British Popular Customs Present And Past - online book

A calendar of the traditional customs, practices & rituals of the British Isles.

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276                       APPARITION OF ST. MICHAEL.                [MAY 8.
Where are those Spaniards
That make so great a boast, O ? They shall eat the grey goose-feather,
And we will eat the roast, O.
In every land, O, The land that ere we go,
With Hal-an-tow, &c,
And we were up, &c.
As for St. George, O,
St. George he was a knight, O, Of all the kings in Christendom,
King George is the right, O.
In every land, O,
The land that ere we go
With Hal-an-tow, &c.
God bless Aunt Mary Moses,
With all her power and might, O; And send us peace in merry England,
Both day and night, 0."
It was a general holiday : so strict, indeed, used the obser­vance of this jubilee to be held that if any person chanced to be found at work, he was instantly seized, set astride on a pole, and hurried on men's shoulders to the river, where he was sentenced to leap over a wide space, which if he failed in attempting he of course fell into the water. There was always, however, a ready compromise of compounding for a leap. About nine o'clock the revellers appeared before the grammar-school, and demanded a holiday for the school-boys, after which they collected money from house to house. They then used to fade into the country (fade being an old English word for to go), and about the middle of the day returned with flowers and oak-branches in their hats and caps, and spent the rest of the day until dusk in dancing through the streets to the sound of the fiddle, playing a particular tune; and threaded the houses as they chose—claiming a right to go through any person's house, in at one door and out of the other. In the afternoon the ladies and gentlemen visited some farmhouse in the neighbourhood; whence, after regaling themselves with syllabubs, they returned, after the fashion of the vulgar, to the town, dancing as briskly the fade-dance, and entering the houses as unceremoniously. In later times a select party only made their progress through the streets
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