Christmas: his Pageant Play, or Mysterie of "St.George" - 1842

H.Slight (1842)


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Context:
Location: [Unlocated],
Year: Publ. 1842
Time of Occurrence: Christmas
Collective Name: [Not given]

Source:

H.Slight
Christmas
The Archaeologist & Journal of Antiquarian Science, 1842, No.1-10, pp.176-183


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

{SCENE I}

{Enter ALEXANDER, THE TURKISH KNIGHT.}

Alexander

Silence, brave Gentlemen ; if you will give an eye ;
As Alexander is my name, I'll sing a tragedy.
A ramble here I took, this famous town to see ;
My actors I have brought from farthest Italy.
The first I do present, he is a noble king,
He's just come from the wars, good tidings he doth bring.
The next that doth come in, he is a doctor good,
If it had it not been for him, I'd surely lost my blood.
ST. GEORGE! to tell thy beauty, I'm not able,
For thy face shines like the old oak kitchen table.
Thy teeth are no whiter than charcoal in a bag,
And when thy robes are off, there's nothing left but rag.
Old DIVES is the last, a miser, you may see,
Who, by never lending any thing, can't come to poverty.
So, Gentlemen, you see, our actors will go round,
Stand of a little while, more pastime will be found.
We did not come here to laugh or to jeer,
But for a pocket full of money, and some Christmas cheer.
If you will not believe what I now say,
Let FATHER CHRISTMAS come in - clear the way.
Open your doors and let him come in -
I hope your favours he will win ;
Whether he rise, or whether I fall,
He'll do his best to please you all.

{Enter CHRISTMAS}

Father Christmas

Her comes Father Christmas ; who does not know my name?
Sword and buckler by my side, I hope to win the game.
Rise up, good wives, shake your feathers ;
Don't you think that we are beggars !
We are gentles, come to play,
And seek your English good money.
Move off stocks, then move off stools,
Here comes in "The Feast of Fools !"
Muckle head, with little wit
May stand behind the door ;
But such a set as we are
Was never here before !

{SCENE II.}

Alexander

Room, room, brave gallants, now give us room to sport,
For in this stately place we wish to make resort.
With sprightly jest repeat to you our merry ancient rhyme,
For you'll remember, gentlemen, that this is Christmas time.
To cut up green goose pies, the time doth now appear,
So we are come to act our merry Christmas here.
At the sound of the trumpet, and the beat of the drum,
Make way, brave gentlemen, and let the actors come.
We are the merry actors, love fighting for our meat,
We are the merry actors, that traverse many a street,
We are the merry actors, that can show the pleasant play.
Step in, thou King of Egypt, and clear for us the way.

King of Egypt

I am the king of Egypt, as plainly does appear ;
St. George of merry England, he is my only son and heir.
Step in, therefore, my noble son, and act thy part with me,
And show thy fame and visage forth, before the company.

{[Seeing the Dragon, the King runs away.]}

{SCENE III.}

{Enter THE DRAGON.}

Dragon

Here come I the Dragon - Snapdragon is my name -
And all nations round do tremble at my fame.
Where'er I go, they tremble at my sight ;
No lord or champion long with me would fight.

{Enter ST. GEORGE}

St. George

Here come I, a knight ; from Britain did I spring,
I'll fight the dragon bold - my wonders to begin.
I'll clip his wings - he shall not fly -
I'll cut him down - or else I'll die.

Dragon

Who's he that seeks the Dragon's blood ;
And calls so angry and so loud ?
That English dog, will he before me stand ?
I'll cut him down with my courageous hand ;
With my long teeth and scurvy jaw,
To fill my large and hungry maw.
Of such I'd break up half a score,
And stay my stomach, till I'd more.

St. George

Here's one that dares to look thee in the face,
And soon will send thee to another place.

{[St. George and the Dragon fight ; the latter is killed]}

{[Thunder.]}

Prince George

I am Prince George, a champion brave and bold,
For with my sword I've won three crowns of gold.
'Twas I that brought the dragon to the slaughter,
'Twas I that gained the Egyptian monarch's daughter,
In Egypt's fields I prisoner long was kept,
But by my valour I from thence escaped.
I sounded loud at the gate of a Divine,
When out a giant hopp'd with bad design ;
A blow he dealt, which almost struck me dead,
But I up with my sword - off went his head.

{SCENE IV.}

{Enter AGRICOLA.}

Agricola

Here comes in the great King of Macedon,
Who conquered all the world, but Scotland let alone.
When I came to Scotland, my heart grew so cold,
To see a little nation so stout and so bold ;
So stout and so free,
I feared to call on Galgacus to fight with me.

{Enter GALGACUS.}

Galgacus

Sir Knight of Rome, unto you I bend.

Agricola

Stand off, thou slave ; I think you not my friend.

Galgacus

Salve ! that for me is far too base a name ;
The word but serves to stab my honour and my fame.

Agricola

The be stabbed, sir, is the least of all my care ;
Appoint your time and place - I'll meet you there.

Galgacus

I'll cross the water at the hour of five.

Agricola

I'll meet you there, sir - if I be alive.

{SCENE V.}

{Enter PRINCE GEORGE.}

Prince George

Oh horrible ! horrible ! the like was never seen,
A man drove out of senses seven, at once into fifteen.
And out of fifteen wits into fourscore,
Oh horrible ! horrible ! the like was ne'er before

Alexander

Thou silly ass, that livest on grass,
Dost thou abuse a stranger ?
I live in hopes to buy new ropes,
And tie thy nose to a manger.

Prince George

Stand off, thou dirty dog, or by my sword thoul't die,
I'll make thy body full of holes ; I'll cause thy buttons fly.
Hold, Slacker, hold, pray do not be so hot,
For on this spot thou knowest not who thou'st got.
'Tis I that soon thy limbs will hash,
And crush them small as flies ;
And send thee to the pastrycook,
To make into mince pies;
But hold, Prince George, before thou go away,
For either I or you must fall this most bloody day.
Some mortal wounds thou shalt receive by me:
So let is fight it out at once most manfully.

{Alexander and Prince George fight ; the latter is wounded and falls.}

{[Drum beats.]}

Alexander

Take up the body - bear it hence away,
For this place no longer shall it stay.

King of Egypt

Oh ! Cruel Turk ! what it this thou hast done !
Thou hast ruined me, by killing my only son.
Oh ! what is here ! Oh! what is to be now done ?
Our Prince is slain - the Crown is likewise gone.

{[Looking as if he had lost something.]}

Alexander

He gave me a challenge - why should I him deny ?
How high he was - how low now he doth lies !

King of Egypt

O Sambo ! Sambo ! help me now ;
I was never more in need :
Then haste thy valiant sword to shew,
And fight until you bleed.

Sambo

Yes, my liege lord, I will your voice obey,

{[Shewing great disinclination.]}

And by my sword I hope to win the day.
Yonder stands he who killed my master's son,
And his own ruin thoughtlessly begun.
I'll try if he be sprung from royal blood,
And from his body make an ocean flood.
Gentlemen, you see my sword's point is broke,
Or else, I'd run it through that villain's throat.

King of Egypt

Is there never a doctor to be found,
That can cure my son of his deadly wound ?

Doctor

Yes; there is a doctor can cure disease -
The phtisic ! the palsy ! whatever you please.
I can cure corns, spasms, gout,
I can draw the fidgets out,
Fever cure in a crack,
Or lumbago in the back ;
I have potions, plasters, pills,
To cure melancholy ills.
I can a dead man raise again,
With a little dose of elecampane.

King of Egypt

What will ye take to cure this man ?
And it is instant thine.

Doctor

Ten marks (pounds) and a bottle of wine.

King of Egypt

Will six not do ?

Doctor

You must go higher.

King of Egypt

Seven

Doctor

'Twill not pay for the herbs and the fire.

King of Egypt

I'll give you a wife both lusty and young,
Can talk Dutch, French, and the Italian tongue.

Doctor

I'll have none such.

King of Egypt

Why, don't you love your learning,
That thus to cure my son my offer you are spurning ?

Doctor

Yes, I love my learning as I love my life,
I love a learned scholar, but not a learned wife.
Fifteen pound, it is my fee ;
But lay the money down.
And as 'tis for such a rogue as thee,
I cure him for ten pound.
Now rise, St. George ; give me your hand.
Start to your feet, and firmly stand.

{[Thunder] [St. George rises]}

King of Egypt

A wondrous cure ! my daughter's thine.

Prince George

Excuse me, sir, the lady's mine.
Now where's the Turk that will he before me stand ?
I'll cut him down with my courageous hand.

Alexander

That will I, the Turkish Knight,
Come from the Turkish land to fight.
I'll fight St. George, who is my foe ;
I'll make him yield before I go.
He brags to such a high degree,
He think there's none can do like he.

{[They fight ; the Knight is thrown down.]}

Oh pardon me, St. George - pardon of thee I crave :
Oh pardon me this night, and I will be thy slave.

St. George

No pardon shalt thou have, while I have foot to stand,
So rise thee up again and fight out sword in hand.

{[They fight ; the Knight is killed.]}

{SCENE VI.}

{Enter JUDAS}

Judas

Here comes in Judas - Judas is my name,
Come, drop some silver in the bag, it was for that I came ;
I have been in the East, I have been in the West,
At many a castle gate, but you will treat me the best ;
I've seen geese going in pattens ; I've seen clouds, all day,
Pour peas and beans in torrents down, you could not find your way ;
I've seen the farmers thatch their barns with needles and with pins,
Swine flying in the troubled air, like peelings of ingins [onions].
Our hearts are made of steel, but our bodies soft as ware,
If you've any thing to give, good folks, why put in - there,

{[Holding out his bag or cap for the contributions of the company.]}

St. George

Bouncer, buckler, velvet's dear,
And Christmas comes but once a year ;
Though when it comes, it brings good cheer.
Then farewell, Christmas, once a year,
Farewell ! farewell! adieu ! friendship and unity.
I hope we have made sport, and pleased the company.
Good gentlefolk, you see, we are but actors few,
We have done our very best - that is all the best can do.

{CHRISTMAS speaks.}

Father Christmas

Now ladies and gentlemen, your sport is almost ended,
So prepare for the hat, which is highly commended.
The hat it would speak, if it had but a tongue ;
Come, throw in your money, and think it no wrong.


Notes:

Subtitle reads:

"Christmas : his Pageant Play, or Mysterie, of 'St. George ;' as played by the Itinerant Actors and Mummers in the Courts of the Nobility and Gentry, the Colleges, in the halls of the ancient Corporations and Guild Merchants, and in the Public Hostelries and Taverns."

Footnote reads:

"End of the Christmas Pageant Play or Mysterie of St George, Alexander, and the King of Egypt ; compiled from and collated with several curious Ancient black-letter editions.

HENRY SLIGHT"


File History:
22nd May 1998 - Entered by Peter Millington

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