Ampleforth Play - 1898

E.K.Chambers (1933), pp.131-150


Folk Play Home Scripts Intro County List Class List Characters

Context:
Location: Ampleforth, North Riding, Yorks., England (SE5878)
Year: Perfl. 1898
Time of Occurrence: [Not given]
Collective Name: [Not given]

Source:

E.K.Chambers
The English Folk-play
Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1933, pp.131-150


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

{FIRST PART}

King

Make room, make room for these jovial lads
That are a wooing hound;[Note 1]
For I can handle a sword
With any man in town.
Last night I went to see
Miss Madam Molly;
She was so fair and comely
And not adorned with pride;
I am so deep in love with her
Till I dont know how to bide.
Tonight I went in to see
Miss Susannah Parkin;
She was so fine and gay,
But the dogs made such a barking
I forgot all I had to say.
So I pray the [Note 2] honest Christian
What next must I say to her?

Clown

Thou must give her gallant speeches,
And honestly must woo her.

King

Aye man, her Mother likes me well;
she has forty thousand pound of her own
and she'll give it all to myself.

Clown

I'll stand a friend right Jarvey.
I'll stand thee friend, my lad;
I'll stand thee friend right Jarvey. [Note 3]
See thee my heart's full glad.

King

And many a better thing she'll give us when we get wed.

Clown

Come thee ways I'll a want [Note 4] thee we'll get her.

{Enter Queen.}

Clown {Sings}

Madam, behold a lover!
You shall quickly see my Son.

Queen {Sings}

Long time have I been waiting
Expecting Ben would come;
Ben's grown a smart young fellow,
And his face I long to see.

Clown {Sings}

Here's one that doth me follow,
And perhaps it may be he.
O Ben how dost thou do, my lad?
Thou'st welcome from the seas.

King

Thank you, father, how do you do?
I am very well at ease.

Clown

O Ben let me kiss thee
For with joy I am fit to cry.

King

O father I'd rather kiss
That lady standing by.

Clown

O Ben come shew thy breeding.
Give to her a gentle touch
She's got such a face to feed upon,
The seas could afford none such.
She's a sweet and modest creature,
And she's of a noble fame,
She's a sweet and modest creature)
And Susannah is her name.

King

Father that's well remembered.
How is Dick and Val?

Clown

Did not I write last summer
That pale death has closed his sides? [Note 5]

King

It's as true as I'm a sinner!
I had forgotten quite.

Clown

Then it's o my [Note 6] will retire,
For fear I'll spoil her sport;
For while I'm standing by yer
Our Ben can't frame to court.
So, madam, don't be cruel,
Since you're a charmer fair,
Spare him as a jewel,
For you'll like to be my heir.

{Exit Clown.}

King

Madam, my father has declared
You are to be my bridge; [Note 7]
Or otherwise I am inclined
To lead a single life.
For when a man gets married
He's down like a galley slave
Bachelors like sailors,
When the liberties there air.

Queen

O sorrow does compel you
Against your will to wed.
Indeed, I needs must tell you,
You but a logger's head.
Your cheek is none so charming
As to kindle Cupid's fire;
You've neither wit nor learning,
Nor beauty to admire.

King {Goes up to the Queen}

O, madam, do but hear me;
I've got something more to say.

Queen {Gives him a prick}

Don't stand so near hard by me;
Stand further off, I pray!
I have not lost my hearing,
Nor yet I am not dumb;
But, in spite of all your jeering,
I can exercise my tongue.

King

Says thee so, thou Mistress Cheesemouth?
Thee might give me better words.
Although thou's a genteel caucase, [Note 8]
Thy face to be observed,
Thy cheeks are like two cakes of tallow,
Thy lips are blue all o'er,
Thou's tawny black and yellow,
And forty colours more!

{King goes up to the Queen again; she gives him a prick, and stamps her foot and says-}

Queen

Begone, thou piece of valour!
For thou smells of pitch and tar.
Go hang theeself on the mainmast
Where I shall never see thee more.
Take along with thee my wishes
To the bottom of the sea;
Thou's fitter for the fishes,
Than a woman's company.

{Exeunt King and Queen.}

{SECOND PART}

Clown

Here comes I, that never come yet,
With great head and little wit.
Though my head be great
And my wit be small,
I've six fine lads
'll please you all.
My head's made of iron,
My heart's made of steel,
My hands and feet of knuckle-bone,
I challenge thee out to feel.

{Enter King. King and Clown rattle their swords together.}

King

How long will this unthinking fool
Disturb us of our private see [Note 9]
Fair Rose thou may with boldness come
And banish him from our company.

{Enter Queen.}

Queen

That would betray for want of skill;
It's good to keep two strings for one bow.
Perhaps I might bear him as much goodwill
As what that I might do to you.

Clown

O that's well answered, my dear Rose.
I love the girl that's plain and free
Thou may be packed in, [Note 10] snotty nose;
Small hopes I find there is for thee.

King

Sure I this woman's worse than mad!
Judge, gentlemen, as well as me
In taking such a snotty lad,
And despising such a spark as me.

{King straightens himself up.}

Queen

Spread your affection civilly
And I shall tell you what I think.
In you the small.........
There's no mistake to choose and wink.

Clown

Pox take her! There's nowt to please her with.
So saving thy debauchery!

King

I'll call thee liar to the teeth!
I'll will at that accepted be.
I'll make thee lies to the town estate
The captain crown nor his estate.
But if I in my duty fail,
But come to me and I'll call it my fate.

Clown

Perhaps thou's got some tenement,
Some palace on some Irish shore;
Perhaps thou lives by three ha'pence rent;
It's enough for thee to rent withal.

King

Now I'm maintained by sailors' wives,
When their husbands are out all in protence,
While you poor eunuchs leads poor lives,
And I am swaggering by my rents.

Queen

My father calls, I must obey.
Be sure you both in peace remain,
Until you hear further what I say
The next time we meet again.

{Exit Queen.}

King

Thou are a fool, O then say I,
My reasons are expounded clear.
For women may riddle, but none can tell
By plain subtraction what they mean.

Clown

Still greater fool than half than I!
If thou would know the certainty
Of what a woman says,
Is meant quite contrary way.

{Exit King.}

Clown

The devil go with them, for now they're gone
And left me here behind; see if all well at home,
Faith man! And I'll away an all.

{Exit Clown.}

{THIRD PART}

King

I'm a King and a Conqueror too,
And here I do advance!

Clown. I'm the clown of this noble town,

And I've come to see thee dance.

King

The clown come to see a King dance!

Clown

A King dance! Ask thee good fellow?
didn't I see thee tending the swine 'tother day -
stealing swine I meant to say?

King

Now you've given offence to your Majesty, thee
must either sing a song, or off goes your head.

{The King tries to knock him about with his sword.}

Clown

I only know a lame song.

King

I like a lame song.

Clown {sings}

How can I be merry and wise,
And in my heart contented be?
When bone of my arm is out of place,
And he mun put his nose where the bone should be.

King

I put my nose where the bone should be?
You old fool!
sing it over again, and sing it right.

Clown

I'll nobbut sing it again.

{Clown sings song as before but indicates another man.}

King

As you've sung that so well, you must sing us another.

Clown

How can I sing another when I don't know one?

King

I must have one, or off goes your head.

Clown

Let me study a minute.
I've studied a love song about murder,
my grandmother learned me seven years after she was dead.

King

O I like a love song.

Clown {sings}

O love it is a killing thing.
Its both for heart and mind
And he that doesn't come before
He needs must come before.

King

You old fool
what difference is there between befour and before?
Sing it over again, and sing it right.

Clown

I'll nobbut sing it again.

King

Sing it over again, and sing it right,
or off goes your head!

Clown {sings}

O love it is a killing thing,
Its both for heart and mind,
And he that doesnt come before
He needs must come before.

King

What difference is there between before and befoure?

Clown

It's the way I learned it. Sing it yourself.

King

If I sing it, see that you learn it.
{Sings} O love it is a killing thing,
It's both for heart and mind;
And he that doesn't come before,
He needs must come behind.

{King and Clown exeunt.}

{FOURTH PART}

{Enter King.}

King

I'm a King and a King of high renown
I'm sorry that I shall be offended
with that ragly fellow that's called a clown.

{Enter Clown.}

Clown

What needs thou be offended at me,
And make that great, ugly, long face at me?
If thou was hanged in yonder tree,
I could make a far better King than thee.

King {Going up to Dancers who are behind the door.}

Come all ye young men and draw your swords straight,
And take this fool clean out of my sight,
For if I talk to him, he talk to me all night.

{Dancers rattle their swords. Exit King.}

Clown

Ye gentlemen all who in mirth take delight
And intends our sport for to see,
I've come for to tell you that I am the Clown,
And, pray you, how do you like me?
Although I am little, my strength it is great;
I would scorn for to tell you a lie.
I once killed a hedgehog as big as myself
And it made me a rare apple-pie,
(And he made me a delicate fry).
Now my Grandmother; one of the Bambury breed
As big as an old gilt in her twang, .
She would serve by the tinker at peddling trade,
If that isn't a lie I'll be hang'd.
My father was tapsman [Note 11] and tideman [Note 12] three years,
Alas he was tiled so high:
It was all for stealing 3 lusty grey mares.
If that isn't true it's a lie!
As for myself I'm a butcher so good,
I can hit both the mark and the square;
I can stick a young heifer and never draw blood,
And that I can do to a hair.
I always was jovial and always will be,
Always at one time of the year.
Since Adam created both oxen and plough,
We get plenty of store and strong beer.
So now I've told my birth,
And the place from when I come;
So now I will set forth
Our noble dancers on.
Our dancers will appear
In splendour by and bye.
Gooks Bobs! I'll do them here. [Note 13]

{Dancers rattle their swords, and keep out of sight.}

Clown

Silence! Silence! I cry.
Our dancers will appear
In splendour, red and white,
Goops Bobs! and do them see,
They're coming in to sight.

{The King just shows himself.}

{King comes in first.}

Clown

The first that come on is King Henry by name,
He's a King and a Conqueror too;
And with his broad sword he will make them to fall;
But I fear he will fight me enoo.

{King and Clown rattle swords together.}

{First verse repeated after each verse.}

{Enter No. 2.}

Clown

The next is Progallus, as some do him call,
He's a General to the same King;
And with his broad sword he will make them to fly;
Isn't that a desperate thing ?

{Enter No. 3.}

The third I shall name without any offence;
A gentleman just come from Cork;
He's witty and pretty in every degree,
And amongst the girls he will sport.

{Enter No. 4.}

The fourth is Hickman, a rival,
Sticks close to his back.
Bewitched already by beautiful lass,
But young Cupid his ruin shall be.

{Enter No. 5.}

The fifth is Jerry he's a passionate friend,
He follows his master indeed;
He's been a true trudger as ever did bend,
And I wish we'd some more of his breed.

{Enter No. 6.}

There's little Diana I'd tike to forget,
Whose beauty shines much like our own;
But if ever we do get our heads to the pot,
We'll drink till it strikes fourteen at noon.

{Exeunt all.}

Clown

Go on, my brave heroes!
Our valour has been tried;
From off the plains of Waterloo
These six fought side by side.
They fought against Napoleon bold,
And made him run away;
Sent him to St. Helena,
And there they made him stay.
All you pretty lasses,
That's sitting roundabout,
These are six handsome young lads,
As ever was turned out.
They'll make you loving sweethearts,
For ever they'll be true;
They'll fight for you as manfully
As they did at Waterloo.

{Enter No. 1.}

The first I do call,
He's a handsome young man,
As ever the sun shone on;
He's like his brother Cupid
Looks on the charming boy
And when he meets with a bonny lass
With her he loves to toy.

{Enter No. 2.}

The next he is a bashful youth,
He's brother to the moon;
But first he gets his name up
In country and in town.
Amongst the pretty wenches,
He drives a roaring trade;
And when he meets a bonny lass
His valour is displayed.

{Enter No. 3.}

The next he is a spanking lad,
His father is a Squire;
For Betsy their sweet chambermaid
He got a great desire.
He huddled her, he cuddled her,
Until he made her yield;
But when the truth they came to know,
He was forced to quit the field.

{Enter No. 4.}

The next he is a rakish youth;
I've heard his Mother say
She would give him good advice
Before he went away.
He was never to kiss a black lass
When he could kiss a white,
And when he met a bonny lass
To stay with her all night.

{Enter No. 5.}

The next he is a valiant youth,
He's been in all the wars;
When he returned from Waterloo
The bells did loudly ring.
He won the day in splendour,
He fought a valiant man,
His countrymen did all rejoice
When he returned again.

{Enter No. 6.}

The next he is a brave young man
As ever you did see;
So well did he act his part
For his King and Country.
He had no fear about him;
For ever he'll be true;
He'll fight for you as manfully
As he did at Waterloo.
So lasses prepare your lips,
Else before your eyes
These six lusty lads
Will roll you in their arms.
So speak spectators all,
If you'll not take it amiss,
If these lads will dance their shares,
These lasses I will kiss.
So now you've seen us all go round,
And heard our pedigree,
Gentlemen and ladies all
What do you think of me?
So now you've seen us all,
Think of us what you will;
Music! strike up and play.
T'aud wife of Coverdill.

{Here follows the dance.}

{After the man (not the Clown) is killed at the conclusion of the dance, the dancers leave the stage, the Clown and the dead man being left alone.}

{FIFTH PART}

{The Clown walks about and tumbles over corpse.}

Clown

It's rough ground.

{Clown turns round and tumbles over again.}

{King enters.}

King

Hello! Hello! What's the matter here?

Clown

A man dead!

King

I fear you have killed him.

Clown

No! he has nearly killed me!

{Stamps his feet.}

Come all you villians and clear yourselves!

{No. 2 enters.}

No. 2

I am sure it's none of I
That did this bloody act;
Its he that follows me
That did it for a fact.

{No. 3 enters.}

No. 3

I'm sure it's none of I
That did this awful crime;
Its he that follows me
That drew his sword so fine.

{No. 4 enters.}

No. 4

Don't lay the blame on me,
You awful villains all!
I'm sure my eyes were shut
When this young man did fall.

{No. 5 enters.}

No. 5

How could your eyes be shut,
When I was looking on?
I'm sure you were with us
When first our swords were drawn.

{Enter No. 6.}

No. 6

Our King has done the deed
And he lays the blame on me!
Before I'll take the blame
I'll try my sword with thee!

{King and No. 6 fight and rattle their swords together.}

King

O ray! alas! what shall I do?
I've been the cause of all this war!
Oray I am that it should happen so,
That I should slay this poor old man.

Clown

How can he be an old man?
Young man like me his father.
I got him this morning before I got my breakfast.
Bury him! we'll sing a psalm over him.

{All kneel round the dead man.}

{The Clown then gives out the following psalm.}

Clown

When first King Henry ruled this land,
He was a right generous King. {repeated by mourners}.
He stole three pecks of barley meal
To make a large pudding. {repeated.}
And when this pudding it was boiled,
They filled it full of plums;
There was lumps of suet in
as big As my two thumbs. {repeated.}
The King and Queen they both did eat,
And gentlemen likewise;
And what they couldnt eat that night
Next morning had it fried. {repeated.}

{The Clown now reads his Will.}

Clown

God in Heaven take this soul!
Churchyard take his bones!
And that man, that holds my sword,
Take his Wife and bairns!

{Clown hands his sword to another man.}

King

How can we this man bury
When people all around us stand?
But if we mean to escape a halter
We must send for a doctor.

{All shout for a doctor.}

King

I have heard of doctors both far and near;
Have heard of one, tho' he lives in Spain,
I'll lay ten pounds if he was here
He would bring this man to life again.
Five, ten, fifteen, twenty pounds for a doctor!

{Enter Doctor.}

Doctor

See, Sir, a doctor here,
who travels much at home.
Take these here my pills;
they cure the young, the old,
the hot, the cold,
the living and the dead.
What's the matter here?

King

A man dead.

Doctor

How long has he been dead?

King

Seven minutes. Can you cure him?

Doctor

If he has been dead seven years I can cure him!

King

What is your fee?

Doctor

Nineteen pounds, nineteen shillings, eleven pence three farthings,
peck of ginger bread and some oats for my horse.

King

It is an imposition. I wont give it.

Doctor

Gee ball! {Exit.}

King

Hi! Hi! Doctor, is that the lowest you'll take?

{Enter Doctor.}

Doctor

I'll throw off the oats and the ginger bread.

King

You must try your skill.

{The Doctor feels his pulse.}

Doctor

He has got a raging pulse.

Clown

How can a dead man have a raging pulse?

{The Doctor pretends to give him a pill. The Clown pulls him away.}

Clown

Give a dead man physic?

King

Can you cause a stomach in the morning?

Doctor

I can cause a stomach in the morning,
make his victuals fly down his throat like a wheelbarrow,
and rattle in his throat like a pair of chests of drawers.

King

Can you do anything for a fair lady?

Doctor

Yes! if ever a fair lady in this room wants a husband trimming,
bring him to me and soon she shall have one.

King

Can you do anything for a big bellied mare?

Doctor

Yes! I can cure the big bellied mare,
the old fools, the gaol and the pepper vixit cracks;
thousands which I cure is none here I can tell.
It's all done with this little vandorous box;
take that and you well.

King

Well doctor, what is your name?

Doctor

I don't like to tell it to a ragamuffin like you!

King

I must know your name.

Doctor

Well you shall know it, but it takes a good scholar to read it.
My name is Ivan-Lovan-tanaman-laddie,
seven Son of a new-born doctor.
Here I've travelled through 55 kingdoms
and now return to my own country;
cure men with their heads off,
men with their hearts out,
the itch, the stitch, the stone, the bone, the pulse and the gout
if there was nineteen devils.

King

Hi! Doctor! he's a long time coming to life.

Doctor

Well I must bleed him.

{Doctor gives the King the dead man's arm to hold up and then runs at him with his sword. The King falls and knocks his knee cap off, which the Doctor then puts right.}

{The Doctor then bleeds the dead man.}

Doctor

I've travelled for my education.

King

How far have you travelled?

Doctor

All the way from the fireside upstairs
and knocked the chamber pot over and back again.

King

Is that all you've travelled?

Doctor

Oh no! not by a great deal.
I've travelled all the way from Itti Titti
where there's neither town nor city,
wooden chimes, leather bells, black pudding for the bell rope,
little pigs running up and down street,
knives and forks stuck in their backsides
crying 'God save the King.'

King

Well doctor, he is a long time in coming to life.

Clown

I will bring him to life.

{Clown takes his sword and pulls down the man's middle. Whereupon the dead man came to life and jumps up and says.}

[No. 1]

Good morning, gentlemen,
A sleeping I have been;
I've had such a sleep
As the like was never seen!
And now I am awake,
And alive unto this day.
Our dancers shall have a dance
And the doctor have his pay.

{All those standing round now start dancing and this concludes the entertainment.}


Notes:

E.K.Chambers' Footnotes:

Note 1: bound.

Note 2: thee.

Note 3: joyfully.

Note 4: warrant.

Note 5: sight.

Note 6: home I.

Note 7: bride.

Note 8: carcase.

Note 9: privacy.

Note 10: packing.

Note 11: taxman.

Note 12: titheman.

Note 13: I do them hear.

Introduction:

(pp.131-132) "The Goathland play can hardly have been more elaborate than that of Ampleforth which, with its Presentation, I will now give in full. My text was sent me long ago by Cecil Sharp; that in his Sword Dances of Northern England is a good deal sophisticated, but may include a few lines which he recovered later."

Notes:

(pp.149-150) "This curious play bears all the marks of a compilation. The performers are introduced three times and the second attempt borrows the 'big head' and 'iron and steel' formulas of the Mummers' Play. There are two sets of calling-on verses. The Queen is Susannah in the First Part and Rose in the Second Part, and while the Second Part is a variant of The Fool's Wooing, the First Part is largely pieced together, as Sharp pointed out to me, from scraps of Congreve's Love for Love (1695) iii. 3, although this does not give the name Susannah. The Third Part is chaff about dancing and singing, such as we find in the Plough Plays. The Fourth Part has a phrase about sticking a heifer, which corresponds to the killing a bullock at Earsdon. The Fifth Part is clearly the same in origin as the slighter versions of Earsdon, Bellerby, and Sowerby. Its Cure proper also closely resembles some of the more elaborate scenes in the Mummers' Plays. The Land of Cockaigne bit is there. The repudiation and suggested burial have also analogues, more or less remote, in the Mummers' Plays, but the 'psalm' used consists of a set of verses, which I have also found independently, with King Arthur instead of King Henry as their subject.' The victim's will recalls that of the Fool at Revesby."

Indezer's Notes:

Chambers does not give a date for this text. However, a date of 1898 is listed against Ampleforth in E.C.Cawte et al's (1967) English Ritual Drama.


File History:
17th Sep.1999 - Entered by Peter Millington
28th Dec.1999 - Corrected by PTM

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