If you are reading this page using a screenreader, we support ARIA landmarks for quick navigation too

Wiltshire Community History

Folk Play Information

There were 1 items found.

TitleMummersí play
Alternative Title
WordsRogers, Norman
Collected FromUnknown
Occupation
Age
Date1958
LocationShrewton
CountyWiltshire
Source Primary
Source SecondaryWiltshire Folklife 18, 1989 p 3 Ė 10
Recording
 
The Play
Characters

Father Christmas
Prince Albert
Valiant Soldier
Turkish Knight
Doctor
Saint George

Father Christmas

Ladies and Gentlemen, I introduce to you Father Christmas and his Mummers.

[Hymn: While shepherds watched]

Father Christmas

Christmas comes but once a year
And when it comes it brings good cheer.
In comes I, poor old Father Christmas,
Christmas or Christmas not,
I hope old Faher Christmasíll never be forgot.
Roast beef, plum pudding;
Ah! Giíe I lots oí pudding.
When I were a girt hard boy,
Wií an appetite nar mossel coy
The besí thing to giíe I joy
Were when mother made a pudding.
Pudding, pudding, pudding,
Ah! My friends,
Thereís no bones in pudding.
Roast beef, plum pudding, mince pies,
Who likes them better than Prince Albert and I?
Iíve acted old, and Iíve acted young
Iíve acted captain of the
So if you donít believe what I do say
Walk in that man Prince Albert straight away.
Walk in here, Prince Albert, act thy part,
Show the ladies and gentlemen thy valiant heart.

Prince Albert

In comes I Prince Albert,
The valiant man,
With open sword and spear in hand,
I fought the fiery dragon,
And brought him to his slaughter,
And by this won the King of Egyptís daughter.
What mortal man who dares to stand
Before me with my sword in hand.
Iíll cut him small as many flies
And send him to Jamaica to make mince pies!

Father Christmas

Walk in here the Turkish Knight, act they part,
Show the ladies and gentlemen thy valiant heart.

Turkish Knight

In comes I, the Turkish Knight,
Just come from my Turkish land to fight,
Iíll fight thee, Prince Albert with all my might
Although thou guarded be by armed men.
Army men, merchant men, men oí war Ė
Many a battle I have been through
Since thee been our King,
Now let thee and I this battle try,
And see which on the ground shall lie:
Life by life, sword in hand,
If thouírt ready, Iím the man.

Prince Albert

Come on thou bloodthirsty villain,
If thou slay me dead Iíll have a

[They fight]

Father Christmas

O dear, o dear, donít fight, donít fight.
Give Ďe lots of pudding.

[Prince Albert falls]

Prince Albert

Beg your pardon. Sir.

Turkish Knight

No pardon will I give thee,
No money will I pay.
Rise up off thy bended knee
Have a cutlass as thou had before.

[Prince Albert gets up. They fight, the Prince is wounded and falls to the floor]

Turkish Knight

Walk in here the valiant soldier, act thy part.
Show the ladies and gentlemen thy valiant heart.

Valiant Soldier

In comes I the Valiant Soldier,
Bold and brave:
Cut and Slash is my name.
Sword and buckles by my side,
I hope to win this game.

Faher Christmas

I hope thou wilt.

Valiant Soldier

My head is made of iron,
My body is made of steel,
Iíll fight thee with a ham and knuckle bone
Before thou quickly

Rags and Tags

In come I, old Rags and Tags
Sick and dead men, chopping, off legs

Valiant Soldier

Roast beef, plum pudding, mince pies,
All that, thee and I
So let thee and I this battle try,
And see which on the ground shall lie.
Life by life, sword in hand,
If thou art ready, Iím the man.

[They fight. The Valiant Soldier falls. All gather round and sing:

So he whispered goodbye to his comrade so dear,
His head on his knapsack he lay,
When you get home you tell them Iím gone,
British soldiers lay

Father Christmas

Oh dear, Oh dear, what hast thou done Ė
Thou hast killed and slain my only son
Not any more,
Chuck this old Turk out of the door.
Get off back to Turkey, the old constable,
The old Turkish Knight.
Is there a noble doctor to be found
To rise these two men lie bleeding on the ground?
Oh yes, oh yes, there is a noble doctor to be found
To rise these two men lie bleeding on the ground.
How comest thou, Doctor?

Doctor

By my travel.

Father Christmas

Where didsít thou travel?

Doctor

Ippides, Skippides Scotland, Ireland, Spain Ė
Twice over that and back to old England again.

Father Christmas

My young friend, heís been a long way, hasnít he?
What cansít thou cure Doctor?

Doctor

I can cure the itch, the stitch,
The palsy and the gout,
The old devil eíen, I can bring him out,
Not all the mediciníll get the devil out of me.

Father Christmas

What else is curable?

Doctor

A broken bone, I can set it again,
Or anybody in this room feeling sick,
I can see to him.

Father Christmas
Theeís talk so fine, so work thy will.
All dressed up and nowhere to go.
Theeís put I in mind of one of them fellows
From Petticoat Lane. Oh Doctor.

Doctor

Arise you two men
Lie bleeding on the ground.

[They remain on the ground]

Father Christmas

I told thee they wouldnít.
They want some of my medicine,
Some gymnasium in a pigís bladder.

[He hits them with a pigís bladder on a string]

Father Christmas

Arise you two men
Lie bleeding on the ground.
Oh, Doctor, theeís better try again,
Have another go.

Doctor

Arise you two men
Lie bleeding on the ground.

[They get up]

Father Christmas

Ladies and gentlemen,
I got a man whoíll fight this Turk,
Beat him and take away his sword,
Saint George of old England.


[They fight, The Turk falls and throws his sword across the floor. Father Christmas picks it up.]

Father Christmas

Ladies and Gentlemen, we won the sword from Turkish.

Turkish Knight

Pardon, Sir.

Father Christmas

Yes, pardon will I give thee,
No money will I pay.
Rise up off thy bended knee.
Let us be friends for old timeís sake.

[All sing]

For old timeís sake, forgetting, forgetting,
Donít let your
Lifeís too short to quarrel, heartís too precious to break
Shake hands and letís be friends for old timeís sake.

Father Christmas

Forgive him, St. George.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We are only Christmas Mummers,
Christmas is a time when friends and foes
Should meet together and be friends.
Men should beat their swords into pruning hooks,
And their spears into plough-shares,
And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together
I wish you Father Christmasí wish the whole world over.
Peace on earth good will to men.

And now then, now Ďtis over,
Our fight is all over, come on,
I got one more man, a comedian,
Johnny Jack.
Come on, walk in here Johnny Jack, Act thy part,
Show the ladies and Gentlemen thy valiant lot.

Johnny Jack

In comes I, Johnny Jack,
With a wife and family at my back,
Out of nine I got seven,
Out of five I got four, all starved alike.
Some are dead, some are gone to the workhouse,
And the rest shall go away when I get home,
So ladies and gentlemen
If you have any pity on me and my wife,
Hand out your bread and cheese
And give us a knife
A drop of old Christmas ale
To make us well I think.
My doctors recommend it.
We are about to have a song.
 
Print Play Verse
 
Notes
Note 1

Norman Rogers Ė ĎWhen the late Harry Ross died, he had in his possession a tape, made in 1958, of an informant, reciting the Mummersí Play from Shrewton. The tape was passed to Jean Morrison, who played it to the dialect working party of the Wiltshire Folklife Society. A transcript was made and this article is based on that transcript. The tape was not professionally made, as is evident from the background noises and asides. The informant appears to be old, so his memory dates back to the latter years of the nineteenth century or the early years of the twentieth. In this lies the interest of the tape.

Note 2

Reproduced by kind permission of Norman Rogers.

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2008.

Actions

Search

This website

Contact details

Contact Wiltshire Council

Write to us or call us

Wiltshire Council
County Hall
Bythesea Road
Trowbridge
Wiltshire
BA14 8JN