Shakespeare's references to morris dancing include:

2 Henry VIEdit

Act III scene i: Richard Duke of York describes Jack Cade:

YORK: And fought so long, till that his thighs with darts
Were almost like a sharp-quill'd porpentine;
And, in the end being rescued, I have seen
Him caper upright like a wild Morisco,
Shaking the bloody darts as he his bells.


All's Well that Ends WellEdit

Act II scene ii: A clown banters with a countess:

COUNTESS: Will your answer serve fit to all questions?
CLOWN: As fit as ten groats is for the hand of an attorney, as your French crown for your taffeta punk, as Tib's rush for Tom's forefinger, as a pancake for Shrove Tuesday, a morris for May-day, as the nail to his hole, the cuckold to his horn, as a scolding queen to a wrangling knave, as the nun's lip to the friar's mouth, nay, as the pudding to his skin.

Henry VEdit

Act II scene iv: The Dauphin urges France to make war nonchalantly:

DAUPHIN: And let us do it with no show of fear;
No, with no more than if we heard that England
Were busied with a Whitsun morris-dance:

Two Noble KinsmenEdit

Although this relatively little-known play was published as a collaboration between William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, there has been much debate as to whether one, the other, both, or neither were the true authors. One site says "It is now generally accepted that Fletcher wrote the majority of the play, while Shakespeare wrote most of Act 1 (1.1, 1.2, 1.3) and Act 5, with the exception of Scene 2." The references to morris dancing are in the parts thus attributed to Fletcher.

This play features not just a passing reference to morris dancing but an entire scene written around a morris performance... in ancient Athens! (Hmm, did Fletcher know something about morris origins we don't?) Notably, this group of dancers is split 50-50 between men and women, who apparently dance as couples.

Act III scene v: A side of morris dancers forms up for a danceout:

Another Part of the forest.
[Enter a Schoole master, four Countrymen, and Bavian, two or three wenches, with a Taborer.]
[SCHOOLMASTER]: Fy, fy, what tediosity, & disensanity is here among ye? have my Rudiments bin labourd so long with ye? milkd unto ye, and by a figure even the very plumbroth & marrow of my understanding laid upon ye? and do you still cry where, and how, & wherfore? you most course freeze capacities, ye jave Iudgements, have I saide thus let be, and there let be, and then let be, and no man understand mee, proh deum, medius fidius, ye are all dunces: For why here stand I.

[Morris fores haven't changed much, have they?]

Here the Duke comes, there are you close in the Thicket; the Duke appeares, I meete him and unto him I utter learned things, and many figures, he heares, and nods, and hums, and then cries rare, and I goe forward, at length I fling my Cap up; marke there; then do you, as once did Meleager, and the Bore break comly out before him: like true lovers, cast your selves in a Body decently, and sweetly, by a figure trace, and turne Boyes.
1. COUNTREYMAN. : And sweetly we will doe it Master Gerrold.
2. COUNTREYMAN. : Draw up the Company. Where's the Taborour?
3. COUNTREYMAN. : Why, Timothy!
TABORER. : Here, my mad boyes, have at ye.
SCHOOLMASTER. : But I say, where's their women?
4. COUNTREYMAN. : Here's Friz and Maudline.
2. COUNTREYMAN. : And little Luce with the white legs, and bouncing Barbery.
1. COUNTREYMAN. : And freckeled Nel, that never faild her Master.
SCHOOLMASTER. : Wher be your Ribands, maids? swym with your Bodies
And carry it sweetly, and deliverly
And now and then a fauour, and a friske.
NEL. : Let us alone, Sir.
SCHOOLMASTER. : Wher's the rest o'th Musicke?
3. COUNTREYMAN. : Dispersd as you commanded.
SCHOOLMASTER. : Couple, then,
And see what's wanting; wher's the Bavian?
My friend, carry your taile without offence
Or scandall to the Ladies; and be sure
You tumble with audacity and manhood;
And when you barke, doe it with judgement.
BAVIAN. : Yes, Sir.
SCHOOLMASTER. : Quo usque tandem? Here is a woman wanting.
4. COUNTREYMAN. : We may goe whistle: all the fat's i'th fire.
As learned Authours utter, washd a Tile,
We have beene FATUUS, and laboured vainely.
2. COUNTREYMAN. : This is that scornefull peece, that scurvy hilding,
That gave her promise faithfully, she would be here,
Cicely the Sempsters daughter:
The next gloves that I give her shall be dog skin;
Nay and she faile me once--you can tell, Arcas,
She swore by wine and bread, she would not breake.

[Morris dancers haven't changed much, have they?]

SCHOOLMASTER. : An Eele and woman,
A learned Poet sayes, unles by'th taile
And with thy teeth thou hold, will either faile.
In manners this was false position
1. COUNTREYMAN. : A fire ill take her; do's she flinch now?
Shall we determine, Sir?
Our busines is become a nullity;
Yea, and a woefull, and a pittious nullity.
4. COUNTREYMAN. : Now when the credite of our Towne lay on it,
Now to be frampall, now to pisse o'th nettle!
Goe thy waies; ile remember thee, ile fit thee.
[Enter Iaylors daughter.]
DAUGHTER. : [Sings.]
The George alow came from the South,
From the coast of Barbary a.
And there he met with brave gallants of war
By one, by two, by three, a.
Well haild, well haild, you jolly gallants,
And whither now are you bound a?
O let me have your company [Chaire and stooles out.]
Till (I) come to the sound a.
There was three fooles, fell out about an howlet:
The one sed it was an owle,
The other he sed nay,
The third he sed it was a hawke,
And her bels wer cut away.
3. COUNTREYMAN. : Ther's a dainty mad woman M(aiste)r
Comes i'th Nick, as mad as a march hare:
If wee can get her daunce, wee are made againe:
I warrant her, shee'l doe the rarest gambols.
1. COUNTREYMAN. : A mad woman? we are made, Boyes.
SCHOOLMASTER. : And are you mad, good woman?
DAUGHTER. : I would be sorry else;
Give me your hand.
DAUGHTER. : I can tell your fortune.
You are a foole: tell ten. I have pozd him: Buz!
Friend you must eate no whitebread; if you doe,
Your teeth will bleede extreamely. Shall we dance, ho?
I know you, y'ar a Tinker: Sirha Tinker,
Stop no more holes, but what you should.
SCHOOLMASTER. : Dij boni. A Tinker, Damzell?
DAUGHTER. : Or a Conjurer:
Raise me a devill now, and let him play
Quipassa o'th bels and bones.
SCHOOLMASTER. : Goe, take her,
And fluently perswade her to a peace:
Et opus exegi, quod nec Iouis ira, nec ignis.
Strike up, and leade her in.
2. COUNTREYMAN. : Come, Lasse, lets trip it.
DAUGHTER. : Ile leade. [Winde Hornes.]
3. COUNTREYMAN. : Doe, doe.
SCHOOLMASTER. : Perswasively, and cunningly: away, boyes,
[Ex. all but Schoolemaster.]
I heare the hornes: give me some meditation,
And marke your Cue.--Pallas inspire me.
[Enter Thes. Pir. Hip. Emil. Arcite, and traine.]
THESEUS. : This way the Stag tooke.
SCHOOLMASTER. : Stay, and edifie.
THESEUS. : What have we here?
PERITHOUS. : Some Countrey sport, upon my life, Sir.
THESEUS. : Well, Sir, goe forward, we will edifie.
Ladies, sit downe, wee'l stay it.
SCHOOLMASTER. : Thou, doughtie Duke, all haile: all haile, sweet Ladies.
THESEUS. : This is a cold beginning.
SCHOOLMASTER. : If you but favour, our Country pastime made is.
We are a few of those collected here,
That ruder Tongues distinguish villager;
And to say veritie, and not to fable,
We are a merry rout, or else a rable,
Or company, or, by a figure, Choris,
That fore thy dignitie will dance a Morris.
And I, that am the rectifier of all,
By title Pedagogus, that let fall
The Birch upon the breeches of the small ones,
And humble with a Ferula the tall ones,
Doe here present this Machine, or this frame:
And daintie Duke, whose doughtie dismall fame
From Dis to Dedalus, from post to pillar,
Is blowne abroad, helpe me thy poore well willer,
And with thy twinckling eyes looke right and straight
Vpon this mighty MORR--of mickle waight;
IS now comes in, which being glewd together,
Makes MORRIS, and the cause that we came hether.
The body of our sport, of no small study,
I first appeare, though rude, and raw, and muddy,
To speake before thy noble grace this tenner:
At whose great feete I offer up my penner.
The next the Lord of May and Lady bright,
The Chambermaid and Servingman by night
That seeke out silent hanging: Then mine Host
And his fat Spowse, that welcomes to their cost
The gauled Traveller, and with a beckning
Informes the Tapster to inflame the reckning:
Then the beast eating Clowne, and next the foole,
The Bavian, with long tayle and eke long toole,
Cum multis alijs that make a dance:
Say 'I,' and all shall presently advance.

[Morris announcers haven't changed much, have they?]

THESEUS. : I, I, by any meanes, deere Domine.
PERITHOUS. : Produce.
(SCHOOLMASTER.): Intrate, filij; Come forth, and foot it.--
[Musicke, Dance. Knocke for Schoole.]
[Enter the Dance.]
Ladies, if we have beene merry,
And have pleasd yee with a derry,
And a derry, and a downe,
Say the Schoolemaster's no Clowne:
Duke, if we have pleasd thee too,
And have done as good Boyes should doe,
Give us but a tree or twaine
For a Maypole, and againe,
Ere another yeare run out,
Wee'l make thee laugh and all this rout.
THESEUS. : Take 20., Domine; how does my sweet heart?
HIPPOLITA. : Never so pleasd, Sir.
EMILIA. : Twas an excellent dance, and for a preface
I never heard a better.
THESEUS. : Schoolemaster, I thanke you.--One see'em all rewarded.
PERITHOUS. : And heer's something to paint your Pole withall.
THESEUS. : Now to our sports againe.
SCHOOLMASTER. : May the Stag thou huntst stand long,
And thy dogs be swift and strong:
May they kill him without lets,
And the Ladies eate his dowsets!
Come, we are all made. [Winde Hornes.]
Dij Deoeq(ue) omnes, ye have danc'd rarely, wenches.

There's another morris reference later on.

Act V scene ii: the Jailor's Daughter describes Palamon:

DAUGHTER.: Hee'l dance the Morris twenty mile an houre,
And that will founder the best hobby-horse
(If I have any skill) in all the parish
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