Roger de Coverley

Roger de (or of) Coverley (also Sir Roger de Coverley or ...Coverly) is the name of an English Country Dance and a Scottish Country Dance (also known as The Haymakers). An early version was published in The Dancing Master, 9th edition (1695) The dance is probably related to the Virginia Reel. The name refers to a fox, and the dance's steps are reminiscent of a hunted fox going in and out of cover.

It is mentioned in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (1843) when the Ghost of Christmas Past shows Scrooge a party from his apprenticeship with Mr. Fezziwig. "...the great effect of the evening came after the Roast and Boiled, when the fiddler ... struck up 'Sir Roger de Coverley'. Then old Fezziwig stood out to dance with Mrs. Fezziwig."

The dance plays a part in the Dorothy Sayers short story "The Queen's Square", and is mentioned in Washington Irving's The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon.

It is also mentioned in D. H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers (1913), where Gertrude Morel is reported never to have learned the dance.

The tune was used by Frank Bridge in 1922 as the basis of a work for strings titled Sir Roger de Coverly (A Christmas Dance). H. E. Bates used the name Sir Roger to refer to a real hunted fox in the novel Love for Lydia.

Sir Roger de Coverley was also the name of a character in The Spectator (1711). An English squire of Queen Anne's reign, Sir Roger exemplified the values of an old country gentleman, and was portrayed as lovable but somewhat ridiculous ('rather beloved than esteemed' (Spectator no. 2)), making his Tory politics seem harmless but silly. He was said to be the grandson of the man who invented the dance.

A silent but fearsome-visaged character named Major —— de Coverly appears in Joseph Heller's novel Catch-22. The absence of the name may be related to the practice of calling Roger de Coverely simply ...Coverley".

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