Blidworth Plough Bullocking Play, 1896

R.H.Whitworth (1896)


Folk Play Home Scripts Intro County List Class List Characters

Context:
Location: Blidworth, Nottinghamshire, England (SK5855)
Year: Publ. 1896
Time of Occurrence: Second Monday in the Year
Collective Name: Plough Bullocking

Source:

R.H.Whitworth
Blidworth Registration and Parish Church Registers
Mansfield, J.Linney, 1896, pp.213-217


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

{1st P.B. announces his presence thus:-}

1st P.B.

In comes bold Tom, brave and active fellow,
Comes in to taste of your best beer, because it's sweet and mellow.
A room! a happy room! a room to let us in.
We are not of the ragged sort, but of the royal king.
Stir up the fire, and shine us now a light,
And set these jolly lads to have a fight,
If thou can't believe me, in what I say,
Step in my Lord, King George, and clear the way.

2nd P.B. -

In comes I, a noble sergeant, arrived here just now,
My orders are to enlist all lads that follow horse and plough.
Tinkers and tailors,
Ragmen and nailers,
All that come in my advance!
The more I hear the fiddle pay,
The better I can dance.

3rd P.B. -

Faith: fool! I'm come to hear you sing and dance.

2nd P.B. -

Faith! I can either sing, or dance, or say!

1st P.B. -

Come all you lads that have a mind for listing,
Enlist and do not be afraid,
with your hats so nicely dressed in.
We will kiss your pretty maid.
Mr. Gladstone ain't afraid,
If along with me you'll go,
We shall make a gallant show.

{speaks.-}

Now! are you able, free and willing,
To take Queen Victoria's shilling?
And will you dress and go with me,
For I am off to Ashantee?

{This evidently touches the apprehension of the sweet-heart, who after some emotion, - becomes philosophical.}

Sweet-Heart

There's always good fish, in the sea,
So why should I look arter thee?
And since my lover's listed and entered volunteer
I do not mean to sigh for him or shed a single tear,
But I will let him for to know.
That I will get another beau,
And with him my heart will go.

2nd P.B. -

My head is made of brass,
My body is of steel.
My hands are made of strong bones,
And I'm bound to make you feel -

{They fight desperately, the combat deepens, the antagonist falls, supposed to be terrifically wounded.}

Doctor! doctor! to be found?
To cure this man of mortal wound,
Five pounds for the doctor!

{Doctor providentially standing outside, bent on improving the occasion,}

Doctor

Shan't come under ten!

2nd P.B. -

Ten pounds, then for a doctor!

{Doctor again}

Doctor

In comes I - a doctor!

3rd P.B. -

How came you a Doctor?

Doctor. -

Travelled for it!

3rd P.B. -

Where have you travelled for it?

Doctor. -

Fire-side to bed-side,
bed-side to fireside,
Got many a pound of pork pie in my time,
Which makes me so stout and my face to shine.

3rd P.B. -

What can you cure?

Doctor. -

Hipsy, pipsy, palsy gout,
Set a leg, a tooth pull out,
Bring the dead to life again
In the sunshine or the rain,

{examines his patient, gives him two or three hard kicks, and pulls him generally about. Having made his diagnosis, continues.}

This man is not dead -
But he's in a trance,
He has been trying now,
To sham some new experience.

3rdP.B. -

What's that, Doctor?

Doctor

Cutting his throat with a rolling pin.

3rd P.B. and sweetheart. -

Oh! Doctor, Doctor, do try your skill.

Doctor. -

Yes, my dear, and so I will,
I will give him a drop of my wiff, waff,
And a blow of his tiff taff, -

{administers another good kick and says}

Arise up and sing, my good man!

{All sing. -}

[All]

Good master, and good mis-ter-ess, as you sit round your fire,
Remember us poor plough boy lads, who go thro' mud and mire.
The mud it is so very deep, the water is so clear,
We would thank you for a Christmas box and a drop of your best beer.

{In comes unexpectedly Beelzebub, exclaiming,}

Beelzebub

On my shoulder I carry my club,
In my hand a leather dripping-pan,
Don't you think I'm a jolly old man?
If you don't, I do -

{One goes out of the door while the rest form a circle, singing}

Good Master and Good Mis-ter-ess,
You see our fool is gone,
We make it then our bus-in-ess,
To follow him along.
We thank you for civility,
And what you've given us here,

{rattles a tin box}

We wish you all a very good night,
And another Happy New Year."

{Dant motus incompositos et carmina dieunt, making the best of their way to the next house.}


Notes:

Whitworth's preamble:

"Another and very ancient custom is Plough Bullocking, celebrated on the evening of the second Monday in the year. In Belgium this day takes the name of Loose Monday from the character of the revellings, and in some English country churches old ploughs, used in these ceremonies, are preserved. A parish penny was in old time paid on every plough by way of redemption and deodand.

Several sets of mummers, in rude and improvised dresses, make visits on the occasion. They claim free ingress, neither knocking, nor waiting for invitation. Doors are pushed aside, and in they walk. Once in.

'Versibus incomtis ludant risuque soluto Oraque corticibus sumunt horrenda cavatis.'

This is literally true. Lest the dramatic forceof such Thespian performances should pass away, it may be not uninteresting to give recital of this village play :-"

Indexer's note:

Nottinghamshire Bibliography reference: TD00257.


File History:
29th Oct.2000 - Encoded by P.Millington

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