Camborne, Cornwall : The Christmas Play - 1913-1916

R.J.E.Tiddy (1923) pp.144-147


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Context:
Location: Camborne, Cornwall, England (SW6440)
Year: Col. 1913 to 1916
Time of Occurrence: Christmas
Collective Name: [Not given]

Source:

R.J.E.Tiddy (Auth.) [J.Thomas (Inf.)]
The Mummers' Play
Oxford, University Press, 1923, pp.144-147


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

The Page

Here comes I the Page;
I am come to ask you to favour us
with a few gallons of room in your house
For Father Christmas with his Pop and Touse,
For, friends, this is the time of year
For Father Christmas to appear.

Father Christmas

Here comes I old Father Christmas welcome or welcome not;
I hope old Father Christmas will never be forgot.
We are not come here to laugh and geer
But came to taste your Christmas beer.
If your Christmas beer is all done
We are come to have a bit of fun;
But if for fun you are not inclined,
Before we leave we will taste your wine;
But if our fun you think it 's right,
I call in the Turkish Knight.

Turkish Knight

Here comes I the bold Turkish Knight.
I came from the Turkish land to fight:
First I fought in England,
And then I fought in Spain,
And now I am come back to England,
To fight St. George again.
If I could meet St. George here,
I would put my spear in through his ear,
I would beat him and bale him
And cut him in slices
And take a small pot and make a pair of garters.

Father Christmas

Bold talk, my child, bold talk, I am sure -
And St. George is coming through the door.

St. George

Here comes I St. George
A man of courage bold:
If thy blood is hot
I will soon make it cold,
As cold as any clay;
I will take thy blood and life away.
Draw thy sword and fight or draw thy purse and pay,
For satisfaction I must have before I go away

Turkish Knight

My sword is already drawn, no money will I pay
But satisfaction you can have before you go away.

{They begin the fight by crossing swords. After three leg-cuts and then three head-cuts, St. George strikes a blow at the Turkish Knight and he falls to the ground. Father Christmas goes to him concealing some red ochre in his hand which he puts on the Turk's neck.}

Father Christmas.

Oh, oh, is there a doctor to be found
To cure this deep and deadly wound?

Doctor

Yes, there is a doctor to be found
To cure that deep and deadly wound.

Father Christmas

What can you cure ?

Doctor

I can cure the itch, the specks, the spots and the gout
If there's nine devils in, I can kick ten out.

Father Christmas

Wonderful cure, wonderful cure.

{The Doctor then gives the Turk a kick in the backside with the side of his foot.}

Father Christmas

Is that all you can cure?

Doctor

No, I can cure the hipigo limpigo and no go at all,
The diseases of men big or small.

Father Christmas

Wonderful cure, wonderful cure.

{The Doctor, taking from his pocket a very large bottle and a wooden ladle, pretends to pour some medicine into the ladle and to put it into the Turk's mouth.}

Doctor

Now take a few drops of my helly com pain
And rise to fight St. George again.

{The Turk jumps up and has another fight with St. George, but he soon receives his fatal blow and falls to the floor. Father Christmas goes to him and, shaking his head, says,}

Father Christmas

My child is dead.

{Then the Doctor goes to him and takes hold of his foot to feel is pulse: he shakes his head and says}

Doctor

The Turk is dead.

The Devil

Here comes I old Bealzibub,
On my shoulder I carry my club,
In my hand a frying pan:
Don't you think me a jolly old man?

Father Christmas

How arn't you a jolly old man
With a head like a pig
And a body like a sow
And a great long nose like the beam of a plough.

The Devil

I have a fire that is long lighted
To put the Turk who was long knighted.

{With the help of the others he gets the Turk on to his back and goes out with him, saying,}

The Devil

Here I goes old man Jack
With the Turk upon my back.

{The Mason comes in with a trowel in his hand and a hod on his shoulder.}

The Mason

Here comes I little Tom Tarter,
I am the boy for mixing marter.

{He takes St. George by the hand and walks him out, saying,}

With my trowel and my hod
I will build a house for you and God.

[Alternative ending to the above.]

{The Doctor feels the Turk's nose and his big toe, shakes his head and says there is no pulse there.}

Father Christmas

We must bury the child.
Let two take his feet and two take his arm
And we will carry him out like a ship in a storm.

{He takes a book out of his pocket.}

We will sing a tune to him.
You will find the Hymn 120 pound beef -
If you can't find it there, turn over a leaf.

{Then they carry him out, singing,}

[All]

This poor old man is dead and gone,
We shall never see him more,
He used to wear an old gray coat
All buttoned down before.

{The End}


Notes:

Tiddy's Notes:

"J.Thomas, of Camborne, who wrote out the above for Mr. Cecil Sharp, adds this note of explanation: 'There was a little difference in the play in almost every district: but when I played it, Father Christmas was accompanied by two Merrymen or Clowns who were making funny faces whilst Father was talking and singing old songs at intervals. And it would be they who would help the devil to carry the Turk out. And the Doctor would be a small boy of about twelve years old; he would have on a box hat, a frock coat, a pair of gloves too large for him, and a pair of spectacles on his nose with a hump on his back.'"


File History:
07/01/1995 - Scanned & OCRed by Peter Millington
05/09/1998 - Encoded by Peter Millington
15/09/1999 - Year of collection adjusted by PTM

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