9 April 2010

DANCE IN THE 16TH CENTURY

First of all, the wild heads of the town get together, and choose a leader of mischief, who they call the Lord of Misrule: they crown him with great solemnity and adopt him as their King. The King then chooses twenty, fourty, sixty or a hundred lusty chaps, like himself, to wait upon him and guard him. To each of these men he gives his colours, green or yellow or some other wanton colour, and being not gawdy enough they bedeck themselves with scarfs, ribbons and laces, wearing all over, gold rings, prescious stones, and other jewels.

This done, they tie around each leg twenty or forty bells, with magnificent handkerchief in their hands, and also sometimes across their shoulders and around their necks, borrowed, usually from their pretty babes and loving chicks. With everything in order, with their hobby-horses, dragons, and other antiques, together with their bawdy pipers, and thundering drummers, they strike up a devils dance with everyone, and then this heathen company marches towards the Church, their pipers, piping, their drummers thundering, their stampers dancing, with their bells jingling, and their handkerchiefs fluttering about their heads like madmen, and their hobby horses and other monsters skirmishing in amongst the throng: and it is in this manner that they go to the Church (although the Minister is at prayer or preaching) dancing and singing like devils incarnate, with such a muddle of noise, that no man can hear his own voice.

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