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Location: Hibaldstow, Lincolnshire, England (SE9702) Year: Publ. 1901 Time of Occurrence: Plough Monday Collective Name: Ploughboys
Plough Monday Mummeries
Notes and Queries, 9th Series, 27th April 1901, Vol.VII, pp.322-323
Clown, 1st [actor]
Good evening, ladys and Gentlemen,
I am making rather a bole call;
But Christmas time is a merry time,
I have come to see you all.
I hope you will not be ofended
For what I have got to say:
Here is a few more jolly fellows
Will step in this way.
Soldier, No. 2nd.
I am a Recruited seagant,
Arriving here just now;
My orders are to enlist all
Who follow the cart or plough.
Foreign Traveller, 3rd.
O, endeed, mr seagant,
As I suppose you are,
You want us bold malishal lads
To face the Boer war.
Will [We'll?] boldly face the enemy
And do the best we can,
And if they don't prove civil
We will slay them every one.
I am a Foreign traveller,
I have travelled land and sea,
And nothing do I want but a wife
To please me the rest part of my life.
I am a lady bright and gay,
The fortune of my charm,
And scornfully I am thrown away
Into my lover arms,
3rd. [i.e. Foreign Traveller].
I have meet my dearest jewel;
She is the comforts of my life,
And if she proves true to me
I entend her been my wife.
Madam, it is my desire
I f I should be the man
All for to gain your fancy, love,
I will do the best I can.
I have got both corn and cattle,
And everything you know,
Besides a team of horses
To draw among the plough.
Young man, you are deceitful,
As any of the rest;
So for for [sic] that reason I will have
Them I love the best.
Come, me lads, who is bound for listing,
And gan along with me:
You shall have all kinds of liquor
While you are in our company.
Indian King, No.6.
War out! me lads, and let me come in!
For I am the old chap called Indian King.
They have been trying me to slay;
But you see I am alive to this very day.
Hoby Horse, No.7.
In comes a four year old cout,
A fine as ever was bought:
He can hotch and he can trot
14 miles in 15 hours just like nought.
Lady Jane, N.8.
In comes Jane with a long leg crayn,
Rambling over the midow;
Once I was a blouming young girl,
but now I am a down old widow.
N.2 [i.e., the Soldier].
Gentlemen and ladies,
You seen our fool is gone;
We make it in our business
To follow him along;
We thank you for civility
That you have shown us here;
We wish you a merry Christmas
And a Happy New Year.
"The following dialogue is printed as written down for Miss Fowler, of Winterton, by W.A., from the dictation of his father, who lives in the parish of Hibaldstow. It contains one interesting idiom, 'War out!' which Miss Fowler herself takes down in another version as 'Where out!' The words appear to mean 'Be wary!' 'Pay attention!' 'Look out!' or, as Lincolnshire people frequently exclaim, 'Mind yersens!'" Otherwise the only noteworthy thing about the rime is that the combat which should occur is omitted, and consequently no doctor appears to bring the fallen champion to life."
This text is the first of four published in this article. The general introduction implies that they all were performed on Plough Monday by "plough-jags", although in this case, Christmas is mentioned twice in the dialogue, and the text is headed "Ploughboys".
This text was reprinted by Alex Helm in "The English Mummers' Play, (1980), pp.96-97. Helm's introduction reads:
"The following version is an example of those which have neither combat nor cure, but which are restricted to the wooing only. The characters are typical of those in the more complete versions, but whether the revitalisation was deliberately omitted, forgotten, or never existed, is now problematical. The number of versions reported, largely without text, of this type, suggests that it did not actually exist. The mention of the Boer War in the Foreign Traveller's speech dates the version fairly closely, but Miss Peacock gives no indication as to its last date of performance. She does however say that the North Lincolnshire 'plough-jags' have gone about from 'house to house this season fantastically attired' but is not otherwise more specific about costume. The text is reproduced as printed."
22/12/2000 - Encoded by Peter Millington