A Plough Monday Play [Kentucky, 1930]

M.Campbell (1938) pp.18-22


Folk Play Home Scripts Intro County List Class List Characters

Context:
Location: [Unlocated], Kentucky, USA
Year: Col. 1930
Time of Occurrence: Plough Monday
Collective Name: [Not given]

Source:

Marie Campbell
Survivals of Old Folk Drama in the Kentucky Mountains
Journal of American Folklore, Jan.-Mar.1938, Vol.51, No.199, pp.10-24.


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

{A PLOUGH MONDAY PLAY.}

Soldier:

In comes I, the cruising [(recruiting)] soldier,
With orders from the Queen
To list all you fellows
That follows horse and plough.

Tom (the farmer's boy):

In comes Tom, the farmer's boy,
Don't you see my whip in hand ?
To my plough I do attend.
'Tis Plough Monday makes me bold,
I hope you won't be offended.

Old Jane {carrying a baby}:

In comes I, Old Jane,
With my neck as long as a crane.
Long time I've sought thee, Tom,
And now I've found thee,
Pray, Tommy, take thy child.

Tom:

It's not mine and I won't have it.

Old Jane:

Look at its eyes, nose, cheek, and chin.
It's a picture of you as ever did grin.
Take it home and feed it.

Tom:

Go away home,
I'll see you in hell fire.

St. George:

In comes I, St. George,
In my hand I carry a club.
What old woman can sass me?

[Page 19]

Old Jane:

I can.
My head it is of brass,
My body it is of steel.
Nobody can't make me feel nothing.

St. George:

If your head is made of brass,
And your body's made of steel,
I can make you feel.

{He knocks Old Jane down to the floor.}

Tom:

What have you done?
Killed the best woman
Under the sun.
Two pounds for a doctor.

St. George:

Ten pounds to stay away.

Tom:

He must come in a case like this.

Doctor:

Hold my horse by the tail, boy.
He's only a donkey.
Give him a good feed of water and a bucket of ashes to drink.
In comes I, a doctor good
to stop the blood.

Tom:

Be you a doctor?

Doctor:

Yes, I am a doctor.

Tom:

What ailments can you cure?

Doctor:

Just what my pill pleases.
I goes about for the good of the country.
I'd sooner kill than cure.
I cured my own wife of rheumatism in all four of her elbows,
and I'll cure this woman if she ain't too far gone.
Hold my bottle till I feel her pulse.

{He feels of the woman's belly.}

Tom:

Is that where the pulse do lie?

Doctor:

Yes, it lies in the strongest part of the body.
She's not dead; she's only in a trance.
She's swallowed a horse and cart, and can't pass off the wheels.
These are virgin pills.
Take one tonight and two tomorrow,
and rub your belly with the bottle next day.
Jump up Jane, and we'll have a dance.

{Jane gets up and they dance around a spell.}

Soldier:

Come my lads, it's time for listing,
Listing do not be afraid,
You shall have your fill of liquor.
Tell me, who is this pretty maid?

Lady:

In comes I, a lady fair,
My fortune in my charms.
It's true I've turned away
Out of my true-love's arms.

[Page 20]

Oh, he did marry me,
As all do understand,
And then he listed for a soldier
In a far and distant land.

Soldier:

Madam, I've got gold and silver,
Madam, I've got house and land,
Madam, I've got golden treasure,
All at your command.

Lady:

What care I for your gold and silver?
What care I for your house and land?
What care I for your golden treasure?
All I want is a nice young man.

Tom:

Here am I all brisk and spry,
And I'm hungry as well as dry.

Old Jane:

Here am I, Old Jane,
With my neck as long as a crane.
Once I wore a wig behind
And a wig before,
Now I'm a poor widow.

Tom:

I'm the nice young man you want, miss.

Soldier:

Madam, I've got gold and silver,
Madam, I've got house and land,
Madam, I've got golden treasure,
All at your command.

{Because she could not remember the correct speeches for the characters, Aunt Mary put in the speeches between Richard and the Lady. She said Richard did not belong in the play at all and that the section put in was just something she had 'allus knowed.' This interpolated section is very similar to a part of the 'Francis New Jigge between Francis a gentleman and Richard a farmer' in The Elizabethan Jig. [Note 1]}

Lady's man, Richard:

Hey down a down,
Hey down a down,
There's never a trusty farmer
In all our town
That has cause to lead so merry a life
As I that got married
To a true and faithful wife.

Lady:

I thank you, gentle husband,
You praise me to my face.

Richard:

I pray thee take me, lady,
Unto my rightful place.

[Page 21]

Lady:

Believe me, gentle husband,
If you knowed as much as I,
The words that you have spoken
I quickly would deny.
For since you went from home,
A lover I have had,
Who is so far in love with me
That he is almost mad.
And I have promised him
To be his loving friend.

Richard:

Believe me, gentle wife,
That this makes me to frown.
There is no gentleman of high renown
That shall enjoy thy love,
Though his gold be all so good.
Before he wrong my lady so,
I'll spill for him his blood.
So tell me who it is
Doth desire thy love.

{Several lines lost.}

{Last song (to be sung by all the actors): Uncle Joe's version.}

[All]

We are not the London actors
That act upon the stage.
We are the country plough boys
That work for little wage.
Good master and good mistress,
Just think of us poor boys
That plough through mud and mire.
We'd thank you, dear master,
For a pitcher of your best beer.

{Aunt Mary's version.}

Good master and good mistress,
As you sit by your fire,
Remember us poor plough boys
That plough amongst the mire.
The mud it is so nasty,
The water is not clear.
We'd thank you for to give us
A drink to give us cheer.

{Aunt Mary gave also the following version of the soldier's first speech to the lady and of her answer. "Joe air contrarious," said Aunt Mary, "so's I take out them parts and sing 'em like a song ballet jest to contrary him. I call hit 'For Gold and Silver.'"}

[Page 22]

"Kind miss, kind miss, go ask your mother
If you my bride shall ever be;
If she says 'yes,' come back and tell me;
If she says 'no,' we'll run away.
"Kind miss, kind miss, I have much silver;
Kind miss, I have a house and land;
Kind miss, I have a world of pleasure;
And all of these at thy command."
"What care I for your gold and silver?
What care I for your house and land?
What care I for your world of pleasure ?
What I want is a handsome man."


Notes:

Campbell's Notes:

Note 1 [Page 21]: "Charles Read Baskervill. The Elizabethan Jig and Related Song Drama, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1929, pp. 450-464."

Page 18: "The text for this Plough Monday Play comes from Uncle Joe and Aunt Mary. They did not remember that the play had ever been 'acted out' within their lifetime of over seventy years. They said nobody else knew the play, and they argued about the way the speeches should be worded. There are portions they could not remember at all. At other places both Aunt Mary's and Uncle Joe's versions are recorded. The speeches of Richard and the Lady 'do not belong,' but Aunt Mary put them into the text to fill a gap where her memory failed. Aunt Mary and Uncle Joe said they kept the play from 'fading out of our minds pineblank by saying it over to each other every little spell.'"

Page 24 "Though it is certain that the text of the Plough Monday Play is incomplete and is further corrupted by the interpolation of part of an Elizabethan jig, yet it does have certain conventional characters of the traditional Plough Monday Play as discussed by Chambers and Tiddy. Aunt Mary and Uncle Joe's Plough Monday Play has the plough boys, Old Jane and Tom, the rustic fool, conventional characters of the Plough Monday Play. As in the mummers' play there is a combat and a cure."

Indexer's notes:

This text is reproduced here for non-profit purposes with the kind permission of the copyright holders - the American Folklore Society ( www.afsnet.org ). The original journal article is available online to licenced JSTOR users.


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