Brattleby, Lincolnshire Mummers' Play [1894]

A.Helm & E.C.Cawte (1967) pp.37-43


Folk Play Home Scripts Intro County List Class List Characters

Context:
Location: Brattleby, Lincolnshire, England (SK9480)
Year: Perf. about 1894
Time of Occurrence: [Not given]
Collective Name: [Not given]

Source:

A.Helm & E.C.Cawte
Six Mummers' Acts
Leicestershire, The Guizer Press, 1967, pp.37-43


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

Fool

Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen. I have come to give you a bold call.
As Christmas is a merry time, I have come to see you all.
I hope you will not be offended for what I have got to say.
Presently there will be some more lads and lasses come tripping along this way.
Some can whistle and some can sing,
By your consent they will come in.
Hookam, Spookam, Spankam and Spain,
In comes the sergeant of the same.

Sergeant

In comes I the recruiting sergeant arriving here just now,
I have come to 'list all those who can follow horse, cart or plough.
Tinkers, tailors, peddlers, nailors, all at my advance.

Fool

Is there anything at your advance?

Sergeant

Yes, my advance is to see a fool dance,
Either dance, sing or play
Or I will shortly mardi [Note 3] away.

Fool

One day I tried to stop a pig,
And what a lark we had. Sir
The pig says "Umple" and away he went,
Right through my stunning legs, Sir.

Sergeant

Do you call that singing?

Fool

Yes, plenty good enough for a man like you are.

Sergeant

I can sing better than that myself.

Music Jack

In comes I, old Music Jack,
I'll give you a tune before I go back.

Indian King

Ware out [Note 1] my lads, let me come in,
For I'm the chap they call Indian King.
They have been seeking me to slay,
But I'm here this very day.
I fought the fiery dragon, and brought it to the slaughter.
And by these means I won King George's daughter.

Sergeant

Slaughter, slaughter, no more to be said,
For in one instant I'll fetch off your head.

Indian King

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

Sergeant

Slaughter!

{Knocks down Indian King.}

Fool

Five pounds for a doctor!

Sergeant

Ten to stop away!

Fool

Fifteen, he must come on a case like this.

Doctor

In comes the Doctor.

Fool

What pains can you cure?

Doctor

Ypsy, Pipsy, Palsy and Gout,
Pains within and pains without.
Heal the sick, cure the lame,
High raise the dead to life again.

Fool

Is them all the cures you can do?
How came you to be a Doctor?

Doctor

I travelled for it from bedside to fireside
And from fireside to my mother's cupboard.
That's where I get all my pork pies and sausages from.

Fool

But can you cure this man ?

Doctor

Yes, certainly. Take hold of my bottle and stick,
While I feel this man's pulse. . .

{Feels his stomach}

Fool

Is that where a man's pulse lies?

Doctor

Yes, it is the strongest part of a man's body.
He is not dead but in a trance,
He's swallowed a cart and horse and can't get rid of the wheels.
Jump up Jack, and we'll have a chance.

Sergeant

Come my lads, it's time for 'listing'
Listing. Do not be afraid.
You shall have all kinds of liquor,
Likewise kiss the pretty maid.

Lady

I am a lady bright and fair,
My fortune is my charms,
It's true that I have been borne away
Out of my dear lover's arms.
He promised for to marry me,
As you will understand,
He listed for a soldier,
And went into a foreign land.

Sergeant

Madam, I've got gold and silver!
Madam, I've got horse end land!
Madam, I've got world and treasure,
Everything at thy command.

Lady

What care I for gold and silver?
What care I for horse and land ?
What care I for world and treasure?
All I want is a nice young man.

Bold Tom

In comes Bold Tom, a brisk and noble fellow.
Forty Gallons of your best ale will make us nice and mellow.
A piece of your pork pie for believing I'm telling no lie,
For we are all hungry as well as dry.

Lame Jane

In comes I, Lame Jane, with a neck as long as a crane.
Once I was a young maid, now I am a down old widow.
A Whig behind and a Whig [Note 2] before,
Ware out my lads and I'll sweep the floor.

Fool

O I'm the nice young man you want Miss.
Friends, I've come to invite you to me and my wife's wedding,
And that which you like best, you'll have to bring with you
for we are going to have a leg of a louse and a locle [Note 2] fried,
a barley chaff dumpling buttered with wool,
and those who can't nag it, will have to pull.
The tail chine of a cockerel
and eighteen gallons of your best butter milk to rinse all down.
Sing about lads, while I draw stakes.

[All?]

{Last Song (tune-'God rest you merry Gentlemen')}

Good master and good mistress, as you sit round your fire,
Remember us poor plough lad boys who plough the muck and mire.
The muck it is so nasty, the mire it is so near,
We thank you for your civility, and what you have given us here.
Here's a health unto the master and to the mistress also,
Likewise the little children around the table go.
We wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,
Good Master and Good Mistress, you'll see our fool's gone out,
We make it our ability to follow him about.


Notes:

Helm and Cawte's Notes:

"Mrs E.H.RudkIn: Collection The words were noted by Alice Wright while the mummers still played In about 1894. They were preserved In a Family Scrap Album now belonging to the present vicar of Willoughton, Rev. Denzil Wright, whose father had often seen the mummers and had described them to his son. Up to about 1905 there was a hobby horse on which the Sergeant rode. The Rev. Denzil Wright copied out the text for Mrs Rudkin In 1966.

Note on Expressions Used

Note from Joseph Wright: English Dialect Dictionary, Henry Frowde, London, 1898-1903.

[1] Ware out means 'look out'.

[2] We can find no relevant meaning for whig and locle. They may be corruptions, which are not uncommon in play texts.

[3] Mardi is usually an adjective, but Wright gives It also as a verb, to spoil or indulge. In this passage It seems to mean 'I will go away like a spoiled child', lona and Peter Opie: The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1959, 177, say that the term Is used 'In Derbyshire, Leic- estershire, Nottinghamshire, and areas adjoining, ...... of a peevish or moody child, and, ...... of a soft child or cry-baby.'

Note on Song

It will be noticed that these words cannot befitted to the tune of 'God rest you merry'. The Oxford Book of Carols. Oxford University Press. 1928, gives similar words as Carol No.16, and the second tune for Carol 15 (which goes with it) starts very much like 'God rest you merry'. Possibly it was a variant of this tune which was wrongly identified by the transcriber. From Carol No. 16 It may be guessed that there is a line missing after 'around the table go', which should be 'And all your kin and kinsfolk, that dwell both far and near'. This gives two stanzas of four lines. The last two lines were possibly spoken."

Indexer's Notes:

Electronic version (lacking notes) copied from: http://members.tripod.co.uk/Sandmartyn/mum34.htm and proof-read against A.Helm & E.C.Cawte (1967) pp.37-43


File History:
1999 - Scanned by Martyn Collins
13th June 1999 - Marked up by Peter Millington
22nd February 2002 - Proof-read & notes added by Peter Millington

The recommended URL for this web page is www.folkplay.info/Texts/89sk98wa.htm
Last generated on 26/12/2007 by P.Millington (Peter.Millington1@virgin.net)