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Children's Rhymes. Children's Games, Children's Songs, Children's Stories
Children's Rhyme-Games - Through the Needle-e'e, Boys

"Through the Needle-e'e, Boys" played also to some extent in the form of "London Bridge," and much resembling "Barley Break,'' a pastime of high-born lords and ladies in the time of Sir Philip Sydney, who describes it in his Arcadia. The boys first choose sides. The two chosen leaders join both hands, and raising them high enough to let the others pass through below, they sing:

Brother [John], if ye'll be mine,
I'll gie you a glass o' wine;
A glass o' wine is good and fine,
Through the needle-e'e boys.

Letting their arms fall, they enclose a boy, and ask him to which side he will belong, and he is disposed according to his own decision. The parties being at length formed, are separated by a real or imaginary line, and place at some distance behind them, in a heap, their Jackets, caps, etc. They stand opposite to each other, the object being to make a successful incursion over the line into the enemy's country, and tiring off part or whole of the heap of clothes. It requires address and swiftness of foot to do so without being taken prisoner by the foe. The winning of the game is decided by which party first loses all its men or all its property. At Hawick, where this legendary mimicry of old Border warfare pecuriarly flourishes, the boys are accustomed to use the following lines of defiance:-

King Covenanter, come out if ye daur venture!
Set your feet on Scots ground, English, if ye daur!

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