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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/168

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160
English Folk-Drama.

the victory of Summer. This presents us with the conditions of an amalgamation, which seems to have taken place at about the period of the Crusades. The Summer champion became St. George ; St. George himself became the type or representative of England ; and, in place of the dragon of the pageant, one or more of the combatants in the Winter and Summer contest represented Mohammedan warriors, over whom the Christian St. George of England is, of course, victorious. When the dialogue was added we do not know ; there were probably spoken words of defiance by the champions in thirteenth-century English, and on this modifications and developments were made, until the play reached the shape in which we know it in more or less debased forms. But in the determination of that shape there, was a factor which remains to be considered, and that was the sword-dance. In this performance a circle was drawn by the Chorus, called "First Clown" in the version given by Henderson in his Folk-lore of the Northern Counties, and " Captain" in the version in Sir Cuthbert Sharp's Bishoprick Garland, who, after walking round the circle, summons the other performers in verses of a song, as thus :

"Now, the first that I call on
Is George, our noble king ;
Long time he's been at wars,
Good tidings back he'll bring."

The introduced actor walks round the ring, and the Chorus proceeds :

"The next that I call on
He is" — (so and so).

In this way all the characters are brought in before the concerted movements of the dance itself take place.

Now, the formula — " In comes I" — spoken by the characters as they enter in the Plough-Monday play, in which the element of the sword-dance is indisputable, supplies us with the development of dialogue from chorus. In the