Galatian, a New-Year Play [from Peebles] 1841

R.Chambers (1841b)


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Context:
Location: Peebles, Peeblesshire, Scotland (NT2540)
Year: Publ. 1841
Time of Occurrence: New-Year
Collective Name: Guizards

Source:

Robert Chambers
Select Writings of Robert Chambers, Vol. VII,
Edinburgh, Chambers, 1841, Vol.VII, pp.299-384


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

{Galatian, a New-Year Play}

{Talking Man enters}

Talking Man

Haud away rocks, and haud away reels,
Haud away stocks and spinning wheels,
Redd room for Gorland, and gi'e us room to sing,
And I will show you the prettiest thing
That ever was seen in Christmas time.
Muckle head and little wit, stand ahint the door;
But sic a set as we are, ne'er were here before.
Show yourself, Black Knight!

{Black Knight enters}

Black Knight

Here comes in Black Knight, the great King of Macedon,
Who has conquered all the world save Scotland alone.
When I came to Scotland my heart it grew cold,
To see a little nation so stout and so bold -
So stout and so bold, so frank and so free:
Call upon Galatian to fight wi' me.

{Galatian enters}

Galatian

Here comes I, Galatian., Galatian is my name;
Sword and buckler by my side, I hope to win the game.

Black Knight

The game, sir, the game, sir, it is not in your power;
I'll hash you and slash you in less than half an hour.
My head is made of iron, my heart is made of steel,
And my sword is a Ferrara, that can do its duty weel.

{They fight, and Galatian is worsted, and falls.}

Down Jack, down to the ground you must go.
Oh! Oh! what is this I've done?
I've killed my brother Jack, my father's only son.

Talking Man

Here's two bloody champions that never fought before;
And we are come to rescue him, and what can we do more?
Now, Galatian he is dead, and on the floor is laid,
And ye shall suffer for it, I'm very sore afraid.

Black Knight

I'm sure it was not I, sir, I'm innocent of the crime.
'Twas this young man behind me, who drew the sword sae fine.

Young Man

Oh, you awful villain! to lay the blame on me;
When my two eyes were shut, sir, when this young man did die.

Black Knight

How could your two eyes be shut, when you were looking on?
How could your two eyes be shut, when their swords were drawn?
Is there ever a doctor to be found?

Talking Man

Call in Dr Brown,
The best in all the town.

{Doctor enters}

Doctor

Here comes in as good a doctor as ever Scotland bred,
And I have been through nations, a-learning of my trade-,
And now I've come to Scotland all for to cure the dead.

Black Knight

What can you cure?

Doctor

I can cure the rurvy scurvy,
And the rumble-gumption of a man that has been seven years in his grave or more;
I can make an old woman of sixty look like a girl of sixteen.

Black Knight

What will you take to cure this dead man?

Doctor

Ten pounds.

Black Knight

Will not one do?

Doctor

No.

Black Knight

Will not three do?

Doctor

No.

Black Knight

Will not five do?

Doctor

No.

Black Knight

Will not seven do?

Doctor

No.

Black Knight

Will not nine do?

Doctor

Yes, perhaps nine may do, and a bottle of wine.
I have a little bottle of inker-pinker [small beer] in my pocket.
{Aside to Galatian} Take a little drop of it.
By the hocus-pocus, and the magical touch of my little finger,
Start up, John.

{Galatian rises and exclaims:}

Galatian

Oh, my back!

Doctor

What ails your back?

Galatian

There's a hole in it you may turn your nieve ten times round in it.

Doctor

How did you get it?

Galatian

Fighting for our land.

Doctor

How many did you kill?

Galatian

I killed a' the loons but ane, that ran, and wadna stand.

{The whole party dance, and Galatian sings.}

Oh, once I was dead, sir, but now I am alive,
And blessed be the doctor that made me revive.
We'll all join hands, and never fight more,
We'll a' be good brothers, and we have been before.

{Judas enters with bag}

Judas

Here comes in Judas, Judas is my name;
If ye put not silver in my bag, for guidsake mind our wame!
When I gaed to the castle yett, and tirled at the pin,
They keepit the keys o' the castle, and wadna let me in.
I've been i' the east carse,
I've been i' the west carse,
I've been i' the carse of Gowrie,
Where the clouds rain a' day pease and beans
And the farmers theek houses wi' needles and prins.
I've seen geese gawn on pattens,
And swine fleeing i' the air like peelings o' ingons!
Our hearts are made o' steel, but our bodies sma' as ware -
If you've onything to gi'e us, stap it in there.

{All sing}

[All]

Blessed be the master o' this house, and the mistress also,
And all the little babies that round the table grow-,
Their pockets full of money, the bottles full of beer -
A merry Christmas, guizards, and a happy New Year.


Notes:

Chambers' Notes:

"Dramatis Personae - Two Fighting-men or Knights, one of whom is called Black Knight, the other Galatian (sometimes Galatius or Galgacus), and alternatively John; a Doctor; a fourth Personage, who plays the same talking and demonstrating part with the Chorus in the Greek drama; a Young Man, who is little more than a bystander. and Judas, the purse-bearer.

Galatian is (at the royal burgh of Peebles) dressed in a good whole shirt, tied round the middle with a handkerchief, from which hangs a wooden sword. He has a large cocked-hat of white paper, either cut out with little human profiles, or pasted over with penny valentines. The Black Knight is more terrific in appearance, his dress being, if possible, of tartan, and his head surmounted by an old cavalry cap, while his white stockings are all tied round with red tape. A pair of flaming whiskers adds to the ferocity of his aspect. The doctor is attired in any faded black clothes which can be had, with a hat probably stolen from a neighbouring scarecrow."

PTM's Notes:

Scanned by me from the transcript in B.Hayward (1992) Galoshins : The Scottish Folk Play. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 1992, ISBN 07486 0338 7, pp.258-262.

Hayward's Notes:

"William Chambers was born in 1800, and his brother in 1802. They lived at Peebles until 1814, and there is a possibility of personal experience of the folk-play custom. There are strong resemblances between the FALKIRK b account and this PEEBLES version (for example, in the Judas speech), and I suspect that Chambers was aware of the FALKIRK version, published fifteen years earlier."


File History:
18/10/1999 - Encoded by Peter Millington

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