In an attempt to answer these questions I should like to turn to a reference to the hobby-horse in the play Eastward Ho.
For Chapman then, the hobby-horse represents a childish toy (see OED `hobby-horse'4) that Gertrude scornfully rejects when her mother suggests `we must do as we would be done to'.
Whether Chapman's reference to the hobby-horse is meant to refer directly to Hamlet or not, such a use of the term helps us to understand the use to which Hamlet is putting the phrase.
Maid Marion carries a collection box and the hobby-horse simply wanders about snapping at spectators.
The first writer to mention the event was Robert Plot, who calls it `the hobby-horse dance" and records that it took place at Christmas and Twelfth Night.
The likelihood is that the modern horn dance is a mixture of half-remembered traditions, part church pageant and part pagan ritual, and that a combination of Morris dancing, hobby-horse and folk play have been stirred into the pot.
Thirty-eight years later, as Professor Emeritus at Berkley, Crews presents Postmodern Pooh, a vicious attack on contemporary literary theory, where some critics are so bound to their own theoretical hobby-horses
that their work becomes absurd.
From the start, they should concentrate on the people's priorities, not politically-correct hobby-horses
For the magazine, in order to preserve critical writing--not so much for its own sake as for that of society's sanity--must navigate the pit-falls of commerce, curatorial hobby-horses
, and artistic careerism.
The fat-cat MSPs have yet to justify themselves by tackling the people's problems, instead of wasting time on personal hobby-horses
and non-urgent politically correct issues.
They don't mind raking in all that lovely road/petrol tax revenue and wasting it on totally unrelated hobby-horses
, but then say they don't have enough funding to give us what they think we need.
Instead of addressing the concerns of ordinary people, they have given priority to politically-correct hobby-horses