 455. 



134 FOLK DRAMA 

uncannily forth from the dark past of every Aryan race 1 . 
So far as the Kelts and Teutons go, there is plenty of evidence 
to show, that up to the very moment of their contact with 
Roman civilization, in some branches even up to the very 
moment of their conversion to Christianity, it was not yet 
obsolete 2 . An explanation of it is therefore required, which 
shall fall in with the general theory of agricultural sacrifice. 
The subject is very difficult, but, on the whole, it seems 
probable that originally the slaying of a human being at an 
annually recurring festival was not of the nature of sacrifice 
at all. It is doubtful whether it was ever sacrifice in the 
sacramental sense, and although in time it came to be regarded 
as an oblation, this was not until the first meaning, both of 
the sacrifice and of the human death, had been lost. The 
essential facts bearing on the question have been gathered 
together by Dr. Frazer in The Golden Bough. He brings 
out the point that the victim in a human sacrifice was not 
originally merely a man, but a very important man, none 
other than the king, the priest-king of the tribe. In many 
communities, Aryan-speaking and other, it has been the 
principal function of such a priest-king to die, annually or 
at longer intervals, for the people. His place is taken, as 
a rule, by the tribesman who has slain him 3 . Dr. Frazer's 
own explanation of this custom is, that the head of the tribe 
was looked upon as possessed of great magical powers, as 
a big medicine man, and was in fact identified with the god 
himself. And his periodical death, says Dr. Frazer, was 
necessary, in order to renew the vitality of the god, who 
might decay and cease to exist, were he not from time to 
time reincarnated by being slain and passing into the body 
of his slayer and successor 4 . This is a highly ingenious 

1 V. Hehn, Culturpflanzen, 438. norum, daemonibus obtulerit' ; Lex 

1 Grimm, i. 44, 48, 53 ; Golther, Frisionum> additio sup. tit. 42 * qui 

561 ; Gummere, G. 0.459; Schrader, fanum effregerit . . . immolatur diis, 

422 ; Mogk, iii. 388 ; Meyer, 199, quorum templa violavit ' ; Epist* 

and for Keltic evidence Elton, 270. Greg. Ill, \ (P. L. Ixxxix, 578) hoc 

Many of these examples belong quoque inter alia crimina agi in 

rather to the war than to the agri- partibus illis dixisti, quod quidam ex 

cultural cult. The latest in the fidelibus ad immolandum paganis 

west are Capit. de parlib. Saxon. 9 sua venundent mancipia.' 

' Si quis hominem diabolo sacrifi- 3 Frazer, ii. i ; Jevons, 279. 

cavern et in hostiam, more paga- * Frazer, ii. 5, 59. 



VILLAGE FESTIVALS 135 

and fascinating theory, but unfortunately there are several 
difficulties in the way of accepting it. In the first place it 
is inconsistent with the explanation of the sacramental 
killing of the god arrived at by Professor Robertson Smith. 
According to this the sacrifice of the god is for the sake 
of his worshippers, that the blood-bond with them may be 
renewed ; and we have seen that this view fits in admirably 
with the minor sacrificial rites, such as the eating and bury- 
ing of the flesh, as the wearing of the horns and hides. 
Dr. Frazer, however, obliges us to hold that the god is also 
sacrificed for his own sake, and leaves us in the position of 
propounding two quite distinct and independent reasons for 
the same fact. Secondly, there is no evidence, at least 
amongst Aryan-speaking peoples, for that breaking down 
of the very real and obvious distinction between the god and 
his chief worshipper or priest, which Dr. Frazer's theory 
implies. And thirdly, if the human victim were slain as 
being the god, surely this slaughter should have replaced 
the slaughter of the animal victim previously slain for the 
same reason, which it did not, and should have been followed 
by a sacramental meal of a cannibal type, of which also, in 
western Europe, there is but the slightest trace *. 

Probably, therefore, the alternative explanation of Dr. 
Frazer's own facts given by Dr. Jevons is preferable. Ac- 
cording to this the death of the human victim arises out of 
the circumstances of the animal sacrifice. The slaying of the 
divine animal is an act approached by the tribe with mingled 
feelings. It is necessary, in order to renew the all-essential 
blood-bond between the god and his worshippers. And at 
the same time it is an act of sacrilege ; it is killing the god. 
There is some hesitation amongst the assembled worshippers. 
Who will dare the deed and face its consequences ? * The 
clansman/ says Dr. Jevons, * whose religious conviction of 
the clan's need of communion with the god was deepest, 
would eventually and after long waiting be the one to 
strike, and take upon himself the issue, for the sake of 

1 Strabo, iv. 5. 4 ; Bastian, OestL not necessarily represent a primitive 
Asien, y. 272. The Mexican evi- notion of the nature of the rite, 
dence given by Frazer, iii. 134, does 



136 FOLK DRAMA 

his fellow men/ This issue would be twofold. The slayer 
would be exalted in the eyes of his fellows. He would 
naturally be the first to drink the shed blood of the god. 
A double portion of the divine spirit would enter into him. 
He would become, for a while, the leader, the priest-king, of 
the community. At the same time he would incur blood- 
guiltiness. And in a year's time, when his sanctity was 
exhausted, the penalty would have to be paid. His death 
would accompany the renewal of the bond by a fresh sacrifice, 
implying in its turn the self-devotion of a fresh annual king 1 . 

The.se theories belong to a region of somewhat shadowy 
conjecture. If Dr. Jevons is right, it would seem to follow 
that, as has already been suggested, the human death at an 
annual festival was not initially sacrifice. It accompanied, 
but did not replace the sacramental slaughter of a divine 
animal. But when the animal sacrifice had itself changed 
its character, and was looked upon, no longer as an act of 
communion with the god, but as an offering or bribe made 
to him, then a new conception of the human death also was 
required. When the animal ceased to be recognized as the 
god, the need of a punishment for slaying it disappeared. 
But the human death could not be left meaningless, and its 
meaning was assimilated to that of the animal sacrifice itself. 
It also became an oblation, the greatest that could be offered 
by the tribe to its protector and its judge. And no doubt 
this was the conscious view taken of the matter by Kelts and 
Teutons at the time when they appear in history. The human 
sacrifice was on the same footing as the animal sacrifice, but it 
was a more binding, a more potent, a more solemn appeal. 

In whatever way human sacrifice originated, it was ob- 
viously destined, with the advance of civilization, to undergo 
modification. Not only would the growing moral sense of 
mankind learn to hold it a dark and terrible thing, but also 
to go on killing the leading man of the tribe, the king-priest, 
would have its obvious practical inconveniences. At first, 
indeed, these would not be great. The king-priest would be 

1 Jevons, 291 ; Plutarch, Ixx. at Athens and the regifugium at 
For traces of the blood-guiltiness Rome (Frazer, ii. 294 ; Robertson 
incurred by sacrifice, cf. the <w<pii*ia Smith, i. 286). 



VILLAGE FESTIVALS 137 

little more than a rain-maker, a rex sacrorum, and one 
man might perform the ceremonial observances as well as 
another. But as time went on, and the tribe settled down 
to a comparatively civilized life, the serious functions of its 
leader would increase. He would become the arbiter of 
justice, the adviser in debate ; above all, when war grew 
into importance, the captain in battle. And to spare and 
replace, year by year, the wisest councillor and the bravest 
warrior would grow into an intolerable burden. Under some 
such circumstances, one can hardly doubt, a process of sub- 
stitution set in. Somebody had to die for the king. At first, 
perhaps, the substitute was an inferior member of the king's 
own house, or even an ordinary tribesman, chosen by lot. 
But the process, once begun, was sure to continue, and 
presently it was sufficient if a life of little value, that of 
a prisoner, a slave, a criminal, a stranger within the gates, 
was sacrificed *. The common belief in madness or imbecility 
as a sign of divine possession may perhaps have contributed 
to make the village fool or natural seem a particularly suit- 
able victim. But to the very end of Teutonic and Keltic 
heathenism, the sense that the substitute was, after all, only 
a substitute can be traced. In times of great stress or 
danger, indeed, the king might still be called upon to suffer 
in person 2 . And always a certain pretence that the victim 
was the king was kept up. Even though a slave or criminal, 
he was for a few days preceding the sacrifice treated royally. 
He was a temporary king, was richly dressed and feasted, 
had a crown set on his head, and was permitted to hold revel 
with his fellows. The farce was played out in the sight of 
men and gods :: . Ultimately, of course, the natural growth 
of the sanctity of human life in a progressive people, or in 
an unprogressive people the pressure of outside ideals 4 , 
forbids the sacrifice of a man at all. Perhaps the temporary 

1 Frazer, n. 15, 55, 232 ; Jevons, Grant Allen, 296. 

280 ; Grant Allen, 242, 296, 329. * The British rule in India for- 

2 In three successive years of bids human sacrifice, and the 
famine the Swedes sacrificed first Khonds, a Dravidian race of Ben- 
oxen, then men, finally their king gal, have substituted animal for 
Domaldi himself ( Ynglingasaga, human victims within the memory 
c. 18). of man (Frazer, ii. 245). 

8 Fiazer, ii. 24; Jevons, 280; 



138 FOLK DRAMA 

king is still chosen, and even some symbolic mimicked slaying 
of him takes place ; but actually he does not die. An animal 
takes his place upon the altar ; or more strictly speaking, an 
animal remains the last victim, as it had been the first, and in 
myth is regarded as a substitute for the human victim which 
for a time had shared its fate. Of such a myth the legends 
of Abraham and Isaac and of Iphigeneia at Aulis are the 
classical examples. 

There is another group of myths for which, although they 
lack this element of a substituted victim, mythologists find an 
origin in a reformation of religious sentiment leading to the 
abolition of human sacrifice. The classical legend of Perseus 
and Andromeda, the hagiological legend of St. George and 
the Dragon, the Teutonic legend of Beowulf and Grendel, 
are only types of innumerable tales in which the hero puts 
an end to the periodical death of a victim by slaying the 
monster who has enforced and profited by it 1 . What is 
such a story but the imaginative statement of the fact that 
such sacrifices at one time were, and are not ? It is, how- 
ever, noticeable, that in the majority of these stories, although 
not in all, the dragon or monster slain has his dwelling in 
water, and this leads to the consideration of yet another 
sophistication of the primitive notion of sacrifice. According 
to this notion sacrifice was necessarily bloody ; in the shed- 
ding of blood and in the sacrament of blood partaken of by 
the worshippers, lay the whole gist of the rite : a bloodless 
sacrifice would have no raison cf^tre. On the other hand, 
the myths just referred to seem to imply a bloodless sacrifice 
by drowning, and this notion is confirmed by an occasional 
bit of ritual, and by the common superstition which repre- 
sents the spirits of certain lakes and rivers as claiming 
a periodical victim in the shape of a drowned person 2 . 
Similarly there are traces of sacrifices, which must have been 
equally bloodless, by fire. At the Beltane festival, for 
instance, one member of the party is chosen by lot to be 

1 Hartland, iii. i ; Frazer, Pau- a Hartland, iii. 81 ; Grimm, ii. 
sa*ias,w. 197; .44, 143; B^ren- 494; Gummere, G. O. 396. The 
ger-Feraud, i. 207. Mr. Frazer enu- slaves of Nerthus were drowned in 
merates forty-one versions of the the same lake in which the god- 
legend, dess was dipped. 



VILLAGE FESTIVALS 139 

the 'victim/ is made to jump over the flames and is spoken 
of in jest as ' dead V Various Roman writers, who apparently 
draw from the second-century B.C. Greek explorer Posido- 
nius, ascribe to the Druids of Gaul a custom of burning 
human and other victims at quinquennial feasts in colossal 
images of hollow wickerwork ; and squirrels, cats, snakes and 
other creatures are frequently burnt in modern festival-fires 2 . 
The constant practice, indeed, of burning bones in such fires 
has given them the specific name of bonfires, and it may be 
taken for granted that the bones are only representatives of 
more complete victims. I would suggest that such sacrifices 
by water and fire are really developments of the water- and 
fire-charms described in the last chapter ; and that just as 
the original notion of sacrifice has been extended to give a 
new significance to the death of a human being at a religious 
festival, when the real reason for that death had been for- 
gotten, so it has been still further extended to cover the 
primitive water- and fire-charms when they too had become 
meaningless. I mean that at a festival the victims, like the 
image and the worshippers, were doubtless habitually flung 
into water or passed through fire as part of the charm ; and 
that, at a time when sacrifice had grown into mere oblation 
and the shedding of blood was therefore no longer essential, 
these rites were adapted and given new life as alternative 
methods of effecting the sacrifice. 

It is not surprising that there should be but few direct and 
evident survivals of sacrifice in English village custom. For 
at the time of the conversion the rite must have borne the 
whole brunt of the missionary attack. The other elements of 
the festivals, the sacred garlands, the water- and fire-charms, 
had already lost much of their original significance. A judge- 
ment predisposed to toleration might plausibly look upon 

1 P. L. vi. I. festival-fires. But elsewhere, as in 

8 Frazer, iii. 319; Gaidoz, 27; the midsummer shows, such 'giants' 

Cortet, 213 ; Simpson, 221 ; Ber- seem to be images of the agri- 

trand, 68; F. L. xii. 315. The cultural divinities, and it is not clear 

work of Posidonius does not exist, by what process they came to be 

but was possibly used by Caesar, burnt and so destroyed. Perhaps 

B. G. vi. 15 ; Strabo, iv. 4. 5 ; they were originally only smoked, 

Diodorus, v. 32. Wicker 'giants' just as they were dipped, 
are still burnt in some French 



140 FOLK DRAMA 

them as custom rather than worship. It was not so with 
sacrifice. This too had had its history, and in divers ways 
changed its character. But it was still essentially a liturgy. 
Oblation or sacrament, it could not possibly be dissociated 
from a recognition of the divine nature of the power in whose 
honour it took place. And therefore it must necessarily be 
renounced, as a condition of acceptance in the Church at all, 
by the most weak-kneed convert. What happened was 
precisely that to which Gregory the Great looked forward. 
The sacrificial banquet, the great chines of flesh, and the 
beakers of ale, cider, and mead, endured, but the central 
rite of the old festival, the ceremonial slaying of the animal, 
vanished. The exceptions, however, are not so rare as might 
at first sight be thought, and naturally they are of singular 
interest. It has already been pointed out that in times ofs 
stress and trouble, the thinly veneered heathenism of the 
country folk long tended to break out, and in particular that 
up to a very late date the primitive need-fire was occa- 
sionally revived to meet the exigencies of a cattle-plague. 
Under precisely similar circumstances, and sometimes in 
immediate connexion with the need-fire, cattle have been 
known, even during the present century, to be sacrificed *. 
Nor are such sporadic instances the only ones that can be 
adduced. Here and there sacrifice, in a more or less modi- 
fied form, remains an incident in the village festival. The 
alleged custom of annually sacrificing a sheep on May-day at 
Andreas in the Isle of Man rests on slight evidence 2 ; but 
there is a fairly well authenticated example in the ' ram 
feast 1 formerly held on the same day in the village of 
Holne in Devonshire. A ram was slain at a granite pillar 
or ancient altar in the village ' ploy-field/ and a struggle 
took place for slices which were supposed to bring luck 8 . 

1 Gomme, Ethnology, 137 ; F.L. * i N. Q. vii. 353 ; Gomme, Eth- 
ii. 300 ; x. 101 ; xii. 217 ; Vaux, nology, 32 ; Village Community, 
287; Rhys, C. F. i. 306. 113; Grant Allen, 290. The custom 

2 F. L. ii. 302 ; Rhys, C. F. i. 307. was extinct when it was first de- 
In 1656, bulls were sacrificed near scribed in 1853, and some doubt 
Dingwall (F. L. x. 353). A few has recently been thrown upon the 
additional examples, beyond those ' altar,' the * struggle ' and other 
here given, are mentioned by N. W. details ; cf. Trans, of Devonshire 
Thomas, in F. L. xi. 247. Assn. xxviii. 99 ; F.L. viii. 287. 



VILLAGE FESTIVALS 141 

Still more degenerate survivals are afforded by the Whitsun 
feast at King's Teignton, also in Devonshire 1 9 and by the 
Whitsun 'lamb feast* at 'Kidlington 2 , the Trinity 'lamb 
ale* at Kirtlington 3 , and the 'Whit hunt* in Wychwood 
Forest 4 , all three places lying close together in Oxfordshire. 
These five cases have been carefully recorded and studied ; 
but they do not stand alone; for the folk-calendar affords 
numerous examples of days which are marked, either univer- 
sally or locally, by the ceremonial hunting or killing of some 
wild or domestic animal, or by the consumption of a parti- 
cular dish which readily betrays its sacrificial origin 5 . The 
appearance of animals in ecclesiastical processions in St. 
Paul's cathedral 6 and at Bury St. Edmunds 7 is especially 
significant ; and it is natural to find an origin for the old 
English sport of bull-baiting rather in a survival of heathen 
ritual than in any reminiscence of the Roman amphitheatre 8 . 
Even where sacrifice itself has vanished, the minor rites 
which once accompanied it are still perpetuated in the super- 
stitions or the festival customs of the peasantry. The heads 
and hides of horses or cattle, like the exuviae of the sacrificial 
victims, are worn or carried in dance, procession or qu$te 9 . The 
dead bodies of animals are suspended by shepherds or game- 
keepers upon tree and barn-door, from immemorial habit or from 

1 I -Af.g.vii. 353; Gomm^Etkno- Sparrow Simpson, S/. Paul's Cath. 

logy* 3 J Vaux, 285. and Old City Life, 234). 

^ Blount, Jocular Tenures (ed. 7 F. L. iy. 9; x. 355. White 

Beckwith), 281 ; Dyer, 297. bulls are said to have been led to 

8 Dunkin, ///. ofBicester(i%\6), the shrine by women desirous of 
268; P. Manning, in F. Z. yiii. 313. children. F. C. Conybeare, in R. 

4 P. Manning, in F. L. viii. 310; de fHist. des Religions, xliv. 108, 
Dyer, 282. describes some survivals of sac- 
's N.W.Thomas, in F. Z. xi. 227 ; rificial rites in the Armenian church 
Dyer, 285, 438, 470 ; Ditchfield, which existed primitively in other 
85, 131. Greek churches also. 

9 Certain lands were held of the 8 F. L. vii. 346. Bull-baiting 
chapter for which a fat buck was often took place on festivals, and 
paid on the Conversion of St. Paul in several cases, as at Tutbury, the 
(January 25), and a fat doe on bull was driven into or over a river, 
the Commemoration of St. Paul Bear-baiting is possibly a later 
(June 30). They were offered, ac- variant of the sport. 

cording to one writer, alive, at the ' Burton, 165 ; Suffolk F. L. 71 ; 

high altar; the flesh was baked, the Ditchfield, 227 ; Dyer, 387 ; Pfan- 

head and horns carried in festal nenschmidt, 279 ; cf. the Abbots 

procession. The custom dated Bromley Horn-dance (ch. viii). 
from at least 1274 (Dyer, 49; W. 



142 FOLK DRAMA 

some vague suspicion of the luck they will bring. Although 
inquiry will perhaps elicit the fallacious explanation that 
they are there pour encourager les autres *. In the following 
chapters an attempt will be made to show how widely 
sacrifice is represented in popular amusements and ludi. Here 
it will be sufficient to call attention to two personages who 
figure largely in innumerable village festivals. One is the 
' hobby-horse/ not yet, though Shakespeare will have it so, 
1 forgot 2 ' : the other the fool ' or * squire/ a buffoon with 
a pendent cow's tail, who is in many places de rigueur in 
Maying or rushbearing 3 . Both of these grotesques seem to 
be at bottom nothing but worshippers careering in the skins 
of sacrificed animals. 

The cereal or liquor sacrifice is of less importance. Sugar 
and water, which may be conjectured to represent mead, is 
occasionally drunk beside a sacred well, and in one instance, 
at least, bread and cheese are thrown into the depths. Some- 
times also a ploughman carries bread and cheese in his pocket 
when he goes abroad to cut the first furrow 4 . But the original 
rite is probably most nearly preserved in the custom of 
'youling 1 fruit-trees to secure a good crop. When this is 
done, at Christmas or Ascension-tide, ale or cider is poured 
on the roots of the trees, and a cake placed in a fork of the 
boughs. Here and there a cake is also hung on the horn of 
an ox in the stall 5 . Doubtless the 'feasten' cake, of traditional 

1 F. L. iv. 5. The custom of 'fool 'or 'squire* in the sword and 

sacrifice at the foundation of a new morris dances, and ch. xvi on his 

building has also left traces : cf. court and literary congener. The 

Grant Allen, 248 ; F. L. xi. . 322, folk-fool wears a cow's tail or fox's 

437 ; Speth, Builders' Rites and brush, or carries a stick with a tail 

Ceremonies. at one end and a bladder and peas 

8 Douce, 598, gives a cut of a at the other. He often wears 

hobby-horse, i.e. a man riding a a mask or has his face blacked, 

pasteboard or wicker horse with In Lancashire he is sometimes 

his legs concealed beneath a foot- merged with the 'woman 'grotesque 

cloth. According to Du MeVil, of the folk-festivals, and called 

Com. i. 79, 421, the device is known 'owd Bet.' 

throughout Europe. In France it is * W. Gregor, F.L.O/N. E. Scot" 

the chevalet, cheval-mallet, cheval- /#>&/, 1 8 1, says that bread and cheese 

fol 9 &c. ; in Germany the Schim- were actually laid in the field, an,d 

met. in the plough when it was ' strykit.' 

1 Dyer, 182, 266, 271 ; Ditch- 5 Dyer, 20, 207, 447 ; Ditchfield, 

field, 97; Burton, 40; F. Z. viii. 46; F. L. vi. 93. Pirminius v. 

39> 3I3> 317; cf. ch. ix on the Reichenau, EHcta(\ 753), c. 22, 



VILLAGE FESTIVALS 143 

shape and composition, which pervades the country, is in its 
origin sacramental 1 . Commonly enough, it represents an 
animal or human being, and in such cases it may be held, 
while retaining its own character of a cereal sacrifice, to be 
also a substitute for the animal or human sacrifice with which 
it should by rights be associated 2 . 

An unauthenticated and somewhat incredible story has 
been brought from Italy to the effect that the moun- 
taineers of the Abruzzi are still in the habit of offering 
up a human sacrifice in Holy week 3 . In these islands a 
reminiscence of the observance is preserved in the * victim 1 
of the Beltane festival 4 , and a transformation of it in the 
whipping of lads when the bounds are beaten in the Roga- 
tions 5 . Some others, less obvious, will be suggested in the 
sequel. In any case one ceremony which, as has been seen, 
grew out of human sacrifice, has proved remarkably enduring. 
This is the election of the temporary king. Originally chosen 
out of the lowest of the people for death, and fted as the 
equivalent or double of the real king-priest of the community, 
he has survived the tragic event which gave him birth, and 
plays a great part as the master of the ceremonies in many 
a village revel. The English * May-king/ or * summer-king,' 
or 'harvest-lord 8 / or 'mock-mayor 7 / is a very familiar 
personage, and can be even more abundantly paralleled 

forbids 'effundcre super truncum sometimes includes burying them, 

frugem et vinum.' closely resembles the symbolical 

1 F. L. Congress, 449, gives a list sacrifices of the harvest field (p. 

of about fifty *feasten ; cakes. 158). Grant Allen, 270, suggests 

Some are quite local ; others, from that the tears shed are a rain- 

the Shrove Tuesday pancake to charm. I hope he is joking. 

the Good Friday hot cross bun, ' Brand, ii. 13 ; Suffolk F. Z-. 69, 

widespread. 71; Leicester F. L. 121. A 'har- 

s Grimm, i. 57 ; Frazer, ii. 344 ; vest-lord' is probably meant by the 

Grant Allen, 339; Jevons, 215; * Rex Autumnalis' mentioned in 

Dyer, 165 ; Ditchfield, 81. the Accounts of St. Michael's, Bath 

" F. L. vi. 57 ; viii. 354 ; ix. (ed. Somerset Arch. Soc. 88), in 

362; x. III. 1487, 1490, and 1492. A corona 

4 F. L. vi. I. was hired by him from the parish. 

8 Ditchfield, 116, 227 ; Suffolk Often the reaper who cuts the last 

F. L. 108; Dyer, Old English sheaf (i.e. slays the divinity) be- 

Social Life^ 197. The boys are comes harvest-lord, 

now said to be whipped in order 7 Gomme, Village Community > 

that they may remember the boun- 107 ; Dyer, 339 ; Northall, 202 ; 

daries ; but the custom, which Gloucester F. L. 33. 



144 FOLK DRAMA 

from continental festivals 1 . To the May-king in particular 
we shall return. But in concluding this chapter it is worth 
while to point out and account for two variants of the custom 
under consideration. In many cases, probably in the majority 
of cases so far as the English May-day is concerned, the king 
is not a king, but a queen. Often, indeed, the part is played 
by a lad in woman's clothes, but this seems only to emphasize 
the fact that the temporary ruler is traditionally regarded as 
a female one 2 . It is probable that we have here no modern 
development, but a primitive element in the agricultural 
worship. Tacitus records the presence amongst the Germans 
of a male priest ' adorned as women use V while the exchange 
of garments by the sexes is included amongst festival abuses 
in the ecclesiastical discipline-books 4 . Occasionally, more- 
over, the agricultural festivals, like those of the Bona Dea at 
Rome, are strictly feminine functions, from which all men are 
excluded 5 . Naturally I regard these facts as supporting my 
view of the origin of the agricultural worship in a women's 
cult, upon which the pastoral cult of the men was afterwards 
engrafted. And finally, there are cases in which not a king 
alone nor a queen alone is found, but a king and a queen 6 . 
This also would be a reasonable outcome of the merging of 
the two cults. Some districts know the May-queen as the 
May-bride, and it is possible that a symbolical wedding of 
a priest and priestess may have been one of the regular rites 
of the summer festivals. For this there seem to be some 
parallels in Greek and Roman custom, while the myth which 

1 Frazer, i. 216 ; E. Pabst, Die in habitu muliebri et mulier in 

Volksfeste des Maigrafen (1865). habitu viri emendatione pollicita 

a Frazer, i. 219; Cortet, 160; tres annos poeniteat.' The ex- 
Brand, i. 126 ; Dyer, 266 ; Ditch- change of head-gear between men 
field, 98. and women remains a familiar 

8 Tacitus, Germ. c. 43 ' apud feature of the modern bank- 

Nahanarvalos antiquae religionis holiday. Some Greek parallels are 

lucus ostenditur. praesidet sacer- collected by Frazer, Pausantas, iii. 

dos muliebri ornatu.' 197. E. Cravvley, The Mystic Rose 

4 Cone, of Trullo (692), c. 62 (1902), viii. 371, suggests another 

(Mansi,xi.67i) < Nullus vir deinceps explanation, which would connect 

muliebri veste induatur, vel mulier the custom with the amorous side 

veste viro conveniente ' ; Cone, of of the primitive festivals. 
Braga (of doubtful date), c. 80 6 Frazer, ii. 93, 109. 
(Mansi, ix. 844) ' Si quis ballationes 6 Ibid. i. 220; Brand, i. 157; 

ante ecclesias sanctorum fecerit, seu Dyer, 217; Ditchfield, 97; Kelly, 

quis faciem suam transformaverit 62 : cf. ch. viii. 



VILLAGE FESTIVALS 145 

represents the heaven as the fertilizing husband of the fruitful 
earth is of hoar antiquity amongst the Aryan-speaking peoples. 
The forces which make for the fertility of the fields were 
certainly identified in worship with those which make for 
human fertility. The waters of the sacred well or the blaze 
of the festival fire help the growth of the crops ; they also 
help women in their desire for a lover and for motherhood. 
And it may be taken for granted that the summer festivals 
knew from the beginning that element of sexual licence which 
fourteen centuries of Christianity have not wholly been able 
to banish 1 . 

1 Pearson, ii. 24, 407. Cf. the evidence for a primitive human pairing- 
season in Westermarck, 25. 



CHAPTER VII 
FESTIVAL PLAY 

[Bibliographical Note. A systematic revision of J. Strutt, The Sports 
and Pastimes of the People of England (1801, ed. W. Hone, 1830), is, as 
in the case of Brand's book, much needed. On the psychology of play 
should be consulted K. Groos, Die Spiele der Thiere (1896, transl. 1898), 
and Die Spiele der Menschen (1899, transl. 1901). Various anthropo- 
logical aspects of play are discussed by A. C. Haddon, The Study of 
Man (1898), and the elaborate dictionary of The Traditional Games of 
England, Scotland and Ireland by Mrs. A. B. Gomme (1894-8) may 
be supplemented from W. W. Newell, Games and Songs oj American 
Children (1884), H. C. Bolton, The Counting-Out Rhymes of Children 
(1888), E. W. B. Nicholson, Golspie (1897), and R. C. Maclagan, The 
Games and Diversions of Argyleshire (F.L.S. 1901). The charivari 
is treated by C. R. B. Barrett, Riding Skimmington and Riding the Stang 
in the Journal of the British Archaeological Association, N. S. i. 58, and 
C. Noirot, L'Otigine des Masques (1609), reprinted with illustrative matter 
by C. Leber, Dissertations relatives a PHistoire de France, vol. ix. The 
account of the Coventry Hpx Tuesday Play given in Robert Laneham's 
Letter (1575) will be found in Appendix H.J 

THE charms, the prayer, the sacrifice, make up that side 
of the agricultural festival which may properly be regarded 
as cult : they do not make up the whole of it. It is 
natural to ask whether, side by side with the observances of 
a natural religion, there were any of a more spiritual type ; 
whether the village gods of our Keltic and Teutonic ancestors 
were approached on festival occasions solely as the givers 
of the good things of earth, or whether there was also any 
recognition of the higher character which in time they came 
to have as the guardians of morality, such as we can trace 
alike in the ritual of Eleusis and in the tribal mysteries of 
some existing savage peoples. It is not improbable that 
this was so ; but it may be doubted whether there is much 
available evidence on the matter, and, in any case, it cannot 
be gone into here 1 . There is, however, a third element of 

1 Purity of life is sometimes required of those who are to kindle the 
new fire (Frazer, iii. 260, 302). 



FESTIVAL PLAY 147 

the village festival which does demand consideration, and 
that is the element of play. The day of sacrifice was also 
a day of cessation from the ordinary toil of the fields, a 
holiday as well as a holy day. Sacred and secular met in 
the amorous encounters smiled upon by the liberal wood- 
goddess, and in the sacramental banquet with its collops of 
flesh and spilth of ale and mead. But the experience of any 
bank holiday will show that, for those who labour, the 
suspension of their ordinary avocations does not mean quies- 
cence. When the blood is heated with love and liquor, the 
nervous energies habitually devoted to wielding the goad 
and guiding the plough must find vent in new and for the 
nonce unprofitable activities. But such activities, self-suffi- 
cing, and primarily at least serving no end beyond them- 
selves, are, from pushpin to poetry, exactly what is meant 
by play 1 . 

The instinct of play found a foothold at the village feast 
in the debris which ritual, in its gradual transformation, left 
behind. It has already been noted as a constant feature in 
the history of institutions that a survival does not always 
remain merely a survival ; it may be its destiny, when it is 
emptied of its first significance, to be taken up into a different 
order of ideas, and to receive a new lease of vitality under 
a fresh interpretation. Sacrifice ceases to be sacrament and 
becomes oblation. Dipping and smoking customs, originally 
magical, grow to be regarded as modes of sacrificial death. 
Other such waifs of the past become the inheritance of 
play. As the old conception of sacrifice passed into the 
new one, the subsidiary rites, through which the sacramental 
influence had of old been distributed over the worshippers 
and their fields, although by no means disused, lost their 
primitive meaning. Similarly, when human sacrifice was 
abolished, that too left traces of itself, only imperfectly in- 
telligible, in mock or symbolical deaths, or in the election 
of the tetnporary king. Thus, even before Christianity anti- 
quated the whole structure of the village festivals, there were 
individual practices kept alive only by the conservatism of 

1 H. Spencer, Principles of Psychology^ ii. 629 ; K. Groos, Play of 
> 361 ; Hirn, 25. 

L 2 



148 FOLK DRAMA 

tradition, and available as material for the play instinct. 
These find room in the festivals side by side with other 
customs which the same instinct not only preserved but 
initiated. Of course, the antithesis between play and cult 
must not be pushed too far. The peasant mind is tenacious of 
acts and forgetful of explanations ; and the chapters to come 
will afford examples of practices which, though they began 
in play, came in time to have a serious significance of quasi- 
ritual, and to share in the popular imagination the prestige 
as fertility charms of the older ceremonies of worship with 
which they were associated. The ludi to be immediately 
discussed, however, present themselves in the main as sheer 
play. Several of them have broken loose from the festivals 
altogether, or, if they still acknowledge their origin by making 
a special appearance on some fixed day, are also at the 
service of ordinary amusement, whenever the leisure or the 
whim of youth may so suggest. 

To begin with, it is possible that athletic sports and horse- 
racing are largely an outcome of sacrificial festivals. Like 
the Greeks around the pyre of Patroclus, the Teutons cele- 
brated games at the tombs of their dead chieftains 1 . But 
games were a feature of seasonal, no less than funeral feasts. 
It will be remembered that the council of Clovesho took pains 
to forbid the keeping of the Rogation days with horse-races. 
A bit of wrestling or a bout of quarter-staff is still de rigueur 
at many a wake or rushbearing, while in parts of Germany 
the winner of a race or of a shooting-match at the popinjay is 
entitled to light the festival fire, or to hold the desired office of 
May-king 2 . The reforming bishops of the thirteenth century 
include public wrestling-bouts and contests for prizes amongst 
the ludi whose performance they condemn ; and they lay 
particular stress upon a custom described as arietum super 
ligna et rotas elevationes. The object of these 'ram-raisings' 
seems to be explained by the fact that in the days of Chaucer 
a ram was the traditional reward proposed for a successful 
wrestler 3 ; and this perhaps enables us to push the connexion 

* Gummere, G. O. 331. (C. T. prol. 548) : 

* Frazer, i. 217 ; Hi. 258. 'At wrastlynge he wolde have 
Chaucer says of the Miller alwey the ram ' ; 



FESTIVAL PLAY 149 

with the sacrificial rite a little further. I would suggest that 
the original object of the man who wrestled for a ram, or 
climbed a greasy pole for a leg of mutton, or shot for a popin- 
jay, was to win a sacrificial victim or a capital portion thereof, 
which buried in his field might bring him abundant crops. 
The orderly competition doubtless evolved itself from such an 
indiscriminate scrimmage for the fertilizing fragments as marks 
the rites of the earth-goddess in the Indian village feast l . 
Tug-of-war would seem to be capable of a similar explana- 
tion, though here the desired object is not a portion of the 
victim, but rather a straw rope made out of the corn divinity 
itself in the form of the harvest-May 2 . An even closer 
analogy with the Indian rite is afforded by such games as 
hockey and football. The ball is nothing else than the head 
of the sacrificial beast, and it is the endeavour of each player 
to get it into his own possession, or, if sides are taken, to get 
it over a particular boundary 3 . Originally, of course, this 
was the player's own boundary ; it has come to be regarded 
as that of his opponents ; but this inversion of the point of 
view is not one on which much stress can be laid. In proof 
of this theory it may be pointed out that in many places 
football is still played, traditionally, on certain days of the 
year. The most notable example is perhaps at Dorking, 
where the annual Shrove Tuesday scrimmage in the streets 

and of Sir Thopas (C. T. 13670) : games, in which the ball is fought 

' Of wrastlynge was ther noon his for, are distinct from those already 

peer, mentioned as having a ceremonial 

Ther any ram shal stonde.' use, in which it is amicably tossed 

Strutt, 82, figures a wrestling from from player to player (cf. p. 128). 

Royal MS. 2, B. viii, with a cock If Golf belongs to the present 

set on a pole as the prize, category, it is a case in which the 

1 Cf. Appendix I., and Frazer, ii. endeavour seems to be actually to 
316 ; Jevons, Plutarch, Ixix. 143, on bury the ball. It is tempting to 
the struggle between two wards compare the name Hockey with the 
the Sacred Way and the Subura Hock-cart of thj harvest festival, 
for the head of the October Horse and with Hock-tide ; but it does not 
at Rome. really seem to be anything but 

2 Haddon, 270. The tug-of-war Hookey. The original of both the 
reappears in Korea and Japan as hockey-stick and the golf-club was 
a ceremony intended to secure a probably the shepherd's crook, 
good harvest. Mr. Pepys tried to cast stones with 

8 Mrs. Gomme, s. vv. Bandy- a shepherd's crook on those very 
ball, Camp t Football, Hockey, Epsom downs where the stock- 
Hood, Hurling, Shinty. These broker now foozles his tee shot. 



150 FOLK DRAMA 

of the town and the annual efforts of the local authorities to 
suppress it furnish their regular paragraph to the newspapers. 
There are several others, in most of which, as at Dorking, 
the contest is between two wards or districts of the town l . 
This feature is repeated in the Shrove Tuesday tug-of-war 
at Ludlow, and in annual faction-fights elsewhere 2 . It is 
probably due to that <n/i/otKi<r/uto's of village communities by 
which towns often came into being. Here and there, more- 
over, there are to be found rude forms of football in which 
the primitive character of the proceeding is far more evident 
than in the sophisticated game. Two of these deserve espe- 
cial mention. At Hallaton in Leicestershire a feast is held 
on Easter Monday at a piece of high ground called Hare-pie 
Bank. A hare the sacrificial character of the hare has 
already been dwelt upon is carried in procession. ' Hare- 
pies ' are scrambled for ; and then follows a sport known as 
'bottle-kicking.' Hooped wooden field-bottles are thrown 
down and a scrimmage ensues between the men of Hallaton 
and the men of the adjoining village of Medbourne. Besides 
the connexion with the hare sacrifice, it is noticeable that 
each party tries to drive the bottle towards its own boundary, 
and not that of its opponents 3 . More interesting still is the 
Epiphany struggle for the ' Haxey hood ' at Haxey in 
Lincolnshire. The ' hood ' is a roll of sacking or leather, and 
it is, the object of each of the players to carry it to a public- 
house in his own village. The ceremony is connected with 
the Plough Monday quite % and the 'plough-bullocks' or 
1 boggons ' led by their '.lord duke ' and their ' fool/ known 
as * Billy Buck/ are the presiding officials. On the following 
day a festival-fire is lit, over which the fool is * smoked/ 

1 F. L. vii. 345 ; M. Shearman, annual Shrove Tuesday football on 

Athletics and Football, 246 ; Had- the Roodee was commuted for races 

don, 271; Gomme, Vill. Comm. in 1540 (Hist. AfSS. viii. i. 362). 

240; Ditchfield, 57, 64; W. Fitz- At Dublin there was, in 1569, a 

Stephen, Vita S. Thomae ft 1170- Shrove Tuesday 'riding* of the 

82) in Mat. for Hist, of Becket 'occupations' each 'bearing balks' 

(R. S.), iii. 9, speaks of the ' lusum (Gilbert, ii. 54). 
pilae celebrem ' in London ' die * Baddon, loc. cit. ; Gomme, loc. 

quae dicitur Carnilevaria.' Riley, cit. ; Gloucester F. L. 38. Cf. the 

571, has a London proclamation conflictus described in ch. ix, and 

of 1409 forbidding the levy of the classical parallels in Frazer, 

money for 'fotebaBe' and 'cok- Pausanias, iii. 267. 
thresshyng.' At Chester the * F.L. iii 441 ; Ditchfield, 85. 



FESTIVAL PLAY 151 

The strongest support is given to my theory of the origin 
of this type of game, by an extraordinary speech which the 
fool delivers from the steps of an old cross. As usual, the 
cross has taken the place of a more primitive tree or shrine. 
The speech runs as follows : ' Now, good folks, this is Haxa* 
Hood. We've killed two bullocks and a half, but the other 
half we had to leave running field \ we can fetch it if it's 
wanted. Remember it's 

* Hoose agin hoose, toon agin toon, 
And if you meet a man, knock him doon.' 

In this case then, the popular memory has actually preserved 
the tradition that the 'hood' or ball played with is the half of 
a bullock, the head that is to say, of the victim decapitated 
at a sacrifice *. 

Hockey and football and tug-of-war are lusty male sports, 
but the sacrificial survival recurs in some of the singing games 
played by girls and children. The most interesting of these 
is that known as Oranges and Lemons/ An arch is formed 
by two children with raised hands, and under this the rest 
of the players pass. Meanwhile rhymes are sung naming 
the bells of various parishes, and ending with some such 
formula as 

* Here comes a chopper to chop off your head : 
The last, last, last, last man's head. 1 

As the last word is sung, the hands forming the arch are 
lowered, and the child who is then passing is caught, and falls 
in behind one of the leaders. When all in turn have been 
so caught, a tug-of-war, only without a rope, follows. The 
' chopping ' obviously suggests a sacrifice, in this case a human 
sacrifice. And the bell-rhymes show the connexion of the 
game with the parish contests just described. There exists 
indeed a precisely similar set of verses which has the title, 
Song of the Bells of Derby on Football Morning. The set 
ordinarily used in 'Oranges and Lemons' names London 

1 F. L. vii. 330 (a very fuU ac- hood on a windy day, and instituted 

count); viii. 72, 173; Ditchfield, the contest in memory of the 

50. There is a local actiological event, 
myth about a lady who lost her 



152 FOLK DRAMA 

parishes, but here is a Northamptonshire variant, which is 
particularly valuable because it alludes to another rite of the 
agricultural festival, the sacramental cake buried in a furrow : 

' 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, &c. l 

Other games of the same type are ' How many Miles to 
Babylon, 1 * Through the Needle Eye/ and 'Tower of London/ 
These add an important incident to 'Oranges and Lemons/ in 
that a ' king ' is said to be passing through the arch. On the 
other hand, some of them omit the tug-of-war 2 . With all 
these singing games it is a little difficult to say whether 
they proceed from children's imitations of the more serious 
proceedings of their elders, or whether they were originally 
played at the festivals by grown men and maidens, and have 
gradually, like the May qutte itself, fallen into the children's 
hands. The ' Oranges and Lemons ' group has its arlalogy to 
the tug-of-war; the use of the arch formation also connects 
it with the festival ' country ' dances which will be mentioned 
in the next chapter. 

The rude punishments by which the far from rigid code 
of village ethics vindicates itself against offenders, are on 
the border line between play and jurisprudence. These also 
appear to be in some cases survivals, diverted from their 
proper context, of festival usage. It has been pointed out 
that the ducking which was a form of rain-charm came to be 
used as a penalty for the churlish or dispirited person, who 
declined to throw up his work or to wear green on the festival 
day. In other places this same person has to ' ride the stang.' 
That is to say, he is set astride a pole and borne about with 
contumely, until he compounds for his misdemeanour by 
a fine in coin or liquor 8 . Riding the stang/ however, is 

1 Mrs. Gomme, s.v. Oranges and word, of Scandinavian origin, for 

T2? St ^ 'P ole ' or 'stake/ The Scandina- 

Mrs. Gomme, s. vv. vian nid-stong (scorn-stake) was a 

Dyer, 6, 481. * Stang' is a horse's head on a pole, with a written 



FESTIVAL PLAY 153 

a rural punishment of somewhat wide application 1 . It is 
common to England and to France, where it can be traced 
back, under the names of charivari and chevauch/e^ to the 
fifteenth century 2 . The French socittts joyeuses, which will 
be described in a later chapter, made liberal use of it 8 . The 
offences to which it is appropriate are various. A miser, a 
henpecked husband or a wife-beater, especially in May, and, 
on the other hand, a shrew or an unchaste woman, are liable 
to visitation, as are the parties to a second or third marriage, 
or to one perilously long delayed, or one linking May to 
December. The precise ceremonial varies considerably. 
Sometimes the victim has to ride on a pole, sometimes on a 
hobby-horse 4 , or on an ass with his face turned to the tail 6 . 
Sometimes, again, he does not appear at all, but is repre- 
sented by an effigy or guy, or, in France, by his next-door 
neighbour 6 . This dramatic version is, according to Mr. Barrett, 
properly called a * skimmington riding/ while the term 
* riding the stang ' is reserved for that in which the offender 
figures in person. The din of kettles, bones, and cleavers, so 
frequent an element in rustic ceremonies, is found here also, 

curse and a likeness of the man to et manibus sibilatione, instrument 

be ill-wished (Vigfusson, Icel. Diet, aeruginariorum, sive fabricantium, 

s.v. #/#). et aliarum rerum sonorosarum, 

1 Cf. with Mr. Barrett's account, vociferationibus tumultuosis et aliis 

Northall, 253; Ditchfield, 178; ludibriis et irrisionibus, in illo 

Northern F. L. 29 ; Julleville, Les damnabili actu (qui cariuarium, 

Com. 205 ; also Thomas Hardy's vulgariter charivari, nuncupatur) 

Mayor of Casterbridge, and his 7'Jte circa domos nubentium, et in ipso- 

Fire at Tranter Siveatley's ( Wessex rum detestationem et opprobrium 

Poems, 201). The penalty is used post eorum secundas nuptias fieri 

by schoolboys (Northern F. L. 29) consuetum, &c.' 
as well as villagers. 8 Cf. ch. xvi, and Leber, ix. 148, 

* Grenier, 375 ; Ducange, s. v. 169 ; Julleville, Les Com. 205, 243. 

Charivarium, which he defines as In 1579 a regular jeu was made 

Mudus turpis tinnitibus et clampri- by the Dijon Mtre-Folle of the che- 

bus variis, quibus illudunt iis, qui ad vauche'e of one M. Du Tillet. The 

secundas convolant nuptias. 1 He text is preserved in Bibl. Nat. MS. 

refers to the statutes of Melun 24039 and analysed by M. Petit de 

cathedral (1365) in Instrumenta Julleville. 

Hist. Ecd. Melud. ii. 503. Cf. * In Berks a draped horse's head 

Cone. ofLangres( 1404) ' ludo quod is carried, and the proceeding 

dicitur Chareuari, in quo utuntur known as a Hooset Hunt (Ditch- 

larvis in figura daemonum, et hor- field, 178). 

renda ibidem committuntur '; Cone. 6 Ducange, s.v. Asini caudam 

of Angers (1448), c. 12 (Labbe", xiii. in manu tenens. 
J 358) *pulsatione patellarum, pel- 6 Julleville, Les Com. 207. 
vium et campanarum, eorum oris 



154 FOLK DRAMA 

and in one locality at least the attendants are accustomed to 
blacken their faces l . It may perhaps be taken for granted that 
'riding the stang' is an earlier Ibrm of the punishment than 
the more delicate and symbolical ' skimmington riding 1 ; and 
it is probable that the rider represents a primitive village 
criminal haled off to become the literal victim at a sacrificial 
rite. The fine or forfeit by which in some cases the offence 
can be purged seems to create an analogy between the 
custom under consideration and other sacrificial survivals 
which must now be considered. These are perhaps best 
treated in connexion with Hock-tide and the curious play 
proper to that festival at Coventry 2 . This play was revived 
for the entertainment of Elizabeth when she visited the Earl 
of Leicester at Kenilworth in July, 1575, and there exists a de- 
scription of it in a letter written by one Robert Laneham, who 
accompanied the court, to a friend in London 8 . The men of 
Coventry, led by one Captain Cox, who presented it called 
it an 'olid storiall sheaw,' with for argument the massacre 
of the Danes by Ethelred on Saint Brice's night 1002 4 . 
Laneham says that it was * expressed in actionz and rymez, 1 
and it appears from his account to have been a kind of sham 
fight or ' barriers ' between two parties representing respec- 
tively Danish * launsknights ' and English, * each with allder 
poll marcially in their hand V In the end the Danes were 
defeated and * many led captiue for triumph by our English 
w^emen.' The presenters also stated that the play was of 
'an auncient beginning' and 'woont too bee plaid in oour 
Citee yedrely.' Of late, however, it had been 'laid dooun/ 
owing to the importunity of their preachers, and 'they 
woold make theyr humbl peticion vntoo her highnes, that 
they myght haue theyr playz vp agayn.' The records of 

1 So on Ilchester Meads, where * Laneham, or his informant, ac- 

the proceeding is known as Mom- tually said, in error, 1012. On the 

mets or Mommicks (Barrett, 65). historical event see Ramsay, i. 353. 

8 On Hock-tide and the Hock- * There were performers both on 

play generally see Brand-Ellis, i. horse and on foot. Probably hobby- 

107 ; Strutt, 349 ; Sharpe, 125 ; horses were used, for Jon son brings 

Dyer, 188 ; S. Denne, Memoir on in Captain Cox ' in his Hobby- 

Hokeday in Archaeologia^ii. 244. horse, which was ' foaled in Queen 

8 Cf. Appendix H. An allusion Elizabeth's time ' in the Masque of 

to the play by Sir R. Morrison Owls (ed. Cunningham, iii. 188). 
(11542) is quoted in chap. xxv. 



FESTIVAL PLAY 155 

Coventry itself add but little to what Laneham gathered, 
The local Annals, not a very trustworthy chronicle, ascribe 
the invention of 'Hox Tuesday* to 1416-7, and perhaps 
confirm the Letter by noting that in 1575-6 the 'pageants 
on Hox Tuesday ' were played after eight years x . We have 
seen that, according to the statement made at Kenilworth, 
the event commemorated by the performance was the Danish 
massacre of 1002. There was, however, another tradition, 
preserved by the fifteenth-century writer John Rous, which 
connected it rather with the sudden death of Hardicanute 
and the end of the Danish usurpation at the accession oi 
Edward the Confessor 8 . It is, of course, possible that local 
cantilenae on either or both of these events may have existed, 
and may have been worked into the 'rymez' of the play. 
But I think it may be taken for granted that, as in the 
Lady Godiva procession, the historical element is com- 
paratively a late one, which has been grafted upon already 
existing festival customs. One of these is perhaps the 
faction-fight just discussed. But it is to be noticed that 
the performance as described by Laneham ended with the 
Danes being led away captive by English women ; and this 
episode seems to be clearly a dramatization of a characteristic 
Hock-tide Indus found in many places other than Coventry. 
On Hock-Monday, the women c hocked ' the men ; that is to 
say, they went abroad with ropes, caught and bound any man 
they came across, and exacted a forfeit. On Hock-Tuesday, 
the men retaliated in similar fashion upon the women. 
Bishop Carpenter of Worcester forbade this practice in his 
diocese in 1450 3 , but like some other festival customs it came 

1 Cf. Representations, s.v. Coven- plays proposed for municipal per- 

try. formance in 1591 were the 'Con- 

* Rossius, Hist. Regum Angliae quest of the Danes 'and the 'History 

(ed. Hearne, 1716), 105 'in cuius of Edward the Confessor/ These 

signum usque hodie ilia die vul- were to be upon the * pagens,' and 

gariter dicta Hox Tuisday ludunt probably they were more regular 

in villis trahendo cordas partialiter dramas than the performance wit- 

cum aliis iocis.' Rous, who died nessed by Elizabeth in 1 575 (Repre- 

1491, is speaking of the death of sentations, s.v. Coventry). 

Hardicanute. On the event see * Inland, C0//^A***a(ed. Hearne), 

Ramsay, 1434. Possibly both events v. 298 'uno certo die heu usitato 

were celebrated in the sixteenth cen- (forsan Hoc yocitato) hoc solempni 

tury at Coventry. Two of the three festo paschatis transacto, mulieres 



156 FOLK DRAMA 

to be recognized as a source of parochial revenue, and the 
gaderyngs ' at Hock-tide, of which the women's was always 
the most productive, figure in many a churchwarden's budget 
well into the seventeenth century 1 . At Shrewsbury in 1549 
c hocking ' led to a tragedy. Two men were ' smothered under 
the Castle hill,' hiding themselves from maids, the hill falling 
there on them V ' Hockney day ' is still kept at Hungerford, 
and amongst the old-fashioned officers elected on this occa- 
sion, with the hay-ward and the ale-tasters, are the two 
' tything men ' or ' tutti men,' somewhat doubtfully said to be 
so named from their poles wreathed with c tutties' or nose- 
gays, whose function it is to visit the commoners, and to claim 
from every man a coin and from every woman a kiss 3 . The 
derivation of the term Hock-tide has given rise to some wild 
conjectures, and philologists have failed to come to a con- N 
elusion on the subject 4 . Hock-tide is properly the Monday 
and Tuesday following the Second Sunday after Easter, and 
' Hokedaie ' or Quindena Paschae is a frequent term day in 
leases and other legal documents from the thirteenth century 
onwards 6 . 

' Hocking ' can be closely paralleled from other customs of 
the spring festivals. The household books of Edward I 
record in 1290 a payment 'to seven ladies of the queen's 
chamber who took the king in bed on the morrow of Easter, 
and made him fine himself 6 .' This was the prisio which at 
a later date perturbed the peace of French ecclesiastics. 
The council of Nantes, for instance, in 1431, complains that 
clergy were hurried out of their beds on Easter Monday, 
dragged into church, and sprinkled with water upon the 
altar 7 . In this aggravated form the prisio hardly survived 

homines, alioque die homines mu- ing\ Hobhouse, 232 ; IV. E. D. s.w. 

lieres ligare, ac cetera media utinam Hock, &c. 

non inhonesta vel deteriora facere * Owen and Blakeway, Hist, of 

moliantur et exercere, lucrum Shrewsbury -, i. 559. 
ecclesiae fingentes, set dampnum s Dyer, 191 ; Ditchfield, 90. 
animae sub fucato colore lucrantes, * 2v. E. D. s. v. Hock-day. 
&c.' Riley, 561, 571, gives London 5 Brand-Ellis, i. 106. 
proclamations against 'hokkyng* of 6 Ibid. i. 109. 
1405 and 1409. 7 Ducange, s. v. Prisio ; Bar- 

1 Brand-Ellis, i. 113; Lysons, thlemy,iv. 463. On Innocents' Day, 

Environs of London, i. 229 ; C. the customs of taking in bed and 

Kerry, Accts. of St.Lawrence, Read'- whipping were united (cf. ch. xii). 



FESTIVAL PLAY 157 

the frank manners of the Middle Ages. But it was essentially 
identical with the ceremonies in which a more modern usage 
has permitted the levying of forfeits at both Pasque and Pen- 
tecost. In the north of England, women were liable to have 
their shoes taken on one or other of these feasts, and must 
redeem them by payment. On the following day they were 
entitled to retaliate on the shoes of the men *. A more widely 
spread method of exacting the droit is that of ' heaving.' 
The unwary wanderer in some of the northern manufactur- 
ing towns on Easter Monday is still liable to find himself 
swung high in the air by the stalwart hands of factory girls, 
and will be lucky if he can purchase his liberty with nothing 
more costly than a kiss. If he likes, he may take his revenge 
on Easter Tuesday 2 . Another mediaeval custom described by 
Belethus in the twelfth century, which prescribed the whip- 
ping of husbands by wives on Easter Monday and of wives 
by husbands on Easter Tuesday, has also its modern parallel 8 . 
On Shrove Tuesday a hockey match was played at Leicester, 
and after it a number of young men took their stand with 
cart whips in the precincts of the Castle. Any passer-by who 
did not pay a forfeit was liable to lashes. The * whipping 
Toms, 1 as they were called, were put down by a special Act of 
Parliament in 1847 * The analogy of these customs with 
the requirement made of visitors to certain markets or to 
the roofs of houses in the building to * pay their footing ' is 
obvious 6 . 

In all these cases, even where the significant whipping or 
sprinkling is absent, the meaning is the same. The binding 
with ropes, the loss of the shoes, the lifting in the air, are 

1 Northern F.L. 84; Brand-Ellis, s Belethus, c. 120 ' notandum 

i. 94, 96 ; Vaux, 242 ; Ditchfield, 80 ; quoque est in plerisque regionibus 

Dyer, 133. secundo die post Pascha mulieres 

8 Brand-Ellis, i. 106 ; Owen and maritos suos verberare ac vicissim 

Blakeway, i. 559; Dyer, 173; Ditch- viros eas tertio die.' The spiritually 

field, 90; Burne - Jackson, 336; minded Belethus explains the custom 

Northern F. L. 84 ; Vaux, 242. as a warning to keep from carnal 

A dignified H. M. I. is said to have intercourse, 

made his first official visit to War- * Dyer, 79; Ditchfield, 83. 

rington on Easter Monday, and to e Brand-Ellis, i. 114; Ditchfield, 

have suffered accordingly. Miss 252. Mr. W.Crooke has just studied 

Burne describes sprinkling as an this and analogous customs in The 

clement in Shropshire heaving. Lifting of the Bride (F.L. xiii. 226). 



158 FOLK DRAMA 

symbols of capture. And the capture is for the purposes of 
sacrifice, for which no more suitable victim, in substitution for 
the priest-king, than a stranger, could be found. This will, 
I think, be clear by comparison with some further parallels 
from the harvest field and the threshing-floor, in more than 
one of which the symbolism is such as actually to indicate 
the sacrifice itself, as well as the preliminary capture. In 
many parts of England a stranger, and sometimes even the 
farmer himself, when visiting a harvest field, is liable to be 
asked for * largess ' 1 . In Scotland, the tribute is called 
* head-money,' and he who refuses is seized by the arms and 
feet and * dumped J on the ground a . Similar customs prevail 
on the continent, in Germany, Norway, France; and the 
stranger is often, just as in the 4 hocking ' ceremony, caught 
with straw ropes, or swathed in a sheaf of corn. It is mainly 
in Germany that the still more elaborate rites survive. In 
various districts of Mecklenburg, and of Pomerania, the 
reapers form a ring round the stranger, and fiercely whet 
their scythes, sometimes with traditional rhymest which con- 
tain a threat to mow him down. In Schleswig, and again 
in Sweden, the stranger in a threshing-floor is 'taught 
the flail-dance 1 or 'the threshing-song. 1 The arms of a 
flail are put round his neck and pressed so tightly that he 
is nearly choked. When the madder-roots are being dug, 
a stranger passing the field is caught by the workers, and 
buried up to his middle in the soil 3 . 

The central incident of * hocking ' appears therefore to be 
nothing but 'a form of that symbolical capture of a human 
victim of which various other examples are afforded by the 
village festivals. The development of the custom into a play 
or mock-fight at Coventry may very well have taken place, 
as the town annals say, about the beginning of the fifteenth 
century. Whether it had previously been connected by local 
tradition with some event in the struggles of Danes and Saxons 
or not, is a question which one must be content to leave 

1 Suffolk F. L. 69 ; F. L. v. 167. to Lancashire gyst-ales {Dyer, 182). 

The use of largess, a Norman- * Ditchfield, 155. 

French word (largitio), is curious. Frazer, ii. 233 ; Pfannenschmidt, 

It is also used for the subscriptions 93. 



FESTIVAL PLAY 159 

unsolved. A final word is due to the curious arrangement 
by which in the group of customs here considered the r61es 
of sacrificers and sacrificed are exchanged between men and 
women on the second day ; for it lends support to the theory 
already put forward that a certain stage in the evolution of 
the village worship was marked by the merging of previously 
independent sex-cults. 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE MAY-GAME 

[Bibliographical Note. The festal character of primitive dance and 
song is admirably brought out by R. Wallaschek, Primitive Music (1893) ; 
E. Grosse, Die Anfange der Kunst (1894, French transl. 1902) ; Y. Him, 
The Origins of Art (1900) ; F. B. Gummere, The Beginnings of Poetry 
(1901). The popular element in French lyric is illustrated^by A. Jeanroy, 
Les Origines de la Pohie lyrique en France au Moyen Age (1889), and 
J. Tiersot, Histoire de la Chanson populaire en France (1889). Most 
of such English material as exists is collected in Mrs. Gomme's Traditional 
Games (1896-8) and G. F. Northall, English Folk-Rhymes (1892). For 
comparative study E. Martinengo-Cesaresco, Essays in the Study of Folk* 
Songs (1886), may be consulted. The notices of the May-game are 
scattered through the works mentioned in the bibliographical note to 
ch. vi and others.] 

THE foregoing chapter has illustrated the remarkable variety 
of modes in which the instinct of play comes to find expres- 
sion. But of all such the simplest and most primitive is un- 
doubtedly the dance. Psychology discovers in the dance the 
most rudimentary and physical of the arts, and traces it to 
precisely that overflow of nervous energies shut off from their 
normal practical ends which constitutes play 1 . And the 
verdict of psychology is confirmed by philology ; for in all the 
Germanic languages the same word signifies both * dance ' and 
'play,' and in some of them it is even extended to the cognate 
ideas of * sacrifice ' or * festival V The dance must therefore 



1 Haddon, 335; Grosse, 167; Tanz^Gesang.Opfer^Aufzug! 

Herbert Spencer in Contemp. Re- the same root come probably ludus y 

view (1895), 114; Groos, Play of and possibly, through the Celtic, 

Man, 88, 354. Evidence for the the O. F. lai. The A.-S. Idc is 

wide use of the dance at savage glossed ludus, sacrifi^ ium, victima, 

festivals is given by Wallaschek, wunus. It occurs in the compounds 



l6j, 187. ecga-geldc and sveorj.i-^e/tic, both 

* Grimm, i. 39 ; Pearson, ii. 133 ; meaning ' sword - dance,' \ige-ldc, 



tf, ch. 24, and de 'victory-dance, 1 as-ldc^ * god-dance,' 

antiq. Germ.poesichorica,^*, Kogel, wine-ldc, ( love- dance ' (cf. p. 170), 

i. I. 8. The primitive word form &c. An A.-S. synonym for Idc is 

should have been taikaz, whence ptfga, * play,* which gives sweord- 

Gothic laiksj O. N. leikr, O. H. G. plega and erg-plega. Sflil is not 

leih, A.-S. Idc. The word has, says A.-S. and spilian is a loan-word 

Mullenhoff, all the senses * Spiel, from O. H. G. 



THE MAY-GAME 



161 



be thought of as an essential part of all the festivals with which 
we have to deal. And with the dance comes song: the 
rhythms of motion seem to have been invariably accompanied 
by the rhythms of musical instruments, or of the voice, or of 
both combined l . 

The dance had been from the beginning a subject of conten- 
tion between Christianity and the Roman world 2 ; but where- 
as the dances of the East and South, so obnoxious to the 
early Fathers, were mainly those of professional entertainers, 
upon the stage or at banquets, the missionaries of the West 
had to face the even more difficult problem of a folk-dance 
and folk-song which were amongst the most inveterate habits 
of the freshly converted peoples. As the old worship vanished, 
these tended to attach themselves to the new. Upon great 
feasts and wake-days, choruses of women invaded with wanton 
cantica and ballationes the precincts of the churches and even 
the sacred buildings themselves, a desecration against which 
generation after generation of ecclesiastical authorities was 
fain to protest 3 . Clerkly sentiment in the matter is repre- 

^Gummere, B.P. 328; Kogel, i. pervigilcs cum cbrietate, scurrili- 

tate, vel canticis, etiam in ipsis 
sacris diebus, pascha, natale Do- 
mini, et reliquis festiyitatibus, vel 
adveniente die Dominico dansa- 
trices per villas ambulare . . . 
nullatenus fieri permittimus ' ; C. of 
Avxerre (573-603), c. 9 (Maassen, 
i. 1 80) *non licet in ecclesia chores 
secularium vel puellarum cantica 
exercere nee convivia in ecclesia 
praeparare'; C. of Chalons (639- 
54), c. 19 (Maassen, i. 212) 'Valde 
omnibus noscetur esse decretum, 
ne per dedicationes basilicarum 
aut festivitates martyrum ad ipsa 



1.6. 

* S. Ambrose, de Elia et leiunio, 
c. 1 8 (P. L. xiv. 720), de Poeni- 
tentia, ii. 6 (P. L. xvi. 508) ; S. Au- 
gustine, contra Parmenianum, in. 
6 (P. L. xliii. 107) ; S. Chrysostom, 
Horn. 47 in Julian, mart. p. 613; 
Horn. 23 de Novilun. p. 264 ; C. of 
Laodicea (t366), c. 53 (Mansi, ii. 
570- Cf. D.C.A. s.v. Dancing, 
and ch. i. Barthe*lemy, ii. 438, and 
other writers have some rather 
doubtful theories as to liturgical 
dancing in early Christian worship ; 
cf. Julian. Diet, of Hymn. 206. 

5 Du MeVil, Com. 67 ; Pearson, 
ii. 17, 281; Grober, ii. i. 444; 
K6gel, i. i. 25 ; Indiculus Super- 
stitionum (ed. Saupe), 10 'de sacri- 
legiis per ecclesias.' Amongst the 
prohibitions are Caesarius of Aries 
(t542),^fw<?xiii (P. L. xxxix. 2325) 
* quam multi rustici et quam multae 
mulieres rusticanae cantica dia- 
bolica, amatoria et turpia memoriter 
retinent et ore decantant ' ; Const. 



solemnia confluentes obscoena et 
turpia cantica, dum orare debent 
aut clericos psallentes audire, cum 
choris foemmeis, turpia quidem 
decantare videantur. unde con- 
venit, ut sacerdotes loci illos a 
septa basilicarum vel porticus ip- 
sarum basilicarum etiam et ab 
ipsis atriis vetare debeant et ar- 
cere/ Sermo Eligii (Grimm, iv. 
1737) 'nullus in festivitate S. loan- 



"".rvv . v*,v*44k4ifc , \*un**. */j// wuiius in xcsi.iviLa.ie o. loan- 
Ckilatoerti (c. 554) de abol. relig. nis vel quibuslibet sanctorum 
taololatriae (Mansi, ix. 738) ' noctes solemnitatibus solstitia aut valla- 



M 



162 



FOLK DRAMA 



sented by a pious legend, very popular in the Middle Ages, 
which told how some reprobate folk of Kdlbigk in Anhalt 
disobeyed the command of a priest to cease their unholy 
revels before the church of Saint Magnus while he said mass 
on Christmas day, and for their punishment must dance there 
the year round without stopping 1 . The struggle was a long 
one, and in the end the Church never quite succeeded even in 
expelling the dance from its own doors. The chapter of 
Wells about 1338 forbade choreae and other ludi within the 
cathedral and the cloisters, chiefly on account of the damage 



tiones vel saltationes aut caraulas 
aut cantica diabolica exerceat ' ; 
Indicium dementis (t 693), c. 20 
(Haddan-Stubbs, Hi. 226) * si quis 
in quacunque festivitate ad eccle- 
siam veniens pallat foris, aut sal- 
tat, aut cantat orationes amatorias 
. . . excommunicetur ' (apparently 
a fragment of a penitential com- 
posed by Clement or Willibrord, 



denunciations of the Kalends (ch. 
xi and Appendix N). Nearly four 
centuries after the C. of Rome we 
find the C. of Avignon (1209), c. 17 
(Mansi, xxii. 791) 'statuimus, ut in 
sanctorum vigiliis in ecclesiis his- 
toricae saltationes, obscoeni motus, 
seu choreae non fiant, nee dicantur 
sanatoria carmina, vel cantilenae 
ibidem . . .' Still later the C. of 



an A.-S. missionary to Frisia, on Bayeux (1300), c. 31 (Mansi, xxv 

rVrT-- C-OA RA<-!A J-f fT nr r\ ai--1 **\ * nf /lir-if A iiirii cf irli c moliiic c< 



whom see Bede, H. E. v. 9, and 
the only dance prohibition of pos- 
sible A.-S. provenance of which I 
know) ; Statuta Salisburensia($>z\i- 
burg: t 800 ; Boretius, i. 229) 'Ut 



66) * ut dicit Augustinus, melius est 
festivis diebus fodere vel arare, 
quam choreas ducere ' ; and so on 
ad infinitum. The pseudo-Augus- 
tine Sermo, 265, de Ckristiano 



omnis populus . . . absque inlece- nomine cum operibus non Christi- 



broso canticu et lusu saeculari cum 
laetaniis procedant ' ; C. of Mainz 
(8i3),c.48(Mansi,xiv.74) 'canticum 
turpe atque luxuriosum circa eccle- 
sias agere omnino contradicimus ' ; 
C. of Rome (826), c. 35 (Mansi, xiv. 
1008) 'sunt quidam, et maxime 
mulieres, qui festis ac sacris diebus 
atque sanctorum natalitiis non pro 
corum quibus debent delectantur de- 



anis (P. L. xxxix. 2237), which is 
possibly by Caesarius of Aries, 
asserts explicitly the pagan charac- 
ter of the custom : ' isti enim 
infelices et miseri homines, qui 
balationes et saltationes ante ipsas 
basilicas sanctorum exercere non 
metuunt nee erubescunt, etsi 
Christian! ad ecclesiam venerint, 
pagan i de ecclesia revertuntur ; 



sideriis ad venire, sed ballando, verba quia ista consuetude balandi de 



turpiadecantando,chorostenendoac 
ducendo, similitudinem paganorum 
peragendo, advenire procurant ' ; 
cf. Dicta abbatis Pirminii (Caspari, 
Kirckenhistorische Anecdota, 188); 
Penitentiale pseudo-Tkeodorianum 



paganorum observatione remansit.' 
A mediaeval preacher (quoted by A. 
Lecoy de la Marche, Chaire /ran- 
qaise au Moyen Age, 447, from 
B. N. Lat. MS. 17509, f. 146) 
declares, ' chorea enim circulus est 



( Wasserschleben, 607) ; Leonis IV cuius centrum est diabolus,et omnes 
Honiilia (847, Mansi, xiv. 895) ; vergunt ad sinistrum. 1 



Benedictus Levita, Capitularia 
(t8so), vi. 96 (M. G. H. Script, iv. 
2) ; and for Spain, C. of Toledo 
(589), c. 23 (Mansi, ix. 999), and 
the undated C. of Braga> c. 80 
(quoted on p. 144). Cf. also the 



1 Tille, >. W. 301 ; G. Raynaud, 
in tudes de'die'es a Gaston Pans, 
53; E. Schroder, Die Tanzer von 
Kolbigk) in Z.f. Kirchengeschichte^ 
xvii. 94 ; G. Paris, in Journal des 
Savants (1899), 733- 



THE MAY-GAME 



163 



too often done to its property 1 . A seventeenth-century 
French writer records that he had seen clergy and singing- 
boys dancing at Easter in the churches of Paris 2 ; and even 
at the present day there are some astounding survivals. At 
Seville, as is well known, the six boys, called los Seises, dance 
with castanets before the Holy Sacrament in the presence of 
the archbishop at Shrovetide, and during the feasts of the 
Immaculate Conception and Corpus Christi 8 . At Echternach 
in Luxembourg there is an annual dance through the church 
of pilgrims to the shrine of St. Willibrord 4 , while at Barjols 
in Provence a ' tripe-dance ' is danced at mass on St. Marcel's 
day in honour of the patron 6 . 

Still less, of course, did dance and song cease to be important 
features of the secular side of the festivals. We have already 
seen how cantilenae on the great deeds of heroes had their 
vogue in the mouths of the chori of young men and maidens, 
as well as in those of the minstrels e . The Carmina Burana 



1 H. E. Reynolds, Wells Cathe- 
dral, 85 * cum ex choreis ludis et 
spectaculis et lapidum proiectioni- 
bus in praefata ecclesia et eius 
cemeteriis ac claustro dissentiones 
sanguinis effusiones et violentiae 
saepius oriantur et in hiis dicta 
Wellensis ecclesia multa dispendia 
patiatur.' 

1 Menestrier, Des Ballets anciens 
et modernes (1863), 4; on other 
French church dances, cf. Du Til- 
liot, 21 ; Barthe'lemy, iv. 447 ; 
Leber, ix. 420. The most famous 
are the pilota of Auxerre, which was 
accompanied with ball -play (cf. ch. 
vi) and the bergeretta of Besanc.on. 
Julian, Diet, of Hymn. 206, gives 
some English examples. 

8 Grove, 106. A full account of 
the ceremony at the feast of the 
Conception in 1901 is given in the 
Chunk Times for Jan. 17, 1902. 

4 Grove, 103 ; B^renger-F^raud, 
iii. 430; MMusine (1879), 39; N. 
and Q. for May 17, 1890. The 
dance is headed by the clergy, and 
proceeds to a traditional tune from 
the banks of the Sure to the church, 
up sixty-two steps, along the north 

M 



aisle, round the altar deasil, and 
down the south aisle. It is curious 
that until the seventeenth century 
only men took part in it. St. Willi- 
brord is famous for curing nervous 
diseases, and the pilgrimage is done 
by way of vow for such cures. The 
local legend asserts that the cere- 
mony had its origin in an eighth- 
century cattle-plague, which ceased 
through an invocation of St. Willi- 
brord: it is a little hard on the 
saint, whose prohibition of dances 
at the church-door has just been 
quoted. 

6 Berenger-F^raud, iii. 409. A 
similarly named saint, St. Martial, 
was formerly honoured in the same 
way. Every psalm on his day 
ended, not with the Gloria Patri^ 
but with a dance, and the chant, 
4 Saint-Marceau, pregas per nous, 
et nous epingaren per vous ' (Du 
MeVil, La Com. 68). 

6 Cf. p. 26. There were * ma- 
dinnis that dansit ' before James IV 
of Scotland at Forres, Elgin and 
Dernway in 1504, but nothing is 
said of songs (L. H. T. Accounts^ \\. 
463). 



164 FOLK DRAMA 

describe the dances of girls upon the meadows as amongst 
the pleasures of spring l . William Fitzstephen tells us that 
such dances were to be seen in London in the twelfth century 2 , 
and we have found the University of Oxford solemnly for- 
bidding them in the thirteenth. The romans and pastourelles 
frequently mention chansons or rondets de carole, which appear 
to have been the chansons used to accompany the choric 
dances, and to have generally consisted of a series of couplets 
sung by the leader, and a refrain with which the rest of the 
band answered him. Occasionally the refrains are quoted 3 . 
The minstrels borrowed this type of folk chanson, and the 
conjoint dance and song themselves found their way from the 
village green to the courtly 'hall. In the twelfth century 
ladies carolent, and more rarely even men condescend to take 
a part 4 . Still later carole, like tripudium, seems to become a 
term for popular rejoicing in general, not necessarily expressed 
in rhythmical shape 6 . 

The customs of the village festival gave rise by natural 
development to two types of dance 6 . There was the pro- 
cessional dance of the band of worshippers in progress round 
their boundaries and from field to field, from house to house, 

1 Carm. Bur. 191 : French carole was always accom- 

' ludunt super gramina panied, not with a flute, but with a 

virgines decorae sung chanson. 

quarum nova carmina * Paris, loc. cit. 410; Jeanroy, 

dulci sonant ore.' 391. In Wace's description of 

Ibid. 195 : Arthur's wedding, the women ca- 

* ecce florescunt lilia, rolent and the men behourdcnt. Cf. 

et virginum dant agmina Bartsch, Romanzen und Pastou- 

summo deorum carmina. 1 rellen, i. 13 : 

* W. Fitzstephen, Descriptio ' Cez damoiseles i vont por 
Londin. (Mat. for Hist, of Becket, caroler, 

R. S. iii. 11) * puellarum Cytherea cil escuier i vont por behorder, 

ducit choros usque imminente luna, cil chevalier i vont por esgar- 

et pede libero pulsatur tellus,' der.' 

* Jeanroy, 102, 387 ; Guy, 504 ; 6 On the return of Edward II 
Paris, Journal des Savants (1892), and Isabella of France in 1308, the 
407. M. Paris points out that mayor and other dignitaries of 
dances, other than professional, London went * coram rege et regina 
first appear in the West after the karolantes* (Chronicles of Ed- 
fall of the Empire. The French ward I and Edward //, R. S. i. 
terms for dancing bailer, danser, 152). On the birth of Prince Ed- 
tresihier, caroler are not Latin, ward in 1312, they * menerent la 
Caroler, however, he thinks to be karole' in church and street (Riley, 
the Greek xopauAcu', 'to accompany 107). 

a dance with a flute.' But the * Kogel, i. I. 6. 



THE MAY-GAME 165 

from well to well of the village. It is this that survives in the 
dance of the Echternach pilgrims, or in the 'faddy-dance* in 
and out the cottage doors at Helston wake. And it is prob- 
ably this that is at the bottom of the interesting game of 
* Thread the Needle/ This is something like 'Oranges and 
Lemons/ the first part of which, indeed, seems to have been 
adapted from it. There is, however, no sacrifice or ' tug-of- 
war/ although there is sometimes a * king,' or a ' king ' and 
his ' lady ' or * bride ' in the accompanying rhymes, and in one 
instance a ' pancake/ The players stand in two long lines. 
Those at the end of each line form an arch with uplifted arms, 
and the rest run in pairs beneath it. Then another pair form 
an arch, and the process is repeated. In this way long strings 
of lads and lasses stream up and down the streets or round 
and about a meadow or green. In many parts of England 
this game is played annually on Shrove Tuesday or Easter 
Monday, and the peasants who play it at Chatre in central 
France say that it is done * to make the hemp grow/ Its 
origin in connexion with the agricultural festivals can there- 
fore hardly be doubtful *. It is probable that in the beginning 
the players danced rather than ran under the ' arch * ; and it 
is obvious that the * figure ' of the game is practically identical 
with one familiar in Str Roger de Cover hy and other old 
English * country ' dances of the same type. 

Just as the ' country ' dance is derived from the processional 
dance, so the other type of folk-dance, the ronde or * round/ is 
derived from the comparatively stationary dance of the group 
of worshippers around the more especially sacred objects of 
the festival, such as the tree or the fire 2 . The custom of 
dancing round the May-pole has been more or less preserved 
wherever the May-pole is known. But ' Thread the Needle ' 
itself often winds up with a circular dance or ronde, either 
around one of the players, or, on festival occasions, around the 
representative of the earlier home of the fertilisation divinity, 

1 Mrs. Gomme, ii. 228 ; Haddon, room. Grimm, i. 52, quotes Gre- 

345. g r y the Great, Dial. iii. 28 on a 

a Cf. ch. vi on the motion deasil Lombard sacrifice, * caput caprae, 

round the sacred object. It is hoc ei, per circuitum currentes, 

curious that the modern round carmine ucfando dedicantes/ 
dances go withershins round a 



166 FOLK DRAMA 

the parish church. This custom is popularly known as 
* clipping the church V 

Naturally the worshippers at a festival would dance in their 
festival costume ; that is to say, in the garb of leaves and 
flowers worn for the sake of the beneficent influence of the 
indwelling divinity, or in the hides and horns of sacrificial 
animals which served a similar purpose. Travellers describe 
elaborate and beautiful beast-dances amongst savage peoples, 
and the Greeks had their own bear- and crane-dances, as well 
as the dithyrambic goat-dance of the Dionysia. They had 
also flower dances 2 . In England the village dancers wear 
posies, but I do not know that they ever attempt a more 
elaborate representation of flowers. But a good example of 
the beast-dance is furnished by the c horn-dance ' at Abbots 
Bromley in Staffordshire, held now at a September wake, and 
formerly at Christmas. In this six of the performers wear sets 
of horns. These are preserved from year to year in the church, 
and according to local tradition the dance used at one time 
to take place in the churchyard on a Sunday. The horns are 
said to be those of the reindeer, and from this it may possibly 
be inferred that they were brought to Abbots Bromley by 
Scandinavian settlers. The remaining performers represent 
a hobby-horse, a clown, a woman, and an archer, who makes 
believe to shoot the horned men 3 . 

The motifs of the dances and their chansons must also at first 
have been determined by the nature of the festivals at which 
they took place. There were dances, no doubt, at such domestic 

1 At Bradford -on -A von, Wilts * dumplings' and 'a bundle of rags' 

(which preserves its Anglo-Saxon perhaps connect themselves with 

church), and at South Petherton, the cereal cake and the rags hung 

Somerset, in both cases on Shrove on the tree for luck. In Cornwall 

Tuesday (Mrs. Gomme, ii. 230) ; cf. such a game is played under the 

Vaux, 18. The church at Painswick, name of* Snail's Creep J at certain 

Gloucester, is danced round on village feasts in June, and directed 

wake-day (F. L. viii. 392). There by young men with leafy branches, 

is a group of games, in which the 2 Du Me'ril, La Com. 72 ; Had- 

players wind and unwind in spirals don, 346; Grove, 50, 81 ; Haigh, 

round a centre. Such are Eller Tree^ 14; N. W. Thomas, La Danse 

Wind up the Bush Faggot&TL&Bulli- toUmique en Europe, in Actes d. 

heisle. These Mrs. Gomme regards Cong, intern, d. Trad. pop. (1900). 

as survivals of the ritual dance ' Plot, Hist, of Staffs. (1686) ; 

round a sacred tree. Some obscure F. L. iv. 172; yii. 382 (with cuts of 

references in the rhymes used to properties) ; Ditchfield, 139. 



THE MAY-GAME 



167 



festivals as weddings and funerals 1 . In Flanders it is still the 
custom to dance at the funeral of a young girl, and a very charm- 
ing chanson is used 2 . The development of epic poetry from- 
the cantilenae of the war-festival has been noted in a former 
chapter. At the agricultural festivals, the primary motif is, of 
course, the desire for the fertility of the crops and herds. The 
song becomes, as in the Anglo-Saxon charm, so often referred 
to, practically a prayer 3 . With this, and with the use of 
'Thread the Needle 1 at Chdtre * to make the hemp grow/ may 
be compared the games known to modern children, as to 
Gargantua, in which the operations of the farmer's year, and 
in particular his prayer for his crops, are mimicked in a ronde*. 
Allusions to the process of the seasons, above all to the 
delight of the renouveau in spring, would naturally also find 
a place in the festival songs. The words of the famous 
thirteenth-century lyric were perhaps written to be sung to 
the twinkling feet of English girls in a round. It has the 
necessary refrain : 

Voici le mois, 
Le joli mois de Mai, 

Qu'on vous amene/ 
If the queteurs come on a churl, 
they have an ill- wish ing variant. 
The following is characteristic of 
the French peasantry : 

' J'vous souhaitons autant d'en- 

fants, 
Qu'y a des pierrettes dans les 

champs/ 

Often more practical tokens of re- 
venge are shown. The Plough 
Monday * bullocks ' in some places 
consider themselves licensed to 
plough up the ground before a 
house where they have been re- 
buffed/ 

4 Mrs. Gomme, ii. i, 399 ; Had- 
don, 343; Du MeVil, La Com. 81. 
Amongst the jeux of the young 
Gargantua (Rabelais, i. 22) was one 
* a semer 1'avoyne et au laboureur/ 
This probably resembled the games 
of Oats and Beans and Barley, and 
Would you know how doth the 
Peasant? which exist in English, 
French, Catalonian, and Italian 
versions. On the mimetic character 
of these games, cf. ch. viii. 



1 The O. H. G. hileih, originally 
meaning * sex-dance,' comes to be 
* wedding/ The root hi, like wini 
(cf. p. 170), has a sexual connotation 
(Pearson, li. 132; Kbgel, i. I. 10). 

2 Coussemaker, Chants popu- 
laircs des Flamands de France, 
100 : 

' In den hemel is eenen dans : 

Alleluia. 
Daer dansen all' de maegde- 

kens : 

Benedicamus Domino, 
Alleluia, Alleluia, 
't is voor Amelia : 

Alleluia. 
Wy dansen naer de maegde- 

kens : 

Benedicamus, etc.' 
8 Frazer, i. 35 ; Dyer, 7 ; North- 
all, 233. A Lancashire song is 
sung 4 to draw you these cold 
winters away,' and wishes * peace 
and plenty ' to the household. A 
favourite French May chanson is 
* Etrennez notre epouse'e, 

Voici le mois, 
Le joli mois de Mai, 
Etrennez notre e'pouse'e 
En bonne e'trenne. 



168 FOLK DRAMA 

' Sumer is icumen in, 
Lhude sing cuccu I 
Groweth sed and bloweth med 
And springth the wde nu, 

Sing cuccu ! 

'Awe bleteth after lomb, 
Lhouth after calve cu. 
Bulloc sterteth, bucke verteth, 
Murie sing cuccu ! 

' Cuccu, cuccu, wel singes thu, cuccu ; 

Ne swik thu naver nu. 
Sing cuccu nu. Sing cuccu. 
Sing cuccu. Sing cuccu nu I ' l 

The savour of the spring is still in the English May songs, 
the French maierolles or calendes de mai and the Italian 
calen di mqggio. But for the rest they have either become 
little but mere qu$te songs, or else, under the influence of the 
priests, have taken on a Christian colouring 2 . At Oxford 
the * merry ketches ' sung by choristers on the top of Magdalen 
tower on May morning were replaced in the seventeenth 
century by the hymn now used 3 . Another very popular 
Mayers' song would seem to show that the Puritans, in despair 
of abolishing the festival, tried to reform it. 

1 Text from Harl. MS. 978 in formancc began as a mass for the 
H. E. Wooldridge, Oxford Hist, of obit of Henry VII. The hymn is 
Music, i. 326, with full account, printed in Dyer, 259; Ditchfieid, 
The music, to which religious as 96. It has no relation to the sum- 
well as the secular words are at- mer festival, having been written in 
tached, is technically known as a the seventeenth century by Thomas 
rota or rondel. It is of the nature Smith and set by Benjamin Rogers 
of polyphonic part-song, and of as a grace. In other cases hymns 
course more advanced than the have been attached to the village 
typical mediaeval rondet can have festivals. At Tissington the ' well- 
been, dressing/ on Ascension Day in- 

2 On these songs in general, see eludes a clerical procession in which 
Northall, 233 ; Martinengo-Cesa- ' Rock of Ages ' and ' A Living 
resco, 249; Cortet, 153; Tiersot, Stream 'are sung (Ditchfieid, 187). 
191 ; Jeanroy, 88 ; Paris, /. des A special ' Rushbearers* Hymn ' 
Savants (1891), 685, (1892), 155, was written for the Grasmere Rush- 
407. bearing in 1835, and a hymn for 

8 H. A. Wilson, Hist, of Magd. St. Oswald has been recently added 
Coll. (1899), 50. Mr. Wilson dis- (E. G. Fletcher, The Rushbearing, 
credits the tradition that the per- 13, 74). 



THE MAY-GAME 169 

'Remember us poor Mayers all, 

And thus we do begin 
To lead our lives in righteousness, 
Or else we die in sin. 

'We have been rambling all this night, 

And almost all this day : 
And now returned back again, 

We have brought you a branch of May. 

' A branch of May we have brought you, 

And at your door it stands; 
It is but a sprout, but it's well budded out, 
By the work of our Lord's hands,' &C. 1 

Another religious element, besides prayer, may have entered 
into the pre-Christian festival songs; and that is myth. 
A stage in the evolution of drama from the Dionysiac dithy- 
ramb was the introduction of mythical narratives about the 
wanderings and victories of the god, to be chanted or recited by 
the choragus. The relation of the c&oragus to the chorus bears 
a close analogy to that between the leader of the mediaeval 
carole and his companions who sang the refrain. This leader 
probably represents the Keltic or Teutonic priest at the head 
of his band of worshippers ; and one may suspect that in the 
north and west of Europe, as in Greece, the pauses of the 
festival dance provided the occasion on which the earliest 
strata of stories about the gods, the hieratic as distinguished 
from the literary myths, took shape. If so the development of 
divine myth was very closely parallel to that of heroic myth 2 . 
After religion, the commonest motif vi dance and song at 
the village festivals must have been love. This is quite in 
keeping with the amorous licence which was one of their 
characteristics. The goddess of the fertility of earth was also 
the goddess of the fertility of women. The ecclesiastical pro- 
hibitions lay particular stress upon the orationes amatoriae and 
the can tic a turpia et luxuriosa which the women sang at the 
church doors, and only as love-songs can be interpreted the 
ivinileodi forbidden to the inmates of convents by a capitulary 

1 Dyer, 240, from Hertfordshire. There are many other versions ; cf. 
Northall, 240. * Kogel, i. I. 32. 



170 FOLK DRAMA 

of 789 *. The love-interest continues to be prominent in the 
folk-song, or the minstrel song still in close relation to folk- 
song, of mediaeval and modern France. The beautiful wooing 
chanson of Transformations^ which savants have found it 
difficult to believe not to be a supercherie^ is sung by harvesters 
and by lace-makers at the pillow 2 . That of Marion^ an ironic 
expression of wifely submission, belongs to Shrove Tuesday 3 . 
These are modern, but the following, from the Chansonnier 
de St. Germain, may be a genuine mediaeval folk-song of 
Limousin provenance : 

'A Tentrada dal terns clar, eya, 
Per joja recomen^ar, eya, 
Et per jelos irritar, eya, 
Vol la regina mostrar 
Qu'el' es si amoroza. 
Alavi', alavia jelos, 
Laissaz nos, laissaz nos 
Ballar entre nos, entre nos V 

The ( queen ' here is, of course, the festival queen or lady of 
the May, the regina avrillosa of the Latin writers, la reine, la 
marine , rtpousc'e, la trimousette of popular custom 5 . The 
defiance of the jelos, and the desire of the queen and her 
maidens to dance alone, recall the conventional freedom of 
women from restraint in May, the month of their ancient sex- 
festival, and the month in which the mediaeval wife-beater 
still ran notable danger of a chevatiche'e. 

1 Pertz, Leges, i. 68 ' nullatenus the idea of this poem in A Match 
ibi uuinileodos scribere vel mittere (Poems and Ballads, 1st Series, 
praesumat.' Kdgel, i. I. 61 : Goe- 116). 

deke, i. 1 1, quote other uses of the 8 Romania, ix. 568. 

term from eighth-century glosses, * K. Bartsch, Chrest. Prov. in. 

e.g. * uuiniliod, cantilenas saecu- A similar chanson is in G. Raynaud, 

lares, psalmos vulgares, seculares, Motets, i. 151, and another is de- 

plebeios psalmos, cantica rustica et scribed in the roman of Flamenca 

inepta.* Wimliod is literally * love- (ed. P. Meyer), 3244. It ends 

song,' from root ivini (conn, with ' E, si parla, qu'il li responda : 

Venus). Kogel traces an earlier Nom sones mot, faitz vos en lai, 

term O. H. G. winileih, A.-S. wine- Qu'entre mos braes mos amics 

Idc = hlleih. On the erotic motive j'ai. 

in savage dances, cf. Grosse, 165, Kalenda maia. E vai s' en.' 

172 ; Hirn, 229. 6 Trimousette^ from tri md cd, 

2 Romania, vii. 61 ; Trad. Pop. an unexplained burden in some of 
i. 98. Mr. Swinburne has adapted the French maierolles. 



THE MAY-GAME 171 

The amorous note recurs in those types of minstrel song 
which are most directly founded uptfh folk models. Such are 
the chansons d danser with their refrains, the chansons de mat- 
marines, in which the 'jalous* is often introduced, the aubes 
and the pastourelle s^. Common in all of these is the spring 
setting proper to the chansons of our festivals, and of the 
' queen ' or ' king ' there is from time to time mention. The 
leading theme of the pastourelles is the wooing, successful or 
the reverse, of a shepherdess by a knight. But the shepherdess 
has generally also a lover of her own degree, and for this pair 
the names of Robin and Marion seem to have been conven- 
tionally appropriated. Robin was perhaps borrowed by the 
pastoiirelles from the widely spread refrain 

* Robins m'aime, Robins m'a : 
Robins m'a demandee : si m'araV 

The borrowing may, of course, have been the other way round, 
but the close relation of the chanson d danser with its refrain 
to the dance suggests that this was the earliest type of lyric 
minstrelsy to be evolved, as well as the closest to the folk-song 
pattern. The pastourelle forms a link between folk-song and 
drama, for towards the end of the thirteenth century Adan de 
la Hale, known as c le Bossu/ a minstrel of Arras, wrote a Jeu de 
Robin et Marion, which is practically a pastourelle par pet -son- 
nages. The familiar theme is preserved. A knight woos 
Marion, who is faithful to her Robin. Repulsed, he rides 
away, but returns and beats Robin. All, however, ends 
happily with dances and /<?//# amongst the peasants. Adan 
de la Hale was one of the train of Count Robert of Artois in 
Italy. The play may originally have been written about 1283 
for the delectation of the court of Robert's kinsman, Charles, 
king of Naples, but the extant version was probably produced 
about 1290 at Arras, when the poet was already dead. 
Another hand has prefixed a dramatic prologue, the Jeu du 
PHerin, glorifying Adan, and has alsp made some interpola- 
tions in the text designed to localize the action near Arras. 

1 Guy, 503. 197, 295 ; Raynaud, Rec. de Motets^ 

2 Tiersot, Robin et Marion ; Guy, i. 227. 
506. See the refrain in Bartsch, 



172 FOLK DRAMA 

The performers are not likely to have been villagers : they 
may have been the members of some puy or literary society, 
which had taken over the celebration of the summer festival. 
In any case the Jeu de Robin et Marion is the earliest and 
not the least charming of pastoral comedies l . 

It is impossible exactly to parallel from the history of 
English literature this interaction of folk-song and minstrelsy 
at the French fete du mai. For unfortunately no body of 
English mediaeval lyric exists. Even ' Sumer is icumen in ' 
only owes its preservation to the happy accident which led 
some priest to fit sacred words to the secular tune ; while the 
few pieces recovered from a Harleian manuscript of the reign 
of Edward I, beautiful as they are, read like adaptations less 
of English folk-song, than of French lyric itself 2 . Neverthe- 
less, the village summer festival of England seems to have 
closely; resembled that of France, and to have likewise taken 
in the long run a dramatic turn. A short sketch of it will not 
be without interest. 

I have quoted at the beginning of this discussion of folk- 
customs the thirteenth-century condemnations of the Indiictio 
Maii by Bishop Grosseteste of Lincoln and of the ludi de Rege 
et Regina by Bishop Chanteloup of Worcester. The ludus de 
Rege et Regina is not indeed necessarily to be identified with 
the Inductio Maii, for the harvest feast or Inductio Autumni of 
Bishop Grosseteste had also its ' king ' and ' queen/ and so too 
had some of the feasts in the winter cycle, notably Twelfth 
night 3 . It is, however, in the summer feast held usually on 

1 Langlois, Robin et Marion : those by E. Langlois (1896), and 

Romania, xxiv. 437 ; H. Guy, Adan by Bartsch in La Langue et la 

de la Hale, 177; J. Tiersot, Sur le Litteraiure fran$aises (1887), col. 

Jeu de Robin et Marion (1897); 523. E. de Coussemaker, CEuvres 

Petit de Julleville, La Comtdie, 27 ; de Adam de la Halle (1872), 347, 

Rep. Com. 21, 324. A Jeu of Robin gives the music, and A. Rambeau, 

et Marion is recorded also as Die dem Trouvere Adam de lu 

played at Angers in 1392, but there Halle zugeschnebenen Dramen 

is no proof that this was Adan de (1886), facsimiles the text. On 

la Male's play, or a drama at all. Adan de la Male's earlier sottie of 

There were folk going * desguiziez, La FeuilUe, see ch. xvi. 

& un jeu que Ten dit Robin et 2 Thomas Wright, Lyrical Poems 

Marion, ainsi qu'il est accputum of the Reign of Edward I (Percy 

de fere, chacun an, en les foiries de Soc.). 

Penthecouste'(Guy, 197). The best * Cf. ch. xvii. 
editions of Robin et Marion are 



THE MAY-GAME 



173 



the first of May or at Whitsuntide *, that these rustic dignitaries 
are more particularly prominent. Before the middle of the 
fifteenth century I have not come across many notices of them. 
That a summer king was familiar in Scotland is implied by 
the jest of Robert Bruce's wife after his coronation at Scone in 
I3o6 2 . In 1412 a 'somerkyng' received a reward from the 
bursar of Winchester College 3 . But from about 1450 onwards 
they begin to appear frequently in local records. The whole 
ludus is generally known as a * May-play ' or * May-game/ or 
as a 'king-play 4 ,' 'king's revel 6 / or ' king-game V The 
leading personages are indifferently the * king ' and ' queen/ or 
' lord ' and ' lady.' But sometimes the king is more specifically 
the ' somerkyng ' or rex aestivalis. At other times he is the 
' lord of misrule 7 / or takes a local title, such as that of the 
' Abbot of Marham/ 'Mardall/ 'Marrall/ 'Marram/ 'Mayvole' 
or 'Mayvoir at Shrewsbury 8 , and the 'Abbot of Bon- Accord ' 



1 The May-game is probably in- 
tended by the * Whitsun pastorals ' 
of Winters Tale, iv. 4. 134, and 
the ' pageants of delight ' at Pente- 
cost, where a boy ' trimmed in 
Madam Julias gown ' played ' the 
woman's part ' (i. e. Maid Marian) 
of Two Gentlemen of Verona, iv. 4. 
163. Cf. also W. Warner, Albion's 
England, v. 25 : 

* At Paske began our Morrise, and 

ere Penticost our May.' 
f Flores Historiarum (R. S.), Hi. 
130 ' aestimo quod rex aestivalis 
sis ; for sit an hyemalis non eris.' 
8 Cf. Appendix E. 

* 'King-play' at Reading (Read- 
ing St. Giles Accounts in Brand- 
Hazlitt, i. 157 ; Kerry, Hist, of St. 
Lawrence, Reading, 226). 

8 * King's revel ' at Croscombe, 
Somerset ( Churchwardens* Ac- 
counts in Hobhouse, 3). 

' ' King's game 'at Leicester (Kel- 
ly, 68) and ' King- game ' at Kingston 
(Lysons, Environs of London, i. 
225). On the other hand the King- 
game in church at Hascombe in 1 578 
(Representations, s. v. Hascombe), 
was probably a miracle-play of the 
Magi or Three Kings of Cologne. 
This belongs to Twelfth night (cf. 



ch.xix),but curiously the accounts of 
St. Lawrence, Reading, contain a 
payment for the ' Kyngs of Colen ' 
on May day, 1498 (Kerry, loc. "/.). 

7 Cf. ch. xvii. Local * lords of mis- 
rule ' in the summer occur at Mon- 
tacute in 1447-8 (Hobhouse, 183 
' in expensis Regis de Montagu apud 
Tyntenhull existentis tempore aesti- 
vali'), at Meriden in 1565 (Sharpe, 
209), at Melton Mowbray in 1558 
(Kelly, 65), at Tombland, near Nor- 
wich (Norfolk Archaeology, iii. 7 ; xi. 
345), at Broseley, near Much Wen- 
lock, as late as 1652 (Burne-Jackson, 
480). See the attack on them in 
Stubbes, i. 146. The term 'lord of 
misrule* seems to have been bor- 
rowed from Christmas (ch. xvii). 
It does not appear whether the 
lords of misrule of Old Romney in 
1525 (Archaeologia Cantiana, xiii. 
216) and Braintree in 1531 (Pear- 
son, ii. 413) were in winter or sum- 
mer. 

8 Owen and Blake way, i- 331 ; 
Jackson and Burne, 480 (cf. Appen- 
dix E). Miss Burne suggests several 
possible derivations of the name ; 
from mar 'make mischief,' from 
Mardoll or Marwell (St. Mary's 
Well), streets in Shrewsbury, or 



174 FOLK DRAMA 

at Aberdeen l . The use of an ecclesiastical term will be ex- 
plained in a later chapter 2 . The queen appears to have been 
sometimes known as a ' whitepot ' queen 3 . And finally the king 
and queen receive, in many widely separated places, the names 
of Robin Hood and Maid Marian, and are accompanied in 
their revels by Little John, Friar Tuck, and the whole joyous 
fellowship of Sherwood Forest *. This affiliation of the Indus 
de Rege et Regina to the Robin Hood legend is so curious as 
to deserve a moment's examination 5 . 

The earliest recorded mention of Robin Hood is in 
Langland's Piers Plowman, written about 1377. Here he 
is coupled with another great popular hero of the north as 
a subject of current songs : 

' But I can rymes of Robyn hood, and Randolf erle of 

Chestre V 

In the following century his fame as a great outlaw spread far 
and wide, especially in the north and the midlands 7 . The 
Scottish chronicler Bower tells us in 1447 that whether for 
comedy or tragedy no other subject of romance and minstrelsy 

from Mury vale or Meryvalle, a local that from 1553 Robin Hood suc- 

hamlet. But the form ' Mayvoll' ceeds the Abbot of Mayvole in the 

seems to point to ' Maypole/ May-game at Shrewsbury (Appen- 

1 Representations , s. v. Aberdeen, dix E). Similarly, in an Aberdeen 
Here the lord of the summer feast order of 1508 we find 'Robert Huyid 
seems to have acted also as pre- and Litile Johne, quhilk was callit, 
senter of the Corpus Christi plays. in yers bipast, Abbat and Prior of 

2 Cf. ch. xvii. Bonacord ' (Representations, s. v. 
8 Batman, Golden Books of the Aberdeen). Robin Hood seems, 

Leaden Gods (1577), f. 30. The therefore, to have come rather late 

Pope is said to be carried on the into the May-games, but to have 

backs of four deacons, * after the enjoyed a widening popularity, 

maner of carying whytepot queenes * The material for the study of 

in Western May games.' A * white- the Robin Hood legend is gathered 

pot ' is a kind of custard. together by S. Lee in D. N. B. s. v. 

* Such phrases occur as 'the Hood; Child, Popular Ballads, v. 

May - play called Robyn Hod ' 39 ; Ritson, Robin Hood ( 1 832) ; J.M. 

(Kerry, Hist, of St. Lawrence, Gutch, Robin Hood (1847). Prof, 

Reading, 226, s. a. 1502), * Robin Child gives a critical edition of all 

Hood and May game * and ' Kyng- the ballads. 

gam and Robyn Hode ' (Kingston 8 Piers Plowman^ B-text, passus 

Accounts, 1505-36, in Lysons, En- v. 401. 

virons of London, i. 225). The 7 Fabian, Chronicle, 687, records 

accounts of St. Helen's, Abingdon, in 1502 the capture of 'a felowe 

in 1566, have an entry 'for setting whych hadde renewed many of 

up Robin Hood's bower' (Brand- Robin H ode's pagentes, which 

Hazlitt, i, 144). It is noticeable named himselfe Greneleef.' 



THE MAY-GAME 175 

had such a hold upon the common folk 1 . The first of the 
extant ballads of the cycle, A Gest of Robyn Hode, was 
probably printed before 1500, and in composition may be at 
least a century earlier. A recent investigator of the legend, and 
a very able one, denies to Robin Hood any traceable historic 
origin. He is, says Dr. Child, ' absolutely a creation of the 
ballad muse.' However this may be, the version of the 
Elizabethan playwright Anthony Munday, who made him an 
earl of Huntingdon and the lover of Matilda the daughter of 
Lord Fitzwater, may be taken as merely a fabrication. And 
whether he is historical or not, it is difficult to see how he got, 
as by the sixteenth century he did get, into the May-game. 
One theory is that he was there from the beginning, and that 
he is in fact a mythological figure, whose name but faintly 
disguises either Woden in the aspect of a vegetation deity 2 , 
or a minor wood-spirit Hode, who also survives in the 
Hodeken of German legend 3 . Against this it may be pointed 
out, firstly that Hood is not an uncommon English name, 
probably meaning nothing but * a- Wood ' or ' of the wood V 
and secondly that we have seen no reason to suppose that the 
mock king, which is the part assigned to "Robin Hood in 
the May-game, was ever regarded as an incarnation of the 
fertilization spirit at all. lie is the priest of that spirit, slain 
at its festival, but nothing more. I venture to offer a more 
plausible explanation. It is noticeable that whereas in the 
May-game Robin Hood and Maid Marian are inseparable, in 
the early ballads Maid Marian has no part. She is barely 
mentioned in one or two of the latest ones 6 . Moreover 
Marian is not an English but a French name, and we have 
already seen that Robin and Marion are the typical shepherd 
and shepherdess of the French pastourelles 4nd of Adan de 

1 Cf. p. 177. If he is mythological at all, may he 

s Kuhn, in Haupt's Zeitschrift, not be a form of the ' wild-man ' 

v. 481. or ' wood-woz ' of certain spring 

* Ramsay, F. E. i. 1 68. dramatic ceremonies, and the 

* In the Nottingham Hall-books * Green Knight ' of romance ? Cf. 
(Hist. MSS. i. 105), the same local- ch. ix. 

hy seems to be described in 1548 as 5 The earliest mention of her is 

'Robyn Wood's Well,' and in 1597 (tisoo) in A. Barclay, Eclogue, 5, 

as ' Robyn Hood's Well.' Robin ' some may fit of Maide Marian or 

Hood is traditionally clad in green, else of Robin Hood/ 



176 FOLK DRAMA 

la Hale's dramatic jeu founded upon these. I suggest then, 
that the names were introduced by the minstrels into English 
and transferred from the French fties du mai to the ' lord ' 
and ' lady ' of the corresponding English May-game. Robin 
Hood grew up independently from heroic cantilenae, but owing 
to the similarity of name he was identified with the other 
Robin, and brought Little John, Friar Tuck and the rest with 
him into the May-game. On the other hand Maid Marian, 
who does not properly belong to the heroic legend, was in 
turn, naturally enough, adopted into the later ballads* This 
is an hypothesis, but not, I think, an unlikely hypothesis. 

Of what, then, did the May-game, as it took shape in 
the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, consist ? Primarily, no 
doubt, of a qu$te or ' gaderyng.' In many places this became 
a parochial, or even a municipal, affair. In 1498 the corpora- 
tion of Wells possessed moneys ' provenientes ante hoc tempus 
de Robynhode 1 .' Elsewhere the churchwardens paid the 
expenses of the feast and accounted for the receipts in 
the annual parish budget 2 . There are many entries con- 
cerning the May-game in the accounts of Kingston-on- 
Thames during some half a century. In 1506 it is recorded 
that 'Wylm. Kempe' was c kenge* and 'Joan Whytebrede* 
was 'quen.' In 1513 and again in 1536 the game went to 
Croydon 3 . Similarly the accounts of New Romney note that 
in 1422 or thereabouts the men of Lydd 'came with their 
may and ours Y and those of Reading St. Lawrence that in 
1505 came ' Robyn Hod of Handley and his company* and 
in 1507 'Robyn Hod and his company from flfynchamsted 6 .' 
In contemporary Scotland James IV gave a present at mid- 

1 Hist. MSS. i. 107, from Cowvo- raised by the * lord ' was set aside 

cation Book, ' pecuniae ecclesiae ac for mending the highways (Kelly, 

communitatis Welliae . . . videlicet, 65). 

provenientes ante hoc tempus de * 'Lywons, Environs, i. 225. Men- 

Robynhode, puellis tripudiantibus, tion is made of ' Robin Hood,' ' the 

communi cervisia ecclesiae, ethuius- Lady,' 'Maid Marion,' 'Little 

modi.' John/ the Frere,' ' the Fool,' the 

8 The accounts of Croscombe, Dysard,' * the Morris-dance.' 

Somerset, contain yearly entries of 4 Archaeologia Canttana,xiii.2l6. 

receipts from ' Roben Hod's re- * C. Kerry, History of St. Law- 

cones' from 1476 to 1510, and rence, Reading ; 226. 'Made Ma- 

again in 1525 (Hobhouse, I sqq.). ryon,' 'the tree' and 'the morris- 

At Melton Mowbray the amount dance/ are mentioned. 



THE MAY-GAME 177 

summer in 1503 r to Robin Hude of Perth 1 . 1 It would hardly 
have been worth while, however, to carry the May-game from. 
one village or town to another, had it been nothing but a 
procession with a garland and a ' gaderyng ' ; and as a matter 
of fact we find that in England as in France dramatic 
performances came to be associated with the summer folk- 
festivals. The London * Maying ' included stage plays a . At 
Shrewsbury lusores under the Abbot of Marham acted inter- 
ludes ' for the glee of the town' at Pentecost 3 . The guild of 
St. Luke at Norwich performed secular as well as miracle 
plays, and the guild of Holy Cross at Abingdon held its 
feast on May 3 with 'pageants, plays and May-games/ as 
early as 1445 4 . Some of these plays were doubtless miracles, 
but so far as they were secular, the subjects of them were 
naturally drawn, in the absence of pastourelles, from the ballads 
of the Robin Hood cycle 6 . Amongst the Paston letters is 
preserved one written in 1473, in which the writer laments the 
loss of a servant, whom he has kept ' thys iij yer to pleye 
Seynt Jorge and Robyn Hod and the Shryff off NottynghamV 
Moreover, some specimens of the plays themselves are still 
extant. One of them, unfortunately only a fragment, must be 
the very play referred to in the letter just quoted, for its 
subject is ' Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham,' and 
it is found on a scrap of paper formerly in the possession of 
Sir John Fenn, the first editor of the Paston Letters*. A second 

1 L. H. T. Accounts^ ii. 377. 'tragoediae' in the fifteenth century, 

8 Stowe, Survey (1598), 38. He cf. ch. xxv. 

is speaking mainly of the period * Gairdner, P*stm Letters, iii. 

before 1517, when there was a riot 89; Child, v. 90; * W. Woode, 

on 'Black 'May-day, and afterwards whyche promysed. . . he wold 

the May-games were not * so freely never goo ffro me, and ther uppon 

used as before.' I have kepyd hym thys iij yer to 

8 Appendix E (vi). pleye Seynt Jorge and Robyn Hod 

4 Cf. Representations. and the Shryff off Nottyngham, and 

8 Bower (t I437) Scotichronicon now, when I wolde have good horse, 

(ed. Hearne), iii. 774 ' ille famosissi- he is goon into Bernysdaic, and I 

mus sicarius Robertus Hode et withowt a keeper.' The North- 

Litill-Iohanne cum eorum complici- umberland Household Book, 60, 

bus, de quibus stolidum vulgus makes provision for ' liveries for 

hianter in comoediis et tragoediis Robin Hood' in theEarl's household, 

prurienter festum faciunt, et, prae 7 Printed by Child, v. 90 ; Manly, 

ceteris romanciis, mimos et barda- i. 279. The MS. of the fragment 

nos cantitare delectantur. 1 On the probably dates before 1475. 
ambiguity of 'comoediae* and 

N 



178 FOLK DRAMA 

play on ' Robin Hood and the Friar ' and a fragment of a third 
on ' Robin Hood and the Potter ' were printed uy Copland in 
the edition of the Gest of Robyn Hode published by him about 
J55Q 1 - The Robin Hood plays are, of course, subsequent to 
the development of religious drama which will be discussed 
in the next volume. They are of the nature of interludes, and 
were doubtless written, like the plays of Adan de la Hale, by 
some clerk or minstrel for the delectation of the villagers. They 
are, therefore, in a less degree folk-drama, than the examples 
which we shall have to consider in the next chapter. But it is 
worthy of notice, that even in the heyday of the stage under 
Elizabeth and James I, the summer festival continued to supply 
motives to the dramatists. Anthony Munday's Downfall and 
Death of Robert Earl of Huntingdon 2 , Chapman's May-Day ', 
and Jonson's delightful fragment The Sad Shepherd form an 
interesting group of pastoral comedies, affinities to which 
may be traced in the As You Like It and Winter s Tale 
of Shakespeare himself. 

As has been said, it is impossible to establish any direct 
affiliation between the Robin Hood plays and earlier caroles 
on the same theme, in the way in which this can be done for 
the/<?# of Adan de la Hale, and the Robin and Marion of the 
pastourelles. The extant Robin Hood ballads are certainly not 
caroles ; they are probably not folk-song at all, but minstrelsy 
of a somewhat debased type. The only actual trace of such 
caroles that has been come across is the mention of ' Robene 
hude ' as the name of a dance in the Complaynt of Scotland 

1 Printed by Child, v. 114, 127; two are lost, as is The May Lord 

Manly, i. 281, 285. They were ori- which Jonson wrote (Conversations 

ginally printed as one play by with Drummond, 27). Robin Hood 

Copland (t 1 550). also appears in Peele's Edward I 

* Printed in Dodsley-Hazlitt, vol. (ti59o), and the anonymous Look 

viii. These plays were written for About You (1600), and is the hero 

Henslowe about February 1598. In of Greene's George a Greene the 

November Chettle ' mended Roben Pinner of Wakefield (t 1593). An- 

hood for the corte* (Henslowe' s thonyMunday introduced him again 

Diary, 118-20, 139). At Christmas into his pageant of Metropolis Co- 

1600, Henslowe had another play ronata (1615), and a comedy of 

of ' Roben hoodes penerths ' by Robin Hood and his Crew of Sol- 

William Haughton (Diary, 174-5). diers, acted at Nottingham on the 

An earlier * pastoral pleasant come- day of the coronation of Charles II, 

die of Robin Hood and Little John ' was published in 1661. On all these 

was entered on the Stationers' Re- plays, cf. F. E. Schelling, The 

gisters on May 18, 1594. These English Chronicle Play > 156. 



THE MAY-GAME 179 

about 1548 *. Dances, however, of one kind or another, there 
undoubtedly were at the May-games. The Wells corporation 
accounts mention puellae trifudianUs in close relation with 
Robynhode*. And particularly there was the morris-dance, 
which was so universally in use on May-day, that it borrowed, 
almost in permanence, for its leading character the name of 
Maid Marian. The morris-dance, however, is common to 
nearly all the village feasts, and its origin and nature will 
be matter for discussion in the next chapter. 

In many places, even during the Middle Ages, and still 
more afterwards, the summer feast dropped out or degenerated. 
It became a mere beer-swilling, an ' ale V And so we find in 
the sixteenth century a ' king-ale 4 ' or a ' Robin Hood's ale V 
and in modern times a ' Whitsun-ale '/ a * lamb-ale 7 ' or a 
'gyst-ale 8 ' beside the 'church-ales* and 'scot-ales' which the 
thirteenth-century bishops had already condemned 9 . On 
the other hand, the village festival found its way to court, 
and became a sumptuous pageant under the splendour-loving 
Tudors. For this, indeed, there was Arthurian precedent in 
the romance of Malory, who records how Guenever was taken 

1 Furnivall, Robert Laneham's 7 Cf. p. 141. 

Letter, clxiii. Chaucer, Rom. of 8 At Ashton-under-Lyne, from 

Rose, 7455, has 'the daunce Joly 1422 to a recent date (Dyer, 181). 

Robin,' but this is from his French * Gyst ' appears to be either ' gist ' 

original * li biaus Robins.' (gtte) ' right of pasturage ' or a cor- 

8 Cf. p. 176. motion of ' guising ' ; cf. ch. xvii. 

8 Dyer, 278 ; Drake, 86 ; Brand- Cf. p. 91. On Scot-ale, cf. 
Ellis, i. 157 ; Cutts, Parish Priests^ Ducange, s. v. Scotallum; Archaeo- 
317; Archaeologia,TUL\. n ; Stubbes, logia, xii. II ; H. T. Riley, Muni- 
i. 150 ; F. L. x. 350. At an ' ale ' a menta Gildhallae Londin. (R. S.), 
cask of home-brewed was broached ii. 760. The term first appears as 
for sale in the church or church- the name of a tax, as in a North- 
house, and the profits went to some ampton charter of 1189 (Maxk ham- 
public object ; at a church-ale to the Cox, Northampton Borough Re- 
parish, at a clerk-ale to the clerk, cords , i. 26) * concessimus quod sint 
at a bride-ale or bridal to the quieti de . . . Brudtol et de Child- 
bride, at a bid-ale to some poor wite et de hieresgiue et de Scottale. 
man in trouble. A love-ale was ita quod Prepositus Northampto- 
probably merely social. nie ut aliquis alius Ballivus scottale 

4 At Reading in 1557 (C. Kerry, non faciat' ; cf. the thirteenth-cen- 

Hist.of St .Lawrence, Reading,izG). tury examples quoted by Ducange. 

8 At Tintinhull in 1513 (Hob- The Council of Lambeth (I2o6),c. 2, 

house, 200, ' Robine Hood's All f ). clearly defines the term as ' com- 

6 Brand-Ellis, i. 157 ; Dyer, 278. munes potationes/ and the primary 

A carving on the church of St. John's, sense is therefore probably that of 

Chichester, represents a Whit sun- an ale at which a scot or tax is 

ale, with a ' lord ' and ' lady.' raised. 

N 2 



180 FOLK DRAMA 

by Sir Meliagraunce, when * as the queen had mayed and all 
her knights, all were bedashed with herbs, mosses, and flowers, 
in the best manner and freshest V The chronicler Hall tells 
of the Mayings of Henry VIII in 1510, 1511, and 1515. In 
the last of these some hundred and thirty persons took part. 
Henry was entertained by Robin Hood and the rest with 
shooting-matches and a collation of venison in a bower ; and 
returning was met by a chariot in which rode the Lady May 
and the Lady Flora, while on the five horses sat the Ladies 
Humidity, Vert, Vegetave, Pleasaunce and Sweet Odour 2 . 
Obviously the pastime has here degenerated in another 
direction. It has become learned, allegorical, and pseudo- 
classic. At the Reformation the May-game and the May- 
pole were marks for Puritan onslaught. Latimer, in one of 
his sermons before Edward VI, complains how, when he had 
intended to preach in a certain country town on his way to 
London, he was told that he could not be heard, for ' it is 
Robyn hoodes daye. The parishe are gone a brode to gather 
for Robyn hoode V Machyn's Diary mentions the breaking 
of a May-pole in Fenchurch by the lord mayor of 1552*, and 
the revival of elaborate and heterogeneous May-games through- 
out London during the brief span of Queen Mary 5 . The 
Elizabethan Puritans renewed the attack, but though some- 
thing may have been done by reforming municipalities here 
and there to put down the festivals ^the ecclesiastical authori- 



2. * Machyn, 20. 

* Hall, 515, 520, 582; Brewer, 8 Ibid. 89, 137, 196, 201, 283, 

Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, 373. In 1559, e.g. 'the xxiiij of 

ii. 1504. In 1510, Henry and hir June ther was a May-game . . . 

courtiers visited the queen's cham- and Sant John Sacerys, with a 

her in the guise of Robin Hood and gyant, and drumes and unes [and 

his men on the inappropriate date the] ix wordes (worthies), with 

of January 18. In Scotland, about spechys, and a goodly pagant with 

the same time, Dunbar wrote a a quen . . . and dyvers odnr, with 

'cry' for a maying with Robin spechys; and then Sant Gorge and 

Hood ; cf. Texts, s v. Dunbar. the dragon, the mores dansse, and 

3 Latimer, Sermon i>i before after Robyn Hode and lytyll John, 

Edu. -7(1549, ed. Arber, 173). and M [aid Marian] and frere Tuke, 

Perhaps the town was Melton Mow- and they had spechys round a-bout 

bray, where Robin Hood was very London.' 

popular, and where Latimer is shown * * Mr. Tomkys publicke prechar ' 

by the churchwardens' accounts to in Shrewsbury induced the bailiffs 

have preached several years later in to ' reform ' May-poles in 1 588, and 

1553 (Kelly, 67). in 1591 some apprentices were com- 



THE MAY-GAME 



181 



ties could not be induced to go much beyond forbidding them 
to take place in churchyards l . William Stafford, indeed, 
declared in 1581 that 'May-games, wakes, and revels' were 
' now laid down V but the violent abuse directed against them 
only two years later by Philip Stubbes, which may be taken 
as a fair sample of the Puritan polemic as a whole, shows that 
this was far from being really the case 3 . In Scotland the 
Parliament ordered, as early as 1555, that no one ' be chosen 
Robert Hud^, nor Lytill Johne, Abbot of vnressoun, Quenis 
of Maij, nor vtherwyse, nouther in Burgh nor to landwart in 
ony tyme to cum V But the prohibition was not very effective, 
for in 1577 and 1578 the General Assembly is found petition- 
ing for its renewal 5 . And in England no similar action was 
taken until 1644 when the Long Parliament decreed the 
destruction of such May-poles as the municipalities had spared. 
Naturally this policy was reversed at the Restoration, and 
a new London pole was erected in the Strand, hard by 
Somerset House, which endured until 1717 6 . 

mitted for disobeying the order. A (1619) are quoted in the Second 

Report of the Ritual Commission; 
cf. the eighty-eighth Canon of 1604. 
It is true that the Visitation Arti- 
cles for St. Mary's, Shrewsbury, in 
1584 inquire more generally * whe- 
ther there have been any lords of 
mysrule, or somer lords or ladies, or 
any disguised persons, as morice 
dancers, maskers, or mum'ers, or 
such lyke, within the parishe, ether 
in the nativititide or in som'er, or 
at any other tyme, and what be 
their names ' ; but this church was 
a * peculiar ' and its ' official ' the 



judicial decision was, however,given 
in favour of the * tree ' (Burne-Jack- 



son, 358 ; Hibbert, English Craft- 
Gilds, 121). In London the Cornhill 
Maypdle, which gave its name to 
St. Andrew Undershaft, was de- 
stroyed by persuasion of a preacher 
as early as 1549 (Dyer, 248) ; cf. 
also Stubbes, i. 306, and Morrison's 
advice to Henry VIII quoted in 
ch. xxv. 

1 Archbishop GrindaTs Visita- 
tion Articles of 1576 (Remains, 
Parker Soc. 175), 'whether the 
minister and churchwardens have 
suffered any lords of misrule or 
summer lords or ladies, or any 
disguised persons, or others, in 
Christmas or at May-games, or any 
morris-dancers, or at any other 
times, to come unreverently into 
the church or churchyard, and there 
to dance, or play any unseemly 
parts, with scoffs, jests, wanton 
gestures, or ribald talk, namely in 
the time of Common Prayer.' Si- 
milarly worded Injunctions for Nor- 
wich (1569), York (1571), Lichfield 
(1584), London (1601) and Oxford 



Puritan Tomkys mentioned in the 
last note (Owen and lilakeway, i. 
333 ; Burne-Jackson, 481). 

* Stafford, 16. 

8 Stubbes, i. 146; cf. the further 
quotations and references there 
given in the notes. 

4 6 Mary, cap. 6l. 

6 Child, v. 45 ; cf. Representa- 
tions ,s. v. Aberdeen, on the breaches 
of the statute therein 1562 and 1565. 

6 Dyer, 228; Drake, 85. At Cerne 
Abbas, Dorset, the May-pole was 
cut down in 1635 and made into a 
town ladder (F. L. x. 481). 



CHAPTER IX 
THE SWORD-DANCE 

[Bibliographical Note. The books mentioned in the 1 bibliographical 
note to the last chapter should be consulted on the general tendency 
to fufATjo-is in festival dance and song. The symbolical dramatic cere- 
monies of the renouveau are collected by Dr. J. G. Frazer in The Golden 
Bough. The sword-dance has been the subject of two elaborate studies : 
K. Miillenhoff, Ueber den Schwerttanz, in Festgabenfur Gustav Homey er 
(1871), iii, with additions in Zeitschrift fur deutsches Alterthum, xviii. 9, 
xx. 10 ; and F. A. Mayer, Ein deutsches Schiverttansspiel aus Ungarn 
(with full bibliography), in Zeitschrift fur Volkerpsychologie (1889), 2O 4> 
416. The best accounts of the morris-dance are in F. Douce, Illustrations 
of Shakespeare (i8o7,new ed. i839),and A. Burton, Rushbearing(\%<)i), 95.] 

THE last two chapters have afforded more than one example 
of village festival customs ultimately taking shape as drama. 
But neither the English Robin Hood plays, nor the French 
Jeu de Robin et Marion, can be regarded as folk-drama in the 
proper sense of the word. They were written not by the folk 
themselves, but by trouvircs or minstrels for the folk ; and at 
a period when the independent evolution of the religious play 
had already set a model of dramatic composition. Probably 
the same is true of the Hox Tuesday play in the form in 
which we may conjecture it to have been presented before 
Elizabeth late in the sixteenth century. Nevertheless it is 
possible to trace, apart from minstrel intervention and apart 
from imitation of miracles, the existence of certain embryonic 
dramatic tendencies in the village ceremonies themselves. 
Too much must not be made of these. Jacob Grimm was 
inclined to find in them the first vague beginnings of the 
whole of modern drama *. This is demonstrably wrong. 
Modern drama arose, by a fairly well defined line of evolution, 
from a threefold source, the ecclesiastical liturgy, the farce of 
the mimes, the classical revivals of humanism. Folk-drama 
contributed but the tiniest rill to the mighty stream. Such as 
1 Grimm, ii. 784 ; Kleinere Schriften, v. 281 ; Pearson, ii. 281. 



THE SWORD-DANCE 183 

it was, however, a couple of further chapters may be not 
unprofitably spent in its analysis. 

The festival customs include a number of dramatic rites 
which appear to have been originally symbolical expressions 
of the facts of seasonal recurrence lying at the root of the 
festivals themselves. The antithesis of winter and summer, 
the renouveau of spring, are mimed in three or four distinct 
fashions. The first and the most important, as well as the 
most widespread of these, is the mock representation of a death 
or burial. Dr. Frazer has collected many instances of the 
ceremony known as the ' expulsion of Death V This takes 
place at various dates in spring and early summer, but most 
often on the fourth Sunday in Lent, one of the many names 
of which is consequently Todten-Sonntag. An effigy is made, 
generally of straw, but in some cases of birch twigs, a beechen 
bough, or other such material. This is called Death, is treated 
with marks of fear, hatred or contempt, and is finally carried 
in procession, and thrust over the boundary of the village. Or 
it is torn in pieces, buried, burnt, or thrown into a river or 
pool. Sometimes the health or other welfare of the folk 
during the year is held to depend on the rite being duly per- 
formed. The fragments of Death have fertilizing efficacy for 
women and cattle ; they are put in the fields, the mangers, 
the hens' nests. Here and there women alone take part in 
the ceremony, but more often it is common to the whole 
village. The expulsion of Death is found in various parts of 
Teutonic Germany, but especially in districts such as Thuringia, 
Bohemia, Silesia, where the population is wholly or mainly 
Slavonic. A similar custom, known both in Slavonic districts 
and in Italy, France, and Spain, had the name of ' sawing the 
old woman. 1 At Florence, for instance, the effigy of an old 
woman was placed on a ladder. At Mid Lent it was sawn 
through, and the nuts and dried fruits with which it was 
stuffed scrambled for by the crowd. At Palermo there was 
a still more realistic representation with a real old woman, to 
whose neck a bladder of blood was fitted 2 . 

1 Frazer, ii. 82 ; Grant Allen, 293, * Frazer, ii. 86 ; Martinengo-Ce- 
315; Grimm, ii. 764; Pearson, ii. saresco, 267. Cf. the use of the 
283. bladder of blood in the St. Thomas 



184 FOLK DRAMA 

The 'Death ' of the German and Slavonic form of the custom 
has clearly come to be regarded as the personification of the 
forces of evil within the village ; and the ceremony of expul- 
sion may be compared with other periodical rites, European 
and non- European, in which evil spirits are similarly expelled 1 . 
The effigy may even be regarded in the light of a scapegoat, 
bearing away the sins of the community 2 . But it is doubtful 
how far the notion of evil spirits warring against the good 
spirits which protect man and his crops is a European, or at 
any rate a primitive European one 3 ; and it may perhaps be 
taken for granted that what was originally thought to be 
expelled in the rite was not so much either ' Death ' or ' Sin ' 
as winter. This view is confirmed by the evidence of an 
eighth-century homily, which speaks of the expulsion of 
winter in February as a relic of pagan belief 4 . Moreover, the 
expulsion of Death is often found in the closest relation to 
the more widespread custom of bringing summer, in the shape 
of green tree or bough, into the village. The procession 
which carries away the dead effigy brings back the summer 
tree ; and the rhymes used treat the two events as connected 5 . 

The homily just quoted suggests that the mock funeral or 
expulsion of winter was no new thing in the eighth century. 
On the other hand, it can hardly be supposed that customs 
which imply such abstract ideas as death, or even as summer 
and winter, belong to the earliest stages of the village festival. 
What has happened is what happens in other forms of festival 
play. The instinct of play, in this case finding vent in 
a dramatic representation of the succession of summer to 

procession at Canterbury (Repre- at Oxford (Dyer, 261) and elsewhere 
sent at ions, s. v.). on May i, and I have heard it said 
1 Frazer, iii. 70. Amongst such that the object of the Oxford cus- 
customs are the expulsion of Satan torn is to drive away evil spirits, 
on New Year's day by the Finns, Similar discords are de rigueur at 
the expulsion of Kore at Easter in Skimmington Ridings. I very much 
Albania, the expulsion of witches doubt whether they are anything 
on March I in Calabria* and on but a degenerate survival of a bar- 
May i in the Tyrol, the frightening baric type of music, 
of the wood-sprites Strudeli and * Frazer, iii. 121. 
Stratteli on Twelfth night at Brun- 8 Tylor, Anthropology, 382. 
nen in Switzerland. Such cere- 4 Caspari, 10 ' qui in mense fe- 
monies are often accompanied with bruario hibernum credit expellere. . . 
a horrible noise of horns, cleavers non christianus, sed gentilis est.' 
and the like. Horns are also used 6 Frazer, ii. 91. 



THE SWORD-DANCE 185 

winter, has taken hold of and adapted to its own purposes 
elements in the celebrations which, once significant, have 
gradually come to be mere traditional survivals. Such are 
the ceremonial burial in the ground, the ceremonial burning, 
the ceremonial plunging into water, of the representative of 
the fertilization spirit. In particular, the southern term ' the 
old woman ' suggests that the effigy expelled or destroyed 
is none other than the ' corn mother ' or ' harvest-May,' 
fashioned to represent the fertilization spirit out of the last 
sheaf at harvest, and preserved until its place is taken by 
a new and green representative in the spring. 

There are, however, other versions of the mock death in 
which the central figure of the little drama is not the represen- 
tative of the fertilization spirit itself, but one of the worshippers. 
In Bavaria the Whitsuntide Pfingstl is dressed in leaves and 
water-plants with a cap of peonies. He is soused with water, 
and then, in mimicry, has his head cut off. Similar customs 
prevail in the Erzgebirge and elsewhere *. We have seen 
this Pfingstl before. He is the Jack in the green, the wor- 
shipper clad in the god under whose protection he desires to 
put himself 2 . But how can the killing of him symbolize the 
spring, for obviously it is the coming summer, not the dying 
winter, that the leaf-clad figure must represent ? The fact is 
that the Bavarian drama is not complete. The full ceremony 
is found in other parts of Germany. Thus in Saxony and 
Thuringia a ' wild man ' covered with leaves and moss is 
hunted in a wood, caught, and executed. Then comes forward 
a lad dressed as a doctor, who brings the victim to life again 
by Weeding 3 . Even so annually the summer dies and has its 
resurrection. In Swabia, again, on Shrove Tuesday, 'Dr. 
Eisenbart" bleeds a man to death, and afterwards revives 
him. This same Dr. Eisenbart appears also in the Swabian 
Whitsuntide execution, although here too the actual resur- 
rection seems to have dropped out of the ceremony 4 . It is 

1 Frazer, ii. 60. similar figures are not uncommon 

3 Sometimes the Pfingstl is called in the sixteenth-century masques 

a * wild man.' Two ' myghty and entertainments, 

woordwossys [cf. p. 392] or wyld 8 Frazer, ii. 62. 

men 'appeared in a revel at the court * Ibid. ii. 6l, 82; E. Meier, 

of Henry VI 1 1 in 1513 (Revels Ac- Deutsche Sqgen, Sit ten und Ge- 

count in Brewer, ii. 1499), and brduche aus Schwaben^ 374, 409. 



186 FOLK DRAMA 

interesting to note that the green man of the peasantry, who 
dies and lives again, reappears as the Green Knight in one of 
the most famous divisions of Arthurian romance l . 

The mock death or burial type of folk-drama resolves itself, 
then, into two varieties. In one, it is winter whose passing is 
represented, and for this the discarded harvest-May serves as 
a nucleus. In the other, which is not really complete without 
a resurrection, it is summer, whose death is mimed merely 
as a preliminary to its joyful renewal ; and this too is built 
up around a fragment of ancient cult in the person of the 
leaf-clad worshipper, who is, indeed, none other than the 
priest-king, once actually, and still in some sort and show, 
slain at the festival 2 . In the instances so far dealt with, the 
original significance of the rite is still fairly traceable. But 
there are others into which new meanings, due to the influence 
of Christian custom, have been read. In many parts of 
Germany customs closely analogous to those of the expulsion 
of whiter or Death take place on Shrove Tuesday, and have 
suffered metamorphosis into 'burial of the Carnival 3 .' England 
affords the 'Jack o* Lent* effigy which is taken to represent 
Judas Iscariot 4 , the Lincoln ' funeral of Alleluia V the Tenby 

1 Syr Gawayne and the Grene as the Carnival or Shrovetide 

Knyghte (ed. Madden, Bannatyne ' Fool ' or ' Bear.' 
Club, 1839) ; cf. J. L. Weston, The * Dyer, 93. The Jack o' Lent 

Legend of Sir Gawain, 85. Arthur apparently stood as a cock-shy 

was keeping New Year's Day, from Ash Wednesday to Good Fri- 

when a knight dressed in green, day, and was then burnt. Portu- 

with a green beard, riding a green guese sailors in English docks 

horse, and bearing a holly bough, thrash and duck an effigy of Judas 

and an axe of green steel, entered Iscariot on Good Friday (Dyer, 

the hall. He challenged any man 1 50. 

of the Round Table to deal him * Alleluia was not sung during 
a buffet with the axe on condition of Lent. Fosbrooke, British Mona* 
receiving' one in return after the chism, 56, describes the Funeral of 
lapse of a year. Sir Gawain accepts. Alleluia by the choristers of an 
The stranger's head is cut off, put English cathedral on the Saturday 
he picks it up and rides away with before Septuagesima. A turf was 
it. This is a close parallel to the carried in procession with howl- 
resurrection of the slain ' wild man.' ing to the cloisters. Probably this 

8 Frazef, ii. 105, 115, 163, 219; cathedral was Lincoln, whence 

Pausanias, iii. 53; v. 259; Gardner, Wordsworth, 105, quotes payments 

New Chapters in Greek History \ 'pro excludend' Alleluya* from 1452 

395) give Russian, Greek, and Asia- to 1617. Leber, ix. 338 ; Barth&emy, 

tic parallels. iii. 481, give French examples of 

* Frazer, 11.71; Pfannenschmidt, the custom; c the Alleluia top, 

302. The victim is sometimes known p. 128. 



THE SWORD-DANCE 187 

'making Christ's bed 1 ,' the Monkton < risin f and buryin' 
Peter 2 .' The truth that the vitality of a folk custom is far 
greater than that of any single interpretation of it is admirably 
illustrated. 

Two other symbolical representations of the phenomena of 
the renouveau must be very briefly treated. At Briangon in 
Dauphine, instead of a death and resurrection, is used a pretty 
little May-day drama, in which the leaf-clad man falls into 
sleep upon the ground and is awakened by the kiss of a 
maiden 3 . Russia has a similar custom ; and such a magic 
kiss, bringing summer with it, lies at the heart of the story of 
the Sleeping Beauty. Indeed, the marriage of heaven and 
earth seems to have been a myth very early invented by the 
Aryan mind to explain the fertility of crops beneath the rain, 
and it probably received dramatic form in religious ceremonies 
both in Greece and Italy 4 . Finally, there is a fairly wide- 
spread spring custom of holding a dramatic fight between two 
parties, one clad in green to represent summer, the other in 
straw or fur to represent winter. Waldron describes this in 
the Isle of Man 6 ; Olaus Magnus in Sweden 6 . Grimm says 
that it is found in various districts on both sides of the middle 
Rhine 7 . Perhaps both this dramatic battle and that of the 
Coventry Hox Tuesday owe their origin to the struggle for 
the fertilizing head of a sacrificial animal, which also issued 
in football and similar games. Dr. Frazer quotes several in- 
stances from all parts of the world in which a mock fight, 
or an interchange of abuse and raillery taking the place of 
an actual fight, serves as a crop-charm 8 . The summer and 
winter battle gave to literature a famous type of neo-Latin 
and Romance dtbat*. In one of the most interesting forms of 



1 Dyer, 1 58. Reeds were woven May-queen is often called la marine 
n Good Friday into the shape of or Ftyouse. 
a crucifix and left in some hidden * Frazer, i. 225 ; Jevons, Plutarch 



part of a field or garden. R. Q. Ixxxiii. 56. 

1 Dyer, 333. The village feast * Waldron, Hist, of hie of Man, 

was on St. Peter's day, June 29. 95 ; Dyer, 246. 

On the Saturday before an effigy * Olaufc Magnus, History of 

was dug up from under a sycamore Swedes and Goths, xv. 4, 8, 9 ; 

on Maypole hill ; a week later it Grimm, ii. 774. 

was buried again. In this case the 7 Grimm, 11.765; Paul, Grundriss 

order of events seems to have been (ed. i), i. 836. 

inverted. ' Frazer, Pausanias, iii. 267. 

1 Frazer, i. 221. The French ' Cf. ch. iv. 



188 FOLK DRAMA 

this, the eighth- or ninth-century Conflictus Veris et Hiemis, 
the subject of dispute is the cuckoo, which spring praises and 
winter chides, while the shepherds declare that he must be 
drowned or stolen away, because summer cometh not. The 
cuckoo is everywhere a characteristic bird of spring, and his 
coming was probably a primitive signal for the high summer 
festival \ 

The symbolical dramas of the seasons stand alone and 
independent, but it may safely be asserted that drama first 
arose at the village feasts in close relation to the dance. That 
dancing, like all the arts, tends to be mimetic is a fact which 
did not escape the attention of Aristotle 2 . The pantomimes 
of the decadent Roman stage are a case in point. Greek 
tragedy itself had grown out of the Dionysiac dithyramb, 
and travellers describe how readily the dances of the modern 
savage take shape as primitive dramas of war, hunting, love, 
religion, labour, or domestic life 3 . Doubtless this was the 
case also with the caroles of the European festivals. The 
types of chanson most immediately derived from these 
are full of dialogue, and already on the point of bursting 
into drama. That they did do this, with the aid of the 
minstrels, in the Jeu de Robin et de Marion we have seen 4 . 
A curious passage in the Itincrarium Cambriae of Giraldus 
Cambrensis (f 1188) describes a dance of peasants in and 

1 Grimm, ii. 675, 763 ; Swainson, elle-me'me ... en simulant la gaiete* 

Folk-lore of British Birds (F. L.S.), on parvenait re'ellement a la sentir.' 

109; Hardy, Popular History of s Waliaschek, 216 ; Grosse, 165, 

the Cuckoo, in F. L. Record, ii ; 201; Him, 157, 182,229,259,261; 

Mannhardt, in Zeitschrift fur Du Me*ril, Com. 72 ; Haddon, 

deutsche Mythologie, iii. 209. Cf. 346 ; Grove, 52, 81 ; Mrs. Gomme, 

ch. v. ii. 518 ; G. Catlin, On Manners . . . 

* Aristotle, Poetics, L 5 avrw de of N. A mer. Indians (1841), i. 128, 

r$ pvQfup [TTotctTat rrjv fjLifjLTjcnif] ^copl? 244. Lang, M* R* R. i. 272, dwells 

dppoWdf ^ [ T X VI 7] T <* v opxvorWf ** on the representation of myths in 

yap OTOI dm r&v <rx^M aTt f o / i " w *' savage mystery-dances, and points 

pvd/iou' fUftoiWcu jcm fjOrj /cat ndOrj *at out that Lucian (loc. cit.} says that 

irpdffis. Cf. Lucian, de Saltatione, the Greeks used to * dance out ' 

xv. 277. Du Me*ril, 65, puts the ('opxr0m) their mysteries, 

thing well : ' La danse n'a te Tin- * The chanson of 2^ransforma 

vention de personne : elle s f est pro- tions (cf. p. 170) is sung by peasant- 

duite d'elle-me'me le jour que le girls as a semi-dramatic duet (Ro- 

corps a subi et du reffeter un e*tat mania, vii. 62) ; and that of Marion 

de r^me . . . On ne tarda pas was performed *a deux person- 

cependant a la s^parer de sa cause nages f on Shrove Tuesday in Lor- 

premiere et k la reproduire pour raine (Romania^ ix. 568). 



THE SWORD-DANCE 189 

about the church of St. Elined, near Brecknock on the Gwyl 
Awst, in which the ordinary operations of the village life, such 
as ploughing, sewing, spinning were mimetically represented 1 . 
Such dances seem to survive in some of the rondesor 'singing- 
games,' so frequently dramatic, of children 2 . On the whole, 
perhaps, these connect themselves rather with the domestic 
than with the strictly agricultural element in village cult. 
A large proportion of them are concerned with marriage. 
But the domestic and the agricultural cannot be altogether 
dissociated. The game of Nuts in May,' for instance, seems 
to have as its kernel a reminiscence of marriage by capture ; 
but the ' nuts ' or rather * knots ' or ' posies ' ' in May ' certainly 
suggest a setting at a seasonal festival.. So too, with * Round 
the Mulberry Bush.' The mimicry here is of domestic opera- 
tions, but the * bush ' recalls the sacred tree, the natural centre 
of the seasonal dances. The closest parallels to the dance 
described by Giraldus Cambrensis are to be found in the 
rondes of* Oats and Beans and Barley ' and ' Would you know 
how doth the Peasant ? ', in which the chief, though not always 
the only, subjects of mimicry are ploughing, sowing and the 
like, and which frequently contain a prayer or aspiration for 
the welfare of the crops 3 . 

1 Giraldus Cambrensis, Itinera- extractum occandum tanquam in 

rium Cambriae, i. i (Opera, R.S. vi. fusum revocare : istam deambu- 

32) * Videas enim hie homines seu lando productis filis quasi telam 

puellas, nunc in ecclesia, nunc in ordiri : illam sedendo quasi iam 

cpemiterio, nunc in chorea, quae orditam oppositis lanceolae iactibus 

circa coemiterium cum cantilena et alternis calamistrae cominus icti- 

circumfertur, subito in terram cor- bus texere mireris. Demum vcro 

ruere, et primo tanquam in extasim intra ecclesiam cum oblationibus ad 

ductos et quietos ; deinde statim altare perductos tanquam experrec- 

tanquam in phrenesim raptos exsi- tos et ad se redeuntes obstupescas. 1 
lientes, opera quaecunque festis * Cf. p. 151 with Mrs. Gomme's 

diebus illicite perpetrare consue- Memoir (ii. 458) passim, and 

verant, tarn manibusquam pedibus, Haddon, 328. Parallel savage 

coram populo repraesentantes. vi- examples are in Wallaschek, 216; 

deas hunc aratro manus aptare, Him, 157, 259. 
ilium quasi stimulo boves excitare ; 8 Mrs. Gomme, ii. 399, 494 and 

et utrumque quasi laborem miti- s. vv. ; Haddon, 340. Similar 

gando sohtas barbarae modulatio- games are widespread on the con- 

nis voces efferre. videas hunc artem tinent ; cf. the Rabelais quotation on 

sutoriam, ilium pellipariam imitari. p. 167. Haddon quotes a French 

item videas hanc quasi colum ba- formula, ending 
iulando, nunc filum manibus et * Aveine, aveine, aveine, 
brachiis in longum extrahere, nunc Que le Bon Dieu t'amene.' 



190 FOLK DRAMA 

I have treated the mimetic element of budding drama in the 
agricultural festivals as being primarily a manifestation of the 
activities of play determined in its direction by the dominant 
interests of the occasion, and finding its material in the debris 
of ritual custom left over from forgotten stages of religious 
thought. It is possible also to hold that the mimesis is more 
closely interwoven with the religious and practical side of the 
festivals, and is in fact yet another example of that primitive 
magical notion of causation by the production of the similar, 
which is at the root of the rain- and sun-charms. Certainly 
the village dramas, like the other ceremonies which they 
accompany, are often regarded as influencing the luck of the 
farmer's year ; just as the hunthig- and war-dances of savages 
are often regarded not merely as amusement or as practice for 
actual war and hunting, but as charms to secure success in 
these pursuits l . But it does not seem clear to me that in this 
case the magical efficacy belongs to the drama from the 
beginning, and I incline to look upon it as merely part of 
the sanctity of the feast as a whole, which has attached itself 
in the course of time even to that side of it which began as play. 

The evolution of folk-drama out of folk-dance may be most 
completely studied through a comparison of the various types 
of European sword-dance with the so-called * mummers',' 
' guisersV or ' Pace - eggers' ' play of Saint George. The 
history of the sword-dance has received a good deal of atten- 
tion from German archaeologists, who, however, perhaps from 
imperfect acquaintance with the English data, have stopped 
short of the affiliation to it of the play 2 . The dance itself 
can boast a hoar antiquity. Tacitus describes it as the one 
form of spectaculum to be seen at the gatherings of the 
Germans with whom he was conversant. The dancers were 
young men who leapt with much agility amongst menacing 

1 Wallaschek, 273 ; Him, 285. schichte des Tanzes in Deutschland 

8 The German data here used are ( 1 886) ; Sepp, Die Religion der alien 

chiefly collected by Miillenhoffand Deutschen> undihr Fortbestand in 

F. A. Mayer ; cf. 'also Creizenach, Volkssagen, Aufziigen und Fest- 

i. 408 ; Michels, 84 ; J. J. Ammann, brduchen bis zur Gegenwart (1890), 

Nachtrdge zum Schwerttanz, in 91; O.Wittstock, [/ever den ScAwerf- 

Z. f. d. Alterihum xxxiv (1890), tanz der Siebenburger Sachsen y in 

178; A. Hartmann, Volksschauspiele Philologische Studien : Festgdbe 

(1880), 130; F. M. Bohme, Ge- fur Eduard Sievers (1896), 349. 



THE SWORD-DANCE 191 

spear-points and sword-blades 1 . Some centuries later the 
use of sweorda-gelac as a metaphor for battle in Beowulf 
shows that the term was known to the continental ancestors 
of the Anglo-Saxons 2 . Then follows a long gap in the 
record, bridged only by a doubtful reference in an eighth- 
century Prankish homily 3 , and a possible representation 
in a ninth-century Latin and Anglo-Saxon manuscript 4 . 
The minstrels seem to have adopted the sword-dance into 
their repertory 6 , but the earliest mediaeval notice of it as 
a popular ludus is at Nuremberg in 1350. From that date 
onwards until quite recent years it crops up frequently, alike 
at Shrovetide, Christmas and other folk festivals, and as 
an element in the revels at weddings, royal entries, and the 
like . It is fairly widespread throughout Germany. It is 
found in Italy, where it is called the mattaccino 1 , and in Spain 
(matachin)) and under this name or that of the danse des bouffons 
it was known both in France and England at the Renaissance 8 . 
It is given by Paradin in his Le Blason des Danses and, with 
the music and cuts of the performers, by Tabourot in his 
Orchtsographie (1588)*. These are the sophisticated versions 
of courtly halls. But about the same date Olaus Magnus 
describes it as a folk-dance, to the accompaniment of pipes or 
cantilenae^ in Sweden 10 . In England, the main area of the 

1 Tacitus, Germania, 24 * genus have been a kind of sword-dance 
spectaculorum unum atque in omnt (cf. ch. xii ad fin.). 

coetu idem, nudi iuvenes, quibus id * Strutt, 260 ; Du Me'ril, La Com. 

ludicrum est, inter gladios se atque 84. 

infestas frameas saltu iaciunt. exer- 6 Mayer, 259. 

citatio artem paravit, are decorem, 7 MiillenhorF, 145, quoting Don 

non in quaestum tamen aut merce- Quixote, ii. 20 ; Z.f. d. A. xviii. 1 1 ; 

dem ; quamvis audacis lasciviae Du Me'ril, La Com. 86. 

pretium est voluptas spectantium.' 8 Webster, The White Devil^ v. 

2 Beowulf^ 1042. It is in the 6, 'a matachin, it seems by your 
hall of Hrothgar at Heorot, drawn swords ' ; the * buttons ' is 

'j>aet wses hilde - setl : heah- included in the list of dances in the 

cyninges, Complaynt of Scotland (t 1 548) ; 

J>onne sweorda - gela*c : sunu cf. Furnivall, Laneham's Letter^ 

Healfdenes clxii. 

efnan wolde : nfre on 6re lg * Tabourot, Orchsographie> 97, 

wfd - cu)>es wfg : J?onne walu Les Bouffons ou Mattachins. The 

feollon.' dancers held bucklers and swords 

8 Appendix N, no. xxxix ; ' arma which they clashed together. They 

in campo ostendit.' also wore bells on their legs. 

* Strutt, 215. The tenth-century 10 Cf. Appendix). 
r6 yor6iK.6v at Byzantium seems to 



192 FOLK DRAMA 

acknowledged sword-dance is in the north. It is found, 
according to Mr. Henderson, from the Humber to the 
Cheviots; and it extends as far south as Cheshire and 
Nottinghamshire l . Outlying examples are recorded from 
Winchester 2 and from Devonshire 8 . In Scotland Sir Walter 
Scott found it among the farthest Hebrides, and it has also 
been traced in Fifeshire 4 . 

The name of danse dts bouffons sometimes given to the 
sword-dance may be explained by a very constant feature of 
the English examples, in which the dancers generally include 
or are accompanied by one or more comic or grotesque person- 
ages. The types of these grotesques are not kept very 
distinct in the descriptions, or, probably, in fact. But they 
appear to be fundamentally two. There is the * Tommy ' or 
' fool/ who wears the skin and tail of a fox or some other 
animal, and there is the ' Bessy,' who is a man dressed in 
a woman's clothes. And they can be paralleled from outside 
England. A Narr or Fasching (carnival fool) is a figure in 
several German sword-dances, and in one from Bohemia he 
has his female counterpart in a Mehlweib 6 . 

With the cantilenae noticed by Olaus Magnus may be com- 
pared the sets of verses with which several modern sword- 
dances, both in these islands and in Germany, are provided. 
They are sung before or during part of the dances, and as 
a rule are little more than an introduction of the performers, 
to whom they give distinctive names. If they contain any 

1 Henderson, 67. The sword- Plough Monday. The figures in- 

dance is also mentioned by W. eluded the placing of a hexagon or 

Hutchinson, A View of North- rose of swords on the head of one 

umderland (177$), ii ad Jin, 1 8 ; by of the performers. The dance was 

J. Wallis, Hist, of Northumberland accompanied with * Toms or clowns* 

(1779), ii. 28, who describes the masked or painted, and ' Madgies 

leader as having 'a fox's skin, or Madgy-Pegs' in women's clothes, 

generally serving him for a cover- Sometimes a farce, with a king, 

ing and ornament to his head, the miller, clown and doctor was added 

tail hanging down his back ' ; and (G. Young, Hist, of Whitby (1817), 

as practised in the north Riding of ii. 880). 

Yorks. by a writer in the Gentle- * Cf. Appendix J. 

man's Afagagtne(i&ii) 9 liaau.i.423. f R. Bell, Ancient Poems, Bal- 

Here it took place from St. Ste- lads and Songs of the Peasantry of 

phen's to New Year's Day. There England, 175. 

were six lads, a fiddler, Bessy and * Cf. Appendix J. 

a Doctor. At Whitby, six dancers * Mayer, 230, 417. 
went with the 'Plough Stots' on 



THE SWORD-DANCE 193 

incident, it is generally of the nature of a quarrel, in which 
one of the dancers or one of the grotesques is killed. To 
this point it will be necessary to return. The names given 
to the characters are sometimes extremely nondescript; some- 
times, under a more or less literary influence, of an heroic 
order. Here and there a touch of something more primitive 
may be detected. Five sets of verses from the north of 
England are available in print. Two of these are of Durham 
provenance. One, from Houghton-le-Spring, has, besides the 
skin-clad ' Tommy ' and the * Bessy/ five dancers. These 
are King George, a Squire's Son also called Alick or Alex, 
a King of Sicily, Little Foxey, and a Pitman l . The other 
Durham version has a captain called True Blue, a Squire's Son, 
Mr. Snip a tailor, a Prodigal Son (replaced in later years by 
a Sailor), a Skipper, a Jolly Dog. There is only one clown, 
who calls himself a ' fool, 1 and acts as treasurer. He is named 
Bessy, but wears a hairy cap with a fox's brush pendent 2 . 
Two other versions come from Yorkshire. At Wharfdale 
there are seven dancers, Thomas the clown, his son Tom, 
Captain Brown, Obadiah Trim a tailor, a Foppish Knight', 
Love-ale a vintner, and Bridget the clown's wife *. At 
Linton in Craven there are five, the clown, Nelson, Jack Tar, 
Tosspot, and Miser a woman 4 . The fifth version is of 
unnamed locality. It has two clowns, Tommy in skin and 
tail, and Bessy, and amongst the dancers are a Squire's Son 

1 Henderson, 67. The clown into a fight. Bell mentions a simi- 

introduces each dancer in turn ; lar set of verses from Devonshire, 
then there is a dance with raised 3 Bell, 172. A Christmas dance, 

swords which are tied in a ' knot.' The clown makes the preliminary 

Henderson speaks of a later set of circle with his sword, and calls on 

verses also in use, which he does the other dancers, 
not print. * Bell, 181. The clown calls for 

R. Bell, Ancient Poems, Bal- * a room,' after which one of the party 

lads and Songs of the Peasantry of introduces the rest. This also is a 

England, 175 (from Sir C. Sharpens Christmas dance, but as the words 

Bishoprick Garland]. A Christmas ' we've come a pace-egging ' occur, 

dance. The captain began the it must have been transferred from 

performance by drawing a circle Easter. Bell says that a somewhat 

with his sword. Then the Bessy similar performance is given at 

introduced the captain, who called Easter in Coniston, and Halliwell, 

on the rest in turn, each walking Popular Rhymes and Nursery 

round the circle to music. Then Tales, 244, describes a similar set of 

came an elaborate dance with care- rhymes as used near York for pace- 

ful formations, which degenerated egging. 

CHAMBERS. 1 O 



194 FOLK DRAMA 

and a Tailor 1 . Such a nomenclature will not repay much 
analysis. The ' Squire/ whose son figures amongst the 
dancers, is identical with the ' Tommy/ although why he 
should have a son I do not know. Similarly, the * Bridget ' 
at Wharfdale and the ' Miser ' at Linton correspond to the 
1 Bessy ' who appears elsewhere. 

The Shetland dance, so far as the names go, is far more 
literary and less of a folk affair than any of the English 
examples. The grotesques are absent altogether, and the 
dancers belong wholly to that heroic category which is also 
represented in a degenerate form at Houghton-le-Spring. 
They are in fact those ' seven champions of Christendom ' 
St. George of England, St. James of Spain, St. Denys of 
France, St. David of Wales, St. Patrick of Ireland, St. Anthony 
of Italy, and St. Andrew of Scotland whose legends were first 
brought together under that designation by Richard Johnson 
in 1 596*. 

Precisely the same divergence between a popular and 
a literary or heroic type of nomenclature presents itself in 
such of the German sword-dance rhymes as are in print. 
Three very similar versions from Styria, Hungary, and Bohemia 
are traceable to a common ' Austro-Bavarian ' archetype 3 . 
The names of these, so far as they are intelligible at all, 
appear to be due to the village imagination, working perhaps 
in one or two instances, such as ' Griinwald ' or ' Wilder 
Waldmann/ upon stock figures of the folk festivals*. It is 
the heroic element, however, which predominates in the two 
other sets of verses which are available. One is from the 
Clausthal in the Harz mountains, and here the dancers 
represent the five kings of England, Saxony, Poland, Den- 
mark, and Moorland, together with a serving-man, Hans, and 
one Schnortison, who acts as leader and treasurer of the 

1 Described by Miillenhofir, 138, S tyrian verses: they are Obersteiner 
from Ausland (1857), No. 4, f. 81. (the Vortanzer) or Hans Kanix, 
The clown gives the prologue, and Fasching (the Narr\, Obermayer, 
introduces the rest. Jungesgsell, Griinwald, Edlesblut, 

2 Cf. p. 221. Spnngesklee, Schellerfriedl, Wilder 

3 Mayer prints and compares all Waldmann, Handssupp, Ruben- 
three texts. dunst, Leberdarm, Rotwein, Hofen- 

4 Cf. p. 185. The original names streit. 
seem to be best preserved in the 



THE SWORD-DANCE 195 

party 1 . In the other, from Lubeck, the dancers are the 
4 worthies ' Kaiser Karl, Josua, Hector, David, Alexander, 
and Judas Maccabaeus. They fight with one Sterkader, in 
whom Mullenhoff finds the Danish hero Stercatherus men- 
tioned by Saxo Grammaticus ; and to the Hans of the 
Clausthal corresponds a Klas Rugebart, who seems to be 
the red-bearded St. Nicholas 2 . 

In view of the wide range of the sword-dance in Germany, 
I do not think it is necessary to attach any importance to the 
theories advanced by Sir Walter Scott and others that it is, 
in England and Scotland, of Scandinavian origin. It is true 
that it appears to be found mainly in those parts of these 
islands where the influence of Danes and Northmen may 
be conjectured to have been strongest. But I believe that 
this is a matter of appearance merely, and that a type of folk- 
dance far more widely spread in the south of England than 
the sword-dance proper, is really identical with it. This is 
the morris-dance, the chief characteristic of which is that the 
performers wear bells~ which jingle at every step. Judging 
by the evidence of account-books, as well as by the allusions 
of contemporary writers, the morris was remarkably popular 
in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries 3 . Frequently, but 
by no means always, it is mentioned in company with the 
May-game 4 . In a certain painted window at Betley in 
Staffordshire are represented six morris-dancers, together 
with a Maypole, a musician, a fool, a crowned man on 
a hobby-horse, a crowned lady with a pink in her hand, 
and a friar. The last three may reasonably be regarded as 
Robin Hood, Maid Marian, and Friar Tuck 5 . The closeness 

1 H.Prohle, Weltliche und geist- shown before Elizabeth at Kenil- 

liche Volkslteder und Volksschau- worth ' a lively morrisdauns, accord- 

spifle (1855), 245. ing too the auncient manner: six 

Mullenhoff, Z.f. d. A. xx. 10. daunserz, Mawdmarion, and the 

8 Brand-Ellis, i. 142 ; Douce, fool.' 

576; Burton, 95; Gutch, Robin 5 A good engraving of the window 

Hood, i. 301 ; Drake, 76. is in Variorum Shakespeare, xvi. 

Burton, 117; Warner, A Ibiorf s 419, and small reproductions in 
England, v. 25 * At Paske begun Brand, 1.145; Burton, 103 ; Gutch, 
our Morrise, and ere Penticost our i. 349 ; M r. Toilet's own account of 
May.' The morris was familiar the window, printed in the Vario- 
la, the revels of Christmas. Lane- rum, loc. cit., is interesting, but too 
ham, 23, describes at the Bride-ale ingenious. He dates the window 



196 FOLK DRAMA 

of the relation between the morris-dance and the May-game 
is, however, often exaggerated. The Betley figures only 
accompany the morris-dance ; they do not themselves wear 
the bells. And besides the window, the only trace of evidence 
that any member of the Robin Hood cortige, with the excep- 
tion of Maid Marian, was essential to the morris-dance, is 
a passage in a masque of Ben Jonson's, which so seems to 
regard the friar 1 . The fact is that the morris-dance was 
a great deal older, as an element in the May-game, than 
Robin Hood, and that when Robin Hood's name was for- 
gotten in this connexion, the morris-dance continued to be in 
vogue, not at May-games only, but at every form of rustic 
merry-making. On the other hand, it is true that the actual 
dancers were generally accompanied by grotesque personages, 
and that one of these was a woman, or a man dressed in 
woman's clothes, to whom literary writers at least continued 
to give the name of Maid Marian. The others have nothing 
whatever to do with Robin Hood. They were a clown or 
fool, and a hobby-horse, who, if the evidence of an Elizabethan 
song can be trusted, was already beginning to go out of 
fashion 2 . A rarer feature was a dragon, and it is possible 

in the reign of Henry VIII ; Douce, schoolmaster : 

585, a better authority, ascribes it ' I first appear . . . 

to that of Edward IV. The next, the Lord of May and 

1 Ben Jonson, The Gipsies M eta- Lady bright, 

morphosed (ed. Cunningham, iii. The Chambermaid and Serving- 

151) : man, by night 

* Clod. They should be morris- That seek out silent hanging : 

dancers by their gingle, but they then mine Host 

have no napkins. And his fat Spouse, that wel- 

'CockreL No, nor a hobby-horse. comes to their cost 

' Clod. Oh, he's often forgotten, The galled traveller, and with a 

that's no rule ; but there is no Maid beck'ning 

Marian nor Friar amongst them, Informs the tapster to inflame 

which is the surer mark. the reckoning : 

'Cockrel. Nor a fool that I see. ' Then the beast-eating Clown, 

3 The lady, .the fool, the hobby- and ne\t the Fool, 

horse are all in Toilet's window, The Bavian, with long tail and 

and in a seventeenth-century print- eke long tool ; 

ing by Vinkenboom from Rich- Cum multis atiis, that make a 

mond palace, engraved by Douce, dance. 1 

598 ; Burton, 105. Cf. the last Evidently some of these dramatis 

note and other passages quoted by gersonae are not traditional; the 

Douce, Brand, and Burton. In ingenuity of the presenter has been 

Two Noble Kinsmen, iii. 5, 125, a at work on them. 'Bavian' as a 

morris of six men and six women name for the fool, is the Dutch 

is thus presented by Gerrold, the taviaan, ' baboon.' His 'tail' is to 



THE SWORD-DANCE 



197 



that, when there was a dragon, the rider of the hobby-horse 
was supposed to personate St. George 1 . The morris-dance 
is by no means extinct, especially in the north and midlands. 
Accounts of it are available from Lancashire and Cheshire 2 , 
Derbyshire 3 , Shropshire 4 , Leicestershire 5 , and Oxford- 



be noted ; for the phallic shape 
sometimes given to the bladder 
which he carries, cf. Rigollot, 164. 
In the Betley window the fool has 
a bauble ; in the Vinkenboom pic- 
ture a staff with a bladder at one 
end, and a ladle (to gather money 
in; at the other. In the window 
the ladle is carried by the hobby- 
horse. * The hobby-horse is forgot ' 
is a phrase occurring in L. L. L. iii. 
I. 30; Hamlet^ iii. 2. 144, and 
alluded to by Beaumont and 
Fletcher, Women Pleased^ iv. I, 
and Ben Jonson, in the masque 
quoted above, and in The Satyr 
(Cunningham, ii. 577). Apparently 
it is a line from a lost ballad. 

1 Stubbes, i. 147, of the * devil's 
daunce ' in the train of the lord of 
misrule, evidently a morris, * then 
haue they their Hobby-horses, 
dragons & other Antiques.' In 
W. Sampson's Vow-breaker (1636), 
one morris-dancer says * I'll be a 
fiery dragon'; another, 'I'll be 
a thund'ring Saint George as ever 
rode on horseback.' 

2 Burton, 40, 43, 48, 49, 56, 59, 
61, 65, 69, 75> US, H7, 121, 123, 
cites many notices throughout the 
century, and gives several figures. 
The morris is in request at wakes 
and rushbearings. Both men and 
women dance, sometimes to the 
number of twenty or thirty. Gay 
dresses are worn, with white skirts, 
knee-breeches and ribbons. Hand- 
kerchiefs are carried or hung on 
the arm or wrist, or replaced by 
dangling streamers, cords, or 
skeins of cotton. Bells are not 
worn on the legs, but jingling horse- 
collars are sometimes carried on 
the body. There is generally a fool, 
described in one account as wearing 
*a horrid mask.' He is, however, 
generally black, and is known as 



'King Coffee' (Gorton), 'owd sooty- 
face,' ' dirty Bet,' and * owd molly- 
coddle.' This last name, like the 
' molly-dancers ' of Gorton, seems 
to be due to a linguistic corruption. 
In 1829 a writer describes the fool 
as ' a nondescript, made up of the 
ancient fool and Maid Marian.' At 
Heaton, in 1830, were two figures, 
said to represent Adam and Eve, 
as well as the fool. The masked 
fool, mentioned above, had as com- 
panion a shepherdess with lamb 
and crook. 

8 Burton, 115, from Journal of 
Archaeol. Assoc. vii. 20 1. The 
dancers went on Twelfth-night, 
without bells, but with a fool, a 
* fool's wife ' and sometimes a 
hobby-horse. 

* Jackson and Burne, 402, 410, 
477. The morris-dance proper is 
mainly in south Shropshire and at 
Christmas. At Shrewsbury, in 
1885, were ten dancers, with a fool. 
Five carried trowels and five short 
staves which they clashed. The 
fool had a black face, and a bell on 
his coat. No other bells are men- 
tioned. Staves or wooden swords 
are used at other places in Shrop- 
shire, and at Brosely all the faces 
are black. The traditional music 
is a tabor and pipe. A 1652 ac- 
count of the Brosely dance with 
six sword-bearers, a ' leader or lord 
of misrule' and a 'vice* (cf. ch. 
xxv) called the * lord's son ' is 
quoted. In north-east Shropshire, 
the Christmas * guisers ' are often 
called ' morris-dancers,' ' murry- 
dancers,' or 'merry-dancers.' In 
Shetland the name ' merry dancers 1 
is given to the aurora borealis 
(J. Spence, Shetland Folk- Lore, 
116). 

8 Leicester F. L. 93. The dance 
was on Plough Monday with paper 



198 



FOLK DRAMA 



shire l ; and there are many other counties in which it makes, or 
has recently made, an appearance 2 . The hobby-horse, it would 
seem, is now at last, except in Derbyshire, finally * forgot ' ; 
but the two other traditional grotesques are still dc rigitcur. 
Few morris-dances are complete without the c fool ' or clown, 
amongst whose various names that of ' squire ' in Oxfordshire 
and that of 'dirty Bet' in Lancashire are the most interesting. 
The woman is less invariable. Her Tudor name of Maid Marian 
is preserved in Leicestershire alone ; elsewhere she appears as 
a shepherdess, or Eve, or 'the fool's wife'; and sometimes she 
is merged with the ' fool ' into a single nondescript personage. 
The morris-dance is by no means confined to England. 
There are records of it from Scotland 3 , Germany 4 , Flanders 5 , 
Switzerland 6 , Italy 7 , Spain s , and France 9 . In the last-named 



masks, a plough, the bullocks, men 
in women's dresses, one called Maid 
Marian, Curly the fool, and Beelze- 
bub. This is, I think, the only 
survival of the name Maid Marian, 
and it may be doubted if even 
this is really popular and not 
literary. 

1 P. Manning, Oxfordshire Sea- 
sonal Festivals, in F. L. viii. 317, 
summarizes accounts from fourteen 
villages, and gives illustrations. 
There are always six dancers. A 
broad garter of bells is worn below 
the knee. There are two sets of 
figures : in one handkerchiefs are 
carried, in the other short staves 
are swung and clashed. Some- 
times the dancers sing to the air, 
which is that of an old country- 
dance. There is always a fool, who 
carries a stick with a bladder and 
cow's tail, and is called in two 
places * Rodney,' elsewhere the 
4 squire/ The music is that of a 
pipe and tabor (' whittle ' and 'dub ') 
played by one man ; a riddle is now 
often used. At Bampton there was 
a solo dance between crossed 
tobacco-pipes. At Spelsbury and 
at Chipping Warden the dance used 
to be on the church-tower. At the 
Bampton Whit-feast and the Duck- 
lington Whit-hunt, the dancers 
were accompanied by a sword- 
bearer, who impaled a cake. A 



sword-bearer also appears in a list 
of Finstock dancers, given me by 
Mr. T. J. Carter, of Oxford. He 
also told me that the dance on 
Spelsbury church-tower, seventy 
years ago, was by women. 

2 Norfolk, Monmouthshire, Berk- 
shire (Douce, 606) ; Worcester- 
shire, Northamptonshire, Glouces- 
tershire, Somersetshire, Wiltshire, 
Warwickshire, and around London 
(Burton, 1 14). 

3 L. H. Z". Accounts, ii. 414 ; iii. 
359, 38i. 

4 Pfannenschmidt, 582; Michels, 
84; Creizenach, i. 411. Burton, 
102, reproduces, from Art Journal 
(1885), 121, cuts of ten morris- 
dancers carved in wood at Munich 
by Erasmus Schnitzer in 1480. 

5 Douce, 585, and Bui ton, 97, 
reproduce Israel von Mecheln's 
engraving (t 1470) of a morris with 
a fool and a lady, 

6 Coquillart,ffif*'7/r^(ti47o), 127. 

7 Afemoires de Pt'trarque^ ii. app. 
3, 9 ; Petrarch danced * en pour- 
point une belle et vigoureuse mo- 
resque ' to please the Roman ladies 
on the night of his coronation. 

s Somers Jracts, ii. 8l, 87. The 
Earl of Nottingham, when on an 
embassy from James I, saw mornce- 
dancers in a Corpus Christi pro- 
cession. 

* Douce, 480 ; Favine, Theater 



THE SWORD-DANCE 199 

country Tabourot described it about 1588 under the name 
of morisque l , and the earlier English writers call it the 
morisce, morisk, or morisco 2 . This seems to imply a deriva- 
tion of the name at least from the Spanish morisco> a Moor. 
The dance itself has consequently been held to be of Moorish 
origin, and the habit of blackening the face has been con- 
sidered as a proof of this - ; . Such a theory seems to invert 
the order of facts. The dance is too closely bound up with 
English village custom to be lightly regarded as a foreign 
importation ; and I would suggest that the faces were not 
blackened, because the dancers represented Moors, but rather 
the dancers were thought to represent Moors, because their 
faces were blackened. The blackened face is common 
enough in the village festival. Hence, as we have seen, 
May-day became proper to the chimney-sweeps, and we have 
found a conjectural reason for the disguise in the primitive 
custom of smearing the face with the beneficent ashes of the 
festival fire 4 . Blackened faces are known in the sword-dance 
as well as in the morris-dance 5 ; and there are other reasons 
which make it probable that the two are only variants of the 

of Honor ', 345 : at a feast given by Weigel's book of national costumes 

Gaston de Foix at Vendome, in published at Nuremberg in 1577. 
1458, ' foure young lacldes and 4 Tabourot's morris-dancing boy 

a damosell, attired like savages, hnd his face blackened, and Junius 

daunced (by good direction) an (F. Du Jon), Etymologicum Angli- 

excellent Morisco^ before the as- canum (1743), says of England 

sembly.' * faciem plerumque mficiunt fuligine, 

1 Tabourot, Orchtsographie, 94: et peregrinum vestium cultum as- 

in his youth a lad used to come sumunt, qui ludicris talibus indul- 

after supper, with his face black- gent, ut Mauri esse videantur, aut 

ened, his forehead bound with e longius remota patria credantur 

white or yellow taffeta, and bells advolasse, atque insolens recrea- 

on his legs, and dance the morris tionisgenusadvexisse.' \nSpousalls 

up and down the hall. of Princess Mary (1508) 'morisks' 

8 Douce, 577 ; Burton, 95. is rendered * ludi Maurei quas 

3 A dance certainly of Moorish morescas dicunt.' In the modern 

origin is the fandango, in which morris the black element is rcpre- 

castanets were used ; cf. the comedy sented, except at Brosely, chiefly by 

of Variety (1649) Mike a Baccha- *owd sooty face,' the fool: in Leices- 

nalian, dancing the Spanish Morisco, tershire it gives rise to a distinct 

with knackers at his ringers' (Strutt, figure, Beelzebub. 
223). This, however, seems to show fi Du Meril, La Com. 89, quotes 

that the fandango was considered a sixteenth-century French sword* 

a variety of morisco. Douce, 602 ; dance of ' Mores, Sauvages, et 

Burton, 1 24, figure an African woman Satyres.' In parts of Yorkshire the 

from Fez dancing with bells on her sword-dancers had black faces or 

ankles. This is taken from Hans masks (Henderson, 70). 



200 FOLK DRAMA 

same performance. Tabourot, it is true, distinguishes les 
boiiffons, or the sword-dance, and le morisque ; but then 
Tabourot is dealing with the sophisticated versions of 
the folk-dances used in society, and Cotgrave, translating 
les buffons, can find no better English term than morris for 
the purpose *. The two dances appear at the same festivals, 
and they have the same grotesques ; for the Tommy and 
Bessy of the English sword-dance, who occasionally merge in 
one, are obviously identical with the Maid Marian and the 
' fool 'of the morris-dance, who also nowadays similarly coalesce. 
There are traces, too, of an association of the hobby-horse 
with the sword-dance, as well as with the morris-dance 2 . 
Most conclusive of all, however, is the fact that in Oxford- 
shire and in Shropshire the morris-dancers still use swords or 
wooden staves which obviously represent swords, and that the 
performers of the elaborate Revesby sword-dance or play, to 
be hereafter described, are called in the eighteenth-century 
manuscript ' morrice dancers V I do not think that the 
floating handkerchiefs of the morris-dance are found in its 
congener, nor do I know what, if any, significance they have. 
Probably, like the ribbons, they merely represent rustic 
notions of ornament. Mullenhofif lays stress on the white 
shirts or smocks which he finds almost universal in the sword- 
dance 4 . The morris-dancers are often described as dressed in 
white ; but here too, if the ordinary work-a-day costume is 
a smock, the festal costume is naturally a clean white smock. 
Finally, there are the bells. These, though they have partially 
disappeared in the north, seem to be proper to the morris- 

1 Cotgrave, * Dancer les Buffons, * Cf. ch. x ; also Wise, Enquiries 

To daunce a morris.' The term concerning the Inhabitants, . . . of 

* the madman's morris' appears as Eutope, 51 ' the op ion people in 

the name of the dance in The Figure many parts of En^lind btill practise 

of Nine (temp. Charles II) ; cf. what they call a Alorisco dance, in 

Furnivall, Lanehams Letter , clxii. a wild manner, and as it were in 

The buff^n is presumably the 'fool'; armour, at proper intervals striking 

cf. Cotgrave, * Buffon : m. A upon one another's staves,' &c. 

buffoon, jeaster, sycophant, merrie Johnson's Dictionary (1755) calls 

fool, sportfull companion : one that the morris ' a dance in which bells 

lives by making others merrie.' are gingled, or staves or swords 

3 Henderson, 70. In Yorkshire clashed. 1 

the sword-dancers carried the image * Mullenhoff, 124; cf. Mayer, 

of a white horse ; in Cheshire a 236. 
horse's head and skin. 



THE SWORD-DANCE 201 

dance, and to differentiate it from the sword-dance 1 . But 
this is only so when the English examples are alone taken 
into consideration, for Miillenhoff quotes one Spanish and 
three German descriptions of sword-dances in which the bells 
are a feature 2 . Tabourot affords similar evidence for the 
French version 3 ; while Olaus Magnus supplements his 
account of the Scandinavian sword-dance with one of a similar 
performance, in which the swords were replaced by bows, and 
bells were added 4 . The object of the bells was probably to 
increase or preserve the musical effect of the clashing swords. 
The performers known to Tacitus were nudi, and no bells are 
mentioned. One other point with regard to the morris-dance 
is worth noticing before we leave the subject. It is capable of 
use both as a stationary and a processional dance, and 
therefore illustrates both of the two types of dancing motion 
naturally evolved from the circumstances of the village 
festival 6 . 

Miillenhoff regards the sword-dance as primarily a rhythmic 
Abbild or mimic representation of war, subsequently modified 
in character by use at the village feasts 6 . It is true that the 
notice of Tacitus and the allusion in Beowulf suggest that 
it had a military character ; and it may fairly be inferred that 
it formed part of that war-cult from which, as pointed out in 
a previous chapter, heroic poetry sprang. This is confirmed 
by the fact that some at least of the dramatis personae of 
the modern dances belong to the heroic category. Side by 
side with local types such as the Pitman or the Sailor, and 
with doublets of the grotesques such as Little Foxey or the 

1 Douce, 602 ; Burton, 123. The treble bells' ; cf. Rowley, Witch of 
bells were usually fastened upon Edmonton^ i. 2. 
broad garters, as they are still worn 2 Mullenhoff, 123 ; Mayer, 235. 
in Oxfordshire. But they also s Tabourot, Orchtsographie, 97. 
appear as anklets or are hung on 4 Cf. Appendix J. A figure with a 
various parts of the dress. In a cut bow and arrow occurs in the Abbots 
from Handle Holme's Academie of Bromley horn-dance (p. 166). 
Armorie, iii. 109 (Douce, 603; 6 W.Kempe'sA7* Days Wonder 
Burton, 127), a morris-dancer holds (ed. Dyce, Camden Soc.) describes 
a pair of bells in his hands. Some- his dancing of the morris in bell- 
times the bells were harmonized, shangles from London to Norwich 
In Pasquil and Marforius (1589) in 1 599. 
Penry is described as 'the fore ' Mullenhoff, 114. 
gallant of the Morrice with the 



202 FOLK DRAMA 

Squire's Son J , appear the five kings of the Clausthal dance, 
the ' worthies ' of the Liibeck dance, and the * champions of 
Christendom ' of the Shetland dance. These particular groups 
betray a Renaissance rather than a mediaeval imagination ; as 
with the morris-dance of The Two Noble Kinsmen,, the village 
schoolmaster, Holophernes or another, has probably been at 
work upon them 2 . Some of the heterogeneous English 
dramatis personae^ Nelson for instance, testify to a still later 
origin. On the other hand, the Sterkader or Stercatherus 
of the Liibeck dance suggests that genuine national heroes 
were occasionally celebrated in this fashion. At the same 
time I do not believe, with MiilJenhoff, that the sword-dance 
originated in the war-cult Its essentially agricultural 
character seems to be shown by the grotesques traditionally 
associated with it, the man in woman's clothes, the skin or 
tail-wearing clown and the hobby-horse, all of which seem 
to find their natural explanation in the facts of agricultural 
worship 3 . Again, the dance makes its appearance, not like 
heroic poetry in general as part of the minstrel repertory, but 
as a purely popular thing at the agricultural festivals. To 
these festivals, therefore, we may reasonably suppose it to 
have originally belonged, and to have been borrowed from 
them by the young warriors who danced before the king. 
They, however, perhaps gave it the heroic element which, in 

1 The * Squire's Son ' of the (sixteenth century), looks more like 

Durham dances is probably the a dance or play : 
clown's son of the Wharfdale * I ame a knighte 

version; for the term 'squire' is And menes to fight 

not an uncommon one for the rustic And armet well ame I 

fool. Cf. also the Revesby play Lo here I stand 

described in the next chapter. Why With swerd ine hand 

the fool should have a son, I do not My manhoud for to try. 

k n 2 ow ^Y , XT- xir i_- , f r . Thou marciall wite 

'The Nine Worthies of LwJs That menes to fi ht 

Labours Lost, v 2 are a pageant And sete me SQ 

not a dance, and the two sets of Lo heare j ^ 

speeches quoted from Bodl. Tanner with swrd J in hand 

MS 407, by Ritson, ^^rks on To dubbelle eurey blow ., 

Shakespeare & t one of which is a M fin ' ds in the 

called by Ashton 127, the earliest dance / s^golical drama of the 

mummers play that he ,can find, death of J mter . but he does not 

also probably belong to pageants. seem to see the actual relic of a 

The folio wmg,aiso quoted by Ritson sacrificial nte 

toe. tit. from HarL MS. 1 1 97, f. 101 * sacrmclal me - 



THE SWORD-DANCE 203 

its turn, drifted into the popular versions. We have already 
seen that popular heroic cantilenae existed together with 
those of minstrelsy up to a late date. Nor does Miillenhoff s 
view find much support from the classical sword-dances which 
he adduces. As to the origin of the lustis Troiac or Pyrrhic 
dance which the Romans adopted from Doric Greece, I can 
say nothing 1 ; but the native Italian dance of the Salii or 
priests of Mars in March and October is clearly agricultural. 
It belongs to the cult of Mars, not as war-god, but in his more 
primitive quality of a fertilization spirit 2 . 

Further, I believe that the use of swords in the dance was 
not martial at all ; their object was to suggest not a fight, but 
a mock or symbolical sacrifice. Several of the dances include 
figures in which the swords are brought together in a signifi- 
cant manner about the person of one or more of the dancers. 
Thus in the Scandinavian dance described by Olaus Magnus, 
a quadrata rosa of swords is placed on the head of each 
performer. A precisely similar figure occurs in the Shetland 
and in a variety of the Yorkshire dances 3 . In the Sieben- 
biirgen dances there are two figures in which the performers 
pretend to cut at each other's heads or feet, and a third in 
which one of them has the swords put in a ring round his 
neck 4 . This latter evolution occurs also in a variety of the 
Yorkshire dance 6 and in a Spanish one described by Mullen- 

1 MullenhofF, 114; Du MeVil, According to Frazer, Morrius is 
La Com. 82 ; Plato, Leges, 815 ; etymologically equivalent to Ma- 
Dion Cassius, Ix. 23; Suetonius, murius Mars. He even suggests 
Julius, 39, Nero, 12; Servius ad that Morris may possibly belong to 
Aen. v. 602 ; cf. p. 7. A Thracian the same group of words, 
sword-dance, ending in a mimic 3 Cf. Appendix J. In other dances 
death, and therefore closely parallel a performer stands on a similar 
to the west European examples * knot ' or Stern of swords. Mayer, 
mentioned in the next chapter, is 230, suggests that this may represent 
described by Xenophon, Anabasis, the triumph of summer, which seems 
v. 9. a little far-fetched. 

2 Mullenhoff, 115; Frazer,iii. 1 22; * Mayer, 243; O. Wittstock, in 
W. \V. Fowler, The Roman Festi- Sievers-Festgabe, 349. 

vals, 38, 44. The song of the Salii 5 Grimm, i. 304, gives the follow- 

mentioned Saeturnus, god of sowing, ing as communicated to him by 

It appears also to have been their J. M. Kemble, from the mouth of 

function to expel the Mamurius an old Yorkshireman : * In some 

Veturius in spring. Servius ad Aen. parts of northern England, in York- 

viii. 285, says that the Salii were shire, especially Hallamshire, popu- 

founded by Morrius, king of Veii: lar customs show remnants of the 



204 



FOLK DRAMA 



hoff after a seventeenth-century writer. And here the figure 
has the significant name of la degollada, ' the beheading V 



worship of Fricg. In the neighbour- 
hood of Dent, at certain seasons of 
the year, especially autumn, the 
country folk hold a procession and 
perform old dances, one called the 
giant's dance : the leading giant 
they name Woden, and his wife 
Frigga, the principal action of the 
play consisting in two swords being 
swung and clashed together about 
the neck of a boy without hurting 
him.' There is nothing about this 
in the account of Teutonic mytho- 
logy in J. M. Kemble's own Saxons 
in England. I do not believe that 
the names of Woden and Frigga 
were preserved in connexion with 
this custom continuously from 
heathen times. Probably some 
antiquary had introduced them ; 
and in error, for there is no reason 



to suppose that the ' clown * and 
* woman ' of the sword-dance were 
ever thought to represent gods. 
But the description of the business 
with the swords is interesting. 

1 Mullenhoff, Z.f. d. A. xviii. n, 
quoting Covarubias, Tesoro delta 
tengua castellana ( 1 6 1 1 ), s.v. Danza 
de Espadas : ' una mudanza que 
llaman la degollada, porcjue cercan 
el cuello del que los guia con las 
espadas.* With these sword man- 
oeuvres should be compared the 
use of scythes and flails in the 
mock sacrifices of the harvest-field 
and threshing-floor (p. 158), the 
' Chop off his head' of the ' Oranges 
and Lemons' game (p. 151), and 
the ancient tale of Wodan and the 
Mowers. 



CHAPTER X 
THE MUMMERS' PLAY 

{Bibliographical Note. The subject is treated by T. F. Ordish, English 
Folk-Drama in Folk-Lore -, ii. 326, iv. 162. The Folk-Lore Society has 
in preparation a volume on Folk-Drama to be edited by Mr. Ordish 
(F. L. xiii. 296). The following is a list of the twenty-nine printed 
versions upon which the account of the St. George play in the present 
chapter is based. The Lutterworth play is given in Appendix K. 

NORTHUMBERLAND. 

1. Newcastle. Chap-book W. Sandys, Christmastide, 292, from Alex- 
ander and the King of Egypt. A mock Play, as it is acted by the 
Mummers every Christmas. Newcastle, 1788. (Divided into Acts 
and Scenes.) 

CUMBERLAND. 

2. Whttehaven. Chap-book Hone, E. D. B. ii. 1646. (Practically 
identical with (i).) 

LANCASHIRE. 

3. Manchester. Chap-book The Peace Egg, published by J. Wrigley, 
30, Miller Street, Manchester. (Brit. Mus. 1077,^/27 (37): Acts and 
Scenes : a coloured cut of each character.) 

SHROPSHIRE. 

4. Newport. Oral. Jackson and Burne, 484. (Called the Guisers' 
(gheez'u'rz) play.) 

STAFFORDSHIRE. 

5. Eccleshall. Oral. F. L. J. iv. 350. (Guisers' play : practically 
identical with (4). I have not seen a version from Stone in W. W. 
Bladen, Notes on the Folk-lore of North Staffs. : cf. F. L. xiii. 107.) 

LEICESTERSHIRE. 

6. Lutterworth. OraL Kelly, 53 ; Manly, i. 292 ; Leicester F. L. 130. 
WORCESTERSHI RE. 

7. Leigh. Oral. 2- N. Q. xi. 271. 

WARWICKSHIRE. 

8. Newbold. Oral. F. L. x. 186 (with variants from a similar Rugby 
. version). 

OXFORDSHIRE. 

9. Islip. Oral. Ditchfield, 316. 

10. Bampton. Oral. Ditchfield, 320. 

11. Thame. Oral. 5 N. Q. ii. 503; Manly, i. 289. 

12. Uncertain. Oral. 6 N. Q. xii. 489; Ashton, 128. 
BERKSHIRE. 

13. Uncertain. OraL Ditchfield, 310. 
MIDDLESEX. 

14. Chiswick. Oral. *N.Q.t. 466. 



206 FOLK DRAMA 



15. Selmeston. Oral. Parish, Diet, of Sussex Dialect (2nd ed. 1875), 

136. 
1 6. Hollin<rton. Oral. 5 N. Q. x. 489. 

17. Steyning. Oral. F. L.J. ii. I. (The * Tipteerers" play.) 

HAMPSHIRE. 

18. St. Mary Bourne. Oral. Stevens, Hist, of St. Mary Bourne^ 340. 

19. Uncertain. Oral. 2 ./V. 2- x "- 49 2 ' 
DORSETSHIRE. 

20. (A) Uncertain. Oral. K Z. /?. iii. 92; Ashton, 129. 

21. (B) Uncertain. Oral. .F. /.. A', iii. 102. 

CORNWALL. 

22. Uncertain. Oral. Sandys, Christmastide^ 298. (Slightly different 
version in Sandys, Christmas Carols, 174; Du Mdiii, Za G>;/*. 428.; 

WALES. 

23. Ten by. Oral. Chambers, Book of Days, ii. 740, from Tales and 
Traditions of Tenby. 

IRELAND. 

24. Belfast. Chap-book. 4 N. Q. x. 487. (' The Christmas Rhymes.') 

25. Ballybrennan^ Wexford. Oral. Kennedy, The Banks of the Boro, 
226. 

UNCERTAIN LOCALITY. 

26. Sharpens London Magazine, i. 154. Oral. 

27. A rchaeologist, i. 1 76. Chap-book. H. Sleight, ^4 Christmas Pageant 
Play or Mysterie of St. George, Alexander and the King of Egypt. 
(Said to be ' compiled from and collated with several curious ancient 
black-letter editions.' I have never seen or heard of a ' black-letter ' 
edition, and I take it the improbable title is Mr. Sleight's own.) 

28. Halliwell. Oral. Popular Rhymes, 231. (Said to be the best 
of six versions.) 

29. F. L.J. iv. 97. (Fragment, from * old MS.')] 

THE degollada figures of certain sword-dances preserve with 
some clearness the memory of an actual sacrifice, abolished 
and replaced by a mere symbolic dumb show. Even in these, 
and still more in the other dances, the symbolism is very slight. 
It is completely subordinated to the rhythmic evolutions of 
a choric figure. There is an advance, however, in the direction 
of drama, when in the course of the performance some one is 
represented as actually slain. In a few dances of the type 
discussed in the last chapter, such a dramatic episode precedes 
or follows the regular figures. It is recorded in three or four 
of the German examples \ A writer in the Gentleman's 
Magazine describes a Yorkshire dance in which ' the Bessy 
interferes while they are making a hexagon with their swords, 
and is killed.' Amongst the characters of this dance is 

1 Mayer, 229. 



THE MUMMERS' PLAY 207 

a Doctor, and although the writer does not say so, it may be 
inferred that the function of the Doctor is to bring the Bessy 
to life again 1 . It will be remembered that a precisely similar 
device is used in the German Shrove Tuesday plays to 
symbolize the resurrection of the year in spring after its death 
in winter. The Doctor reappears in one of the Durham 
dances, and here there is no doubt as to the part he plays. 
At a certain point the careful formations of the dance degenerate 
into a fight. The parish clergyman rushes in to separate the 
combatants. He is accidentally slain. There is general 
lamentation, but the Doctor comes forward, and revives the 
victim, and the dance proceeds 2 . 

It is but a step from such dramatic episodes to the more 
elaborate performances which remain to be considered in the 
present chapter, and which are properly to be called plays 
rather than dances. They belong to a stage in the evolution 
of drama from dance, in which the dance has been driven into 
the background and has sometimes disappeared altogether. 
But they have the same characters, and especially the same 
grotesques, as the dances, and the general continuity of the 
two sets of performances cannot be doubted. Moreover, 
though the plays differ in many respects, they have a common 
incident, which may reasonably be taken to be the central 
incident, in the death and revival, generally by a Doctor, of 
one of the characters. And in virtue of this central incident 
one is justified in classing them as forms of a folk-drama in 
which the resurrection of the year is symbolized. 

I take first, on account of the large amount of dancing which 
remains in it, the play acted at the end of the eighteenth 
century by c The Plow Boys or Morris Dancers ' of Revesby 
in Lincolnshire 3 . There are seven dancers : six men, the Fool 

1 Gentleman's Magazine > Ixxxi clergyman took part, or whether 
(1811), 1.423. The dance was given a mere personage in the play is 
in the north Riding from St. intended ; but see what Olaus 
Stephen's day to the New Year. Magnus (App. J (i)) says about the 
Besides the Bessy and the Doctor propriety of the sword-dances for 
there were six lads, one of whom clerici. It will be curious if the 
acted king * in a kind of farce Christian priest has succeeded to 
which consists of singing and the part of the heathen priest slain, 
dancing.' first literally, and then in mimicry, 

2 Bell, 178 ; cf. p. 193. I do not at the festivals. 

feel sure whether the actual parish 8 Printed by Mr. T. F. Ordish in 



208 FOLK DRAMA 

and his five sons, Pickle Herring, Blue Breeches, Pepper 
Breeches, Ginger Breeches, and Mr. Allspice l ; and one 
woman, Cicely. The somewhat incoherent incidents are as 
follows. The Fool acts as presenter and introduces the play. 
He fights successively a Hobby-horse and a * Wild Worm ' or 
dragon. The dancers ' lock their swords to make the glass/ 
which, after some jesting, is broken up again. The sons 
determine to kill the Fool. He kneels down and makes his 
will, with the swords round his neck 2 ; is slain and revived by 
Pickle Herring stamping with his foot. This is repeated 
with variations. Hitherto, the dancers have ' footed it ' round 
the room at intervals. Now follow a series of sword-dances. 
During and after these the Fool and his sons in turn woo Cicely, 
the Fool taking the name of * Anthony V Pickle Herring that 
of ' the Lord of Pool/ and Blue Breeches that of c the Knight 
of Lee/ There is nothing particularly interesting about this 
part of the play, obviously written to ' work in ' the woman 
grotesque. In the course of it a morris-dance is introduced, 
and a final sword-dance, with "an obeisance to the master of the 
house, winds up the whole. 

Secondly, there are the Plough Monday plays of the east 
Midlands 4 . These appear in Nottinghamshire, Northampton- 

F.L.J.vii. 338, and again by Manly, earlier Anglo-German actor, John 

1.296. The MS. used appears to be Spencer. The 'spicy' names of 

headed 'October Ye 20, 1779'; the other Revesby clowns are 

but the performers are called * The probably imitations of Pickle Her- 

Plow Boys or Morris Dancers * and ring. 

the prologue says that they 'takes a The lines (197-8) 

delight in Christmas toys.' I do *Our old FooPs bracelet is not 

not doubt that the play belonged made of gold 

to Plough Monday, which only But it is made of iron and 

falls just outside the Christmas good steel* 

season. suggest the vaunt of the champions 

1 On the name Pickle Herring, in the St. George plays. 

see W. Creizenach, Die SchauspieU * Is ' Anthony ' a reminiscence of 

dfer englischen Komodianten, xciii. the Seven Champions? The Fool 

It does not occur in old English says (11. 247-9), like Beelzebub in 

comedy, but was introduced into the St. George plays, 

Anglo-German and German farce * Here comes I that never come 

as a name for the ' fool ' or ' clown * yet, . . . 

by Robert Reynolds, the ' comic I have a great head but little 

lead' 1 of a company of English wit. 1 

actors who crossed to Germany in He also jests (1. 229) on his ( tool ' ; 

1618. Probably it was Reynolds* cf. p. I96n. 

invention, and suggested by the * Brand, i. 278 ; Dyer, 37 ; Ditch- 

sobriquet "Stockfish 1 taken by an field, 47; Drake, 65; Mrs. Chaworth 



THE MUMMERS' PLAY 



209 



shire and Lincolnshire. Two printed versions are available. 
The first comes from Cropwell in Nottinghamshire 1 . The 
actors are 'the plough-bullocks.' The male characters are 
Tom the Fool, a Recruiting Sergeant, and a Ribboner or 
Recruit, three farm-servants, Threshing Blade, Hopper Joe 2 , 
and the Ploughman, a Doctor, and Beelzebub 3 . There are 
two women, a young Lady and old Dame Jane. Tom Fool is 
presenter. The Ribboner, rejected by the young Lady, enlists 
as a recruit. The Lady is consoled by Tom Fool. Then enter 
successively the three farm-servants, each describing his 
function on the farm. Dame Jane tries to father a child on 



Musters, A Cavalier Stronghold, 
387. Plough Monday is the Monday 
after Twelfth night, when the field 
work begins. A plough is dragged 
round the village and a quetc made. 
The survivals of the custom are 
mainly in the north, east and east 
midlands. In the city, a banquet 
marks the day. A Norfolk name 
is 'Plowlick Monday, 1 and a Hunts 
one ' Plough-Witching.' The plough 
is called the ' Fool Plough,' * Fond 
Plough,' 'Stot Plough 1 or * White 
Plough ' ; the latter name probably 
from the white shirts worn (cf. 
p. 200). At Cropwell, Notts, horses 
cut out in black or red adorn these. 
In Lincolnshire, bunches of corn 
were worn in the hats. Those who 
draw the plough are called * Plough 
Bullocks/ ' Boggons ' or ' Stots.' 
They sometimes dance a morris- or 
sword-dance, or act a play. At 
Haxey, they take a leading part 
in the Twelfth day ' Hood-game ' 
(p. 150). In Northants their faces 
are blackened or reddled. The 
plough is generally accompanied 
by the now familiar grotesques, 
* Bessy ' and the Fool or * Captain 
Cauf-Tail.' In Northants there 
are two of each ; the Fools have 
humps, and are known as ' Red 
Jacks ' ; there is also a * Master.' 
In Lincolnshire, reapers, threshers, 
and carters joined the procession. 
A contribution to t\\tgu$te is greeted 
with the cry of ' Largess ! ' and a 
churl is liable to have the ground 
before his door ploughed up. Of 

CHAMBERS. I ] 



old the profits of the quete or 'plow- 
gadrin ' went into the parish chest, 
or as in Norfolk kept a * plow-light* 
burning in the church. A sixteenth 
century pamphlet speaks of the 
' sensing the Ploughess ' on Plough 
Monday. Jevons, 247, calls the rite 
a * worship of the plough ' ; probably 
it rather represents an early spring 
perambulation of the fields in which 
the divinity rode upon a plough, 
as elsewhere upon a ship. A plough- 
ing custom of putting a loaf in the 
furrow has been noted. Plough 
Monday has also its water rite. 
The returning ploughman was liable 
to be soused by the women, like the 
bearer of the * neck ' at harvest. 
Elsewhere, the women must get 
the kettle on before the ploughman 
can reach the hearth, or pay for- 
feit. 

1 Printed by Mrs. Cha worth 
Musters in A Cavalier Stronghold 
(1890), 388, and in a French transla- 
tion by Mrs. H. G. M. Murray- 
Aynsley, in R. d. T. P. iv. 605. 

2 'Hopper Joe* also calls himself 
'old Sanky-Benny,' which invites 
interpretation. Is it 'Saint Bennet' 
or ' Benedict ' ? 

8 ' In comes I, Beelzebub, 

On my shoulder I carry my 

club, 
In my hand a wet leather 

frying-pan ; 
Don't you think I'm a funny 

old man?' 
Cf. the St. George play (p. 214). 



210 FOLK DRAMA 

Tom Fool. Beelzebub knocks her down *, and kills her. The 
Doctor comes in, and after some comic business about his 
travels, his qualifications and his remedies 2 , declares Dame 
Jane to be only in a trance, and raises her up. A country 
dance and songs follow, and the performance ends with 
a qute. The second version, from Lincolnshire, is very 
similar 3 . But there are no farm-servants, and instead of 
Beelzebub is a personage called * old Esem Esquesem,' who 
carries a broom. It is he, not an old woman, who is killed 
and brought to life. There are several dancers, besides the 
performers ; and these include ( Bessy,' a man dressed as 
a woman, with a cow's tail. 

The distinction between a popular and a literary or heroic 
type of personification which was noticeable in the sword- 
dances persists in the folk-plays founded upon them. 
Both in the Revesby play and in the Plough Monday plays, 
the drama is carried on by personages resembling the 
' grotesques ' of the sword- and morris-dances 4 . There are no 
heroic characters. The death is of the nature of an accident 
or an execution. On the other hand, in the ' mummers' play ' 
of St. George, the heroes take once more the leading part, and 
the death, or at least one of the deaths, is caused by a fight 
amongst them. This play is far more widely spread than its 
rivals. It is found in all parts of England, in Wales, and in 
Ireland ; in Scotland it occurs also, but here some other hero 
is generally substituted as protagonist for St. George 6 . The 

1 l Dame Jane ' says, n. i) but not described, probably 
* My head is made of iron, belonged to the * popular* type. 
My body made of steel, 5 Chambers, Popular Rhymes of 
My hands and feet of knuckle- Scotland, 169, prints a Peebles ver- 
bone, sion. Instead of George, a hero 
I think nobody can make me called Galatian fights the Black 
feel.' Knight. Judas, with his bag, re- 
in the Lincolnshire play Beelzebub places Beelzebub. But it is the 
has this vaunt. Cf. the St. George same play. Versions or fragments 
play (p. 220). of it are found all over the Low- 
a The Doctor can cure* the hipsy- lands. The performers are invari- 
pipsy, palsy, and the gout ' ; cf. the ably calle I ' guizards.' In a Falkirk 
St. George play (p. 213), version the hero is Prince George 

3 Printed in French by Mrs. ofVille. Hone, E. D. B., says that 
Murray Aynsley in R. d. T. P. iv. the hero is sometimes Gaiacheus or 
609. St. Lawrence. But in another Fal- 

4 The farce recorded as occasion- kirk version, part of which he prints, 
ally introduced at \V hi tby (cf. p. 1 92, the name is Galgacus, and of this 



THE MUMMERS 1 PLAY 211 

following account is based on the twenty-nine versions, drawn 
from chap-books or from oral tradition, enumerated in the 
bibliographical note. The list might, doubtless, be almost 
indefinitely extended. As will soon be seen, the local varia- 
tions of the play are numerous. In order to make them 
intelligible, I have given in full in an appendix a version from 
Lutterworth in Leicestershire. This is chosen, not as a par- 
ticularly interesting variant, for that it is not, but on the 
contrary as being comparatively colourless. It shows very 
clearly and briefly the normal structure of the play, and may be 
regarded as the type from which the other versions diverge l . 

Thfc Miole performance may be divided, for convenience of 
analysis, into three parts, the Presentation, the Drama, the 
Qtdte. In the first somebody speaks a prologue, claiming a 
welcome from the spectators 2 , and then the leading characters 
are in turh introduced. The second consists of a fight 
followed by the intervention of a doctor to revive the slain. 
In the third sortie supernumerary characters enter, and there 
is a collection. It is the dramatic nucleus that first requires 
consideration. The leading fighter is generally St. George, 
who alone appears in all the versions. Instead of ' St. George/ 
hfe is sometimes called ' Sir George/ and more often ' Prince 
George ' or ' King George/ modifications which one may 
reasonably suppose to be no older than the present Hanoverian 
dynasty. At Whitehaven and at Falkirk he is ' Prince George 
of Ville.' George's chief opponent is usually one of two per- 

both Galacheus and Galatian are 2 In F. L. x. 351, Miss Florence 

probably corruptions, for Galgacus Grove describes some Christmas 

or Calgacus was the leader of the mummers seen at Mullion, Cornwall, 

Picts m their battle with Agncola in 1890-1. * Every one naturally 

at the Mons Graupius (A. D. 84; knows uho the actors are, since 

Tacitus, Agricola, 29). there are not more than a few 

1 Appendix K. Other versions hundred persons within several 

may be conveniently compared in miles ; but no one is supposed to 

Manly, i. 289 ; Ditchrield, 310. The know who they are or where they 

best discussions of the St. George come from, nor.must anyone speak 

plays in general, besides Mr. Or- to them, nor they to those in the 

dish's, are J. S. Udall, Christmas houses they visit. As far as I can 

Mummers in Dorsetshire (F. /,. A'. remember the performance is silent 

iii. I. 87) ; Jackson and Burne, 482 ; and dramatic ; I have no recollec- 

G. L. Gomme, Christmas Mummers tion of reciting.' The dumb show 

(Nature, Dec. 23, 1897). The notes is rare and probably a sign of deca- 

and introductions to the versions ta- dence, but the bit of rural etiquette is 

bulated above give many useful data, archaic, and recurs in savage drama. 

P 2 



212 FOLK DRAMA 

sonages, who are not absolutely distinct from each other 1 . 
One is the ' Turkish Knight/ of whom a variant appears to be 
the c Prince df Paradine ' (Manchester), or ' Paradise ' (Newport, 
Eccleshall), perhaps originally * Palestine.' He is sometimes 
represented with a blackened face 2 . The other is variously 
called ' Slasher,' ' Captain Slasher/ ' Bold Slasher/ or, by an 
obvious corruption, ' Beau Slasher.' Rarer names for him are 
' Bold Slaughterer* (Bampton), ' Captain Bluster' (Dorset [A]), 
and * Swiff, Swash, and Swagger 1 (Chiswick). His names fairly 
express his vaunting disposition, which, however, is largely 
shared by the other characters in the play. In the place of, 
or as minor fighters by the side of George, the Turkish Knight 
and Bold Slasher, there appear, in one version or another, 
a bewildering variety of personages, of whom only a rough 
classification can be attempted. Some belong to the heroic 
cycles. Such are ' Alexander ' (Newcastle, Whitehaven), 
* Hector' (Manchester), 'St. Guy 1 (Newport), 'St. Giles' 
(Eccleshall) 3 , * St. Patrick ' (Dorset [A], Wexford), King 
Alfred ' and ' King Cole ' (Brill), < Giant Blunderbore ' (Brill), 
4 Giant Turpin ' (Cornwall). Others again are moderns who 
have caught the popular imagination : ' Bold Bonaparte ' 
(Leigh) 4 , and 'King of Prussia' (Bampton, Oxford) 5 , ' King 
William ' (Brill), the ' Duke of Cumberland ' (Oxford) and the 
' Duke of Northumberland ' (Islip), ' Lord Nelson ' (Stoke 
Gabriel, Devon) 6 , ' Wolfe ' and ' Wellington ' (Cornwall) 7 , 
even the * Prince Imperial ' (Wilts) 8 , all have been pressed 
into the service. In some cases characters have lost their 
personal names, if they ever had any, and figure merely as 
' Knight/ ' Soldier/ ' Valiant Soldier/ < Noble Captain/ ' Bold 
Prince/ ' Gracious King.' Others bear names which defy 
explanation, ' Alonso ' (Chiswick), * Hy Gwyer ' (Hollington), 

1 In Berkshire and at Eccleshall, from English ground/ St. Guy (of 
Slasher is ' come from Turkish Warwick) was probably the origi- 
land.' On the other hand, the two nal form, and St. Giles a corruption, 
often appear in the same version, * Here may be traced the influence 
and even, as at Leigh, fight together. of the Napoleonic wars. In Berk- 

2 Burne-Jackson, 483. shire, Slasher is a * French officer.' 
8 Ibid. 483. He appears in the 5 F. L. v. 88. 

MSS. written by the actors as * Ditchfield, 12. 

4 Singuy ' or ' Singhiles.' Professor 7 Sandys, 153. 

Skeat points out that, as he ' sprang 8 P. Tennant, Village Notts, 179. 



THE MUMMERS' PLAY 213 

c Marshalee ' and ' Cutting Star ' (Dorset [B]). The signifi- 
cance of ' General Valentine ' and * Colonel Spring ' (Dorset 
[A]) will be considered presently ; and ' Room ' (Dorset [B]), 
'Little Jack/ the * Bride* and the ' Fool ' (Brill), and the ' King 
of Egypt ' (Newcastle, Whitehaven) have strayed in amongst 
the fighters from the presenters. The fighting generally takes 
the form of a duel, or a succession of duels. In the latter case, 
George may fight all comers, or he may intervene to subdue 
a previously successful champion. But an important point is 
that he is not always victorious. On the contrary, the versions 
in which he slays and those in which he is slain are about 
equal in number. In two versions (Brill, Steyning) the fight- 
ing is not a duel or a series of duels, but a mette. The Brill 
play, in particular, is quite unlike the usual type, A prominent 
part is taken by the Dragon, with whom fight, all at once, 
St. George and a heterogeneous company made up of King 
Alfred and his Bride, King Cole, King William, Giant Blun- 
derbore, Little Jack and a morris-dance Fool. 

Whatever the nature of the fight, the result is always the 
same. One or more of the champions falls, and then appears 
upon the scene a Doctor, who brings the dead to life again. 
The Doctor is a comic character. He enters, boasting his 
universal skill, and works his cure by exhibiting a bolus, or by 
drawing out a tooth with a mighty pair of pliers. At New- 
bold he is ' Dr. Brown/ at Islip ' Dr. Good ' (also called * Jack 
Spinney '), at Brill ' Dr. Ball ' ; in Dorsetshire (A) he is an 
Irishman, 'Mr. Martin' (perhaps originally 'Martyr') 'Dennis.' 
More often he is nameless. Frequently the revival scene is 
duplicated ; either the Doctor is called in twice, or one cure 
is left to him, and another is effected by some other per- 
former, such as St. George (Dorset [B]), * Father Christmas ' 
(Newbold, Steyning), or the Fool (Bampton). 

The central action of the play consists, then, in these two 
episodes of the fight and the resurrection ; and the protago- 
nists, so to speak, are the heroes a ragged troop of heroes, 
certainly and the Doctor. But just as in the sword-dances, 
so in the plays, we find introduced, besides the protagonists, 
a number of supernumerary figures. The nature of these, and 
the part they take, must now be considered. Some of them 



214 FOLK DRAMA 

are by this time familiar. They are none other than the 
grotesques that have haunted this discussion of the village 
festivals from the very beginning, and that I have attempted 
to trace to their origin in magical or sacrificial custom. 
There are the woman, or lad dressed in woman's clothes, the 
hobby-horse, the fool, and the black-faced man. The woman 
and the hobby-horse are unmistakable ; the other two are 
a little more Protean in their modern appearance. The ' Fool ' 
is so called only at Manchester and at Brill, where he brings 
his morris-dance with him. At Lutterworth he is the 
* Clown 1 ; in Cornwall, * Old Squire ' ; at Newbold, ' Big Head 
and Little Wits.' But I think that we may also recognize 
him in the very commonly occurring figure * Beelzebub/ also 
known in Cornwall as * Hub Bub ' and at Chiswick as * Lord 
Grubb.' The key to this identification is the fact that in 
several cases Beelzebub uses the description * big head and 
little wit ' to announce himself on his arrival. Occasionally, 
however, the personality of the Fool has been duplicated. 
At Lutterworth Beelzebub and the Clown, at Newbold Beel- 
zebub and Big Head and Little Wits appear in the same play *. 
The black-faced man has in some cases lost his black face, 
but he keeps it at Bampton, where he is ' Tom the Tinker,' 
at Rugby, where he is * Little Johnny Sweep/ and in a Sussex 
version, where he is also a sweep 2 . The analogy of the May- 
day chimney-sweeps is an obvious one. A black face was 
a feature in the mediaeval representation of devils, and the 
sweep of some plays is probably in origin identical with the 
devil, black-faced or not, of others. This is all the more so, 

1 Beelzebub appears also in the horses being represented at different 
Crop well Plough Monday play; places where details of the mumming 
cf. p. 209. Doubtless he once wore play have been recorded.' Nowa- 
a calf-skin, like other rural ' Fools,' days, Beelzebub generally carries a 
but, as far as I know, this feature has club and a ladle or frying-pan, with 
dropped out. Sandys, 1 54, however, which he makes the qu$te* At 
quotes ' Captain Calf-tail ' as the Newport and Eccleshall he has a 
name of the * Fool ' in an eighteenth- bell fastened on his back ; at New- 
century Scotch version, and Mr. bold he has a black face. The 
Gomme (Nature, Dec. 23, 1897), ' Fool ' figured in the Manchester 
says ' some of the mummers, or chap-book resembles Punch, 
maskers as the name implies, for- 2 See notes to Steyning play in 
merly disguised themselves as ani- F. L. J. ii. i. 
mals goats, oxen, deer, foxes and 



THE MUMMERS' PLAY 215 

as the devil, like the sweep, usually carries a besom x . One 
would expect his name, and not the Fool's, to be Beelzebub. 
He is, however, ' Little Devil Dout ' or Doubt,' * Little Jack 
Doubt ' or ' Jack Devil Doubt/ At Leigh Little Devil Doubt 
also calls himself 'Jack/ 

1 With my wife and family on my back ' ; 

and perhaps we may therefore trace a further avatar of this 
same personage in the 'John' or 'Johnny Jack' who at 
Salisbury gives a name to the whole performance 2 . He is 
also ' Little Jack ' (Brill, St. Mary Bourne), ' Fat Jack ' (Islip), 
' Happy Jack J (Berkshire, Hollington), ' Humpty Jack ' (New- 
bold). He generally makes the remark about his wife and 
family. What he does carry upon his back is sometimes 
a hump, sometimes a number of rag-dolls. I take it that the 
hump came first, and that the dolls arose out of Jack's jocular 
explanation of his own deformity. But why the hump ? 
Was it originally a bag of soot ? Or the saccus with which 
the German Knechte Ruperte wander in the Twelve nights ? 3 
At Hollington and in a Hampshire version Jack has been 
somewhat incongruously turned into a press-gang. In this 
capacity he gets at Hollington the additional name of 
' Tommy T wing-twang.' 

Having got these grotesques, traditional accompaniments 
of the play, to dispose of somehow, what do the playwrights 
do with them ? The simplest and most primitive method is 
just to bring them in, to show them to the spectators when 
the fighting is over. Thus Beelzebub, like the Fool at one 
point in the Revesby play, often comes in with 

' Here come I ; ain't been yit, 
Big head and little wit.' 

* Ain't been yit ! ' Could a more natve explanation of the 
presence of a ' stock ' character on the stage be imagined ? 

1 Mr. Gomme, in Nature for also to make a circle for the players, 

Dec. 23, 1897, finds in this broom but here it may have merely taken 

4 the magic weapon of the witch ' the place of a sword, 

discussed by Pearson, ii. 29. Prob- a Parish, Diet, of Sussex Dialect, 

ably, however, it was introduced 136. The mummers are called 

into the plays for the purposes of ' John Jacks.' 

the quite ; cf. p. 217. It is used * Cf. p. 268, n. 4. 



216 FOLK DRAMA 

Similarly in Cornwall the woman is worked in by making 
'Sabra/ a persona muta, come forward to join St. George 1 . In 
the play printed in Sharpens London Magazine the * Hobby- 
horse ' is led in. Obviously personages other than the tradi- 
tional four can be introduced in the same way, at the bidding 
of the rustic fancy. Thus at Bampton ' Robin Hood ' and ' Little 
John ' briefly appear, in both the Irish plays and at Tenby 
' Oliver Cromwell/ at Belfast c St. Patrick/ at Steyning the 
1 Prince of Peace.' 

Secondly, the supernumeraries may be utilized, either as 
presenters of the main characters or for the purposes of the 
quctc at the end. Thus at Leigh the performance is begun 
by Little Devil Doubt, who enters with his broom and sweeps 
a 'room ' or 'hall ' for the actors, just as in the sword-dances 
a preliminary circle is made with a sword upon the ground 2 . 
In the Midlands this is the task of the woman, called at Islip 
and in Berkshire ' Molly/ and at Bright- Walton ' Queen 
Mary V Elsewhere the business with the broom is omitted ; 
but there is nearly always a short prologue in which an appeal 
is made to the spectators for ' room/ This prologue may be 
spoken, as at Manchester by the Fool, or as at Lutterworth 
by one of the fighters. The commonest presenter, however, 
is a personification of the festal season at which the plays are 
usually performed, ' Old Father Christmas.' 

* Here comes I, Father Christmas, welcome or welcome not, 
I hope Old Father Christmas will never be forgot. 1 

At St. Mary Bourne Christmas is accompanied by ' Mince- 
Pie/ and in both the Dorset versions, instead of calling for 
' room/ he introduces ' Room ' as an actual personage. Simi- 
larly, at Newport and Eccleshall, the prologue speaker receives 
the curious soubriquet of ' Open-the-Door.' After the pro- 

1 Sandys, 301. 8 Ditch field, 315. 'The play in 

*Cf. Capulet, m Romeo and Juliet, this village is performed in most 

i. 5. 28 * A halJ, a hall ! give room ! approved fashion, as the Rector has 

and foot it, girls ' ; and Puck who taken the matter in hand, coached 

precedes the dance of fairies in the actors in their parts, and taught 

Midsummer Night sDream,\. 1.396 them some elocution.' This sort 

* I am sent with broom before, of thing, of course, is soon fatal to 

To sweep the dust behind the folk-drama, 
door.' 



THE MUMMERS' PLAY 217 

logue, the fighters are introduced. They stand in a clump 
outside the circle, and in turns step forward and strut round 
it l . Each is announced, by himself or by his predecessor or 
by the presenter, with a set of rhymes closely parallel to 
those used in the sword-dances. With the fighters generally 
comes the ' King of Egypt ' (occasionally corrupted into the 
' King of England '), and the description of St. George often 
contains an allusion to his fight with the dragon and the 
rescue of Sabra, the King of Egypt's daughter. In one or 
two of the northern versions (Newcastle, Whitehaven) the 
King of Egypt is a fighter ; generally he stands by. In 
one of the Dorset versions (A) he is called * Anthony.' 
Sabra appears only in Cornwall, and keeps silence. The 
Dragon fights with St. George in Cornwall, and also, as we 
have seen, in the curious Brill m$tte. 

The performance, naturally, ends with a qutte. This takes 
various forms. Sometimes the presenter, or the whole body 
of actors, comes forward, and wishes prosperity to the house- 
hold. Beelzebub, with his frying-pan- or ladle, goes round to 
gather in the contributions. In the version preserved in 
Sharpe s London Magazine, this is the function of a special 
personage, ' Boxholder.' In a considerable number of cases, 
however, the quite is preceded by a singular action on the 
part of Little Devil Dout. He enters with his broom, and 
threatens to sweep the whole party out, or ' into their graves/ 
if money is not given. In Shropshire and Staffordshire he 
sweeps up the hearth, and the custom is probably connected 
with the superstition that it is unlucky to remove fire or 
ashes from the house on Christmas Day. * Dout ' appears 
to be a corruption of ' Do out V 

Another way of working in the grotesques and other super- 
numeraries is to give them minor parts in the drama itself. 
Father Christmas or the King of Egypt is utilized as a sort 

1 Burne-Jackson, 484 ; Manly, i. Christmas song, sung by * Little 

280,. David Doubt ' with black face, skin 

* Burne-Jackson, 402, 410 ; F. . coat and broom. At Bradford they 

iv. 162; Dyer, 504. The broom is * sweep out the Old Year'; at 

used in Christmas and New Year Wakefield they sweep up dirty 

quotes in Scotland and Yorkshire, hearths. In these cases the notion 

even when there is no drama, of threatening to do the unlucky 

Northall 205, gives a Lancashire thing has gone. 



218 FOLK DRAMA 

of chorus, to cheer on the fighters, lament the vanquished, and 
summon the Doctor. At Newbold the woman, called ' Moll 
Finney,' plays a similar part, as mother of the Turkish Knight. 
At Stoke Gabriel, Devon, the woman is the Doctor's wife l . 
Finally, in three cases, a complete subordinate dramatic epi- 
sode is introduced for their sake. At Islip, after the main 
drama is concluded, the presenter Molly suddenly becomes 
King George's wife 'Susannah. 1 She falls ill, and the Doctor's 
services are requisitioned to cure her. The Doctor rides in, 
not on a hobby-horse, but on one of the disengaged 
characters who plays the part of a horse. In Dorsetshire 
the secondary drama is quite elaborate. In the ' A ' version 
1 Old Bet ' calls herself ' Dame Dorothy,' and is the wife of 
Father Christmas, named, for the nonce, c Jan/ They quarrel 
about a Jack hare, which he wants fried and she wants 
roasted. He kills her, and at the happy moment the Doctor 
is passing by, and brings her to life again. Version * B ' is 
very similar, except that the performance closes by Old Bet 
bringing in the hobby-horse for Father Christmas to mount. 

I do not think that I need further labour the affiliation of 
the St. George plays to the sword-dances. Placed in a series, 
as I have placed them in these chapters, the two sets of per- 
formances show a sufficiently obvious continuity. They are 
held together by the use of the swords, by their common 
grotesques, and by the episode of the Doctor, which connects 
them also with the German Shrovetide and Whitsun folk- 
ceremonies. They are properly called folk-drama, because 
they are derived, with the minimum of literary intervention, 
from the dramatic tendencies latent in folk-festivals of a very 
primitive type. They are the outcome of the instinct of play, 
manipulating for its own purposes the mock sacrifice and 
other debris of extinct ritual. Their central incident symbo- 
lizes the renouveau, the annual death of the year or the fertili- 
zation spirit and its annual resurrection in spring 2 . To this 

1 Ditchfield, 12. An ' Old Bet ' castle chap-book promises a ' Dives ' 

is mentioned in 5 N. Q. iv. 5 1 1 , as who never appears. Was this the 

belonging to a Belper version. The woman ? In the Linton in Craven 

woman is worked in with various sword-dance, she has the similar 

ingenuity, but several versions have name of * Miser/ 

lost her. The prologue to the New- f I hardly like to trace a remi- 



THE MUMMERS' PLAY 219 

have become attached some of those heroic cantilenae which, 
as the early mediaeval chroniclers tell us, existed in the mouths 
of the c/wri iuvenum side by side with the cantilenae of the 
minstrels. The symbolism of the renouveau is preserved 
unmistakably enough in the episode of the Doctor, but the 
cantilenae have been to some extent modified by the compara- 
tively late literary element, due perhaps to that universal 
go-between of literature and the folk, the village school- 
master. The genuine national heroes, a Stercatherus or a 
Galgacus, have given way to the * worthies* and the Champions 
of Christendom/ dear to Holophernes. The literary tradition 
has also perhaps contributed to the transformation of the 
chorus or semi-dramatic dance into drama pure and simple. 
In the St. George plays dancing holds a very subordinate 
place, far more so than in the ' Plow-boys * play of Revesby. 
Dances and songs are occasionally introduced before the 
qu$te, but rarely during the main performance. In the eccen- 
tric Brill version, however, a complete morris-dance appears. 
And of course it must be borne in mind that the fighting 
itself, with its gestures and pacings round the circle and 
clashing of swords, has much more the effect of a sword- 
dance than of a regular fight. So far as it is a fight, the 
question arises whether we ought to see in it, besides the 
heroic element introduced by the cantilenae , any trace of the 
mimic contest between winter and summer, which is found 
here and there, alternating with the resurrection drama, as 

niscence of the connexion with the Cf. Thomas Hardy, The Return of 

renouveau in the ' General Valen- the Native, bk. ii. ch. 3 : * The girls 

tine' and 'Colonel Spring' who could never be brought to respect 

fight and are slain in the Dorset (A) tradition in designing and decorat- 

version ; but there the names are. ing the armour : they insisted on 

Mr. Gomme (Nature for Dec. 23, attaching loops and bows of silk 

1897) finds in certain mumming and velvet in any situation pleasing 

costumes preserved in the Anthro- to their taste. Gorget, gusset, bas- 

pological Museum at Cambridge sinet, cuirass, gauntlet, sleeve, all 

and made of paper scales, a repre- alike in the view of these feminine 

sentation of leaves -of trees. Mr. eyes were practicable spaces whereon 

Ordish, I believe, finds in them the to sew scraps of fluttering colour.' The 

scales of the dragon (F. L. iv. 163). usual costume of the sword-dancers, 

Some scepticism may be permitted as we have seen (p. 200), was a 

as to these conjectures. In most clean white smock, and probably 

places the dress represents little that of the mummers is based upon 

but rustic notions of the ornamental, this. 



220 FOLK DRAMA 

a symbolical representation of the renouveau. The fight does 
not, of course, in itself stand in any need of such an explana- 
tion ; but it is suggested by a singular passage which in 
several versions is put in the mouth of one or other of the 
heroes. St. George, or the Slasher, or the Turkish Knight, 
is made to boast something as follows : 

'My arms are made of iron, my body's made of steel, 
My head is made of beaten brass, no man can make me feel/ 

It does not much matter who speaks these words in the 
versions of Holophernes, but there are those who think that 
they originally belonged to the representative of winter, and 
contained an allusion to the hardness of the frost-bound earth 1 . 
Personally I do not see why they should refer to anything but 
the armour which a champion might reasonably be supposed 
to wear. 

A curious thing about the St. George play is the width of 
its range. All the versions, with the possible exception of that 
found at Brill, seem to be derived from a common type. They 
are spread over England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, and 
only in the eastern counties do they give way to the partly, 
though not wholly, independent Plough Monday type. Un- 
fortunately, the degeneracy of the texts is such that any closer 
investigation into their inter-relations or into the origin and 
transmission of the archetype would probably be futile. 
Something, however, must be said as to the prominence, at 
any rate outside Scotland, of the character of St. George. As 
far as I can see, the play owes nothing at all to John Kirke's 
stage-play of The Seven Champions of Christendom, printed 
in 1 638*. It is possible, however, that it may be a develop- 
ment of a sword-dance in which, as in the Shetland dance, the 
' seven champions ' had usurped the place of more primitive 
heroes. If so the six champions, otner than St. George, have 

1 T. F. Ordish, in F. L. iv. 158. worth Smith, was amongst the 

2 Printed in The Old English manuscripts destroyed by War- 
Drama (I&SQ), vol. iii. Burne-Jack- burton's cook, and a Bartholomew 
son, 490, think that 'the masque Fair 'droll' of S/. George and 
owes something to the play,' but the Dragon is alluded to in the 
the resemblances they trace are Theatre of Compliments, 1688 
infinitesimal. A play of St. George (Fleay, C. //. ii. 251; Hazlitt, 

for England, by William or Went- Manual, 201). 



THE MUMMERS' PLAY 



221 



singularly vanished l . In any case, there can have been no 
' seven champions,' either in sword-dance or mummers' play, 
before Richard Johnson brought together the scattered legends 
of the national heroes in his History of the Seven Champions 
in 1596 a . This fact presents no difficulty, for the archetype 
of our texts need certainly not be earlier than the seventeenth 
century 3 . By this time the literary dramatic tradition was 
fully established, even in the provinces, and it may well have 
occurred to Holophernes to convert the sword-dance into the 
semblance of a regular play. 

On the other hand, the mediaeval period had its dramatic 
or semi-dramatic performances in which St. George figured, 
and possibly it is to these, and not to the ' seven champions,' 
that his introduction into the sword-dance is due. These 
performances generally took the form of a ' riding ' or proces- 



1 In the Dorset (A) version, the 
king of Egypt is 'Anthony' and the 
doctor * Mr. Martin Dennis.' Con- 
ceivably these are reminiscences of 
St. Anthony of Padua and St. Denys 
of France. The Revesby Plough 
Monday play (cf. p. 208) has also 
an 1 Anthony/ The * Seven Cham- 
pions ' do not appear in the English 
sword-dances described in ch. ix, but 
the morris-dancers at Edgemond 
wake used to take that name (Burne- 
Jackson, 491). Mrs. Nina Sharp 
writes in F. L. R. iii. I. 113: * I was 
staying at Minety, near Malmes- 
bury, in Wilts (my cousin is the 
vicar), when the mummers came 
round (1876). They went through 
a dancing fight in two lines opposed 
to each other performed by the 
Seven Champions of Christendom. 
There was no St. George, and they 
did not appear to have heard of the 
Dragon. When I inquired for him, 
they went through the performance 
of drawing a tooth the tooth pro- 
duced, after great agony, being a 
horse's. The mummers then carried 
into the hall a bush gaily decorated 
with coloured ribbons . . . [They] 
were all in white smock frocks and 
masks. At Acomb, near York, I 
saw very similar mummers a few 
years ago, but they distinguished 



St. George, and the Dragon was a 
prominent person. There was the 
same tooth-drawing, and I think the 
Dragon was the patient, and was 
brought back to life by the opera- 
tion.' I wonder whether the * Seven 
Champions ' were named or whether 
Mrs. Sharp inferred them. Any- 
how, there could not have been 
seven at Minety, without St. George. 
The ' bush J is an interesting fea- 
ture. According to C. R. Smith, 
Isle of Wight Words (Eng.Dial.Soc. 
xxxii. 63) the mummers are known 
in Kent as the * Seven Champions. 1 

2 Entered on the Stationers' Re- 
gisters in 1596. The first extant 
edition is dated 1597. Johnson first 
introduced Sabra, princess of Egypt, 
into the story; in the mediaeval 
versions, the heroine is an unnamed 
princess of Silena in Libya. The 
mummers' play follows Johnson, and 
makes it Egypt. On Johnson was 
based Heylin's History of St. George 
(1631 and 1633), and on one or both 
of these Kirke's play. 

8 Jackson and Burne, 489 : * Miss 
L. Toulmin Smith . . . considers 
that the diction and composition of 
the [Shropshire] piece, as we now 
have it, date mainly from the seven- 
teenth century.' 



222 FOLK DRAMA 

sion on St. George's day, April 23. Such ridings may, of 
course, have originally, like the Godiva processions or the 
midsummer shows, have preserved the memory of the pre- 
Christian perambulations of the fields in spring, but during 
the period for which records are available they were rather 
municipal celebrations of a semi-ecclesiastical type. St. Georgef 
was the patron saint of England, and his day was honoured 
as one of the greater feasts, notably at court, where the 
chivalric order of the Garter was under his protection *. The 
conduct of the ridings was generally, from the end of the 
fourteenth century onwards, in the hands of a guild, founded 
not as a trade guild, but as a half social, half religious fraternity, 
for the worship of the saint, and the mutual aid and good 
fellowship of its members. The fullest accounts preserved 
are from Norwich, where the guild or company of St. George 
was founded in 1385, received a charter from Henry V in 1416, 
and by 1451 had obtained a predominant share in the govern- 
ment of the city 2 . The records of this guild throw a good 
deal of light on the riding. The brethren and * sustren ' had 
a chapel in the choir of the cathedral, and after the Reforma- 
tion held their feasts in a chapel of the common hall of the 
city, which had formerly been the church of a Dominican 
convent. The riding was already established by 1408 when 
the court of the guild ordered that ' the George shall go in 
procession and make a conflict with the Dragon and keep his 
estate both days. 1 The George was a man in 'coat armour 
beaten with silver/ and had his club-bearer, henchmen, min- 
strels and banners. He was accompanied by the Dragon, the 
guild-priest, and the court and brethren of the guild in red 
and white capes and gowns. The procession went to c the 
wood ' outside the city, and here doubtless the conflict with 
the dragon took place. By 1537 there had been added to the 



1 Dyer, 193; Anstis, Register of tices Illustrative of Municipal Pa- 

the Garter (17 24), ii. 38 ; E. Ashmole, geants and Processions (with plates, 

Hist, of the Garter (ed. 1672), 188, publ. C. Muskett, Norwich, 1850); 

467 ; (ed. 1715), 130, 410. Toulmin Smith, English Gilds 

* F. Blomefield, Hist, of Norfolk (E. E. T. S.), 17, 443'; Kelly, 48. 

(1805), iv. 6, 347 ; Mackerell, MS. Hudson and Tingey, Cal. of Records 

Hist, of Norfolk (1737), quoted in of Norwich (1898), calendar many 

Norfolk Archaeology, iii. 315 ; No- documents of the guild. 



THE MUMMERS' PLAY 223 

dramatis personae St. Margaret, also called c the lady/ who 
apparently aided St. George in his enterprise 1 . Strange to 
say, the guild survived the Reformation. In 1552, the court 
ordered, ' there shall be neither George nor Margaret, but for 
pastime the dragon to come and show himself, as in other 
years.' But the feast continued, and in spite of an attempt 
to get rid of him under the Long Parliament, the Dragon 
endured until 1732 when the guild was dissolved. Eighteenth- 
century witnesses describe the procession as it then existed. 
The Dragon was carried by a man concealed in its body. It 
was of basket work and painted cloth, and could move or 
spread its wings, and distend or contract its head. The ranks 
were kept by ' whifflers ' who juggled with their swords, and 
by ' Dick Fools,' in motley and decked with cats 1 tails and 
small bells. There is one more point of interest about the 
Norwich guild. In the fifteenth century it included many 
persons of distinction in Norfolk. Sir John Fastolf gave it 
an 'angell silver and guylt.' And amongst the members in 
1496 was Sir John Paston. I have already quoted the lament 
in the Paston Letters over William Woode, the keeper, whom 
the writer ' kepyd thys iij yer to pleye Seynt Jorge and 
Robyn Hod and the ShryfT off Nottyngham,' and who at 
a critical moment went off to Bernysdale and left his master 
in the lurch 2 . I have also identified his Robin Hood play, 
and now it becomes apparent where he played ' Seynt Jorge. 1 
It is curious how the fragments of the wreckage of time fit 
into one another. The riding of the George is not peculiar 
to Norwich. We find it at Leicester 3 , at Coventry 4 , at Strat- 

1 Hartland, iii. 58, citing Jacobus men in 1424. Probably there was 
a Voragine, Legenda Aurea> xciii, a riding. In any case, at the 
gives the story of St. Margaret, and visit of Prince Edward in 1474, 
the appearance of the devil to her there was a pageant or mystere 
in the shape of a dragon. She was mimJ 'upon the Conddite in the 
in his mouth, but made the sign of Crosse Chepyng* of ' seint George 
the cross, and he burst asunder. armed and Kyngesdought 1 knelyng 

2 Cf. p. 177. afore hym w fc a lambe and the fader 
8 Kelly, 37. The ' dressyng of and the moder beyng in a toure 

the dragon* appears in the town a boven beholdyng seint George 
accounts for 1536. The guild had savyng their dought r from the 
dropped the riding, even before the dragon. 1 There was a similar pa- 
Reformation, geant at the visit of Prince Arthur 

4 Harris, 97, 190, 277 ; Kelly, 41. in 1498. 
The guild was formed by journey- 



224 FOLK DRAMA 

ford *, at Chester 2 , at York, at Dublin 3 . An elaborate pro- 
gramme for the Dublin procession is preserved. It included 
an emperor and empress with their train, St. George on horse- 
back, the dragon led by a line and the king and queen of Dele. 
But no princess is mentioned. The ' may ' or maiden figured 
at York, however, and there was also a St. Christopher. At 
other places, such as Reading, Aston 4 and Louth 5 , an eques- 
trian figure, called a * George/ is known to have stood on 
a ' loft ' in the church, and here, too, an annual ' riding ' may 
be presumed. 

There is no proof that the dramatic element in these 
'ridings' was anything more than a mysttre mim/, or 
pageant in dumb show. On the other hand, there were places 
where the performance on St. George's day took the form 
of a regular miracle-play. The performance described by 
Collier as taking place before Henry V and the Emperor 
Sigismund at Windsor in 1416 turns out on examination of 
Collier's authority to be really a * soteltie,' a cake or raised 
pie of elaborate form. But the town of Lydd had its 
St. George play in 1456, and probably throughout the 
century ; while in 1490 the chaplain of the guild of St. George 
at New Romney went to see this Lydd play with a view to 
reproducing it at the sister town. In 1511 again a play of 
St. George is recorded to have been held at Bassingbourne in 
Cambridgeshire, not on St. George's, but on St. Margaret's day *. 

Obviously the subject-matter of all these pageants and 
miracles was provided by the familiar ecclesiastical legend of 

1 Kelly, 42. Hist, of Reading, 221, the account 

* Morris, 139, 168 ; Fenwick, for setting-up a 'George' in 1536. 
Hist, of Chester, 372 ; Dyer, 195. Dugdale, Hist, of Warwickshire, 
The Fraternity of St. George was 928, has a notice of a legacy 
founded for the encouragement of in 1526 by John Arden to Aston 
shooting in 1537. They had a cha- church of his * white harneis ... for 
pel with a George in the choir of a George to were it, and to stand 
St. Peter's. St. George's was the on his pewe, a place made for it.' 
great day for races on the Rood- a R.W. Goulding, Louth Records, 
dee. In 1610 was a famous show, quotes from the churchwardens' ac- 
wherein St. George was attended by counts for 1538 payments for taking 
Fame, Mercury, and various allege- down the image of St. George and 
rical figures. his horse. 

1 Cf. Representations, s. v. York, * Representations, s. v. Windsor, 
Dublin. Lydd, New Romney, Bassing- 

* Dyer, 194, gives from Coatcs, bourne. 



THE MUMMERS' PLAY 



225 



St. George the dragon-slayer, with which was occasionally 
interwoven the parallel legend of St. Margaret 1 . Similar 
performances can be traced on the continent. There was one 
at Mons called le lumefon 2 . Rabelais describes one at Metz, 
of which, however, the hero was not St. George, but yet 
another dragon -slayer, St. Clement 3 . There is no need to 
ascribe to them a folk origin, although the dragon-slaying 
champion is a common personage in folk-tale*. They belong 
to the cycle of religious drama, which is dealt with in the 
second volume of this book. And although in Shropshire 
at least they seem to have been preserved in a village stage- 



1 For the legend, see A eta Sane- 
torum, April) iii. 101 ; Jacobus a 
Voragine, Legenda Aurea (1280), 
Iviii ; E. A. W. Budge, The Martyr- 
dom and Miracles of St. George 
of Cappadocia : the Coptic Texts 
(Oriental Text Series, 1888). In 
Rudder, Hist, of Gloucestershire, 
461, and Gloucester F. L. 47, is 
printed an English version of the 
legend, apparently used for read- 
ing in church on the Sunday 
preceding St. George's day, April 
23. Cf. also Gibbon (ed. Bury), ii. 
472, 568 ; Hartland, Perseus, iii. 38; 
Baring-Gould, Curious Myths of the 
Middle Ages, 266; Zockler, s.v. 
St. Georg, in Herzog and Plitt's 
Encyclopedia; F. Gorres, Ritter 
St. Georg in Geschichte, Legende 
und Kunst, in Zeitschriftfurivissen- 
schaftliche Theologie, xxx ( 1 887 ) , 5 4 ; 
F. Vetter, Introduction to Reimbot 
von Durne's Der heilige Georg 
(1896 1. Gibbon identified St.George 
with the Arian bishop George of 
Cappadocia, and the dragon with 
Athanasius. This view has been 
recently revived with much learning 
by J. Friedrich in Sitxb. Akad. Wiss. 
Miinchen (phil.-hist.Kl^ 1899, " 2 - 
Pope Gelasius (t495) condemned 
the Passio as apocryphal and here- 
tical, but he admits the historical 
existence of the saint, whose cult 
indeed was well established both in 
East and West in the fifth century. 
Budge tries to find an historical 
basis for him in a young man at 

CHAMBERS, X ( 



Nicomedia who tore down an edict 
during the persecution of Diocletian 
(t303), and identifies his torturer 
Dadianus with the co-emperor 
Galerius. 

2 Du Meril, La Com. 98. He 
quotes Novidius, Sacri Fasti (ed. 
1559), bk. vi. f. 48 TO : 

'perque annos duci monet [rex] 

in spectacula casum 
unde datur multis annua 

scena locis.' 

A fifteenth-century Augsburg 
miracle-play of St. George is 
printed by Keller, Fastnachtsspiele> 
No. 125 ; for other Continental data 
cf. Creizenach, i. 231, 246; Julie- 
ville, JLes Myst. ii. 10, 644 ; D'An- 
cona, i. 104. 

8 Rabelais, Gargantua, iv. 59. 
The dragon was called Graoully, 
and snapped its jaws, like the 
Norwich ' snap-dragons ' and the 
English hobby-horse. 

* Cf. p. 138. The myth has 
attached itself to other undoubtedly 
historical persons besides St.George 
(Bury, Gibbon, ii. 569). In his case 
it is possibly due to a misunderstood 
bit of rhetoric. In the 'Coptic version 
of the legend edited by Budge 
(p. 223), Dadianus is called 'the 
dragon of the abyss. 7 There is no 
literal dragon in this version : the 
princess is perhaps represented by 
Alexandra, the wife of Dadianus, 
whom George converts. Cf. Hart- 
land, Perseus^ iii. 44. 



226 FOLK DRAMA 

play up to quite a recent date 1 9 they obviously do not directly 
survive in the folk-play with which we are concerned. As 
far as I know, that nowhere takes place on St. George's day. 
The Dragon is very rarely a character, and though St. George's 
traditional exploit is generally mentioned, it is, as that very 
mention shows, not the motive of the action. On the 
other hand the legend, in its mediaeval form, has no room for 
the episode of the Doctor 2 . At the same time the Dragon 
does sometimes occur, and the traditional exploit is mentioned, 
and therefore if any one chooses to say that the fame of 
St. George in the guild celebrations as well as the fame of the 
' seven champions ' romance determined his choice as the hero 
of the later sword-dance rhymes, I do not see that there is 
much to urge against the view 3 . 

With regard to the main drift of this chapter, the criticism 
presents itself; if the folk-plays are essentially a celebration 
of the renouveau of spring, how is it that the performances 
generally take place in mid-winter at Christmas ? The answer 
is that, as will be shown in the next chapter, none of the 
Christmas folk-customs are proper to mid-winter. They have 
been attracted by the ecclesiastical feast from the seasons 
which in the old European calendar preceded and followed it, 
from the beginning of winter and the beginning of summer or 
spring. The folk-play has come with the rest. But the 
transference has not invariably taken place. The Norfolk 
versions belong not to Christmas but to Plough Monday, 
which lies immediately outside the Christmas season proper, 
and is indeed, though probably dislocated from its primitive 
date, the earliest of the spring feasts. The St. George play 
itself is occasionally performed at Easter, and even perhaps on 
May-day, whilst versions, which in their present form contain 
clear allusions to Christmas, yet betray another origin by the 
title which they bear of the ' Pace-eggers" or * Pasque-eggers" 



1 Cf. ch. xxiv, as to these plays. years. But I do not think that this 
* I ought perhaps to say that in episode occurs in any of the Euro- 
one of the Coptic versions of the pean versions of the legend, 
legend St. George is periodically * ' Sant George and the dragon ' 
slain and brought back to life by are introduced into a London May- 
a miracle during the space of seven game in 1559 (ch. viii). 



THE MUMMERS' PLAY 



227 



play 1 . Christmas, however, has given to the play the charac- 
teristic 6gure of Old Father Christmas. And the players are 
known as ' mummers ' and ' guisers,' or, in Cornwall, * geese- 
dancers/ because their performance was regarded as a variety 
of the 'mumming 1 or * disguising* which, as we shall see, 
became a regular name for the Christmas revel or quetc 2 . 



1 See the Manchester Peace Egg 
chap-book. At Manchester, Lang- 
dale, and, I believe, Coniston, the 
play is performed at Easter: cf. 
Halliwell, Popular Rhymes , 231. 
The Steyning play is believed to 
have been given at May-day as well 
as Christmas. Of course, so far as 
this goes,the transference might have 
been from Christmas, not to Christ- 
mas, but the German analogies 
point the other way. The Cheshire 
performance on All Souls' Day 
(Nov. 2), mentioned by Child, v. 
291, is, so far as I know, exceptional. 

8 Cf. ch. xvii : In the Isle of 



Wight the performers are called 
the * Christmas Boys ' (C. R. Smith, 
Isle of Wight Words, in E. D. S. 
xxxii. 63). The terms ' Seven Cham- 
pions ' (Kent) and * John Jacks' 
(Salisbury) have already been ex- 
plained. The Steyning * Tipteers ' 
or * Tipteerers ' may be named from 
the * tips ' collected in the quete. 
The * Guisers' of Staffordshire be- 
come on the Shropshire border 
* Morris-dancers,' * Murry-dancers, 1 
or ' Merry-dancers ' a further 
proof of the essential identity of 
the morris- or sword-dance with the 
play. 



CHAPTER XI 
THE BEGINNING OF WINTER 

{Bibliographical Note. I have largely followed the conclusions of 
A. Tille, Deutsche Weihnacht (1893) and Yule and Christmas (1899). 
The Roman winter feasts are well treated by J. Marquardt and T. 
Mommsen, Handbuch der romischen Alterthumer (3rd ed. 1 88 1 -8), vol. vii ; 
W. W. Fowler, The Roman Festivals of the Period of the Republic (1899) ; 
G. Wissowa, Religion und Kultus der Rbmer (1902); and the Christian 
feasts by L. Duchesne, Origines du Culte chre'tien (2nd ed. 1898). On 
the history of Christmas, H. Usener, Das Weihnachtsfest, in Religions- 
geschichthche Untersuchungen, vol. i (1889), and F. C. Conybeare's intro- 
duction to The Key of Truth (1898) should also be consulted. Much 
information on the Kalends customs is collected by M. Lipenius, Strenaru m 
Historia, in J. G. Graevius, Thesaurus Antiquitatum Romanarum (1699), 
vol. xii. I have brought together a number of ecclesiastical references to 
the Kalends, from the third to the eleventh century, in Appendix N.] 

So far this study has concerned itself, on the one hand 
with the general character of the peasant festivals, on the 
other with the special history of such of these as fall within 
the summer cycle of the agricultural year, from ploughing to 
harvest. The remaining chapters will approach the corre- 
sponding festivals, centring around Christmas, of winter. 
These present a somewhat more difficult problem, partly 
because their elements are not quite so plainly agricultural, 
partly because of the remarkable dislocations which the 
development and clash of civilizations have brought about. 

It must, I think, be taken as established that the Germano- 
Keltic tribes had no primitive mid-winter feast, corresponding 
directly to the modern Christmas 1 . They had no solstitial 
feast, for they knew nothing of the solstices. And although 
they had a winter feast of the dead, belonging rather to the 
domestic than to the elemental side of cult, this probably 
fell not at the middle, but at the beginning of the season. 
It was an aspect in the great feast with which not the winter 
only but the Germano-Keltic year began. This took place 

1 Tille, Y. and C. 78, 107 ; Rhys, C. H. 519 : cf. ch. v. 



THE BEGINNING OF WINTER 229 

when the advance of snow and frost drove the warriors back 
from foray and the cattle from the pastures. The scarcity of 
fodder made the stall-feeding of the whole herd an im- 
possibility, and there was therefore an economic reason for 
a great slaughtering. This in its turn led to a great banquet 
on the fresh meat, and to a great sacrifice, accompanied with 
the usual perambulations, water-rites and fire-rites which 
sacrifice to the deities of field and flock entailed 1 . The 
vegetation spirit would again be abroad, no longer, as in 
spring or summer, in the form of flowers and fresh green 
boughs, but in that of the last sheaf or * kern-baby ' saved 
from harvest, or in that of such evergreens or rarer blossoms 
as might chance to brave the snows. The particular ' inten- 
tion ' of the festival would be to secure the bounty of the 
divine powers for the coming year, and a natural superstition 
would find omens for the whole period in the events of the 
initial day. The feast, however, would be domestic, as well 
as seasonal. The fire on the hearth was made * new,' and 
beside it the fathers, resting from the toils of war, or herding 
or tillage, held jollification with their children. Nor were 
the dead forgotten. Minni were drunk in honour of ances- 
tors and ancestral deities ; and a share of the banquet was 
laid out for such of these as might be expected, in the whirl 
of the wintry storm, to revisit the familiar house-place. 

Originally, no doubt, the time of the feast was determined 
by the actual closing of the war- ways and the pastures. Just 
as the first violet or some migratory bird of March was 
hailed for the herald of summer, so the first fall of snow gave 
the signal that winter was at hand 2 . In the continental home 
of the Germano-Keltic tribes amongst the forests of central 
Europe this would take place with some regularity about the 
middle of November 3 . A fixed date for the feast could only 
arise when, at some undefined time, the first calendar, the 
' three-score-day-tide ' calendar of unknown origin, was intro- 

1 Tille, y. and C. 1 8 ; D. W. 6. rent. 1 

Bede,/>. 7\K. 15, gives Blot-monath 2 Burton, 15, notes a tradition at 

as the Anglo-Saxon name for No- Disley, in Cheshire, that the local 

vember, and explains it as * mensis wake was formerly held after the 

immolationum, quia in ea pecora first fall of snow, 

quae occisuri erant, Diis suis vove- 8 Tille, Y. and C. 1 8. 



230 



FOLK DRAMA 



duced 1 . Probably it was thenceforward held regularly upon a 
day corresponding to either November the nth or the lath in 
our reckoning. If it is accurately represented by St. Martin's 
day, it was the nth 2 , if by the Manx Samhain, the I2th 3 . 
It continued to begin the year, and also the first of the six 
tides into which that year was divided. As good fortune will 
have it, the name of that tide is preserved to us in the Gothic 
term linlcis for November and December 4 , in the Anglo- 
Saxon Giuli or Gcola which, according to Bede, applied both to 
December and to January 6 , and in Yule, the popular designa- 
tion, both in England and Scandinavia, of Christmas itself 6 . 
The meaning of this name is, however, more doubtful. The 
older philology, with solstices running in its brain, supposed 
that it applied primarily to a mid-winter feast, and con- 
nected it with the Anglo-Saxon hwfol, a wheel 7 . Bede 
himself, learned in Roman lore, seems to hint at such an 
explanation 8 . The current modern explanation derives the 



1 Mogk, iii. 391 ; Tille, Y. and C. 
24, find the winter feast ir the festival 
of Tanfana which the Marsi were 
celebrating when Germanicus at- 
tacked them in A. D. 14 (Tacitus, 
Ann. i. 51). Winter, though immi- 
nent, had not yet actually set in, 
but this might be the case in any 
year after the festival had come to 
be determined by a fixed calendar. 

1 Tille, Y. and C. 57. 

8 Rhys, C. H. 513, says that the 
Samhain fell on Nov. i. The pre- 
ceding night was known as Nos 
Galan-gcaf, the 'night of winter 
calends,' and that following as Dy* 
gwyl y Meirw, ' the feast of the 
Dead/ In F. L. ii. 308 he gives 
the date of the Manx Samhain as 
Nov. 12, and explains this as being 
Nov. i, O. S. But is it not really 
the original date of the feast which 
has been shifted elsewhere to the 
beginning of the month ? 

4 Tille, Y. and C. 12, citing M. 
Heyne, Ulfilas, 226 : * In a Gothic 
calendarium of the sixth century 
N ovember, or Naubaimbair, is called 
fruma Ji'ulets, which presupposes 
that December was called *aftuma 



6 Bede, de temp. rat. c. 15. Tille, 
Y. and C. 20, points out that the 
application of the old tide-name to 
fit November and December by the 
Goths and December and January 
by the Anglo-Saxons is fair evidence 
for the belief that the tide itself 
corresponded to a period from mid- 
November to mid -January. 

Tille, Y. and C. 147. The terms 
gehhol, gedhel, gedl, giAl, tW, &c. 
signify the Christmas festival season 
from the ninth century onwards, and 
from the eleventh also Christmas 
Day itself. The fifteenth-century 
forms are Yule, Ywle> Yole y Yowle. 
In the A.-S. Chronicle the terms 
used for Christmas are ' midewinter, 1 
'Cristes maessa,' 'Cristes tyde,' 
' Natiuitedh.' As a single word 
' Cristesmesse ' appears first in 1131 
(Tille, Y. and C. 159). The German 

'Weihnacht'(M.H.G.wVA,'holy') 
appears f 1000 (Tille, D. W. 22). 

1 Pfannenschmidt, 238, 512. 

8 The notion is of a circular course 
of the sun, passing through the four 
turning- or wheeling-points of the 
solstices and equinoxes. Cf. ch. vi 
for the use of the wheel as a solar 
symbol. 



THE BEGINNING OF WINTER 



281 



word from a supposed Germanic jehwela, equivalent to the 
Latin ioculus *. It would thus mean simply a * feast ' or 
' rejoicing/ and some support seems to be lent to this de- 
rivation by the occasional use of the English * yule 9 and the 
Keltic gwyl to denote feasts other than that of winter 2 . 
Other good authorities, however, prefer to trace it to a 
Germanic root jeula- from which is derived the Old Norse //, 
' a snowstorm ' ; and this also, so far as its application to the 
feast and tide of winter is concerned, seems plausible enough 3 . 
It is possible that to the winter feast originally belonged the 
term applied by Bede to December 24 of Modranicht or 
Modraneht** It would be tempting to interpret this as 'the 
night which gives birth to the year'; but philologists say 
that it can only mean * night of mothers/ and we must there- 
fore explain it as due to some cult of the Matres or triad of 
mother-goddesses, which took place at the feast 6 . 



1 Mogk, iii. 391, quoting Kluge, 
Englische Studien^ ix. 311, and 
Bugge, Ark.f. nord. Filolog. iv. 135. 
Tille, y. and C. 8, 148, desirous to 
establish an Oriental origin for the 
Three Score Day tides, doubts the 
equation *jehwela = ioculus, and 
suggests a connexion between the 
Teutonic terms and the old Cypriote 
names iXalos, lovXalos, lovXtrjos, iovXios 
for the period Dec. 22 to Jan. 23 (K. 

F. Hermann, Uber griech. Monats- 
kunde, 64), and, more hesitatingly, 
with the Greek "louXo? or hymn to 
Ceres. Weinhold, Deutsche Monats- 
namen, 4 ; Deutsche Jahrteilung, 1 5, 
thinks that both the Teutonic and 
Cypriote names are the Roman 
Julius transferred from mid-summer 
to mid- winter. Northall, 208, makes 
yule =s oly oel, a feast or * ale,' for 
which I suppose there is nothing to 
be said. Skeat, Etym. Diet. s. v., 
makes it 'a time of revelry,' and 
connects with M.E. youlen, yollen, 
to^ * yawl ' or ' yell,' and with A.-S. 
gylan, Dutch joelen^ to make merry, 

G. jolen, jodeln, to sing out. He 
thus gets in a different way much 
the sense given in the text. 

8 At a Cots wold Whitsun ale a 
lord and lady * of yule ' were chosen 
(Gloucester F. L. 56). Rhys, C. H. 



412, 421, 515, and in F. L. ii. 305, 
gives Gwyl as a Welsh term for 
* feast ' in general, and in particular 
mentions, besides the GwylyMeirw 
at the Samhaiit) the Gwyl Aust 
(Aug. i, Lammas or Lugnassad 
Day). This also appears in Latin 
as the Gula Augusti (Ducange, s. v. 
temp. Edw. Ill), and in English as 
' the Gule of August ' ( Hearne, Robert 
of Gloucester's Chron* 679). Tille, 
y. and C. 56, declares that Gula 
here is only a mutilation of Vincula, 
Aug. i being in the ecclesiastical 
calendar the feast of St. Peter ad 
Vincula. 

8 Kluge and Lutz, English Ety- 
mology, s. v. Yule. 

* Bede, D. T. R. c. 15 * ipsam 
noctem nobis sacrosanctam, tune 
gentili vocabulo Modranicht [v.l. 
Modraneht], id est, matrum noctem 
appellabant ; ob causam ut suspi* 
camur ceremoniarum, quas in ea 
pervigiles agebant.' 

8 Mogk, iii. 391. Tille, Y. and C. 
152, gives some earlier explana- 
tions, criticizes that of Mogk, and 
offers as his own a reference to a 
custom of baking a cake (placenta) 
to represent the physical mother- 
hood of the Virgin. The practice 
doubtless existed and was con- 



232 FOLK DRAMA 

The subsequent history of the winter feast consists in its 
gradual dislocation from the original mid-November position, 
and dispersion over a large number of dates covering roughly 
the whole period between Michaelmas and Twelfth night. 
For this process a variety of causes are responsible. Some 
of these are economic. As civilization progressed, mid- 
November came to be, less than of old, a signal turning-point 
in the year. In certain districts to which the Germano-Keltic 
tribes penetrated, in Gaul, for instance, or in Britain with its 
insular climate, the winter tarried, and the regular central 
European closing of the pastures was no longer a law. Then 
again tillage came gradually to equal or outstrip pasturage in 
importance, and the year of tillage closed, even in Germany, 
at the end of September rather than in mid-November. The 
harvest feast began to throw the winter feast rather into the 
shade as a wind-up of the year's agricultural labours. This 
same development of tillage, together with the more scientific 
management of pasturage itself, did more. It provided a 
supply of fodder for the cattle, and by making stall-feeding 
possible put off further and further into the winter the neces- 
sity of the great annual slaughter. The importance in 
Germany, side by side with St. Martin's day (November n), 
of St. Andrew's day (November 30), and still more St. 
Nicholas* day (December 6) *, as folk-feasts, seems to suggest 
a consequent tendency to a gradual shifting of the winter 
festival. 

These economic causes came gradually into operation 
throughout a number of centuries. In displacing the Novem- 
ber feast, they prepared the way for and assisted the action 
of one still more important. This was the influence of Roman 
usage. When the Germano-Keltic tribes first came into 

demned by Pope Hormisdas (514- the Virgin, here as elsewhere, 

2 3)> by tne Lateran Council of taking over the cult of the mother- 

649, the Council of Hatfield (680), goddesses. 

and the Trullan Council (692). But * Tille, Y. and C. 65. In his 

Bede must have known this as earlier book D. W. 7, 29, Dr. Tille 

a Christian abuse, and he is quite held the view that there had always 

plainly speaking of a pre-Christian been a second winter feast about 

custom. J. M. Neale, Essays in three weeks after the first, when 

Liturgiology (1867), 511, says, * In the males held over for breeding 

most Celtic languages Christmas were slain. 
eve is called the night of Mary,' 



THE BEGINNING OF WINTER 233 

contact with the Roman world, the beginning of the Roman 
year was still, nominally at least, upon the Kalends, or first 
of March. This did not, so far as I know, leave any traces 
upon the practice of the barbarians 1 . In 45 B.C. the Julian 
calendar replaced the Kalends of March by those of January. 
During the century and a half that followed, Gaul became 
largely and Britain partially Romanized, while there was 
a steady infiltration of Roman customs and ideas amongst 
the German tribes about and even far beyond the Rhine. 
With other elements of the southern civilization came the 
Roman calendar which largely replaced the older Germanic 
calendar of three-score-day-tides. The old winter festival 
fell in the middle of a Roman month, and a tendency set 
in to transfer the whole or a part of its customs either 
to the beginning of this month 2 or, more usually, to the 
beginning of the Roman year, a month and a half later. 
This process was doubtless helped by the fact that the 
Roman New Year customs were not in their origin, or even 
at the period of contact, essentially different from those of 
their more northerly cousins. It remained, of course, a 
partial and incomplete one. In Gaul, where the Roman 
influence was strongest, it probably reached its maximum. 
But in Germany the days of St. Martin 3 and St. Nicholas 4 
have fully maintained their position as folk-feasts by the side 
of New Year's day, and even Christmas itself; while St. 
Martin's day at least has never been quite forgotten in our 
islands 6 . The state of transition is represented by the 

1 According to Bede, D. T. /?. Christmas only replaced the days 

c. 1 5, the Anglo- Saxons had adopted of St. Martin and St. Nicholas as a 

the system of intercalary months German children's festival in the 

which belongs to the pre-J ulian and sixteenth century, 
not the Julian Roman calendar. 6 Tille, Y. and 0.34,65 ; Pfannen- 

But Bede's chapter is full of con- schmidt, 206; Dyer, 418; N.Drake, 

fusions : cf. Tille, Y. and C. 145. Shakespeare and his Times (1838), 

a All Saints' day or Hallowmas 93. Martinmas was a favourite 

(November i) and All Souls' day Anglo-Saxon and mediaeval legal 

(November 2) have largely, though term. It survived also as a tradi- 

not wholly, absorbed the November tional * tyme of slauchter ' for cattle, 

feast of the Dead. * Martlemas beef ' was a common 

3 Pfannen schmidt, 203; Jahn, term for salt beef. In Scotland a 
229 ; Tille, K and C. 21, 28, 36, Mart is a fat cow or bullock, but 
42, 57 ; D. W. 23. the derivation of this appears to be 

4 Tille, D. W. 29 ; Miiller, 239, from a Celtic word Mart = cow. 
248. According to Tille, D. W. 63, 



234 FOLK DRAMA 

isolated Keltic district known as the Isle of Man. Here, 
according to Professor Rhys, the old Samhain or Hollan- 
tide day of November 12 is still regarded by many of the 
inhabitants as the beginning of the year. Others accept 
January i ; and there is considerable division of opinion as 
to which is the day whereon the traditional New Year 
observances should properly be held l . 

A final factor in the dislocation of the winter feast was the 
introduction of Christianity, and in especial the establishment 
of the great ecclesiastical celebration of Christmas. When 
Christianity first began to claim the allegiance of the Roman 
world, the rulers of the Church were confronted by a series of 
southern winter feasts which together made the latter half 
of December and the beginning of January into one continuous 
carnival. The nature and position of these feasts claim a brief 
attention. 

To begin with, there were the feasts of the Sun. The 
Bruma (brevissima) or Brumalia was held on November 24, 
as the day which ushered in the period of the year during 
which the sun's light is diminished. This seems to have been 
a beginning of winter feast, adopted by Rome from Thrace 2 . 
The term bruma was also sometimes applied to the whole 
period between November 24 and the solstice, and ultimately 
even to the solstitial day itself, fixed somewhat incorrectly by 
the Julian calendar on December 25 3 . On this day also came 
a festival, which probably owed its origin to the Emperor 
Aurelian (270-75), whose mother was a semi-Oriental priestess 
of the Sun, in one of his Syrian forms as Baal or Belus 4 , 
and who instituted an official cult of this divinity at Rome 
with a temple on the Quirinal, a collegium of pontifices, and 
ludi circenses held every fourth year 5 . These fell on the 
day of the solstice, which from the lengthening of the sun's 



1 Rhys, in F. L. \\. 308. 4 Cf. p. 112. 

2 Mommsen, C. L L. i 3 . 287 ; 6 PrelJer, ii. 408 ; P. Allard, /- 
Pauly-Wissowa, Real-Encycl. s. v. lien FApostat, i. 16 ; J. ReViHe, La 
Bruma\ Tomaschek,in^//^.y4&Mf. Religion d Rome sous les Sfveres 
Wiss. Wien, Ix (1869), 358. (1885) ; Wissowa, 306. An earlier 

3 Ovid, Fasfi, i. 163 'bruma novi cult of the same type introduced 
pnma est veterisque novissima by Elagabalus did not survive its 
solis.' founder. 



THE BEGINNING OF WINTER 



235 



course was known as the 'birthday' of Sol Novus or Sol 
Invictus^. This cult was practised by Diocletian and by 
Constantine before his conversion, and was the rallying-point 
of Julian in his reaction against Christianity 2 . Moreover, 
the Sol Invictus was identified with the central figure of that 
curious half-Oriental, half-philosophical worship of Mithra, 
which at one time threatened to become a serious rival to 
Christianity as the religion of the thinking portion of the 
Roman world 3 . That an important Mithraic feast also fell 
on December 25 can hardly be doubted, although there is no 
direct evidence of the fact 4 . 

The cult of the Sol Invictus was not a part of the ancient 
Roman religion, and, like the Brumalia, the solstitial festival 
in his honour, however important to the educated and official 
classes of the empire, was not a folk-festival. It lay, however, 
exactly between two such festivals. The Saturnalia imme- 



1 The earliest reference is prob- 
ably that in the calendar of the 
Greek astronomer, of uncertain 
date, Antiochus, 'HXi'ov ytvtQXiov' 
aflfei <f>>f (Cumont, i. 342, from 
Cod. Monac. gr. 287, f. 132). The 
Fasti of Funus Dionysius Philo- 
calus (A.D. 354) have vni. KAL. 
IAN. N[atalisJ INVICTI C[ircenses] 
M[issusJ xxx' (C. L L. \\ 278, 
338). Cf. Julian, Orat. 4 (p. 156 
ed. Spanheim) evdc'ar ftera TQV 
rcXcvrtttop rot) K.p6vov pfjva iroiovfiifv 
17X10) TOV 7r(pi<J)av<TTaTOv a-ywj/a, TTJV 
eoprr/i/ 'HXico Kara^/juVajTc? *Avi- 
*cj?r<p ; Corippus, de laud. lust, 
min. i. 314 * Soils honore novi 
grati spectacula circi'; cf. the 
Christian references on p. 242. 
Mommsen's Scrip tor Syrus quoted 
C. /. Z,. i 2 . 338 tells us that lights 
were used ; ' accenderunt lumina 
festivitatis causa.' 

1 Preller, ii. 410 ; Gibbon, ii. 446. 

1 On Mithraicism, cf. F. Cumont, 
Textes et Monuments relatifs aux 
My stores de Mithra (1896-9) ; also 
the art. by the same writer in 
Reseller's Lexicon, ii. 3028, and A. 
Gasquet, Le Culte de Mithra (Re- 
vue des Deux Mondes for April I, 
1899) ; J. ReVille, La Religion a 
Rome sous les SMres, 77; Wis- 



sowa, 307; Preller, ii. 410; A. 
Gardner, Julian the Apostate, 175 ; 
P. Allard, Julien PApostat, i. 1 8 ; 
ii. 232 ; G. Zippel, Le Taurobolium, 
in Festschrift f. L. Friedlander 
(1895), 498. Mithra was originally 
a form of the Aryan Sun-god, who 
though subordinated in the Maz- 
dean system to Ahoura Mazda con- 
tinued to be worshipped by the 
Persian folk. His cult made its 
appearance in Rome about 70 B.C., 
and was developed during the 
third and fourth centuries A. D. under 
philosophic influences. Mithra was 
regarded as the fount of all life, and 
the yearly obscuration of the sun's 
forces in winter became a hint and 
promise of immortality to his wor- 
shippers : cf. Carm. adv. paganos, 
47 * qui hibernum docuit sub terra 
quaerere solem.' Mithraic votive 
stones have been found in all parts 
of the empire, Britain included. 
They are inscribed * Soli Invicto,' 
4 Deo Soli Invicto Mithrae,' * Nu- 
mini Invicto Soli Mithrae/ and the 
like. 

4 Cumont, Textes et Mon. i. 325 ; 
ii. 66, and in Roscher's Lexicon, 
ii. 3065 ; Lichtenberger, Encycl. des 
Sciences religieuses, s. v. Mithra. 



236 FOLK DRAMA 

diately preceded it ; a few days later followed the January 
Kalends. 

The Saturnalia^ so far as the religious feast of Saturn was 
concerned, took place on December 17. Augustus, however, 
added two days to the feriac iudiciariae^ during which the 
law-courts were shut, and popular usage extended the festival 
to seven. Amongst the customs practised was that of the 
sigillariorum celebritas, a kind of fair, at which the sigillaria, 
little clay dolls or oscilla, were bought and given as presents. 
Originally, perhaps, these oscilla were like some of our feasten 
cakes, figures of dough. Candles (cerei or candelae) appear 
also to have been given. On the second and third days it 
was customary to bathe in the early morning 1 . But the chief 
characteristic of the feast was the licence allowed to the lower 
classes, to freedmen and to slaves. During the libertas 
Decembris both moral and social restraints were thrown off 2 . 
Masters made merry with their servants, and consented for 
the time to be on a footing of strict equality with them 3 . 
A rex Saturnalitius, chosen by lot, led the revels, and was 
entitled to claim obedience for the most ludicrous commands 4 . 

1 Preller, R. M. ii. 15; Momm- ' unctis falciferi senis diebus, 

sen, in C /. L. i 2 . 337 ; Marquardt regnator quibus imperat fritil- 

and Mommsen, Handbuch der ro- lus.' 

mischen A Iterthumer, vi. 562 \Dict. Lucian, Saturnalia, p. 385, intro- 

of Cl. A. s. v. Saturnalia; Tille, duces a dialogue between Saturn 

Y. and C. 85; Frazer, iii. 138; and his priests. Saturn says cVra 

W. W. Fowler, 268 ; C. Dezobry, jiei/ rj^puv fj iracra /farrtXcici, *cai TIV 

Rome au Sitcle d 'Augusts (ed. 4, fWpotffcr/zo* rouro>i/ ye'i/opat, t6ia>r7s 

*875), iii- I4O- v6vs elfUy KCU ToO TroXXov Brjfjiov els' 

8 Horace, Satires, ii. 7. 4 : tv alrals 8f ratr cVra crnov&aiov 

1 age, libertate Decembri, ^ev ovSci/ ovSe ayopalov dioiKTjcravdai 

quando ita maiores voluerunt, ftoi <rvyKcx**P r l r < u 9 *&*& $ *<& A*- 

utere; narra/ 0v lv Ka \ $oav icat iraifav *m KV- 

The democratic character of j3eueu> *cai apxovras Katiicrravai KOI 

the feast is brought out in the J/OJUCH rovs olxcras vo>^iv KOI yvnv&v a 

fut by Lucian (Luc. Opp. ed. icat Kporelv vTrorptnovra, cViorc 5c 

acobitz, 111.307 ; Saturnaha, p. 393) tV \iba>p tyvxpbv *Vi Kf<j>a\r)v uQfl 

in the mouth of the divinely in- atr&6\a> K^XP^IMVOV TO 7rp6(ra>7roi>, 

structed vo^oQ^r^^ Chronosolon, raOra c^ctrat /MOI noulv ; and again : 

and in the * Letters of Saturn ' that cuw^w/ic^a til rjdr) KCU Kpor&ncv *at 

follow. Vt TjJ coprjj f y \v6pid(<op.v t ftra 

* According to Tacitus, Ann. Trcrreueo/xfi/ is TO apxnlov iir\ Kapvav 

xiii. 15, Nero was king of the icat paatXtas x fl P or va>pf v icat TretQap- 

Saturnalia at the time of the murder ^upc? avroif ovroa yap &v T^V napoi.- 

of Britannicus. On the nature of piav tira\v)6tv<rmiM, rj 0;(7t, TraXiVorai- 

this sovereignty, cf. Arrian, Epi- Sas TOVS ycpovrat yiyvta-Oai. The 

ctetus, i. 25 ; Martial, xi. 6 : ducking is curiously suggestive of 



THE BEGINNING OF WINTER 



237 



The similarity of the Saturnalia to the folk-feasts of 
western Europe will be at once apparent. The name Saturnus 
seems to point to a ploughing and sowing festival, although 
how such a festival came to be held in mid-December must 
be matter of conjecture *. The Kalends, on the other hand, 
are clearly a New Year festival. They began on January i, 
with the solemn induction of the new consuls into office. As 
in the case of the Saturnalia, the feriae lasted for more than 
one day, covering at least a triduum. The third day was the 
day of vota or solemn wishes of prosperity for the New Year 
to the emperor. The houses were decked with lights and 
greenery, and once more the masters drank and played dice 
with their slaves. The resemblance in this respect between 
the Kalends and the Saturnalia was recognized by a myth 
which told how when Saturn came bringing the gifts of 
civilization to Italy he was hospitably received by Janus, who 
then reigned in the land 2 . Another Kalends custom, the 
knowledge of which we owe to the denunciations of the 
Fathers, was the parading of the city by bands of revellers 



western festival customs, but I do 
not feel sure whether it was the 
image of Saturn that was ducked 
or the rex with whom he appears 
to half, and only half, identify 
himself. Frazer, iii. 140, lays stress 
on the primitive sacrificial character 
of the * rex,' who is said still to 
have been annually slain in Lower 
Moesia at the beginning of the 
fourth century A. D. ; cf. A eta S. 
Dasti, in Acta Bollandiana, xvi. 
(1897), 5; Parmentier et Cumont, 
Le Rot des Saturnales^ in R. de 
Philologie, xxi (1897), 143. 

1 Frazer, iii. 144, suggests that 
the Saturnalia may once have been 
in February, and have left a trace 
of themselves in the similar festival 
of the female slaves, the Matro- 
fialia, on March I, which, like the 
winter feasts, came in for Chris- 
tian censure; cf. Appendix N. 
No. (i). 

2 Preller, R. M. i. 64, 178; ii. 
13 ; C. Dezobry, Rome au Siecle 
(TAugustc (ed. 4, 1875), ii. 169; 
Mommsen and Marquardt, vi. 545 ; 



vii. 245; Roscher, Lexicon, ii. 37; 
W. W. Fowler, 278 ; Tille, Y. and 
C. 84; M. Lipenius, Strenarum 
Historia in J. G. Graevius, The- 
saurus Antiq. Rom. (1699), xii. 
409. The last-named treatise con- 
tains a quantity of information set 
out with some obsolete learning. 
The most important contemporary 
account is that of Libanius (314- 
t95) m his Tar KaAdi/dat and his 
Ka\av&>v (K<f>pacn.s (ed. Reiske, i. 
256 ; iv. 1053 ; cf. Sievers, Das 
Leben der Libanius, 170, 204). In 
the former speech he says 
rrjv foprrjv eupot T* ai> T(rafj.(v 
cbrap, ocrov 17 'Pa/uiioy apY 
in the latter, plav 5c oida 
dirdvrw oirocroi (atcriv vrro TTJV 'Po>- 
peuW ap\h v ' Under the emperors, 
who made much of the strenae and 
vota> the importance of the Kalends 
grew, probably at the expense of 
the Saturnalia ; cf. Macrobius, Sa- 
turnalia, i. 2. I ' adsunt feriae quas 
indulget magna pars mensis lano 
dicati. 1 



238 FOLK DRAMA 

dressed in women's clothes or in the skins of animals. And, 
finally, a series of superstitious observances testified to the 
belief that the events of the first day of the year were 
ominous for those of the year itself. A table loaded all 
night long with viands was to ensure abundance of food ; 
such necessaries of life as iron and fire must not be given 
or lent out of the house, lest the future supply of them should 
fail. To this order of ideas belonged, ultimately at least, if 
not originally, the central feature of the whole feast, the 
strenae or presents so freely exchanged between all classes 
of society on the Kalends. Once, so tradition had it, the 
strenae were nothing more than twigs plucked from the grove 
of the goddess Strenia, associated with Janus in the feast * ; 
but in imperial times men gave honeyed things, that the year 
of the recipient might be full of sweetness, lamps that it might 
be full of light, copper and silver and gold that wealth might 
flow in amain 2 . 

Naturally, the Fathers were not slow to protest against these 
feasts, and, in particular, against the participation in them of 
professing Christians. Tertullian is, as usual, explicit and 
emphatic in his condemnation 3 . The position was aggravated 
when, probably in the fourth century, the Christian feast of 
the Birthday of Christ came to be fixed upon December 25, 
in the very heart of the pagan rejoicings and upon the actual 
day hitherto sacred to Sol Invictus. The origin of Christmas 
is wrapped in some obscurity 4 . The earliest notices of a 

1 Preller, i. 180; Mommsen and that the sweet cakes and the lamps 
Marquardt, vi. 14; vii. 245; W.W. like the i/erbenae had originally a 
Fowler, 278 ; Tille, Y. and C. 84, closer connexion with the rites of 
104. Strenia was interpreted in the the feast than that of mere omens, 
sense of * strenuous ' ; cf. Sym- The emperors expected liberal 
machus, Epist. x. 15 *ab exortu strenae^ and from them the cus- 
paene urbis Martiae strenarum usus torn passed into mediaeval and 
adolevit auctore Tatio rege, qui Renaissance courts. Queen Eliza- 
verbenas felicis arboris ex luco beth received sumptuous new year 
Streniae anni novi auspices primus gifts from her subjects. For a 
accepit. . . . Nomen indicio est money payment the later empire 
viris strenuis haec convenire vir- used the term KaXavftiKov or kalen- 
tute.* Preller calls Strenia a Sabine daticum. Strenae survives in the 
Segensgottin. French ttrennes (M tiller, 150, 504). 

* Mommsen and Marquardt, vii. * Appendix N, Nos. (i), (ii). 

245 ; Lipenius, 489. The gifts * The most recent authorities are 

were often inscribed 'anno novo Tille, Y. and C, 119; H. Usener, 

faustum felix tibi.' It is probable Religionsgeschichtliche Untersuch- 



THE BEGINNING OF WINTER 



239 



celebration of the birth of Christ in the eastern Church attach 
it to that of his baptism on the Epiphany. This feast is as 
old as the second century. By the fourth it was widespread 
in the East, and was known also in Gaul and probably in 
northern Italy 1 . At Rome it cannot be traced so early; 
but it was generally adopted there by the beginning of the 
fifth, and Augustine blames the Donatists for rejecting it, 
and so cutting themselves off from fellowship with the East 2 . 
Christmas, on the other hand, made its appearance first at 
Rome, and the East only gradually and somewhat grudgingly 
accepted it. The Paulician Christians of Armenia to this day 
continue to feast the birth and the baptism together on 
January 6, and to regard the normal Christian practice as 
heretical. An exact date for the establishment of the Roman 
feast cannot be given, for the theory which ascribed it to 
Pope Liberius in 353 has been shown to be baseless 3 . But 
it appears from a document of 336 that the beginning of the 
liturgical year then already fell between December 8 and 



ungen, i, Das Weihnachtsfest 
(1889) ; L. Duchesne, Origines du 
Culte chrttien (ed. 2, 1898), 247, 
and in Bulletin critique (1890), 
41 ; F. C. Conybeare, The History 
of Christmas, in American Journal 
of Theology (1899), iii. i, and Intro- 
duction to The Key of Truth 
(1898); F. Cumont, Textes et 
Monuments mithratques, i (1899), 
34 2 j 355* I have not been able to 
see an article praised by Mr. Cony- 
beare, in P. de Lagarde, Mitthei- 
lungen (1890), iv. 241. 

1 Conybeare, Am. J. Th. iii. 7, 
cites, without giving exact refer- 
ences, two ' north Italian homilies ' 
of the fourth century, which seem 
to show this. 

a Sermo ccu(P.L. xxxviii. 1033). 

8 The depositio martyrum, at- 
tached to the Fasti of Philocalus 
drawn up in 354, opens with the 
entry ' viii kl. ianu. natus Christus 
in Bethleem ludeae.' December 25 
was therefore kept as the birthday 
at least as early as 353. Usener, i. 
267, argued that the change must 
have taken place in this very year, 
because Liberius, while veiling Mar- 



cellina, the sister of St. Ambrose, on 
the Epiphany, spoke of the day as 
* natalem Sponsi tui ' (de Virgini- 
bus y iii. i, in P. L. xvi. 219). But it 
is not proved either that this event 
took place in 363, or that it was on 
Epiphany rather than Christmas 
day. Liberius refers to the Marriage 
at Canaand the Feeding of the Five 
Thousand. But the first allusion is 
directly led up to by the sponsalia 
of Marcellina, and both events, 
although at a later date commemo- 
rated at Epiphany, may have be- 
longed to Christmas at Rome, before 
Epiphany made its appearance (Du- 
chesne, Bulletin critique (1890), 
41). Usener adds that Liberius 
built the Basilica Liberii, also 
known as Sta. Maria ad Praesepe 
or Sta. Maria Maggiore, which is 
still a great station for the Christmas 
ceremonies, in honour of the new 
feast. But Duchesne shows that 
the dedication to St Mary only 
dates from a rebuilding in the fifth 
century, that the praesepe cannot 
be traced there before the seventh, 
and that the original Christmas 
statio was at St. Peter's. 



240 FOLK DRAMA 

2,7 l . Christmas may, therefore, be assumed to have been in 
existence at least by 336. 

It would seem, then, that the fourth century witnessed the 
establishment, both at Rome and elsewhere, of Christmas and 
Epiphany as two distinct feasts, whereas only one, although 
probably not everywhere the same one, had been known 
before. This fact is hardly to be explained by a mere 
attempt to accommodate varying local uses. The tradition 
of the Armenian doctors, who stood out against Christmas, 
asserts that their opponents removed the birthday of Christ 
from January 6 out of ' disobedience V This points to a 
doctrinal reason for the separate celebration of the birth and 
the baptism. And such a reason may perhaps be found in 
the Adoptionist controversies. The joint feast appeared to 
lend credence to the view, considered a heresy, but still 
adhered to by the Armenian Church, that Christ was God, 
not from his mother's womb, but only from his adoption or 
spiritual birth at the baptism in Jordan. It was needful that 
orthodox Christians should celebrate him as divine from the 
very moment of his carnal birth 3 . 

The choice of December 25 as the day for the Roman feast 
cannot be supposed to rest upon any authentic tradition as 
to the historic date of the Nativity. It is one of several early 

1 Duchesne, Bulletin critique Sun. However, when the Son of God 

(1890), 44. This document also was born of the Virgin, they cele- 

belongs to the collection of Philo- brated the same feast, although 

calus. they had turned from their idols to 

* Conybeare, Key of Truth, clii- God. And when their bishops (or 
clvii, quoting an Armenian bishop primates) saw this, they proceeded 
Hippolytus inBodLArmen. Marsh to take the Feast of the Birth of 
467, f. 338 R , * as many as were dis- Christ, which was on the sixth of 
obedient have divided the two January, and placed it there (viz. 
feasts/ According to the Catechism on Dec. 25). And they abrogated 
of the Syrian Doctors in the same the feast of the Sun, because it (the 
MS., Sahak asked Afrem why the Sun) was nothing, as we said before.' 
churches feast Dec. 25: the teacher Mommsen, C. /. L. i a . 338, quotes 
replied, * The Roman world does to the same effect another Scriptor 
so from idolatry, because of the Syrus (in Assemanus, Bibl. Orient. 
worship of the Sun. And on the ii. 164) : cf. p. 235. The early apo- 
25th of Dec., which is the first of legists (Tertullian, AfoL 16 ; ad 
Qanun ; when the day made a Nationes t i. 13 ; Ongen, contra 
beginning out of the darkness they Celsum^ viii. 67) defend Chris- 
feasted the Sun with great joy, and tianity against pagan charges of 
declared that day to be the nuptials Sun-worship. 
[? ' natals/ but cf. p. 241, n. i] of the 8 Conybeare,/. Am. Th. iii. 8, 



THE BEGINNING OF WINTER 



241 



patristic guesses on the subject. It is not at all improbable 
that it was determined by an attempt to adopt some of the 
principal Christian festivals to the solstices and equinoxes of 
the Roman calendar 1 . The enemies of Roman orthodoxy 
were not slow to assert that it merely continued under 
another name the pagan celebration of the birthday of Sol 
Invictus*. Nor was the suggestion entirely an empty one. 



1 Most of these dates were in the 
spring (Duchesne, 247). As late 
as t243 the Pseudo-Cyprianic de 
Pascha computus gives March 28. 
On the other hand, December 25 
is given early in the third century 
by Hippolytus, Comm. super 
Danielem, iv. 23 (p. 243, ed. Bon- 
wetsch, 1897), although the text 
has been suspected of interpolation 
(Hilgenfeld,in^r//./^7. Wochen- 
schrift) 1897, p. 1324, s.). Ananias 
of Shirak (t 600-50), Horn, de 
Nat. (transl. in Expositor, Nov. 
1890), says that the followers of 
Cerinthus first separated the birth 
and baptism : cf. Conybeare, Key of 
Truth t c\\v. This is further explained 
by Paul of Taron (ob. 1123), adv. 
Tkeopistum, 222 (quoted Cony- 
beare, clvi), who says that Artemon 
calculated the dates of the Annun- 
ciation as March 25 and the Birth 
as December 25, 'the birth, not 
however of the Divine Being, but 
only of the mere man.' Both Cerin- 
thus (end of ist cent.) and Artemon 
(t 202-17) appear to have held 
Adoptionist tenets : cf. Schaff, iv. 
465, 574- Paul adds that Artemon 
calculated the dates from those for 
the conception and nativity of John 
the Baptist. This implies that St. 
John Baptist's day was already June 
24 by 1 200. It was traditional on 
that day by St. Augustine's time, 
* Hoc maiorum traditione suscepi- 
mus' (Sermo ccxcii. i, in Migne, 
P. L. xxxviii. 1 320). The six months' 
interval between the two nativities 
may be inferred from St. Luke \. 
26. St. Augustine refers to the 
symbolism of their relation to each 
other, and quotes with regard to 
their position on the solstices the 
words ascribed to the Baptist in 



St. John iii. 30 ' ilium oportet cre- 
scere, me autem minui '(Sermo cxciv. 
2; cclxxxvii. 3; cclxxxviii. 5 ; Migne, 
P. L. xxxviii. 1016, 1302, 1306). 
Duchesne, 250, conjectures that the 
varying dates of West (Dec. 25) 
and East (Jan. 6) depended on a 
similar variation in the date as- 
signed to the Passion, it being 
assumed in each case that the life 
of Christ must have been a com- 
plete circle, and that therefore he 
must have died on the anniversary 
of his conception in the womb. 
Thus St. Augustine (in Heptat. ii. 
90) upbraids the Jews, *non coques 
agnum in lacte matris suae.' March 
25 was widely accepted for the 
Passion from Tertullian onwards, 
and certain Montanists held to the 
date of April 6. Astronomy makes 
it impossible that March 25 can be 
historically correct, and therefore 
the whole calculation, if Duchesne 
is right, probably started from an 
arbitrary identification of a Chris- 
tian date with the spring equinox, 
just as, if Ananias of Shirak is 
right, it started from a similar 
identification of another such date 
with the summer solstice. But it 
seems just as likely that the birth 
was fixed first, and the Annuncia- 
tion and St. John Baptist's day 
calculated back from that. If the 
Passion had been the starting-point, 
would not the feast of Christmas, 
as distinct from the traditional date 
for the event, have become a mov- 
able one ? 

8 The Armenian criticism just 
quoted only re-echoes that put by 
St. Augustine in the mouth of the 
Manichaeans in Contra Faustum, 
xx. 4 (Corp. Script. Eccl. xxvj 
( Faustus dixit . . . solemnes gentium 



CHAMBERS. I 



242 



FOLK DRAMA 



The worshippers of Sol Invictus^ and in particular the 
Mithraic sect, were not quite on the level of the ordinary 
pagans by tradition. Mithraism had claims to be a serious 
and reasonable rival to Christianity, and if its adherents 
could be induced by argument to merge their worship of 
the physical sun in that of the ' Sun of Righteousness,' they 
were well worth winning 1 . On the other hand there were 
obvious dangers in the Roman policy which were not wholly 
averted, and we find Leo the Great condemning certain 
superstitious customs amongst his flock which it is difficult 
to distinguish from the sun-worship practised alike by pagans 
and by Saint Augustine's heretical opponents, the Mani- 
chaeans 2 . 



dies cum ipsis celebratis ut Kalen- 
das et solstitia.' Augustine answers 
other criticisms of the same order 
in the course of the book, but he 
does not take up this one. 

1 Augustine, in his sermons, uses 
a solar symbolism in two ways, 
besides drawing the parallel with 
St. John already quoted. Christ is 
lux e tenebn 's : 'quoniam ipsa infi- 
delitas quae totum mundum vice 
noctis obtexerat, minuenda fuerat 
fide crescente ; ideo die Natalis 
Domini nostri lesu Christi, et nox 
incipit perpeti detrimenta, et dies 
sumere augmenta' (Sermo cxc. I 
in P. L. xxxviii. 1007). He is also 
sponsus procedcns de thalamo suo 
(Sermo cxcii. 3 ; cxcv. 3, in P. L. 
xxxviii. 1013, 1018). Following this 
Caesarius or another calls Christinas 
the dies miptialis Christi, on which 
' sponsae suae Ecclesiae adiunctus 
est ' (Serm. Pseudo-Aug. cxvi. 2, in 
P. L. xxxix. IQ75). Cumont, i. 355, 
gives other examples of Le Soldi 
Symbole du Christ from an early 
date, and especially of the use of 
the phrase Sol lustitiae from 
Alalacki, iv. 2. 

2 Pseudo-Chrysostom (Italian, 
4th cent.), de so Is tit Us et aeqiii- 
noctiis (Op. Chrys. ed. 1588, ii. 
1 18) ' Sed et dominus nascitur 
mense Decembri, hiemis tempore, 
viii kal. lanuarias . . . Sed et in- 
victi natalem appellant. Quis uti- 



que tarn invictus nisi dominus noster 
qui Mortem subactam devicit ? vel 
quod dicant Solis esse natalem, 
ipse est Sol iustitiae de quo Mala- 
chias propheta dixit ' ; St. Augu- 
stine, Sermo cxc. I (P. L. xxxviii. 
1007) * habeamus, igitur, fratres, 
solemnem istum diem ; non sicut 
infideles propter hunc solem, sed 
propter eum qui fecit hunc solem ' ; 
Tract, in lohann. xxxiv. 2 (P. L. 
xxxv. 1652) 'numquid forte Domi- 
nus Christus est Sol iste qui ortu 
et occasu peragit diem? Non 
enim defuerunt heretici qui ita sen- 
serunt . . . (c. 4) ne quis carnaliter 
sapiens solem istum intelligendum 
putaret ' ; Pseudo- Ambrose (per- 
haps Maximus of Turin, t4i2- 
65), Sermo vi. (P. Z,. xvii. 614) 
* bene quodammodp sanctum hunc 
diem natalis Domini solem novum 
vulgus appellat . . . quod libenter 
nobis amplectendum est ; quia 
oriente Salvatore non solum hu~ 
mani generis salus, sed etiam solis 
ipsius claritas innovatur ' ; Leo 
Magnus, Sermo xxii, in Nativ. 
J)om. (P. L. liy. 198) ' Ne idem 
ille tentator, cuius iam a vobis 
dominationem Christus exclusit, ali- 
quibus vos iteruin se ducat insidiis, 
et haec ipsa praesentis diei gaudia 
suae fallaciae arte corrumpat, illu- 
dens simplicioribus an i mis de quo- 
rumdam persuasione pestifcra, qtii- 
bus haec dies solemnitatis nostrae 



THE BEGINNING OF WINTER 

From Rome the Christmas feast gradually made its way 
over East and West. It does not seem to have reached 
Jerusalem until at least the sixth century, and, as we have 
seen, the outlying Church of Armenia never adopted it. But 
it was established at Antioch about 375 and at Alexandria 
about 430 l . At Constantinople an edict of 400 included it 
in the list of holy days upon which ludi must not be held 2 . 
In 506 the council of Agatha recognized the Nativity as one 
of the great days of the Christian year 3 , while fasting on 
that day was forbidden by the council of Braga in 561 as 
savouring of Priscillianist heresy 4 . The feast of the Epiphany, 
meanwhile, was relegated to a secondary place ; but it was 
not forgotten, and served as a celebration, in addition to the 
baptism, of a number of events in the life of Christ, which 
included the marriage at Cana and the feeding of the five 



non tarn de nativitate Christ! quam 
denovi,utdicunt, sohs ortu honora- 
bilis videatur'; Sermo xvvii, in 
Nat. Dom. (P. L. hv. 218) ' De 
talibus institutis etiam ilia generatur 
impietas ut sol in inchoatione diurnae 
lucis exsurgens a quibusd.im m- 
sipientioribus de locis emmenti- 
oribus adoretur ; quod nonnulli 
etiam Christiani adeo se religiose 
facere putant, ut priusquam ad P>. 
Petri apostoli basilicam, quae uni 
Deo vivo et vero est dedicata, per- 
veniant, superatis gradibus quibus 
ad suggestum areae superions 
ascenditur, converso corpore ad 
nascentem se solem reflectant, et 
curvatis cervicibus, in honorem se 
splendidi orbis inclinent. Quod fieri 
partim ignorantiae vitio, partim 
paganitatis spiritu, multum tabe- 
scimus et dolemus.' Eusebius, 
Serif to xxii. ircpl aarrpovon&v (P. (/. 
Ixxxvi. 453), also refers to the adora- 
tion of the sun by professing Chris- 
tians. The * tentator ' of Leo and 
the * heretici ' of Augustine are prob- 
ably Manichaeus and his followers, 
against whose sun-worship Augu- 
stine argues at length in Centra 
Frustum, xx (Corp. Script. Led. 

XXV). 

1 Duchesne, 248. 
Cf. p. 14. 



3 C. Agnt/tensc,c.2i (Mansi, viii. 
32?) * Pascha vero, natale domini, 
epiphania, ascensionem domini, 
pentccostcm, et natalem S. loannis 
liaptisiae, \ cl si qui maximi dies in 
festivitatihus nabentur, non nisi in 
civitatibus aut in parochiis teneant." 

4 Con,, firacareiise (t56oi, Prop. 
4 (Mansi, ix. 775) 'Si quis natalem 
Christi secundum carnem non bene 
honorat, sed honorare se sunuJat, 
ieiunans in eodem die, et in domi- 
nico ; quia Christum in vera hommis 
natura natum cssc non credit, sicut 
Cerdon, Marcion, Manichaeus, et 
Priscilhanus, anathema sit. 1 A 
similar prohibition is gixen by 
Gregory II (t725), Cap^tidarc, c. 
10 (P. L. Ixxxix. 534). To failings 
in the opposite direction the Church 
was nioic tender: cf. l^cmtcntiale 
7*heodori (Haddan and Stubbs, in. 
177), {/c C in pit 1 1 ct Ecu ?t ate *Si 
vero pro mtirmitate aut quia longo 
tempore se abstinuent, t-t in con- 
suetudme non erit ei multum bibere 
vel manducare, aut pro gaudio in 
Natale Domini aut in Pascha aut 
proalicuius Sanctorum commemora- 
tione faciebat, et tune plus non ac- 
cipit quam decretum est a seniori- 
bus, nihil nocct. Si cpiscopus 
iuberit, non nocet illi, nisi ipsc 
similiter faciat.' 



244 FOLK DRAMA 

thousand, and of which the visit of the Magi gradually 
became the leading feature. The Dodecahemeron, or period 
of twelve days, linking together Christmas and Epiphany, 
was already known to Ephraim Syrus as a festal tide at the 
end of the fourth century \ and was declared to be such by 
the council of Tours in 567 2 . 

To these islands Christmas came, if not with the Keltic 
Church, at least with St. Augustine in 592. On Christmas 
day, 598, more than ten thousand English converts were 
baptized 3 , and by the time of Bede (f 734) Christmas was 
established, with Epiphany and Easter, as one of the three 
leading festivals of the year 4 . The Laws of Ethelred (991- 
1016) and of Edward the Confessor ordain it a holy tide of 
peace and concord 5 . Continental Germany received it from 
the synod of Mainz in 8i3 6 , while Norway owed it to King 
Hakon the Good in the middle of the tenth century 7 . 

Side by side with the establishment of Christmas pro- 
ceeded the ecclesiastical denunciation of those pagan festivals 
whose place it was to take. Little is heard in Christian 
times of the Saturnalia, which do not seem to have shared 
the popularity of the Kalends outside the limits of Rome 
itself. But these latter, and especially the Kalends, are the 
subject of attack in every corner of the empire. Jerome of 
Rome, Ambrose of Milan, Maximus of Turin, Chrysologus 
of Ravenna, assail them in Italy ; Augustine in Africa ; 
Chrysostom and Asterius and the Trullan council in the 
East. In Spain, Bishop Pacian of Barcelona made a treatise 
upon one of the most objectionable features of the festival 
which, as he says with somfe humour, probably tended to 
increase its vogue. In Gaul, Caesarius of Aries initiated 
a vigorous campaign. To cite all the ecclesiastical pro- 

1 Tille, Y. and C. 122. gum tidan ealswahit riht is, eallum 

2 Cf. Appendix N, No. xxii. cristenum mannum sib and som 
* Epist. Gregorii ad Eulogium gemaene, and aelc sacu getwae- 

(Haddan and Stubbs, iii. 12). med.' Cf. Leges Edwardi (Thorpe, 

4 Epist. Bedae ad Egbertum i. 443). 

(Haddan and Stubbs, iii. 323). 6 &. Moguntiacum, c. 36 (Mansi, 

6 Leges Ethelredi (Thorpe, xiv. 73) * In natali Domini dies 

Ancient Laws, i. 309) * Ordal and quatuor, octavas Domini, epi- 

ddhar sindon tocweden . . . fram phaniam Domini.' 

Adventum Domini odh octavas 7 Tille, Y. and C. 203. 
Epiphanie. . . . And beo tham hai- 



THE BEGINNING OF WINTER 245 

nouncements on the subject would be tedious. Homily 
followed homily, canon followed canon, capitulary followed 
capitulary, penitential followed penitential, for half a thousand 
years. But the Kalends died hard. When Boniface was 
tackling them amongst the Franks in the middle of the 
eighth century, he was sorely hampered by the bad example 
of their continued prevalence at the very gates of the Vatican ; 
and when Burchardus was making his collection of heathen 
observances in the eleventh century, those of the Kalends 
were still to be included. In England there is not much heard 
of them, but a reference in the so-called Penitential of Egbert 
about 766 proves that they were not unknown. It need hardly 
be said that all formal religious celebration of the Kalends 
disappeared with the official victory of Christianity. But this 
element had never been of great importance in the feast ; and 
the terms in which the ecclesiastical references from beginning 
to end are couched prove that they relate mainly to popular 
New Year customs common to the Germanic and the more 
completely Latinized populations 1 . 

It appears from a decree of the council of Tours in 567 that, 
ad calcandam Gentilium consuetudtnem, the fourth-century 
Fathers established on the first three days of January a 
triduum ieiunii, with litanies, in spite of the fact that these 
days fell in the very midst of the festal period of the 
Dodecahemeron*. At the same time January i was kept 
as the octave of Christmas, and the early Roman ritual- 
books show two masses for that day, one in octavis Domini ^ 
the other ad prohibendum ab idolis. The Jewish custom by 
which circumcision took place eight days after birth made it 
almost inevitable that there should be some celebration of the 
circumcision of Christ upon the octave of his Nativity. This 
was the case from the sixth century, and ultimately, about 
the eighth, the attempt to keep up a fast on January i was 
surrendered, and the festival of the Circumcision took its 
place 3 . 

Some tendency was shown by the Church not merely to 

1 Cf. the collection of prohibi- N, No. xxii). 

tions in Appendix N. 8 R. Sinker, in D. C. A. s. v. 

8 C. of TourS) c. 1 8 (Appendix Circumcision. 



246 FOLK DRAMA 

set up Christmas as a rival to the pagan winter feasts, but 
also to substitute it for the Kalends of January as the 
beginning of the year. But the innovation never affected 
the civil year, and was not maintained even by ecclesiastical 
writers with any consistency, for even they prefer in many 
cases a year dating from the Annunciation, or more rarely 
from Easter. The so-called Annunciation style found favour 
even for many civil purposes in Great Britain, and was not 
finally abandoned until 1753*. But although Christmas 
cannot be said to have ever become a popular New Year's 
day, ye( its festal importance and its propinquity to 
January i naturally led to a result undesired and possibly 
undreamt of by its founders, namely, the further transference 
to it of many of the long-suffering Germano-Keltic folk- 
customs, which had already travelled under Roman influence 
from the middle of November to the beginning of January 2 . 
Already in the sixth century it had become necessary to 
forbid the abuses which had gathered around the celebration 
of Christmas eve 3 ; and the Christmas customs of to-day, 
even where their name does not testify to their original 
connexion with the Kalends 4 , are in a large number of 



1 On this difficult subject see chalendau, chalendal, caltgnaon, 

Tille, Y.andC.i$4\ H. Grotefend, or culenos, and the peasants sang 

Tasrchcnbuch der Zeitrechnung round it * Calene vient ' (Tille, D. 

(i 898), 1 1 ; F. Ruhl, Chronologic des W.1%6 ; Miiller, 475,478). Thiers, 

MittelaltersundderNeuzeit(\%yj), i. 264, speaks of * le pain de Ca- 

23 ; C. Plummer, Anglo-Saxon lende.' Christmas songs used to 

Chronicle^ ii. cxxix ; R. L. Poole, be known in Silesia as Kolende- 

in Eng. Hist. Review (1901), 719. lieder (Tille, D. W. 287). The 

3 The position of Christmas would Lithuanian term for Christmas is 

have made it natural that it should Kalledos and the Czechic Koleda 

attract observances from the spring (Polish Kolenda, Russian Koljada). 

festivals also, and, in fact, it did at- A verb colendisare appears as a 

tract the Mummers' play: cf. p. 226. Bohemian law term (Tille, Y. and 

It cannot of course be positively C. 84) ; while in the fourteenth 

said whether the Epiphany fires and century the Christmas quttt at 

\some of the other agricultural rites Prague was known as the A0- 

to be presently mentioned (ch. xii) ledasammeln (Tille, D. IV. 112). 

came from the November or the The Bohemian Christmas proces- 

ploughing festival. sion described by Alsso (cf. ch. xii) 

* C. of Auxerre (573-603), c. II was called Calendizatio, and ac- 
( Appendix N. No. xxv). cording to tradition St Adalbert 

* In the south of France Christmas (tenth century) transferred it from 
is ChalendeS) in Provence Calendas the Kalends to Christmas, and 
or Calenos. The log is calignau, called it colendizatio ' a colendel 



THE BEGINNING OF WINTER 247 

cases, so far of course as they are not simply ecclesiastical, 
merely doublets of those of the New Year. 

What is true of Christmas is true also of Epiphany or 
Twelfth night ; and the history of the other modern festivals 
of the winter cycle is closely parallel. The old Germanic 
New Year's day on November n became the day of St. 
Martin, a fourth-century bishop of Tours, and the pervigiliae 
of St. Martin, like those of the Nativity itself, already caused 
a scandal in the sixth century 1 . The observances of the 
deferred days of slaughter clustered round the feasts of 
St. Andrew on November 30, and more especially St. Nicholas 
on December 6. The Todtenfest, which had strayed to the 
beginning of November, was continued in the feasts of All 
Saints or Hallowmas, the French Toussaint, on November i, 
and its charitable supplement of All Souls, on November 2. 
That which had strayed still further to the time of harvest 
became the Gemeinwoche or week-wake, and ultimately St. 
Michael and All Angels. Nor is this all. Very similar 
customs attached themselves to the minor feasts of the 
Dodecahemeron, St. Stephen's, St. John the Evangelist's, 
Innocents' days, to the numerous dedication wakes that fell 
on days, such as St. Luke's 2 , in autumn or early winter, or 
to the miscellaneous feasts closely approaching the Christmas 
season, St. Clement's, St. Catherine's, St. Thomas's, with which 
indeed in many localities that season is popularly supposed 
to begin 3 . Nor was this process sensibly affected by the 
establishment in the sixth century of the ieiunium known 
as Advent, which stretched for a Quadragesima^ or period 

1 C. of Auxerre (573-603), c. 5 and the gilt on the gingerbread 
(Appendix N, No. xxv). Pfan- took the same shape. It will be 
nenschmidt, 498, has collected a remembered that the symbol of St. 
number of notices of Martinalia Luke in Christian art is a horned 
from the tenth century onwards. ox. 

2 Pfannenschmidt, 279; Dyer, 8 Cf. p. 114. According to Spence, 
386, describe the 'Horn Fair* at 196, the Shetland Christmas begins 
Charlton, Kent, on St. Luke's Day, on St. Thomas's Day and ends on 
Oct. 1 8. A king and queen were Jan. 1 8, known as ' Four and 
chosen, who went in procession to Twenty Day. 1 Candlemas (Feb. 2) 
the church, wearing horns. The is also often regarded as the end 
visitors wore masks or women's of the Christmas season. The 
clothes, and played practical jokes Anglo-Saxon Christmas feast lasted 
with water. Rams' horns were sold to the Octave of Epiphany (Tille, 
at the fair, which lasted three days, Y and C. 165). 



248 FOLK DRAMA 

of forty days, from Martinmas onwards. And finally, just as 
in May village dipping customs attached themselves in the 
seventeenth century to Royal Oak day, so in the same 
century we find the winter festival fires turned to new 
account in the celebration of the escape of King and Parlia- 
ment from the nefarious machinations of Guy Fawkes. 



CHAPTER XII 
NEW YEAR CUSTOMS 

[Bibliographical Note. The two works of Dr. Tille remain of im- 
portance. The compilations specially devoted to the usages of the 
Christmas season are chiefly of a popular character; W. Sandys, 
Christmas Tide (n.d.), J. Ashton, A Righte Merrie CAristmasse///(n.d.), 
and, for French data, E. Miiller, Le Jour de rAn (n. d.), may be men- 
tioned ; H. Usener, Religionsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen, vol. ii (1889), 
prints various documents, including the Largum Sero of a Bohemian priest 
named Alsso, on early fifteenth-century Christmas eve customs. Most of 
the books named in the bibliographical note to chap, v also cover the 
subject. A Bibliography of Christmas runs through Notes and Queries, 
6th series, vi. 506, viii. 491, x. 4^2, xii. 489; 7th series, ii. 502, iii. 152, 
iv. 502, vi. 483, x. 502, xii. 483 ; 8th series, ii. 505, iv. 502, vi. 483, viii. 
483, x. 512, xii. 502 ; 9th series, ii. 505, iv. 515, vi. 485.] 

IT is the outcome of the last chapter that all the folk- 
customs of the winter half of the year, from Michaelmas to 
Plough Monday, must be regarded as the flotsam and jetsam 
of single original feast. This was a New Year's feast, held 
by the Germano-Keltic tribes at the beginning of the central 
European winter when the first snows fell about the middle 
of November, and subsequently dislocated and dispersed by 
the successive clash of Germano-Keltic civilization with the 
rival schemes of Rome and of Christianity. A brief summary 
of the customs in question will show clearly their common 
character. For purposes of classification they may be divided 
into several groups. There are such customs belonging to 
the agricultural side of the old winter feast as have not been 
transferred with the growing importance of tillage to the 
feast of harvest. There are the customs of its domestic side, 
as a feast of the family hearth and of the dead ancestors. 
There are the distinctively New Year customs of omen and 
prognostication for the approkching twelve months. There 
are the customs of play, common more or less to all the 
village festivals. And, finally, there are a small number of 
customs, or perhaps it would be truer to say legends, which 



250 FOLK DRAMA 

appear to owe their origin not merely to heathenism trans- 
formed by Christianity, but to Christianity itself. Each of 
these groups may well claim a more thoroughgoing con- 
sideration than can here be given to any one of them. 

The agricultural customs are just those of the summer 
feasts over again. Once more the fertilization spirit is 
abroad in the land. The embodiment of it in vegetation 
takes several forms. Obviously the last foliage and bur- 
geoning flowers of spring and summer are no longer avail- 
able. But there is, to begin with, the sheaf of corn or 
'harvest-May' in which the spirit appeared at harvest, and 
which is called upon once more to play its part in the winter 
rites. This, however, is not a very marked part. A York- 
shire custom of hanging a sheaf on the church door at 
Christmas is of dubious origin l . But Swedish and Danish 
peasants use the grain of the ' last sheaf* to bake the 
Christmas cake, and both in Scandinavia and Germany the 
'Yule straw' serves various superstitious purposes. It is 
scattered on barren fields to make them productive. It is 
strewed, instead of rushes, upon the house floor and the 
church floor. It is laid in the mangers of the cattle. Fruit- 
trees are tied together with straw ropes, that they may bear 
well and are said to be ' married V 

More naturally the fertilization spirit may be discerned at 
the approach of winter in such exceptional forms of vegeta- 
tion as endure the season. In November the apples and the 
nuts still hang upon their boughs, and these are traditional 
features in the winter celebrations. Then there are the 
evergreens. Libanius, Tertullian, and Chrysostom tell how 
on the Kalends the doors of houses throughout the Roman 
empire were crowned with bay. Martin of Braga forbade 
the ' pagan observance ' in a degree which found its way into 
the canon law. The original strena which men gave one 
another on the same day for luck was nothing but a twig 
plucked from a sacred grove ; and still in the fifth century men 

1 Dyer, 451 ; Ashton, 118, where birds.' 

the custom is said to have been * Eraser, i. 177, ii. 172, 286 ; 

' started by the Rev. J. Kenworthy, Grimm, iv. 1783 ; Tille, D. W. 50, 

Rector of Ackworth, in Yorkshire, 178 ; Alsso, in Usener, ii. 6l, 65. 
... for the special benefit of the 



NEW YEAR CUSTOMS 



251 



returned from their new year auguries laden with ramusculi 
that they might thereafter be laden with wealth *. It is not 
necessary to dwell upon the surviving use of evergreens in 
the decoration at Christmas of houses and churches 2 . The 
sacredness of these is reflected in the taboo which enjoins 
that they shall not be cast out upon the dust-heap, but shall, 
when some appropriate day, such as Candlemas, arrives, be 
solemnly committed to the flames 3 . Obviously amongst 
other evergreens the holly and the ivy, with their clustering 
pseudo- blossoms of coral and of jet, are the more adequate 
representatives of the fertilization spirit 4 ; most of all the 
mistletoe, perched an alien visitant, faintly green and white, 
amongst the bared branches of apple or of oak. The mistle- 
toe has its especial place in Scandinavian myth 5 : Pliny 
records the ritual use of it by the Druids 6 ; it is essential to 
the winter revels in their amorous aspect ; and its vanished 
dignities still serve, here to bar it from, there to make it impera- 
tive in, the edifices of Christian worship 7 . A more artificial 
embodiment of the fertilization spirit is the * Christmas tree ' 



1 Lipenius, 423 ; cf. Appendix N, 
Nos. i, vi, xiii, xxiv. 

1 Tille, Y. and C. 103, 174; Phil- 
pot, 164; Jackson and Burne, 397; 
Dyer, 457 ; Stow, Survey of London 
(ed. 1618), 149 'Against the feast 
of Christmas, euery mans house, 
as also their parish Churches, were 
decked with Holm, luy, Bayes, and 
whatsoever the season of the yeere 
aforded to be greene. The Con- 
duits and Standards in the streetes 
were, likewise, garnished.' He 
gives an example from 1444. 

8 Burne-Jackson, 245, 397, 411; 
Ashton, 95. Customs vary : here 
the evergreens must be burnt ; there 
given to the cattle. They should 
not touch the ground (Grimm, iii. 
1207). With this taboo compare 
that described by ancient writers, 
probably on the authority of Posi- 
donius, as existing in a cult of 
a god identified with Dionysus 
amongst the Namnites on the west 
coast of Gaul. A temple on an 
island was unroofed and reroofed 
by the priestesses annually. Did 



one of them drop her materials on 
the ground, she was torn to pieces 
by her companions (Rhys, C. H. 
1 96). They are replaced on Candle- 
mas by snowdrops, or, according to 
Herrick, 'the greener box.' In 
Shropshire a garland made of 
blackthorn is left hanging from 
New Year to New Year, and then 
burnt in a festival fire (/*. L. x. 489 ; 
xii. 349)- 

* The Christmas rivalry between 
holly and ivy is the subject of 
carols, some dating from the fif- 
teenth century ; cf. Ashton, 92 ; 
Burne-Jackson, 245. 

6 Grimm, iii. 1205. 

' Pliny, Nat. Hist. xxi. 95. 

7 Ashton, 81, 92; Ditchfield, 18; 
Brand, i. 285 ; Dyer, 458 ; Philpot, 
164. Mistletoe is the chief ingre- 
dient of the ' kissing-bunch,' some- 
times a very elaborate affair, with 
apples and dolls hung in it. The 
ecclesiastical taboo is not universal ; 
in York Minster, e.g., mistletoe was 
laid on the altar. 



252 FOLK DRAMA 

par excellence, adorned with lights and apples, and often with 
a doll or image upon the topmost sprig. The first recorded 
Christmas tree is at Strassburg in 1604. The custom is 
familiar enough in modern England, but there can be little 
doubt that here it is of recent introduction, and came in, in 
fact, with the Hanoverians *. 

Finally, there can be little wonder that the popular 
imagination found a special manifestation of the fertiliza- 
tion spirit in the unusual blossoming of particular trees or 
species of trees in the depths of winter. In mild seasons 
a crab or cherry might well adorn the old winter feast 
in November. A favourable climate permits such a thing 
even at mid-winter. Legend, at any rate, has no doubt of 
the matter, and connects the event definitely with Christmas. 
A tenth-century Arabian geographer relates how all the trees 
of the forest stand in full bloom on the holy night. In the 
thirteenth-century Vita of St. Hadwigis the story is told of 
a cherry-tree. A fifteenth-century bishop of Bamberg tells 
it of two apple-trees, and to apple-trees the miracle belongs, 
in German folk-belief, to this day 2 . In England the stories 
of Christmas-flowering hawthorns or blackthorns are specific 
and probably not altogether baseless 3 . The belief found a 

1 Tille, y. and C. 174 ; D. W. Oake in the New Forest. In Par- 
256, and in F. L. iii. 166; Philpot, ham Park, in Suffolk (Mr. Bou- 
164; Ashton, 189; Kempe, Loseley tele's), is a pretty ancient thorne, 
MSS. 75. The earliest English that blossomes like that at Glaston- 
mentipn is in 1789. bury; the people flock hither to see 

2 Tille, Y. and C. 170. it on Christmas day. But in the 
8 Ibid. 172; Ashton, 105, quoting rode that leades from Worcester to 

Aubrey, Natural Hist, of Wilts, Droitwiche is a black thorne hedge 

' Mr. Anthony Hinton, one of the at Clayes, half a mile long or more, 

officers of the Earle of Pembroke, that blossoms about Christmas-day 

did inoculate, not long before the for a week or more together. Dr. 

late civill warres (ten yeares or Ezerel Tong sayd that about 

more), a bud of Glastonbury Thorne, Rumly-Marsh in Kent, are thornes 

on a thorne, at his farm house, at naturally like that near Glaston- 

Wilton, which blossoms at Christ- bury. The Soldiers did cutt downe 

mas, as the other did. My mother that near Glastonbury : the stump 

has had branches of them for a remaines.' Specimens are still found 

flower-pott, several Christmasses, about Glastonbury of Crataegus 

which I have seen. Elias Ashmole, oxyacantha praecox^ a winter- 

Esq , in his notes upon Theatrum flowering variety of hawthorn: some 

Chymicum* saies that in the church- of the alleged slips from the Glas- 

yard at Glastonbury grew a walnutt tonbury thorn appear, however, to 

tree, that did putt out young leaves be Prunus communis, or black- 

at Christmas, as doth the King's thorn. A writer in the Gentleman's 



NEW YEAR CUSTOMS 253 

special location at Glastonbury, where the famous thorn is 
said by William of Malmesbury and other writers to have 
budded from the staff of Joseph of Arimathea, who there 
ended his wanderings with the Holy Grail. Where winter- 
flowering trees are not found, a custom sometimes exists of 
putting a branch of cherry or of hawthorn in water some 
weeks before Christmas in order that it may blossom and 
serve as a substitute l . 

It may fairly be conjectured that at the winter, as at the 
summer feast, the fertilization spirit, in the form of bush or 
idol, was borne about the fields. The fifteenth-century writer, 
Alsso, records the calendisationes of the god Bel in Bohemia, 
suppressed by St. Adalbert 2 . In modern England, a 'holly- 
bough ' or ' wesley-bob/ with or without an image or doll, 
occasionally goes its rounds 3 . But a definite lustration of the 
bounds L rare 4 , and, for the most part, the winter procession 
either is merely riotous or else, like too many of the summer 
processions themselves, has been converted, under the succes- 
sive influence of the strenae and the cash nexus, into little 
more than a quite. Thus children and the poor go * souling ' 
for apples and * soul-cakes * on All Souls' day ; on November 
5 they collect for the 'guy'; on November n in Germany, 
if not in England, for St. Martin ; on St. Clement's day 
(November 23) they go ' clemencing ' ; on St. Catherine's 
(November 25) ' catherning.' Wheat is the coveted boon on 
St. Thomas's day (December 21) or * doling day,' and the 
quite is variously known as ' thomasing,' * mumping/ ' corn- 
ing,' ' gooding,' * hodening/ or * hooding V Christmas brings 

Magazine for 1753 reports that the for the idol, and the cry of ' Vele, 
opponents of the * New Style ' in- Vele/ for that of ' Bely, Bely.' 
troduced in 1752 were encouraged 8 Ashton, 244 ; Dyer, 483 ; Ditch- 
by the refusal of the thorns at field, 15. The dolls sometimes 
Glastonbury and Quainton in Buck- represent the Virgin and Child, 
inghamshire to flower before Old ' Wesley-bob ' and the alternative 
Christmas day. A Somerset woman ' vessel-cup ' appear to be corrup- 
told a writer in 3 N. Q. ix. 33 that tions of * wassail.' 
the buds of the thorns burst into 4 Cf., however, the Burghead 
flower at midnight on Christmas ceremony (p. 256). 
Eve, * As they corned out, you could 6 Brand, i. 217 ; Burne-Jackson, 
hear 'urn haffer. 1 38 1 ; Dyer, 405 ; Ditchfield, 25, 
1 Tille, y. and C. 175. 161 ; Northall, 216; Henderson, 
8 Usener, ii. 61. Alsso says that 66 ; H addon, 476 ; Pfannenschmidt, 
St. Adalbert substituted a crucifix 206. The N. . D. plausibly ex* 



254 



FOLK DRAMA 



* wassailing' with its bowl of lamb's-wool and its bobbing 
apple, and this is repeated on New Year's day or eve l . 
The New Year qu$te is probably the most widespread and 
popular of all. Ducange records it at Rome 2 . In France it 
is known as V Aguilaneuf*, in Scotland and the north of 
England as Hogmanay, terms in which the philologists meet 
problems still unsolved 4 . Other forms of the winter quite 



plains * gooding,' which seems to be 
used of any of these quetes as ' wish- 
ing good,' and ' hooding ' may be a 
corruption of this. 

1 Brand, i. I ; Dyer, 501 ; Ditch- 
field, 42 ; Northall, 183. Skeat 
derives wassail, M.E. wasseyl, *a 
health-drinking,' from N.E. was 
h&l, A.-S. wes hdl, < be whole.' 

8 Ducange, Gloss, s.v. Kalendae 
lanuani, quoting Cerem. Rom. ad 
c ale em Cod. MS. eccl. Camerac. 
'Hii sunt ludi Romani communes 
in Kalendis lanuarii. In vigiha 
Kalendarum in sero surgunt pueri, 
et portant scutum. Quidam eorum 
est larvatus cum maza in collo ; 
sibilando sonant timpanum, eunt 
per domos, circumdant scutum, tim- 
panum sonat, larva sibilat. Quo 
ludo finito, accipiunt munus a do- 
mino domus, secundum quod placet 
ei. Sic faciunt per unamquamque 
domum. Eo die de omnibus legu- 
minibus comedunt. Mane autem 
surgunt duo pueri ex illis, accipiunt 
ramos olivae et sal, et intrant per 
domos, salutant domum : Gaudium 
et laetitia sit in hac domo ; tot 
filii, tot porcelli, tot a^ni, et de 
omnibus bonis optant, ct antequam 
sol oriatur, comedunt vel favum 
mellis, vel aliquid duke, ut totus 
annus procedat eis dulcis, sine lite 
et labore imigno ' 

8 Du Tilliot, 67, quoting J. B. 
Thiei s, Trait 4 d. s jeux ct des diver- 
tissement, 452 ; Mullcr, 103. There 
are some Guillaneu songs in Bu- 
jeaud, ii. 153. The qitete was pro- 
hibited by two synods of Angers 
in 1595 and 1668. 

4 Brand, i. 247 ; Dyer, 505 ; 
Ditchficld, 44; Ashton,2i7; North- 
all, 181 ; Henderson, 76 ; Tille, 
y. and C. 204; Nicholson, Gol- 



spie, 100; Rhys, in F. L. ii. 308. 
Properly speaking, ' Hogmanay* is 
the gift of an oaten farl asked for 
in the qu&te. It is also applied to 
the day on which the quete takes 
place, which is in Scotland generally 
New Year's Eve. Besides the quete, 
Hogmanay night, like Halloween 
elsewhere, is the night for horse-play 
and practical joking. The name 
appears in many forms, ' Hogmana,' 
' Hogomanay,' ' Nog-money ' (Scot- 
land), 'Hogmina' (Cumberland), 
c Hagmena ' (Northumberland), 
' Hagman heigh !' * Hagman ha! ' 
(Yorkshire), 'Agganow' (Lanca- 
shire), ' Hob dy naa/ ' Hob ju naa ' 
(Isle of Man). It is generally ac- 
cepted as equivalent to the French 
aguilanneiif, aguilanleu, guillaneu, 
hagui men lo, hoquinano, &c., ad 
infin.,the earliest form being augui- 
lanleu (1353). With the Scotch 
4 Hogmanay, 
Trollolay, 

Give us of your white bread and 

none of your grey ' ! 
may be compared the French, 
4 Tire lire, 

Maint de blanc, et point du bis.' 
On no word has amateur philology 
been more riotous. It has been 
derived from * au gui menez/ * a 
gui Pan neuf,' * au gueux menez,' 
'Heilig monath,' hyia p.tji*r), ' Homme 
est neY and the like. Tille thinks 
that the whole of December was 
formerly Hogmanay, and derives 
from mondth and either " hoggva, 
* hew,' hag, 'witch,' or hog^ pig.' 
Nicholson tries the other end, and 
traces auguilanleu to the Spanish 
aguinaldo or aguilando, ' a New 
Year's gift.' This in turn he makes 
the gerund of *aguilar, an assumed 
corruption ^ialqitilar, * to hire one- 



NEW YEAR CUSTOMS 



255 



will crop up presently, and the visits of the guisers with their 
play or song, the carol singers and the waits may be expected 
at any time during the Christmas season. As at the summer 
qu$tes> some reminiscence of the primitive character of the 
processions is to be found in the songs sung, with their wish 
of prosperity to the liberal household and their ill-will to the 
churl \ 

In the summer festivals both water-rites and fire-rites 
frequently occur. In those of winter, water-rites are com- 
paratively rare, as might naturally be expected at a season 
when snow and ice prevail. There is some trace, however, 
of a custom of drawing * new ' water, as of making * new ' fire, 
for the new year 2 . Festival fires, on the other hand, are 
widely distributed, and agree in general features with those 
of summer. Their relation to the fertility of crop and herd 
is often plainly enough marked. They are perhaps most 
familiar to-day in the comparatively modern form of the Guy 
Fawkes celebration on November 5 3 , but they are known 



self out. 1 Hogmanay will thus mean 
properly * handsel ' or * hirmg- 
money,' and the first Monday in 
the New Year is actually called in 
Scotland * Handsel Monday.' This 
is plausible, but, although no philo- 
logist, I think a case might be made 
out for regarding the terms as 
corruptions of the Celtic Nos 
Galan~gaeafS\.\& night of the winter 
Calends ' (Rhys, 514). This is All 
Saints' eve, while the Manx * Hob 
dy naa' qucte is on Hollantide 
(November 12 ; cf. p. 230). 

1 A Gloucestershire wassail song 

in D\yivr\)AnctentP(tems, 199, ends, 

'Come, butler, come bring us a 

bowl of the best : 
I hope your soul in heaven will 

rest ; 
But if you do bring us a bowl 

of the small, 
Then down fall butler, bowl 

and all.' 

a In Herefordshire and the south 
of Scotland it is lucky to draw * the 
cream of the well ' or * the flower 
of the well,' i.e. the first pail of 
water after midnight on New Year's 
eve (Dyer, 7, 17). Jn Germany 



Heilivag similarly drawn at Christ- 
mas is medicinal (Grimm, iv. 1810). 
Pembroke folk sprinkle each other 
on New Year's Day (F. L. iii. 
263). St. Martin of Braga con- 
demns amongst Kalends customs 
* panem in fontem mittere (Appen- 
dix N, No. xxin), and this form of 
well-cult survives at Christmas in 
the Tyrol (Jahn, 283) and in France 
(Muller, 500). Tertullian chaffs 
the custom of early bathing at 
the Saturnalia (Appendix N, No. 
ii). Gervase of Tilbury (ed. Lie- 
brecht, ii. 12) mentions an Eng- 
lish belief (ti2oo) in a wonder- 
working Christmas dew. This 
Tille (Y. and C. 168) thinks an 
outgrowth from the Advent chant 
Rorate coeli, but it seems closely 
parallel to the folk belief in May- 
dew. 

3 Burne-Jackson, 388 ; Simpson, 
202 ; F. L. v. 38 ; Dyer, 410. The 
festival in its present form can only 
date from the reign of James I, but 
the Pope used to be burned in bon- 
fires as early as 1570 upon the 
accession day of Elizabeth, Nov. 17 
(Dyer, 422). 



256 FOLK DRAMA 

also on St. Crispin's day (October 25) l , Hallow e'en 2 , St. 
Martin's day 3 , St. Thomas's day 4 , Christmas eve 5 , New 
Year 6 , and Twelfth night 7 . An elaborate and typical ex- 
ample is the ' burning of the clavie ' at the little fishing 
village of Burghead on the Moray Firth 8 . This takes place 
on New Year's eve, or, according to another account 9 , Christ- 
mas eve (O.S.). Strangers to the village are excluded from 
any share in the ritual. The ' clavie ' is a blazing tar-barrel 
hoisted on a pole. In making it, a stone must be used instead 
of a hammer, and must then be thrown away. Similarly, the 
barrel must be lit with a blazing peat, and not with lucifer 
matches. The bearers are honoured, and the bridegroom of 
the year gets the ' first lift/ Should a bearer stumble, it 
portends death to himself during the year and ill-luck to 
the town. The procession passes round the boundaries of 
Burghead, and formerly visited every boat in the harbour. 
Then it is carried to the top of a hillock called the ' Doorie,' 
down the sides of which it is finally rolled. Blazing brands 
are used to kindle the house fires, and the embers are pre- 
served as charms. 

The central heathen rite of sacrifice has also left its 
abundant traces upon winter custom. Bede records the 
significant name of bl&t-monath, given to November by the 
still unconverted Anglo-Saxons 10 . The tradition of solemn 
slaughter hangs around both Martinmas and Christmas. 
'Martlemas beef in England, St. Martin's swine, hens, and 
geese in Germany, mark the former day 11 . At Christmas 

1 Dyer, 389 (Sussex). small fires and one large one are 

2 Brand, i. 210, 215 (Buchan, made out in the wheat-fields. 
Perthshire, Aberdeenshire, North 8 Dyer, 507; Ashton, 218; Simp- 
Wales), son, 205 ; Gomme, Brit. Ass. Kept. 

1 Pfannenschmidt, 207; Jahn, (1896), 631 ; F.L. /.vii. 12 ; Trans. 

240. Soc. Antiq. Scot. x. 649. 

4 Ashton, 47 (Isle of Man, where 9 Simpson, 205, quoting Gordon 

the day is called ' Fingan's Eve '). Gumming, From the Hebrides to 

8 Jahn, 253. the Himalayas, i. 245. 

8 F. L. xii. 349; W. Gregor, 10 Bede, D. T. R. c. 17: cf. the 

Brit. Ass. Rept. (1896), 620 (Min- A.-S, passage quoted by Pfannen- 

nigaff, Galloway; bones being saved scjimidt, 495; Jahn, 252. Other 

up for this fire) ; Gomme, Brit. Germanic names for the winter 

Ass. Rept. (1896), 633 (Biggar, months are ' Schlachtmonat,' * Gor- 

Lanarkshire). m4na$a ' : cf. Weinhold, Die deut- 

7 Brand, i. 14 ; Dyer, 22 (Glou- schen Monatsnamen, 54. 

cestershire, Herefordshire). Twelve u Jahn, 229 ; Tille, Y. and C. 



NEW YEAR CUSTOMS 257 

the outstanding victim seems to be the boar. Caput apri 
defero : reddens laudem Domino, sings the taberdar at Queen's 
College, Oxford, as the manciple bears in the boar's head to 
the Christmas banquet. So it was sung in many another 
mediaeval and Elizabethan hall *, while the gentlemen of the 
Inner Temple broke their Christmas fast on * brawn, mustard, 
and malmsey 2 / and in the far-off Orkneys each householder 
of Sandwick must slay his sow on St. Ignace's or ' Sow ' day, 
December 17 3 . The older mythologists, with the fear of 
solstices before their eyes, are accustomed to connect the 
Christmas boar with the light-god, Freyr 4 . If the cult of 
any one divinity is alone concerned, the analogous use of the 
pig in the Eleusinian mysteries of Demeter would make 
the earth-goddess a more probable guess 5 . A few more 
recondite customs associated with particular winter anniver- 
saries may be briefly named. St. Thomas's day is at Woking- 
ham the day for bull-baiting 6 . On St. Stephen's day, both 
in England and Germany, horses are let blood 7 . On or about 
Christmas, boys are accustomed to set on foot a hunt of 
victims not ordinarily destined to such a fate 8 ; owls and 
squirrels, and especially wrens, the last, be it noted, 
creatures which at other times of the year a taboo protects. 
The wren -hunt is found on various dates in France, England, 
Ireland, and the Isle of Man, and is carried out with various 
curious rituals. Often the body is borne in a quete, and in the 
Isle of Man the qulteurs give a feather as an amulet in return 
for hospitality. There are other examples of winter quotes, 
in which the representation of a sacrificial victim is carried 
round 9 . 'Hoodening* in Kent and other parts of England 

28, 65 ; Pfannenschmidt, 206, 217, tant: id pro armis omnique tutela 

228. securum deae cultorem etiam inter 

1 Dyer, 456, 470, 474, 477 ; Ash- hostis praestat.' 

ton, 171 ; Karl Blind, The Boar's 6 Dyer, 439. 

Head Dinner at Oxford and an 7 Dyer, 492 ; Ashton, 204 ; Grimm, 

Old Teutonic Sun-God, in Saga iv. 1816. 

Book of Viking Club for 1895. * Dyer, 481 ; N. W, Thomas, in 

1 Dyer, 473. F. L. xi. 250. Cf ch. xvii for the 

1 Hampson, i. 82. hunt of a cat and a fox at the 

* Gummere, G. O. 433. ' grand Christmas ' of the Inner 

8 Tacitus, Germ. 45, of the Aestii, Temple. 

* matrem deum venerantur. insigne ' Dyer, 494, 497 ; Frazer, ii. 442 ; 

superstitionis formas aprorum ges- Northall, 229. 



258 FOLK DRAMA 

is accompanied by a horse's head or hobby-horse 1 . The 
Welsh * Mari Lwyd ' is a similar feature 2 , while at Kingscote, 
in Gloucestershire, the w^ssailers drink to a bull's head called 
r the Broad V 

The hobby-horse is an example of an apparently grotesque 
element which is found widespread in folk-processions, and 
which a previous chapter has traced to its ritual origin. The 
man clad in a beast-skin is the worshipper putting himself by 
personal contact under the influence and protection of the 
sacrificed god. The rite is not a very salient one in modern 
winter processions, although it has its examples, but its 
historical importance is great. A glance at the ecclesiastical 
denunciations of the Kalend* collected in an appendix will 
disclose numerous references to it. These are co-extensive 
with the western area of the Kalends celebrations. In Italy, 
in Gaul, in southern Germany, apparently also in Spain and 
in England, men decked themselves for riot in the heads and 
skins of cattle and the beasts of the chase, blackened their 
faces or bedaubed them with filth, or wore masks -fit to terrify 
the demons themselves. The accounts of these proceedings 
are naturally allusive rather than descriptive ; the fullest are 
given by a certain Severian, whose locality and date arc 
unknown, but who may be conjectured to speak for Italy, 
by Maximus of Turin and Chrysologus of Ravenna in the 
fifth century, and by Caesarius of Aries in the beginning 
of the sixth. Amongst the portenta denounced is a certain 
cervulus, which lingers in the Penitential* right up to the 
tenth century, and with which are sometimes associated 
a vitula or iuvenca. Caesarius adds a hinnicula, and 
St. Eadhelm, who is my only authority for the presence 
of the cervulus in England, an ermulus. These seem to be 
precisely of the nature of * hobby-horses.' Men are said 
cervulum ambulare, cervulum facere, in cervulo vadere, and 
Christians are forbidden to allow these portenta to come 
before their houses. The Penitential of the Pseudo-Theodore 
tells us that the performers were those who wore the skins 

1 Ashton, 114 (Reculver); Dyer, 472 (Ramsgate) : Ditchfield, 27 
(Walmer), 28 (Cheshire: All Souls 1 day). 
8 Dyer, 486. 8 Ditchfield, 28. 



NEW YEAR CUSTOMS 259 

and heads of beasts. Maximus of Turin, and several writers 
after him, put the objection to the beast-mimicry of the 
Kalends largely on the ground that man made in the image 
of God must not transform himself into the image of a beast. 
But it is clear that the real reason for condemning it was its 
unforgettable connexion with heathen cult. Caesarius warns 
the culprit that he is making himself into a sacrificium 
daemonum y and the disguised reveller is more than once 
spoken of as a living image of the heathen god or demon 
itself. There is some confusion of thought here, and it must 
be remembered that the initial significance of the skin-wearing 
rite was probably buried in oblivion, both for those who 
practised it and for those who reprobated. But it is obvious 
that the worshipper wearing a sacrificial skin would bear 
a close resemblance to the theriomorphic or semi-therio- 
morphic image developed out of the sacrificial skin nailed 
on a tree-trunk ; and it is impossible not to connect the 
fact that in the prohibitions a cervidus or 'hobby-buck' 
rather than a ' hobby-horse ' is prominent with the widespread 
worship throughout the districts whence many of these notices 
come of the mysterious stag-horned deity, the Cernunnos of 
the Gaulish altars *. On the whole I incline to think that 
at least amongst the Germano-Keltic peoples the agricultural 
gods were not mimed in procession by human representatives. 
It is true that in the mediaeval German processions which 
sprang out of those of the Kalends St. Nicholas plays a part, 
and that the presence of St. Nicholas may be thought to 
imply that of some heathen precursor. It will, however, be 
seen shortly that St. Nicholas may have got into these 
processions through a different train of ideas, equally con- 
nected with the Kalends, but not with the strictly agricultural 
aspect of that festival. But of the continuity of the beast- 
masks and other horrors of these Christmas processions with 
those condemned in the prohibitions, there can be no doubt 2 . 
A few other survivals of the cervulus and its revel can be 
traced in various parts of Europe 3 . 

1 Bertrand, 314 ; Arbois de Ju- 2 Tille, Z>. W. 109. 
bainville, CycL myth. 385; Rhys, 8 C. de Berger (1723), Commen- 
C. Jf. 77. tatio de personis vulgo larvis seu 

s a 



260 



FOLK DRAMA 



The sacrifices of cereals and of the juice of the vine or the 
barley are exemplified, the one by the traditional furmenty, 
plum-porridge, mince-pie, souling-cake, Yule-dough, Twelfth 
night cake, pain de calende, and other forms of 'feasten* 
cake * ; the other by the wassail-bowl with its bobbing 
apple 2 . The summer 'youling ' or ' tree-wassailing ' is repeated 
in the orchard 3 , and a curious Herefordshire custom represents 
an extension of the same principle to the ox-byre 4 . A German 
hen-yard custom requires mixed corn, for the familiar reason 
that every kind of crop must be included in the sacrifice 6 . 

Human sacrifice has been preserved in the whipping of 
boys on Innocents' day, because it could be turned into 
the symbol of a Christian myth 6 . It is preserved also, as 
throughout the summer, in the custom, Roman as well as 
Germano-Keltic, of electing a mock or temporary king. Of 
such the Epiphany king or ' king of the bean ' is, especially in 
France, the best known 7 . Here again, the association with 



mascharis, 218 'Vecolo aut cer- 
volo facere ; hoc est sub forma 
vitulae aut cervuli per plateas dis- 
currere, ut apud nos in festis Bac- 
chanalibus vulgo dicitur correr la 
tor a'-, J. Ihre (ti769), Gloss. Suio- 
Gothicum, s. v. Jul. 'Julbock est 
ludicrum, quo tempore hoc pellem 
et formam arietis induunt adoles- 
centuli et ita adstantibus incursant. 
Credo idem hoc esse quod exteri 
scriptores cervulum appellant/ In 
the Life of Bishop Ami (nat. 1237) 
it is recorded how in his youth he 
once joined in a scinnleic or * hide- 
play ' (C. P. B. ii. 385). Frazer, ii. 
447, describes the New Year custom 
of colluinn in Scotland and St. 
Kilda. A man clad in a cowhide 
is driven deasil round each house 
to bless it. Bits of hide are also 
burnt for amulets. Probably the 
favourite Christmas game of Blind 
Man's Buff was originally a scinnleic 
(N. W. Thomas, in F. L. xi. 262). 

1 Brand, i. 210, 217 ; Jackson and 
Burne, 381, 392,407; Ashton, 178 ; 
Jahn, 487, 500; Miiller, 487, 500. 
Scandinavian countries bake the 
Christmas 'Yule-boar. 1 Often this 
is made from the last sheaf and 



the crumbs mixed with the seed- 
corn (Frazer, ii. 29). Germany has 
its Martinshorner (Jahn, 250 ; 
Pfannenschmidt, 215). 

2 Dyer, 501 ; Ashton, 214. 

3 Brand, i. 19; Dyer, 21, 447; 
Ashton, 86, 233. Brand, i. 210, de- 
scribes a Hallow-e'en custom in the 
Isle of Lewis of pouring a cup of 
ale in the sea to ' Shony,' a sea god. 

4 Brand, i. 14 ; Dyer, 22, 448 ; 
Northall, 187. A cake with a hole 
in the middle is hung on the horn 
of the leading ox. 

8 Grimm, iv. 1808. Hens are 
fed on New Year's day with mixed 
corn to make them lay well. 

8 Gregory, Posthuma, 113 'It 
hath been a Custom, and yet is else- 
where, to whip up the Children upon 
Innocents-Day morning, that the 
memory of this Murther might stick 
the closer, and in a moderate pro- 
portion to act over the cruelty again 
in kind.* In Germany, adults are 
beaten (Grimm, iv. 1820). In 
mediaeval France ' innocenter,' 
' donner les innocents,' was a cus- 
tom exactly parallel to the Easter 
prisio (Rigollot, 138, 173). 

7 Dyer, 24 ; Cortet, 32 ; Frazer, 



NEW YEAR CUSTOMS 



261 



the three kings or Magi has doubtless prolonged his sway. 
But he is not unparalleled. The rex autumnalis of Bath is 
perhaps a harvest rather than a beginning of winter king 1 . 
But the shoemakers choose their King Crispin on October 25, 
the day of their patron saints, Crispin and Crispinian ; on 
St. Clement's (November 23) the Woolwich blacksmiths have 
their King Clem, and the maidens of Peterborough and else- 
where a queen on St. Catherine's (November, 25). Tenby, 
again, elects its Christmas mock mayor 2 . At York, the pro- 
claiming of Yule by 'Yule* and 'Yule's wife* on St. Thomas's 
day was once a notable pageant 3 . At Norwich, the riding of 
a ' kyng of Crestemesse * was the occasion of a serious riot in 
1443*. These may be regarded as 'folk' versions of the 



iii. 143; Deslyons, Trails contre 
le Paganisme du Rot boit (2nd ed. 
1670). The accounts of Edward II 
record a gift to the rex fabae on 
January 1,1316 (Archaeologia, xxvi. 
342). Payments to the King of 
Bene * and ' for furnissing his graith' 
were made by James IV of Scot- 
land between 1490 and 1503 (L. H. 
T. Accounts, I. ccxliii ; II. xxiv, 
xxxi, &c.). The familiar mode of 
choosing the king is thus described 
at Mont St. Michel ' In vigilia 
Epyphaniae ad prandium habeant 
fratres gastellos et ponatur faba 
in uno ; et frater qui invemet 
fabam, vocabitur rex et sedebit ad 
magnam mensam, et scilicet sedebit 
ad vesperas ad matutinam et ad 
magnam missam in cathedra pa- 
rata' (Gaste', 53). The pre-eminence 
of the bean, largest of cereals, in 
the mixed cereal cake (cf. ch. vi) 
presents no great difficulty ; on the 
religious significance attached to 
it in South Europe, cf. W. W. 
Fowler, 94, no, 130. Lady Jane 
Grey was scornfully dubbed a 
Twelfth-day queen by Noailles 
(Froude, v. 206), just as the Bruce's 
wife held her lord a summer king 
(ch. viii). 

1 Accts. of St. MichaeFs, Bath, 
s. ann. 1487, 1490, 1492 (Somerset 
Arch.Soc. Trans. 1878, 1879, 1883). 
One entry is * pro corona conducta 
Regi Attumnali.' The learned edi- 



tor explains this as ' a quest con- 
ducted by the King's Attorney ' ! 

2 Ashton, 119; Dyer, 388, 423, 
427. 

3 Brand, i. 261, prints from Le- 
land, Itinerary (ed. 1769), iv. 182, 
a description of the proclamation 
of Youle by the sheriffs at the 
* Youle-Girth ' and throughout the 
city. In Davies, 270, is a letter from 
Archbp. Grindal and other eccle- 
siastical commissioners to the Lord 
Mayor, dated November 13, 1572, 
blaming *a very rude and barba- 
rouse custome maynteyned in this 
citie and in no other citie or towne 
of this realme to our knowledge, 
that yerely upon St. Thomas day 
before Christmas twoo disguysed 
persons, called Yule and Yule's 
wife, shoulde ryde throughe the 
citie very undecently and uncome- 
ly ...' Hereupon the council sup- 
pressed the riding. Drake, Ebora- 
cum (1736), 217, says that originally 
a friar rode backwards and 4 painted 
like a Jew/ He gives an historical 
legend to account for the origin of 
the custom. Religious interludes 
were played on the same day : 
cf. Representations. The ' Yule ' of 
York was perhaps less a ' king ' 
than a symbolical personage like 
the modern 'Old Father Christ- 
mas.' 

* Ramsay, Y. and Z. ii. 52 ; 
Blomefield, Hist, of Norfolk, iii. 



262 FOLK DRAMA 

mock king. Others, in which the folk were less concerned, 
will be the subject of chapters to follow. 

Before passing to a fresh group of Christmas customs, 
I must note the presence of one more bit of ritual closely 
related to sacrificial survivals. That is, the man masquerad- 
ing in woman's clothes, in whom we have found a last faint 
reminiscence of the once exclusive supremacy of women in 
the conduct of agricultural worship. At Rome, musicians 
dressed as women paraded the city, not on the Kalends, but 
on the Ides of January 1 . The Fathers, however, know such 
disguising as a Kalends custom, and a condemnation of it 
often accompanies that of beast-mimicry, from the fourth to 
the eighth century 2 . 

The winter festival is thus, like the summer festivals, 
a moment in the cycle of agricultural ritual, and is therefore 
shared in by the whole village in common. It is also, and 
from the time of the institution of harvest perhaps pre- 
eminently, a festival of the family and the homestead. This 
side of it finds various manifestations. There is the solemn 
renewal of the undying fire upon the hearth, the central 
symbol and almost condition of the existence of the family 
as such. This survives in the institution of the ' Yule-log,' 
which throughout the Germano-Keltic area is lighted on 
Christmas or more rarely New Year's eve, and must burn, 

149. The riot was against the should end with the twelve monethes 

Abbot of St. Benet's Holm, and of the yere, aforn hym yche moneth 

the monks declared that one John disguysed after the seson requiryd, 

Gladman was set up as a king, an and Lenton clad in whyte and red 

act of treason against Henry VI. heryngs skinns, and his hors trapped 

The city was fined i,oop marks, with oystyr-shells after him, in 

In 1448 they set forth their wrongs token that sadnesse shuld folowe, 

in a ' Bill ' and explained that Glad- and an holy tyme, and so rode in 

man 'who was ever, and at thys diverse stretis of the cite, with other 

our is, a man of sad disposition, people, with hym disguysed makyng 

and trewe and feythfull to God and myrth, disportes and plays.' 

to the Kyng, of disporte as hath l Jevons, Plutarch's Romane 

ben acustomed in ony cite or Questions, 86. The Ides (Jan. 9) 

burgh thorowe alle this realme, on must have practically been in- 

Tuesday in the last ende of Criste- eluded in the Kalends festival. 

messe, viz. Fastyngonge Tuesday, The Agonium, probably a sacrifice 

made a disport with hys neygh- to Janus, was on that day (W. W. 

bours, havyng his hors trappyd Fowler, 282). 

with tynnsoyle and other nyse dis- 2 Appendix N, Nos. ix, xi, xiv, 

gisy things, cpronned as kyng of xvii, xviii, xxviii, xxxvi. 
C rest e messe, in tokyn that seson 



NEW YEAR CUSTOMS 263 

as local custom may exact, either until midnight, or for three 
days, or during the whole of the Twelve-night period, from 
Christmas to Epiphany 1 . Dr. Tille, intent on magnifying 
the Roman element in western winter customs, denies any 
Germano-Keltic origin to the Christmas blaze, and traces it 
to the Roman practice of hanging lamps upon the house- 
doors during the Saturnalia and the Kalends 2 . It is true 
that the Yule-log is sometimes supplemented or even replaced 
by the Christmas candle 3 , but I do not think that there can 
be any doubt which is the primitive form of rite. And the 
Yule-log enters closely into the Germano-Keltic scheme of 
festival ideas. The preservation of its brands or ashes to be 
placed in the mangers or mingled with the seed-corn suggests 
many and familiar analogies. Moreover, it is essentially con- 
nected with the festival fire of the village, from which it is 
still sometimes, and once no doubt was invariably, lit, afford- 
ing thus an exact parallel to the Germano-Keltic practice on 
the occasion of summer festival fires, or of those built to stay 
an epidemic. 

Another aspect of the domestic character of the winter 
festival is to be found in the prominent part which children 
take in it. As quteurs, they have no doubt gradually 
replaced the elder folk, during the process through which, 
even within the historical purview, ritual has been trans- 
formed into play. But St. Nicholas, the chief mythical figure 
of the festival, is their patron saint ; for their benefit especially, 
the strenae or Christmas and New Year's gifts are main- 
tained ; and in one or two places it is their privilege, on some 
fixed day during the season, to ' bar out ' their parents or 
masters 4 . 

Thirdly, the winter festival included a commemoration of 

1 G. L. Gommc, in Brit. Ass. Rep. No. xxxviii) forbids a Christmas 

(1896), 6i6sqq. ; Tille,/?. W. u, candle to be burnt beneath the 

y. and C. 90 ; Jahn, 253 ; Dyer, kneading-trough. 

446, 466 ; Ashton, 76, 2 19 ; Grimm, * MiiJler, 236 ; Dyer, 430 ; Ashton, 

iv. 1793, 1798, 1812, 1826, 1839, 54; Rigollot, 173; Records of 

1841; Bertrand, III, 404; Miiller, Aberdeen (Spalding Club), ii. 39, 

478. 45, 66, In Belgium the household 

9 Tille, Y. and C. 95. keys are entrusted to the youngest 

* Dyer, 456; Ashton, 125, 188. child on Innocents' day (Durr, 

A Lombard Capitulary (App. N, 73). 



264 FOLK DRAMA 

ancestors. It was a feast, not only of riotous life, but of 
the dead. For, to the thinking of the Germano- Keltic 
peoples, the dead kinsmen were not altogether outside the 
range of human fellowship. They shared with the living in 
banquets upon the tomb. They could even at times return 
to the visible world and hover round the familiar precincts of 
their own domestic hearth. The Germans, at least, heard 
them in the gusts of the storm, and imagined for them a 
leader who became Odin. From another point of view they 
were naturally regarded as under the keeping of earth, and 
the earth-mother, in one aspect a goddess of fertility, was in 
another the goddess of the dead. As such she was worshipped 
under various names and forms, amongst others in the triad 
of the Matres or Matronae. In mediaeval superstition she 
is represented by Frau Perchte, Frau Holda and similar 
personages, by Diana, by Herodias, by St. Gertrude, just as 
the functions of Odin are transferred to St. Martin, St. 
Nicholas, St. John, Hellequin. It was not unnatural that 
the return of the spirits, in the ' wild hunt ' or otherwise, to 
earth should be held to take place especially at the two 
primitive festivals which respectively began the winter and 
the summer. Of the summer or spring commemoration but 
scant traces are to be recovered 1 ; that of winter survives, in 
a dislocated form, in more than one important anniversary. 
Its observances have been transferred with those of the 
agricultural side of the feast to the Gemeinwoche of harvest 2 ; 

1 Saupe, 9; Tille, Y.andC. 118 ; to either Feb. 21 (Feralia) or Feb. 

Duchesne, 267. A custom of feast- 22 (Cara Cognatio) : cf. Fowler, 

ing on the tombs of the dead on 306. The ' cibi * mentioned by the 

the day of St. Peter de Cathedra council of Tours seem to have been 

(Feb. 22) is condemned by the offered in the house, like the winter 

Council of Tours (567), c. 23 offerings described below ; but there 

(Maassen, i. 133) ' sunt etiam qui is also evidence for similar Germano- 

in festivitate cathedrae domui Petri Keltic offerings on the tomb or 

apostoh cibos mortuis offerunt, et howe itself; and these were often 

post missas redeuntes ad domos accompanied by dadsisas or dirges ; 

proprias, ad gentilium revertuntur cf. Saupe, Indiculus, 5-9. Saupe 

errores, et post corpus Domini, considers the spurcalia in Febru- 

sacratas daemoni escas accipiunt.' ario 9 explained above (p. 114) as 

I do not doubt that the Germano- a ploughing rite, to be funereal. 

Keltic tribe, had their spring 2 Pfannenschmidt, 123, 165, 435 ; 

Todtenfest, but the date Feb. 22 Saupe, 9; Golther, 586; C. P. B. 

seems determined by the Roman i. 43 ; Jahn, 251. The chronicler 

Parentalia extending from Feb. 13 Widukind, Res gestae Sax. (Pertz, 



NEW YEAR CUSTOMS 265 

but they are also retained, at or about their original date, on 
All Saints' and All Souls' days l ; and, as I proceed to show, 
they form a marked and interesting part of the Christmas 
and New Year ritual. I do not, indeed, agree with Dr. Mogk, 
who thinks that the Germans held their primitive feast of the 
dead in the blackest time of winter, for it seems to me more 
economical to suppose that the observances in question have 
been shifted like others from November to the Kalends. But I 
still less share the view of Dr. Tille, who denies that any relics of 
a feast of the dead can be traced in the Christmas season at all 2 . 
Bede makes the statement that the heathen Anglo-Saxons 
gave to the eve of the Nativity the name of Modranicht or 
1 night of mothers/ and in it practised certain ceremonies 3 . 
It is a difficult passage, but the most plausible of various 
explanations seems to be that which identifies these cere- 
monies with the cult of those Matres or Matronae, corre- 
sponding with the Scandinavian disar^ whom we seem justified 
in regarding as guardians and representatives of the dead. 
Nor is there any particular difficulty in guessing at the nature 
of the ceremonies referred to. Amongst all peoples the cult 
of the dead consists in feeding them ; and there is a long 
catena of evidence for the persistent survival in the Germano- 
Keltic area of a Christmas and New Year custom closely 
parallel to the alfabldt and disablot of the northern^/. When 
the household went to bed after the New Year revel, a portion 
of the banquet was left spread upon the table in the firm 
belief that during the night the ancestral spirits and their 
leaders would come and partake thereof. The practice, 
which was also known on the Mediterranean, does not escape 

Mon. SS. iii. 423), describes a rites from November. For the 

Saxon three-days' feast in honour mediaeval Gemeinwoche, beginning 

of a victory over the Thuringi in on the Sunday after Michaelmas, 

534. He adds 'acta sunt autem was common to Germany, and not 

haec omnia, ut maiorum memoria confined to Saxony. Michaelmas, 

prodit, die Kal. Octobris, qui dies the feast of angels, known at Rome 

erroris, religiosorum sanctione viro- in the sixth century, and in Germany 

rum mutati sunt in ieiunia et ora- by the ninth, also adapts itself to 

tiones, oblationes quoque omnium the notion of a Todtenfest. 

nos praecedentium christianorum/ l Pfannenschmidt, 168, 443. 

This is probably a myth to account 2 Mogk, in Paul, iii. 260 ; Tille, 

for the harvest Todtenfest ', which Y. and C. i&j. 

may more naturally be thought of 8 Cf. p. 231. 
as transferred with the agricultural 



266 FOLK DRAMA 

the animadversion of the ecclesiastical prohibitions. The 
earlier writers who speak of it, Jerome, Caesarius, Eligius, 
Boniface, Zacharias, the author of the Homilia de Sacrilegiis^ 
if they give any explanation at all, treat it as a kind of 
charm 1 . The laden table, like the human over-eating and over- 
drinking, is to prognosticate or cause a year of plentiful fare. 
The preachers were more anxious to eradicate heathenism 
than to study its antiquities. Burchardus, however, had a 
touch of the anthropologist, and Burchardus says definitely 
that food, drink, and three knives were laid on the Kalends 
table for the three Parcac, figures of Roman mythology with 
whom the western Matres or ' weird sisters ' were identified 2 . 
Mediaeval notices confirm the statement of Burchardus. 
Martin of Amberg 3 , the Thesaurus Pauperum * and the 
Kloster Scheyern manuscript 5 make the recipient of the 
bounty Frau Perchte. In Alsso's Largum Sero it is for 
the heathen gods or demons 6 ; in Dives and Pauper for 
' Atholde or GobelynV In modern survivals it is still often 
Frau Perchte or the Perchten or Persteln for whom fragments 
of food are left ; in other cases the custom has taken on 
a Christian colouring, and the ancestors' bit becomes the 
portion of le bon Dieu or the Virgin or Christ or the Magi> 
and is actually given to queteurs or the poor. 8 . 

1 Appendix N, Nos. xii, xvii, . . . ut inde sint eis propitii ad pro- 
xxvii, xxxiii, xxxv, xxxix. speritatem domus et negotiorum 

2 Appendix N, No. xlii. rerum temporalium.' 

8 Martin of Amberg, Gewissens- 6 Usener, ii. 84 * Qui preparant 

Spiegel (thirteenth century, quoted men sam dominaePerthae' (fifteenth 

Jahn, 282), the food and drink century). Schmeller, Bairisck. 

are left for ' Percht mit der eisnen Wbrterb. L 270, gives other refer- 

nasen.' ences for Perchte in this connexion. 

4 Thes. Paup. s. v. Superstitio * Usener, ii. 58. 

(fifteenth century, quoted Jahn, 282) 7 Dives and Pauper (Pynson, 

' multi credunt sacris noctibus inter 1493) 'Alle that . . . use nyce ob- 

natalem diem Christi et noctem servances in the . . . new yere, as 

Epiphaniae evenire ad domos suas setting of mete or drynke, by nighte 

quasdam mulieres, quibus praeest on the benche, to fede Atholde or 

domina Perchta . . . multi in domibus Gobelyn.' In English folk-custom, 

in noctibus praedictis post coenam food is left for the house-spirit or 

dimittunt panem ct caseum, lac, ' brownie * on ordinary as well as 

carries, ova, vinum, et aquam et festal days ; cf. my * Warwick ' 

huiusmodi super mensas et code- edition of Midsummer Night's 

area, discos, ciphos, cultellos et Dream , 145. 

similia propter visitationem Perhtae 8 Jahn, 283 ; Brand, i. 18 ; Ber- 

cum cohorte sua, ut eis complaceant trand, 405 ; Cortet, 33, 45. 



NEW YEAR CUSTOMS 267 

It is the ancestors, perhaps, who are really had in mind 
when libations are made upon the Yule-log, an observance 
known to Martin of Braga in the sixth century l , and still in 
use in France 2 . Nor can it be doubted that the healths 
drunk to them, and to the first of them, Odin, lived on in the 
St. John's mmnes, no less than in the St. Martin's minnes, of 
Germany 3 . Apart from eating and drinking, numerous folk- 
beliefs testify to the presence of the spirits of the dead on 
earth in the Twelve nights of Christmas. During these days, 
or some one of them, Frau Holle and Frau Perchte are 
abroad 4 . So is the ' wild hunt V Dreams then dreamt 
come true 6 , and children then born see ghosts 7 . The wer- 
wolf, possessed by a human spirit, is to be dreaded 8 . The 
devil and his company dance in the Isle of Man 9 : in Brittany 
the korrigans are unloosed, and the dolmens and menhirs 
disclose their hidden treasures 10 . Marcellus in Hamlet de- 
clares : 

'Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes 
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated, 
The bird of dawning singeth all night long ; 
And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad ; 
The nights are wholesome ; then no planets strike, 
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm, 
So hallow'd and so gracious is the time 11 . 1 

The folk-lorist can only reply, ' So have I heard, and do not 
in the least believe it.' 

1 Appendix N, No. xxiii. If the ' Grimm, iv. 1798. 
words in foco' are not part of the 7 Ibid. iv. 1814. 

text, fouling ' (cf. pp. 142, 260) may 8 Tille, Z>. W. 163; Grimm, iv. 
be intended. 1782. 

2 Bertrand, in, 404. Ashton, 104. 

8 Tahn, 120, 244, 269: the Ger- 10 Miiller, 496. 
tmaen-minnes on St. Gertrude's day n Hamlet, i. I. 158. I do not 
(March 1 7) perhaps preserve another know where Shakespeare got the 
fragment of the spring Todtenfest, idea, of which I find no confirma- 
St. Gertrude here replacing the tion ; but its origin is probably an 
mother-goddess ; cf. Grimm, iii. ecclesiastical attempt to parry folk- 
xxxv iii. belief. Other Kalends notions have 

4 Grimm, i. 268, 273, 281 ; Mogk, taken on a Christian colouring, 

in Paul, iii. 279. The especial day The miraculous events of Christmas 

of Frau Perchte is Epiphany. night are rooted in the conception 

9 Mogk, in Paul, iii. 260 ; Tille, that the Kalends must abound in 
D. W. 173. all good things, in order that the 



268 



FOLK DRAMA 



The wanderings of Odin in the winter nights must be at 
the bottom of the nursery myth that the Christian repre- 
sentatives of this divinity, Saints Martin and Nicholas (the 
Santa Claus of modern legend), are the nocturnal givers of 
strenae to children. In Italy, the fairy Befana (Epiphania), 
an equivalent of Diana, has a similar function l . It was but 
a step to the actual representation of such personages for the 
greater delight of the children. In Anspach the skin-clad 
Pelzmarten, in Holland St. Martin in bishop's robes, make 
their rounds on St. Martin's day with nuts, apples, and such- 
like 2 . St. Nicholas does the same on St. Nicholas' day in 
Holland and Alsace-Lorraine, at Christmas in Germany 3 . 
The beneficent saints were incorporated into the Kalends 
processions already described, which in the sixteenth-century 
Germany included two distinct groups, a dark one of devils 
and beast-masks, terrible to children, and a white or kindly 
one, in which sometimes appeared the Jesus-Kind himself 4 . 



coming year may do so. But allu- 
sions to Christian legend have been 
worked into and have transformed 
them. On Christmas night bees 
sing (Brand, i. 3), and water is 
turned into wine (Grimm, iv. 1779, 
1809). While the genealogy is 
sung at the midnight mass, hidden 
treasures are revealed (Grimm, iv. 
1840). Similarly, the cattle of 
heathen masters naturally shared 
in the Kalends good cheer; whence 
a Christian notion that they, and 
in particular the ox and the ass, 
witnesses of the Nativity, can speak 
on that night, and bear testimony 
to the good or ill-treatment of the 
farmers (Grimm, iv. 1809, 1840) ; 
cf. the Speculum Perfectionis, c. 
114, ed. Sabatier, 225 'quod volebat 
[S. Franciscus] suadere imperatori 
ut faceret specialem legem quod in 
Nativitate Domini homines bene 
providerent avibus et bovi et asino 
et pauperibus ' : also p. 250, n. I. 
Ten minutes after writing the above 
note, I have come on the following 
passage in Tolstoi, Resurrection 
(trad. fran9), i. 297 i Un proverbe 
dit que les coqs chantent de bonne 
heure dans les nuits joyeuses.' 



1 Miiller, 272. 

2 Pfannenschmidt, 207. 
5 Muller, 235, 239, 248. 

4 Tille, D. W. 107 ; Y. and C. 
116; Saupe, 28; lo. lac. Reiske, 
Comm. ad Const. Porph., de Caere- 
monns, ii. 357 (Corp. Script. JSyz. 
1830) 'Vidi puerulus et horrui 
robustos iuvenes pelliceis indutos, 
cornutos in fronte, vultus fuligine 
atratos, intra dentes carbones vivos 
tenentes, quos reciprocato spirit u 
animabant, et scintillis quaqua- 
versum sparsis ignem quasi vome- 
bant, cum saccis cursitantes, in 
quos abdere puerulos occursantes 
minitabantur, appensis cymbalis et 
insano clamore frementes.' He 
calls them 'die Knecht Ruperte,' 
and says that they performed in 
the Twelve nights. The sacci 
are interesting, for English nurses 
frighten children with a threat that 
the chimney-sweep (here as in the 
May-game inheriting the tradition 
on account of his black face) will 
put them in his sack. The bene- 
ficent Christmas wanderers use the 
sack to bring presents in ; cf. the 
development of the sack in the 
Mummers' play (p. 215). 



NEW YEAR CUSTOMS 269 

It is perhaps a relic of the same merging which gives the 
German and Flemish St. Nicholas a black Moor as com- 
panion in his nightly peregrinations 1 . 

Besides the customs which form part of the agricultural 
or the domestic observances of the winter feasts, there are 
others which belong to these in their quality as feasts of the 
New Year. To the primitive mind the first night and day 
of the year are full of omen for the nights and days that 
follow. Their events must be observed as foretelling, nay 
more, they must as far as possible be regulated as deter- 
mining, those of the larger period. The eves and days of 
All Saints, Christmas, and the New Year itself, as well as 
in some degree the minor feasts, preserve in modern folk-lore 
this prophetic character. It is but an extension and systema- 
tization of the same notion that ascribes to each of the 
twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany a special 
influence upon one of the twelve months of the year 2 . This 
group of customs I can only touch most cursorily. The 
most interesting are those which, as I have just said, attempt 
to go beyond foretelling and to determine the arrival of good 
fortune. Their method is symbolic. In order that the house 
may be prosperous during the year, wealth during the critical 
day must flow in and not flow out. Hence the taboos which 
forbid the carrying out in particular of those two central ele- 
ments of early civilization, fire 3 and iron 4 . Hence too the belief 
that a job of work begun on the feast day will succeed, which 

1 Miiller, 235, 248. some of the cases quoted under the 

z A mince-pie eaten in a different last reference and elsewhere, nothing 

house on each night of the Twelves may be taken out of the house on 

(not twelve mince-pies eaten before New Year's Day. Ashes and other 

Christmas) ensures twelve lucky refuse which would naturally be 

months. The weather of each day taken out in the morning were 

in the Twelves determines that of removed the night before. Ashes, 

a month (Harland, 99; Jackson of course, share the sanctity of the 

and Burne, 408). I have heard of fire. Cf. the maskers' threat (p. 

a custom of leaping over twelve 217). 

lighted candles on New Year's 4 Boniface (App. N, No. xxxiii) ; 

eve. Each that goes out means cf. the Kloster Scheycrn (Usener ? 

ill-luck in a corresponding month. ii. 84) condemnation of those * qui 

8 Caesarius; Boniface (App. N, vomerem ponunt sub mensa tern- 

Nos. xvii, xviii, xxxiii) ; Alsso, in pore nativitatis Christi.' For other 

Usener, ii. 65 ; F. L. iii. 253 ; Jack- uses of iron as a potent agricultural 

son and Burne, 400; Ashton, in ; charm, cf. Grimm, iv. 1795, 1798, 

Brit. Ass. Report (1896), 620. In 1807, 1816 ; Burne- Jackson, 164. 



270 FOLK DRAMA 

conflicts rather curiously in practice with the universal rustic 
sentiment that to work or make others work on holidays is 
the act of a churl 1 . Nothing, again, is more important to 
the welfare of the household during the coming year than 
the character of the first visitor who may enter the house on 
New Year's day. The precise requirements of a ' first foot ' 
vary in different localities ; but as a rule he must be a boy 
or man, and not a girl or woman, and he must be dark-haired 
and not splay-footed 2 . An ingenious conjecture has con- 
nected the latter requirements with the racial antagonism of 
the high-instepped dark pre- Aryan to the flat-footed blonde 
or red-haired invading Kelt 8 . A Bohemian parallel enables 
me to explain that of masculinity by the belief in the in- 
fluence of the sex of the ' first foot ' upon that of the cattle 
to be born during the year 4 . I regret to add that there are 
traces also of a requirement that the ' first foot ' should not 
be a priest, possibly because in that event the shadow of 
celibacy would make any births at all improbable 6 . 

Some of the New Year observances are but prophetic by 
second intention, having been originally elements of cult. 
An example is afforded by the all-night table for the leaders 
of the dead, which, as has been pointed out, was regarded by 

1 Cf. Burchardus (App. N, No. intrant domum in die nativitatis, 
xlii) ; Grimm, iv. 1793, with many quod omnes vaccae generent mas- 
other superstitions in the same culos et e converse.' 
appendix to Grimm ; Brand, i. 9 ; * Miiller, 269 (Italy). Grimm, iv. 
Ashton, 222; Jackson and Burne, 1784, notes 'If the first person you 
403. The practical outcome is meet in the morning be a virgin or 
to begin jobs for form's sake and a priest, 'tis a sign of bad luck ; 
then stop. The same is done on if a harlot, of good ' : cf. Casparij 
Saint Distaffs day, January 7 ; Horn, de Sacrilegiis^ n 'qui 
cf. Brand, i. 15. clericum vel monachum de mane 

9 Harland, 117; Jackson and aut quacumque hora videns aut 

Burne, 314 ; Brit. Ass. Rep. (1896), o[b]vians, abominosum sibi esse 

620; Dyer, 483 ; Ashton, 112, 119, credet, iste non solum pagamis, 

224. There is a long discussion in sed demoniacus est, qui christi mili- 

F. L. iii. 78, 253. I am tempted to tem abominatur. 7 These German 

find a very early notice of the ' first examples have no special relation 

foot ' in the prohibition ' pcdem to the New Year, and the ' first 

observare' of Martin of Braga foot* superstition is indeed only 

(App. N, No. xxiii). the ordinary belief in the ominous 

* F. L. iii. 253. character of the first thing seen on 

4 KlosterScheyemMS. (fifteenth leaving the house, intensified by 

century) in Usener, ii. 84 'Qui the ex ideal season, 
credunt, quando masculi primi 



NEW YEAR CUSTOMS 271 

the Fathers who condemned it as merely a device, with the 
festal banquet itself, to ensure carnal well-being. Another 
is the habit of giving presents. This, though widespread, is 
apparently of Italian and not Germano-Keltic origin *. It has 
gone through three phases. The original strena played a 
part in the cult of the wood-goddess. It was a twig from 
a sacred tree and the channel of the divine influence upon 
the personality of him who held or wore it. The later strena 
had clearly become an omen, as is shown by the tradition 
which required it to be honeyed or light-bearing or golden 2 . 
To-day even this notion may be said to have disappeared, and 
the Christmas-box or ttrenne is merely a token of goodwill, an 
amusement for children, or a blackmail levied by satellites. 

The number of minor omens by which the curiosity, chiefly 
of women, strives on the winter nights to get a peep into 
futurity is legion 3 . Many of them arise out of the ordinary 
incidents of the festivities, the baking of the Christmas 
cakes 4 , the roasting of the nuts in the Hallow-e'en fire 6 . 
Some of them preserve ideas of extreme antiquity, as when 
a girl takes off her shift and sits naked in the belief that the 
vision of her future husband will restore it to her. Others are 
based upon the most naYve symbolism, as when the same girl 
pulls a stick out of the wood-pile to see if her husband will be 
straight or crooked 6 . But however diversified the methods, 
the objects of the omens are few and unvarying. What will 
be the weather and what his crops? How shall he fare in 
love and the begetting of children ? What are his chances 
of escaping for yet another year the summons of the lord of 
shadows ? Such are the simple questions to which the rustic 
claims from his gods an answer. 

1 Tille,Z>. W. 189; Y. and C. 84, crossways. This was called liodor- 

95, 104. sdza, a term which a glossator also 

* Cf. p. 238. uses for the kindred custom of 

8 Brand, i. 3, 209, 226, 257 ; cervulus (Tille, Y. and C. 96). Is 

Spence, Shetland Folk-Lore^ 189 ; the man in Horn, de Sacr. (App. 

Grimm, iv. 1777-1848 passim; N, No. xxxix) *qui arma in campo 

Jackson and Burne, 176, 380, &c., ostendit ' taking omens like the 

&c. Burchardus (App. N, No. man on the housetop, or is he 

xlii) mentions that the Germans conducting a sword-dance ? 

took New Year omens sitting girt 4 Burchardus (App. N, No. xlii). 

with a sword on the housetop or Brand, i. 209. 

upon a [sacrificial] skin at the Grimm, iv. 1781, 1797, 1818. 



272 FOLK DRAMA 

Finally, the instinct of play proved no less enduring in the 
Germane-Keltic winter feasts than in those of summer. The 
priestly protests against the invasion of the churches by folk- 
dance and folk-song apply just as much to Christmas as 
to any other festal period. It is, indeed, to Christmas that 
the monitory legend of the dancers of Kolbigk attaches 
itself. A similar pious narrative is that in the thirteenth- 
century Bonum Universale de Apibus of Thomas of Can- 
timpr6, which tells how a devil made a famous song of 
St. Marti n, and spread it abroad over France and Germany *. 
Yet a third is solemnly retailed by a fifteenth-century English 
theologian, who professes to have known a man who once 
heard an indecent song at Christmas, and not long after died 
of a melancholy 2 . During the seventeenth century folk still 
danced and cried 'Yole' in Yorkshire churches after the 
Christmas services 3 . Hopeless of abolishing such customs, 
the clergy tried to capture them. The Christmas crib was 
rocked to the rhythms of a dance, and such great Latin 
hymns as the Hie iacet in cunabulis and the Resonat in 
laudibus became the parents of a long series of festival 
songs, half sacred, half profane 4 . In Germany these were 
known as Wiegenlieder* in France as noels, in England as 
carols ; and the latter name makes it clear that they are but 
a specialized development of those caroles or rondes which 
of all mediaeval chansons came nearest to the type of Ger- 
mano-Keltic folk-song. A single passage in a Byzantine 

1 Quoted Pfannenschmidt, 489 8 Aubrey, Gentilisinc and Juda- 

f quod autem obscoena carmina isme (F. L. S.), i. 

finguntur a daemonibus et perdi- 4 Tille, D. W. 55; K. Simrock, 

torum mentibus immittuntur, qui- Deutsche IVeihnachtslieder (1854); 

dam daemon nequissimus, qui in Cortet, 246 ; Grove, Diet, of Music ^ 

Nivella urbe Brabantia5 puellam s. v. Noel ; Julian, Diet, of Hymn. 

nobilem anno domini 1216 prose- s.v. Carol; A. H. Bullen, Carols 

quebatur, manifeste populis audi- and Poems, 1885 ; Helmore, Carols 

entibus dixit : cantum hunc cele- for Christmastide. The cry 'Noel' 

brem de Martino ego cum collega appears in the fifteenth century both 

meo composui et per diversas terras in France and England as one of 

Galliae et Theutoniae promulgavi. general rejoicing without relation 

Erat autem cantus ille turpissimus to Christmas. It greeted Henry V 

et plenus luxuries is plausibus.' On in London in 1415 and the Mar- 

Mar tins licder in general cf. Pfan- quis of Suffolk in Rouen in 1446 

nenschmidt, 468, 613. (Ramsay, Lancaster and York, i. 

* T. Gascoigne,Z,0* Ubro Veri- 226 ; ii. 60). 
tatum (1403-58), ed. Rogers, 144. 



NEW YEAR CUSTOMS 273 

writer gives a tantalizing glimpse of such a folk-revel or laiks 
at a much earlier stage. Constant ine Porphyrogennetos de- 
scribes amongst the New Year sports and ceremonies of the 
court of Byzantium in the tenth century one known as TO 
TorOiKov. In this the courtiers were led by two * Goths 'wearing 
skins and masks, and carrying staves and shields which they 
clashed together. An intricate dance took place about the 
hall, which naturally recalls the sword-dance of western 
Europe. A song followed, of which the words are preserved. 
They are only partly intelligible, and seem to contain allu- 
sions to the sacrificial boar and to the Gothic names of 
certain deities. From the fact that they are in Latin, the 
scholars who have studied them infer that the TorOwv drifted 
to Byzantium from the court of the great sixth-century Ostro- 
goth, Theodoric x . 

1 Constantinus Porphyrogenitus, D. Bieliaie\, Byzantina^ vol. ii ; 

de Caeremonits A'tiat }-> \zantinae, Haupt's Zettsihrift,, i. 368; C. 

Bk. i. c. 83 (ed. Reisk. in Corp. Y^&uS)Gotist.hesWeiknachtsspiel,m 

Script. Hist. Byz. i. 38 1 ) ; cf. Bury- Bdtr. 2. Gesch. d. deutschen Sprache 

Gibbon, vi. 516; Kogel, i. 34; und Litter atur, xx (1895), 223. 



CHAMBERS. I 



CHAPTER XIII 
THE FEAST OF FOOLS 

{Bibliographical Note. The best recent accounts of the Feast of Fools 
as a whole are those of G. M. Dreves in Stimmen aus Maria- Laach (1894), 
xlvii. 571, and Heuser in Wetzer and Welte, Kirchenlexicon (ed. 2), iv. 
1402, s. v. Feste (2), and an article in Zeitschrift fur Philosi^phie und 
katholische Theologie (Bonn, 1850), N. F. xi. 2. 161. There is also a sum- 
mary by F. Lolie'e in Revue des Revues, xxv (1898), 400. The articles by 
L. J. B. Be'renger-Fe^raud in Superstitions et Survivances( 1896), vol. iv,and 
in La Tradition, viii. 153 : ix. I are unscholarly compilations. A pamphlet 
by J. X. Carre' de Busserolle, published in 1859, I have not been able to 
see ; another, or a reprint of the same, was promised in his series of 
Usages singulicrs de Touraine, but as far as I know never appeared. Of 
the older learning the interest is mainly polemical in J. Deslyons, Traites 
singuliers et nouveaux contre le Paganisms du Roy-boit (1670) ; J. B. 
Thiers, De Festorum Dierum Imminutione (1668), c. 48 ; Traitf des Jeux 
et des Divertissemens (1686), c. 33 ; and historical in Du Tilliot, Mtmoires 
four servir a I'Histoire de la Fete des Foux (1741 and 1751) ; F. Douce, 
in Archaeologia, xv. 225 ; M. J. Rfigollot] et C. Lfeber], Monnaies incon- 
nues des v$ques des Innocens, des Fous, &c. (1837). Vols. ix and x of 
C. Leber, Collection des meilleurs Dissertations, &*c., relatifs a PHistoire 
de France (1826 and 1838), contain various treatises on the subject, some 
of them, by the Abbe' Lebeuf and others, from the Mercure de France. 
A. de Martpnne,Ztf Pitti du M oyen Age (185 5), 202, gives a useful biblio- 
graphical list. The collection of material in Ducange's Glossary, s.w. 
Deposuit, Festum Asini, Kalendac, &c., is invaluable. Authorities of less 
general range are quoted in the footnotes to this chapter : the most im- 
portant is A. CheVest's account of the Sens feast in Bulletin de la Soc. des 
Sciences de /' Yonne (1853), vol. vii. Cherest used a collection of notes by 
E. Baluze (1630-1718) which are in MS. Bibl. Nat. 135 1 (cf. Bibl. del'cole 
des Charles, xxxv. 267). Dom. Grenier (1725-89) wrote an account of 
the Picardy feasts, in his Introduction a r Histoire de Picardie (Soc. des 
Antiquaires de Picardie, Documens intdits (1856), iii. 352). But many 
of his probata remain in his MSS. Picardie in the Bibl. Nat. (cf. Bibl. 
de r&cole des Chartes, xxxii. 275). Some of this material was used by 
Rigollot for the book named above.] 

THE New Year customs, all too briefly summed up in the 
last chapter, are essentially folk customs. They belong to 
the ritual of that village community whose primitive organi- 
zation still, though obscurely, underlies the complex society 
of western Europe. The remaining chapters of the present 
volume will deal with certain modifications and developments 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 275 

introduced into those customs by new social classes which 
gradually differentiated themselves during the Middle Ages 
from the village folk. The churchman, the bourgeois^ the 
courtier, celebrated the New Year, even as the peasant did. 
But they put their own temper into the observances ; and it 
is worth while to accord a separate treatment to the shapes 
which these took in such hands, and to the resulting influence 
upon the dramatic conditions of the sixteenth century. 

The discussion must begin with the somewhat startling 
New Year revels held by the inferior clergy in mediaeval 
cathedrals and collegiate churches, which may be known 
generically as the ' Feast of Fools.' Actually, the feast has 
different names in different localities. Most commonly it is 
the festum stultorum, fatuorum or follorum ; but it is also 
called the festum subdiaconorum from the highest of the 
minores ordines who, originally at least, conducted it, and the 
festum bacnli from one of its most characteristic and sym- 
bolical ceremonies ; while it shares with certain other rites 
the suggestive title of the ' Feast of Asses/ asinaria festa. 

The main area of the feast is in France, and it is in France 
that it must first of all be considered. I do not find a clear 
notice of it until the end of the twelfth century 1 . It is mentioned, 
however, in the Rationale Divinorum Ojficium (f 1182-90) of 
Joannes Belethus, rector of Theology at Paris, and afterwards 
a cathedral dignitary at Amiens. * There are four tripudia* 
Belethus tells us, * after Christmas. They are those of the 
deacons, priests, and choir-children, and finally that of the sub- 
deacons, quod vocamus sttiltorum, which is held according to 
varying uses, on the Circumcision, or on Epiphany, or on the 
octave of Epiphany V Almost simultaneously the feast can 

1 Fouquier-Cholet, Hist, des Circumcisione, a quibusdam vero 
Comtes de Vermandois, 159, says in Epiphartia, vel in eius octavis. 
that Heribert IV (ob. tio8l) per- Fiunt autem qXiatuor tripudia post 
suaded the clergy of the Verman- Nativitatem Domini in Ecclesia, 
dois to suppress they^te de t'dne. levitarum scilicet, sacerdotum, 
This would have been a century puerorum, id est minorum aetate 
before Belethus wrote. But he et ordine, et hypodiaconorum, qui 
does not give his probatum^ and prdo incertus est. Unde fit ut 
I suspect he misread it. ille quandoque annumeretur inter 

2 Belethus, c. 72 ' Festum hypo- sacros ordines, quandoque non, 
diaconorum, quod vocamus stulto- quod expresse ex eo intelligitur 
rum, a quibusdam perficitur in quod certum tempus non habeat, 

T a 



276 



FOLK DRAMA 



be traced in the cathedral of Notre-Dame at Paris, through 
an epigram written by one Leonius, a cano*i of the cathe- 
dral, to a friend who was about to pay him a visit for the 
fcstum bacilli at the New Year J . The baculus was the staff 
used by the precentor of a cathedral, or whoever might be 
conducting the choir in his place 2 . Its function in the Feast 
of Fools may be illustrated from an order for the reformation 
of the Notre-Dame ceremony issued in 1199. This order 
was made by Eudes de Sully, bishop of Paris, together with 
the dean and other chapter officers 3 . It recites a mandate 
sent to them by cardinal Peter of Capua, then legate in 
France. The legate had been informed of the improprieties 
and disorders, even to shedding of blood, which had given 
to the feast of the Circumcision in the cathedral the appro- 
priate name of the fcstum fatnorum. It was not a time 
for mirth, for the fourth crusade had failed, and Pope 
Innocent III was preaching the fifth. Nor could such 
spurcitia be allowed in the sanctuary of God. The bishop 



et officio celebretur confuso.' Cf. 
ch. xv on the three other tripudia. 

1 Lcbeuf, Hist, de Pans (1741), 
ii. 277 ; Grenier, 365 : 

Ad amicum venturum ad festum 

llaculi. 

Festa dies aliis Baculus venit et 
novus annus, 

Qua venies, veniet haec mihi festa 

dies. 

Leonius is named as canon of N.-D. 
in the Obituary of the church 
Guerard, Cartulaire de N.-D. in 
(Doc. in^dits sur rHist. de France, 
iv. 34), but unfortunately the year 
of his death is not given. 

v During the fifteenth century 
the Chantre of N.-D. 'porta le 
baston ' at the chief feasts as ruler 
of the choir (F. L. Chartier, L'an- 
cien C ha pit re de N.-D. de Paris 
(1897), 176). This baculus must be 
distinguished from the baculus 
pastorates or episcopi. 

3 Guerard, Cartulaire de N.-D. 
(Doc. intd. sur I* Hist, de France], 
\. 73 ; also printed by Ducange, s. v. 
Kalendae ; P. L. ccxii. 70. The 
chart a, dated 1198, runs in the 



names of 'Odo [deSoliaco] episco- 
pus, H. decanus, R. cantor, Mauri- 
cius, Heimericus et Odo archi- 
diaconi, GaJo, succentor, magister 
Petrus cancellarius, et magister 
Petrus de Corboho, canonicus Pari- 
siensis.' Possibly the real moving 
spirit in the reform was the dean 
H[ugo Clemens], to whom the Paris 
Obituary (Guerard, loc. cit. iv. 61) 
assigns a similar reform of the feast 
of St. John the Evangelist. Petrus 
de Corbolio we shall meet again. 
Eudes de Sully was bishop 1196- 
1208. His Constitutions (P. L. ccxii. 
66) contain a prohibition of choreae 
... in ecclesiis, in coemeteriis et in 
processionibus.' In a second decree 
of 1 199 (P. L. ccxii. 72) he provided 
a solatium for the loss of the Feast 
of Fools in a payment of three 
deniers to each clerk below the de- 
gree of canon, and two deniers to 
each boy present at Matins on the 
Circumcision. Should the abuses 
recur, the payment was to lapse. 
This donation was confirmed in 
1208 by his successor Petrus de 
Nemore (P.L. ccxii. 92). 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 277 

and his fellows must at once take order for the pruning of 
the feast. In obedience to the legate they decree as follows. 
The bells for first Vespers on the eve of the Circumcision are 
to be rung in the usual way. There are to be no chansons^ 
no masks, and no hearse lights, except on the iron wheels or 
on \he pcnna at the will of the functionary who is to surrender 
the cope l . The lord of the feast is not to be led in pro- 
cession or with singing to the cathedral or back to his house. 
He is to put on his cope in the choir, and with the precentor's 
baculus in his hand to start the singing of the prose Laetcmur 
gaudiis 2 . Vespers, Compline, Matins and Mass are to be 
sung in the usual festal manner. Certain small functions are 
reserved for the sub-deacons, and the Epistle at Mass is to 
be * farced 3 .' At second Vespers Laetcmur gaudiis is to 
be again sung, and also Laetabundiis^. Then comes an 
interesting direction. Deposuit is to be sung where it occurs 
five times at most, and 'if the baculus has been taken,' Vespers 
are to be closed by the ordinary officiant after a Te Dcum. 
Throughout the feast canons and clerks are to remain 
properly in their stalls 5 . The abuses which it was intended 

1 A ' hearse ' was a framework of Epistle, in the vernacular (Frere, 
wood or iron bearing spikes for Winchester 7 roper, ix, xvi). 
tapers (Wordsworth, -Mediaeval 4 Laetabundus : i. e. St. Bernard's 
Services, 156). The penna was also prose beginning Laetabundus exul- 
a stand for candles (Ducange, s.v.). tet fidclis chorus j Alleluia (Daniel, 

2 A prosa is a term given in Thesaurus Hymnologicus, ii. 61), 
French liturgies to an additional which was widely used in the feasts 
chant inserted on festal occasions of the Christmas season. 

as a gloss upon or interpolation in 6 The document is too long to 

the text of the office or mass. It quote in full. These are the essen- 

covers nearly, though not quite, the tial passages. The legate says : 

same ground as Sequentia^ and The Church of Paris is famous, 

comes under the general head of therefore diligence must be used 

Tropus (ch. xviii). For a more *ad exstirpandum penitus quod 

exact differentiation cf. Frere, ibidem sub praetextu pravae con- 

Winchester 7*roper, ix. Laetemur suetudinis inolevit . . . Didicimus 

gaudiis is a prose ascribed to Not- quod in festo Circumcisionis Do- 

ker Balbulus of St. Gall. minicae ... tot consueverunt enor- 

3 cum farsia : a farsia, farsa y mitates et opera flagitiosa committi, 
OTfarsura(La.t.Jarctre 1 t to stufF),is quod locum sanctum . . . non solum 
a Tropus interpolated into the text foeditate verborum, verum etiam 
of certain portions of the office or sanguinis eflfusione plerumque con- 
mass, especially the Kyrie, the tingit inquinari, et . . . ut sacratis- 
Lectiones and the Epistola. Such sima dies . . . festuin fatuorum nee 
farces were generally in Latin, but immerito generaliter consueverit 
occasionally, especially in the appellari. 1 Odo and the rest order : 



278 



FOLK DRAMA 



to eliminate from the feast are implied rather than stated ; 
but the general character of the ceremony is clear. It con- 
sisted in the predominance throughout the services, for this 
one day in the year, of the despised sub-deacons. Probably 
they had been accustomed to take the canons' stalls. This 
Eudes de Sully forbids, but evea in the feast as he left it the 
importance of the dominus festi, the sub-deacons' representa- 
tive, is marked by the transfer to him of the baculus, and 
with it the precentor's control. Deposuit potentes de sede : et 
exaltavit humiles occurs in the Magnificat, which is sung at 
Vespers ; and the symbolical phrase, during which probably 
the baculus was handed over from the dominus of one year 
to the dominus of the next, became the keynote of the feast, 
and was hailed with inordinate repetition by the delighted 
throng of inferior clergy 1 . 



*In vigilia festivitatis ad Vesperas 
campanae ordinate sicut in duplo 
simplici pulsabuntur. Cantor faciet 
matriculam (the roll of clergy for 
the day's services) in omnibus 
ordinate ; rimos, personas, lumi- 
naria herciarum nisi tantum in 
rotis ferreis, et in penna, si tamen 
voluerit ille qui capam redditurus 
est, fieri prohibemus ; statuimus 
etiam ne dominus festi cum proces- 
sione vel cantu ad ecclesiam addu- 
catur, vel ad domum suam ab 
ecclesia reducatur. In choro autem 
induet capam suam, assistentibus 
ei duobus canonicis subdiaconis, et 
tenens baculum cantoris, antequam 
incipiantur Vesperae, incipiet pro- 
sam Laetemur gaudiis : qua finita 
episcopus, si praesens fuerit ... in- 
cipiet Vesperas ordinate et solemni- 
ter celebrandas ; . . . a quatuor 
subdiaconis indutis capis sericis 
Responsorium cantabitur. . . . Missa 
similiter cum horis ordinate cele- 
brabitur ab aliquo praedictorum, 
hoc addito quod Epistola cum farsia 
dicetur a duobus in capis sericis, 
et postmodum a subdiacono . . . 
Vesperae sequentes sicut priores 
a Laetemur gaudiis habebunt ini- 
tium: et cantabitur Laetabundus, 
loco hymni. Deposuit quinquies 
ad plus dicetur loco suo; et si 



captus fuerit baculus, finito Te 
Deum laudamus, consummabuntur 
Vesperae ab eo quo fuerint in- 
choatae. . . . Per totum festum in 
omnibus horis canonic! et clerici 
in stall is suis ordinate et regulariter 
se habebunt.' 

1 The feast lasted from Vespers 
on the vigil to Vespers on the day 
of the Circumcision. The Haupt- 
moment was evidently the Magni- 
ficat in the second Vespers. But 
what exactly took place then ? Did 
the cathedral precentor hand over 
the baculus to the dominus festi, or 
was it last year's dominus festi, 
who now handed it over to his 
newly-chosen successor? Probably 
the latter. The dominus festi is 
called at first Vespers ' capam reddi- 
turas': doubtless the cope and 
baculus went together. The domi- 
nus festi may have, as elsewhere, 
exercised disciplinary and repre- 
sentative functions amongst the in- 
ferior clergy during the year. His 
title I take to have oeen, as at Sens, 
precentor stultorum. The order 
says, * si captus fuerit baculus ' ; 
probably it was left to the chapter 
to decide whether the formal instal- 
lation of the precentor in church 
should take place in any particular 
year. 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 279 

Shortly after the Paris reformation a greater than Eudes 
de Sully and a greater than Peter de Capua was stirred into 
action by the scandal of the Feast of Fools and the cognate 
tripitdia. In 1207, Pope Innocent III issued a decretal to 
the archbishop and bishops of the province of Gnesen in 
Poland, in which he called attention to the introduction, 
especially during the Christmas feasts held by deacons, 
priests and sub-deacons, of larvae or masks and theatrales 
ludi into churches, and directed the discontinuance of the 
practice 1 . This decretal was included as part of the per- 
manent canon law in the Decrc tales of Gregory IX in I234 2 . 
But some years before this it found support, so far as France 
was concerned, in a national council held at Paris by the 
legate Robert de Coupon in laia, at which both regular 
and secular clergy were directed to abstain from the festa 
follorum, ubi baculus accipitur 8 . 

It was now time for other cathedral chapters besides that 
of Paris to set their houses in order, and good fortune has 
preserved to us a singular monument of the attempts which 
they made to do so. The so-called Missel des Fous of Sens 
may be seen in the municipal library of that city 4 . It is 
enshrined in a Byzantine ivory diptych of much older date 

1 P. L. ccxv. 1070 ' Interdum ludi 452). I cannot verify an alleged 

fiunt in eisdem ecclesiis theatrales, confirmation of the decretal by 

et non solum ad ludibriorum specta- Innocent IV in 1246. 

cula introducuntur in eas monstra * C. of Paris (1212), pars iv. c. 1 6 

larvarum, yerum etiam in tribus (Mansi, xxii. 842) 'A festis yero 

anni festivitatibus, quae continue follorum, ubi baculus accipitur, 

Natalem Christi sequuntur, diaconi, omnino abstineatur. Idem fortius 

presbiteri ac subdiaconi vicissim .monachis et monialibus prphibe- 

msaniae suae ludibria exercentes, mus.' Can. 18 is a prohibition 

per gesticulationum suarum de- against 'choreae,' similar to that 

bacchationes obscoenas in con- of Eudes de Sully already referred 

spectu populi decus faciunt cleri- to. Such general prohibitions are 

cale vilescere. . . . Fraternitati ve- as common during the mediae- 

strae . . . mandamus, quatenus . . . val period as during that of the 

praelibatam vero ludibriorum con- conversion (cf.ch.viii), and probably 

suetudinem vel potius corruptelam covered the Feast of Fools. See 

curetis e vestris ecclesiis . . . exstir- e.g. C. of Avignon (1209), c. 17 

pare.' As to the scope of this (Mansi, xxii. 7917, C.of Rouen (1231), 

decretal and the glosses of the c.i4(M&n8i,xxin.2i6),C.0/ayeux 

canonists upon it, cf. the account (1300), c. 31 (Mansi, xxv. 66). 

of miracle plays (ch. xx). 4 Codex Senonen. 46 A. There 

* Decretales Greg. IX, lib. iii.tit. i. are two copies in the BibL Nat^ 

cap. 12 (C. /. Can. ed. Friedberg, ii. (i) Cod. Parisin* 10520 B, con- 



2PO FOLK DRAMA 

than itself 1 . It is not a missal at all. It is headed Officium 
Circtimcisionis in usum nrbis Senonensis, and is a choir-book 
containing the words and music of the Propria or special 
chants used in the Hours and Mass at the feast 2 . Local 
tradition at Sens, as far back as the early sixteenth century, 
ascribed the compilation of this office to that very Petrus de 



taming the text only, dated 1667 ; 
(11) Cod. Parisin. 1351 C, containing 
text and music, made for Baluze 
(1630-1718). The Offiiium has been 
printed by F. Bourquelot in Bul- 
letin de la Soc. arch, de Sens (1858), 
vi. 79, and by Cle'ment, 125 sqq. 
The metrical portions are also in 
Dreves, Analecta Hymmca Medii 
Aevi, xx. 217, who cites other Quel- 
len for many of them. See further 
on the MS., Dreves, Stimmen aus 
Mama-Laach, xlvii. 575 ; Desjar- 
dins, 126 ; Cherest, 14 ; A. L. Millin, 
Monuments antiques intdits (1802- 
6), ii. 336; Du Tilliot, 13; J. A. 
Dulaure, Environs de Paris (1825), 
vii. 576; Nisard, in Archives des 
Missions scientifiques et litte'raires 
(1851), 187; Leber, ix. 344 (1'Abbe 
Lebeuf ). Before the Officium pro- 
per, on f. i vo of the MS. a fifteenth- 
century hand (Che'rest, 1 8) has 
written the following quatrain : 

* Festurn stuitorum de consuetudine 

mo rum 
omnibus urbs Senonis festival no- 

bihs annisj 
quo gaudet precentor, sed tamen 

omnis honor 
sit Chnsto circumciso nunc 

semper et almo' : 

and the following couplet : 

* Tartara Bacchorum non pocula 

sunt fatuorum, 

tartara vincentes sic fiunt ut sa- 
pientes.' 

Millin, ioc. cit. 344, cites a MS. 
dissertation of one Pere Laire, 
which ascribes these lines to one 
Lubin, an official at Chartres. The 
last eight pages of the MS. contain 
epistles for the feasts of St. Stephen, 



St. John the Evangelist, and the 
Innocents. 

1 Cherest, 14 ; Millin, op. cit. ii. 
336 (plates), and Voyage dans le 
Midi, i. 60 (plates); Clement, 122, 
162 ; Bourquelot, op. ctt. vi. 79 
(plates) ; A. de Montaiglon, in 
Gazette des Beaux-arts (1880), i. 24 
(plates) ; E. Molinier, Hist, gtne- 
rale des Arts appliques, \ ; Les 
Ivoires (1896), 47 (plate) ; A. M. 
Cust, Ivory Workers of the Middle 
Ages (1902), 34. This last writer 
says that the diptych is now in the 
Bibl. Nationale. The leaves of the 
diptych represent a Triumph of 
Bacchus, and a Triumph of Arte- 
mis or Aphrodite. It has nothing 
to do with the Feast of Fools, and 
is of sixth-century workmanship. 

2 Dreves, 575, thinks the MS. 
was ' fur eine Geckenbruderschaft/ 
as the chants are not in the con- 
temporary Missals, Breviaries, Gra- 
duals, and Antiphonals of the 
church. But if they were, a sepa- 
rate Officium book would be super- 
fluous. Such special festorum libri 
were in use elsewhere, e.g. at 
Amiens. Nisard, op. cit., thinks 
the Officium was an imitation one 
written by * notaires ' to amuse the 
choir-boys, and cites a paper of 
M. Carlier, canon of Sens, before 
the Historic Congress held at Sens 
in 1850 in support of this view. 
Doubtless the goliardi wrote such 
imitations (cf. the missa lusorum in 
Schmeller, Carmina Bur ana, 248 ; 
the missa de potatoribus in Wright- 
Halliwell, Reliquiae Antiquae, ii. 
208 ; and the missa potatorum in 
F. Novati, La Parodia sacra nelle 
Letterature moderne (Studi critici 
e letterari, 289)) ; but this is too 
long to be one, and is not a bur- 
lesque at all. 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 281 

Corbolio who was associated with Eudes de Sully in the 
Paris reformation 1 . Pierre de Corbeil, whom scholastics 
called doctor opinatissimus and his epitaph flos et honor 
cleri, had a varied ecclesiastical career. As canon of Notre- 
Dame and reader in the Paris School of Theology he 
counted amongst his pupils one no less distinguished than 
the future Pope Innocent III himself. He became archdeacon 
of Evreux, coadjutor of Lincoln (a fact of some interest 
in connexion with the scanty traces of the Feast of Fools 
in England), bishop of Cambrai, and finally archbishop of 
Sens, where he died in 1322. There is really no reason to 
doubt his connexion with the Officium. The handwriting 
of the manuscript and the character of the music are 
consistent with a date early in the thirteenth century 2 . 
Elaborate and interpolated offices were then still in vogue, 
and the good bishop enjoyed some reputation for literature 
as well as for learning. He composed an office for the 
Assumption, and is even suspected of contributions in his 
youth to goliardic song 3 . It is unlikely that he actually 
wrote much of the text of the Officium Circumcisionis , very 
little of which is peculiar to Sens. But he may well have 
compiled or revised it for his own cathedral, with the in- 
tention of pruning the abuses of the feast ; and, in so doing, 
he evidently admitted proses and farsurae with a far more 
liberal hand than did Eudes de Sully. The whole office, 
which is quite serious and not in the least burlesque, well 
repays study. I can only dwell on those parts of it which 
throw light on the general character of the celebration for 
which it was intended. 

The first Vespers on the eve of the Circumcision are pre- 
ceded by four lines sung in ianuis ecclesiae: 

1 Cf. the chapter decree of 1524 Quantin, *archiviste de PYonne. 1 

* festum Circumcision is a defuncto M. Quantin believes that the hand 

Corbolio institutum,' which is doubt- is that of a charter of Pierre de 

less the authority for the statements Corbeil, dated 1201, in the Yonne 

of Taveau, Hist, archiep. Senonen. archives. On the other hand N isard, 

(1608), 94 ; Saint-Marthe, Gallia op. cit., and Danjou, Revue de mu- 

Christiana (1770), xii. 60; Baluze, sique religieuse (1847), 287, think 

note in B. N. Cod. Parisin. 1351 C. that the MS. is of the fourteenth 

(quoted N isard, op. tit.). century. 

1 Dreves, 575 ; CheVest, 15, who 3 Che*rest, 35 ; Dreves, 576. 
quotes an elaborate opinion of M. 



282 FOLK DRAMA 

' Lux hodie, lux laetitiae, me iudice trtstis 
quisquis erit, removendus erit solemnibus istis, 
sint hodie procul invidiae, procul omnia maesta, 
laeta volunt, quicunque colunt asinaria festa. 1 

These lines are interesting, because they show that the 
thirteenth-century name for the feast at Sens was the 
asinaria festa, the * Feast of the Ass.' They are followed 
by what is popularly known as the ' Prose of the Ass/ but 
is headed in the manuscript Conducts ad tabulam. A con- 
ductus is a chant sung while the officiant is conducted from 
one station to another in the church 1 , and the tabula is 
the rota of names and duties pro cantu et lectura, with the 
reading of which the Vespers began 2 . The text of the Prose 
of the Ass, as used at Sens and elsewhere, is given in an 
appendix 3 . Next come a trope and a farsed Alleluia, a 
long interpolation dividing 'Alle-' and '-luia/ and then 
another passage which has given a wrong impression of the 
nature of the office: 

' Quatuor vel quinque in falso retro altare : 

Haec est clara dies, clararum clara dierum, 
haec est festa dies, festarum festa dierum, 
nobile nobilium rutilans diadema dierum. 

Duo vel tres in voce retro altare: 

Salve festa dies, toto venerabilis aevo, 
qua Deus est ortus virginis ex uteroV 

1 LiturgicaUy a conductus is a cal and given to the lower voice 

form of Cantw, that is, an interpo- only.' The term is several times 

lation in the mass or office, which used in the Offidum. Cl&nent, 163, 

stands as an independent unit, falls foul of JDulaure for taking it 

and not, like the Tropes, Proses as an adjective throughout, with 

and Sequences, as an extension of asinus understood, 

the proper liturgical texts. The Can- 2 Wordsworth, Mediaeval Ser- 

tiones ^ are, however, only a further vices, 289; Clement, 126, 163. 

step in the process which began Dulaure seems to have taken the 

with Tropes (Nisard, op. tit. 191 ; tabula for the altar. The English 

Dreves, Anal. Hymn. xx. 6). From name for the tabula was wax-bride. 

the point of view of musical science An example (t 1500) is printed by 

H. E. Wooldridge, Oxford Hist, of H. E. Reynolds, Use of Exeter 

Music, \. 308, defines a conductus Cathedral, 73. 

as ' a composition of equally free * Appendix L ; where the various 

and flowing* melodies in all the versions of the * Prose ' are collated, 

parts, in which the words are metri- * There are many hymns begin- 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 283 

The phrase in falso does not really mean ' out of tune/ It 
means, ' with the harmonized accompaniment known as en 
faux bourdon', and is opposed to in voce y ' in unison V The 
Vespers, with many further interpolations, then continue, and 
after them follow Compline, Matins, Lauds 2 , Prime, Tierce, 
the Mass, Sext, and second Vespers. These end with three 
further pieces of particular interest from our point of view. 
The first is a Conductus ad Bacularium> the name Bacularius 
being doubtless that given at Sens to the dominus festi 3 . 
This opens in a marked festal strain : 

1 Novus annus hodie 
monet nos laetitiae 

laudes inchoare, 
felix est principium, 
finem cuius gaudium 

solet terminare. 
celebremus igitur 

festum annuale, 
quo peccati solvitur 

vinculum mortale 
et infirmis proponitur 

poculum vitale ; 
adhuc sanat aegrotantes 

hoc medicinale, 



ping Salve, festa dies. The model most choir-books to give the tone 

is a couplet of Venantius Fortu- for the following psalm (Clement, 

natiis, Carmina^ iii. 9, Ad Felicem 164). 

efriscopum de Pascha, 39 (M. G. H. 2 Ctement, 138, reads Conductus 

Auct. Antiguiss. iv. i. 60) : ad Ludos y and inserts before In 

'Salve, festa dies, toto venerabilis Laudtbus the word Ludarius. 

acvo Dreves, A nal. Hymn. xx. 22 1 , reads 

qua Deus infernum vicit et astra Conductus ad Laudes. The sec- 

tenet* t ^? n I* Laudibus, not being me- 



is noted at the ends of antiphons in 



284 FOLK DRAMA 

imde psallimus laetantes 

ad memoriale. 
ha, ha, ha, 

qui vult vere psallere, 
trino psallat munere, 
corde, ore, opere 

debet laborare, 
ut sic Deum colere 

possit et placare/ 

The Bacularius is then, one may assume, led out of the 
church, with the Conditctus ad Poculum^ which begins, 

Kalendas lanuarias 
solemnes, Christe, facias, 
et nos ad tuas nuptias 
vocatus rex suscipias. 1 

The manuscript ends, so far as the Feast of the Circumcision 
is concerned, with some Versus ad Prandium, to be sung in 
the refectory, taken from a hymn of Prudentius 1 . 

The Sens Missel des Fous has been described again and 
again. Less well known, however, is the very similar Offi- 
cium of Beauvais, and for the simple reason that although 
recent writers on the Feast of Fools have been aware of its 
existence, they have not been aware of its habitat. I have 
been fortunate enough to find it in the British Museum, and 
only regret that I am not sufficiently acquainted with textual 
and musical palaeography to print it in extenso as an appendix 
to this chapter 2 . The date of the manuscript is probably 

1 Prudentius, Cathemerinon, iii. archMogiques (1856), xvi. 259, 300. 

9 Egerton MS. 2615 (Catalogue Dreves, Anal. Hymn. xx. 230 

of Additions to MSS. in B. M. (1895), speaks of it as 'vielleicht 

1882-87, p. 336). On the last noch in Italien in Privatbesitz.' 

page is written ' Iste liber est beati This, and not the MS. used by 

petri beluacensis.' On ff. 78, no v Ducange's editors, is the MS. 

are book-plates of the chapter of whose description Desjardins, 127, 

Beauvais, the former signed * Vollet 168, gives from a 1464 Beauvais 

ffecit].' The MS. was bought by inventory: *N. 76. Item ung petit 

the British Museum in 1883, and volume entre deux ais sans cuir lung 

formerly belonged to Signer Pachia- d'icelx ais rompu a demy contenant 

rotti of Padua. It was described plusieurs proses antiennes et com- 

and a facsimile of the harmonized mencemens des messes avec orai- 

Prose of the Ass given in Annales sons commengant au ii feuillet 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 285 

1 227-34 ^ Like that of Sens it contains the Propria for 
the Feast of the Circumcision from Vespers to Vespers. 
Unluckily, there is a lacuna of several pages in the middle 2 . 
The office resembles that of Sens in general character, but is 
much longer. There are two lines of opening rubric, of which 
all that remains legible is ... media stantes incipit cantor. 
Then comes the quatrain Lux hodie similarly used at Sens, 
but with the notable variant of praesentia festa for asinaria 
festa. Then, under the rubric, also barely legible, Conductus, 
quando asinus adducitur 3 , comes the ' Prose of the Ass.' At 
the end of Lauds is the following rubric : Postea omncs eant 
ante ianuas ccclesiae clausas. Et quatuor stent forts tcnentes 
singli urnas vino plcnas cum cyfis vitreis. Quorum unus 
canonicus incipiat Kalendas lanuarias. Tune aperiantur 
ianuae. Here comes the lacuna in the manuscript, which 
begins again in the Mass. Shortly before the prayer for the 
pope is a rubric Quod dicitur, ubi apponatur baculus, which 
appears to be a direction for a ceremony not fully described 
in the Officium. The ' Prose of the Ass ' occurs a second 
time as the Conductus Subdiaconi ad Epistolam, and on this 
occasion the musical accompaniment is harmonized in three 
parts 4 . I can find nothing about a Bacularius at second 
Vespers, but the office ends with a series of conductus and 
hymns, some of which are also harmonized in parts. The 
Officium is followed in the manuscript by a Latin cloister play 
of Daniel*. 

An earlier manuscript than that just described was formerly 
preserved in the Beauvais cathedral library. It dated from 
ii 60-80 6 . It was known to Pierre Louvet, the seventeenth- 
century historian of Beauvais 7 , and apparently to Dom 

Belle bouche^\. au pe*nultieme cooper- none for any queen of France. 

turn stolla Candida' The broken 2 Between flf. 40 and 41. 

board was mended, after 420 years, 3 So B. M. CatcUo^ue^ loc. tit. 

by the British Museum in 1884. To me it reads like * Conductus asi 

1 B. M. Catalogue^ loc. tit.) . . . adducitur.' 

* Written in the xiii lh cent., prob- * F. 43. 

ably during the pontificate of c Cf. ch. xix. 

Gregory IX (1227-41) and before e Louis VII married Ad&le de 

the marriage of Louis IX to Mar- Champagne in 1160 and died in 

guerite of Provence in 1234.' There 1180. 

are prayers for Gregorius Papa and 7 Pierre Louvet, Hist, du Dioc. 

Ludovicus Rex on if. 42, 42% but de Beauvais (1635), " 2 99> quoted 



286 FOLK DRAMA 

Grenier, who died in 1789 l . According to Grenier's account 
it must have closely resembled that in the British Museum. 

* Aux premieres v6pres, le chantre commen9ait par entonner 
au milieu de la nef : Lux hodie, lux laetitiae^ etc. ... A laudes 
rien de particulier que le Benedictus et son r^pons farcis. Les 
laudes finies on sortait de T^glise pour aller trouver Tine qui 
attcfndait i la grande porte. Elle tait ferme. Li, chacun 
des chanoines s'y trouvant la bouteille et le verre & la main, 
le chantre entonnait la prose: Kalendas ianuarias solemne 
Chris te facias. Voici ce que porte 1'ancien c^r^monial : domi- 
nus cantor et canonici ante ianuas ecclesiae clausas stent foris 
tenentes singuli urnas vini plenas cum cyfis mtreis^ quorum 
unus cantor incipiat : Kalendas ianuarias, etc. Les battants 
de la porte ouverts, on introduisait 1'dne dans T6glise, en 
chantant la prose : Orientis partibus. Ici est une lacune dans 
le manuscrit j usque vers le milieu du Gloria in excelsis. . . . 
On chantait la litanie : Christus mncit^ Christus regnat> dans 
laquelle on priait pour le pape Alexandre III, pour Henri 
de France, vque de Beauvais, pour le roi Louis VII et pour 
Alixe ou Ad&le de Champagne qui &ait devenue reine en 
1160 ; par quoi on peut juger de 1'antiquite de ce ceremonial. 
L'vangile ^tait pr6c^d6 d'une prose et suivi d'une autre. II 
est marqu dans le cdr^monial de cinq cents ans que les 
encensements du jour de cette fte se feront avec le boudin 
et la saucisse : hoc die incensabitur cum boudino et saucita* 

by Desjardins, 124. I am sorry or parts of them, are printed by 
not to have been able to get hold F. Bourquelot, in Bulletin de la Soc. 
of the original. Nor can I find arch, de Sens (1854), vi. 171 (which 
E. Charvet, Reck, sur les anciens also, unfortunately, I have not seen), 
theatres de Beauvais (1881). and chants from them are in Dreves, 
1 Grenier, 362. He says the Anal. Hymn. xx. 229. But here 
' ce're'monial ' is ' tire* d'un ms. de Dreves seems to speak of them as 
la cathe*drale de Beauvais/ and copies of Pacchiarotti's MS. (Eeer- 
gives the footnote 'Preuv. part I, ton MS. 2615). And Desjardins, 
n. .' On the prose Kalendas 124, says that Grenier and Bour- 
lanuarias and the censing his foot- quelot used extracts from eighteenth- 
notes refer to Ducange, s. y. Kalen- century copies of Pacchiarotti's MS. 
doe. The ' Preuves * for his history in the library of M. Borel de Bre'- 
are scattered through the MSS. tizel. Are these writers mistaken, 
Picardie in the BibL Nat. No or did Grenier only see the copies, 
doubt the reference here is to MSS. and take his description from Lou- 
14 and 158 which are copies of the vet ? And what has become of the 
Beauvais office (Dreves, in Stimmen twelfth-century MS. ? 
aus Maria-Laach)T/i\v\\. 575). These, 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 287 

Dom Grenier gives as the authority for his last sentence, 
not the Officium^ but the Glossary of Ducange, or rather the 
additions thereto made by certain Benedictine editors in 
1733-6. They quote the pudding and sausage rubric together 
with that as to the drinking-bout, which occurs in both the 
Officia, as from a Beauvais manuscript. This they describe as 
a codex ann. circiter 500 *. It seems probable that this was 
not an Officium at all, but something of the nature of a 
Processional, and that it was identical with the codex 500 
annorum from which the same Benedictines derived their 
amazing account of a Beauvais ceremony which took place 
not on January i but on January 14 2 . A pretty girl, with 
a child in her arms, was set upon an ass, to represent 
the Flight into Egypt. There was a procession from the 
cathedral to the church of St. Stephen. The ass and its riders 
were stationed on the gospel side of the altar. A solemn 
mass was sung, in which Introit, Kyrie, Gloria and Credo 
ended with a bray. To crown all, the rubrics direct that the 
celebrant, instead of saying Ite^ missa est, shall bray three 
times (ter hinhannabif) and that the people shall respond 
in similar fashion. At this ceremony also the ' Prose of the 
Ass* was used, and the version preserved in the Glossary is 
longer and more ludicrous than that of either the Sens or the 
Beauvais Officium. 

On a review of all the facts it would seem that the Beauvais 
documents represent a stage of the feast unaffected by any 
such reform as that carried out by Pierre de Corbeil at Sens. 
And the nature of that reform is fairly clear. Pierre de 

1 Ducange, s. v. Kalendae, ' MS. 158, appears to have no knowledge 
codice Bellovac. ann. circiter 500, of the MS. but what he read in 
ubi I* haec occurrit rubrica Domi- Ducange ; and it is not quite clear 
nus . . . ianuae. Et alibi Hac . . . what he means when he says that 
saucita? it 'd'apres nos renseignements, ne 

2 Ducange, s.v,FestumAsinorum. renferme pas un office, mais une 
Desjardins and other writers give sprte de mystire poste'rieur d'un 
the date of the ' codex ' as twelfth siecle au moins a 1 office de Sens, 
century. But 500 years from 1733-6 etn'ayantaucuneautorite'histprique 
only bring it to the thirteenth cen- et encore bien moins religieuse/ 
tury. The mistake is due to the The MS. was contemporary with 
fact that the first edition of Du- the Sens Officium, and although cer- 
cange, in which the ' codex ' is not tainly influenced by the religious 
mentioned, is of 1678. Clement, drama was still liturgic (cf. ch. xx). 



288 FOLK DRAMA 

Corbeil provided a text of the Officium based either on that 
of Beauvais or on an earlier version already existing at Sens. 
He probably added very little of his own, for the Sens manu- 
script only contains a few short passages not to be found in 
that of Beauvais. And as the twelfth-century Beauvais manu- 
script seems to have closely resembled the thirteenth-century 
one still extant, Beauvais cannot well have borrowed from 
him. At the same time he doubtless suppressed whatever 
burlesque ceremonies, similar to the Beauvais drinking-bout 
in the porch and censing with pudding and sausage, may have 
been in use at Sens. One of these was possibly the actual 
introduction of an ass into the church. But it must be 
remembered that the most extravagant of such ceremonies 
would not be likely at either place to get into the formal service- 
books 1 . As the Sens Officium only includes the actual service 
of January I itself, it is impossible to compare the way in 
which the semi-dramatic extension of the feast was treated in 
the two neighbouring cathedrals. But Sens probably had this 
extension, for as late as 1634 there was an annual procession, 
in which the leading figures were the Virgin Mary mounted 
on an ass and a cortigc of the twelve Apostles. This did 
not, however, at that time take part in the Mass 2 . 

The full records of the Feast of Fools at Sens do not 
begin until the best part of a century after the probable 
date of its Officium. But one isolated notice breaks the 
interval, and shows that the efforts of Pierre de Corbeil were 
not for long successful in purging the revel of its abuses. 
This is a letter written to the chapter in 1245 by Odo, 
cardinal of Tusculum, who was then papal legate in France. 
He calls attention to the antiqua ludibria of the feasts of 
Christmas week and of the Circumcision, and requires these 

1 Cf. Appendix L, on an Officium He describes a Rabelaisian contre- 

(1553) for Jan. I, without stulti or temps , which is said to have put an 

asinus, from Puy. end to the procession in 1634. No 

Leber, ix. 238. This is a note authority is given for this account, 

by J. B. Salques to the reprint of which I believe to be the source 

D'Artigny's memoir on the F$te of all later notices. I may add 

des Fous. The writer calls the that Ducange gives the name 

ceremony the |fte des apotres,' Festum Apostolorum to the feast 

and says that it was held at the of St. Philip and St. James on 

same time as the 'fete de Tine/ May i. 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 



289 



to be celebrated, not iuxta pristirtum modum, but with the 
proper ecclesiastical ceremonies. He specifically reprobates 
the use of unclerical dress and the wearing of wreaths of 
flowers l . 

A little later in date than either the Sens or the Beauvais 
Officium is a Ritual of St. Omer, which throws some light 
on the Feast of Fools as it was celebrated in the northern 
town on the day of the Circumcision about 1 264. It was the 
feast of the vicars and the choir. A ' bishop ' and a ' dean ' 
of Fools took part in the services. The latter was censed 
in burlesque fashion, and the whole office was recited at the 
pitch of the voice, and even with howls. There cannot have 
been much of a reformation here 2 . 

A few other scattered notices of thirteenth-century Feasts 
of Fools may be gathered together. The Roman de Renard 
is witness to the existence of such a feast, with jeux and 
tippling, at Bayeux, about iaoo 3 . At Autun, the chapter 
forbade the baculus anni novi in 1230*. Feasts of Fools 



1 Cod. Senonens. G. 133, printed 
by Cherest, 47 ; Quantin, Recueil 
de pieces pour faire suite au Car- 
tulaire general de FYonne (1873), 
235 (N. 504) ' mandamus, quate- 
nus ilia festorum antiqua ludibna, 
quae in contemptum Dei, oppro- 
brium cleri,etderisum populi nonest 
dubium exerceri, videlicet, in festis 
Sancti loannis Evangelistae, Inno- 
centium, et Circumcisionis Domini, 
iuxta pristinum modum nullatenus 
faciatis aut fieri permit tatis, sed 
iuxta formam et cultum aliarum 
festivitatum cjuae per anni circulum 
celebrantur, ita volumus et prae- 
cipimus celebrari. Ita quod ipso 
facto sententiam suspensionis incur- 
rat quicumque in mutatione habitus 
aut in sertis de floribus seu aliis 
dissolutionibus iuxta prae dictum 
ritum reprobatum adeo in prae- 
dictis festivitatibus seu aliis a modo 
praesumpserit se habere.' 

* L. Deschamps de Pas, Les 
CMmonies religieuses dans la Col" 
ttgiale de Saint- Omerau xiii* Siecle 
(Mtm. de la Soc. de la Morinie, 
joe. 147). The directions for Jan. I 
are fragmentary: 'In quo vicarii 



ceterique clerici chorum frequen- 
tantes et eorum episcopus se ha- 
beant in cantando et officiando sicut 
superius dictum est in festo Sancto- 
rum Innocentium (cf. p. 370), hoc 
tamen excepto quod omnia quae 
ista die fiunt officiando quando est 
festum fatuorum pro posse fiunt et 
etiam ullulando . . . domino decano 
fatuorum ferunt incensum sed pre- 
postere ut dictum est.' Ululatus 
is, however, sometimes a technical 
term in church music ; cf. vol. li. p. 7. 
8 R. de Renard) xii. 469 (ed. 
Martin, vol. ii. 14) : 

' Dan prestre, il est la feste as fox. 
Si fera len demein des chox 
Et grant departie a Baieus : 
Ales i, si verres les jeus.' 

Branch xii of the Roman is the 
composition of Richart de Lison, 
who, according to Martin, suppl. 
72, wrote in Normandy 1 1200. 
The phrase 'faire les choux f *get 
drunk, 1 cabbages being regarded as 
prophylactic of the ill effects of 
liquor. 

4 Hist, de rglise d>Autun 
(1774), 469, 631 * I tern innovamus, 



U 



290 



FOLK DRAMA 



on Innocents' and New Year's days are forbidden by the 
statutes of Nevers cathedral in 1346*. At Romans, in 
Dauphin^, an agreement was come to in 1274 between the 
chapter, the archbishop of Vienne and the municipal authori- 
ties, that the choice of an abbot by the cathedral clerks 
known as esclaffardi should cease, on account of the dis- 
turbances and scandals to which it had given rise 2 . The 
earliest mention of the feast at Laon is about ia8o 3 ; while 
it is provided for as the sub-deacons' feast by an Amiens 
Ordinarium of 1291 4 . Nor are the ecclesiastical writers 
oblivious of it. William of Auxerre opens an era of learned 
speculation in his De Officiis Ecclesiasticis, by explaining it as 
a Christian substitute for the Parentalia of the pagans 6 . 
Towards the end of the century, Durandus, bishop of Mende, 
who drew upon both William of Auxerre and Belethus for 



quod ille qui de caetero capiet 
baculum anni novi nihil penitus 
habebit de bursa Capituli ' (Kegistr. 
Capit. s. a. i 230). 

* Martene and Durand, Thesau- 
rus Anecdotorum, iv. 1070 * in festo 
stultorum, scilicet Innocentium et 
anni novi . . . multa fiunt inhonesta 
. . . ne talia festa irrisoria de cetero 
facere praesumant.' 

* Ducange, s. v. abbas esclajfar- 
dorutn.) quoting Hist. Delphin. i. 
132 ; J. J. A. Pilot de Thorey, 
Usages, F&tes et Coutumes en Dau- 

phint, i. 182. The latter writer 
says that there was also an epi- 
scopus, who was not suppressed, 
that the canons did reverence to 
him, and that the singing of the 
Magnificat was part of the feast. 

8 C. Hide*, Bull, de la Soc. acad. 
de Laon (1863), xi "- I! 5- 

4 Grenier, 361 'Si hoc dicitur 
fec^um stultorum asubdiaconis fiat, 
et dominica eveniat, ab ipsis fiat 
festum in cappis sericis, sicut in 
libris festorum continetur.' These 
libri possibly resembled those of 
Sens and Beauvais. 

6 Summa Gulielmi Autissiodo- 
rensis de Off. Eccles. (quoted by 
Chtfrest, 44, from Bibl. Nat. MS. 
1411) 'Quaeritur quare in hac die 
fit festum stultorum. . . . Ante ad- 



ventum Domini celebrabant festa 
quae vocabant Parentalia ; et in 
ilia die spem ponebant credentes 
quod si in ilia die bene eis accideret, 
quod similiter in toto anno. Hoc 
festum voluit removere Ecclesia 
quod contra fidem est. Et quia 
extirpare omnino non potuit, festum 
illud permittit et celebrat illud fe- 
stum celeberrirnum ut aliud demitta- 
tur: et ideo in matutinaJi officio 
leguntur lectiones quae dehortantur 
ab huiusmodi quae sunt contra 
fidem (cf. p. 245 ). Et si ista die ab ec- 
clesia quaedam fiunt praeter fidem, 
nulla tamen contra fidem. Et ideo 
ludps qui sunt contra fidem permu- 
tavit in ludos qui non sunt contra 
fidem.' There is clearly a confusion 
here between the Roman Paren- 
talia (Feb. 13-22) and Kalendae 
(Jan. i). On William of Auxerre, 
whose work remains in MS., cf. 
Lebeuf, in P. Desmolets, Afe'moires, 
iii. 339 ; Nouvelle Biographie vm- 
uerselle, s.n. He was bishop of 
Auxerre, translated to Paris in 1220, 
ob. 1223. He must be distinguished 
from another William of Auxerre, 
who was archdeacon of Beauvais 
(fi23o), and wrote a comment on 
Petrus Lombardus, printed at Paris 
in 1 500 (Grober, Grundriss d*r rom. 
Philologie> ii. I. 239). 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 291 

his Rationale Divinorum Officiorum, gave an account of 
it which agrees closely with that of Belethus 1 . Neither 
William of Auxerre nor Durandus shows himself hostile 
to the Feast of Fools. Its abuses are, however, condemned 
in more than one contemporary collection of sermons 2 . 

With the fourteenth century the records of the Feast of 
Fools become more frequent. In particular, the account- 
books of the chapter of Sens throw some light on the 
organization of the feast in that cathedral 3 . The Compotus 
Camerarii has, from 1345 onwards, a yearly entry pro vino 
praesentato vicariis ecclesiae die Circumcisionis Domini. 
Sometimes the formula is varied to die festi fatuorum. In 
course of time the whole expenses of the feast come to be 
a charge on the chapter, and in particular, it would appear, 
upon the sub-deacon canons 4 . In 1376 is mentioned, for the 
first time, the dominus festi, to whom under the title of 
precentor et provisor festi stultorum a payment is made. 
The Compotus Nemorum shows that by 1374 a prebend in 
the chapter woods had been appropriated to the vicars pro 
festo fatuorum. Similar entries occur to the end of the 

1 Gulielmus Durandus, Rationale bratur confuso.' On Durandus cf. 

Div. Off. (Antwerp, 1614), vi. 15, the translation of his work by 

de Circumcisione^ ' In quibusdam C. Barthe*lemy (1854). He was 

ecclesiis subdiaconi fortes et iuvenes born at Puymisson in the diocese 

faciunt hodie festum ad significan- of Be*ziers (1230), finished the 

dum quod in octava resurgentium, Rationale (1284), became bishop of 

quae significatur per octavam diem, Mende (1285), and ob. (1296). 

qua circumcisio fiebat, nulla erit * A. Lecoy de la Marche, La 

aebilis aetas, non senectus, non Chaire frangatse au M. A. 368, 

senium, non impotens pueritia . . . citing BibL Nat. MSS.fr. 133141 

&c.' A reference to the heathen f. 18; 16481, N. 93. The latter 

Kalends follows ; cf. also vii. 42, de MS., which is analysed by Echard, 

festis SS. Stephani, loannis Evang. Script. Ord. Predicatorum, i. 269, 

et Innocentium, * . . . subdiaconi contains Dominican sermons de- 

vero faciunt festum in quibusdam livered in Paris, 1272-3. 

ecclesiis in festo circumcisionis, ut 8 Che*rest, 49 sqq., from Sens 

ibi dictum est : in aliis in Epiphania Chapter Accounts in Archives tie 

ct etiam in aliis in octava Epipha- r Yonne, at Auxerre. The Com- 

niae, quod vocant festum stultorum. potus Camerarii begins in 1295-6. 

Quia enim ordo ille antiquitus in- The Chapter Register is missing 

certus erat, nam in canonibus anti- before 1662 : some of Baluze's ex- 

quis (extra de aetate et qualitate) tracts from it are in Bibl. Nat. Cod. 

multis quandoque vocatur sacer et Parisin. 1351. 

quandoque non, ideo subdiaconi 4 Che'rest, 55 ' pro servitio facien- 

certum ad festandum non habent do die dicti festi quatenus tangit 

diem, et eorum festum officio cele- canonicos subdiaconos in ecclesia/ 

U 2 



292 



FOLK DRAMA 



fourteenth century and during the first quarter of the fifteenth 1 . 
Then came the war to disturb everything, and from 1420 
the account-books rarely show any traces of the feast. Nor 
were civil commotions alone against it. As in the twelfth 
and thirteenth centuries, so in the fourteenth and fifteenth 
the abuses which clung about the Feasts of Fools rendered 
them everywhere a mark for the eloquence of ecclesiastical 
reformers. About 1400 the famous theologian and rector 
of Paris University, Jean-Charlier de Gerson, put himself at 
the head of a crusade against the ritus ille impiissimus et 
insanus qui rcgnat per totam Franciam, and denounced it 
roundly in sermons and conclusiones. The indecencies of 
the feast, he declares, would shame a kitchen or a tavern. 
The chapters will do nothing to stop them, and if the bishops 
protest, they are flouted and defied. The scandal can only 
be ended by the interposition of royal authority 2 . According 



1 Towards the end of this period 
the accounts are in French : k le 
pre'ccntre de la feste aux fols.' 

2 Eptstola de Reform atione Theo- 
logize (Gerson, Opera Omni a, i. 
121), from Bruges, ist Jan. 1400 
'ex sacnlegis paganorum idolola- 
trarumque ritibus reliquiae/ &c. ; 
Solemn) s oratio ex parte Uni'versi- 
tatis Paris, in praesentia Regis 
Caroli Sexti (1405, Opera iv. 620 ; 
cf. French version in BibL Nat. 
ane. f fr. 7275, described P. Paris, 
Manus. franq. de la BibL du AW, 
vii. 266) k hie commendari potest 
bona Regis fides et vest rum omnium 
Dommorum varns modis rehgio- 
sorum, . . . in hoc quod lam dudum 
litteras dedistis contra abominabiles 
maledictiones ct quasi idolatnas, 
quae in Francorum fiunt ecclesus 
sub umbra Festi fatnorum. Fatui 
sunt ipsi, et perniciosi fatui, nee 
sustinendi, opus est executione'; 
Rememoratic quorutndam quae per 
Praelatum quemlibet pro parte sua 
nunc agenda viderentur (1407-8 
Opera, ii. 109) 'sciatur quomodo 
ritus ille impiissimus et insanus qui 
regnat per totam Franciam potent 
evelli aut saltern temperari. De 
hoc scilicet quod ecclesiastic! fa- 



ciunt, vel in die Innocentium, vel in 
dieCircumcisionis,vel in Epiphania 
Domini, vel in Carnisprivio per 
Ecclesias suas, ubi fit irrisio de- 
testabihs Servitii Domini et Sacra- 
men torum : ubi plura fiunt impu- 
denter et execrabiliter quam neri 
deberent, in tabemis vel prostibulis, 
vel apud Saracenos et ludaeos; 
sciunt qui viderunt, quod non suffi- 
cit censura Ecclesiastica ; quaeratur 
auxiliumpotestatis Regiae per edicta 
sua vehementerurgentia ; ; Quingue 
conclusions super ludo sfultorvm 
communiter fieri solito (Opera iii. 
309) * qui per Regnum Franciae in 
diversis fiunt Ecclesiis et Abbatiis 
monachorum et monialium . . . hae 
enim insolentiae non dicerentur 
cocis in eorum culina absque dede- 
core aut reprehensione,quae ibi fiunt 
in Ecclesiis Sacrosanctis, in loco 
orationis, in praesentia Sancti Sacra- 
menti Altaris,dum divinum cantatur 
servitium, toto populo Christiano 
spectante et interdum ludaeis . . . 
idhuc peius est dicere, festum hoc 
'eo approbatum esse sicut festum 
conceptionis Virginis Mariae, quod 
paulo ante asseruit quidam in urbe 
Altissiodorensi secundum quod dici- 
tur et narrari solet, &c. v 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 293 

to Gerson, Charles the Sixth did on one occasion issue letter^ 
against the feast ; and the view of the reformers found 
support in the diocesan council of Langres in 1404', and 
the provincial council of Tours, held at Nantes in 1431 2 . 
It was a more serious matter when, some years after Gerson's 
death, the great council of Basle included a prohibition of 
the feast in its reformatory decrees of 1435 3 . By the 
Pragmatic Sanction issued by Charles VII at the national 
council of Bourges in 1438, these decrees became ecclesi- 
astical law in France 4 , and it was competent for the Parle- 
ments to put them into execution 5 . But the chapters were 
obstinate ; the feasts were popular, not only with the in- 
ferior clergy themselves, but with the spectacle-loving bour- 
geois of the cathedral towns ; and it was only gradually that 
they died out during the course of the next century and 
a half. The failure of the Pragmatic Sanction to secure 
immediate obedience in this matter roused the University of 
Paris, still possessed with the spirit of Gerson, to fresh action. 
On March 12, 1445, the Faculty of Theology, acting through 
its dean, Eustace de Mesnil, addressed to the bishops and 

1 Council of Langres (1404) quibusdam frequentatum Ecclcsiis, 
' prohibemus clericis . . . ne in- quo certis anni celebritatibus non- 
tersint ... in ludis illis inhonestis null is cum mitra, baculo ac vestibus 
quae solent fieri in aliqnibus EC- pontificalibus more episcoporum 
clesiis in festo Fatuorum quod benedicunt, alii ut reges ac duces 
faciunt in festivitatibus Natalis induti quod festum Fatuorum, vci 
Domini/ Innocentum seu Pucrorum in qui- 

2 Council of Nantes (1431), c. 13 busdam regiombus nuncupdtur, alii 
(J. Maan, Sancta et Metrop. EccL larvales et theatrales locos, aln 
Turonensis, ii. ipi) 'quia in talibus choreas et tripudia marium et mu- 
Ecclesiis Provinciae Turonensis lierum facientes homines ad specta- 
inolevit et servatur usus, . . . quod cula et cachmnationes movent, alii 
festis Nativitatis Domini, Sancto- comessationes et convivia ibidem 
rum Stephani, Joannis et Inno- praeparant.' 

centium, nonnulli Papam, nonnulli * Council of Bourges, July 7, 1438 

Episcopum, alii Ducem vel Comitem ( Ordonnanccs ties I\ois tie t rante de 

aut Pnncipem in suis Ecclesiis ex la Ttoisicme Race, xiii. 287) * Item, 

novitiis praecipuis faciunt et or- Acceptat Decretum de spectaculis 

dinant . . . Et talia . . . vulgari elo- in Ecclesia non faucndis, quod 

quio festum stultorum nuncupatur, incipit : 'lurpem, &c.' 

quod de residuis Kalendis lanuariis f> F. Aubert, Le Parlcwent tie 

a multo tempore ortum fuisse ere- Paris, sa Compete me, ses Altribu- 

datur.' lions, 1314-1422(1890), 182 ; ///>/. 

8 C<?/<y/?aj/tf,sessioxxi(June du 1'arUment de Paris, 1250-1515 

9. I435) can xi (Mansi, xxix. 108) (1894), i. 163. 
Turpem etiam ilium abusum in 



294 FOLK DRAMA 

chapters of France a letter which, from the minuteness of 
its indictment, is perhaps the most curious of the many 
curious documents concerning the feast *. It consists of a 
preamble and no less than fourteen conclusiones> some of which 
are further complicated by qualificationes . The preamble 
sets forth the facts concerning the festum fatuorum. It has 
its clear origin, say the theologians, in the rites of paganism, 
amongst which this Janus-worship of the Kalends has alone 
been allowed to survive. They then describe the customs of 
the feast in a passage which I must translate : 

* Priests and clerks may be seen wearing masks and mon- 
strous visages at the hours of office. They dance in the choir 
dressed as women, panders or minstrels. They sing wanton 
songs. They eat black puddings at the horn of the altar 
while the celebrant is saying mass. They play at dice there. 
They cense with stinking smoke from the soles of old shoes. 
They run and leap through the church, without a blush at 
their own shame. Finally they drive about the town and 
its theatres in shabby traps and carts ; and rouse the laughter 
of their fellows and the bystanders in infamous performances, 
with indecent gestures and verses scurrilous and unchaste V 

There follows a refutation of the argument that such ludi 
are but the relaxation of the bent bow in a fashion sanctioned 
by antiquity. On the contrary, they are due to original sin, 
and the snares of devils. The bishops are besought to follow 
the example of St. Paul and St. Augustine, of bishops Martin, 

1 Epistola et xiv. conclusiones histrionum choreas ducere in choro, 
facultatis theologian Parisiensis ad cantilenas inhonestas cantare, offas 
ecclesiarum praelatos contra festum pingues supra cornu altaris iuxta 
fitwrum tn Octavis Nativitatis celebrantem missam comedere, lu- 

Domini vel prima lammrii in dum taxillorum ibidem exercere, 

quibusdam Ecc/esits celebratum (H. thurificare de fumo fetido ex corio 

Denifle, Chartularium Univ. Paris. veterum sotularium, et per totam 

iv. 652; P. L. ccvii. 1169). The ecclesiam currere, saltare, turpitu- 

document is too long and too scho- dinem suam non erubescere, ac 

lastic to quote in full. The date is deinde per villam et theatra in 

March 12, 144$. curribus et vehiculis sordidis duci 

2 ' Quis, quaeso, Christianorum ad infamia spectacula, pro risu 
sensatus non diceret malos illos astantium et concurrent! um turpes 
sacerdotes et clericos, quos divini gesticulationes sui corporisfaciendo, 
officii tempore videret larvatos, et verba impudicissima ac scurrilia 
monstruosis vultibus, aut in vesti- proferendo?' 

bus mulierum, aut lenonum, vel 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 295 

Hilarius, Chrysostom, Nicholas and Germanus of Auxerre, 
all of whom made war on sacrilegious practices, not to speak 
of the canons of popes and general councils, and to stamp 
out the Itidibria. It rests with them, for the clergy will not 
be so besotted as to face the Inquisition and the secular arm *. 

The conclusiones thus introduced yield a few further data as 
to the ceremonies of the feast. It seems to be indifferently 
called festum stultorum and fcstum fatuorum. It takes place 
in cathedrals and collegiate churches, on Innocents' day, 
on St. Stephen's, on the Circumcision, or on other dates. 
'Bishops' or 'archbishops' of Fools are chosen, who wear mitres 
and pastoral staffs, and have crosses borne before them, as 
if they were on visitation. They take the Office, and give 
Benedictions to the readers of the lessons at Matins, and to 
the congregations. In exempt churches, subject only to the 
Holy See, a ' pope ' of Fools is naturally chosen instead of 
a ' bishop ' or an ' archbishop.' The clergy wear the garments 
of the laity or of fools, and the laity put on priestly or 
monastic robes. Liidi theatrales and personagiorum ludi are 
performed. 

The manifesto of the Theological Faculty helped in at least 
one town to bring matters to a crisis. At Troyes the Feast 
of Fools appears to have been celebrated on the Circumcision 
in the three great collegiate churches of St. Peter, St. Stephen, 
and St. Urban, and on Epiphany in the abbey of St. Loup. 
The earliest records are from St. Peter's. In 1372 the chapter 
forbade the vicars to celebrate the feast without leave. In 
1380 and 1381 there are significant entries of payments for 
damage done: in the former year Marie-la-Folle broke a 
candelabrum ; in the latter a cross had to be repaired and 
gilded. In 1436, the year after the council of Basle, leave 
was given to hold the feast without irreverence. In 1439, 
the year after the Pragmatic Sanction, it was forbidden. In 

1 ' Cpncludimus, quod a vobis flexibilem a punitione cum assis- 

praelatis pendet continuatio vel tentia inquisitorum fidei, et auxilio 

abolitio huius pestiferi ritus ; nam brachii saecularis, quam illico cede- 

ipsos ecclesiasticos ita dementes rent aut frangerentur. Timerent 

esse et obstinates in hac furia non namque carceres, timerent perdere 

eat verisimile, quod si faciem prae- benencia, perdere famam et ab 

lati reperirent ngidam et nullatenus altaribus sacris repelli.' 



296 FOLK DRAMA 

1443, & was again permitted. But it must be outside the 
church. The * archbishop' might wear a rochet, but the 
supper must take place in the house of one of the canons, 
and not at a tavern. The experiment was not altogether 
a success, for a canon had to be fined twenty sous pour lex 
grandes sottises et les gestes extravagant* quil s'ttait per mis 
a la fete des fols *. Towards the end of 1444, when it was 
proposed to renew the feast, the bishop of Troyes, Jean 
Leguis6, intervened. The clergy of St. Peter's were appar- 
ently willing to submit, but those of St. Stephen's stood out. 
They told the bishop that they were exempt from his juris- 
diction, and subject only to his metropolitan, the archbishop 
of Sens ; and they held an elaborate revel with even more 
than the usual insolence and riot. On the Sunday before 
Christmas they publicly consecrated their ' archbishop ' in the 
most public place of the town with zjeu de personnagcs called 
le jeu du sacre de leur arcevcsquc^ which was a burlesque of 
the saint mistere de consecration pontificate. The feast itself 
took place in St. Stephen's Church. The vicar who was 
chosen * archbishop' performed the service on the eve and 
day of the Circumcision in pontificalibus ', gave the Benediction 
to the people, and went in procession through the town. 
Finally, on Sunday, January 3, the clergy of all three churches 
joined in another jeu de personnages, in which, under the 
names of Hypocrisie, Faintise and Faux-semblant> the bishop 
and two canons who had been most active in opposing the 
feast, were held up to ridicule. Jean Leguis6 was not a man 
to be defied with impunity. On January 23 he wrote a letter 
to the archbishop of Sens, Louis de Melun, calling his 
attention to the fact that the rebellious clerks had claimed 
his authority for their action. He also lodged a complaint 
with the king himself, and probably incited the Faculty of 
Theology at Paris to back him up with the protest already 
described. The upshot of it all was a sharp letter from 

1 T. Boutiot, Hist, de la Ville de left the cathedral and returned 

Troyes (1870-80), ii. 264; iii. 19. again, need not serve a second 

A chapter decree of 1437 lays down time. It was doubtless an expen- 

that a vicar who has served as sive dignity. 
4 archbishop ' and has subsequently 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 297 

Charles VII to the bailly and provost of Troyes, setting 
forth what had taken place, and requiring them to see that 
no repetition of the scandalous jeux was allowed 1 . Shortly 
afterwards the chapter of St. Peter's sent for their Ordinarium, 
and solemnly erased all that was derogatory to religion and 
the good name of the clergy in the directions for the feast. 
What the chapter of St. Stephen's did, we do not know. 
The canons mainly to blame had already apologized to the 
bishop. Probably it was thought best to say nothing, and 
let it blow over. At any rate, it is interesting to note that 
in 1595, a century and a half later, St. Stephen's was still 
electing its archevesque des saulx, and that droits were 
paid on account of the vicars' feast until all droits tumbled 
in 17892. 

The proceedings at Troyes seem to have reacted upon the 
feast at Sens. In December, 1444, the chapter had issued 
an elaborate order for the regulation of the ceremony, in 
which they somewhat pointedly avoided any reference to 
the council of Basle or the Pragmatic Sanction, and cited only 
the legatine statute of Odo of Tusculum in 1245. The order 
requires that divine service shall be devoutly and decently 
performed, prout iacet in libra ipsius servitii. By this is 
doubtless meant the Officium already described. There must 

1 Boutiot, op. cit. iii. 20 ; A. de the Theological Faculty's letter. It 

Jubainville, Inventaire sommaire is permissible to conjecture that he 

des Archives dfyartementales dc was moved, no doubt by the ab- 

rAube^ i. 244 (G. 1275); P. de stract rights and wrongs of the case, 

Julleville, Les Com. 35, R<^p. Com. but also by a rumour spread at 

330 ; A. Vallet de Vinville, in Bibl. Troyes that he had revoked the 

de Vfccoledes Chartes, iii. 448. The Pragmatic Sanction. For, as a 

letter of Jean Leguise to Louis de matter of fact, Peter of Brescia, 

Melun is printed in Annalcs archto- the papal legate, was trying hard 

logiques, iv. 209 ; Revue des Soc. to get him to revoke it. 

Sav antes (2nd series), vi. 94 ; * Boutiot, op. cit. i. 494, iii. 20. 

Journal de Verdun, Oct. 1751, and The chapters of St. Stephen's and 

partly by Rigollot, 153. It is dated St. Urban's and the abbey of St. 

only Jan. 23,. but clearly refers to Loup all continued to make pay- 

the events of 1444-5. The Ordon- ments for their feasts after 1445. 

nance of Charles VII is in Martene They may have been pruned of 

and Durand, Thesaurus Novus abuses. In the sixteenth century 

Anecdotorum, i. 1804 ; H. Denifle, the Comte of Champagne pays five 

Chartularium Univ. Paris, iv. 657. sous to the 4 archevesque des Saulx' 

Extracts are given by Ducange, at St. Stephen's, and this appears 

s. v. Kalendae. The king speaks to be the droit charged upon the 

of the Troyes affair as leading to royal demesne up to 1789. 



298 



FOLK DRAMA 



be no mockery or impropriety, no unclerical costume, no 
dissonant singing. Then, comes what, considering that this 
is a reform, appears a sufficiently remarkable direction. Not 
more than three buckets of water at most must be poured 
over the precentor stultorum at Vespers. The custom of 
ducking on St. John's eve, apparently the occasion when 
the precentor was elected, is also pruned, and a final clause 
provides that if nobody's rights are infringed the stulti may 
do what they like outside the church *. Under these 
straitened conditions the feast was probably held in 1445* 
There was, however, the archbishop as well as the chapter to 
be reckoned with. It was difficult for Louis de Melun, after 
the direct appeal made to him by his suffragan at Troyes, 
to avoid taking some action, and in certain statutes promul- 
gated in November, 1445, he required the suppression of the 
whole consuetude and ordered the directions for it to be erased 
from the chant-books 2 . There is now no mention of the feast 
until 1486, from which date an occasional payment for la 



1 Che*rest, 66, from Acta Capitu- 
laria (Dec. 4, 1444) in Bibl. Nat. 
Cod. Paris. 1014 and 1351 * De 
servitio dominicae circumcisionis, 
viso super hoc statute per quem- 
dam legatum edito, et consideratis 
aliis circa hoc considerandis, et ad 
evitandum scandala, quae super 
hoc possent exoriri, ordinatum fuit 
unani miter et concorditer, nemine 
discrepante, quod de caetero dictum 
seryitium fiet, prout iacet in libro 
ipsius servitii, devote et cum reve- 
rentia; absque aliqua derisione, 
tumultu aut turpitudine, prout fiunt 
alia servitia in aliis festis, in habiti- 
bus per dictum statutum ordinatis, 
et non alias, et voce modules a, 
absque dissonantia, et assistant in 
huiusmodi servitio omnes qui tenen- 
tur in eo interesse,etfaciantdebitum 
suum absque discursu aut turba- 
tione servitii, potissime in ecclesia ; 
nee proiiciatur aqua in vesperis 
super praecentorem stultorum ultra 
quantitatem trium sitularufn ad 
plus ; nee adducantur nudi in era- 
stino festi dominicae nativitatis, sine 
brachis verenda tegentibus, nee 



etiam adducantur in ecclesia, sed 
ducantur ad puteum claustri, non 
hora servitii sed alia, et ibi rigentur 
sola si tula aquae sine lesione. Qui 
contrarium fecerit occurrit ipso 
facto suspensionis censuram per 
dictum statutum latam ; attamen 
extra ecclesiam permissum est quod 
stulti faciant alias ceremonias sine 
damno aut iniuria cuiusquam/ The 
proceedings on the day after the 
Nativity are probably explained by 
the election of the precentor on 
that day (after Vespers). The vic- 
tims ducked may have failed to be 
present at the election ; but cf. the 
Easter frisio (ch. vii). 

* Saint-Marthe, Gallia Chris- 
tiana, xii. 96, partly quoted by Du- 
cange, s. v. Kalendae. The bishop 
describes the feast almost in the 
ipsissima verba of the Paris Theo- 
logians, but in one passage (' nudos 
homines sine verendorum tegmine 
inverecunde ducendo per villam et 
theatra in curribus et vehiculis sor- 
didis, &c.') he adds a trait from 
the Sens chapter act just quoted. 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 299 

feste du premier jour de Fan begins to appear again in the 
chapter account-books 1 . In 1511, the servitium divinum 
after the old custom is back in the church. But the chapter 
draws a distinction between the servitium and the festum 
stultorum, which is forbidden. The performance of jeux de 
personnages and the public shaving of the precentor's beard 
on a stage are especially reprobated 2 . The servitium was 
again allowed in 1514, 1516, 1517, and in 1520 with a pro- 
vision that the luccrna precentoris fatuorum must not be 
brought into the church 3 . In 1522, both servitium and 
festum were forbidden on account of the war with Spain ; the 
shaving of the precentor and the ceremony of his election 
on the feast of St. John the Evangelist again coming in for 
express prohibition 4 . In 1523 the servitium was allowed 
upon a protest by the vicars, but only with the strict exclu- 
sion of the popular elements 5 . In 1524 even the servitium 
was withheld, and though sanctioned again in 1535, 1539 and 
1543, it was finally suppressed in 1547 6 . Some feast, however, 
would still seem to have been held, probably outside the 
church, until 1614', and even as late as 1634 there was 
a trace of it in the annual procession of the Virgin Mary 
and the Apostles, already referred to. 

This later history of the feast at Sens is fairly typical, as 
the following chapter will show, of what took place all over 
France. The chapters by no means showed themselves 

1 CheVest, 68. The councils of * Ibid. 76 'prohibitum vicariis 

Sens in 1460 and 1485 (p. 300) are ne attentent, ultima die anni, in 

for the province. That of 1528 theatro tabulate ante valvas eccle- 

(sometimes called of Sens, but pro- siae aut alibi in civitate Seno- 

perly of Paris) is national. They nensi, publice barbam illius qui se 

are not evidence for the feast at praecentorem fatuorum nominat, 

Sens itself. aut alterius, radere, radifacere, per- 

* Ibid. 72 * Insolentias, tarn de mittere, aut procurare ; et ne ad 

die quam de nocte, faciendo ton- electionem dicti praecentoris die 

dere barbam pane, ut fieri con- festo Sancti lohannis Evangelistae 

suevit, in theatro . . . ac ludere sub poenis excommunication is. 

perspnagia, die scilicet circumci- 6 Ibid. 77 'honeste, ac devote, 

sionis Domini.' The shaven face sine laternis, sine precentore, sine 

was characteristic of the mediaeval delatione baculi domini precen- 

fool, minstrel, or actor (cf. ch. ii). tons, nee poterunt facere rasuram 

Dreves, 586, adds that Tallinus Bis- in theatro ante ecclesiam.' 

sart, the precentor of this year, was ' Ibid. 78. 

threatened with excommunication. 7 Dreves, 586. 

Ibid. 75. 



300 



FOLK DRAMA 



universally willing to submit to the decree promulgated in the 
Pragmatic Sanction. In many of them the struggle between 
the conservative and the reforming parties was spread over a 
number of years. Councils, national, provincial and diocesan, 
continued to find it necessary to condemn the feast, men- 
tioning it either by name or in a common category with 
other ludi) spectacula, choreae, tripudia and larvationes 1 . In 
one or two instances the authority of the Parlcments was 
invoked. But in the majority of cases the feast either 
gradually disappeared, or else passed, first from the churches 
into the streets, and then from the clerks to the bourgeois^ 
often to receive a new life under quite altered circumstances 
at the hands of some witty and popular compagnie desfotis*. 



1 Prov. C. of Rouen (1445), c. 1 1 
(Labbd, xiii. 1304) ' prohibet haec 
sancta synodus ludos qui fatuorum 
vulgariter nuncupantur cum larva- 
tis faciebus et alias inhoneste fieri 
in ecclesiis aut cemeteriis ' ; Prov. 
C. of Sens (1485, repeats decrees of 
earlier council of 1460), c. 3 (Labbe*, 
xiii. 1728), quoting and adopting 
Basle decree, with careful excep- 
tion for consuetudines of Nativity 
and Resurrection ; cf.ch.xx; Dice. 
C. of Chartres (1526, apparently 
repeated 1550, tit. 16 ; cf. Du Tilliot, 
62) quoted Bochellus, iv. 7. 46 ' de- 
nique ab Ecclesia eiiciantur vestes 
fatuorum personas scenicas agen- 
tium ' ; Nat. C. of Paris (1528, held 
by Abp. of Sens as primate), Deer. 
Morum, c. 16 (Labbe, xiv. 471) 
' prohibemus ne fiat dcinceps fe- 
stum fatuorum aut innocentium, 
neque erigatur decanatus patellae/ 
The Prov. C. of Rheims (1456, held 
at Spissons) in Labbe*, xiii. 1397, 
mentions only ' larvales et theatra- 
les ioci,' 'choreae,' 'tripudia,' but 



refers explicitly to the Pragmatic 
Sanction. This, it may be observed, 
was suspended for a while in 1461 
and finally annulled in 1516. Still 
more general are the terms of the 
C. of Orleans (1525, repeated 1587 ; 
Du Tilliot, 61) ; C. of Narbonne 
(1551), c. 46 (Labbe*, xv. 26) ; C. of 
Beauvais (1554; E. Fleury, Cin- 
quante Ans de Laon, 53) ; C. of 
Cambrai (1565), vi. II (Labbe', xv. 
160) ; C. of Rkeims (1583), c. 5 
(Lablx*, xv. 889) ; C. of Tours ( 1 583, 
quoted Bochellus, iv. 7. 40). See 
also the councils quoted as to the 
Boy Bishop, in ch. xv. Finally, the 
C. of Trent, although in its 22nd 
session (1562) it renewed the de- 
crees of popes and councils *dc 
choreis, aleis, lusibus ' (Deer, de 
Reformatione, c. I ), made no specific 
mention of 'fatui* (Can. et Deer. 
Sacros. Oec. Cone. Tridentini^ 
(Romae, 1845), 127). Probably the 
range of the feast was by this time 
insignificant. 
Cf. ch. xvi. 



CHAPTER XIV 
THE FEAST OF FOOLS (continued) 

THE history of the Feast of Fools has been so imperfectly 
written, that it is perhaps worth while to bring together the 
records of its occurrence, elsewhere than in Troyes and Sens, 
from the fourteenth century onwards. They could probably 
be somewhat increased by an exhaustive research amongst 
French local histories, archives, and the transactions of learned 
societies. Of the feast in Notre-Dame at Paris nothing is 
heard after the reformation carried out in 1198 by Eudes de 
Sully l . The bourgeois of Tournai were, indeed, able to quote 
a Paris precedent for the feast of their own city in 1499 5 but 
this may have been merely the feast of some minor collegiate 
body, such as that founded in 1303 by cardinal Le Moine 2 ; 
or of the scholars of the University, or of the compagnic joyeuse 
of the Enf ants -sans- Souci. At Beauvais, too, there are only 
the faintest traces of the feast outside the actual twelfth- and 
thirteenth-century service-books 3 . But there are several other 
towns in the provinces immediately north and east of the 
capital, lie de France, Picardy, Champagne, where it is 
recorded. The provision made for it in the Amiens Ordi- 
narium of 1291 has been already quoted. Shortly after this, 

1 But there was another revel on Grenier, 370. A ' cardinal ' was 

Aug. 28. F. L. Chartier, IJancien chosen on Jan. 13, and took part in 

Chapitre de N.-D. cU Parts, 175, the office. 

quotes Archives National es, LL. 3 Grenier, 362. A model account 

288, p. 219 'iniunctum est clericis form has the heading 'in die Cir- 

matutinalibus, ne in festo S. Augu- cumcisionis,sifiatfestum stultorum.' 

stinifaciant dissolutionesquasfacere The ' rubriques du luminaire ' pro- 

assueverant annis praeteritis.' vide for a distribution of wax to the 

* Dulaure, Hist, de Paris > iii. 81 ; sub-deacons and choir-clerks/ 



302 FOLK DRAMA 

bishop William de Ma9on, who died in 1303, left his own 
pontificalia for the use of the * bishop of Fools V When, 
however, the feast reappears in the fifteenth century the 
dominus festi is no longer a * bishop,' but a * pope/ In 1438 
there was an endowment consisting of a share in the profits 
of some lead left by one John le Caron, who had himself been 
'pope 2 . 1 In 1520 the feast was held, but no bells were to be 
jangled 3 . It was repeated in 1538. Later in the year the 
customary election of the ' pope ' on the anniversary of Easter 
was forbidden, but the canons afterwards repented of their 
severity 4 . In 1540 the chapter paid a subsidy towards the 
amusements of the * pope ' and his ' cardinals ' on the Sunday 
called brioris*. In 1548 the feast was suppressed 8 . At 
Noyon the vicars chose a ' king of Fools ' on Epiphany eve. 
The custom is mentioned in 1366 a&'le gieudes roys.' By 
1419 it was forbidden, and canon John de Gribauval was 
punished for an attempt to renew it by taking the sceptre off 
the high altar at Compline on Epiphany. In 1497, 1499, 
and 1505 it was permitted again, with certain restrictions. 
The cavalcade must be over before Nones ; there must be no 

1 Martonne, 49, giving no autho- choro ecclesiae solemne, absque 

rity. faciendo insolentias aut aliquas 

* Grenier, 361 ; Dreves, 583 ; irrisiones, nee deferendo aliquas 

Rigollot, 15, quoting Actum Capit. campanas in dicta ecclesia, aut 

Leave was given to John Cornet, alibi, et si dicti vicarii facere voluc- 

of St. Michael's, John de Noeux of rint aliqua convivia, erit eorum 

St. Maurice's, rectors, and Everard sumptibus et non sumptibus Domi- 

Duirech, capellanus of the cathe- norum canonicorum.' 

dral, 'pridem electi, instituti et 4 Rigollot, 16 'inhibuerunt capel- 

assumpti in papatum stultorum lanis et vicariis . . . facere recrea- 

villae Ambianensis . . . quod dictus tiones solitas in pascha annotino, 

Cornet . . . et sui praedecessores in etiam facere electionem de Papa 

ipso papatu ordinati superstites die Stultorum.' Later in the year the 

circumcisionis Domini . . . facerent ' iocalia Papae, videlicet annulus 

prandium in quo beneficiati ipsius aureus, tassara (sic) argentea et 

villae convocarentur . . . ut inibi sigillum * were put in charge of the 

eligere instituere et ordinare vale- * canonicus vicarialis.' 

rent papam ac papatum relevarent 6 Rigollot, 1 7 * licentiam dederunt 

absque tamen praeiudicio in aliquo . . . ludere die dominica proxima 

tangendo servitium divinum . . . brioris/ Rigollot and Leber think 

faciendum.' Apparently the paro- that * brioris ' may be for ' burarum, 1 

chial clergy of Amiens joined with the feast of 'buras' or * brandons ' 

the cathedral vicars and chaplains on the first Sunday in Lent. Can 

in the feast. it be the same as the ' fete dcs 

8 Grenier, 362 ; Rigollot, 1 5 * Ser- Braies * of Laon ? 

vitium divinum facient honeste in * Grenier, 414; Rigollot, 17. 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 303 

licentious or scurrilous chansons^ no dance before the great 
doors ; the * king ' must wear ecclesiastical dress in the choir. 
In 1520, however, he was allowed to wear his crown more 
antique. The feast finally perished in 1721, owing to la 
chertt des vivres 1 . At Soissons, the feast was held on 
January i, with masquing 2 . At Senlis, the dominus festi 
was a 'pope. 1 In 1403 there was much division of opinion 
amongst the chapter as to the continuance of the feast, 
and it was finally decided that it must take place outside 
the church. In 1523 it came to an end. The vicars of 
the chapter of Saint-Rieul had in 1501 their separate feast 
on January I, with a 'prelate of Fools' and jeux in the 
churchyard 3 . From Laon fuller records are available 4 . A 
' patriarch of Fools ' was chosen with his ' consorts ' on 
Epiphany eve after Prime, by the vicars, chaplains and 
choir-clerks. There was a cavalcade through the city and 
a procession called the Rabardiaux^ of which the nature is 
not stated 5 . The chapter bore the expenses of the banquet 
and the masks. The first notice is about 1280. In 1307 one 
Pierre Caput was ' patriarch.' In 1454 the bishop upheld 
the feast against the dean, but it was decided that it should 
take place outside the church. A similar regulation was 

1 L. Maziere, Noyon Religieux Dreves, 584, quoting cathedral 

in Comptes-Rendus et Mtmoires of Actum Capit. of 19 Dec. 1403, from 

the Comitt arch, et hist, de Noyon Grenier's MS. Picardie> \ 58. Five 

(1895), xi. 92; Grenier, 370, 413; canons said 'quod papa fieret in 

Rigoilot, 28, quoting Actum Capit. ecclesia, sed nulla elevatio, et quod, 

of 1497 'cavere a cantu car m in am qui vellet venire, in habitu saeculari 

infamiurn et scandalosorum, nee honesto veni ret, et quod nulla dansio 

non similiter carminibus indecoris ibi fieret ' ; but the casting-vote of 

et impudicis verbis in ultimo festo the dean was against them, * sed 

Innocentium per eos fetide de- extra possent facere cape Hani et 

can tat is ; et si vicarii cum rege alii quidquid vellent.' 

vadant ad equitatum solito, nequa- 4 Grenier, 370 ; Rigoilot, 22 ; E. 

quam fiet chorea et tripudia ante Fleury, Cinquante Ans de Laon, 16; 

magnum portale, saltern itaimpudice C. Hide*, in Bull, de la Soc. aca- 

ut fieri solet.' dtmique de Laon (1863), x "i- Iir 

* Grenier, 365 ; Rigoilot, 29, quot- fi Hide*, op.cit. 1 16, thinks that the 

ing, I think, a ceremonial (1350) of Patriarch used jetons de presence, 

the collegiate church of Saint- similar to those used by the Boy 

Pierre-au-Parvis. The masquers Bishop at Amiens and elsewhere 

obtained permission from some (ch. xv). He figures some, but they 

canons seated on a theatre near the may belong to the period of the 

house called Grosse-TtU. confrMe. 

8 Grenier, 365 ; Rigoilot, 26 ; 



304 FOLK DRAMA 

made in 1455, J 45^> J 459- I* 1 1462 the servitium was allowed, 
and the/i# was to be submitted to censorship. In 1464 and 
1465 mysteries were acted before the Rabardiaux. In 1486 
the jeu was given before the church of St.-Martin-au-Parvis. 
In 1490 the jcux and cavalcade were forbidden, and the 
banquet only allowed. In 1500 a chaplain, Jean Hubreland, 
was fined for not taking part in the ceremony. In 1518 the 
worse fate of imprisonment befell Albert Gosselin, another 
chaplain, who flung fire from above the porch upon the 
'patriarch* and his 'consorts. 1 By 1521 the servitium seems to 
have been conducted by the cure's of the Laon churches, and 
the vicars and chaplains merely assisted. The expense now 
fell on the cure's, and the chapter subsidy was cut down. In 
1522 and 1525 the perquisites of the 'patriarch* were still 
further reduced by the refusal of a donation from the chapter 
as well as of the fines formerly imposed on absentees. In 
1527 a protest of Laurent Brayart, ' patriarch/ demanding 
either leave to celebrate the feast more antique or a dispensa- 
tion from assisting at the election of his successor, was 
referred to the ex-' patriarch.' In this same year canons, 
vicars, chaplains and habitue's of the cathedral were forbidden 
to appear at the farces of the fit* des dues l . In 1531 the 
'patriarch' Theobald Bucquet, recovered the right to play 
comedies and jeux and to take the absentee fines ; but in 
1541 Absalon Bourgeois was refused leave pour fair e semblant 
de dire la messe a liesse. The feast was cut down to the bare 
election of the 'patriarch' in 1560, and seems to have passed 
into the hands of a confrtrie ; all that was retained in the 
cathedral being the Primes folles on Epiphany eve, in which 
the laity occupied the high stalls, and all present wore crowns 
of green leaves. 

At Rheims, a Feast of Fools in 1490 was the occasion for 
a satirical attack by the vicars and choir-boys on the fashion 
of the hoods worn by the bourgeoises. This led to reprisals 
in the form of some anti-ecclesiastical farces played on the 
following dimanche des Brandons by the law clerks of the 

1 MS. Hist, of Dom. Bugniatre term 4 fdte des Anes ' was really used 
(eighteenth century) quoted Fleury, at Laon. 
op. cit. 16. I do not feel sure that the 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 305 

Rheims Basochc 1 . At Chdlons-sur-Marne a detailed and 
curious account is preserved of the way in which the Feast 
of Fools was celebrated in I57O 2 . It took place on 
St. Stephen's day. The chapter provided a banquet on 
a theatre in front of the great porch. To this the ' bishop 
of Fools ' was conducted in procession from the mattrise dcs 
fous> with bells and music upon a gaily trapped ass. He was 
then vested in cope, mitre, pectoral cross, gloves and crozier, 
and enjoyed a banquet with the canons who formed his 
' household/ Meanwhile some of the inferior clergy entered 
the cathedral, sang gibberish, grimaced and made contortions. 
After the banquet, Vespers were precipitately sung, followed 
by a motet*. Then came a musical cavalcade round the 
cathedral and through the streets. A game of la paumc 
took place in the market ; then dancing and further cavalcades. 
Finally a band gathered before the cathedral, howled and 
clanged kettles and saucepans, while the bells were rung 
and the clergy appeared in grotesque costumes. 

Flanders also had its Feasts of Fools. That of St. Omer, 
which existed in the twelfth century, lasted to the sixteenth 4 . 
An attempt was made to stop it in 1407, when the chapter 
forbade any one to take the name of ' bishop ' or * abbot * 
of Fools. But Seraphin Cotinet was 'bishop' of Fools in 
1431, and led the gaudc on St. Nicholas' eve 5 . The ' bishop * 
is again mentioned in 1490, but in 1515 the feast was sup- 
pressed by Francis dc Melun, bishop of Arras and provost of 
St. Omer c . Some payments made by the chapter of Bethune 

1 Jul'cville, Les Com. 36 ; Rtp. Hist., de la m$me Soc. (1887), 62. 
Com. 348 ; L. Paris, Rcmcnsitinn^ 6 Deschamps de Pas, op. tit. 133 
32, /.r Theatre a Reims, 30 ; ' solitum est fieri gaude in cena ob 
Coquillart, cA.';/7>;rv (Bibl, Klzev.), i. reverentiam ipsms s.in ti/ 

cxxxv. Coquillart is said to have fl Ibid. op. cit. 107. Grcnier, 

written verses for the iiasoche on 414, citing Sammarthanus. tutttiti 

this occasion. Christiana, x. 1510, calls Francis 

2 Rigollot, 211, from A. Hugo, de IMelun 'bishop of Terouanne.' 
La France pi Moresque, ii. 226, on An earlier reform of the feast seems 
the authority of a register of 1570 implied by the undated Chapter 
in the cathedral archives. Statute in Ducange, s. v. Episcopus 

3 It begins ' Cantemus ad hono- Fatuorum 'quia temporibus retro- 
rem, gloriam et laudem Sancti actismultidefectusetplurascandala, 
Stcphani.' deordinationes et mala, occasione 

4 L. Deschamps de Pas, in M<*m. Episcopi Fatuorum et suorum eve- 
dc la SOL. (tcs Antiq. dc la Morinie, nerint, statuimus et or-hnamus quod 
xx. 104, 107, 133 ; O. Bled, in. Bull, de caetero in festo Ciicumcistoms 

CHAMBERS. I V 



806 FOLK DRAMA 

in 1445 and 1474 leave it doubtful how far the feast was 
really established in that cathedral *. At Lille the feast 
was forbidden by the chapter statutes of 1323 and 1328 8 . 
But at the end of the fourteenth century it was in full swing, 
lasting under its ' bishop ' or ' prelate ' from the vigil to the 
octave of Epiphany. Amongst the payments made by 
the chapter on account of it is one to replace a tin can 
(kanne stannee) lost at the banquet. The * bishop ' was chosen, 
as elsewhere, by the inferior clergy of the cathedral ; but he 
also stood in some relation to the municipality of Lille, and 
superintended the miracle plays performed at the procession 
of the Holy Sacrament and upon other occasions. In 1393 
he received a payment from the duke of Burgundy for the 
f$te of the Trots Rois. Municipal subsidies were paid to him 
in the fifteenth century ; he coL'ected additional funds from 
private sources and offered prizes, by proclamation soubz 
nostre seel de fatuit^ for pageants and histoires de la Sainte 
Escripture ; was, in fact, a sort of Master of the Revels for 
Lille. He was active in 1468, but in 1469 the town itself 
gave the prizes, in place de Vevesque des folz, qui a present 
fst rue* jus. The chapter accounts show that he was re- 
appointed in 1485 hoc anno, de gratia speciali. In 1492 and 
1493 *h e chapter payments were not to him but sociis domus 
clericorum, and from this year onwards he appears neither 
in the chapter accounts nor in those of the municipality 8 . 
Nevertheless, he did not yet cease to exist, for a statute was 
passed by the chapter for his extinction, together with that of 
the ludus, qucm Deposuit vocant, in 1531 4 . Five years before 



Domini Vicarii caeterique c ho rum 2 E. Hautcoeur, Hist, 

frequentantes et eorum Episcopus colUgiale de Saint-Pierre de Lille 

sehabeanthoneste,cantandoet offi- (1896-9), ii. 30 ; Id. Cartulaire de 

ciando sicut continetur plenius in rglist) &c. ii. 630, 651 (Stat. 

Ordinario Ecclesiae.' Caj>it. of July 7, 1323, confirmed 

1 De la Fons-Melicocq, CM- June 23, 1328); 'item volumus 

monies dramatiques et Anciens fcstum folorum penitus anullari.' 

Usages dans les feglises du Nord s Hautcoeur, Hist. ii. 215 ; De la 

de la France (1850), 4. In 1445 is Fons-Melicocq, Archives hist, et 

a payment to the 'e*vque des fous litt. du Nord de France (3rd series), 

de Saint- Aldegonde ' for a * jeu ' ; v. 374 ; Flammermont, Album 

in 1474, one for the chapter's share paltographique du Nord de la 

of Me feste du vesque des asnes, France (1896), No. 45. 

par dessus tout ce que ly coeurz * Ducange, s. v. Deposuit (Stat. 

paya,' Capit. S. Petri Insul. July 13, 1531 , 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 307 

this the canons and vicars were still wearing masks and 
playing comedies in public 1 . The history of the feast at 
Tournai is only known to me through certain legal pro- 
ceedings which took place before the Parlement of Paris 
in 1499. It appears that the young bourgeois of Tournai 
were accustomed to require the vicars of Notre-Dame to 
choose an htesque des sotz from amongst themselves on 
Innocents' day. In 1489 they took one Matthieu de Porta 
and insulted him in the church itself. The chapter brought 
an action in the local court against the provost ct jurez of 
the town ; and in the meantime obtained provisional letters 
inhibitory from Charles VIII, forbidding the vicars to hold 
the feast or the bourgeois to enforce it. All went well for 
some years, but in 1497 the bourgeois grumbled greatly, 
and in 1498, with the connivance of the municipal authorities 
themselves, they broke out. On the eve of the Holy Innocents, 
between nine and ten o'clock, Jacques de 1'Arcq, mayor of 
the Edwardeurs, and others got into the house of Messire 
Pasquier le Pam&, a chaplain, and dragged him half naked, 
through snow and frost, to a cabaret. Seven or eight other 
vicars, one of whom was found saying his Hours in a church- 
yard, were similarly treated, and as none of them would be 
made htesque des sotz they were all kept prisoners. The 
chapter protested to the pr e^vost et jurez \ but in vain. On the 
following day the bourgeois chose one of the vicars evesque> 
baptized him by torchlight with three buckets of water at 
a fountain, led him about for three days in a surplice, and 
played scurrilous farces. They then dismissed the vicar, 

ex Reg. k.) ( Scandala et ludibria Hist. ii. 220, 224, assigns to 1490. 

quae sub Fatuitatis praetextu per This adds * de non . . . faciendo 

beneficiatos et habituates dictae officio . . . per vicarios in octava 

nostrae ecclesiae a vigilia usque ad Epiphaniae.' The municipal duties 

completas octavas Epiphaniae fieri of the praelatus fell to the confre'ru 

et exerceri consueverunt . . . dein- of the Prince des Foux, afterwards 

ceps nullus nominetur, assumatur Prince d'Amour, which held revels 

et creetur praelatus follorum, nee in 1547 (Du Tilliot, 87), and still 

ludus, quern Deposuit vocant, in later to the 'fou de la ville ' who 

dicta vigilia, aut alio quocumque led the procession of the Holy 

tern pore, ludatur, exerceatur, aut Sacrament, and flung water at the 

fiat.' Probably to this date belongs people in the eighteenth century 

the very similarly worded but un- (Leber, ix. 265). 

dated memorandum in Delobel, 1 Rigollot, 14. 
Collectanea, f. 76, which Hautcoeur, 

X 2, 



SOS FOLK DRAMA 

and elected as Arsqnc a clerk from the diocese of Cambrai, 
who defied the chapter. They drove Jean Parisiz, the c?/n f of 
La Madeleine, who had displeased them, from his church 
in the midst of Vespers, and on Epiphany day made him too 
a prisoner. In the following March the chapter and Mcssire 
Jean Parisiz brought a joint action before the High Court 
at Paris against the delinquents and the municipal authorities, 
who had backed them up. The case came on for hearing 
in November, when it was pleaded that the custom of electing 
an cvcsquc dcs sot? upon Innocents' day was an ancient one. 
The ceremony took place upon a scaffold near the church 
cloo- ; there wcre^v/A* in the streets for seven or eight days, 
and a final amvici in which the canons and others of the town 
wux satiri/.ed. The chapter and some of the citizens sent 
bread and vunc. The same thing was done in many dioceses 
of Pic inly and even ii^Paris. It was all ad solarium populi, 
and on ine service was not disturbed, for nobody entered the 
church. The vicar who had been chosen tvesqitc thought it 
a great and unexpected honour. There would have been 
no tjouble had not the cvcsquc when distributing hoods with 
ear^ at the end of the jcitx unfortunately included certain 
persons who would rather have been left out, and who conse- 
quently stirred up the chapter to take action. The court 
adjourned the case, and ultimately it appears to have been 
settled, for one of the documents preserved is endorsed with 
a note of a mncordat between the chapter and the town, by 
which the feast was abolished in 1500 l . 

Of the Feast of Fools in central France I can say but 
little. At Chartres, the Papt-Pol and his cardinals committed 
many indolences during the first four days of the year, and 
exacted th^tis fn in passers-by. They were suppressed in 

1 Tuo dorumrnts arc preserved, iii. 568); cf. Julle% illc, Rtp. com. 

each Diving a full account of the 355; Cousin, I fist, de Tournay, 

event, in summons of the de- Bk. iv. 261. The Synod of Tournai 

Imqurnts before the Parlement, in 1520 still found it necessary to 

dated March 1 6, 1498 0- F - Foppens, forbid students to appear in church 

bupfU'wsnt (i74' s ) to A, Miraeus, * en habits de fous, en rvpresentant 

Opera Diphnhitua, \\. 295). This des personnages de comedie* on 

is endorsed with some notes of St. Nicholas' day, Innocents' day, 

further proceedings ; (6) official or < la ftte de 1'lveque ' (E. Fleury, 

notes of the hearing on Nov. 18, Cinquante Ans de Laon y 54). 
1499 (Bibl. de F Ecole dcs Charles, 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 309 

1479 anc * again in 1504*. At Tours a Ritual of the four- 
teenth century contains elaborate directions for the ft stum 
novi anni, quod non dcbct rcmancrc^ nisi corpora sint Jttnni. 
This is clearly a reformed feast, of which the chief features 
are the dramatic procession of the PrvpJutac, including 
doubtless Balaam on his ass, in church, and a miracitlum 
in the cloister 2 . The 'Boy Bishop' gives the benediction 
at Tierce, and before Vespers there are chori (carols, I sup- 
pose) also in the cloisters. At Vespers Dcposuit is sung 
three times, and the baculus may be taken. If so, the 
thcsanrarius is beaten with bacilli by the clergy at Compline. 
and the new cantor is led home with beating of bacnii on 
the walls '. At Bourges, the use of the l Prose of the Ass ' 
in Notrc-Dame de Sales seems to imply the existc .ce of 
the feast, but I know no details 4 . At Avallon the din*inns 
fcsti seems to have been, as at Laon, a * patriarch, 5 and to 
have officiated on Innocents' day. A chapter statute regu- 
lated the proceedings in 1453, anc ^ another abolished them 
in 1510 <r> . At Auxerre, full accounts of a long chapter 
wrangle arc preserved in the register . It began in 1395 
with an order requiring the decent performance of the 
scrvitium^ and imposing a fee upon newly admitted canons 

1 Rigollot, 19, 157. ecclcsia nullae fient insolenriae seu 

2 Cf. ch. xix. derisiones potissiine temporc divini 
8 Martene, lii. 41 *[at second Ves- servitn et quod pulsentur matutmae 

pers] Cantor . . . dicit ter Dcposuit non ante quartam horam. Permit- 

baculum tenens, et si baculus capi- timus tainc-n quod re\ercnter t>t in 

tur, Te J}eum Laudamus incipietur habitu ecclesiastico per Innocentes 

. . . [at Compline] ascendant duo et alios iuvcnes de sedibub infcriori- 

clerici super formam thesaurani et bus dictum fiat omrium, s, \ltem 

cantant Htic<. est sancta dics^ &c. circa ea quae sine sacns ordmibus 

et post Conscrva DMS, et dum pussunt exerceri ' ; (1510) 4 ittm 

canitur verberant eum clerici ba- turpem ilium abusum fcsti faluorum 

culis, et ante eos cantores festi ct in nostra hactenus ecclcsia, proh 

erupitores . . . Post incipit cantor dolor, frcquentatum quo in celcbri- 

novus Vcrbum caro faction i.v/, et tate sanctorum lnnocentiumquul.ini 

hoccantandoducunteumindomum sub nomine jiatri.irrh.ili divmuin 

suam per panetes cum bacuhs celebrant officium, pemtus dete^ta- 

feriendo. Si autem baculus non mus, abolemus ct mtcrdinmus.' 
accipitur, nihil dc iis dicitur, sed 6 Lebeuf, Afcm. concernant r His- 

vadunt, et extinguitur luminare.' toirc . . . d* Auxtrre (ed. Challe et 

4 Cf. Appendix L. Quantin, 1846-55), ii. 30; iv. 232 

5 Che*rest, 9, 55, quoting Acta (quoting Act a Capit. partly cx- 
Capit. (1453) 'item circa festum In- tracted by Ducange, s.v. KaLndae) ; 
nocentium ordmatum est quod in and in Lcber, ix. 358, 375, 385. 



310 FOLK DRAMA 

towards the feast. In 1396 the feast was not held, owing 
to the recent defeat of Sigismund of Hungary and the count 
of Nevers by Bajazet and his Ottomans at Nicopolis 1 . In 
1398 the dean entered a protest against a grant of wine 
made by the chapter to the thirsty revellers. In 1400 a 
further order was passed to check various abuses, the excessive 
ringing of bells, the licence of the sermones fatui> the im- 
pounding of copes in pledge for contributions, the beating 
of men and women through the streets, and all derisiones 
likely to bring discredit on the church 2 . In the following 
January, the bishop of Auxerre, Michel de Crency, intervened, 
forbidding the fatui to form a 'chapter/ or to appoint 
' proctors, 1 or clamare la fte aux fous after the singing of 
the Hours in the church. This led to a storm. The bishop 
brought an action in the secular court, and the chapter 
appealed to the ecclesiastical court of the Sens province. 
In June, however, it was agreed as part of a general concordat 
between the parties, that all these proceedings should be non 
avenu*. It seems, however, to have been understood that 
the chapter would reform the feast. On December 2, the 
abbot of Pontigny preached a sermon before the chapter 
in favour of the abolition of the feast, and on the following 
day the dean came down and warned the canons that it was 
the intention of the University of Paris to take action, even 
if necessary, by calling in the secular arm 4 . It was better to 

1 ' Cum domini nostri rex et alii preacher that the feast of Fools was 
regales Franciae sint valde dolorosi, as afprobatum as that of the Con- 
propter nova armaturae factae in ception. To this there seems to be 
parti bus Ungariae contra Saracenos a reference in the account of the 
et inimicos fidei'; cf. Bury-Gibbon, Abbot of Pontigny's sermon in the 
vii. 35. A eta Cafit. 'praedicavit . . . quod 

2 * Ordinavit quod de caetero onv dictum festum non erat, nee un- 
nes, qui de festo fatuorum fuerint, quam fuerat a Deo nee Ecclesia 
non pulsent cam pan am capituli sui approbandum seu approbatum.' Le- 
post prandium, dempta prima die beuf, in Leber, ix. 385, points out 
in qua suum episcopum eligent, et that Gerson was intimate with one 
etiam quod in suis sermonibus member of the Auxerre chapter 
fatuis non ponant seu dicant aliqua This was Nicolas de Clamengis, 
o'pprobria in vituperium alicums whose Opera, i ji(ed. Lydius, 1613), 
personae.' include a treatise De novis etlebri- 

8 Lebeuf, Hist, d* Auxerre, ii. 30. tatibus non instituendis, in which 

* I suppose the intended action the suppression of feasts in his 

took shape in the Quingne Conclu- diocese oy Michael of Auxerre is 

stones of Gerson (p. 292), in which alluded to. 

he quotes the dictum of an Auxerre 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 311 

reform themselves than to be reformed. It was then agreed 
to suppress the abuses of the feast, the sermons and the 
wearing of unecclesiastical garb, and to hold nothing but 
a festum subdiaconorum on the day of the Circumcision. 
Outside the church, however, the clergy might dance and 
promenade (chorizare . . . et . . . spatiare) on the place of 
St. Stephen's. These regulations were disregarded, on the 
plea that they were intended to apply only to the year in 
which they were made. In 1407 the chapter declared that 
they were to be permanent, but strong opposition was offered 
to this decision by three canons, Jean Piqueron, himself 
a sub-deacon, Jean Bonat, and Jean Berthome, who maintained 
that the concordat with the bishop was for reform, not for 
abolition. The matter was before the chapter for the last 
time, so far as the extant documents go, in 1411. On 
January a, the dean reported that in spite of the prohibition 
certain canonici tortrarii 1 , chaplains and choir-clerks had 
held the feast. A committee of investigation was appointed, 
and in December the prohibition was renewed. Jean Pique- 
ron was once more a p rotes tan t, and on this occasion obtained 
the support of five colleagues 2 . It may be added that in 
the sixteenth century an abbas stultorum was still annually 
elected on July 18, beneath a great elm at the porch of 
Auxerre cathedral. He was charged with the maintenance 
of certain small points of choir discipline 8 . 

In Franche Comt and Burgundy, the Feast of Fools is 
also found. At Besanfon it was celebrated by all the four 
great churches. In the cathedrals of St. John and St. Stephen, 
' cardinals ' were chosen on St. Stephen's day by the deacons 

1 These were canons of inferior 8 Ch&est, 76 ; Julleville, Les Com. 

rank at Auxerre (Ducange, s. v. 234 ; Lebeuf, in Leber, ix. 358, 373, 

tortarius). quoting a fry pour Vabbe* de ftglise 

1 Canons J. Boileaue, Devisco, JPAusserre et ses supposts, from the 

Pavionis, Viandi and H. Desnoes. CEuvres of Roger deCollerye( 1536). 

Was Viandi the canon John Vivien This resembles the productions of 

who, according to Lebeuf, Hist, the confrMes des fous (cf. ch. xvi) 

d* Auxerre 9 iv. 234, noted on his and begins, 
Breviary (now Bibl. Nat. Cod. 

Colbert. 4227) that at first Vespers 'Sorter, saillez, venez de toutes 

on the Circumcision, Hodie Chris tus parts, 

was sung after each Psalm, 'quia Sottes et sots plus prompts que 

Festum Circumcisionis vocatur in liepars. 
diversis ecdesiis festum Fatuorum ' ? 



312 FOLK DRAMA 

and sub-deacons, on St. John's day by the priests, on the 
Holy Innocents' day by the choir-clerks and choir-boys. In 
the collegiate churches of St. Paul and St. Mary Magdalen, 
' bishops ' or * abbots ' were similarly chosen. All these 
domini fcstorum seem to have had the generic title of rois 
dcs fons, and on the choir-feast four cavalcades went about 
the streets and exchanged railleries (se chantaient ponille) when 
they met. In 13^7 the Statutes of cardinal Thomas of 
Naples ordered that the feasts should be held jointly in each 
church in turn ; and in 1518 the cavalcades were suppressed, 
owing to a conflict upon the bridge which had a fatal ending. 
Up to 1710, however, rcgcs were still elected in St. Mary 
Magdalen's ; not, indeed, those for the three feasts of Christ- 
mas week, but a rex capcllanorum and a rex canonicornm, 
who officiated respectively on the Circumcision and on 
Epiphany *. At Autun the feast of the bacillus in the 
thirteenth century has already been recorded. In the fifteenth 
and sixteenth centuries some interesting notices are available 
in the chapter registers 2 . In 1411 the feast required reforming. 
The canons were ordered to attend in decent clothes as on 
the Nativity ; and the custom of leading an ass in procession 
and singing a cantilena thereon was suppressed 3 . In 1412 the 
abolition of the feast was decreed 4 . But in 1484 it was sanc- 
tioned again, and licence was given to punish those who failed 
to put in an appearance at the Hours by burning at the well 5 . 

1 Dunot de Charnage, fftit. tfc diei, ut fuit soli turn fieri, nee dica- 
Besan$on, i. 227 ; Kigollot, 47 ; tur cantilena quae dici solebat super 
Leber, ix. 434 ; x. 40. dictum asinum, et supra officio 

2 The anonymous author of the quod fieri consuetum est dicta die 
UistM re acrEgtised* Autun (1774), in Ecclesia dicti Domini postea 
462, 628, gives probatct from the providebunt.' Ducange says that 
Ada Capituiana for some, but not the ass had a golden foot-cloth of 
all of his statements. Du Tilliot, which four of the principal canons 
24 and possibly Ducange, s. v. Fe- held the corners. On ftm cantilena 
stum Asmcruni appear also to have cf. Appendix L. 

seen at least one register kept by 4 ' Ordinaverunt quod festum fo- 

thc rotanus which covered the lorum penitus cesset.' 

period 1411 to 1416. G * Concluserunt ad requestum 

* Deliberax erunt super festo folo- stultorum quod hoc anno fiat festum 

rum quod fieri consuevit anno quo- folorum . . . cum solemnitatibus in 

libet in festoCircumcisionisDomini, dicto festo requisitis in libris dicti 

ad resecandum superrluitates et festi descriptis . . . qui defecerit in 

derisiones quae fieri consueverunt matutinis et aliis horis statutis 

. . . item quod amodo non adduca- comburatur in fonte.' 
tur asinus ad processionem dictae 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 313 

This custom, however, was forbidden in 1498 *. Nothing 
more is heard of the asinus, but it is possible that he 
figured in the play of Herod which was undoubtedly per- 
formed at the feast, and which gave a name to the dominus 
fcsti 2 . Under the general name of fcsta fatuonun was in- 
cluded at Autun. besides the feast of the Circumcision, also 
that of the ' bishop ' and * dean ' of Innocents, and a missa 
fatitorttm was sung ex ore infantium from the Innocents' day 
to Epiphany :} . In 1499 Jean Rolin, abbot of St. Martin's 
and dean of Autun, led a renewed attack upon the feast, 
lie had armed himself with a letter from Louis -XI, and 
induced the chapter, in virtue of the Basle decree, to suppress 
both Herod and the * bishop' of Innocents 4 . In 1,514 and 
1515 the play of Herod was performed ; but in 1518, when 
application was made to the chapter to sanction the election 
of both a ' Herod ' and the * bishop' and ' dean ' of Innocents, 
they applied to the king's official for leave, and failed to get 
it. Finally in 1535 the chapter recurred to the Basle decree, 
and again forbade the feast, particularly specifying under the 
name of Gaigizons the obnoxious ceremony of ' ducking. 6 ' 
The feast held in the ducal, afterwards royal chapel of Dijon 
yields documents which are unique, because they are in 
French verse. The first is a mandcment of Philip the Good, 
duke of Burgundy, in 1454^ confirming, on the request of the 
haiit-BAtonnicr, the privilege of the fete, against those who 
would abolish it. He declares 

1 Que cette Fete ce*lebree 
Soit a jamais un jour 1'annde, 

1 ' In fine Matutinarum nonnulli received a cheese from the chapter, 
larvati alii inordinate vestiti choreas, 8 Cf. ch. xv. 

tripudia et saltus in eadem ecclesia * * Regna Herodis et Episcopatus 

faciunt . . . [aliquosj ad fontem de- Innocentium, scu fatuorum festa 

ferunt et ibi aqua intinguntur.' hactenus . . . fieri solita . . . abo- 

2 Cf. ch. xix. A representation of lentes.' 

the ' Flight into Egypt J might well * Quod vulgo dicitur JLes Gaigi- 

come into a play of Herod. The sons . . . amplius neminem balneare 

Hist, tfsiutun, 462, says that, before aut . . . pignus aufferre.' It is here 

the reform of 141 1, the ass appeared only the choice of * bishop ' and 

as Balaam's ass in connexion with * dean ' of Innocents, ' quod festum 

a Prophet ae on a stage at the church fatuorum a nonnullis nuncupatur ' 

door. There was a procession to that is forbidden. Apparently 

church, and the Prose. The rex ' Herod ' had died out. 



314 FOLK DRAMA 

Le premier du mois de Janvier ; 
Et que joyeux Fous sans dangier, 
De Thabit de notre Chapelle, 
Fassent la F6te bonne et belle, 
Sans outrage ni derision.' 

In 1477 Louis XI seized Burgundy, and in 1482 his 
representatives, Jean d'Amboise, bishop and duke of Langres, 
lieutenant of the duchy, and Baudricourt the governor, ac- 
corded to Guy Baroset 

c Protonotaire et Procureur des Foux,' 
a fresh confirmation for the privilege of the feast held by 
' Le BAtonnier et tous ses vrais supp6ts V 

There was a second feast in Dijon at the church of St. 
Stephen. In 1494 it was the custom here, as at Sens, to 
shave the 'precentor* of Fools upon a stage before the church. 
In 1621 the vicars still paraded the streets with music and 
lanterns in honour of their 'precentor 2 .' In 1552, however, 
the Feasts of Fools throughout Burgundy had been pro- 
hibited by an arr$t of the Par lenient of Dijon. This was 
immediately provoked by the desire of the chapter of St. 
Vincent's at Chlons-sur-Sa6ne to end the scandal of the 
feast under their jurisdiction. It was, however, general in its 
terms, and probably put an end to the Chapelle feast at Dijon, 
since to about this period may be traced the origin of the 
famous compagnie of the Mkre-Folle in that city 8 . 

In Dauphin^ there was a rex et festum fatuorum at 
St. Apollinaire's in Valence, but I cannot give the date 4 . 
At Vienne the Statutes of St. Maurice, passed in 1385, forbid 
the abbas stultorum seu sociorum, but apparently allow rois 

1 Du Tilliot, ioo ; Petit de Julie- et de toutes autres glises de son 

ville, Les Com. 194. Amongst Du Ressort, et dor&navant le jour de 

Tilliot's woodcuts is one of a bdton la Fete des Innocens, et autres 

(No. 4) bearing this date 1482. It jours faire aucunes insolences et 

represents a nest of fools. tumultes esdrtes glises, vacquer 

* Ibid. 21. en icelles, et courir parmi les villes 

8 Ibid. 74 'Icelle cour a or- avec danses et habits inde*cens a 

donne' et ordonne, que defenses leur e"tat eccllsiastique.' 

seront faites aux Chonaux et habi- * Pilot de Thorey, i. 177. 
tue*s de ladite Eglise Saint-Vincent 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 315 

on the Circumcision and Epiphany, as well as in the three 
post-Nativity feasts. They also forbid certain ludibria. No 
pasquinades are to be recited, and no one is to be carried in 
Rost or to have his property put in pawn 1 . More can be 
said of the feast at Viviers. A Ceremonial of 1365 contains 
minute directions for its conduct 2 . On December 17 the 
sclafardi et clericuli chose an abbas stultus to be re- 
sponsible, as at Auxerre, for the decorum of the choir 
throughout the year. He was shouldered and borne to a 
place of honour at a drinking-bout. Here even the bishop, 
if present, must do him honour. After the drinking, the 
company divided into two parts, one composed of inferior 
clergy, the other of dignitaries, and sang a doggerel song, each 
endeavouring to sing its rival down. They shouted, hissed, 
howled, cackled, jeered and gesticulated ; and the victors 
mocked and flouted the vanquished. Then the door-keeper 
made a proclamation on behalf of the 'abbot/ calling on 
all to follow him, on pain of having their breeches slit, and 
the whole crew rushed violently out of the church. A pro- 
gress through the town followed, which was repeated daily 
until Christmas eve 3 . On the three post-Nativity feasts, 

1 Pilot de Thorey, i. 178 (Statuta, priests, and choir in the high stalls 

c. 40) 'Item statuimus et ordina- was continued by these Statutes, 

mus, quod ex nunc cessent abusus but suppressed about 1670. 

qui fieri consueverunt per abbatem 8 Lancelot, in Hist, de rAcadtmie 

vulgariter vocatum stultorum seu des Inscriptions (ed. 4to), vii. 255, 

sociorum . . . Item statuimus et (ed. I2mo), iv. 397; Ducange, s. v. 

ordinamus, cum in ecclesia Dei non Kalendae ; Du Tilliot, 46. 

deceat fieri ludibria vel inhonesta 8 * . . . Te Deum, et tune per con- 

committi, quod, in festis Sanctorum socios subtollitur, et elevatur, ac 

Stephani, I o ban n is evangelistae, super humeros ad domum,ubicaeteri 

Innocentium et Epiphaniae, do- pro potu sunt congregati, laetanter 

mino de cetero officiatur et des- deportatur, atque in loco ad hoc 

serviatur in divinis, prout in aliis specialiter ornato et praeparato 

diebus infra fieri statuetur, et quod ppnitur, statuitur et collocatur. Ad 

nullus, de cetero, ut quandoque eius introitum omnes debent assur- 

factum fuisse audivimus, portetur gere, etiam dominus Episcopus, si 

in Rost, et quod, de nulla persona fuerit praesens, ac impensa reve- 

ecdesiastica vel secular! cuiuscum- rentia consueta per consodales et 

aue status existat, inhonesti vel cpnsocios electo, fructus species et 

diffamatorii rithmi recitentur, et vinum cum credent! a ei dentur, &c. 

quod nullus pignoret aut aliena Sumpto autem potu idem Abbas vel 

rapiat quovisimodo.' A Vienne maior succentor ex eius officio 

writer, in Leber, ix. 259, adds that absente Abbate incipit cantando ea 

the performance of the office on the quae secuntur ; ab ista enim parte 

three post-N at ivityfeastsbydeacons, sclafardi, clericuli ceterique de 



316 



FOLK DRAMA 



a distinct dominus fcstL the cpiscrfits stultus, apparently 
elected the previous year, took the placi; of the abbas. On 
each of these days he presided at Matins, Mass, and Vespers, 
sat in full pontificals on the bishop's throne, attended by his 
'chaplain,' and u.avc tlu> IK nr,!ictins. H<thon St. Stephen's 
and St. John's days these \\ c u v folluucd by the recitation 
of a burlesque formula of indulgence 1 . The \\holc festivity 
seems to have concluded on Innocents' day with the election 
of a new cpiscipns> who, after the shouldering and the 
drinking-bout, took his stand at a window of the great hall 
of the bishop's palace, and blessed the people of the city 2 . 
The cpi^cipiib was bound to ^ivc a supper to hi> fellows. 
in 1406 one William Kaynoard attempted to evade this 
obligation. An action \\as brought against him in the court 
of the bishop's official, by the then abba* and his predecessor. 



suptus thorum nebent rssc simui- 
que Crtnere, < eteri \cn> (U ^uper 
thoruni ab alia p trtr simul dcbent 
responciere . . . Seel dum enriun 
cantus saepuib et frcquentius per 
paries comraiando cantatu tan to 
amplius asce-ndendo elevatur in 
tantuni quod una pars caniando, 
clamando, cfort < ndat , vinrit aliani. 
Tune enini mler se ad imirem 
clamando, sibilando, ululando, ca- 
chinnando, dcridendo ac cum m ini- 
bus demonstrando, pars viciux 
quantum polcst partem adversam 
deridere con.itur ac buperare, 1000- 
sasque trufas sine taedio broviier 
infer re. 

A parte Abbatis. Hcros. 

Alter chorus. Et nolii . nolicrno. 

A parle Abbatis. Ad fons sancti 
bacon. 

Alii. Kyric Eleiton. 

Quo finilo illico gachia ex eius 
officio facil praeconizationem sic 
dicendo : J)c par Afosst ?ihor Labat 
t' sos Cwsi'l/tcts VDJS ftim tisstil'cr 
quc trtt hows lo sct/ua^ lay on 1'oura 
anar, ea quo sus la pcna dc lalhar 
lo braye. Tune Abbas aliique 
domum exeunt impetum facientes. 
luniores canonic! chorarii scutiferi- 
que domini Kpiscopi et canonico- 
rum Abbatem comitaniurper urbem, 
cui transeunti sal u tern omnes im- 



pertiunt. In istis vrro visitationi- 
bub quac u^tjv c ,td M^iliam Naialis 
1 ) uuini t uotic! - vcspere fiunt) 
Abba^ d( bet semper deportare ha- 
bit um, si\e fuerit m.uita. sive tabar- 
dum, sive c appa una cum cappulio 
de varns iolralo.' It isdinous how 
the characteristic meridional love 
of sheer noise and of gesture 
conies out. 

1 l>c tnditl ^entiis dandts : 
[St. Stephen's I>.iy| 

De par Mos*enhor 1'Kvestjue, 

Oue Dieu- vos donne gran mal 
al bebde, 

Avec una plena balasta de pnrdos 

E dos das de raycha de sot lo 

mento. 
[St. John's D.ty] 

Mobscnhor ques ayssi presenz 

Vos dona xx balastas de mal 
de dens, 

Kt a vos autras donas atressi 

Dona i a coa de rossi. 

'* * D( inde electus per sclafardos 
subtolhtur et eauipanilla precedente 
portatur ad domum epibcopalem, ad 
cuius adventum uinuae "iomus, ab- 
sente vel praesente ipso domino 
Episcopo, debent totahter aperiri, 
ac in una de fenestris magni tinelli 
debet deponi,et stans dat ibi iterum 
benedictionem versus villam.' 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 317 

It was referred to the arbitration of three canons, who decided 
that Raynoard must t^ivc the supper on St. Bartholomew's 
next, August 24. at the accustomed place (a tavern, one fears) 
in the little village of Gras, m-ar Viviers 1 . 

Finally, there are examples of the Feast of Fools in 
Provence. At Aries it uas held in the church of St. Trophime, 
and is said to have been presented, out of its due season, 
it may be supposed, for the amusement of the Emperor 
Charles IV at his coronation in ij>/\5, to have scandalized 
him and so to have met its end 2 . Nevertheless in the 
fifteenth century an 'archbishop of Innocents, 1 alias stultus> 
still sang the ' O ' on St. Thomas's day, officiated on the days 
of St. John and the Innocents, and on St. Trophime's day 
(Dec. 29) paid a visit to the a?w?cs*c folc of the convent 
of Saint-Cesaire. The real abbess of this convent was bound 
to provide chicken, bread and wine for his regaling 3 . At 
Frejus in J^/jS an attempt to put down the feast led to 
a riot. The bishop, Leon des Ursins, was threatened with 
murder, and had to hide while his palace was stormed 4 . 
At Aix the chapter of St. Saviour's chose on St. Thomas's 
day, an cpiscopiis fatnus vcl Iniwcmtium from the choir-boys. 
He officiated on Innocents' day, and boys and canons 
exchanged stalls. The custom lasted until at least i5#5 5 . 
Antibes, as late as 1645, affords a rare example of the feast 
held by a religious house. It was on Innocents' day in the 
church of the Franciscans. The choir and office were left 
to the lay-brothers the quctcnrs, cooks and gardeners. These 
put on the vestments inside out, held the books upside down, 
and wore spectacles with rounds of orange peel instead of 
glasses. They blew the ashes from the censers upon each 
other's faces and heads, and instead of the proper liturgy 
chanted confused and inarticulate gibberish. All this is 

1 Ducange, s.v. Kiifcndtic; I5d- 5 Rigollot, 171 ; Fauris de Saint- 
renger-Feraud, iv. 14. Vincent, in J/^'vm// entyclopt- 

2 Papon,///j/. de Provence (17%^ > dtque (1814), i. 24. A chapter in- 
iv. 212. ventory mentions a *mitra episcopi 

8 Rigollot, 125. fatuorum.' The Council of Aix in 

4 BeYenger-Feraud, iv. 131, quot- 1585 (Labbe*, xv. 1146) ordered the 

ing Mireur, Bull. hist, et philos. du suppression of 'ludibria omnia et 

Comitt des Travaux hist. (1885), pueriles ac theatrales lusus' on In- 

N. 3, 4. nocents' day. 



318 FOLK DRAMA 

recorded by the contemporary free-thinker Mathurin de Neure* 
in a letter to his leader and inspirer, Gassendi l . 

It will be noticed that the range of the Feast of Fools 
in France, so far as I have come across it, seems markedly 
to exclude the west and south-west of the country. I have 
not been able to verify an alleged exception at Bordeaux 2 . 
Possibly there is some ethnographical reason for this. But 
on the whole, I am inclined to think that it is an accident, 
and that a more complete investigation would disclose a 
sufficiency of examples in this area. Outside France, the 
Feast of Fools is of much less importance. The Spanish 
disciplinary councils appear to make no specific mention of it, 
although they know the cognate feast of the Boy Bishop, and 
more than once prohibit ludi, choreae^ and so forth, in general 
terms 3 . In Germany, again, I do not know of a case in 
which the term ' Fools ' is used. But the feast itself occurs 
sporadically. As early as the twelfth century, Herrad von 
Landsberg, abbess of Hohenburg, complained that miracle- 
plays, such as that of the Magi^ instituted on Epiphany and 
its octave by the Fathers of the Church, had given place to 

1 Thiers, Traitt des Jeux et des stolidis quandoque capitibus affun- 
Divertissements<4W, DuTilliot,33, dunt ; sic autem instruct! non 
39, quoting [Mathurin de Neurd] hymnos, non Psalmos, non liturgias 
Querela ad Gassendum^ de parum de more concinunt, sed confusa ac 
Christianis Provincialium suorunt inarticula verba demurmurant, in- 
ritibus . . . Gr*c. (1645) * Choro sanasque prorsus vociferationes de- 
cedunt omnes Therapeutae Sacer- rudunt.' The same M. de Neur 
dotes, et ipse Archimandrite, ; in (whose real name was Laurent 
quorum omnium locos sufficiuntur Mesme) says more generally that 
Coenobii mediastini viles, quorum in many towns of the province on 
aliis manticae explendae cura est, Innocents' day, * Stolidorum se Di- 
aliis culina, aliis hortus colendus : vorum celebrare festa putant, qui- 
Fratres Laicos yocant, qui tune oc- bus stolide litandum sit, nee aliis 
cupatis hinc et inde Jnitiatorum ac quam stolidis illius diei sacra cere- 
Is! y star um sedibus, . . . Sacerdota- moniis peragenda.' He quotes (p. 
libus nempe induuntur vestibus, 72) from a Rituale a direction for 
sed laceris, si quae suppetant, ac the singing of the Magnificat to 
praepostere aptatis, inversisque ; the tune ' Que ne vous requinquez- 
inversos etiam tenent libros in qui- vous, vielle ? Que ne vous requin- 
bus se fingunt legere, appensis ad quez-vous done ? ' 
nasum perspicillis, quibus detrac- * Be*renger-Fe*raud, iv. 17. 
turn vitrum,ei usque loco mali aurati s C. of Toledo, N. 38, in 1582 
putamen insertum . . . Thuricremi (Aguirre, Coll. Cone. Hisp. vi. 12) ; 
Sannionesincuiusquefaciemcineres C. of Ortolana, in 1600 (Aguirre, 
exsufflarunt, et fa villas ex acerris, vi. 452) : cf. pp. 162, 350. 
quas perludibrium temere iactantes, 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 



319 



licence, buffoonery and quarrelling. The priests came into 
the churches dressed as knights, to drink and play in the 
company of courtesans 1 . A Mosburg Gradual of 1360 con- 
tains a series of cantiones compiled and partly written by 
the dean John von Perchausen for use when the scholarium 
episcopus was chosen at the Nativity 2 . Some of these, 
however, are shown by their headings or by internal evidence 
to belong rather to a New Year's day feast, than to one on 
Innocents' day 8 . A festum baculi is mentioned and an epi- 
scopus or praesul who is chosen and enthroned. One carol 
has the following refrain 4 : 

'gaudeamus et psallamus 

novo praesuli 
ad honorem et decorem 

sumpti baculi.' 



1 Pearson, ii. 285 ; C. M. Engel- 
hardt, H. if on Landsberg (1818), 
104; C. Schmidt, H. von Lands- 
berg) 40. Herrad was abbess of 
Hohenburg, near Strasburg, 1167- 
95. The MS. of her Hortus 
Delict arum was destroyed at Stras- 
burg in 1870, but Engelhardt, and 
from him Pearson, translated the 
bit about the Epiphany feasts : cf. 
ch. xx. 

1 Dreves, Anal. Hymn. xx. 22 
(from the Gradual, Cod. Monacens. 
I 57 2 3 I TO ) J after quoting a decree 
against cantiones of the C. of Lyons 
in 1274; 'ne igitur propter schola- 
rium episcopum, cum quo in multis 
ecclesiis a iuniore clero ad specialem 
laudem et devotionem natalis Do- 
mini solet tripudiari, saecularia par- 
liamentanecnon strepitusclamorque 
et cachitas mundanarum cantionum 
in nostro choro invalescant . . . ego 
lohannes, cognomine de Perchau- 
sen, Decanus ecclesiae Mosburgen- 
sis, antequam in decanum essem 
assumptus . . . infra scriptas can- 
tiones, olim ab antiquls etiam in 
maioribus ecclesiis ctim scholarium 
episcopo decantatas ? paucis hip- 
dernis, etiam aliquibus propriis, 
quas olim, cum rector fuissem tcho- 
larium, pro laude nativitatis Do- 
mini et beatae Virginis composui, 



adiunctis, coepi in unum colligere 
et praesenti libro adnectere pro 
special! reverentia infantiae Salya- 
toris, ut sibi tempore suae nativita- 
tis his cantionibus a novellis cleri- 
culis guasi ex ore infantium et 
lactentium laus et hymnizans de- 
votio postposita vulgarium lascivia 
possit tarn decenter quam reveren- 
ter exhiberi.' 

* The following may all be 
for Jan. I, and I do not think 
that there was a scholarium epi- 
scopus on any other day at Mos- 
burg : Gregis pastor Tityrus 
(Dreves, op. cit. no), Ecce novus 
annus est (Dreves, 131, headed in 
MS. *ad novum annum'), Nostri 
festi gaudium (Dreves, 131, *in cir- 
cumcisione Domini '), Castis psal- 



mentibus (Dreves, 135, 2$ I, 
'cum episcopus el igitur '}, Mos 
fiorentis venustatis (Dreves, 135 
' dum itur extra ecclesiam ad cho- 
ream 7 ), Anni novi novitas (Dreves, 
136 ' cum infulatus et vestitus prae- 
sul inthronizatur'). Some other 
New Year cantiones found else- 
where by Dreves (pp. 130, 131) 
have no special reference to the 
feast. 

4 Dreves, op. tit. 136 (beginning 
anni novi novitas) y 250, with 
musical notation. 



320 FOLK DRAMA 

Another is so interesting, for its classical turn, and for the 
names which it gives to the ' bishop ' and his crew that I quote 
it in full \ 

1. Gregis pastor Tityrus, 
asinorum dominus, 
noster est episcopus. 

R. eia, eia, eia, 

vocant nos ad gaudia 
Tityri cibaria. 

2. ad honorem Tityri, 
festum colant baculi 
satrapae et asini. 

R. eia, eia, eia, 

vocant nos ad gaudia, 
Tityri cibaria. 

3. applaudamus Tityro 
cum melodis organo, 
cum chordis et tympano. 

4. veneremur Tityrum, 

qui nos propter baculum 
invitat ad epulum. 

The reforms of the council of Basle were adopted for 
Germany by the Emperor Albrecht II in the Instrumcntmn 
Acceptationis of Mainz in 1439. In 1536 the council of 
Cologne, quoting the decretal of Innocent III, condemned 
thcatrales ludi in churches. A Cologne Ritual preserves an 
account of the sub-deacons' feast upon the octave of Epi- 
phany 8 . The sub-deacons were hedcracco scrto coronati. 
Tapers were lit, and a rex chosen, who acted as hcbdomarius 
from first to second Vespers. Carols were sung, as at Mosburg ! . 
John Huss, early in the fifteenth century, describes the Feast 
of Fools .as it existed in far-off Bohemia 4 . The revellers, 

1 Dreves, op. cit. no, 254, with the Ritual is not given, but the 

notation. ceremony had disappeared by 1645. 

* Wetzer und Welte, Kirchen- 8 'Admiscent autem natalitias 

lexicon, s. v. Epiphany, quoting cantiones, non sine gestientis animi 

Crombach, Hist. Trium Regum voluptate.' 

(1654), 752; Galenius, de admir. * Tra*,tatus de precatione Dei 

Coloniae (1645), 661. The date of i. 302 (t 1406- 15), in F. Palacky, 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS .321 

of whom, to his remorse, Huss had himself been one as a 
lad, wore masks. A clerk, grotesquely vested, was dubbed 
' bishop, 1 set on an ass with his face to the tail, and led to 
mass in the church. He was regaled on a platter of broth 
and a bowl of beer, and Huss recalls the unseemly revel 
which took place 1 . Torches were borne instead of candles, 
and the clergy turned their garments inside out, and danced. 
These ludi had been forbidden by one archbishop John of 
holy memory. 

It would be surprising, in view of the close political and 
ecclesiastical relations between mediaeval France and England, 
if the Feast of Fools had not found its way across the channel. 
It did ; but apparently it never became so inveterate as 
successfully to resist the disciplinary zeal of reforming bishops, 
and the few notices of it are all previous to the end of the 
fourteenth century. It seems to have lasted longest at 
Lincoln, and at Beverley. Of Lincoln, it will be remembered, 
Pierre de Corbeil, the probable compiler of the Sens Officium^ 
was at one time coadjutor bishop. Robert Grosseteste, whose 
attack upon the Inductio Mail and other village festivals 
served as a starting-point for this discussion, was no less 
intolerant of the Feast of Fools. In 1236 he forbade it to 

Documenta Mag. loannts Hus Spectatores autem rident atque haec 

vitam. illustrantia (1869), 722 : omnia religiosa et iusta esse putant ; 

' Quantam autem quamque mani- opinantur enim, hos esse in eorum 

festam licentiam in ecclesia com- rubricis, id est institutis. Prae- 

mittant, larvas induentes sicut clarum vero institutum : pravitas, 

ipse quoque adolescens proh dolor foeditas! Atque quumteneraaetate 

larva fui quis Pragae describat ? et mente essem, ipse quoque talium 

Namque clericum monstrosis vesti- nugarum sociuseram ; sed ut primum 

bus indutum facientes episcopum, dei auxilio adiutus sacras literas 

imponunt asinae, facie ad caudam intelligere coepi, statim hanc ru- 

conversa, in ecclesiam eum ad mis- bricam, id est institutum hums in- 

sam ducunt, praeferentes lancem saniae, ex stultitia mea delevi. Ac 

iusculi et cantharum vel amphoram sanctae memoriae dominus Joannes 

cerevisiae ; atque dum haec prae- archiepiscopus, is quidem excom- 

tendunt, ille cibum potionemque in municatioms poena proposita hanc 

ecclesia capit. Vidi quoque eum licentiam ludosque fieri vetuit, idque 

aras suffientem et pedem sursum summo iure, &c.' 
tollentem audivique magna voce * The quotation given above is 

clamantem : bu ! Clerici autem a translation by J. Kvicala from the 

magnas faces cereorum loco ei Bohemian of Huss. There seems 

praeferebant, singulas aras obeunti to be a confusion between the 

ct suffienti. Deinde vidi clericos ' bishop ' and his steed. It was 

cucullos pellicios aversa parte in- probably the latter who lifted up 

duentes et in ecclesia tripudiantes. his leg and cried bu. 



322 



FOLK DRAMA 



be held either in the cathedral or elsewhere in the diocese l ; 
and two years later he included the prohibition in his formal 
Constitutions' 1 . But after another century and a half, when 
William Courtney, archbishop of Canterbury, made a visitation 
of Lincoln in 1390, he found that the vicars were still in the 
habit of disturbing divine service on January i, in the name 
of the feast 3 . Probably his strict mandate put a stop to the 
custom 4 . At almost precisely the same date the Feast of 
Fools was forbidden by the statutes of Beverley minster, 
although the sub-deacons and other inferior clergy were still 
to receive a special commons on the day of the Circumcision 5 . 
Outside Lincoln and Beverley, the feast is only known in 
England by the mention of paraphernalia for it in thirteenth- 



1 Grosseteste, Epistolae (ed. 
Luard, K. S.), 118 ' vobis manda- 
mus in virtute obedientiae firmiter 
iniungentes, quatenus festum stul- 
torum cum sit vanitate plenum et 
voluptatibus spurcum, Deo odibile 
et daemombus amabile, ne de cae- 
tero in ecclesia Lincolniensi die 
venerandae circumcisionis Domini 
nullatenus permittatis fieri.' 

2 Ibid. op. tit, 161 'execra- 
bilem etiam consuetudinem, quae 
consuevit in quibusdam ecclesiis ob- 
servari de faciendo festo stultorum, 
speciali authoritate rescript! aposto- 
lici penitus inhibemus ; ne de domo 
orationis fiat domus ludibrii, et acer- 
bitas circumcisionis Domini lesu 
Christ! iocis et voluptatibus subsan- 
netur.' The 'rescript' will be Inno- 
cent Ill's decretal of 1207, just 
republished in Gregory IX's De- 
cretales of 1234 ; cf. p. 279. 

5 Lincoln Statutes, ii. 247 'quia 
in eadem visitacione nostra coram 
nobis a nonnullis fide dignis de- 
latuni extitit quod vicarii et clerici 
ipsms ecclesiae in die Circum- 
cisionis Domini induti veste laicali 
per eorum strepitus truflfas garula- 
ciones et ludos, quos festa stultorum 
communiter et convenienter appel- 
lant, drrinum officium multipliciter 
et consuete impediunt, tenore pre- 
sencium Inhibemus ne ipsi vicarii 
qui nunc sunt, vel erunt pro tern- 
pore, talibus uti de caetero non 



praesumant nee idem vicarii seu 
quivis alii ecclesiae ministri pub- 
licas potaciones aut insolencias alias 
in ecclesia, quae domus oracionis 
existit, contra honestatem eiusdem 
faciant quouismodo.' Mr. Leach, 
in Furni'vall Miscellany, 222, notes 
* a sarcastic vicar has written in 
the margin, " Harrow barrow. Here 
goes the Feast of Fools (hie 
subducitur festum stultorum)" 

4 What was ly ffolcfeste of which 
Canon John Marc hall complained 
in Bishop Aln wick's visitation of 
1437 that he was called upon to 
bear the expense ? Cf. Lincoln 
Statutes, ii. 388 ' item dicit quod 
subtrahuntur ab ipso expensae per 
eum factae pascendo ly ffolcfeste 
in ultimo Natali, quod non erat in 
propria, nee in cursu, sed tamen 
rogatus fecit cum promisso sibi 
facto de effusipne expensarum et 
non est sibi satisfactum.' 

5 Statutes of Thos. abp. of York 
(1391) in Monasticon, vi. 1310 * in 
die etiam Circumcisionis Domini 
subdiaconis et clericis de secunda 
forma de victualibus annis singulis, 
secundum morem et consuetudinem 
ecclesiae ab antiquo usitatos, debite 
ministrabit [praepositus], antiqua 
consuetudine immo verius cor- 
ruptela regis stultorum infra ec- 
clesiam et extra hactenus usitata 
sublata penitus et extirpata. 1 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 323 

century inventories of St. Paul's 1 , and Salisbury 2 , and by a 
doubtful allusion in a sophisticated version of the St. George 
play 3 . 

A brief summary of the data concerning the Feast of Fools 
presented in this and the preceding chapter is inevitable. It 
may be combined with some indication of the relation in 
which the feast stands with regard to the other feasts dealt 
with in the present volume. If we look back to Belethus in 
the twelfth century we find him speaking of the Feast of 
Fools as held on the Circumcision, on Epiphany or on the 
octave of Epiphany, and as being specifically a feast of sub- 
deacons. Later records bear out on the whole the first of 
these statements. As a rule the feast focussed on the Cir- 
cumcision, although the rejoicings were often prolonged, and 
the election of the dominus festi in some instances gave rise 
to a minor celebration on an earlier day. Occasionally 
(Noyon, Laon) the Epiphany, once at least (Cologne) the 
octave of the Epiphany, takes the place of the Circumcision. 
But we also find the term Feast of Fools extended to cover 
one or more of three feasts, distinguished from it by Belethus, 
which immediately follow Christmas. Sometimes it includes 
them all three (Besanson, Viviers, Vienne), sometimes the 
feast of the Innocents alone (Autun, Avallon, Aix, Antibes, 
Aries), once the feast of St. Stephen (Chdlons-sur-Marne) 4 . 
On the other hand, the definition of the feast as a sub-deacons' 
feast is not fully applicable to its later developments. Traces 
of a connexion with the sub-deacons appear more than once 
(Amiens, Sens, Auxerre, Beverley) ; but as a rule the feast 
is held by the inferior clergy known as vicars, chaplains, and 
choir-clerks, all of whom are grouped at Viviers and Romans 
under the general term of esclaffardi. At Laon a part is 
taken in it by the curls of the various parishes in the city. 

1 Inventory of St. Paul's (1245) W. H. R. Jones, Vetus Registr. 

in Archaeologia, 1. 472, 480 ' Ba- Sarisb. (R. S.), ii. 135 * Item baculi 

culus stultorum cst de chore et sine ii ad " Festum Folprum." J 

cambuca, cum pomello de ebore * N. 27 in the list given for ch. 

subtus indentatus ebore et cornu : x. Father Christmas says ' Here 

. . . capa et mantella puerorum ad comes in " The Feast of Fools.'* ' 

festum Innocentum et Stultorum 4 Cf. the further account of these 

sunt xxviij debiles et contritae.' post-Nativity feasts in ch. xv. 

8 Sarum Inventory of 1222 in 

Y 2 



324 FOLK DRAMA 

The explanation is, I think, fairly obvious. Originally, per- 
haps, the sub-deacons held the feast, just as the deacons, 
priests, and boys held theirs in Christmas week. But it had 
its vogue mainly in the great cathedrals served by secular 
canons *, and in these the distinction between the canons in 
different orders for a sub-deacon might be a full canon 2 
was of less importance than the difference between the canons 
as a whole and the minor clergy who made up the rest of 
the cathedral body, the hired choir-clerks, the vicars choral 
who, originally at least, supplied the place in the choir of 
absent canons, and the chaplains who served the chantries 
or small foundations attached to the cathedral 3 . The status 
of spiritual dignity gave way to the status of material pre- 
ferment. And so, as the vicars gradually coalesced into 
a corporation of their own, the Feast of Fools passed into 
their hands, and became a celebration of the annual election 
of the head of their body 4 . The vicars and their associates 
were probably an ill-educated and an ill-paid class. Certainly 
they were difficult to discipline 5 ; and it is not surprising 
that their rare holiday, of which the expenses were met 
partly by the chapter, partly by dues levied upon themselves 
or upon the bystanders 6 , was an occasion for popular rather 

1 The C. of Paris in 1212 (p. 279) were often at the same time capel- 
forbids the Feast of Fools in re- lani or chantry-priests. On chan- 
ligious houses. But that in the tries see Cutts, 43$. 
Franciscan convent at Antibes is * The Lincoln vicars chose two 
the only actual instance I have Provosts yearly (Maddison, #/. '/.); 
come across. the Wells vicars two Principals 

2 There were canonici presbiteri, (Reynolds, op. cit. clxxi). 
diaconi) subdiaconi and even pueri 6 Reynolds, op. cit.> gives nume- 
at Salisbury (W. H. Frere, Use of rous and interesting notices of 
Sarum, i. 51). chapter discipline from the Wells 

8 On the nature and growth of Liber Ruber. 

vicars choral, cf. Cutts, 341 ; W. H. ' InLeber,ix.379,4O7,is described 

Frere, Use of Sarum ,\.-xM\r, Lincoln a curious way of raising funds for 

Statutes, passim ; A. R. Maddison, choir suppers, known at Auxerre 

Vicars Choral of Lincoln (1878) ; and in Auvergne, and not quite 

H. E. Reynolds, Wells Cathedral, extinct in the eighteenth century, 

xxix, cvii, clxx. Vicars choral It has a certain analogy to the 

make their appearance in the Deposuit. From Christmas to Epi- 

eleventh century as choir sub- phany the Psalm Memento was 

stitutes for non-resident canons, sung at Vespers, and the anthem 

At Lincoln they got benefactions De fructu ventris inserted in it. 

from about 1190, and in the thir- When this began the ruler of the 

teenth century formed a regularly choir advanced and presented a 

organized communitas. The vicarii bouquet to some canon or bourgeois 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 325 

than refined merry-making *. That it should perpetuate or 
absorb folk-customs was also, considering the peasant or 
small bourgeois extraction of such men, quite natural. 

The simple psychology of the last two sentences really 
gives the key to the nature of the feast. It was largely an 
ebullition of the natural lout beneath the cassock. The 
vicars hooted and sang improper ditties, and played dice 
upon the altar, in a reaction from the wonted restraints of 
choir discipline. Familiarity breeds contempt, and it was 
almost an obvious sport to burlesque the sacred and tedious 
ceremonies with which they were only too painfully familiar. 
Indeed, the reverend founders and reformers of the feast had 
given a lead to this apishness by the introduction of the 
symbolical transference of the baculus at the Deposuit in the 
Magnificat. The ruling idea of the feast is the inversion of 
status, and the performance, inevitably burlesque, by the 
inferior clergy of functions properly belonging to their betters. 
The fools jangle the bells (Paris, Amiens, Auxerre), they 
take the higher stalls (Paris), sing dissonantly (Sens), repeat 
meaningless words (ChcUons, Antibes), say the mcsse Hesse 
(Laon) or the missa fatuorum (Autun), preach the sermones 
fatui (Auxerre), cense praepostere (St. Omer) with pudding 
and sausage (Beauvais) or with old shoes (Paris theologians). 
They have their chapter and their proctors (Auxerre, Dijon). 
They install their dominus fcsti with a ceremony of sacrc 
(Troyes), or shaving (Sens, Dijon). He is vested in full 
pontificals, goes in procession, as at the Rabardianx of Laon, 
gives the benedictions, issues indulgences (Viviers), has his 
seal (Lille), perhaps his right of coining (Laon). Much in 

as a sign that the choir would sup totius cleri et fiunt et cantantur.' 
with him. This was called ' annonce 1 When, however, Ducange says 

en forme d'antienne,' and the that the feast was not called Subdia- 

suppers defructus. The C. of Nar- conorum^ because the sub-deacons 

bonHe(\$$i), c. 47, forbade 'paroch is held it, but rather as being * ebrio- 

... ne ... ad commessationes quas rum Clencorum seu Diaconorum : 

defructus appellant, uilo modo paro- id enim evincit vox Soudiacres,\d 

chianos suos admittant, nee per- est, ad litteram, Saturi Diaconi> 

mittantquempiamcanereutdicunt: quasi Diacres Saoulsj we must 

Memento, Domine, David sans take it for a ' sole joke of Thucy- 

truffe, &c. Nee alia huiusmodi dides.' i believe there is also a 

ridenda, quae in contemptum divini joke somewhere in Liddell and 



326 FOLK DRAMA 

all these proceedings was doubtless the merest horseplay ; 
such ingenuity and humour as they required may have been 
provided by the wicked wit of the goliardi^. 

Now I would point out that this inversion of status so 
characteristic of the Feast of Fools is equally characteristic 
of folk-festivals. What is Dr. Frazer's mock king but one 
of the meanest of the people chosen out to represent the real 
king as the priest victim of a divine sacrifice, and surrounded, 
for the period of the feast, in a naive attempt to outwit 
heaven, with all the paraphernalia and luxury of kingship ? 
Precisely such a mock king is the dominus festi with whom 
we have to do. His actual titles, indeed, are generally 
ecclesiastical. Most often he is a ' bishop, 1 or ' prelate ' 
(Senlis) ; in metropolitan churches an * archbishop,' in churches 
exempt from other authority than that of the Holy See, a 
' pope ' (Amiens, Senlis, Chartres). More rarely he is a 
' patriarch ' (Laon, Avallon), a * cardinal ' (Paris, Besanson), 
an * abbot ' (Vienne, Viviers, Romans, Auxerre) 2 , or is even 
content with the humbler dignity of * precentor/ ' bacularius ' 
or ' bdtonnier ' (Sens, Dijon). At Autun he is, quite ex- 
ceptionally, * Herod/ Nevertheless the term * king ' is not 
unknown. It is found at Noyon, at Vienne, at Besan9on, 
at Beverley, and the council of Basle testifies to its use, as 
well as that of ' duke/ Nor is it, after all, of much im- 
portance what the dominus festi is called. The point is that 
his existence and functions in the ecclesiastical festivals 
afford precise parallels to his existence and functions in 
folk-festivals all Europe over. 

Besides the ' king ' many other features of the foljc-festivals 
may readily be traced at the Feast of Fools. Some here, 
some there, they jot up in the records. There are dance 
and chanson, tripudium and cantilena (Noyon, Ch&lons-sur- 

1 Cf. p. 60 ; Gautier, Les Tro- been sometimes charged with choir 

paires, i. 186; and C. of Treves in discipline throughout the year, and 

1227 (J. F. Schannat, Cone. Germ. at Vienne and Viviers exists side 

iii. 532) ' praecipimus ut omnes by side with another dominus festi. 

Sacerdotes non permittant trutan- Similarly at St. Omer thfre was 

nos et alios vagos scolares aut a * dean ' as well as a ' bishop/ 

goliardos cantare versus super The vicars of Lincoln and Wells 

Sanctus et Agnus Dei.' also chose two officers. 

a The 'abbot* appears to have 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 327 

Marne, Paris theologians, council of Basle). There is eating 
and drinking, not merely in the refectory, but within or 
at the doors of the church itself (Paris theologians, Beau- 
vais, Prague). There is ball-playing (Chdlons-sur-Marne). 
There is the procession or cavalcade through the streets 
(Laon, Chctlons-sur-Marne, &c.). There are torches and 
lanterns (Sens, Tournai). Men are led nudi (Sens); they 
are whipped (Tours) ; they are ceremonially ducked or 
roasted (Sens, Tournai, Vienne, les Gaigizons at Autun) J . 
A comparison with earlier chapters of the present volume 
will establish the significance which these points, taken in 
bulk, possess. Equally characteristic of folk-festivals is the 
costume considered proper to the feasts. The riotous clergy 
wear their vestments inside out (Antibes), or exchange dress 
with the laity (Lincoln, Paris theologians). But they also 
wear leaves or flowers (Sens, Laon, Cologne) and women's 
dress (Paris theologians) ; and above all they wear hideous 
and monstrous masks, larvae or pcrsonac (decretal of 1 207, 
Paris theologians, council of Basle, Paris, Soissons, Laon, 
Lille). These masks, indeed, are perhaps the one feature of 
the feast which called down the most unqualified condemna- 
tion from the ecclesiastical authorities. We shall not be far 
wrong if we assume them to have been beast-masks, and to 
have taken the place of the actual skins and heads of sacri- 
ficial animals, here, as so often, worn at the feast by the 
worshippers. 

An attempt has been made to find an oriental origin for 
the Feast of Fools 2 . Gibbon relates the insults offered to 
the church at Constantinople by the Emperor Michael III, 
the 'Drunkard* (842-67) 3 . A noisy crew of courtiers 
dressed themselves in the sacred vestments. One Theo- 
philus or Grylus, captain of the guard, a mime and buffoon. 
was chosen as a mock * patriarch.' The rest were his twelve 

1 I suppose that * portetur in iv. p. 49 B (Corp. Hist. J\\ c. xi. 2. 1 02 ); 
rost' at Vienne means that the Pdphlagon (Migne, 1\ " G. cv. 527) : 
victims were roasted like the faj^s Theophanes Conlmuatub, iv. 38 
in Tom Hro'wn. (Corp. Hist. /?j>r.x\n. 200) ; ^ymeon 

2 Ducange, s. v. Kalendae. Ma^ister, p. 437 D (lV;/>. //. ,v/. Fly* 
8 Gibbon - Bury, v. 201. The xxii. 661), on all of whom bee I Jury, 

Byzantine authorities are Genesius, App. I to torn. cit. 



328 FOLK DRAMA 

4 metropolitans,' Michael himself being entitled 'metropolitan 
of Cologne/ The c divine mysteries ' were burlesqued with 
vinegar and mustard in a golden cup set with gems. Theo- 
philus rode about the streets of the city on a white ass, and 
when he met the real patriarch Ignatius, exposed him to 
the mockery of the revellers. After the death of Michael, 
this profanity was solemnly anathematized by the council 
of Constantinople held under his successor Basil in 869 l . 
Theophilus, though he borrowed the vestments for his 
mummery, seems to have carried it on in the streets and 
the palace, not in the church. In the tenth century, however, 
the patriarch Thcophylactus won an unenviable reputation 
by admitting dances and profane songs into the ecclesiastical 
festivals ~ ; while in the twelfth, the patriarch Balsamon 
describes his own unavailing struggle against proceedings 
at Christmas and Candlemas, which come uncommonly near 
the Feast of Fools. The clergy of St. Sophia's, he says, 
claim as of ancient custom to wear masks, and to enter the 
church in the guise of soldiers, or of monks, or of four-footed 
animals. The superintendents snap their fingers like cha- 
rioteers, or paint their faces and mimic women. The rustics 
are moved to laughter by the pouring of wine into pitchers, 
and are allowed to chant Kyric ch ison in ludicrous iteration 
at every verse 3 . Balsamon, who died in 1193, was almost 

1 C. of Constantinople (869-70), nias, damnationes et depositiones 

c. 16 (Mansi, XM. 169, tx i<o sionc episcoporurn quasi ab invicemet per 

Latin a, abest in Grace a] ' fuisse invicem miserabiliter et praevan- 

quosdarn Liicos, qui sccundum calorie agentes et patientes. Talis 

diversam imperatoriam dignitatem autem actio nee apud gentes a 

videbantur capiilorum coinam cir- saeculo unquam audita est.' 

cumplexam involvere atque re- 2 Cedrenus, Historiarum Com" 

ponere, et graduin quasi sacerdo- pendium^ p. 639 B (ed. Bekker, in 

talem per quaedam inducia et Co; p. Hist. ./ty^.xxiv. 2. 333), follows 

vestimcnta saceidotalia sumere, et, verbatim the still unprintedeleventh- 

ut putabatur, episcopos constituere, century John Scylitzes (Gibbon- 

superhuineraHbtis, id est, palliis,cir- Bury, v. 508). Theophylactus was 

cumainictos,etomnem aliam Ponti- Patriarch from 933 to 956. 

fi alem mdutos stolam, qui etiain 8 Theodorus Balsamon, In Can. 

proprium patriarcham adscribentes Ixii Cone, in Trullo (P. G. cxxxvii. 

euin qui in adinventionibus risum 727) ^q/ifiWm rov napovra KOVOVO, 

mo\entibus praelatus et princeps *ai fyrrjtro dtop^axrti/ cVi rols -yii/o- 

erat, et insultabant ct illudebant p&vois napa T&V K\rjptK&v fls riyv 

quibus(|iie divinis, inodo quidem oprr}v tirl rfjs ytvvrpreuts TQV Xptcrrof', 

electic^iK b, pronif)tiones et conse- ml rrjv foprijv TO>V <barra>i> [Lumina- 

crationcb,niodo autem acute calum- riuin, Candlemas] vn-tvavri^s rovry 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 329 

precisely a contemporary of Belethus, and the earlier By- 
zantine notices considerably ante-date any records that we 
possess of the Feast of Fools in the West. A slight cor- 
roboration of this theory of an eastern origin may be derived 
from the use of the term ' patriarch ' for the dominus festi 
at Laon and Avallon. It would, I think, be far-fetched to 
find another in the fact that Theophilus, like the western 
1 bishops ' of Fools, rode upon an ass, and that the Prose de 
tAne begins : 

' Orientis partibus, 
adventavit asinus.' 

In any case, the oriental example can hardly be responsible 
for more than the admission of the feast within the doors 
of the church. One cannot doubt that it was essentially 
an adaptation of a folk-custom long perfectly well known 
in the West itself. The question of origin had already pre- 
sented itself to the learned writers of the thirteenth century, 
William of Auxerre, by a misunderstanding which I shall 
hope to explain, traced the Feast of Fools to the Roman 
Parcntalia : Durandus, and the Paris theologians after him, 
to the January Kalends. Certainly Durandus \\as right. 
The Kalends, unlike the more specifically Italian feasts, 
were coextensive with the Roman empire, and were naturally 
widespread in Gaul. The date corresponds precisely with that 
by far the most common for the Feast of Fools. A singular 
history indeed, that of the ecclesiastical celebration of the 

Km fjLa\\ov fif TTJV dyiayrdrrjv MfydXrjv dirpeirrj) "iva irpos yeXoara rovs /^Xc- 
fKK^rjcriav . . . aXXa icai rives K\T]piKoi Trovras fj.fraKivrjO'oixri. TO 6e y\<iv 
Kara rivas toprat TTpos dutyopu pcra- rovs dyporas iy\*op.cvovs rov otpnu 

O'X r Jf JLar ^C ovrat TpOCTWTreUl. Kflt 7TOTC fJ.V TOtS TTl'^OlC, OXTfl Tl TTflpfTTOfJifrov f 

l(f)qp(lS V TU> fJitCTOViUp TT)S KK.\t)(TL(lS dvdyKTjS f'0Tt rOtS X IJVftfidTOl tTll>' 1 

fieru arrparnDTLKcov tifi0ia)v etVe'p^oi/rai, /xr/rtt i7T7; rr)i/ frtirtivmnv rnvrrjv fpya- 

Trore 8f Kai a>$- fj.ova\ol npooftfvovcriv, aiav Kara/jyeur^ui ^4" roi' Xt-yetv ravs 

^ /cat ojf ^"wa rerpuTrodrt. cptorrjcras ovv dyporas trvxvuTtpov *<// fKucrrus /neVpa) 

OTToar ravra Trapf^tap^drjarav yivefrQcH, a^&bv T(>, Kt'pif c'Xc'r;<roi/. 7 fterrot 

ovdcv re trtpov fJKOvara dXX' rj CK 7nre ywopfva tin pent) irapa TCDV vora- 

fjuiKpdt crvvijdfut^ ruvra rcXftcrOai. p'uav 7rai8o&i8acrK(iX<i)v K<ITU rfji' toprfjv 

rotavra daiv, <up cp.o\ ^ofi, K<U ra rcov dyiw i/ornpt'co^, fj.tr a Trpo<Tairrta)^ 

TTUpa TtVUV dofJ.0-TlKVl')VTU}V (V K^rjptD CTKTJVlKtoV 8lfp^OfJ,V(tiV T1]V dyUpUV, TTpO 

yiv6fjLva, rov dfpa rots 8uKrv\ois Kara \\wvmv riv&v K<iTi)pyr)flr)<ruv, Ktitf opi- 
YIVIV\QVS rv7rrovr<t)v, *at <f>uKrj rats (r}j.ov rov d'ytcararov exeivov 7rurpidpx<>u 
yvd&ois $r)6fv irpiri6(p.fva)v cai urrop- Kvpiov Aovica. 



v en-vn nvti ^jiiuntKf m. KIIL 



330 FOLK DRAMA 

First of January. Up to the eighth century a fast, with its 
mass pro prohibendo ab idolis, it gradually took on a festal 
character, and became ultimately the one feast in the year 
in which paganism made its most startling and persistent 
recoil upon Christianity. The attacks upon the Kalends 
in the disciplinary documents form a catena which extends 
very nearly to the point at which the notices of the Feast 
of Fools begin. In each alike the masking, in mimicry o* 
beasts and probably of beast-gods or ' demons/ appears 
to have been a prominent and highly reprobated feature. 
It is true that we hear nothing of a dominus fcsti at the 
Kalends ; but much stress must not be laid upon the omis- 
sion of the disciplinary writers to record any one point in 
a custom which after all they were not describing as anthro- 
pologists, and it would certainly be an exceptional Germano- 
Keltic folk-feast which had not a dominus. As a matter of 
fact, there is no mention of a rex in the accounts of the 
pre-Christian Kalends in Italy itself. There was a rex at the 
Saturnalia, and this, together with an allusion of Belethus 
in a quite different connexion to the liber tas Dccembrica* 1 , 
has led some writers to find in the Saturnalia, rather than 
the Kalends, the origin of the Feast of Fools 2 . This is, 
I venture to think, wrong. The Saturnalia were over well 
before December 25 : there is no evidence that they had 
a vogue outside Italy : the Kalends, like the Saturnalia, 
were an occasion at which slaves met their masters upon 
equal terms, and I believe that the existence of a Kalends 
rex, both in Italy and in Gaul, may be taken for granted. 

But the parallel between Kalends and the Feast of Fools 
cannot be held to be quite perfect, unless we can trace in 
the latter feast that most characteristic of all Kalends customs, 
the Cervulus. Is it possible that a representative of the 
Cervulus is to be found in the Ass, who, whether introduced 
from Constantinople or not, gave to the Feast of Fools one 
of its popular names ? The Feast of Asses has been the sport 
of controversialists who had not, and were at no great pains 

J Belethus, c. 120, compares the not speaking here of the Feast of 
ecclesiastical ball-play at Easter Fools. 
to the libertas Decembrua. He is 2 e.g. Du Tilliot, 2. 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 331 

to have, the full facts before them. I do not propose to 
awake once more these ancient angers 1 . The facts them- 
selves are briefly these. The * Prose of the Ass ' was used 
at Bourges, at Sens, and at Beauvais. As to the Bourges 
feast I have no details. At Sens, the use of the Prose by 
Pierre de Corbeil is indeed no proof that he allowed an ass 
to appear in the cerempny. But the Prose would not have 
much point unless it was at least a survival from a time when 
an ass did appear ; the feast was known as the asinaria fcsta\ 
and even now, three centuries after it was abolished, the Sens 
choir-boys still play at being dne archbishop on Innocents' 
day 2 . At Beauvais the heading Conductus quando asinus 
adducittir in the thirteenth-century Officium seems to show 
that there at least the ass appeared, and even entered the 
church. The document, also of the thirteenth century, quoted 
by the editors of Ducange, certainly brings him, in the 
ceremony of January 14, into the church and near the altar. 
An imitation of his braying is introduced into the service 
itself. At Autun the leading of an ass ad processionem, and 
the cantilena super dictum asinum were suppressed in 1411. 
At Chcilons-sur-Marne in 1570 an ass bore the ' bishop ' to 
the theatre at the church door only. At Prague, on the 
other hand, towards the end of the fourteenth century, an 
ass was led, as at Beauvais, right into the church. These, 
with doubtful references tofites des dnes at St. Quentin about 
1081, at B^thune in 1474, and at Laon in 1537, and the 
Mosburg description of the 'bishop' as asinorum dominus> 
are all the cases I have found in which an ass has anything 
to do with the feast. But they are enough to prove that an 
ass was an early and widespread, though not an invariable 
feature. I may quote here a curious survival in a ronde from 
the west of France, said to have been sung at church doors 
on January i 3 . It is called La Mart de ?Ane, and begins: 

1 S. R. Maitland, The Dark Ages, 2 CWrest, 8l. 

141, tilts at the Protestant historian 8 J. Bujeaud, Chants et Chansons 

Robertson's History of Charles V, populaires des Provinces deT Quest > 

as do F. Clement, 1 59, and A. Walter, i. 63. The ronde is known in Poitou, 

Das Eselsfest in Caecihen-RaUnder Aunis, Angoumois. P. Tarbe, Ro- 

(1885), 75, at Dulaure, Hist, des mancero de Champagne (2* partie), 

Environs de Paris^ iii. 509, and 257, gives a variant. Bujeaud, i. 61, 

other ' Voltairiens.' gives another ronde ^ the Testament 



332 FOLK DRAMA 

' Quand le bonhomme s'en va, 
Quand le bonhomme s'en va, 
Trouvit la tte i son due, 
Que le loup mangit au bois. 
Partt. O tte, pauvre tte, 
T qui chantas si be* 
L* Magnificat 4 Vpres. 

Daux matin 4 quat* lemons, 
La sambredondon, bredondaine, 
Daux matin 4 quat* lemons, 
La sambredondon.' 

This, like the Sens choir-boys' custom of calling their * arch- 
bishop ' dne, would seem to suggest that the dominus festi 
was himself the ass, with a mask on ; and this may have been 
sometimes the case. But in most of the mediaeval instances 
the ass was probably used to ride. At Prague, so far as 
one can judge from Huss's description, he was a real ass. 
There is no proof in any of the French examples that he 
was, or was not, merely a ' hobby-ass.' If he was, he came 
all the nearer to the Cervulus. 

It has been pointed out, and will, in the next volume, be 
pointed out again, that the ecclesiastical authorities attempted 
to sanctify the spirit of play at the Feast of Fools and 
similar festivities by diverting the energies of the revellers 
to huii of the miracle-play order. In such ludi they found 
a place for the ass. He appears for instance as Balaam's 
ass in the later versions from Laon and Rouen of the Prophetae, 
and at Rouen he gave to the whole of this performance the 
name of the fcstum or processio asinorum *. At Hamburg, 

d* rAne, in which the ass has 522, with the Beauvais Officium in 

fallen into a ditch, and amongst his mind, says * Voulez-vous qu'au 

other legacies leaves his tail to lieu de dire, Ite> missa est^ le pretre 

the curt for an aspersoir. This se mette k braire trois fois de toute 

is known in Poitou, Angoumois, sa force, et que le peuple re*ponde 

Franche-Comte'. He also says that en choeur, comme je 1'ai vu faire 

he has heard children of Poitou en 1788, dans l^glise de Bellai- 

and Angoumois go through a mock gues, en PeYigord ? ' 

catechism, giving an ecclesiastical * Cf. ch. xx. Gaste, 20, considers 

significance to each part of the ass. the Rouen Festum Asinorum Tori- 

The tail is the goupillon^ and so gine de toutes les Fdtes de 1'Ane 

forth. Fournier-Verneuil,/>0r/,r, la- qui se ce*le*braient dans d'autres 

bleau moral et philosopkique (1826), dioceses' : but the Rouen MS. in 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 



333 



by a curious combination, he is at once Balaam's ass and 
the finder of the star in a ludus Trium Regum*. His use 
as the mount of the Virgin on January 14 at Beauvais, and on 
some uncertain day at Sens, seems to suggest another favourite 
episode in such /#<#, that of the Flight into Egypt. At 
Varennes, in Picardy, and at Bayonne, exist carved wooden 
groups representing this event. That of Varennes is carried 
in procession ; that of Bayonne is the object of pilgrimage on 
the/Afcr of the Virgin 2 . 

Not at the Feast of Fools alone, or at the miracle-plays 
connected with this feast, did the ass make its appearance in 
Christian worship. It stood with the ox, on the morning 
of the Nativity, beside the Christmas crib. On Palm Sunday 
it again formed part of a procession, in the semblance of 
the beast on which Christ made his triumphal entry into 
Jerusalem 8 . A Cambrai Ordinarium quoted by Ducange 
directs that the asina picta shall remain behind the altar 
for four days 4 . Kirchmeyer describes the custom as it 



which it occurs is only of the four- 
teenth century, and the Balaam 
episode does not occur at all in 
the more primitive forms of the 
Prophetae, while the Sens Feast 
of Fools is called the fast a asinaria 
in the Officium of the early thir- 
teenth century. 

1 Tille, D. W. 31. In Madrid 
an ass was led in procession on 
Tan. 17, with anthems on the Balaam 
legend (Cl&nent, 181). 

* Cl&nent, 182; Didron,A*nates 
arckfologiqueSi xv. 384. 

Dulaure, Hist, des Environs de 
Paris, iii. 509, Quotes a legend to 
the effect that the very ass ridden 
by Christ came ultimately to Verona, 
died there, was buried in a wooden 
effigy at S u - Maria in Organo, and 
honoured by a yearly procession. 
He guesses at this as the origin of 
the Beauvais and other ft Us. Di- 
dron, Annales arch. xv. 377, xvi. 33, 
found that nothing was known of 
this legend at Verona, though such 
a statue group as is described above 
apparently existed in the church 
named. Dulaure gives as his 



authorities F. M. Misson, Nouveau 
Voyage # Italic (1731), i. 164 ; Diet, 
de ritalie^ i. 56. Misson's visit to 
Verona was in 1687, although the 
passage was not printed in the 
first edition (1691) of his book. 
It is in the English translation of 
1714 (i. 198). His authority was 
a French merchant (M. Montel) 
living in Verona, who had often 
seen the procession. In Cenni 
intorno air origine e descrizione 
dell a Festa che annualmente si 
celebra in Verona F ultimo Venerdl 
del Carnovale, contunamente de- 
nominata Gnoccolare (1818), 75, is 
a mention of the ' asinello del 
vecchio padre Sileno ' which served 
as a mount for the ' Capo de' Mac- 
cheroni.' This is probably Misson's 
procession, but there is no mention of 
the legend in any of the eighteenth- 
century accounts quoted in the 
pamphlet. Rienzi was likened to an 
Abbate Asinino ' (Gibbon, vii. 269). 
4 Ducange, s. v. Festum Asino- 
rum ; cf. Leber, ix. 270 ; Molanus, 
de Hist. SS. Imaginum et Pictu- 
rarum (1594), iv. 18. 



334 



FOLK DRAMA 



existed during the sixteenth century in Germany 1 ; and the 
stray tourist who drops into the wonderful collection of 
domestic and ecclesiastical antiquities in the Barfiisserkirche 
at Basle will find there three specimens of the Palmesel^ 
including a thirteenth-century one from Bayern and a seven- 
teenth-century one from Elsass. The third is not labelled 
with its provenance, but it is on wheels and has a hole for the 
rope by which it was dragged round the church. All three 
are of painted wood, and upon each is a figure representing 
Christ 2 . 

The affiliation of the ecclesiastical New Year revelries 
to the pagan Kalends does not explain why those who took 
part in them were called * Fools. 1 The obvious thing to say 
is that they were called ' Fools ' because they played the 
fool ; and indeed their mediaeval critics were not slow to 



1 T. Naogcorgus (Kirchmeyer), 
The Popish Kingdom, iv. 443 (1553, 
transl. Barnabe Googe, 1570, in 
New Shakspere Society edition 
of Stubbes, Anatomy of Abuses, i. 
332) ; cf. Beehive of the Roman 
Church, 199. The earliest notice 
is in Gerardus, /,&?/* S/ 1 . Ulrichs von 
Augsburg (ob. 973), c. 4. E. Bishop, 
in Dublin Review, cxxiii. 405, traces 
the custom in a Prague fourteenth- 
century Missal and sixteenth-cen- 
tury Breviary ; also in the modern 
Greek Church at Moscow where 
until recently the Czar held the 
bridle. But there is no ass, as he 
says, in the Palm Sunday cere- 
mony described in the Peregrinatio 
Silviae (Duchesne, 486). 

2 A peeress of the realm lately 
stated that this custom had been 
introduced in recent years into the 
Anglican church. Denials were to 
hand, and an amazing conflict of 
evidence resulted. Is there any 
proof that the Palmesel was ever 
an English ceremony at all 1 The 
Hereford riding of 1706 (cf. Repre- 
sentations) was not in the church. 
Brand, i. 73, quotes A Dialogue: 
the Pilgremage of Pure Devotyon 
(1551?), 'Upon Palme Sondaye 
they play the foles sadely, drawynge 
after them an Asse in a rope, when 



they be not moche distante from 
the Woden Asse that they drawe.' 
Clearly this, like Googe's translation 
of Naogeorgus, is a description of 
contemporary continental Papistry. 
W. Fulke, The Text of the New 
Testament (ed. 1633), 76 (ad Marc. 
xi. 8) quotes a note of the Rheims 
translation to the effect that in 
memory of the entry into Jerusalem 
is a procession on Palm Sunday 
4 with the blessed Sacrament reve- 
rently carried as it were Christ upon 
the Asse,' and comments, 'But it 
is pretty sport, that you make the 
Priest that carrieth the idoll, to 
supply the roome of the Asse on 
which Christ did ride. . . . Thus 
you turn the holy mysterie of 
Christ's riding to Jerusalem to a 
May - game and Pageant - play.' 
Fulke, who lived 1538-89, is evi- 
dently unaware that there was an 
ass, as well as the priest, in the 
procession, from which I infer that 
the custom was not known in Eng- 
land. Not that this consideration 
would weigh with the mediaevally- 
minded curate, who is as a rule only 
too ready to make up by the cere- 
monial inaccuracy of his mummeries 
for the offence which they cause to 
his congregation. 



THE FEAST OF FOOLS 385 

draw this inference. But it is noteworthy that pagan Rome 
already had its Feast of Fools, which, indeed, had nothing 
to do with the Kalends. The stultorum feriae on February 17 
was the last day on which the Fornacalia or ritual sacrifice 
of the curiae was held. Upon it all the curiae sacrificed in 
common, and it therefore afforded an opportunity for any 
citizen who did not know which his curia was to partake 
in the ceremony 1 . I am not prepared to say that the stul- 
torum feriae gave its name to the Feast of Fools ; but the 
identity of the two names certainly seems to explain some 
of the statements which mediaeval scholars make about that 
feast. It explains William of Auxerre's derivation of it from 
the Parentalia, for the stultorum feriae fell in the midst of 
the Parentalia*. And I think it explains the remark of 
Belethus, and, following him, of Durandus, about the ordo 
subdiaconorum being incertus. The sub-deacons were a regular 
ordo, the highest of the ordines minores from the third 
century 3 . But Belethus seems to be struggling with the 
notion that the sub-deacons' feast, closing the series of post- 
Nativity feasts held by deacons, priests and choir-boys, was 
in some way parallel to the feriae of the Roman stulti who 
were incerti as to their curia. 

1 Marquardt-Mommsen, vi. 191; 'stultaque pars populi, quae sit 
Jevons, Plutarch's Romane Ques- sua curia, nescit ; 

tions, 134 ; Fowler, 304, 322 ; Ovid, sed facit extrema sacra relata 

Fasti) ii. 531 : die. 1 

8 Fowler, 306. 8 Schaff, iii. 131. 



CHAPTER XV 
THE BOY BISHOP 

{Bibliographical Note. Most of the authorities for chh. xiii, xiv, are 
still available, since many writers have not been careful to distinguish 
between the various feasts of the Twelve nights. The best modern 
account of the Boy Bishop is Mr. A. F. Leach's paper on The Schoolboys' 
Feast in The Fortnightly Review, N. S. lix (1896), 128. The contributions 
of F. A. Durr, Commentate Histortca de Episcopo Pfierorum, vulgo vom 
Schul-Bischojff ^(1755); F. A. Specht, Geschichte des Unterrichtswescns in 
Deutschland, 222 sqq. (1885); A. Caste", Les Drames liturgiques de la 
CathJdrale de Rouen, 35 sqq. (1893) ; E. F. Rimbault, The Festival of the 
Boy Bishop in England in The Camden Miscellany, vol. vii (Camden 
Soc. 1875), are also valuable. Dr. Rimbault speaks of * considerable 
collections for a history of the festival of the Boy Bishop throughout 
Europe,' made by Mr. J. G. Nichols, but I do not know where these are 
to be found. Brand (ed. Ellis), i. 227 sqq., has some miscellaneous data, 
and a notice interesting by reason of its antiquity is that on the Episcopus 
Puerorum^ in Die Innocentium, in the Posthuma, 95 sqq., of John Gregory 
(1649)-] 

JOANNES BELETHUS, the learned theologian of Paris and 
Amiens, towards the end of the twelfth century, describes, as 
well as the Feast of Fools, no less than three other tripudia 
falling in Christmas week *. Upon the days of St. Stephen, 
St. John the Evangelist, and the Holy Innocents, the deacons, 

1 Belethus, c. 70 ' Debent ergo pro Christo occisi sunt, ... in 

vesperae Natalis primo integre cele- festo itaque Innocentium penitus 

brari, ac postea conveniunt diaconi subticentur cantica laetitiae, quo- 

quasi in tripudio, cantantque Mag- niam ii ad inferos descenderunt.' 

nificat cum antiphona de S. Ste- Cf. also c. 72, quoted on p. 275. 

phano, sed sacerdos recitat col- Durandus, Rat. Div. Off. (1284), 

lectam. Nocturnes et universum v\\.%z,DefestisSS.Stephani,Ioati- 

officium crastinum celebrant dia- nis Evang. et Innocentium, gives a 

coni, quod Stephanus fuerit dia- similar account. At Vespers on 

conus, et ad lectiones concedunt Christmas Day, he says, the deacons 

benedictiones, ita tamen, ut eius 'in tripudio convenientes cantant 

diei missam celebret hebdomarius, antiphonam de sancto Stephano, 

hoc est ille cuius turn vices fuerint et sacerdos collectam. Nocturnes 

earn exsequi. Sic eodem modo autem et officium in crastinum cele- 

omne officium perficient sacerdotes brant et benedictiones super le- 

ipso die B. loannis, quod hie ctiones dant : quod tamen facere 

sacerdos fuerit, et pueri in ipso non debent.' So too for the priests 

festo Innocentium, quia innocentes and boys on the following days. 



THE BOY BISHOP 337 

the priests, the choir-boys, held their respective revels, each 
body in turn claiming that pre-eminence in the divine services 
which in the Feast of Fools was assigned to the sub-deacons. 
The distinction drawn by Belethus is not wholly observed in 
the ecclesiastical prohibitions either of the thirteenth or of the 
fifteenth century. In many of these the term * Feabt of Fools ' 
has a wide meaning. The council of Nevcrs in 1246 includes 
under it the feasts of the Innocents and the New Year ; that 
of Langres in 1404 the ' festivals of the Nativi'.v ' ; that of 
Nantes in 1431 the Nativity itself, St. Stephen s, St. John's, 
and the Innocents'. For the council of Basle it is apparently 
synonymous with the ' Feast of Innocents or Boys ' ; the 
Paris theologians speak of its rites as practised on St. Stephen's, 
the Innocents', the Circumcision, and other dates. The same 
tendency to group all these tripudia together recurs in 
passages in which the ' Feast of Fools ' is not in so many 
words mentioned. The famous decretal of Pope Innocent III 
is directed against the ludibria practised in turns by deacons, 
priests, and sub-deacons during the feasts immediately follow- 
ing upon Christmas. The irrisio scrvitii inveighed against 
in the Rememoratio of Gerson took place on Innocents' day, 
on the Circumcision, on the Epiphany, or at Shrovetide. 

Local usage, however, only partly bears out this loose 
language of the prohibitions. At Chlons-sur-Marne, in 
1570, the 'bishop' of Fools sported on St. Stephen's day. At 
Besan9on, in 1387, a distinct dominus festi was chosen on 
each of the three days after Christmas, and all alike were 
called rois des fous. At Autun, during the fifteenth cen- 
tury, the regna of the 'bishop* and 'dean* of Innocents and 
of ' Herod ' at the New Year were known together as the 
festa folorum. Further south, the identification is perhaps 
more common. At Avallon, Aix, Antibes, the Feast of Fools 
was on Innocents' day ; at Aries the episcopus stultoyum 
officiated both on the Innocents' and on St. John's, at Viviers 
on all three of the post-Nativity feasts. But these are excep- 
tions, and, at least outside Provence, the rule seems to have 
been to apply the name of * Feast of Fools ' to the tripudium, 
originally that of the sub-deacons, on New Year's day or the 
Epiphany, and to distinguish from this, as does Belethus, the 



338 FOLK DRAMA 

tripudia of the deacons, priests, and choir-boys in Christmas 
week. 

We may go further and say. without much hesitation, that 
the three latter feasts are of older ecclesiastical standing than 
their riotous rival. Belethus is the first writer to mention 
the Feast of Fools, but he is by no means the first writer 
to mention the Christmas tripudia. They were known to 
Honorius of Autun ] , early in the twelfth century, and to 
John of Avranchcs 2 , late in the eleventh. They can be 
traced at least from the beginning of the tenth, more than 
two hundred and fifty years before the Feast of Fools is heard 
of. The earliest notice I have come across is at the monastery 
of St. Gall, hard by Constance, in 911. In that year King 
Conrad I was spending Christmas with Bishop Solomon of 
Constance. He heard so much of the Vespers processions 
during the triduitm at St. Gall that he insisted on visiting the 
monastery, and arrived there in the midst of the revels. It 
was all very amusing, and especially the procession of 
children, so grave and sedate that even when Conrad bade 
his train roll apples along the aisle they did not budge 3 . 
That the other Vespers processions of the tridnum were of 
deacons and priests may be taken for granted. I do not 
know whether the tridnnm originated at St. Gall, but the 
famous song-school of that monastery was all-important in 

1 Honorius Augustodunensis, of the song-school, and von Knonau 
Gemma Anunae, iii. 12 (P. L. clxxii. mentions some canticncs written by 
646). him and others for the feast, e. g. 

2 loanncs Abrincensis (bishop of one beginning * Salve lacteolo de- 
Rouen T 1070), ( /t Etd. Vffic. (P. L. coratum sanguine festum.' He has 
cxlvii. 41 ), with fairly full account another story (c. 26) of how Solo- 
of the ' officia.' mon who was abbot of the monas- 

* Kkkehirdus IV, de Casibus S. tery, as well as bishop of Constance, 

Gain, c. 14 (ed. G. Meyer von looking into the song-school on the 

Knonnu, in Mitthcihmgen zur 'dies scolarium,' when the boys 

Tiifcf lathhschcn Gcsch. of the Hist, had a 'his . . . ut hospites intrantes 

Yerun in St. Gallen. N. F., v. ; capiant, captos, usque dum se redi- 

M. (J. //. Script ores, ii. 84) * longum mant, teneant,' was duly made 

est dicere, quibus iocunditatibus prisoner, and set on the master's 

dies exegerit et noctcs, maxime in seat. 'Si in magistri solio sedeo,' 

processione infant um ; quibus poma cried the witty bishop, * iure cius 

in medio ecclesiae pavimento uti habeo. Omnes exuimini.' After 

antesterni iubens, cum nee unum his jest, he paid his footing like a 

parvissimorum mo\eri nee ad man. The * Schulabt ' of St. Gall 

ea adtendere vidisset, miratus est is said to have survived until the 

discipJinam.' Ekkehart was master council of Trent. 



THE BOY BISHOP 339 

the movement towards the greater elaboration of church 
ceremonial, and even more of chant, which marked the tenth 
century. This gave rise to the tropes, of which much will be 
said in the next volume ; and it is in a tropary, an English 
tropary from Winchester, dating from before 980, that the 
feasts of the triduum next occur. The ceremonies of those 
feasts, as described by Belethus, belong mainly to the Office, 
and the tropes are mainly chanted elaborations of the text 
of the Mass : but the Winchester tropes for the days of 
St. Stephen, St. John, and the Holy Innocents clearly imply 
the respective connexion of the services, to which they belong, 
with deacons, priests, and choir-boys l . Of the sub-deacons, 
on Circumcision or Epiphany, there is as yet nothing. John 
of Avranches, Honorius of Autun, and Belethus bridge a gap, 
and from the thirteenth century the triduum is normal in 
service-books, both continental and English, throughout the 
Middle Ages -'. It is provided for in the Nantes Ordinarium 
of 1 263 3 , in the Amiens Or dinar inm of 1291*, and in the 
Tours Rituale of the fourteenth century 5 . It required reform- 
ing at Vienne in 1385, but continued to exist there up to 
1670^. In the last three cases it is clearly marked side by 
side with, but other than, the Feast of Fools. In Germany, it 

1 Frere, Winch. Trvper, 6, 8, 10. ' propinatur in refectorio, sicut in 
The deacons sang ' Eia, conlevitae vigiha nativitatis.' 

in prr' >martyris Stephani natalicio ^ Martene, iii. 38 'tria festa, quae 

ex persona ipsius cum psalmista sequuntur, fiunt cum magna solern- 

ouantes concinnamus' ; the priests, nitate et tripudio. Primum faciunt 

' Hodie candidate sacerdotum chori diaconi, secundum presbiteri, ter- 

centenictmilleni coniubilentChristo tium pueri.' 

dilectoque suo lohanni ' ; the boys, 4 Grenier, 353 ' si festa [S. Ste- 

* Psalhte nunc Christo pueri, dicente phani] fiant, ut consuetum est, a 

prop beta.* diaconis in cappis sericis ... fit 

2 Rock, iii. 2. 214; Cldment, 118; static in medio choro, et ab ipsis 
Grenier, 353 ; Martene, iii. 38. regitur chorus . . . et fiant festa 
These writers add several refer- sicut docent libri ' ; and so for the 
ences for the triduum or one or other two other feasts. 

of its feasts to those here given : 5 Martene, iii. 38 ' cum in primis 

e. g 1 . Martene quotes on St. Ste- vesperis [in festo S. Stephani] ad 

phen's feast Onhnarium of Lan- ilium cantici Magnificat versiculum 

grcs^ 'fin itis vesperis fiunt tripudia' ; Deposuit potentes perventum erat, 

Ortiinanum of Litnoges^ 'vadunt cantor baculum locumque suum 

omnes ad capitulum, ubi Episcopus, diacono, qui pro eo chorum regeret, 

swe praesens, sive absens fuerit, cedebat'; and so on the other 

dat eis potum ex tribus vinis J ; feasts. 

Ordinarium of Strasburg (tl364), * Cf. p. 315. 

Z 2 



340 FOLK DRAMA 

is contemplated in the Ritual of Mainz *. In England I trace 
it at Salisbury 2 , at York 8 , at Lincoln 4 , at St. Albans 6 . 
These instances could doubtless be multiplied, although there 
were certainly places where the special devotion of the three 
feasts to the three bodies dropped out at an early date. The 
Rheims Ordinarium of the fourteenth century, for instance, 
knows nothing of it fl . The extent of the ceremonies, again, 
would naturally be subject to local variation. The germ of 
them lay in the procession at first Vespers described by 
Ekkehard at St. Gall. But they often grew to a good deal 
more than this. The deacons, priests, or choir-boys, as the 
case might be, took the higher stalls, and the whole conduct 
of the services ; the Deposuit was sung ; epistolae farcitae 
were read 7 ; there was a dominus festi. 

The main outlines of the feasts of the triduum are thus 
almost exactly parallel, so far as the divine servitium is con- 
cerned, to those of the Feast of Fools, for which indeed they 
probably served as a model. And like the Feast of Fools, 
they had their secular side, which often became riotousness. 
Occasionally they were absorbed in, or overshadowed by, the 
more popular and wilder merry-making of the inferior clergy. 

1 Durr, 77. Here the sub-dea- the Minster) ' In die S. Steph. . . . 

cons shared in the deacons' feast. finite processione, si Dominica 

* The Consuetudinarium of 1 1 2 1 o f uerit, ut in Processionali continetur, 

(Frere, Use of Sarum, i. 124, 223) Diaconis et Subdiaconis in choro 

mentions the procession of deacons ordinatim astantibus, unus Dia- 

after Vespers on Christmas day, conus, cui Praecentor imposuerit, 

but says nothing of the share of the incipiat Officium. . . . In dieS.Ioann. 

priests and boys in those of the ... omnibus Personis et Presbyteris 

following days. The Sarum Bre- civitatis ex antiqum consuetudine ad 

vtary gives all three (Fasc. i. cols. Ecclesiam Cathedralem convenien- 

cxcv, couii, ccxxix), and has a note tibus, et omnibus ordinate ex utra- 

(col. clxxvi) 'nunquam enim dicitur que parte Chori in Capis sericis 

Prosa ad Matutinas per totum astantibus, Praecentor incipiat Offi- 

annum, sed ad Vesperas, et ad Pro- cium. . . . In die SS. Innoc. . . . 

cessionern, excepto die sancti Ste- omnibus pueris in Capis, Praecentor 

phani, cuius servitium committitur illorum incipiat.' There are re- 

vpluntati Diaconorum ; et excepto sponds for the * turba diaconorum, 1 

die sancti lohannis, cuius servitium * presbyterorum ' or ' puerorum. 1 

committitur voiuntati Sacerdotum ; * Lincoln Statutes, i. 290 ; ii. 

et excepto die sanctorum Innocen- coxxx, 552. 

tium, cuius servitium committitur * Gasquet, Old English Bible, 

voiuntati Puerorum/ 250. 

3 York Missal, L 20, 22, 23 (from * Martene, iii. 40. 

fifteenth-century MS. D used in 7 Ibid. iii. 39. 



THE BOY BISHOP 341 

But elsewhere they have their own history of reformations or 
suppression, or are grouped with the Feast of Fools, as by 
the decretal of Innocent III, in a common condemnation. 
The diversity of local practice is well illustrated by the records 
of such acts of discipline. Sometimes, as at Paris 1 , or 
Soissons 2 , it is the deacons' feast alone that has become an 
abuse ; sometimes, as at Worms, that of the priests' 3 ; some- 
times two of them 4 , sometimes all three 6 , require correction. 



1 In his second decree of 1199 
as to the feast of the Circumcision 
at Paris (cf. p. 276), Bishop Eudes 
de Sully says (P. L. ccxii. 73) ' quo- 
niam festivitas beati protomartyris 
Stephani eiusdem fere subiacebat 
dissolutionis et temeritatis incom- 
modo, nee ita solemniter, sicut 
decebat et martyris merita require- 
bant, in Ecclesia Parisiensi con- 
sueverat celebrari, nos, qui eidem 
martyri sumus specialiter debitores, 
quoniam in Ecclesia Bituricensi 
patronum habuerimus, in cuius 
gremio ab ineunte aetate fuimus 
nutriti ; de voluntate et assensu 
dilectorum nostrorum Hugonis de- 
cani et capituli Parisiensis, festivi- 
tatem ipsam ad statum reducere 
regularem,eumque magnis Ecclesiae 
solemn i tat i bus adnumerare decre- 
vimus ; statuentes ut in ipso festo 
tantum celebritatis agatur, quan- 
tum in ceteris festis annualibus 
fieri consuevit.' Eudes de Sully 
made a donative to the canons and 
clerks present at Matins on the 
feast, which his successor Petrus de 
Nemore confirmed in 1208 (P. L. 
ccxii. 91). Dean Hugo Clemens 
instigated a similar reform of St. 
John's day (see p. 276). 

1 Marten e, iii. 40 ; Grenier, 353, 
412. The Ritual of Bishop Nive- 
lon, at the end of the twelfth cen- 
tury, orders St. Stephen's to be kept 
as a triple feast, ' exclusa antiqua 
consuetudine diaconorum et ludo- 
rum. f 

* Schannat, iv. 258 (1316) 'illud, 
quod . . . causa devotionis ordina- 
tum fuerat . . . ut Sacerdotes singulis 
annis in festivitate Beati lohannis 
Evangelistae unum ex se eligant, 



qui more episcopi ilia die Missam 
gloriose celebret et festive, nunc in 
ludibrium vertitur, et in ecclesia 
ludi fiunt theatrales, et non solum 
in ecclesia introducuntur monstra 
larvarum, verum etiam Presbyteri, 
Diaconi et Subdiaconi insaniae suae 
ludibria exercere praesumunt, fa- 
cientes prandia sumptuosa, et cum 
tympanis et cymbalis ducentes 
choreas per domos et plateas civi- 
tatis.' 

4 At Rouen in 1445 the feast of 
St. John, held by the capellani, was 
alone in question. The chapter 
ordered (Gaste, 46) * ut faciant die 
festi sancti euangelistae lohannis 
servicium divinum bene et honeste, 
sine derisionibus et fatuitatibus ; et 
inhibitum fuit eisdem ne habeant 
vestes diflformes, insuper quod fiat 
mensa et ponantur boni can tores, 
qui bene sciant cantare, omnibus 
derisionibus cessantibus.' But in 
1446 the feast of St. Stephen needed 
reforming, as well as that of St. John 
(A. Che*ruel, Hist, de Rouen sous la 
Domination anglaise, 206) ; and in 
1451 all three (Gaste", 47) * praefati 
Domini capitulantes ordinaverunt 
quod in festis solemnitatis Nativi- 
tatis Domini nostri Ihesu Christi 
proxime futuris, omnes indecencie 
et inhonestates consuete fieri in 
dedecus ecclesie, tarn per presby- 
teros dyaconos quam pueros chori 
et basse forme, cessent omnino, nee 
sit aliquis puer in v habitn episcopi, 
sed fiat servicium devote et honori- 
fice prout in aliis festis similis 
gradus.' 



xiii. 1460) ' Quia vero quaedam 
tarn in Metropolitans quam in 



342 



FOLK DRAMA 



I need only refer more particularly to two interesting English 
examples. One is at Wells, where a chapter statute of about 
1331 condemns the tumult and ludibrium with which divine 
service was celebrated from the Nativity to the octave of the 
Innocents, and in particular the ludi the air ales and monstra 
larvarum introduced into the cathedral by the deacons, 
priests, sub-deacons, and even vicars during this period *. 
Nor was the abuse easy to check, for about 1338 a second 
statute was required to reinforce and strengthen the prohibi- 
tion 2 . So, too, in the neighbouring diocese of Exeter. The 
register of Bishop Grandisson records the mandates against 
ludi in/tones ti addressed by him in 1360 to the chapters of 
Exeter cathedral, and of the collegiate churches of Ottery, 



Cathedralibus et aliis Ecclesiis 
nostrae provinciae consuetude ino- 
levit ut videlicet in festis Nativitatis 
Domini nostri lesu Christi et sanc- 
torum Stephani, loannis et Inno- 
centium aliisque certis diebus festi- 
vis, etiam in solemnitatibus Mis- 
sarum novarum dum divina aguntur, 
ludi theatrales, larvae, monstra, 
spectacula, necnon quamplurima 
inhonesta et diversa figmenta in 
Ecclesiis introducuntur . . . huius- 
modi larvas, ludos, monstra, specta- 
cula, figmenta et tumultuationes fieri 
. . . prohibemus . . . Per hoc tarn 
honestas repraesentationes et de- 
votas, quae populum ad devotionem 
movent, tam in praefatis diebus 
quam in aliis non intendimus pro- 
hibere ' ; C. of Lyons (1566 and 
1577), c. 15 (Du Tilliot, 63) 'Es 
jours de Fete des Innocens et autres, 
Ton ne doit souffrir es itglises 
jouer jeux, tragedies, farces, &c.' ; 
cf. the Cologne statutes ( 1 662) quoted 
on p. 352. 

1 H. E.Reynolds, Wells Cathedral, 
75 * Quod non sint ludi contra 
koncs totem Ecclesiae Wellensis. 
Item a festo Nativitatis Domini 
usque ad octavas Innocentium quod 
Clerici Subdiaconi Diaconi Presbi- 
tcri etiam huius ecclesiae vicarii 
ludos faciant theatrales in ecclesia 
Wellensi et monstra larvarum in- 
troducentes, in ea insaniae suae 



ludibria exercere praesumunt contra 
honestatem clericalem et sacrorum 
prohibitionem canonum divinum 
officium multiplicitcr impediendo ; 
quod de cetero in ecclesia Wellensi 
et sub pena canonica fieri pro- 
hibentes volumus quod divinum 
officium infestodictorum sanctorum 
Innocentium sicuti in festis sancto- 
rum consimilibus quiete ac pacifice 
absque quocunque tumultu et 
ludibrio cum devotione debita cele- 
bretur.' 

2 Reynolds, op. cit. 87 l Prohibit io 
ludorum theatralium t specta- 
culorum et ostentationum larvarum 
in Ecclesia. Item, cum infra septi- 
manam Pentecostes et etiam in 
aliis festivitatibus fiant a laicis ludi 
theatraJes in ecclesia praedicta et 
non solum ad ludibriorum specta- 
cula introducantur in ea monstra 
larvarum, verum etiam in sanctorum 
Innocentium et aliorum sanctorum 
festivitatibus quae Natale Christi 
secuntur, Presbyteri Diaconi et 
Subdiaconi dictae Wellensis eccle- 
siae vicissim insaniae suae ludibria 
exerccntes per gesticulationem de- 
bacchationes obscenas divinum 
officium impediant in conspectu 
populi, decus faciant clericale vile- 
scere quern potius illo tempore 
deberent praedicatione mulcerc. . . .' 
The statute goes on to threaten 
offenders with excommunication. 



THE BOY BISHOP 



343 



Crediton, and Glasney. These ludi were performed by men 
and boys at Vespers, Matins, and Mass on Christmas and the 
three following days. They amounted to a mockery of the 
divine worship, did much damage to the church vestments 
and ornaments, and brought the clergy into disrepute *. 
These southern prohibitions are shortly before the final" 
suppression of the Feast of Fools in the north at Beverley 
and Lincoln. The Wells customs, indeed, probably included 
a regular Feast of Fools, for the part taken by the sub- 
deacons and vicars is specifically mentioned, and the proceed- 
ings lasted over the New Year. But it is clear that even 
where the term ' Feast of Fools ' is not known to have been 
in use, the temper of that revel found a ready vent in other 
of the winter rejoicings. Nor was it the tridunm alone which 
afforded its opportunities. More rarely the performances of 
the Pastor es on Christmas day itself 2 , or the suppers given 
by the great officers of cathedrals and monasteries, when they 



1 F. C. Hingeston Randolph, 
Bishop Grandtsorf s Register y Part 
iii, p. 1213 ; Inhibicio JEpisiopi 
de ludis inhonestis. The bishop 
writes to all four bodies in identical 
terms. He wishes them * Salutem, 
et morum clericalium honestatem,' 
and adds 'Ad nostram, non sine 
gravi cordis displicencia et stupore, 
pervenit noticiam quod, annis prae- 
teritis et quibusdam praecedentibus, 
in Sanctissimis Dommice Nati- 
vitatis, ac Sanctorum Stephani, 
lohannis, Apostoli et Evangelistae, 
ac Innocencium Solempniis, quandp 
omnes Christi Fideles Divinis laudi- 
buset Officiis Ecclesiasticis devocius 
ac (juiescius insistere tenentur, 
aliqui praedicte Ecclesie nostre 
Ministri, cum pueris, nedum Matu- 
tinis et Vesperis ac Horis aliis, 
set, quod magis detestandum est, 
inter Missarum Sollempnia, ludos 
ineptos et noxios, honestatique 
clerical! indecentes, quia verms 
Cultus Divini ludibria detestanda, 
infra Ecclesiam ipsam inmiscendo 
committere, Divino timore post- 
posito,pernicioso quarundam Eccle- 
siarum exemplo,temere praesumpse- 
runt ; Vestimenta et alia Ornamenta 



Ecclesie, in non modicum eiusdem 
Ecclesie nostre et nostrum dam- 
pnum et dedecus, vihum scilicet 
scenulentorumque (or scev. i spar- 
sione multiphciter deturpando. Ex 
quorum gestis, seu risibus et 
cachinnis derisoriis, nedum populus, 
more Cathohco illis potissime tempo- 
ribus ad Ecclesiam conveniens, a 
debita devocione abstrahitur, set et 
in risum incompositum ac oblecta- 
menta illicitadissolvitur; Cultusque 
Divinus irridetur et Officium perpe- 
ram impeditur. . . .' 

f On the Pastores cf. ch. xix. 
Gaste% 33, gives several Rouen 
chapter acts from 1449 to I 457 
requiring them to ofBciate 'cessanti- 
bus stultitiis et insolenciis.' 1 hese 
orders and those quoted on p. 341 
above were prompted by the Letter 
of the Paris theologians against the 
Feast of Fools and similar revels. 
In 1445 (or 1449) a committee was 
chosen *ad videndum et visitandum 
ordinationem ecclesiae pro festis 
Nativitatis Domini et deliberationes 
Facultatis Theologiae super hoc 
habitas et cjuod tollantur derisiones 
in ipsis fieri solitas.' 



344 FOLK DRAMA 

sang their ' Oesf on the nights between December 16 and 
Christmas 1 , were the occasions for excesses which called for 
reprehension. 

Already, when Conrad visited St. Gall in 911, the third 
feast of the tridnum was the most interesting. In after years 
this reached an importance denied to the other two. The 
Vespers procession was the germ of an annual rejoicing, 
secular as well as ritual, which became for thcfueri attached 
as choir-boys and servers to the cathedrals and great churches 
very much what the Feast of Fools became for the adult 
inferior clergy of the same bodies. Where the two feasts 
were not merged in one, this distinction of personnel was 
retained. A good example is afforded by Sens. Here, from 
the middle of the fourteenth century, the chapter accounts 
show an archicp iscopus pueroru m side by side with the dominus 
of the Feast of Fools. Each feast got its own grant of wine 
from the chapter, and had its own prebend in the chapter 
woods. In the fifteenth century the two fell and rose 
together. In the sixteenth, the Feast of Boys was the more 
flourishing, and claimed certain dues from a market in Sens, 
which were commuted for a small money payment by the 
chapter. Finally, both feasts are suppressed together in 
1547 ' 2 . It is to be observed that the original celebration of 
the Holy Innocents* day in the western Church was not of an 
unmixed festal character. It commemorated a martyrdom 
which typified and might actually have been that of Christ 
himself, and it was therefore held ciim tristitia. As in Lent 
or on Good Friday itself, the * joyful chants,' such as the 
Te Deum or the Alleluia, were silenced. This characteristic 

1 At Sarum a Constitutio of Roger Green, On the words ' O Sapwntia ' 

de Mortival in 1324 (Dayman and in the Kalendar (Archaeologia, 

Jones, Sarum Statutes, $2) forbade xlix. 219); Cynewulf, Christ (cd. 

drinking when the antiphon *O A. S. Cook),xxxv. Payments ' can- 

Sapientia' was sung after Compline toribus ad ludum suum ' or * ad ' or 

on Dec. 16. John of Avranches 'ante natale' appear in Durham 

(fio7o) allowed for the feast of his accounts ; cf. Finchale Priory 

* O ' at Rouen * ununi galonem vini ccccxxviii (Surtees Soc.,) and Dur- 

de oellario archiepiscopi,' and the ham Accounts, passim (SurteesSoc.). 

1 vin de TO ' was still given in 1377 I do not feel sure what feast is here 

(Gaste, 47). On these * Oes,' sung referred to. 

by the great functionaries of cathe- a CheVest, 49 sqq. 
drals and monasteries, see E. 



THE BOY BISHOP 345 

of the day was known to Belethus, but even before his time it 
had begun to give way to the festal tendencies. Local practice 
differed widely, as the notices collected by Martene show, 
but even when John of Avranches wrote, at the end of the 
eleventh century, the 'modern' custom was to sing the chants 1 . 
Many interesting details of the Feast of Boys, as it was 
celebrated in France, are contained in various ceremonial 
books. The Officium Infantum of Rouen may be taken as 
typical 2 . After second Vespers on St. John's day the boys 
marched out of the vestry, two by two, with their ' bishop, 1 
singing Centum quadraginta. There was a procession 
to the altar of the Holy Innocents, and Hi cmpti sunt 
was sung 3 . Then the 'bishop' gave the Benediction. The 
feast of the following day was ' double/ but the boys might 
make it ' triple/ if they would. There was a procession, with 
the Centum quadraginta^ at Matins. At Mass, the boys led 
the choir. At Vespers the baculus was handed over, while 
the Deposuit potcntes was being sung 4 . At Bayeux the feast 
followed the same general lines, but the procession at first 
Vespers was to the altar, not of the Holy Innocents, but of 
St. Nicholas 5 . Precise directions are given as to the functions 
of the * bishop.' He is to wear a silk tunic and cope, and to 
have a mitre and pastoral staff, but not a ring. The boys 
are to do him the same reverence that is done to the real 



1 loannes Abrincensis, de Eccl. 8 These chants are taken from 
Offic. (P. L. cxlvii. 42) * Licet, ut in Revelation, xiv. 3 ' nemo poterat 
morte Domini, Te Deum et Gloria dicere canticum, nisi ilia centum 
in exiclsis et Allehtia in aliquot quadraginta quatuor millia, qui 
ccclesiis, ex more antiquo, omittan- empti sunt de terra. Hi sunt, qui 
tur ; quia ut Christus occideretur cum mulieribus non sunt comqui- 
tot parvuli occidi iubentur ; et illis nati, virgines enim sunt. Hi se- 
occisis fit mors Christi secundum quuntur Agnum quocuinque ierit.' 
aestimationemHerodis; tamen quia This passage is still read in the 
placuit modernis, placet et nobis ut *Epistle' at Mass on Holy Innocents' 
cantentur ' ; cf. the passage from day. Cf. the use of the same chants 
Belethus quoted on p. 336 ; also at Salisbury (Appendix M). 
Honorius Augustodunensis, Gemma * ' Et tamdiu cantetur Deposuit 
Animae^ iii. 1 4 (P. L. clxxii.646), and potentes quod baculus accipiatur ab 
Martene, iii. 40. eo qui accipere voluent.' 

2 Ordinarmm of Rouen (four- Ordinarium of Bayeux (un- 
tcenth century) in Ducange, s.v. dated) in Caste*, 37. On the Bayeux 
Kalcndac\ P. L. cxlvii. 155; Gaste", feast and its paruus episcopus or 
35. On the Rouen feast cf. also petitvfyuecf.' 

Gast, 48. Bayeux, 274. 



346 FOLK DRAMA 

bishop. There are also to be a boy cantor and a boy ( chaplain.' 
The * bishop ' is to perform the duties of a priest, so long 
as the feast lasts, except in the Mass. He is to give the 
benediction after Bencdicamus at first Vespers. Then the 
boys are to take the higher stalls, and to keep them 
throughout the following day, the ' bishop ' sitting in the 
dean's chair. The boys are to say Compline as they will. 
The f bishop * is to be solemnly conducted home with the 
prose Sedcntem, and on the following day he is to be 
similarly conducted both to and from service. At Mass 
he is to cense and be censed like the ' great bishop ' on 
solemn occasions. He is also to give the benediction at 
Mass. There is a minute description of the ceremony of 
Deposuit, from which it is clear that, at Bayeux at least, the 
handing over of the baculns was from an incoming to an 
outgoing ' bishop/ to whom the former was in turn to act 
as ' chaplain V The rubrics of the Coutances feast are even 
more minute 2 . The proceedings began after Matins on 
St. John's day, when the boys drew up a tabula appointing 
their superiors to the minor offices of the coming feast. This, 
however, they were to do without impertinence 3 . The 
vesting of the ' bishop ' and the Vespers procession are 
exactly described. As at Bayeux the boys take the high 
stalls for Compline. The canon who holds a particular 

1 ' Dum perventum fuerit ad suis sociis resumit acapitepsalmum 
ilium : Deposuit potentes, vadunt Magnificat, et sic cantant vesperas 
omnes ad medium ecclesiae et ibi usque ad finem.' 
qui in processione stant ordinate 2 A r (n>usOrdmarzuso{Co\it2iTices 
eumdem versum, episcopo inchoan- (undated) in Gaste, 39. 
te, plures rephcantes. Qui dum 8 ' Post Matutinas conveniant 
sic cantatur, offert ipse episcopus omnes pueri ad suam tabulam 
sociis suis dechorobaculumpastora- faciendam, quibus licitum est ma- 
lem.Postmultasitaqueresumptiones iores personas Ecclesiae minoribus 
dicti versus, revertuntur in chorum, officiis deputare. Diaconis et sub- 
TV Deum laudamusy si habent diaconis ordinatis, thuribula impo- 
novum episcopum, decantantes, et nantur et candelabra maiora vide- 
ita canendo deducunt eum ad licet et minora. Episcopo vero, 
altare, et mitra sibi imposita et cantori et aliis canonicis aquam, 
baculo cum capa serica, revertuntur manutergium, missale, ignem et 
in chorum, illo qui fuerat episcopus campanam possunt imponere pro 
explente officium cape Hani, creato suae libito voluntatis. Nihil tamen 
nihilominus novo cantore. Tune inhonestum aut impertinens ap- 
chprus, si non fuerit ibi novus ponatur; antiquioresprimi ponantur 
episcopus, vel novus episcopus qui in tabula et ultimi iuniores.' 
baculum duxerit capiendum, cum 



THE BOY BISHOP 347 

prebend is bound to carry the candle and the collcctarium 
for the ' bishop/ After Compline the ' bishop ' is led home 
with Lactabundus, but not in pontificals. Throughout the 
services of the following day the * bishop ' plays his part, 
and when Vespers comes gives way to a ' bishop '-elect at the 
Dcposuit *. The ' bishop * of St. Martin of Tours was in- 
stalled in the neighbouring convent of Beaumont, whither all 
the clericuli rode for the purpose after Prime on St. John's 
day. He was vested in the church there, blessed the nuns, 
then returned to Tours, was installed in his own cathedral, 
and blessed the populace 2 . The secular side of the feast 
comes out in the Toul Statutes of 1497 3 - Here it may be 
said to have absorbed in its turn the Feast of Fools, for the 
' bishop ' was a choir-boy chosen by the choir-boys themselves 
and also by the sub-deacons, who shared with them the name 
of Innocentes 4 . The election took place after Compline on 
the first Sunday in Advent, and the ' bishop ' was enthroned 
with a Te Deum. He officiated in the usual way throughout 
the Innocents' day services. In the morning he rode at the 
head of a cortege to the monasteries of St. Mansuetus and 
St. Aper, sang an anthem and said a prayer at the door 
of each church, and claimed a customary fee 6 . After Vespers 
he again rode in state with mimes and trumpeters through 
the city *. On the following day, all the ' Innocents ' went 

1 ' Quo facto dicat [Episcopus] feriati, cjui in numero dictorum 

Deposutt. Statimque electus Epi- Innocentium computantur.* 
scopus, tradito sibi baculo pastorali 6 * Ipsa autem die de mane equi- 

a pueris ad altare praesentetur, et tare habet idem episcopus In- 

osculato altari in domum suam a nocentium ad monasteria SS. 

dictis pueris deferatur. Et interim, Mansueti et Apri per civitatem 

finite tumultu, eat processio ad transeundo in comitiva suorum 

altare S. Thomae martyris.' aequalium, quibus etiam maiores 

8 Rituale (fourteenth century) of et digniores personae dignitatum 

Tours in Martene, iii. 39. There comitantur per se vel suos servi- 

was a cantor puerorum as well as tores et equos, et descendentes 

the episcopus. At second Vespers ad fores ecclesiarum praedictarum 

'quandp^ogm/fca/canitur, vemunt intonat unam antiphonam et dicit 

clericuli in choro cum episcopo episcopus orationem, sibique de- 

habentes candelas accensas de pro- bentur a quolibet monasteriorum 

prio et quando Deposuit canitur, eprundem xviij den. Tullenses, qui 

accipit cantor puerorum baculum, si illico non solvantur, possunt ac- 

ct tune in stallo ascendunt pueri, ct cipere libros vel vadia,' 
alii descendunt.' * ' Can tat is eiusdem diei vesperis, 

8 Ducange, s. v. Kalendae. episcopus ipse cum mimis et tubis 

4 'Omnes pueri et subdiaconi procedit per civitatem cum sua 



348 FOLK DRAMA 

masked into the city, where, if it was fine enough, farces and 
apparently also moralities and miracles were played 1 . On 
the octave the ' bishop ' and his cortege went to the church 
of St. Genevteve. After an anthem and collect they adjourned 
to the * church-house,' where they were entertained by the 
hospital at a dessert of cake, apples and nuts, during which 
they chose disciplinary officers for the coming year 2 . The 
expenses of the feast, with the exception of the dinner on the 
day after Innocents' day which came out of the disciplinary 
fines, are assigned by the statutes to the canons in the order 
of their appointment. The responsible canon must give a 
supper on Innocents' day, and a dessert out of what is over 
on the following day. He must also provide the ' bishop ' 
with a horse, gloves, and a biretta when he rides abroad. 
At the supper a curious ceremony took place. The canon 
returned thanks to the * bishop/ apologized for any short- 
comings in the preparations, and finally handed the ' bishop ' 
a cap of rosemary or other flowers, which was then conferred 
upon the canon to whose lot it would fall to provide the feast 
for the next anniversary 3 . Should the canon disregard his 
duties the boys and sub-deacons were entitled to hang up 
a black cope on a candlestick in the middle of the choir 
in illius vituperium for as long as they might choose *. 

comitiva, via qua fiunt generales ecclesia est unita, paraverint foca- 

processiones.' pam unam, poma, nuces, &c. ad 

1 'In crastino Innocentium, quo merendam oportuna; et ibi insti- 
omnes vadunt per civitatem post tuunturofficiarii ad marencias super 
prandium, faciebus opertis, in diver- defectibus aut excessibus in officio 
sis habit ibus, et si quae farsae divino per totum annum com- 
practicari valeant, tempore tamen missis.' 

sicco, fiunt in aliquibus locis civi- * 'Fit ... assignatio post coenam 

tat is, omnia cum honestate.' diei Innocentium ; ita quod is qui 

Another passage, referring more ilia die festum peregit, gratias refert 

generally to the feast, has 'Fiunt episcopo et toti comitivae, ac ex- 

ibi moralitates vel simulacra mi- cusari petit, si in aliquo defecit ; ct 

raculorum cum farsis et similibus finaliter pileum romarini vel alterius 

ioculis, semper tamen honestis.' confectionis floreum exhibet ipsi 

2 ' In octavis Innocentium rursus episcopo, ut tradat canonico in rc- 
vadit episcopus cum omni comitiva ceptione sequent! constituto ad 
sua in habitibus suis ad ecclesiam futurum annum ipsum festum agen- 
B. Genovefae, ubi cantata anti- dum.' Cf. the bouquets at the 
phona de ipsa virgine cum collecta, ' defructus ' (p. 324). 

itur ad domum parochialem eius * 'Si autem facere contemneret 
ecclesiae vel alibi, ubi magister et adveniente festo, suspenderetur 
fratres domus Dei, quibus ipsa cappa nigra in raustro medio chori, 



THE BOY BISHOP 



349 



I cannot pretend to give a complete account of all the 
French examples of the Boy Bishop with which I have 
met, and it is the less necessary, as the feast seems to have 
been far more popular and enduring in England than the 
Feast of Fools. I content myself with giving references for 
its history at Amiens 1 , St. Quentin 2 , Senlis 3 , Soissons 4 , Roye 6 , 
Peronne 6 , Rheims 7 , Brussels 8 , Lille 9 , Lifege 10 ,Laon n ,Troyes 12 , 
Mans 13 , Bourges 14 , Chlons-sur-Sa6ne 16 , Grenoble 16 . Not un- 
naturally it proved less of a scandal to ecclesiastical reformers 
than the Feast of Fools ; for the choir-boys must have been 
more amenable to discipline, even in moments of festivity, 
than the adult clerks. But it shared in the general condemna- 
tion of all such customs, and was specifically arraigned by 
more than one council, rather perhaps for puerility than for 



et tamdiu ibi maneret in illius 
vituperium, quamdiu placeret sub- 
diaconis feriatis et pueris chori ; et 
in ea re non tenerentur nobis capi- 
tulo obedire.' 

1 Amiens : Rigollot, 1 3 and pas- 
sim ; cf. p. 339. 

8 St. Quentin: Rigollot, 32; 
Grenier, 360. 

8 Senlis : Rigollot, 26 ; Grenier, 
360. 

4 Soissons : Matton, Archives de 
Soissons, 75. 

8 Roye : Rigollot, 33 ; Grenier, 

359- 

Peronne : Rigollot, 34 ; Gre- 
nier, 359, 413. 

7 Rheims: Rigollot, 50; Petit 
de Julleville, Re*p. Com. 348 ; Mar- 
lot, Hist, de Rheims, ii. 266. In 
1479 the chapter undertook the 
expense, ' modo fiat sine larvis et 
strepitu tubicinis, ac sine equita- 
tione per villam.' Martene, iii. 40, 
says that there is no trace of any of 
the triduum ceremonies in the early 
thirteenth-century Rheims Ordt- 
narium. 

8 Brussels: Laborde, Dues de 
Bourgogne, ii. a. 286 ' [1378] Item 
xxi dcccmbris episcopo scholarium 
sanctae Gudilae profecto Sancti 
Nycolay quod scholares annuatim 
faciunt ij mutfones].' 

Ulle : E. Hautcoeur, Hist, de 



Saint- Pierre de Lille, ii. 217, 223. 
On June 29, 1501, Guillemot de 
Lespine 'tre*passa eVque des Inno- 
cens.' His epitaph is in the cloister 
gallery (Hautcceur, Doc. liturg. de 
S. P. de Lille, 342). 

10 Liege : Rigollot, 42 ; Diirr, 82. 
A statute of 1330 laid the expense 
on the last admitted canon ' nisi 
canonicus scholar is sub virga exi- 
stens ipsum exemerit.' 

11 Laon : Rigollot, 21 ; Grenier, 
356, 413 ; C. Hid<f, Bull, de la Soc. 
acad. de Laon, xiii. 122 ; . Fleury, 
Cinguante Ans de Laon, 52. A 
chapter act of 1546 states that 
the custom of playing a comedy at 
the election of the Boy Bishop on 
St. Eloi's day (Dec. i) has ceased. 
The Mass is not to be disturbed, 
but 'si les escoliers veulent faire 
un petit discours, il seroit entendu 
avec plaisir.' 

M Troyes : T. Boutiot, Hist, de 
Trayes, iii. 20. 

18 Mans: Gaste*, 43; Julleville, 
Les Com. 38. 

14 Bourges : Martene, iii. 40. 

15 Chalons-sur-Sa6ne : DuTilliot, 
20; C. Perry, Hist, de Chdlons 

(i6?9), 435- 

lf Grenoble : Pilot de Thorey, 
Usages. Fttes et Coutumes en Dau- 
4, \. 181. 



350 



FOLK DRAMA 



any graver offence 1 . Gradually therefore, it vanished, leaving 
only a few survivals to recent centuries 2 . As was the case 
with the Feast of Foojs, the question of its suppression some- 
times set a chapter by the ears. Notably was this so at 
Noyon, where the act of his reforming colleagues in 1622 was 
highly disapproved of by the dean, Jacques Le Vasseur. In 
a letter written on the occasion he declares that the Boy 
Bishop had flourished in Noyon cathedral for four hundred 
years, and brands the reformers as brute beasts masquerading 
in the robes and beards of philosophy 8 . 

I have no special records of the Boy Bishop in Spain except 
the council decrees already quoted. In Germany he appears 
to have been more widely popular than his rival of Fools. My 
first notice, however, is two centuries after the visit of Conrad 
to the triduum at St. Gall. The chronicle of the monastery of 
St. Petersburg, hard by Halle, mentions an accident in ludo qtii 
vocatur pucrorum. by which a lad was trodden to death. This 



was in 1137*. The thirteenth and fourteenth centuries yield 

1 C. of Cognac (1260), c. 2 (Mansi, 
xxiii. 1033) 'cum in balleatione 



quae in festo SS. Innorentium in 
quibusdam Ecclesiis fieri inolevit, 
multae rixae, contentiones et tur- 
bationes, tarn in divinis officiis quam 
ahis consuevermt provenire, prae- 
dictas balleationes ulterius sub mti- 
matione anathematis fieri prohibe- 
mus ; nee non et Episcopos in 
praedicto festo creari ; cum hoc in 
ecclesia Dei ridiculum existat, et 
hoc dignitatis episcopalis ludibrio 
fiat. 1 C. of Salzburg (1274), c. 17 
(Labbe*, xi. 1004) * ludi noxii quos 
vulgaris elocutio Kptus puor. appel- 
lat ' ; CC. of Chartres (1526 and 
1575 ; Bochellus, Deer. Eccl. Gall. 
iv. 7. 46 ; Du Tilhot, 66) ' stultum 
aut ridiculum in ecclesia ' on days 
of SS. Nicholas and Catharine, and 
the Innocents ; C. of Toledo (i 565), 
ii. 21 (Labbe', xv. 764) ' ficta ilia et 
puerilis episcopatus electio ' ; C. of 
Rouen (1581 ; Hardouin, Concilia , 
x. 1217) 'in festivitate SS. Inno- 
centium theatralia.' 

2 There are traces of it in the 
eighteenth century at Lyons (Mar- 
tene, iii. 40) and Rheims (Barthe'- 



lemy, v. 354) ; at Sens, in the nine- 
teenth, the choir-boys still play at 
being bishops on Innocents' day, 
and name the 'archbishop' dne 
(CheVest, 81). 

3 Grenier, 358, quoting Le Vas- 
seur, Epistolae, Cent. ii. Epist. 68 ; 
cf. on the Noyon feast, Leach, 135 ; 
Du Tilliot, 17 ; Rigollot, 27 ; L. 
Mazire, Noyon religieux, in 
Lomptes-Rendus et Memoir -es 9 xi. 
91, of The Comit^ arch, et hist, de 
Noyon. Le Vasseur, an ex-Rector 
of the University of Paris, writes to 
Fran9ois GeufFrin ' ecce ludunt 
etiam ante ipsas aras ; internecio- 
nem detestamnr, execramur carni- 
ficem. Ludunt et placet iste ludus 
ecclesiae. . . . Tarn grandis est natu 
ritus iste, quern viguisse deprehendo 
iam ante quadringentos annos in 
hac aede, magno totius orbis ordi- 
num et aetatum plausu fructuque 
. . . O miserum saeculum ! . . . solo 
gestu externoque habitu spectabiles, 
sola barba et pallio philosophi, cae- 
tera pecudes ! ' 

4 Chronicon Montis Screni in 
Pertz, Scriptorcs, xxiii. 144. 



THE BOY BISHOP 351 

more examples. In 1249 Pope Innocent IV complained to 
the bishop of Ratisbon that the clerks and scholars of that 
cathedral, when choosing their anniversary ' bishop,' did 
violence to the abbey of Pruviningcn 1 . In 1357 the Ratisbon 
feast was stained with homicide, and was consequently sup- 
pressed 2 . In 1282 the feast was forbidden at Eichstadt 3 . 
In 1304 it led to a dispute between the municipality and the 
chapter of Hamburg, which ended in a promise by the 
scholar rs to refrain from defamatory songs either in Latin 
or German 4 . Similarly at Worms in 1307 the pneri were 
forbidden to sing in the streets after Compline, as had been 
the custom on the feasts of St. Nicholas and St. Lucy, on 
Christmas and the three following days, and on the octave of 
the Holy Innocents' 5 . At Lubeck the feast was abolished in 
1336. I have already quoted the long reference to the 
scholarium cpi Scopus in the Mosburg Gradual of I36o 7 . He 
may be traced also at Rcgensburg 8 and at Prague 9 . But the 
fullest account of him is from Mainz 10 . Here he was called 
the ScJiul-BiscJioff. and in derision Apffcln-Bischoff. He was 
chosen before St. Nicholas' day by the Indi magistcr of the 
schola trivialis. He had his equitcs, his capcllani, and his 
pcdclli. On St. Nicholas' day, and on that of the Holy 
Innocents', he had a seat near the high altar, and took part 
in the first and second Vespers. In the interval he paid a 
visit with his company to the palace of the elector, sang 
a hymn n , and claimed a banquet or a donation. The custom 

1 Monum. Boic. xiii. 214, quoted thirteenth century a child-abbot 
by Specht, 228 ' in festo nativitatis was chosen in Hamburg on St. 
Dommicae annuatim sibi ludendo Andrew's day (Nov. 30). On St. 
constituentes episcopum.' Nicholas' day (Dec. 6) he gave way 

2 Vitus Arnpekius, Chron. Baio- to a child-bishop, who remained in 
arioruni) v. 53, cited by Martene, office until Dec. 28 (Tille, D. W* 
in. 40. 31, citing Heneke, Hamburgische 

8 Specht, 228. Geschichte und Sagen, 90). 

4 Ibid. 225 ; Creizenach, i. 391 ; 8 Specht, 229. 
both quoting E. Meyer, Gesch. des G Ibid, 228. 
hamburgischen Schul- und Untcr- 7 Cf. p. 319. 
richtswcsens im Mittelaltcr, 197 8 Tille, D. W. 31. 
* praeterea scholares nunquam, sive 9 Ibid. 299. 

in electione sive extra, aliquos 1<( Diirr, 67, quoting a Ritual of 

rhythmos faciant, tarn in latino, the cathedral (' tempore Alberti '). 
quam in teutonico, qui famam ali- n It began : 
cuius valeant maculare.' In the * lam ti'um festum Nicolae dives 



352 FOLK DRAMA 

was not altogether extinct in Mainz by I779 1 . In other 
German towns, also, it well out-lived the Middle Ages. At 
Cologne, for instance, it was only suppressed by the statutes 
of Bishop Max Heinrich in i66a 2 . 

In England, the Boy Bishop weathered the storms of 
discipline which swept away the Feast of Fools in the 
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. He was widely popular 
in the later Middle Ages, and finally fell before an austerity 
of the Reformation. The prerogative instance of the custom 
is in the church of Salisbury. Here the existence of the 
Boy Bishop is already implied by the notice of a ring for 
use at the 'Feast of Boys' in an inventory of 1222 s . A 
century later, the statutes of Roger de Mortival in 1319 
include elaborate regulations for the ceremony. The 'bishop* 
may perform the officium as is the use, but he must hold 
no banquet, and no visitation either within or without the 
cathedral. He may be invited to the table of a canon, but 
otherwise he must remain in the common house, and must 
return to his duties in church and school immediately after 
the feast of Innocents. The statute also regulates the 
behaviour of the crowds which were wont to press upon and 
impede the boys in their annual procession to the altar of 
the Holy Trinity, and the rest of their ministry 4 . Two of the 

more solemni recolit iuventus, bus et collectis Sacerdotum, Diaco- 

nec tibi dignos, sacerdotum norum aut Subdiaconorum officia 

Caesar, quaedam usurpent ; multo minus 

promere laudes.' convenit ut Canonici aut Vicarii ex 

1 Tille, D.IV. 31, citing Nork, collegarum suorum numero aliquem 
Festk<ileti<1er, 783. Durr's tract designent Episcopum qui reliquos 
was published at Mainz in 1755. omnes magnis impendiis liberal! 

2 Wetzer und Welte, s. v. Feste convivio excipiat.' 

* consuetude seu potius detestabilis s W. H. R. Jones, Vetus Registr. 
corruptela, quapueri a die S.Nicolai Sarisb. (R. S.), ii. 128; Words- 
usque ad festum SS. Innocentium worth, Proc. 170 * Item, annulus 
personatum Episcopum colunt . . . unus aureus ad Festum Puero- 
ea puenlibus levitatibus et ineptiis rum.' 

plena coeperit esse multumque * Constitution's, 45 (Jones and 

gravitatis et decoris divinis detrahat Dayman, Sart/m Statutes, 75 ; cf. 

officiis . . . ne clerus se pueris die Jones, Fasti> 295) ' Electus puer 

SS. Inn. submittat ac eorum locum chorista in episcopum modo solito 

pccupet, aut illis functiones aliquas puerili officium in ecclesia, prout 

in divinis officiis permittat, neque fieri consuevit, licenter exequatur, 

praesentes aliquis Episcopus bene- convivium aliquod de caetero, yel 

dictiones faciat, aliique pueri in visitationem exterius seu interius 

cantandishorariisprecibus lectioni- nullatenus faciendo, sed in domo 



THE BOY BISHOP 853 

great service-books of the Sarum use, the Breviary and the 
Processional, give ample details as to the 'ministry* of the Boy 
Bishop and his fellows. The office, as preserved in these, 
will be found in an appendix 1 . The proceedings differ in 
some respects from the continental models already described. 
There is no mention of the Deposuit\ and the central rite 
is still the great procession between Vespers and Compline on 
the eve of the Holy Innocents. This procession went from 
the choir either to the altar of the Holy Innocents or to that 
of the Holy Trinity and All Saints in the Lady chapel, and 
at its return the boys took the higher stalls and kept them 
until the second Vespers of the feast. For this procession the 
boys were entitled to assign the functions of carrying the 
book, the censer, the candles, and so forth to the canons. 
Some miscellaneous notices of the Salisbury feast are con- 
tained in the chapter register between 1387 and 1473. From 
1387 the oblations on the feast appear to have been given to 
the 'bishop.' In 1413 he was allowed a banquet. In 1448 
the precentor, Nicholas Upton, proposed that the boys, instead 
of freely electing a * bishop/ should be confined to a choice 
amongst three candidates named by the chapter. But this 
innovation was successfully resisted 2 . Cathedral documents 
also give the names of twenty-one boys who held the office 8 . 
There is in Salisbury cathedral a dwarf effigy of a bishop, 
dating from the latter part of the thirteenth century. Local 

communi cum sociis conversetur, mus incurrere ipso facto, inhibemus 

nisi cum ut choristam ad domum ne quis pueros illos in praefata pro- 

canonici causa solatii ad mensam cessione vel alias in suo ministerio 

contigerit cvocari, ecclesiam et premat vel impediat quoquomodo, 

scholas cum caeteris choristis statim quominus pacifice valeant facere et 

post festum Innocentium frequen- exequi quod illis imminet facien- 

tando. Et quia in processione dum ; sed qui eidem procession! 

Guam ad altare Sanctae Trinitatis devotionis causa voluerint interesse, 

faciunt annuatim pueri supradicti ita modo mature se habeant et 

per concurrentium pressuras et alias honeste sicut et in aliis processioni- 

dissolutiones multiplices nonnulla bus dictae ecclesiae se habent qui 

damna personis et ecclesiae gravia ad honorem Dei frequentant quando 

intelleximus priscis temporibus per- que ecclesiam supradictaxn.' 

venisse, ex parte Dei omnipotentis 1 Appendix M. 

et sub poena maioris excommunica- a Jones, Fasti^ 299. 

tionis, quam contravenientes utpote 8 Wordsworth, Proc. 259. The 

libertates dictae ecclesiae nostrae oblationcs vary from Ms. \\\\d. in 

infringentes et illius pacem et auie- 1448 to as much as Ixxxixr. xu/. in 

tern temerarie perturbantes declara- 1456. 



CHAMBERS. I 



354 FOLK DRAMA 

tradition, from at least the beginning of the seventeenth 
century, has regarded this as the monument of a Boy Bishop 
who died during his term of office. But modern archaeologists 
repudiate the theory. Such miniature effigies are not un- 
common, and possibly indicate that the heart alone of the 
person commemorated is buried in the spot which they mark *. 
The gradual adoption of the use of Sarum by other dioceses 
would naturally tend to carry with it that of the Boy Bishop. 
But he is to be found at Exeter and at St. Paul's before 
the change of use, as well as at Lincoln and York which 
retained their own uses up to the Reformation. At Exeter 
Bishop Grandisson's Ordinale of 1337 provides an Officium 
puerorum for the eve and day of the Innocents which, 
with different detail, is on the same general lines as that of 
Salisbury 2 . At St. Paul's there was a Boy Bishop about 
1225, when a gift was made to him of a mitre by John de 
Belemains, prebendary of Chiswick. This appears, with other 
vestments for the feast, in an inventory drawn up some twenty 
years later 3 . By 1263 abuses had grown up, and the chapter 
passed a statute to reform them 4 . They required the election 
of the praesul and his chapter and the drawing up of the 
tabula to take place in the chapter-house instead of in the 
cathedral, on account of the irreverence of the crowds pressing 
to see. The great dignitaries must not be put down on the 
tabula for the servers' functions, but only the clergy of the 
second or third ' form.' The procession and all the proceedings 
in the cathedral must be orderly and creditable to the boys 5 . 

1 Tones, Fasti^ 300 ; Rimbault, for the Boy Bishop (Simpson, St. 

xxviii; Planche", in Journal of Brit. Paul's Cathedral and Old City 

Archaeol.Assoc.'xx.\?,'$. Gregory, Life, 40). 

93, gives a cut of the statue. * Statutes, bk. i, pars