Christmas Rhymers from Mullaghcarton - 1885

E.R.R.Green (1946) pp.3-18


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Context:
Location: Mullaghcarton, Antrim, Ireland (IJ1964)
Year: Perf. about 1885
Time of Occurrence: Christmas
Collective Name: Christmas Rhymers

Source:

E.R.R.Green
Christmas Rhymers and Mummers
Ulster Journal of Archaeology, 3rd Series, 1946, Vol.9, pp.3-18


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

{A}

{They'd have opened the door an' shouted "Christmas Rhymers, please," an' if ye wanted them the leader'd come in an' say:}

LEADER:

Room, room, brave gallant boys,
Come give us room to rhyme.
We'll show you our activity
On this Christmas time.
Active young and active age,
The act was never acted on the stage.
An' if you don't believe what I say,
Enter in, Oliver Cromwell, an' he'll clear the way.

OLIVER CROMWELL.

Here comes I, Oliver Cromwell,
As you may well suppose,
I have conquered many nations
With my long and copper nose.
I have made my foes to tremble
My enemies for to quake,
I have bate my opposers too,
I made their hearts to ache.
An' if ye don't believe what I say,
Enter in St. George, an' he'll clear the way.

ST. GEORGE:

An' here comes I, St. George,
From England have I sprung,
Many of those noble deeds of valour to begin.
Seven long years in a close cave have I been kept,
An' out of that into a prison leapt,
An' out of that into a rock of stone,
Where I give many a sad an' grievous moan.
An' many's a giant I did subdue,
I ran the fairy dragon through and through,
I freed fair Siberia [Note 31] from the stake,
What more could mortial man undertake?
An' if you don't believe what I say,
Enter in, St. Patrick, an' he'll clear the way.

ST. PATRICK: [Note 32]

Who was St. George but St. Patrick's boy,
Fed he's horse on oats an' hay,
An' afterwards he run away?

ST. GEORGE:

An' I say by George'll I sir.

ST. PATRICK:

Pull out yer sword an' try, sir.

ST. GEORGE:

Pull out yer purse an' pay sir.

ST. PATRICK:

I'll run my sword right through yer breast
An' make you run away, sir.

{They cross swords, and St. George falls.}

ST. PATRICK:

A doctor, a doctor, ten pounds for a doctor
If there's ever a doctor to be found,
To cure this man of his deep an' mortial wound.

THE DOCTOR:

Here comes I, a doctor pure an' good,
An' with my sword I'll stench your blood.
If you have min' this man's life to save,
Full fifty guineas I must have.

ST. PATRICK:

What can ye cure, doctor?

DOCTOR:

The plague within, the plague without,
The palsy an' the gout.
Moreover, if ye'd bring to me
An' oul' woman threescore an' ten,
An' the knucklebone of her big toe was out
I could set it in again.
I have a wee bottle in the waistband of my breeches
They call hokerum-stokerum, allycome-tale.

{Touches St. George with his sword.}

Rise up dead man an' fight again.
An' if ye don't believe what I say,
Enter in, Bielzeebub, and he'll clear the way.

BIELZEEBUB:

Here comes I, Bielzeebub,
An' over my shoulder I carry a club,
An' in my han' a dripping-pan.
I count myself a jolly man,
An' if ye don't believe what I say,
Enter in, Big Head, an' he'll clear the way.

BIG HEAD:

Here comes I that has niver come yet,
Big head an' little wit.
I'll take my part amongst them all,
Be it ever so small,
An' if ye don't believe what I say,
Enter in, Divildee Doubt, an' he'll clear the way.

DIVILDEE DOUBT:

Here comes I, wee Divildee Doubt,
If you don't give me money
I'll sweep ye all out.
It's money I want an' money I crave,
If ye don't give me money
I'll sweep yer all to yer grave.

LEADER.

Ladies and gentlemen, our sport is ended.
This little box must now be recommended.
If this wee box could speak, it'd say
All silver, no brass, bad ha'pence won't pass.

{Goes round with money-box, and then they all went out onto the street an' joined hands an' sung.}

[All]

With your pockets full o' money
An' your barrels full o' beer, [Note 33]
I wish you a Merry Christmas
An' a happy New Year, an' a happy New Year.


Notes:

Green's inventory entry, and notes from the introduction:

p.4 "(A) Lisburn district, Co. Antrim. This version I took down from Mrs. Mary Anne Taggart of Mullaghcarton, Magheragall, in May, 1942."

p.6 "The rhymers or mummers spent about a week in rehearsing their play. In Magheragall (A) they used a local farmer's barn for the purpose. There Mrs. Taggart learnt it, over sixty years ago, by listening to them as a child..."

Green's Footnotes:

Note 31: "Sabra, in the chapbooks. She is the heroine of Johnson's Seaven Champions. See Folk-Play, p.176."

Note 32: "The chapbook versions, and most others, prefix the lines,

'Here comes I, St. Patrick, in shining armour bright,
A famous champion and a worthy knight.'"

Note 32: "This is the most common good wish. Father Christmas has it in (c) and (f), Room in (b), and all in unison in (e) and (g)."


File History:
24th Dec. 2000 - Entered by Peter Millington

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