Romsey Mummers' Play - 1796-1837

E.C.Cawte et al (1967) pp.87-91


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Context:
Location: Romsey, Hants., England (SU3521)
Year: Perf. after 1796 and before 1837
Time of Occurrence: Christmas
Collective Name: Mummers, Mummery

Source:

E.C.Cawte, A.Helm & N.Peacock
English Ritual Drama
London, Folklore Society, 1967, pp.87-91


Cast: (Click on any name for the character name index.)
Text:

Father Christmas

Welcome Welcome old father Christmas
In comes old Father Christmas
Welcome or welcome not
I hope old Father Christmas will never be forgot
Rome Rome I do disdain
For after comes Saint George and all his noble Train
and in this Room there shall be shown
The finest Battle that ever was known
Between Saint George and ye Turkish Knight

{Enter Saint George who says}

Saint George

In come I Saint George Saint George
That valiant Man of courage bold
all with my Sword and Spear I won 10 Crowns of Gold
I fought the fierce Dragon and brought him to slaughter
and by this means I won the King of Bohemia's Daughter

{Enter Turkish Knight}

Turkish Knight

In come I the Turkish Knight
old England for the fight
I will fight Saint George that valiant Man of courage bold
and if his Blood is hot I'll quickly make it cold.

{They fight and Saint George vanquishes Turkish Knight.}

{Saint George then Says}

Saint George

I am a little Man that talks very bold
much like a Lad that I have been told
Therefore draw out thy Sword and fight,
pull out thy Purse and pay -
Satisfaction I will have before I go away

Turkish Knight

Spare Me Saint George: and do not cut Me down

Saint George

Oh, I'll cut thee down and thou shalt rise no more
Then forfeit thy life to make a Store.
Gentlemen and Ladies walk out and see what Miracles I've done.
I've cut and slain my Father down all by y Evening Sun.
Oh Doctor Doctor is there an Italian Doctor lately come from Spain.
To heal ye Sick and raise ye dead again.

Doctor (?)

Oh yes, there is an Italian Doctor lately come from Spain
To heal ye Sick and raise ye dead again.

{Doctor appears}

Saint George (?)

Oh Doctor what canst Thou cure

Doctor

I can cure ye Itch P. Palsy and Gout
and raging Pains that run both in and out
Broken Legs and arms, if any Man shall break his Neck
I will set it again, and have nothing for my Pains

{To y Doctor}

Saint George (?)

Oh Doctor what is thy Pay

Doctor

Ten Guineas is my Fee, but ten pounds I will take of thee

Saint George (?)

Take it -

Doctor

Ive got a little Bottle in y Band of my Breeches called Elecampane
{applies it saying} Rise, Beau Champion, and fight again

{The Turkish Knight rises up and says}

Turkish Knight

The Dragon is my Enemy, to quietly end ye Strife
I'll crop his wings, He shall fly no more,
Saint George shall end his Life.

{Enter Cut and Star}

Cut and Star

In come I cut and Star - just come from ye bloody War
I and seven more will beat eleven Score.
Marching Men of War, many Battles I have Seen
Many Battles I have been in for Saint George our King.

{Enter Poor and Mean - He Says}

Poor and Mean

In come I poor and Mean,
hardly worthy to be seen
Christmas comes but once a Year
When it comes it brings good Cheer
Roast Beef, Plum Pudding and mince Pye
no body loves them better than I
a Mug of your Christmas Ale will make us dance and sing
and money in our Pockets is a very fine Thing.

{Enter Bold Slasher}

Bold Slasher

In come I Bold Slasher, Bold Slasher is my Name
with my Sword and Buckler by my side I hope to win this Game
what Man, what Man comes under my bloody Hand
I cut him and slay Him as small as dust
and send him to ye Cook's Shop to make Pye Crust

{Enter Twing Twang}

Twing Twang

In comes Twing Twang,
Lieutenant of ye Press Gang
I press all these bold Mummers and send them aboard a Man of War -
To fight the French and Dutch and Spaniards also

{Enter Jolly Jack}

Jolly Jack

In come I Jolly Jack
with my Wife and Children at my Back
when she comes she only Says
Gentlemen and Ladies give me what You please

{Exeunt omnes, saying}

[All]

I wish You a merry Christmas,
and a happy new Year
a pocket full of Money and a Cellar full of Beer.


Notes:

From John Latham, Collection for a History of Romsey, Hampshire (see LaBM). Reproduced by permission of the Trustees of the British Museum. (The manuscript is undated; The Dictionary of National Biography states that Latham went to live in Romsey in 1796, and that he died in 1837. Presumably this text dates from late during this period.) - note from E.C.Cawte et al (1967) "In Romsey among other Places this Mummery is kept up, fm about Christmas, & for [blank in original] days after, 6 or 8 Lads, or more, dress themselves in a Manner in wch the Shirt is ever uppermost decorated with Ribbons of various Colours tied about their arms waist & legs. The Christmas Mummers performed by y grown Boys of Romsey in fancy dresses act y following Scene"


File History:
25/10/1994 - Entered by Peter Millington
29/12/1994 - Standardised by PTM
31/12/1999 - Corrected by PTM

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Last generated on 26/12/2007 by P.Millington (Peter.Millington1@virgin.net)