Brimington Mummers' Play [Derbyshire, 1862]

A.Helm & E.C.Cawte (1967) pp.8-13


Folk Play Home Scripts Intro County List Class List Characters

Context:
Location: Brimington, Derbyshire, England (SK4073)
Year: Perf. 1862 to 1867 or 1868
Time of Occurrence: Christmas
Collective Name: Mummies, St George

Source:

Alex Helm & E.C.Cawte
Six Mummers' Acts
Leicestershire, The Guizer Press, 1967, pp.8-13


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

Slasher

A room, a room, a gallant room,
Give me room to recite
And repeat our merry rhyme.
Remember, sir, now it's Christmas time.
Time to cut up roast pork, mince pies and pork pies
And drink a glass of beer.
If you don't believe these words I say,
Step in, St George, and clear the way.

St George

I am St George who from Old England sprung;
My famous name throughout the world hath rung,
Many deeds and wonders have I made known,
And made false tyrants tremble on their throne,
I followed a fair lady to the Giant's Gate,
Confined in dungeon to meet her fate,
When I resolved with my true nority*
To burst the door and set the prisoner free.

Black Prince

I am Black Prince of Paradise, born of high renown,
Soon will I fetch St George's lofty courage down.
Before I part from thee
I'll send thee to eternity.

St George

Stand back, thou black Morocco dog,
Or by my sword I'm sure to break thy head.

Black Prince

How can'st thou break my head?
My head is made of iron,
My body made of steel,
My hands and feet are knuckle bone.
I challenge thee to feel.

{They fight. Black Prince is slain.}

King of Egypt

I am the King of Egypt as plainly cloth appear,
Come to seek my son and only heir.
He is slain! Who did him slay? Who did him kill?
And on this ground his precious blood did spill?

St George

I, please your liege, my honour to maintain;
If you'd been here you would have fared the same.

{King strikes a blow with dagger at St George, who grasps the King by the wrist.}

King of Egypt

Hector! Hector! help me with speed!
For in my life I never stood more need.
Stand not there with sword in hand,
But rise and fight at my command.

Hector

Oh yes, my liege, I will obey,
And by my sword I hope to win the day.
I fought the fiery dragon, and brought him to slaughter,
And by this means I won the King of Egypt's daughter.

{Hector and St George fight. Hector is slain.}

King of Egypt

A doctor, a doctor, ten pounds for a doctor!

Doctor

Here I am!

King of Egypt

How far have you travelled?

Doctor

From Italy, Spitaly, German, France and Spain,
And now return to Old England once again.

King of Egypt.

What can you cure?

Doctor.

The hitch, the pitch, the palsy and the gout,
The pain within and the pain without.
If he has nineteen devils in his skull,
I can cast twenty of them out.

Hector

Oh, my back!

Doctor

What's amiss with thy back?

Hector

My back is wounded, my heart is confounded.
I was struck out of seven sins into fourscore.

Doctor

Take a drink out of my bottle,
And let it run down thy throttle,
If thou be not quite slain,
Rise up, Jack, and fight again.

{Hector rises and speaks}

Hector

I am a valiant knight and Hector is my name,
With my buckle and my sword I hope to win my fame.
I followed the fiery dragon to the slaughter,
And by that means I won the King of Egypt's daughter.

Beelzebub

In comes I, Beelzebub,
Over my shoulder I carry my club.
In my hand a dripping pan,
Thinks myself a jolly old man.
If you don't believe the words I say,
Step in little Devil-Doubt and clear the way.

Devil-Doubt

In comes I little Devil-Doubt,
If you don't give me money, I'll clear you all out.
Money I want and money I crave,
If you don't give me money,
I'll sweep you all to the grave.

{All linked arms and sang}

Brimington Mummers' Song

[MIDI music sound file] [ABC music notation]

[All]

Well go no more a-rushing maids in May,
We'll go no more a-rush-ing maids I pray,
For if you go a-rush-inq you're sure to get a brushing,
So gather up your rushes and come this way.

{Sometimes they made a ring with the Fool (Slasher) in the middle. Then Hector song. If they were well received they would keep on singing.}


Notes:

Helm and Cawte's Notes:

" Vaughan Williams Memorial Library Collection

Collected by Mr R.W.Shipley in 1933 from two old men who had played Hector and Devil Doubt. The latter said that he first heard it in 1862 and took part during the next five or six years, after which the players were separated and the play discontinued.

The play was known locally as 'St George' and the players as 'mummies'. It was usually performed in crowded rooms and the characters did not 'enter'. A circle was formed by the players in the middle of the room from which they came forward as required, falling back to place at the end of their lines. At the close of the play they linked arms together and sang a few lines. If they were well rewarded, other songs would be called for and they would sing for as long as it was worth while.

The performance was at Christmas to a settled chain of calling places. A morris team was a serious competitor for rewards and the Play was accordingly sometimes 'cropped short', i.e. six players took the eight parts, 'as it mad more each in the share-out.'

Costume.

Slasher Tunic, trousers and hat as a sailor.

St George Tunic, trousers and belt All white.

Black Prince Tunic, trousers and belt. All black, with white facings

Doctor Long tailed coat and tall hat.

King of Egypt Copper coloured face, crown, dark tunic and trousers.

Hector Red tunic, belt and yellow trousers.

Beelzebub Tunic, trousers. All red.

Devil-Doubt Tunic and trousers of flowered bizarre chintz.

All carried wooden swords 'three feet long about'. King of Egypt also carried a dagger. Black Prince, Beelzebub, Devil-Doubt all had black faces"

Helm and Cawte's Notes:

* The meaning of this word is not clear.

Indexer's Notes:

Electronic text copied from http://members.tripod.co.uk/Sandmartyn/mummers1/mum31.htm


File History:
1999 - Scanned by Martyn Collins
13th June 1999 - Marked up by Peter Millington
10th April 2004 - Proof-read and missing notes added by PTM
12th June 2004 - MIDI and ABC music links added by PTM

The recommended URL for this web page is www.folkplay.info/Texts/86sk47rs.htm
Last generated on 26/12/2007 by P.Millington (Peter.Millington1@virgin.net)