Mummies, Pot Works, Nevis, 1930s

R.D.Abrahams (1968) pp.185-192


Folk Play Home Scripts Intro County List Class List Characters

Context:
Location: Pot Works, Nevis, British West Indies (17 N, 62 W)
Year: Perf. 1930s
Time of Occurrence: Christmas
Collective Name: Mummies

Source:

Abrahams, Roger D.
"Pull Out Your Purse and Pay" : A St George Mumming from the British West Indies
Folklore, 1968, Vol.79, No.3, pp.185-192


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

{MUMMIES II}

The Fool:

Good morrow, friends and neighbours here,
We are quite glad to see you all here,
For Christmas comes but once a year,
And when it comes it bring good cheer,
And when it's gone, no longer near.
May laps and cups and plenty be,
And when the wind blow in his t'rashing field
It produce the Mummies time come round

Old Father Christmas:

Here's come Old Father Christmas, welcome or welcome not;
I hope that Father Christmas might never forgot.
His knee are weak, his back are bent,
More strenk I spent.
T'ree hundred and sixty-six age is a very great age for me,
And if I should live all this time what a monster I should be.
I have just but a short time to stay,
Who don't believe what I say
Stand forth the Fool and boldly clear the way.

The Fool:

Room, gallant', give us room to pleasure and room to sport.
For remember, we are the merry actors that provose [sic] in the street,
We are the merry actors that plays from ever' meat,
We are the merry actors that shows pleasant play.
Stand forth St George and boldly clear the way.

St George:

I am St George, from good old England sprung,
My famous name throughout the world have rung,
Many a bloody deed have I shone,
And wonder how I make fine fairie' tremble on their t'rone.
I follow a fair lady to a giant's gate,
Confined in dungeon deep to meet her fate.
But now I slain a Dragon, a fear and fiery Dragon he,
I clip his wings, he shall not fly,
I reach the land of him or else I die.

Dragon:

Who is it seek the dragon' blood
And speak so angry and so loud?
That English dog who look so proud?
Or if I could catch him with my claws,
Long teet' and harried jaws,
I'll break off his core
And increase my appetite for more.
Marrow from your bone I will squeeze,
And suck your blood up by degrees.

{They fight and St George kills Dragon.}

St George:

I am St George, that bravely champion bold,
By my sword and spear I own three crowns of gold.
And with behaviour I own the powers of the King of Egypt's daughter.
Stand forth the royal princess and boldly act thy part.

Princess of Egypt:

I am the Princess of Sheva, it is my only delight,
To give sweetest pleasure of this bright and gallant knight.

St George:

Why there is a sight!
Won't it fill any man' heart to see this dragon slain?
Then subdue. Thou wouldest take thy hand unto thy pocket;
Thou wouldest put thy hand upon thy shoulder.
For I love a woman and a woman love me,
So when I want a fool, I'll surely send for thee.
So dear, If any man' heart who contain in this company
Let him stand forth and boldly tell his name.

St Patrick:

I am St Patrick from the bogs, these truths I alone shall fame me,
Here abound with serpent', tugs and crabs,
From beautiful Abona I flourish my servillor;
They have took themselves away unto the sea,
And never more shown there faces.

Black Prince:

I am Black Prince of Paradise, born from high renown.
Soon will I cut your lawful courage down.
With tugs and frogs, give me thy sword
Or else I give your carcass to the dogs.

St Patrick:

Now, Black Prince of Paradise, where have you been?
Pray, what fine sights have you seen?
Does thou think no man of your age
Are so black as de-engage?
Stand off, thou black Morrogo dog, and with thee alone you mus' die,
I'll paste your body full of hole', and make your button' fly.

{They fight; St Patrick wins.}

King of Egypt:

I am the King of Egypt, so plainly does appear.
I come to seek my son, my only son and heir.
But he is dead and whom did he kill?

St Patrick:

I did him kill, and I did him slain;
Upon the ground the precious is still.
So please my league, my honour to maintain,
So have I done, and that would I do again.

King:

Cursed Christian, what meanest by slewing and slaying my only son?
Now Hector, Hector, run here with speed,
Strengthen me in need.
Not only by your sword and spear in hand
But fight until my command.

Hector:

Yes, yes, my league, I would obey,
By my sword and spear I hope to win the day.
Is this the hero who stand' here
Has slew my master' son and dear?
Although you have sprung from royal blood,
I'll make you drown in the ocean flood.

{St Patrick and Hector fight. St P. kills Hector.}

King:

A doctor! A doctor! Ten pounds ten for a doctor.
{to Doctor} Are you a doctor?

Doctor:

Yes, which you may plainly see
By my ac' and activity.

King of Egypt:

And how far have you travelled in your doctorship?

Doctor:

I travelled over Ireland, Holland and Spain,
And now I come back to cure the diseases of dear old England again.

King:

So far, and no farther?

Doctor:

Yes, much further.
From the kitchen to the pantry,
Upstairs and into bed.
I have it in my bottle a little bit of blind bumblebees,
Pick pannel for grandsnapper, crutches for lame duck',
And if any young lady pass and lose their figure heart,
I could give them if they are willing much more decent young man.
Here, sir, take a little out of my bottle,
And let it run down t'rottle,
And if though not be quite slain,
Arise, man, and fight again.

{He comes back to life; the leave.}

St Andrew:

I am St Andrew from the Nort',
Men from that part are men of wrat'.
Two trial short, but not in t'ought.
I'll treat him surely with my crew.
Here's come a man just ready for a fray;
Stand off St Patrick and boldly clear the way.

Slasher:

I am a valiant soldier, Slasher is my name.
With sword and buckle by my side I hope to win some game.
But for you to fight with one I see thou art not able,
For with my trusty broad sword, soon will I disable.

St Andrew:

Disable, disable, it's not in your power,
For wit' my trust broadsword nations soon I will devour.
So stand off Slasher and let nothing more to be said,
For if I draw my trusty broadsword, I'll surely break your head.

Slasher:

How can you break my head when my head is made of iron,
My body made of steel,
My hands and feet are made of knucklebone,
I challenge you to feel.

King:

Alas, alas, a cheerful son of mine had been wounded.
What mus' I do to rise him up again?
I mus' now present for a doctor.
A doctor, a doctor, ten pounds ten for a doctor.

Doctor:

Yes, yes, here is a doctor which you may plainly see,
By my ac' and activity.

King:

And how far have you travelled in your doctorship?

Doctor:

I travelled over Ireland, Holland and Spain,
And now I come back to cure the diseases of good old England again.

King:

So far and no further?

Doctor:

Yes, much further.
From the kitchen to the pantry upstairs and into bed.

King:

What can you cure?

Doctor:

All complaint' from the lurch of his groat to the crown of his head.
I have into my bottle a little bit of blind bumblebees,
Pick pannel for grandsnapper, cructhes for lame duck',
And if any lady passing lose their figure of heart,
I could give to them if they willing, much more this poor young man.
here, sir, take a little out of my bottle
And let it run down your t'rottle.
And if thou not be quite slain,
Arise young man and fight again.

Slasher:

Woe, my back!

King:

Slasher, what is the matter with your back?

Slasher:

My back is wounded,
My heart is confounded.
Struck seven senses into four score,
Life of old England I never seen before.
Hark, I hear the silver trumpet sound,
Summons me off of this bloody ground.
Down yonder, down yonder is my way to go.
Farewell, farewell, I should not long stay.

St Andrew:

Yes, Slasher, thou better go for the second time,
Those blows will pace your body through.

St David:

Ah, Staffilan, I am patience sent.
Oh, yes indeed, I will acquaint your Wench [Welsh] throne, Britain.
I have a race,
There to meet the foeman face to face.
A Wenshman hold it once and again,
Have borne before all other man.
I fear no man, in fight nor plea,
While race produce his cheek sully.

Turkish Knight:

Here is come I, the Turkish Knight,
Just from the Turkish lands to fight.
I took St David from his foe,
And make him kneel before I go.
He brag himself to such a high degree,
He t'ought there was no other knight but he.
Try your sword, St David, thou man of courage bold,
If your quaint blood is hot, soon will I make it cold.

St David:

Where are the Turk who stand before me, let him stand.
And I will cut him down with my courageous hand.

Turkish Knight:

Pull out your purse and pay,
Draw out your sword and slay,
For satisfaction I must have before I go away.

{They fight. St David beats the Turk to the ground.}

Pardon me, good Christian, water me this day and I will be your slave.

St David:

We keep no slave, dear Turkish Knight.
So arise man, and try your might.

{He leaves.}

St George:

I am the chief of all this valiant knight,
And it increase my heart just for good old England' right.
Old England, yes, I would maintain,
I'll fight for good old England once and again.

Giant:

I don't want just my courageous knight,
For in this war I and you had seen some sight'
In Palestine, in days of yore,
I boldly scrush and et t'ree hogsit [hogsheads] meal twice per day.
But now I became a giant snail,
I'm just waiting, waiting for a meal.

St George:

Ah, Saladim, Saladim, wilt thou comest to St George with sword and spear?
As Christian so damned
Rush to be stand?

Giant:

Yes, yes, St George, I mean to fight.
For with one blow, I will let you know,
I am not the Turkish Knight.

{They fight; teh Giant wins.}


Notes:

Abrahams' Introduction:

"The second text comes from Willie Archibald, a resident of Pot Works on the neighbouring island of Nevis. He learned the play from the Lodge Village, St Kitts players some time during the 1930's. He noted that he hadn't seen the play for twenty years. The text is similar to that of the Phillips troupe, but some of the speeches are clearer here. The play is somewhat shorter and has a smaller cast of characters, lacking James Dolly and the Page. The combats are between the same adversaries and have the same results except for the one between Page and Giant, and also in this version St George is slain by the Giant. Added in this text is an important speech of St George to the Princess. The repetition of the resuscitation scene is found here, as in the first text, indicating that the play has been observable in essentially this same form at least since the 1930's."

Indexer's Notes:

In P.Millington (1996) Mrs Ewing and the Textual Origin of the St Kitts Mummies' Play, Folklore, 1996, Vol.107, pp.77-89, it is shown that the St.Kitts and Nevis Mummies' plays derived their texts from J.H.Ewing (1884) A Christmas Mumming Play, Aunt Judy's Magazine [New Series], Jan.1884, Vol.3, pp.155-173 [Full Text].


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