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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/174

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English Folk-Drama.

and histrionic display : for mentioning which fact I am extremely obliged to him ; we know that noise and tumult were always associated with the traditions of Thor, and this episode presents in the blacksmith with his hammer a pretty clear reminiscence of Thor's connection with agriculture in the Scandinavian mythology.

I have mentioned these instances because they occur in dramatic songs, which at a superficial glance appear to be quite modern and commonplace, for which reason they admirably exemplify the survival of the archaic in the midst of later accretions.

It is with great pleasure that I bring to your notice now a version of the Plough-Monday play which has been communicated to me by Mrs. Chaworth Musters, along with the most interesting dress worn by the actors of this version as repeatedly witnessed by Mrs. Chaworth Musters at her residence, Wiverton Hall, near Bingham, Nottinghamshire. The version wears a modern look, but, like the hobby-horse performances just noticed, it has its elements of archaism which persist. I should like first to read an extract from a letter I received from Mrs. Musters, as it is in effect a message to the Society, and brings before us the aspects of the play as they impressed themselves on an eye-witness : —

" I hope that if all is well another year, I may have the pleasure of seeing some members of the Folk-lore Society here for Plough-Monday, and I hope the play will not die out in this neighbourhood for long, as the actors this time were all youths who had learnt their parts by word of mouth. I had some difficulty in getting a copy of the words a few years ago, as it seems never to have been written down ; but I did get it, very ill-spelt and difficult to make out, except that I had heard it several times, and I had it printed in the appendix of a Notts story I wrote, so that it might be preserved. I enclose the book. The same version seems to be known in Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, and Northamptonshire. I wish I could have got a photograph of the performers, but they could only come in the evening, being fa-