Bassingham Men's play 1823 Xmas

C.R.Baskervill (1924), pp.241-245


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Context:
Location: Bassingham, Lincs. (SK9059)
Year: Perf. 1823
Time of Occurrence: Christmas
Collective Name: [Not given]

Source:

C.R.Baskervill
Mummers' Wooing Plays in England
Modern Philology, Feb.1924, Vol.21, No.3, pp.241-245


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

{[Bassingham Men's play 1823 Xmas]}

[Fool]

Good Evening Ladys and Gentlemen all
This merry time at Christmas I have made it bold to call
I hope you will not take it ill what I am a going to say
I have some more Boys & Girls drawing on this way
I have some little Boys stands at the Door
In Ribons they are neatly dressed
For to please you all they shall do their best
Step in Merrymen all.

{[The players enter and sing together]}

[All]

Good Master and good Mistress
As you sit by the Fire
Remember us poor Ploughlads
That runs through Mud and Mire
The mire it is deep
And we travel far and near
We will thank you for a Christmas Box
And a mug of your strong Beer.

Eldest Son

I am me Father's eldest Son
And Heir of all his land
I hope in a short time
It will all fall in my hand
I was brought up in Linsy Coat
All the Days of my Life
There stands a fair Lady
I wish she was my Wife
With fingers long and rings upon
All made of beaton gold
Good master and good Mistress
I would have you to behold

[The Husbandman]

Here comes the Farming Man
Upon my principle for to stand
I'm come to woo this Lady fair
To gain her Love his all my care

{Enter Lady}

[Lady]

To gain my love it will not do
You speak too Clownish for to woo
Therefore out of my sight be gone
A witty man or I'll have none

{Enter Lawyer}

[Lawyer]

A man for wit I am the best
So Chuse me from amongst the rest

[Lady]

A Lawyer I suppose you be
You plead your Cause so wittely
But by an by I'll tell you plain
You plead a Cause thats all in vain

[Dame Jane]

Here comes old Dame Jane
Comes dableing about the Meadow
Comes Jumping about, to show you such sport
Look about you old Maids and Widows
Long time I have sought you
But now I have found you
Sarrah come take your Bastard.

[Fool]

Bastard you jade its none of mine
Its not a bit like me
I am a Valient Hero lately Come from Sea
You never saw me before, now did you
I slew Ten men with a Seed of Mustard
Ten thousand with an old Crush'd Toad
What do you think to that Jane
If you don't be of I'll serve you the same.

[Old Man]

Here comes the poor old ancient Man
I'll speak for myself the best I can
My old grey Hairs they Hang so low
I'll do the best for myself the best I know.

{To Lady}

Me thinks me sees that star shine bright
On you I've fix'd my hearts delight

{In comes the Lady}

[Lady]

Away Away from me be gone
Do you think I'd Marry such a Drone
No I'll have one of high degree
And not such an helpless wretch as the

Old Man

Kick me Lady out of the room
I'll be hang'd over our Kitchen Door

[Saint George]

In comes Saint George
The Champeon bold
With my blooddy spear
I have won Ten Thousand pounds in Gold
I fought the finest Dragon
And brought him to a slaughter
And by that means
I gaind The King of Egypts Daughter
I ash him and smash him as small as Flys
Send him to Jamaica to make Minch pies.

Fool

You hash me and smash me as small as flys
Send me to Jamaica to make Minch Pies

Saint George

Yes I'll hash you and smash you as small as Flys
And send you to Jamaica to make Minch Pies

{[They fight; The Fool falls]}

The old Witch

Five pounds for a Docter my Husband to cure

The Docter

I'm the Docter.

[The Old Witch]

Pray what can you cure

[The Docter]

I can cure the Itch and the Veneral & the Gout
All akes within and pains without
You may think I am mistain
But I can bring this Man to Life again.

{The old Witch Says}

[The Old Witch]

Where have you learnt your skill Docter

The Docter

I have traveled for it. {The Old Witch says}

[The Old Witch]

Where have you traveled. {The Docter says}

[The Docter]

I have traveled from my Old Grandmother's Fireside,
to her Bread & Cheese Cupboard Door
And there had a many a rare piece of Bread & Cheese,

{The old Witch says}

[The Old Witch]

Try your skill Docter;

{The Docter says}

[The Docter]

I will feel of this Mans Pulse.
Very bad Very bad indeed
take a little of this Medicine
This man his not Dead but in a Trance
Arise my Lad and take a Dance

{The Finishing Song}

[Fool]

Come write me down the power above
That first created A man to Love
I have a Diamond in my eye
Where all my Joy and comfortly
I'll give you Gold I'll give you Pearl
If you can Fancy me my Girl
Rich Costley Robes you shall wear
If you can Fancy me my Dear

[Lady]

Its not your Gold shall me entice
Leave of Virtue to follow your advice
I do never intend at all
Not to be at any Young Man's call.

[Fool]

Go you away you Proud and scornful Dame
If you had been true I should of been the same
I make no dought but I can find
As handsome a fair one too my mind

[Lady]

O stay Young Man you seem in haste
Or are you afraid your time should waste
Let reson rule your roving mind
And perhaps in time she'l proof more kind

[Fool]

Now all my sorrows is comd and past
Joy and comfort I have found at last
The Girl that use to say me nay
She comforts me both Night & Day.


Notes:

Written at the bottom of the final page of the manuscript: "Sir.C.F.Bromhead Baronet, Thurlby Hall"

Baskervill's notes:

"The play in a regular but somewhat crud hand was probably written by a performer. The title including the brackets has been added in another hand. Speakers' names and stage directions added by me are in brackets, and I have italicised those in the MS. The play is written in verse with only likes 8, 70, and 76 indented, the writer apparently treating them as stage directions and indenting them in conformity with his practice. Spacing, which apparently is intended to indicate new entries primarily and is accompanied by a straight line across the page, occurs after lines 7,16, 28, 32, 36, 42, 49, 57, 61, 63, 67, 69, 82, 84, 90, 91, 100, 104, 108, 116, 120, and 124."

Throughout, "I'll" is written with capital "I" and a superscripted "l". "I'm" is written similarly.

Indexer's notes:

I have retained Baskervill's bracketed stage directions and character designations - keeping the brackets. I have added further designations where necessary, also in brackets.

The original manuscript does not mention a Fool, but Baskervill follows the example of the related Bassingham Children's play from the same collection. Considering the fight and words in the text, "Valiant Hero" could be better designation for this character.

Some of the other character designations appear to be best guesses on the part of Baskervill, and should be treated with caution. For instance, Dame Jane does present her baby to the Fool in most Recruiting Sergeant plays, but in the Bassingham Children's play, she presents it to the Eldest Son.


File History:
30th June 1999 - Entered by Peter Millington

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