J.Pearce's Mummers' Act or Morris Dancers 'Chapbook - 1837-1849

"Mummers' Act" Chapbook [J.Pearce] (1837-1849)


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Context:
Location: Sheffield, Yorks, England (SK3587)
Year: Publ. 1837 to 1849
Time of Occurrence: Christmas
Collective Name: Mummers; Mumming; Morris Dancers

Source:

[Anon.]
The Mummers' Act; or, Morris Dancers' Annual Play of St. George
Sheffield, J.Pearce & Son, [1840]


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

{A New Prologue spoken by the Fool on entering a Room}

Fool

Arrah dear joys, save all your faces,
I make much reverence to your graces,
And come by chance of that design,
Myself alone with all the nine,
To reading I make some pretensions,
I learn'd all by my own inventions;
I know my letters all by sight,
Tho' I've by name forgot them quite.
I know Philosophy in part,
Can say my Almanac by heart.
And know within an hour or two,
What clock is by it, at first view,
By St. George's beard, if ever I rise man,
I'll make my sister an Exciseman,
But most of us when we come hither,
Can get e'en nothing, nor that neither :
And e'er I'd beg my bread for money,
Myself would dress the king's dear honey.
Oh, such great learning, live and starve on't
Ay - no indeed - I've done - your sarvent.

{Dramatis Personae included here}

{Scene, a Field; to be continued throughout the Play.}

{Enter St. George. [solus.]

Saint George

I am St. George, who from old England sprung,
Many bloody deeds and wonders have I done;
I've practised many a victorious thing,
My famous name throughout the world doth ring,
I followed a fair lady up to the castle gate,
Wherein I put the doors to fate;
In Caliph's gates she lay fifteen years or more,
Then I resolved to unbar the door,
Where a great giant almost struck me dead,
But by my valour I cut off his head.
I've searched the world all round and round,
But one to equal me I never found.

{Enter Slasher to St. George}

Slasher

I am a valiant soldier, & Slasher is my name,
With sword and buckler by my side, I hope to win the game;
It's to fight with me I see thou art not able,
So with my trusty broad sword soon I will thee disable.

Saint George

Disable, disable, it is not in thy power,
So with my broad pointed sword soon will I thee devour.
Stand off, Slasher, and let no more be said.
For if I draw my sword, I'm sure to break thy head.

Slasher

How canst thou break my head, since it is made of iron,
And my body's made of steel,
My hand and feet of muckle bone,
I challenge thee to field.

{Fight, and Slasher is slain. Exit St. Geo}

{Enter Fool to Slasher,}

Fool

Alas! alas! my chiefest son is slain,
What must I do to raise him up again?
Here he lies in the presence of you all,
I'll lovingly for a doctor call ;
A doctor! a doctor! 10 for a doctor, {loud}
I'll go and fetch a doctor. {going}

{Enter Doctor}

Doctor

Here am I !

Fool

Are you the Doctor?

Doctor

Yes, that you may plainly see,
by my art and activity.

Fool

By the cap of your leg and knee?

Doctor

No you blockhead, by my art & activity

Fool

What is your fee to cure this man?

Doctor

Ten pounds is my fee :
but Jack, if thou be an honest man,
I'll only take five of thee.

Fool

You'll be very cunning if you get any of me {aside.}
Well how far have you travelled in Doctrineship?

Doctor

From Italy, Titally, high Germany, France and Spain,
and now have returned to old England again.

Fool

So far and no further?

Doctor

O yes, a great deal further.

Fool

How far?

Doctor

From the fire spot, cupboard-head, up stairs and then into bed.

Fool

What diseases can you cure?

Doctor

All sorts

Fool

What all sorts.

Doctor

The itch, the pitch, the pox, the palsy and the gout,
the pans within and the pains without;
if a man gets nineteen devils in his skull,
I'll cast twenty of them out.
I've in my pockets crutches for lame ducks,
spectacles for blind humble bees,
packsaddles and panniers for grasshoppers,
plaisters for broken-backed mice;
I cured the devil of a nang-nail, almost 55 yards long,
surely I can cure this poor man :
Here Jack, take a little out of my bottle,
and let it run down thy throttle ;
if thou be not quite slain,
rise Jack and fight again.

{Slasher rises.}

Slasher

O my back.!

Fool

What's amiss with thy back?

Slasher

My back is wounded,
And my heart is confounded,
Such a terrible job was never seen before.
To be struck out of seven senses into four score,
The like was never seen in old England before.

{Enter St. George}

Slasher

O hark! St. George, do you not hear the trumpet sound,
That summons us from off this bloody ground ;
Down yonder is the way. {pointing.}
Farewell, St. George, we can no longer stay.

{Exit Sla. Doc, and Fool}

Saint George

I am St. George, that noble champion bold,
And with my glittering sword I won 10,000 in gold.
'Twas I that fought the fiery dragon,
And brought him to the slaughter,
And by that means I won the King of Egypt's daughter.

{Enter Prince of Paradine}

Prince of Paradine

I am Black Prince of Paradine, born of high renown ;
Soon I will fetch St. George's courage down!
Before St. George shall be received by me,
St. George shall die to all eternity.

Saint George

Stand off, thou black Morocco dog,
Or by my sword thou'st die ;
I'll stiffen thy body full of pellets,
And make thy buttons fly.

Prince of Paradine

Odd zonks and couks thou lie,
But I don't care if I should die,
Draw out thy sword and slay.
Pull out thy purse and pay,
For I'm resolved to have my recompence,
Before I go away.

Saint George

Now Prince of Paradine, where have you been,
And what fine sights pray have you seen?
Dost thou think no man of thy age,
Dares such a black as thee engage;
Lay down thy sword, take up to me a spear,
Then I'll fight thee without dread or fear.

{They fight, and Paradin is slain.}

Saint George

Now Prince of Paradine is slain,
And all his joys entirely fled,
Take him and give him to the flies,
And never more come near my eyes.

{Enter King of Egypt.}

King of Egypt

I am the King of Egypt, as plainly it appears,
I'm come to seek my son, my son and only heir.

Saint George

He is slain!

King of Egypt

Who did him slay, who did him kill,
And on the ground his precious blood did spill?

Saint George

I did him slay, I did him kill,
And on the ground his precious blood did spill!
Please you my legion's honour to maintain,
Perhaps if you had been there you might have been the same.

King of Egypt

I'll seek the biggest champion in the world,
St. George shall die this night to overwhelm;
Rise, Hector, Hector, help me with speed,
For in my life I never stood more need,
O don't stand here with sword in hand,
But come and fight at my command.

Hector

O yes, O yes, my master's words I must obey,
And from his words I'll stab and slay.

{He makes a stab at St. Geo. which he guards off.}

Hector

If that be he that doth stand there,
That slew my master's son and heir,
If he should be of noble blood,
I'll make it run like Noah's flood;
If he should be of gentle race,
I'll make blood run trickling down his face.

Saint George

Hold, Hector, do not be so hot,
For here thou know'st not who thou'st got,
Thou'st got one will tame thee of thy pride,
And lay thine anger to aside,
Inch thee, mince thee, cut thee small as flies,
Send thee over the seas to make mince-pies,
Mince pies hot, mince pies cold,
I'll send thee hence before thou'rt three days old.

Hector

How canst thou tame me of my pride,
And lay mine anger to aside,
Inch me, mince me, cut me as small as flies,
Send me over the seas to make mince pies,
Mince pies hot, mince pies cold,
How canst thou send me hence before I'm nine days old.
Since my head is made of iron,
My body's made of steel,
My hand and feet of muckle bone,
I challenge thee to field.

{The fight, and Hector is wounded.}

Hector

I am a valiant knight & Hector is my name,
Many bloody battles have I fought, and always won the same ;
But from St. George I receive this bloody wound.

{A trumpet sounds}

Hector

Hark! hark! I hear a silver trumpet sound,
Down yonder is the way, {pointing}
Farewell, St. George, I can no longer stay. {Exit}

{Enter Fool to St. George.}

Saint George

Here comes from post, old bold Ben.

Fool

Why, master, did I ever take you to be my best friend?

Saint George

Why, Jack, did ever I do thee any harm?

Fool

Thou proud saucy coxcomb, begone

Saint George

A coxcomb! I defy that name,
With a sword thou ought to die for the same.

Fool

Stabbing is the least I fear,

Saint George

Here's a place, now meet me there.

{Fighting.}

Saint George

Hollo, Jack, you blocked upyour master's eyes last night,
and now you are fighting him upon this holy ground.

Fool

No matter if I blocked up your eyes.
So by my living hopes I'll buy a pound of leather,
To nail a dog's tail and thy nose together;
And I swear upon an oath
I'll not fight any master upon this holy ground. {Exeunt.}

{Here follow two prose soliloquies - "The Tailor's Soliloquy" and "A Lecture upon Lectures.}

{A New Song, Sung by one of the Mummers.}

Fool

Come all you jolly Mummers,
That Mum at Christmas time;
Come join with me in chorus,
And join with me in rhyme

Chorus

A mumming we will go, will go, &c.

[All]

It is of St. George's valour,
So let us sing;
He's an honour to his country,
And a credit to his king.
Of Giants and of Dragons,
He was always sure to slay;
Likewise of Boars and Lions,
He always won the day.
Then bold Slasher he stood up,
St. George for to attack,
But he made him sing and yelp,
And cry out, "O my back."
He fought a fiery Dragon,
And brought him to the slaughter;
And by those means he won
The King of Egypt's daughter.
St. George with Prince of Paradine,
Did fight a furious battle;
And on the black and Moorish dog,
He made his sword to rattle.
Old King of Egypt he came by,
For to seek his only son;
St. George did plainly tell him,
He was slain upon the ground.
Then he called for Hector,
To come and use his sword;
And to do the best he could,
To stab and kill St. George.
A furious battle then they fought,
For full two hours and more;
St. George he gave him such a stab,
As made him yield and roar.
Now we have performed St. George,
Who was a fighting fish;
We hope you will remember us,
And then we all will wish.
A merry Christmas to all here,
And a glorious happy New Year.

{Exeunt omnes.}


Notes:

"The firm [J.Pearce] was in existence only between 1837 and 1845, and the chapbook cover bears a handwritten note 'Done in 1840'..." - from: A.Helm (1969) The Chapbook Mummers' Plays


File History:
11th Jan.1999 - Entered by Peter Millington
26th Oct.2001 - Cast List added by PTM

The recommended URL for this web page is www.folkplay.info/Texts/84sk38pj.htm
Last generated on 26/12/2007 by P.Millington (Peter.Millington1@virgin.net)