Morris Dancing Wiki

Ben Jonson's references to morris dancing include:

Bartholemew Fair[]

Act V, Scene iv:

I ha' beene at the Eagle, and the blacke Wolfe, and the Bull with the five legges, and two pizzles; (hee was a Calfe at Uxbridge Fayre, two yeeres agone) And at the dogges that daunce the Morrice, and the Hare o'the Taber; and mist him at all these!

Act V, Scene v:

I wil remove Dagon there, I say, that Idoll, that heathenish Idoll, that remaines (as I may say) a beame, a very beame, not a beame of the Sunne, nor a beame of the Moone, nor a beame of a ballance, neither a house-beame, nor a Weavers beame, but a beame in the eye, in the eye of the brethren; a very great beame, an exceeding great beame; such as are your Stage-players, Rimers, and Morrise-dancers, who have walked hand in hand, in contempt of the Brethren, and the Cause; and beene borne out by instruments, of no meane countenance.


CXXIII "On the Famous Voyage":

(in worthy scorne
Of those, that put out moneys, on returne
From Venice, Paris, or some in-land passage,
Of sixe times to, and fro, without embassage,
Or him that backward went to Berwicke, or which
Did dance the famous Morrisse, unto Norwich.)

It may be of interest to note that Richard Helgerson has described "On the Famous Voyage" as "among the filthiest, the most deliberately and insistently disgusting poems in the language." ["Ben Jonson," in The Cambridge Companion to English Poetry: Donne to Marvell, ed. Thomas N. Corns (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993).]