South West Dorset Mummers' Play 1880

J.S.Udal (1880) pp.102-112


Folk Play Home Scripts Intro County List Class List Characters

Context:
Location: South West Dorset, Dorset, England (SY-----)
Year: Publ. 1880
Time of Occurrence: Christmas
Collective Name: Mummers

Source:

J.S.Udal
Christmas Mummers in Dorsetshire
Folk-Lore Record, 1880, Vol.III, No.1, pp.87-112


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

{Enter OLD FATHER CHRISTMAS.}

Old Father Christmas

Here comes I, old Father Christmas,
Welcome or welcome not;
I hope Old Father Christmas will never be forgot.
Now, ladies and gentlemen, if you do not believe what I say,
Walk in my son, Room, and boldly clear the way.

{Enter ROOM.}

Room

Here comes I, gallant Room, pray give me room to enter,
For I have brought some sport to while away the winter;
An old act, a new act, that was never acted before,
Since I left my poor old grey-headed grandfather down
at my old back door.
If you do not believe what I say,
Walk in Turkish Knight and boldly clear the way.

Turkish Knight

Here comes I that Turkish Knight,
Just come from that Turkish land to fight;
If King George do meet me here,
I will try his courage without fear.

King George

Here comes I, King George,
With my glittering sword and spear;
I fought the dragon boldly and brought him to the slaughter,
But 'twas thus I gained the fairest maid of all, the King of Egypt's daughter.

Turkish Knight

I pray, King George, do not make so bold,
If thy blood is hot, I will soon make it cold.

King George

My blood is hot as any fire,
And so cold as any clay,
And with my glittering sword and spear,
I'll take thy life away.

Turkish Knight

Thee and I will a battle try

King George

If I conquer, thou must die.

{They fight. TURKISH KNIGHT is killed.}

Thy first son, Old Father, is dead;
Call in thy second son Marshalee, that champion whom I dread.

{Enter MARSHALEE}

Marshalee

Here comes I Marshalee,
I am the man who will conquer thee;
My head is lined with iron,
My body is lined with steel,
I will fight thee, King George,
If it is not against thy will.

King George

If it's not against thy will, Marshalee,
Or yet against thy might;
If thou could'st fight against King George,
Then draw thy sword and fight?

{They fight. MARSHALEE is wounded.}

Thy second son, Old Father, is wounded ;
Call in thy third son, the Valiant Soldier,

{Enter VALIANT SOLDIER}

Valiant Solder

Here comes I, that Valiant Soldier,
Slasher is my name;
With sword and pistol by my side
I hope to win the game.
One of my brothers I have seen wounded,
And another I have seen slain;
I'll fight thee, King George,
On the British plain.

King George

Thee and I will a battle try

Valiant Soldier

If I conquer, thou must die.

{They fight. VALIANT SOLDIER falls wounded.}

King George

Thy third son, Old Father, is wounded;
Call in thy fourth son, the Cutting Star,
That champion whom I dread.

{Enter CUTTING STAR}

Cutting Star

Where is King George, that champion bold?
If his blood is hot, I will soon have it cold.

King George

Here am I, King George. I am come here,
And will try thy courage without fear.

Cutting Star

Here comes I, the Cutting Star,
Just come from that dreadful war;
I have fought many a battle with the French,
And come to encounter thee, King George, so bold.

King George

Thee and I will a battle try

Cutting Star

If I conquer, thou must die.

{They fight CUTTING STAR falls.}

King George

I have a little bottle by my side called the Liptupain; [?]
If that soldier is alive, let him rise and fight again.

Turkish Knight

Oh! pardon me, King George. Oh! pardon me, I crave;
Pardon me this night, and I will be thy slave.

King George

I never will pardon thee, Turkish Knight;
Therefore rise thou, Turkish Knight,
Draw thy sword, and we will fight.

Room

Hold thy hand, butcher, and kill no more,
For I fear for their poor wives and families.

King George

Are you the brother of these dead men
That lie bleeding on the ground?

Room

Yes, I am, and come to try thy might.

King George

If you are come to try my might,
Draw thy purse and pay thy part:
And draw thy sword and we will fight.

Old Father Christmas

What wild moans and wild groans there are in the field of battle!
Is there a doctor to be found
Can rise these dead men from the ground,
And have them for to stand?

King George

Yes, Father, there is a doctor to be found
Can rise these dead men from the ground,
And bring them for to stand.

Father Christmas

Doctor! Doctor! Doctor!
You had better call him, King George,

King George

I will warrant he will answer to my first call. Doctor!

Doctor

Oh yes! Father, there is a doctor to be found,
Can rise these dead men from the ground,
And have them for to stand.

Father Christmas

What canst thou cure?

Doctor

I can cure the itch, the stitch, the palsy, and the gout
All pains in, and all pains out,
And if the devil is in thy sons,
I will quickly pull him out.

Father Christmas

What's thee [thy?] fees?

Doctor

Fifty poun', Father.

Father Christmas

What's say, half-crown?

Doctor

Fifty poun', Father.

Father Christmas

I ain't got so much money as that.

Doctor

I can't do it no less.

Father Christmas

Nory [ne'er a] trifle less at all?

Doctor

Fifty poun' is my fee,
But ten less, I'll take of thee.

Father Christmas

Try thee skill.

Doctor

I have a little bottle by my side, called the dicky-whip [?]
I put a drop to each soldier's heart,
Rise! Champions, rise! and all pay your part.

Father Christmas

I have travelled o'er hills and valleys
where the winds never blow,
nor the cock never crow,
nor the Devil never sound his horn-pipe.
That was never in your time,
and nobody else's time;
time when little birds used to build in old man's beards,
but ain't got norry [ne'er a] one in mine yet.

King George

I've heard a great deal about your old travels.
Did you never get a partiner? [partner.]

Father Christmas

I should think I did.

King George

What may your partiner's name be?

Father Christmas

Old Bet.

King George

Call her in, in the old fashion - Bet -

Father Christmas

Bet! Bet! Bet!

King George

Call her a little louder.

Father Christmas

I wish you to call her, King George.

King George

Dorothy Dame!

{Enter OLD BET.}

Old Bet

Here comes I, little Dame Dorothy,
I wish you all a very good morrety [morn t'ye].
My head is big, my body is small,
I'll endeavour my best to please you all.

Father Christmas

Wher'st thou been, Bet?

Bet

In the land of Nod, John,
Where there's devil, man, nor dog, John.

Father Christmas

Dissen [didn't ye] see nobody at all there, Bet?

Bet

No, John, only an old man chewing baccy.

Father Christmas

Didener [didn't he] gee [give] thee norry [ne'er a] quid, Bet?

Bet

Yes, John.

Father Christmas

Where's my sher [share]?

Bet

Up in higher cupboard.

Father Christmas

Not there, Bet.

Bet

Down in lower cupboard.

Father Christmas

Tidden ['tisn't] there, Bet. Oh! you lying old hag!

Bet

I have fired it through a nine-inch wall,
knocked down a puppy dog;
hear 'un say "bow wow" nine times ader [after] he was dead.

{FATHER CHRISTMAS, enraged, beats BET round the house, and finally kills her.}

Father Christmas

What wild moans and wild groans there are in a field of battle!
Is there any doctor to be found
Can rise my dead wife from the ground,
And bring her for to stand?

King George

Oh! yes, there is a doctor to be found,
Can rise your dead wife from the ground,
A.nd bring her for to stand.

Father Christmas

Doctor! doctor! doctor

King George

Call her a little louder, Father.

Father Christmas

Doctor! doctor! doctor! doctor!
I can't call him any louder. You call him, King George.

King George

Doctor!

{Enter DOCTOR.}

Doctor

Yes, Father, there is a doctor to be found
Can rise your dead wife from the ground,
And have her for to stand.

Father Christmas

What canst cure?

Doctor

I can cure the itch, the stitch, the palsy, and the gout,
All pains in and all pains out ;
And if the old man is in thy wife I'll quickly turn him out.

Father Christmas

What's thee [thy] fees?

Doctor

Fifty poun', father.

Father Christmas

I ain't got so much money as that.

Doctor

Fifty poun' is my fee,
Father, but ten less I'll take of thee.

Father Christmas

Can't you cure norry [ne'er a] bit more?

Doctor

Yes, Father, all young women that have the heartache,
give them a pill of mine,
That will set them all right in a decline.

Father Christmas

Cans't thou rise my dead wife from the ground?

Doctor

Bleed her in the eye vein, Father.

{FATHER CHRISTMAS goes to her feet, and then to her head to bleed her feet.}

Now, Bet, dance with John?

{BET gets up.}

Father Christmas

Fal the dal! my wife's alive;
Where's thee ben [been] to, Bet?

Bet

Where's thee ben to, John?

Father Christmas

Ich ben [I've been] hunting.

Bet

What'st catched, John?

Father Christmas

Wold [old] dry Jack hare.

Bet

Howse [How are you] going haven [have it] cooked, John?

Father Christmas

I shall haven fried.

Bet

I shall haven griddled [grilled].

Father Christmas

I shall haven fried.

Bet

I shall never have a wold [old] Jack hare fried.

Father Christmas

Goo [go] and get the hobby-hoss, Bet.

{The hobby-horse is brought in, upon which FATHER CHRISTMAS mounts.}

Doctor

Now, ladies and gentlemen,
you can plainly see that I am not one of these Italian doctors
running from door to door, telling a pack of lies,
for I can cure the sick and rise the dead right plain before your eyes,
and bring them for to stand.

{Here follows a Song, after which exeunt OMNES.}


Notes:

Udal's Preamble:

"The second version, which I will now give, appears to me to bo useful not only in showing the difference in the characters themselves that exists in a representation that must have taken place almost side by side with the other, but also in affording here and there a few words of the old Dorset vernacular, to which I have added translation in a parenthesis, for the benefit of those readers of the 'Folk-Lore Record' who may not have met with the words before.

The dramatis personae are as follows :

OLD FATHER CHRISTMAS

ROOM.

TURKISH KNIGHT.

KING GEORGE.

MARSHALEE.

VALIANT SOLDIER

CUTTING STAR.

DOCTOR.

OLD BET.

Udal's Epilogue:

"The play over, and the actors regaled with such good cheer as the hospitable hearts of the Dorsetshire folk seldom refused, the Mummers passed on to the next parish, where to a fresh and ever-delighted audience they went through a repetition of their performance; and though, if the night were wet, and the wind cold, they experienced rough usage at times, yet their welcome was all the warmer at their next halting-place, so that none could doubt for a moment but that they came in for no small share of the delights of a 'merry Christmas.'

J.S.UDAL.

Inner Temple."

Indexer's Notes (with help from Peter Robson):

This is the second of two Dorsetshire texts published by Udal in this paper. The location of neither is identified in the paper, other than saying that they come from "two distinct parishes in the south-west of Dorset" (p.87). The first has been identified from other sources as coming from Symondsbury, but the location of this second text remains unknown. From his knowledge of other plays local to Symondsbury, Peter Robson suggests that it may hail from Burton Bradstock or Powerstock/West Milton.

Udal uses the uncapitalised word "mummers" throughout this paper, which taken in isolation would raise doubts as to whether this was the actual name used locally for the actors.


File History:
28th Sep 2000 - Entered by Peter Millington
20th Oct.2000 - Corrections by P.Millington

The recommended URL for this web page is www.folkplay.info/Texts/88sy--uj.htm
Last generated on 26/12/2007 by P.Millington (Peter.Millington1@virgin.net)