Farnsfield Plough Play [Nottinghamshire, no date]

Roy Harris Collection (1966, Emmons)


Folk Play Home Scripts Intro County List Class List Characters

Context:
Location: Farnsfield, Nottinghamshire, England (SK6456)
Year: Col. 1966
Time of Occurrence: Plough Monday
Collective Name: [Not given]

Source:

Mr.Emmons
Farnsfield Plough Play
Roy Harris Collection, Collected 1966


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

[INTRODUCER]

I open this door I enter in
I hope your favour I can win.
Whether I sit, stand or fall,
I'll do my best to please you all.
If you don't believe these words I say,
Step in Tom Fool and clear the way.

TOM FOOL

In comes I bold Tom
Brave and brisk fine looking young fellow,
I've come to taste your beef and ale
They say it's so ripe and mellow.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen all,
It's Plough Monday that's brought Tom here,
So bold to call.
I hope you won' t be offended
For what little I have to say,
There's many more pretty little boys and girls
To come this way.
Some can dance, some can sing
With your consent they shall come in.
Ocum Pocum France and Spain,
Step in Sergeant on the same.

SERGEANT

In comes I the listing Sergeant,
I've arrived here just now,
I've had orders from the king to list all jolly fellows
That follows cart, horse or plough,
Such as tinkers, tailors, peddlers, nailers,
The more to my advance,
The more I hear the fiddle play,
The better I can dance.

TOM FOOL

You dance?

SERGEANT

Yes, I can either dance, sing or say.

TOM FOOL

If you start to dance, sing or say
I'll soon march away.

Sergeant {sings this}

Come all ye lads that are bound for listing,
List and do not be afraid,
For your hat shall be trimmed with ribbons,
Likewise kiss the pretty maid.

Farmer's Man

In comes, I the farmer's man,
Don't you see my whip in hand,
As I go forth to plough the land down side up,
How straight I go, from end to end
And scarcely make a baulk or bend
And to my horses I attend
As they go marching round the end.
Gee, back, whoa.

Sergeant {to Farmer's Man}

Are you free and able and willing to list, young man?

Farmer's Man

Yes sir.

SERGEANT

In your hat I pin these ribbons,
In your hand I place this shilling.

{sings...}

Then bright guineas shall be your bounty
If along with me you'll go.
And your hat shall be trimmed with ribbons,
Likewise cut the gallant show.

FARMER'S MAN {sings}

Thanks kind sir, I'll take your offer
Time and along will quickly pass.
Damn my rags if I'll be bothered any longer
With that proud and saucy lass.

SERGEANT {sings}

The saucy lass will not maintain you
The beauty it will fade away,
Like the flower that grows in summer
And in winter will decay.

LADY {sings}

Here comes a lady bright and gay
Misfortune and sweet charm
I've been most scornfully thrown away
Right out of my true lover's arms.
I swear if I don't marry him
I'll give him to understand
I'll get another sweeter one
And go into some foreign land.
Now my lover's listed
And joined the volunteers,
I'll get another brighter one.
And along with him I'll go.

TOM FOOL

Will you have me my dear?

LADY

Yes Tommy love to my sorrow.

TOM FOOL

When will be our wedding day?

LADY

Oh, Tommy love, tomorrow.

{Lady and Tom Fool, Sergeant and Farmerís Man, join hands and go round and sing....}

[Lady, Tom Fool, Sergeant and Farmerís Man]

Wack for lairey, wack for lairey
We'll get wed tomorrow. {repeat}

BEELZEBUB

In comes I old Beelzebub
In my hand I carry my club
In my hand a frying pan
Don't you think I'm a jolly old man?
If you don't, I do.
My head is made of iron
My body lined with steel,
My hands and feet are made of knucklebone
And no man can make me feel.

TOM FOOL

So no man can make you feel.
I lish you lash you smaller flies
I'll send you to Jamaica to make mincepies
One, two, three, wallop!

SERGEANT

Five pound for a Doctor.

TOM FOOL

Ten. to stop away.

SERGEANT

Fifteen to come on a case like this,
A dead man in the house.

DOCTOR {stands outside to say this}

Whoa, hold my barley chaff horse,
Give him a stiff feed of water,
And a drink of barley chaff,
And I'll show you a brass halfpenny
When I come out.

{comes in}

In comes I the doctor.

TOM FOOL

You the doctor?

DOCTOR

Yes, me the doctor.

TOM FOOL

How became you a doctor?

DOCTOR

By my travels.

TOM FOOL

Where have you travelled from?

DOCTOR

From bedside to fireside
And fireside to bedside
And stole many a lump of pohepic out of my grandmam's cupboard,
That's what makes my head look so big.
The other day I went up down yonder in Yorkshire,
That's where you've never been.

TOM FOOL

No.

DOCTOR

I thought not.
Anyway, there were some little pigs
Running about there with knives and forks stuck in their tails
Shouting "wee, wee, eat me",
I ran full kick at them,
Sending them over 15 hedges and 25 church steeples
And broke every back bone in their bellies
And I cured all that.

TOM FOOL

If all you're saying is right then
Try your skill on this young man.

DOCTOR

So I will.
I'll feel his pulse for a start {gets hold of his ankle}

TOM FOOL

Is that the right place to feel of a man's pulse?

DOCTOR

Why certainly, where should you feel?

TOM FOOL

Why, at the back of the neck of course.

DOCTOR

Ah well, you perhaps went to college a lot longer than me.
Ah well, the other day there was an old woman
She tumbled upstairs with an empty teapot half full of flour
Grazed her shinbone against her leg
And made her stocking leg bleed
And I cured all that.
Ah well, I'll see what I have in my bag.
Ah, some pills.

TOM FOOL

Read the resurrections on those pills.

DOCTOR

These pills, these pills, these virgin pills,
Have cured both dead and worn.
Have healed the sick
And cleaned the lame
And brought dead men to life again.
I have also here a bottle,
It t s good for hipsy, pipsy, polsy, gout,
Pain within and pain without,
Draw a leg and set a tooth,
And I have also splints for broken backed mice
And all other things too numerous to mention.
Now I'll attend to this young man,
This man is not dead but in a trance,
If he can dance, we can sing,
So rise up old chap and let's begin

All sing...

Good master and good mistress
As you sit round the fire,
Remember us poor plougher lads
Who plough through mud and mire.
The mire it is so very deep,
The water runs so clear,
So remember us poor ploughboys
With a mug of your best beer.

FARMER'S MAN

Go steady with the ale Tom,
There's nowt in the Hopper.

BEELZEBUB

What do you want in the Hopper?
I'm as hungry as you are dry
I could eat a piece of pork pie as big as a brick
And our old fool here
Could eat a piece as big as a gravestone.

All sing...

Good master and good mistress
As you sit round the fire,
Remember us poor ploughboys
Who go through mud and mire.
The mire it is so very deep,
The water runs so clear,
So we wish you all good night,
And another happy year.


Notes:

Indexer's Notes:

Ian Chandler digitised this script from an A4 typescript in the repertoire of the Owd Oss Mummers, Nottingham. Peter Millington proof-read it against a photocopy of an earlier foolscap typescript. The last two lines of the penultimate song have been corrected by hand on the original. There are differences between the two typescripts in the wording and character designations of the last few speeches, reflecting the Owd Oss Mummers' peformance of the play.

The manuscript does not give the name of the informant or the date of performance. Roy Harris in unable to find his notes, and it is posssible they disappeared when he moved house from Sandiacre to Cardiff. He says: "All I can remember is that my informant was a Mr Emmons, who was something to do with the local church. I don't think that we met. It was all done by mail, I'm pretty certain about that." (R.Harris, Personal Email message, 26th May 2004). Roy later confirmed that Mr.Emmons wrote to him following an appeal for information published in the 'Nottinghamshire Countryside' magazine in 1966.


File History:
9th Jan.2004 - Digitised by Ian Chandler
11th Apr.2004 - Proof-read against the foolscap typescript by Peter Millington
7th Jun.2004 - Notes on enquiries with Roy Harris added by PTM

The recommended URL for this web page is www.folkplay.info/Texts/96sk65hr.htm
Last generated on 26/12/2007 by P.Millington (Peter.Millington1@virgin.net)