Sulgrave Mummers' Play [Northamptonshire, 1921]

A.Helm & E.C.Cawte (1967) pp.15-22


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Context:
Location: Sulgrave, Northamptonshire, England (SP5545)
Year: Perf. 1921
Time of Occurrence: Christmas
Collective Name: Mummers

Source:

Alex Helm & E.C.Cawte
Six Mummers' Acts
Leicestershire, Guizer Press, 1967, pp.15-22


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

{Enter Molly}

Molly

A room, a room,
For me and my broom,
And all my brave company.
I'll sweep your house as clear as a berry
For very little money.
Come in, my foreman.

{Enter Duke of Cumberland}

Duke of Cumberland

In comes I the Duke of Cumberland
With my broad sword in my hand.
Where is a man who care before me stand?
I would kill him, slay him, and cut him up as small as flies,
And send him to Jamaica to make mince pies.

Molly

You will? Stand back then.
Come in King George.

{Enter King George}

King George

In comes King George with sword in hand,
Where is that man who said he dare before me stand!

Duke of Cumberland

Here he is!

King George

You said you would kill me, slay me, and cut me up as small as flies,
And send me to Jamaica to make mince pies.

Duke of Cumberland

And so I will.

[King George and Duke of Cumberland] {Together}

Mince pies hot, mince pies cold,
Mince pies in the pot nine days old.
A battle, a battle betwixt you and I,
To see which on the ground shall lie.

{A battle between King George and the Duke in which the Duke knocks down King George.}

Molly

Stand back, stand back, you have killed the man!
Is there a good doctor in the land?

{Enter Dr.Parr}

Dr.Parr

Yes, there is a good doctor in the land.

Molly

Five thousand pounds for a good doctor to come.

Dr.Parr

Doctor won't come to no such money!

Molly

Ten thousand pounds for a good doctor to come!

Dr. Parr

Doctor will come, long way to come, and a ricketty old nag to come on.

{Doctor rides in on another man's back.}

Dr.Parr

In comes I, old Doctor Parr,
And in my time I've travelled far.
I've travelled England, Scotland, Wales and Rome,
And yet I've never been far from home.

Molly

How do you make that out then?

Dr.Parr

Because I've always stayed at home.

Molly

What can you do now you have come?

Dr.Parr

I can cure the ip, the pip, the stitch, the palsy and the gout,
Pains within and pains without.
I can cure any old major or jay who can't cough for laughing.

Molly

You had better set to work then.

Dr.Parr

I'll give him a drop of my medicine.

Molly

Don't choke the man.

Dr.Parr

I only gave him a tablespoonful.

Molly

A barushovelful?

Dr.Parr

A tablespoonful!

Molly

Cavinscuttleful?

Dr.Parr

No, a tablespoonful!

Molly

Oh! I see.

Dr.Parr

But no wonder the man lies here half dead.
He's got a big tooth in the back of his head,
And if it's not drawn he will soon be dead.

Molly

Better draw it then.

Dr.Parr

I shall want one or two of you camel-backed Irishmen to help pull.

Duke of Cumberland

I'll make one!

Molly

I'll do a little.

Dr.Parr

Are you all ready? Pull!

Molly

Have you got it?

Dr. Parr

No, slipped off.
Are you all ready? Pull!

Molly

Have you got it?

Dr.Parr

Yes. No wonder the man lay here half dead,
To see this great tooth I've drawn from his head.

Molly

Better hand it round the company then.

{Dr.Parr holds up a large tooth - horse's.}

Molly

Is that all you can do then?

Dr.Parr

If any man in this company can do more than me,
You had better call him in and see.

Molly

Come in, Jack Finney.

{Enter Jack Finney}

Finney

My name is not Jack Finney, it is Mr. Finney, a man of great pain
Who can bring this man or any other man to life again.

Molly

You had better set to work then.

Finney

I'll give him one of my pills,
a working binder.

Molly

A selfbinder?

Finney

No, a working binder,
guaranteed to go through him like a furze faggot,
turn round in him like a wheelbarrow,
and come out like a freewheel gig.
This man reviveth.

Molly

Gone by with it,* not that he ain't fit for he lays here now.

Finney

This man reviveth

Molly

Read the Bible. never in all his days!

Finney

This man reviveth.

Molly

Oh, I see.

{Finney catching hold of man's feet}

Finney

I'm sure this man is not dead,
So come, old fellow, rise up your head.

Molly

That ain't his head!

Finney

What is it then?

Molly

His stommicks!

{Finney catching hold round man's waist}

Finney

I'm sure this man is not quite dead,
So come, old fellow, rise up your head.

Molly

That ain't his head!

Finney

What is it then?

Molly

His pantry!

{Finney catching hold of man's head}

Finney

This is the case I saw before!
Rise up King George, and fight no more.

Molly

Stand back! Stand back! I'll have no more fighting tonight!
Come in, Baalzebub!

{Enter Baalzebub}

Baalzebub

In comes I, Baalzebub.
On my shoulder I carry my club,
In my hand my dripping pan,
Don't you think I'm a funny old man?

Molly

Rather! Stand back then! Come in Bighead.

{Enter Bighead.}

Bighead

In comes I that's never been yet,
With my big head and little wit.
My head's so big my wit so small,
I've come this night to please you all.
My father killed a great fat hog, so you can plainly see,
And my mother gave me this bladder, to be my hurdy-gurdy.
Lay down good dog and eat your bone and riggle it through your ribs.
And now my lads and lasses,
Cock up your tails and give us a jig.

{Mummers all line up and then dance round the room, Big Head playing the instrument.}


Notes:

Helm and Cawte's Notes:

"Vaughan Williams Memorial Library Collection

The text was written out for Mrs T.P.Brown by Mr (?) William Branson, a performer who had taken part in the play at Christmas 1921. Other performers said there was more in the play than Mr Branson had written down, but they probably felt that he was the only one willing to set the text down on paper. Mrs Brown remembers that they were dressed very much like Morris Dancers, but without bells. Molly wore a sun bonnet and carried a broom, whilst Big Head had a real bladder with which to hit the other players. At the end of the performance the characters danced round ina ring to the music of a mouth organ, but no particular tune is given."

"* The meaning of this phrase is not clear."

Indexer's Notes:

Electronic text copied from http://members.tripod.co.uk/Sandmartyn/mummers1/mum32.htm


File History:
1999 - Scanned by Martyn Collins
13th June 1999 - Marked up by Peter Millington
10th April 2004 - Proof-read against original. IDs, contextual data and notes added

The recommended URL for this web page is www.folkplay.info/Texts/92sp54hc.htm
Last generated on 26/12/2007 by P.Millington (Peter.Millington1@virgin.net)